Read Carnival at Candlelight Online

Authors: Mary Pope Osborne

Carnival at Candlelight

Here’s what kids have to say to
Mary Pope Osborne, author of
the Magic Tree House series:

WOW! You have an imagination like no other.
—Adam W.

I love your books. If you stop writing books, it will be like losing a best friend.
—Ben M.

I think you are the real Morgan le Fay. There is always magic in your books.
—Erica Y.

One day I was really bored and I didn’t want to read. . . . I looked in your book. I read a sentence, and it was interesting. So I read some more, until the book was done. It was so good I read more and more. Then I had read all of your books, and now I hope you write lots more.
—Danai K.

I always read [your books] over and over . . .  1 time, 2 times, 3 times, 4 times. . . . 
—Yuan C.

You are my best author in the world. I love your books. I read all the time. I read everywhere. My mom is like freaking out.
—Ellen C.

I hope you make these books for all yours and mine’s life.
—Riki H.

Teachers and librarians love
Magic Tree House
books, too!

Thank you for opening faraway places and times to my class through your books. They have given me the chance to bring in additional books, materials, and videos to share with the class.
—J. Cameron

It excites me to see how involved [my fourth-grade reading class] is in your books. . . . I would do anything to get my students more involved, and this has done it.
—C. Rutz

I discovered your books last year. . . . WOW! Our students have gone crazy over them. I can’t order enough copies! . . . Thanks for contributing so much to children’s literature!
—C. Kendziora

I first came across your Magic Tree House series when my son brought one home. . . . I have since introduced this great series to my class. They have absolutely fallen in love with these books! . . . My students are now asking me for more independent reading time to read them. Your stories have inspired even my most struggling readers.
—M. Payne

I love how I can go beyond the [Magic Tree House] books and use them as springboards for other learning.
—R. Gale

We have enjoyed your books all year long. We check your Web site to find new information. We pull our map down to find the areas where the adventures take place. My class always chimes in at key parts of the story. It feels good to hear my students ask for a book and cheer when a new book comes out.
—J. Korinek

Our students have “Magic Tree House fever.” I can’t keep your books on the library shelf.
—J. Rafferty

Your books truly invite children into the pleasure of reading. Thanks for such terrific work.
—S. Smith

The children in the fourth grade even hide the [Magic Tree House] books in the library so that they will be able to find them when they are ready to check them out.
—K. Mortensen

My Magic Tree House books are never on the bookshelf because they are always being read by my students. Thank you for creating such a wonderful series.
—K. Mahoney

arnival at Candlelight
is the fifth book in a group of Magic Tree House books called the “Merlin Missions.” On their first four Merlin Missions, Jack and Annie traveled to mythical lands, where many magical things took place. I love writing books that take place in fantasy worlds, but I also love writing books about real life. So the next Merlin Missions will combine the two—Jack and Annie will have fantasy adventures in real places in real times.

One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been is the city of Venice, Italy. Venice is a group of islands in a lagoon between the Italian mainland and the Adriatic Sea. The water, the art, the architecture, the atmosphere—all make Venice one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Writing a Magic Tree House adventure set in Venice meant that I could return there in my imagination every day for many months. Working on this book was a very exciting journey. I invite you now to share my journey and discover the mystery and magic of Venice for yourself.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2005 by Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrations copyright © 2005 by Sal Murdocca
Window cling illustration copyright © 2005 by Sal Murdocca

and colophon are registered trademarks and A
and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.
is a registered trademark of Mary Pope Osborne; used under license.

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Osborne, Mary Pope.
Carnival at candlelight / by Mary Pope Osborne; illustrated by Sal Murdocca.
    p.   cm. — (Magic tree house; #33)
: While on a mission to prove to Merlin that they can use magic wisely, Jack and Annie travel to eighteenth-century Venice, Italy, to save the city from disaster.
eISBN: 978-0-375-89455-8
[1. Time travel—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Tree houses—Fiction.
4. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 5. Venice (Italy)—Fiction.]
I. Murdocca, Sal, ill. II. Title. III. Series: Osborne, Mary Pope.
Magic tree house series; v #33.
PZ7.O81167Car   2005   [Fic]—dc22   2004018256


For Gail Hochman, of course

I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand…

—Lord Byron,
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

awn was breaking in the Frog Creek woods. Jack saw a light shining up ahead. He ran toward it. He ran so fast, he couldn’t hear his feet hitting the ground. He couldn’t feel the frosty winter air.

As Jack got closer to the light, he could see the magic tree house at the top of the tallest oak. A girl and boy were looking out the window. The girl had dark, wavy hair and sea-blue eyes. The boy had tousled red hair and a big grin on his face. As the two kids waved at him, Jack felt incredibly happy.

“Jack, wake up!”

Jack opened his eyes. His sister, Annie, was standing beside his bed. She was wearing her winter jacket. It was barely light outside.

“I just had a dream about the tree house,” she said.

“Really?” Jack said sleepily.

“I dreamed we were running through the woods at dawn,” said Annie, “and when we got to the tree house, Teddy and Kathleen were there waiting for us.”

Jack sat up. “I just had the same dream!” he said.

“Meet you downstairs,” said Annie.

Annie left Jack’s room. Jack jumped out of bed, put on his glasses, and threw on his clothes. He grabbed his winter jacket and his backpack. Then he slipped quietly down the stairs and out the front door.

Annie was waiting on the porch. The February air was chilly. Frost sparkled in the grass as the sun rose over the Frog Creek woods.

“Ready?” asked Annie.

Jack nodded and zipped his jacket. Without another word, he and Annie hurried up their street and headed into the woods. They ran through the long shadows of early morning, between the bare winter trees. Then they stopped.

The tree house
back, just as Jack had seen it in his dream! It was high in the tallest oak tree, shining in the cold morning light.

“Wow,” breathed Jack. “Dreams
come true.”

“Yep,” said Annie. “Teddy! Kathleen!”

No one answered.

“I guess only part of this dream came true,” Annie said sadly. She grabbed the rope ladder and started up. Jack followed. Annie climbed into the tree house. “Oh, wow!” she said.

“What is it?” said Jack.

“They’re here!” said Annie in a loud whisper. Jack climbed in behind her. Their friends
Teddy and Kathleen, apprentices to Morgan le Fay, were sitting under the tree house window. Wrapped in heavy woolen cloaks, they were both fast asleep.

“Hey, sleepyheads!” said Annie. “Wake up!”

Kathleen blinked and yawned. Teddy rubbed his eyes. When he saw Jack and Annie, he gave them a wide grin and leapt to his feet. “Hello!” he said.

“Hello!” cried Annie. She threw her arms around Teddy. “We both dreamed you were here.”

“Ah, then our magic worked!” said Teddy. “Kathleen suggested we send dreams to let you know we were here, and it seems our magic sent
to dreamland as well.”

“But now we are all awake,” said Kathleen. “And I am very glad to see you.” She stood up, drawing her cloak around her. Her blue eyes sparkled like seawater in the dawn light.

“I’m glad to see you, too,” Jack said shyly.

“Are you taking us on another Merlin Mission?” said Annie.

“Not exactly,” said Teddy. “Merlin has a most important mission for you. But this time, we will not be going along.”

“Oh, no!” said Annie. “What if we need your magic to help us?”

Teddy and Kathleen looked at each other and smiled. Then Kathleen turned back to Jack and Annie. “Morgan thinks you may be ready to use magic on your own,” she said.

“Really?” said Jack.

“Yes,” said Teddy, “but Merlin is
cautious about sharing magic powers with mortals, even with two as worthy as you. He is also wary of magic being used outside the realm of Camelot. Nevertheless, Morgan has convinced Merlin to let you prove yourselves. You will be tested on four missions.”

“But we don’t know any magic,” said Jack.

“Remember what I told you on our last
adventure?” said Teddy. “If we all work together—”

“Anything is possible!” said Annie. “But you just said you weren’t coming with us.”

“That is true,” said Kathleen. “And that is why we bring you
She reached into a pocket of her cloak and pulled out a small handmade book. She gave the book to Annie.

The cover of the book was made of rough brown paper. Written on it in neat, simple handwriting was the title:

“You made this for us?” said Annie.

“Yes,” said Kathleen. “One line of each rhyme is in Teddy’s language, and one is in mine, the language of the Seal People.”

Annie opened the book to the table of contents. She and Jack skimmed the list of rhymes, and Jack read some of the entries aloud:

“Fly Through the Air Make. Metal Soft.

Turn into Ducks—”

Annie giggled. “These are so cool!” she said. “Let’s all turn into ducks!”

“Not now,” said Kathleen. “You must use these rhymes very sparingly. There are only ten rhymes in the book, and each can only be used once. They are meant to last you for four journeys.”

“Four?” said Jack.

“Aye,” said Teddy. “Merlin has agreed that if you can use our magic wisely on four missions, he will teach you the secrets that will allow you to make magic on your own.”

“Oh, boy!” said Annie.

Jack put the book of magic rhymes in his backpack. “So where are we going on our first mission?” he asked.

“This research book from Morgan will tell you,” said Teddy. He took out a book and handed it to Jack. The cover showed a bright, colorful city surrounded by water.

Jack read the title aloud:


“I’ve heard of Venice,” said Annie. “Last year Aunt Gail and Uncle Michael went there on vacation.”

“Aye, ’tis a city that has long welcomed travelers,” said Teddy. “But you and Jack will travel to the Venice of two hundred sixty years ago.”

“What will we do there?” asked Jack.

“Merlin has prepared careful directions for you,” said Teddy. He pulled a letter out of a pocket in his cloak and gave it to Jack. “Read this when you get to Venice.”

“Okay,” said Jack. He put Merlin’s letter and Morgan’s research book into his backpack.

“Wait a minute,” said Annie. “If we take the tree house to Venice, how will you guys get back to Camelot?”

Teddy and Kathleen smiled and held up their hands. They each wore a ring made of pale blue glass. “These magic rings belong to Morgan,” said Kathleen. “They will take us home.”

“Remember,” Teddy said to Jack and Annie. “Follow Merlin’s directions carefully. If you prove yourselves to be wise and brave helpers, he will call for you again soon.”

Kathleen nodded. “Good-bye now,” she said to Jack and Annie. “Good luck.”

Kathleen and Teddy raised their glass rings to their lips. Together they whispered words too softly to be heard, then blew on the rings.

Before Jack and Annie’s eyes, the two young sorcerers began to fade into the cool morning air. In an instant, they had disappeared completely.

“They’re gone,” breathed Jack.

“I guess it’s time for us to go, too,” said Annie.

Jack took a deep breath. Then he pointed at the cover of the Venice book. “I wish we could go there!” he said.

The wind started to blow.

The tree house started to spin.

It spun faster and faster.

Then everything was still.

Absolutely still.

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