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Box of Delights by John Masefield

Book cover for Box of Delights
The central character is Kay Harker who, on returning from boarding school, finds himself mixed up in a battle to possess a magical box, which allows the owner to go small (shrink) and go swift (fly), experience magical wonders contained within the box and go into the past. The owner of the box is an old Punch and Judy man called Cole Hawlings, whom Kay meets at a railway station. They develop an instant rapport, and this leads Cole to confide that he is being chased by a man called Abner Brown and his gang. For safety, Cole entrusts the box to Kay, who then goes on to have many adventures.