_ .-- --
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Se, puge 2.
AUTHOR OF AMONG THE GIIJTGS," ETC.
ITH 'N NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS
REMINGTON AND CO.
134 NEW BOND STREET, W.
ii1'ER SERENE IHIGHNESS
Ct~ Vrnirne ictoria Mlarv of 'Ecru
TH1S FAIRY STORY IS DEDICATE]),
WITH THE SINCERE RESPECT AND RE(;ARD
OF ONE WHO KNEW HER
IN EARLY CHILDHOOD.
I. THE WOBLIN, 1
II. A FRANTIC EFFORT, 10
III. THE RODNOC, .. 19
IV. THE CAPTIVE MAID, .. 30
V. TIE KING OF THE GIANTS, 44
VI. CIUFFY LIGHTS THE KING'S FIRE, 56
VII. A CHAT WITH A COCKATOO, 61
VIII. A RIDE ON THE RODNOC, 70
IX. CIIUFFY MAKES A RAFT, .. 81
X. THE KING'S MUSTARD POT, 94
XI. CHUFFY IN THE CAGE, 107
XII. THE MARCH OF THE MONSTERS, 116
XIII. RESCUE, 127
XIV. ADIEU TO OGREDOM, .137
XV. HOME AGAIN, 145
AMONG THE WOBLINS.
HEN Chuffy disappeared over the rock at the top of the
hill to which he had climbed with his little sister
Tumpy, as narrated in my story "Among the Gibjigs,"
he felt something tugging at his feet which pulled him
down very rapidly.
He fell a considerable distance; straight downward, as it appeared
to him; but at last, when he touched the ground, he came on his
feet without feeling any particular shock. He found himself at the
foot of a very steep hill or mountain, for the top, from which he had
fallen, was quite lost in the clouds, and the sides were bare and
"Well, I never!" said Chuffy. "Fancy tumbling all that dis-
tance, and coming on my feet without hurting myself! I wonder I
2 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
did not knock myself all to bits. But how ever am I to get up
again, and what will become of poor dear little Tumpy ?"
Chuffy was a plucky little fellow, but this last thought made his
eyes fill with tears; and, while still gazing up the mountain side, he
sat down on a stone to think.
She's all right," said a voice close to his ear.
Chuffy almost jumped out of his skin. He turned round, and,
there, close beside him, was a creature so ugly and so wonderful that it
was enough to frighten him out of his wits. It had the head and beak
of a bird, the legs and arms of a man, and claws like a cat or tiger.
To say that Chuffy was not startled would not be true, but for
all the creature's ugliness he was not very much frightened. It
seemed to have such a very silly expression that Chuffy rather
All of a sudden the creature began opening its eyes very wide,
and throwing up its claws in a threatening manner, and making a
sort of feint of darting at Chuffy, but it took care not to come any
Chuffy naturally felt it rather a difficult matter to keep cool,
but he tried hard not to exhibit any symptoms of terror, and said, in
as calm a voice as he could command, "What in the world are you
doing that for ?"
"Ain't you frightened ?" said the creature, looking a little dis-
Chuffy hardly knew what to say. He was frightened, but he
did not intend to admit it; so he merely answered, "Well, it makes
you look very horrid."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 3
The creature burst out into a laugh, or at least what was intended
for a laugh, but having only a beak, it sounded more like a croak.
His voice also was like a rook's caw.
"He does not seem half a bad fellow," thought Chuffy, who was
somewhat reassured by the laugh; but still he thought it better to
keep at a safe distance, and he noticed that the creature still avoided
coming very near him.
"I never saw anything like you before," he said, after a pause.
"No, I suppose not," said the creature, "because you have never
been in Ogredom before. But there are many worse than I am. In
fact, I am generally considered good looking."
"What on earth can the others be like then !" thought Chuff.
"Do you mind my asking what you are called ?" he said.
"No, not a bit. I'm a Woblin," said the creature.
"And what's a Woblin ?" asked Chuff.
Why, I'm a Woblin, I tell you," said the creature.
But what are youfor ? I mean," continued Chuff, Why have
you got a bird's head, and claws like a cat ?"
"What have you got a boy's head for ?" answered the Woblin,
"and miserable little nails to your hands and feet ? How are you
going to climb up mountains like that? How do you peck out your
enemies' eyes, I should like to know? How do you climb trees,
scratch holes to sleep in, or do anything, in fact ? "
I don't want to peck out my enemies' eyes," answered Chuffy.
"In the first place, I have no enemies, and if I had, I certainly
should not be so cruel as to peck out their eyes, and I can climb trees
fast enough. Can't you do anything more useful ?"
4 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
He was feeling rather shuddery again at the idea of the creature
pecking out eyes, but at this moment his thoughts were diverted
by the extraordinary actions of the Woblin. The creature began
running round and round in a large circle at a most tremendous
pace, leaping over huge rocks, tumbling heels over head, and
making himself utterly ridiculous. At last he stopped, quite out of
breath, and croaked out, "That's what I can do."
_~~ ~ -----------
"You certainly are amazingly active," said Chuff.
Don't use such long words" said the Woblin ; "we never do
Chuff recalled poor little Tumpy's rebuke of the day before about
the word occasionally," and this brought his thoughts back to her.
"You said Tumpy was all right. Do you know what she is
doing? he asked.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 5
Yes ; she's in Sunnyrealm, and I wish I was there, too," said
Why, I left her at the top of the hill," said Chuff. How can
she be in Sunnyrealm ? What is Sunnyrealm'?"
Oh, come, I say answered the Woblin, leering at Chuffy with
a sort of twinkle in his eye. "You know as well as I do that
Sunnyrealm is where the Guikwaress lives, and where the Gibgigs are."
I don't know anything about it, and you are talking nonsense,"
answered Chuffy, who began to feel exceedingly plucky as he noticed
the increasing silliness of the Woblin's expression.
Boo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-whoosh !" said the Woblin, pretending to
make another dart at him. Then seeing that Chuffy did not exhibit
any fear, he grinned again and said," Ain't you frightened now ?"
No, I'm not" said Chuffy. You won't do me any harm. You
couldn't if you would, and you wouldn't if you could, I'm perfectly
I say, you know," said the Woblin, in a remonstrative tone.
What's the matter now ? said Chuff.
Don't, for goodness' sake, use such long words. I can't tell you
how they confuse me. What were those last two ? "
Chuffy thought a moment, and then repeated, perfectly con-
The Woblin sat down on a stone, and put his hands on each side
of his head, as if he were holding his brains together.
Oh, don't, for pity's sake," he said; "I can't tell you the fearful
effect they have on me."
He seemed utterly to collapse. A sudden idea rushed through
6 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Chuffy's mind. If two such simple words as "perfectly" and
"convinced" had such a wonderful effect in subduing this horrible
creature, what would have been the effect of some of the words he
had utterly declined to learn in his spelling lessons ? What would
he not have given for a whole dictionary of long words at this
unintentionally? Chuff said, running off the first long words that
/ / */ '
..--...z, .. N.
"What's the occasion of this tremendous hullaballoo in this
outlandish Patagonia into which I've executed a summersault quite
unintentionally ?" Chuff said, running off the first long words that
came into his head as fast as he possibly could.
The effect on the Woblin positively frightened him. The
creature rolled on the ground with his hands to his ears, kicked his
legs in the air, and really looked frightened out of his senses.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 7
Chuffy could hardly keep from screaming with laughter, but the
Woblin looked so dreadfully distressed, that he at last began to pity
Oh, don't, don't, don't !" cried the Woblin.
"Well, I won't," said Chuffy; only sit up and be sensible."
He thought at the same time that he had made a very valuable
discovery, and he thought that "valuable discovery" would be
two very good words to keep in reserve : in fact, to fire off, if he
wanted to make the Woblin do anything or tell him anything, for he
began to think he should be sorely puzzled to get out of this queer
He looked up at the mountain again. The dark clouds were
still rolling over the top. The summit was quite lost in them.
He could not understand matters at all.
"Now, let's sit down and have a little "-" rational conversa-
tion," he was going to say, but he checked himself in time, knowing
what the effect would be, and substituted chat."
Chuffy was a practical boy. He fumbled in his pocket for his
pencil, and found also a bit of a letter which he had received from a
schoolfellow a few days before. He wrote down at once valuable
discovery," and "rational conversation," intending to keep them in
reserve, as soldiers do spare ammunition.
"What are you doing ?" asked the Woblin.
Only writing," answered Chuff.
"What's writing ?" said the Woblin.
Why, putting your thoughts on paper," said Chuff.
"Putting your what on paper ?" exclaimed the Woblin.
8 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
"Your thoughts," said Chuff; your meditations," he added, not
being able to resist the temptation this time.
The Woblin was flat on his back again in a moment.
Oh don't, don't, don't!" he cried.
Well, this is most extraordinary," thought Chuff. Why, I
shall be able to make the creature do what I like with a word.
Come now," he said aloud, I really want to ask you something."
The Woblin sat up again.
"Well, what is it you want to know ?" he said meekly.
Well, I really want to know where Sunnyrealm is, and what
dear little Tumpy is doing, and how I am going to get home again,
and what this place is called, and whether there are many people
here like you, and what you do, and where you live, and how I'm to
get something to eat and drink ? "
That's a lot of questions all of a lump. Perhaps you'll ask
them one at a time ? "
Well, then," said Chuff, trying to remember the order in which
his questions came. To begin with, where is Sunnyrealm ? "
I told you it was where the Guikwaress lived," answered the
And what is the Guikwaress ?"
Why, a great Queen who has a lot of Gibjigs."
The Woblin was quite subdued now, and went on answering
like a machine, and seeing this, questions came into Chuff's head by
And what is a Gibjig ? "
Why, a man with wings, a messenger of the Guikwaress."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 9
"As Mercury was of the heathen gods," thought Chuff, for
he had learnt a little heathen mythology-and he popped down
"mythology on his bit of paper.
And what's Tumpy doing ? he went on.
"That I don't know. I only know she is in Sunnyrcalm, and to
forestall your next question, this place is called Ogredom."
And how am. I to get something to eat ?" said Chuffy.
"I can get you that when we reach my cave."
Do you live in a cave ? "
Of course I do. All Woblins do."
"And was it you who pulled me down from the top of the
"Yes it was."
Why did you do that ?"
"Because I was told to do so."
"Who told you ? "
"My master. He has long wanted a small boy.'
Who is your master ? "
"Why, the King of the Giants."
A FRANTIC EFFORT.
HE shudder which ran through Chuffy's frame when he
first saw the Woblin was nothing to the shudder with
which he heard these words. "The King of the Giants:"
was it possible he was in a land where such things
really existed, or was all this some horrible dream? No, he
remembered every circumstance perfectly well. The climb up the
hill, the rain, the fall from the rock, the encounter with the Woblin.
He recalled it all vividly, and he knew he was not dreaming. He
only wished it were otherwise, and that he could wake up and find
himself comfortably at home again. But the reality was before him.
There was the mountain and there was the Woblin, and it was no
use trying to persuade himself that he was not wide awake.
The Woblin must have noticed his uneasiness, for he said, as
if in answer to Chuffy's thoughts, "You need not be afraid. He
won't eat you."
Are you quite sure of that ? asked Chuffy.
The Woblin gave a long, loud laugh, or rather cackle. Why, of
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 11
course I am he said. "You don't suppose giants eat men's flesh,
do you ? They are much too particular, I can tell you."
But if they don't eat you," said Chuffy, somewhat reassured, "I
suppose they are awfully cruel? "
"Well, that depends" said the Woblin. "They have fearful
tempers, I admit, and have their likes and dislikes. For instance,
they hate all the people of Sunnyrealm like poison, but then that's
because the Guikwaress' General has beaten them so often. Even
I should like to have a go at him," added the Woblin, with a more
wicked twinkle in his eye than Chuffy had yet seen.
But what can your master want with me ? asked Chuffy, still
feeling very uncomfortable.
"Only to amuse himself a bit. Anything for a change, you
know. Only behave yourself well, and don't irritate him, and you'll
be all right."
But what does irritate him ?" asked Chuffy.
Well, putting pepper into his apple-tart, or peas into his shoes,
or tickling his nose with a feather when he is asleep, or putting
snuff into his soup; and an apple-pie bed makes him perfectly
"I should think it would" said Chuff, horrified at the bare idea
of doing such a thing to a giant. "Do you mean to say that any-
body ever does make a giant an apple-pie bed ? "
Rather!" said the Woblin with another cackle. Of course, there
are young giants as well as old, and the young ones are up to
all sorts of larks."
Oh, then, there are young giants ?"
12 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Why, of course there are. Do you suppose they are born old ?
You must be very young to ask such a question."
"I am very young," said Chuffy.
"Yes, young in years, perhaps; but," added the Woblin, putting
his claw to the side of his beak, "old enough in sense. How ever
you get those dreadful long words into your noddle beats me.. But
we are losing time: we had better be getting on, or I shall catch it
"What will he do to you ?"
Hang me up by the heels for a week, or perhaps put me head
downward into his mustard pot."
"That must be dreadfully disagreeable," said Chuff.
Well, it's not pleasant," said the Woblin. It makes you sneeze
so frightfully, and leaves you yellow for a week; besides, it takes a
long time before you're able to breathe mustard."
I should think so," said Chuff, perfectly horrified at the idea.
"But I don't think they'll do you any harm unless you irritate
them. They'll be only too glad to get you. I should'nt have much
to say to the Ogres," added the Woblin.
What's the difference between Ogres and Giants then ?" said
Chuff, trying to brace up his nerves to the contemplation of another
kind of monster.
Is that a riddle ?" asked the Woblin.
"A riddle, no," said Chuff. The idea of my asking a riddle on
such a subject I want to know."
"I beg your parding," said the Woblin; "I thought you must
know. The Ogres have black hair and the Giants sandy-that's all."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 13
"You shouldn't say 'parding.' You should say 'pardon,'"
answered Chuff, anxious to keep up his credit for superior knowledge.
" It is only very ignorant people who say 'parding.' "
"Is it ?" said the Woblin. But there, you know, you're too
clever by half. But come along or I shall get hung up by the heels,
I tell you."
That's what they do to the calves in my country, said Chuff.
What for ?" said the Woblin aghast.
"To make the meat look white, I believe," said Chuff. I think
they let them bleed to death."
"What awful brutes you must be !" said the Woblin. "Why, it's
more horrid than anything that happens here. They are very kind
to cows and horses and dogs here, as a rule. Of course, it's to their
own interest to be. I should take care not to tell them you let
calves bleed to death, or most likely you'll go into the mustard pot
before you know where you are. It's rather a favourite punishment
There was something so peculiarly horrid in this notion of going
into the mustard pot, that Chuff made up his mind to make one
effort to escape. The mountain was awfully steep certainly, but if he
could once climb it he would probably be free. He was very tired,
as may be imagined; but he would rather die, he thought, than
encounter the creatures the Woblin described. He determined to
watch his opportunity.
By the way, talking of riddles," said the Woblin as they walked
along, do you happen to know any riddles? The King is very fond
14 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Well, I know a few," said Chuffy, who was rather well up in
riddles as well as in tricks.
Let's have a specimen then," said the Woblin.
Why is a chronometer like a thingamy ?" asked Chuffy.
Good gracious!" exclaimed the Woblin, with an uncomfortable
wriggle. You're at those frightful long words again. But I do
know what a chronometer is. We stole one from Sunnyrealm.
I have not the least idea what the answer is though. 'Why is a
chronometer like a thingamy ?'" he added, musingly.
Do you give it up ? asked Chuff.
Because it is a watch-you-may-call-it."
The Woblin rolled on the grass screaming with delight. If
you've got any more as good as that your fortune is made," he said.
Chuffy was very much pleased with the success of his first effort,
and began racking his brains for more.
Do you know this ?" he asked. My first is a sort of butter, my
second is a sort of liquor, and my whole is a thing you use in war."
Give it up at once," said the Woblin.
Well, then," said Chuffy, "the answer is Ramrod."
Oh, very good, indeed," said the Woblin, with a faint chuckle.
"Ramrod Capital! capital !"
But are you quite sure you see it ?" said Chuffy slyly.
Well, I am not quite sure I do," the Woblin answered con-
fusedly. I don't see how a ram is a sort of butter."
Why, he butts, does'nt he ? said Chuff, so he must be a sort
AMONG THE WOBLINS, 15
Well, I grant that," said the Woblin ; "but still I don't see how
a rod is a sort of liquor."
Why it's what you use to lick naughty boys with, isn't it "
Well, yes, I suppose it is. A sort of licker, ha ha ha But
it's rather a roundabout kind of riddle, isn't it ? "
Well, the funny part of it is, that when you're told it you don't
Well, for my part I like riddles that you do see when you're
told," said the Woblin.
All this time Chuffy was watching for an easy ascent of the
mountain, for they were going along at the foot of it. It rose,
however, almost perpendicularly, without any variation, and was
covered with loose stones. Presently they came to a spot where a
nearly dry watercourse came down the mountain side, apparently
from beyond the clouds. Chuff thought this the most likely place to
make the attempt. He would try the effect of some long words.
"I have made a valuable discovery," he suddenly shouted, "and
I don't want any more rational conversation."
The Woblin was flat on his back in a moment, writhing with
anguish at these sounds. Chuffy darted off like a shot. He was a
good runner for his age, and he was up the first slope of the
mountain in two or three minutes. He looked back. The Woblin
was still wriggling about on the ground. Chuffy made a dart at a
rock that stood in his course, scaled it, dropped on the other side, and
began scrambling up the loose stones beyond with all the speed he
It was hard work, but presently he got into the watercourse,
16 AMONG THE WOBLINS,
and although it was very steep, the ascent was more easily managed.
So eager was he to get on that he made his hands quite sore in
scrambling up the rough rocks, and knocked his knees about in fine
style. He was out of breath, too, and the perspiration was streaming
down his face; but still, nothing daunted, he held on.
Presently lie was so completely beaten he was obliged to stop
and sit down on a projecting rock to recover his breath a little.
He had already climbed to a great height. The cloud above seemed
certainly nearer. Oh, if he could only reach it, and get out of this
place again His heart leaped for joy at the very thought.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 17
Suddenly his eyes fell upon the Woblin far below. He had
risen from the ground, and was looking round as if wondering where
Chuffy had disappeared. In an instant Chuffy had dropped down
over the rock and hidden himself from the view of the creature.
"He is so stupid that if he does not see me he will never imagine
I am up here," thought Chuff.
He peeped over the edge of the rock. The Woblin was still
gazing around in a bewildered sort of way. Presently he came in
closer to the foot of the mountain, so that a projecting shoulder hid
him from view. Then Chuffy started up the ascent again with
How long he toiled upward he never knew. He was faint, and
hungry, and torn, and scratched, and bleeding ; but still the thought
of deliverance spurred him onward. He was regardless of the depth
below him, although from some points he looked down the most
fearful perpendicular precipices which at any other time would
have made his blood curdle. Once his foot slipped on a narrow ledge,
and he thought he must have fallen, but he made a clutch at a pro-
jecting stone, and just saved himself. The cloud above seemed quite
near now; in fact, some detached bits of vapour rolleddown close beside
him as if inviting him to further exertions. Presently he reached
d still narrower ledge with an awkward angle which he must pass,
as there was no other possible way of getting on. The ledge was not
two feet wide. The precipice fell sheer below, and the angle of
rock he had to pass rose up quite perpendicularly until it was lost
in the cloud. Bracing his nerves to the task, Chuffy crept cautiously
onward. He strove to find some crevices in the rock to lay hold of,
18 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
but there were none'; it presented nothing but a smooth bare surface.
It was only by keeping his back to the precipice, and pressing
closely against the rock, that he could possibly manage it. He passed
onward to the outermost angle. Another step and he would be
round it and in comparative safety, for he could see that the ledge
widened on the other side. He passed his arm cautiously round,
holding on to the face of the rock as best he could. He prepared to
take the last step.
Suddenly his hand was grasped from the other side.
HUFFY'S hand was grasped with a firm grasp, and he
was dragged, or rather swung, round the angle of the
rock with great force. Indeed, for a moment his legs
dangled over the precipice, and his breath-or what
remained of it-was quite taken away. He was landed on a broader
part of the ledge, where the footing was quite safe, and there before
him was the Woblin.
"A pretty escape you have had," said the creature. You
would have tumbled backward at that sharp corner to a dead
certainty, and then you would have gone down five hundred feet
straight, and I leave you to judge of the condition you would have
been in when you got to the bottom."
Chuffy never knew what it was that prompted him to ask a
riddle at this dreadful moment, but he did.
"How do you make a thin man fat ?" he said.
Well, you're a plucky one, at any rate, to ask a riddle after
such an escape; but I give it up as usual."
20 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
"Throw him out of a window and he'll come down plump,"
"That's a very good one," said the Woblin, "but there isn't
room to laugh on this ledge, so you must excuse me. I'll laugh
when we get more space. And now, please to tell me why you
played me such a trick. I'm sure I have been very kind to
I daresay you have, but I wanted to get away, and I mean to
try whenever I get the chance."
"It would not have been of the least use. There's a whole
line of sentinels-Grypes in fact-along the top of the mountain.
You would never have got past them even if you had got. away
What are Grypes ?" asked Chuff, feeling extremely doleful at
the apparent hopelessness of getting away from this place.
"Grypes ? Why, things something like me, only with arms six
times as long. They can gripe you and no mistake. It's not much
good trying to get away from them."
Chuffy quite saw that it was no use attempting any more long
words. In fact, he felt quite spiritless and exhausted. He was,
moreover, dreadfully faint from hunger and fatigue, and he told the
Of course you are," said the Woblin. But it is all your own
fault, you know. We should have been at my cave by this time, if
you hadn't played me this trick. Then you would have had plenty
to eat. In fact, I begin to feel very peckish myself."
He did not say "peckish at all in the way of slang. Of course,
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 21
having a beak, it was the most appropriate word, and Chuffy
But how ever did you get up before me ? asked Chuff.
In spite of the narrowness of the ledge, the Woblin did laugh at
this; but he refrained from rolling on the ground, because in all
probability he would have rolled farther than he liked.
How did I get up before you ? he repeated. Why, I could
have got up in half the time if I had chosen. You don't for a
moment suppose you can beat me at climbing, do you? The
instant I caught a glimpse of you, I flew up by a shorter way. I
was watching you for a long time. I knew you would come to
grief at this corner, so I got up above you, and then came down and
stood where I could catch hold of you. And it is precious lucky for
you I did. I certainly don't think you would have come down
'plump,' my young friend. It strikes me you would have been as
flat as a pancake."
I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Woblin," said Chuff. I
don't know what your proper name is," he added.
"Well, they generally call me 'Wob,'" answered the Woblin.
" You may call me that if you like. And now," the Woblin
continued, I am going to make an agreement with you. I'll treat
you as well as I possibly can, and I'll get them to treat you well,"
he added, jerking the claw which represented his thumb over his
shoulder, in the direction in which they had been going at the foot
of the mountain, if you'll promise not to use those dreadful long
words ; for they give me a sort of brain fever for the time."
"Very well," said Chuffy ; I won't then. But I don't think I
22 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
shall have much opportunity, for I'm simply dying with hunger, and
I could no more get down the mountain again than I could fly."
"But you can fly if you like," said the Woblin. "We can go
straight to my cave, and then you can eat your fill."
I don't feel inclined to joke," said Chuff, and you know very
well I can't fly.
We'll soon see about that," answered the Woblin. With that,
he took a little thing like a whistle out of his pouch, put it to his
beak and sent forth a sound so loud and shrill that it made Chuffy's
cars ring. It was like the scream of a peacock, the whistle of a
train, a Chinese gong, and Highland bag-pipes, all rolled into one.
A minute or two after, Chuffy heard an extraordinary sound over
his head, like the flapping of the sails of a big ship which he had
once or twice heard at the sea side. Then for a moment the air was
darkened, and the next instant a huge bird settled down on the rock
just above them.
It was such an enormous size that Chuffy was quite appalled.
Its body was twice as big as the Woblin, and its wings when spread
were at least thirty feet across. Chuffy had seen the eagles at the
Zoological Gardens, and heard of condors, but this beat everything
he had ever imagined.
Don't be afraid," said the Woblin; it's only a rodnoc. They're
very harmless and very obedient."
He gave another peculiar whistle, and the bird came along the
ledge close to them.
"Now," said the Woblin, "get on his back and lay tight hold of
his feathers. He'll carry you to my cave at one swoop."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 23
Chuffy shrank back horrified. The depth below them was so
enormous that to trust himself on the back of this creature was more
than he had courage to do. The Woblin saw his hesitation.
"You needn't be a bit afraid. I'll sit behind and hold you.
Besides, his feathers are so deep you couldn't possibly roll off, unless
Thus reassured, Chuffy took his place cautiously on the bird's
back. He found that he sunk quite deep down into the feathers, as
if he were lying on a very soft feather-bed. The quills of the
feathers were like short walking-sticks, so that he could hold on to
them quite firmly, and he saw at once that, with all his strength, he
could not possibly have pulled one out.
The Woblin nestled in behind him, and laid fast hold of him with
24 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
his long claws, so that Chuffy felt there was really very little chance
of falling. Still, the idea of launching off into space was rather ap-
palling; but before he had time to think about it the Woblin
gave the peculiar whistle again, and then Chuffy felt a sudden rush
of air, and they were off.
There are many circumstances in life in which a man darts
through the air pretty quickly. A glissade down a snow slope of
the Alps is pretty rapid work; to shoot down one of the ice
hills of Russia takes one's breath away; a dive head first off a
*-- jl^ ~
high rock into the water is quick work; but perhaps the quickest
work of all is to shoot head first on a small sledge off the ice-cone in
winter at the falls of Montmorency. The cone being bell-shaped, for
a brief moment or two one is actually flying through space, but all
this was nothing to the tremendous swoop which the rodnoc took
through the air from a height of more than a thousand feet.
Chuffy had closed his eyes at the start, but he could not refrain
from opening them a second or two after. The rodnoc had simply
spread his wings to their fullest stretch and let himself go. He
was now swooping downward with motionless wings, just as Chuffy
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 25
had seen sea birds swoop, scores and scores of times, and fancied
how very jolly it must be to be able to do it. Now, in a fashion, he
was actually doing it himself. There was the earth spread out like
a map hundreds of feet below : trees, fields, rivers, and roads ; and
so swift and steady was the rodnoc's motion that, instead of appearing
to move themselves, the ground below seemed to be rushing along
at a most frightful pace. Almost before Chuffy could note these
things, however, they were near the earth. The rodnoc gave a slight
upward curve to come down easily, and then dropped quickly on
his feet, without giving Chuff the slightest jerk.
That was jolly, and no mistake," said Chuff, for he had quite
brightened up when he found himself safe on terra firm. "I
shouldn't mind a ride like that every day."
"I thought you didn't like the idea," said the Woblin.
That was because I hadn't tried it," answered Chuff. We can
never be sure we like a thing till we've tried it, but I like that awfully."
The idea came into his mind, that if he could only secure the
services of a rodnoc, he would soon be out of this place.
The Woblin seemed to read his thoughts, for he said, I
shouldn't advise you to be trying it yourself. Rodnocs occa-
sionally turn out malicious if you don't manage them properly.
They might take you up two thousand feet, and then turn over and
quietly drop you off, and you'd come down plump again," added the
Woblin with a malicious twinkle in his eye. Besides that, they can't
fly except over Ogredom. They might meet with a Gibgig, and then
there would be a pretty kettle of fish, for the Gibgigs are very
26 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Chuffy's hopes were blighted again, but for all that he thought
the matter was worth consideration, and he determined to try and
learn the peculiar whistle of the Woblin, but for the present hunger
was his first thought.
"Are we near your cave now, Wob ?" he asked.
Just round the corner of that rock," said the Woblin. You'll
see my domestic pets directly."
He gave another sort of whistle, and immediately from round the
rock, which rose just in front of them, a most extraordinary collection
of creatures appeared. Cocks and hens of such an enormous size,
that they quite looked down on Chuffy, and in fact were nearly as
tall as the Woblin. With these were frogs, as big as a dinner plate,
that seemed quite tame, and hopped about in the most ridiculous
manner, turning their green eyes up with a sort of inquiring grin
upon their faces. Then there were some fowls with peculiar long
necks like ostriches. These birds seemed to dart their heads about
in every direction in a most comical fashion; and three of them
poked their beaks close into Chuffy's face, and looked at him with
most curious eyes. But the greatest wonder of all to Chuffy was
the sight of a dog as big as a horse, that gave a growl which resembled
thunder when he saw Chuffy, but was instantly silenced by a word
from the Woblin. All these creatures came out as if to greet the
Woblin, and they seemed very fond of him. He patted the dog on
the head, and took a few large beans out of his pouch for the big
fowls, which came and ate out of his hand. Then he said to the
dog, Go and tell them to get dinner ready, for we are frightfully
'4-q- ', I
I ..,' .
- --p' "Z I*- "' '".
,. _N -'i
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 29
The dog switched his huge tail, and darted off round the
Does he understand what you say ? asked Chuffy.
"Why, of course he does. A dog wouldn't be much use if he
couldn't. But come along, I dare say the dinner is on the table, for
it's about my usual time."
They turned the corner of the rock, followed by the fowls and
frogs. ThenChuffy saw the entrance to a big cave right in front of
them, and on each side there were two more enormous dogs, very
fierce-looking ones, chained up with strong chains.
THE CAPTIVE MAID.
HUFFY was surprised to find on entering the cavern that
it was by no means the dark place he had anticipated.
On the contrary, it was lighted by several perforations
or tunnels through the sides. Most of these slanted
upwards, so that at certain times of the day, rays of sunlight pene-
trated to the interior and made it quite cheerful. The sides, too,
were all rubbed down to comparative smoothness and there were
cupboards and shelves about, which made it look as neat and com-
fortable as an ordinary room.
The table in the centre of the cavern was spread with a clean
white cloth, and there was a plentiful meal upon it, which Chuffy was
by no means sorry to see.
But the thing that astonished Chuff the most was to see standing
behind the table a very pretty girl of about eighteen, with a real
human face. This was such a relief, after the queer looking creatures
he had been looking at since his arrival in Ogredom, that he couldn't
refrain from uttering an exclamation of surprise. He was about to
i : 77
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 33
rush forward and speak to the girl, when she made a quick motion
with her hand, which he saw was intended to prevent him speaking
to her. He therefore stopped and looked about him.
The Woblin's wife was seated at the table. She had the bird's
head like her husband, but as she was dressed in the ordinary female
attire, Chuff could not see her feet. She had, however, the same
kind of hands or claws, and presented, Chuffy thought, a more
hideous appearance than her spouse. She spoke a few words of
welcome in a very kindly tone, which made Chuffy feel pretty much
at his ease, so he next turned his thoughts to his meal, for he was
ravenously hungry. There was a dish at the head of the table which
looked to Chuffy like a leg of lamb, but on enquiry he found it was
the leg of one of the huge fowls which the Woblin kept. It seemed
"a very funny notion for three people to be able to dine off the leg of
"a fowl, but it was enough and to spare, although both the Woblin
and Chuff plied their knives and forks very freely.
Chuff soon saw that the pretty girl was a sort of servant; and
this he could not understand, for she was evidently a lady in look
and manner. She never spoke at all during the whole meal, but she
brought everything the others required, and now and then, when the
Woblin and his wife were not looking, she exchanged significant
glances with Chuff; but he could still see by her expression that she
did not wish him to speak to her.
They had just finished dinner when there was a great barking of
dogs outside, and the next moment another Woblin rushed into the
cave in breathless haste. He was younger than Chuffy's host, and
seemed to be a sort of errand boy or page.
34 AMONG THE WOBLINB.
The king wishes to see you immediately," he said to the Woblin.
"His Majesty is not in the best of tempers, and I should advise you
to come at once. Hullo what have we here ? you don't mean to
say you have caught one ? "
The elder Woblin winked.
Yes, I do," he answered, and I don't think the King will remain
long in a bad temper when he knows it."
"You had better come at once. He has already knocked down
three of his wives and four grooms, and is slashing his club about
in fine fashion. There'll be murder done if he isn't quieted."
Without another word both Woblins immediately quitted the
cave. Chuffy felt relieved when he found that he was not called on
to follow. The picture of the King of the giants slashing his club
about and knocking down his wives and grooms was not a pleasant
one. He was somewhat disturbed, however, when the Woblin's wife
You had better be ready, for I expect my husband will be back
directly with an order for you to go to the King."
She had no sooner said the words than she dropped her beak
upon her breast, closed her eyes and went off to sleep.
The moment she was asleep the pretty young girl came out of
the corner where she had been engaged putting away the dinner
things She made a sign to Chuff to follow her, and passed quickly
out of the cave. The two dogs rushed furiously forward to the full
length of their chains, but by keeping in the middle, Chuff and his
companion were quite safe. The girl turned quickly to the right as
soon as they had passed the dogs, and led the way up a slight ascent,
-. -,: ..
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 37
to a sort of platform cut in the rock where there was a scat; placed
there evidently for the enjoyment of the view.
How did you come here ? she said, with a curious expression of
mingled sadness and pleasure in her face. Speak quickly, for I
don't know how soon we may be interrupted."
"I was dragged down from the top of a hill, I suppose, by the
Woblin," answered Chuff.
Ah, they have been on the look out for a long time. That is one
of the few places where they can get near enough to your country. I
am sorry for you, but I am not sorry for myself. It is such happiness
to see a human face again, I have been so wretched here. Will you
let me take your hand ? "
Chuff did not know what prompted him, unless it was the
sudden rush of sympathy with her sufferings, but he put up his face
to kiss her. The girl put her arms about him and kissed him again
I have a little brother very like you," she said; and as she
spoke her eyes filled with tears. Chuff nestled close to her and held
her hand in his. How did you come here ?" he asked; I am
sure you don't belong here."
"I was dragged off a rock exactly as you were. The friends I was
with thought I had fallen into the river, and gave me up as lost I
suppose; but I was not hurt, and I was brought here by the Woblin."
"Where do you come from ?" asked Chuff. "Do you live
anywhere near Llangurnieu ? "
No; I don't know where that is. I come from Sunnyrealm.
I am a sister of the Guikwaress "
38 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Are you really ? exclaimed Chuff, who had already begun to
conceive something of the importance of the Guikwaress. Then
how is it the Gibjigs have not found out you are here ? They have
wings, haven't they ? "
"Yes, but they dare not fly over Ogredom; besides they must
think I am dead. There is no hope of my ever getting away again."
"Oh, don't say that," cried Chuff. "I mean to get away
somehow, and you shall get away with me."
"Ah!" said the girl, crying again, "you little know how
hopeless it is. Those dreadful grypes are all round Ogredom, and
the giants are such fearful tyrants."
"How is it they don't keep you with them ?" asked Chuff,
thinking it very bad taste on the part of the giants to send such a
pretty girl to live as servant to a Woblin.
Because I was always crying. They tried punishments at first;
but it was no use, it only made me cry the more. They hate to
see people crying. They even threatened to kill me, but they still
have a sort of dread of the Guikwaress, and they knew I was her
sister. I think they were afraid to do it."
"Then it won't do for me to cry," thought Chuff; but at the
same time he felt rather choky at the thought of what he might
have to go through.
I do hope we shall see each other sometimes. The Woblin is
very kind in his way, but it is a dreadful life as you may imagine.
Perhaps you will not be so very far away."
Chuff had often read of the knights of old who redeemed
unhappy women from the clutches of ogres and magicians, and here
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 39
he was placed in the same position himself. His little heart began
to swell with an absolute feeling of knight-errantry, and he thought
he would willingly die to rescue this beautiful girl.
"My little sister is in Sunnyrealm," he said; at least the
Woblin told me so. If we could only escape there, how jolly it
would be. Is it far to Sunnyrealm ? "
"Yes, many miles. Besides, there is a broad and deep river
between the two countries, and there is nothing in the way of a boat
or raft of any kind to cross. In fact, the creatures here have no
notion whatever of making a boat, and even if there were boats, I
doubt if we could steal away without being discovered. There is one
thing, however, in our favour, if we only had a boat; there are no
grypes near the river, because they think it impossible for anyone to
escape across that."
Ideas began crowding upon Chuff's brain. He was a great hand
at building small boats. If he could only build a big one One
large enough to carry the girl and himself across! His heart
swelled at the idea. It would be as grand an achievement as any
he had read of in the stories of the knights of old.
He looked at his companion more attentively. She was very
lovely, he thought. She had beautiful blue eyes and hair like golden-
coloured silk. There was something so sweet in her expression, too,
that he felt sure everyone must love her. As he looked at her she
If I had only brought a kirkos with me," she said.
"What is that ? asked Chuffy.
"A beautiful ball of crystal. My sister the Guikwaress wears a
40 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
chain of them round her neck. If you hold one in your hand it
enables you to do almost anything."
Chuff's heart began to beat fast. Do you mean a crystal about
as big as a large marble ?" he said. A thing in which you seem
to see all sorts of things ?"
"Yes," said the girl, but where have you seen one ?"
"My little sister picked one up in the churchyard; and now I
think of it, it made us go up the mountain and we didn't feel a bit
tired except when we lost it for a short time."
How strange," said the girl. If you had that you would natu-
rally want to go to the Guikwaress. Your sister kept it I suppose."
"Yes, but I held it in my hand."
"Did you," exclaimed the girl in a joyous tone, then even the
fact of your having held it for a short time might enable you to
escape. It is wonderful what energy they give to people."
"I suppose then that is the reason why I have not felt so very
much afraid since I have been here. I know I ought to feel horribly
frightened, but I can't say I do; and now I have seen you I feel ever
so much better. I should like to know your name."
"My name is Imogen, but they always called me Imy at home."
"And may I call you Imy ? That is a very pretty name."
"Of course you may, I am so glad you like the name. Ah, it
reminds me so of happier days. When I was just sixteen a poet in
Sunnyrealm wrote some very pretty lines on my name. Poor Mr.
Nutts-he never saw me but once, but he sent my sister the lines.
"Do you remember them ?" said Chuff. I am very fond of
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 41
"Yes, but I am sure they will make me cry again. However, it
is a happiness to get out of this present life even for a few minutes.
These are the lines. Of course it will seem rather conceited of me
to repeat them, but I don't associate them with myself, but look on
them merely as a pretty little poem. He calls them simply, 'Imy.' "
"Imy, Imy, Imy,
Don't you hear me call ?
Come and gaze upon me,
From your garden wall.
Come, as comes the primrose,
"With the breath of Spring;
Come, as comes the swallow,
On its gliding wing.
Come, like honeysuckle,
Twining, fragrant, fair;
Would I were the trellis,
You the tendril rare.
Imy, Imy, Imy,
Don't you hear me speak ?
Let me see the roses
Blooming on your cheek.
Let me see the blueness,
'Neath your eye's soft eaves,
Lurking like the violet,
Under shady leaves.
Come, like shafts of moonlight,
Twinkling on the dew-
Nay, there's nought of beauty,
Half so fair as you.
42 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
"Imy, Imy, Imy,
Don't you hear me call ?
Well you know I love you-
Love you more than all.
More than fame or riches,
More, ah more than life:
But I dare not woo you-
Woo you for a wife.
I can only watch you,
With adoring eyes;
As I should an angel,
Gazing from the skies."
Imy had hardly finished the lines when she uttered a sudden
Oh he is coming back," she cried. I must run away. He
must not find me here with you. Do not forget me, and come and
see me as often as you can. Good-bye, good-bye."
She wrung Chuffy's hand and threw her arms hastily about him.
Then she flew off down the path.
Chuffy looked out over the open country and saw the Woblin
approaching at full speed. He sauntered quietly down the path,
feeling much more happy since his talk with Imy. A new feeling
of hope was in his breast, and he felt ready to brave the worst that
might befall him.
The Woblin came up breathless. You are to come with me
at once to the King," he said. He is always in such a precious
hurry. Do make haste or I shall catch it nicely. He said I ought
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 43
to have brought you with me before. It was rather weak of me
Chuffy thought he would have considered it still weaker if he had
known what had taken place in his absence, but he kept his thoughts
to himself and braced up his courage for the dreaded interview with
the King of the giants.
THE KING OF THE GIANTS.
UT him on the table" said the Giant. This injunction
was addressed to the Woblin, but as the Woblin looked
as if he were not quite sure whether Chuffy would
submit quietly to the operation, the Giant without
more ado put his great hand into Chuffy's waistbelt and lifted him
on to the table as if he had been a feather.
The King of the giants was at dinner, and a huge pie was between
him and Chuffy. It was so big that it reached up to Chuffy's middle,
and it seemed to be made of some of the immense fowls which were
so common in the country. In fact the Giant had a merrythought
in his hand, which was as big as a pitchfork.
Chuffy had got over his first fright on being brought into the
presence of the Giant, for the latter had the stupid expression which
seemed common to most of the creatures in Ogredom, and Chuffy had
an idea that it would not be very difficult to keep them all in order.
The Giant was about to throw aside the merrythought, when an
idea occurred to Chuffy.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 45
"Why don't you wish ? he said.
How do you mean?" said the Giant, pausing with the bone in
"Why, that's what we call the wishing bone; though it's rather
a large one I must confess. If you take hold of one side and I the
46 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
other, and then we both wish and pull the bone in two, whichever
gets the biggest half will have his wish."
The Giant seemed rather amazed at this idea, which was evidently
new to him. He held out the bone, and Chuffy laid hold of one
prong with both his hands, for he knew it would be a tough pull.
The Giant kept hold of the other prong.
"Now you must wish," said Chuffy.
Then," said the Giant, "I wish that I- "
Oh, but you must not tell your wish or you won't have it,"
That's all nonsense," said the Giant, "I wish that I may kill
Chuffy wished that he and Imy might get out of Ogredom, but
he was wise enough to keep his wish to himself.
Now pull," he said.
The Giant only held the bone between his finger and thumb, but
although Chuffy held it with both hands, he was pulled all over the
table in a moment, and had the narrowest possible escape from
going head first into the pie. As there was at least a foot of gravy
in it this would not have been altogether pleasant.
As he was brought up by the edge of the pie-dish the bone
snapped, and lo and behold, the biggest half was in Chuffy's hands !
The Giant was furious. He took up Chuffy in his hand and squeezed
him so hard that he could not keep from crying out with pain.
Don't hurt him, your Majesty," said the Woblin, you don't
know when you may catch another."
The Giant seemed struck with this idea and set Chuffy down
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 47
quite gently. Then he seized a huge tankard of ale as big as a
bucket and took a long draught.
What did you wish ? he asked, as he set down the tankard.
I musn't tell," said Chuffy, or I shan't get my wish I tell
"Well, you're a cool hand," said the Giant. "Ain't you
"No, I'm not," said Chuffy, keeping as calm as he could under
the circumstances, though it must be confessed his heart was in his
Why, I might kill you," said the Giant.
Then you would be killed yourself," said Chuffy.
How do you mean ? said the Giant.
Why, if they kill anybody belonging to my country they
always find them out and have them hung," said Chuff with a sudden
burst of desperation.
The Giant reflected a moment.
"Who do you send to do it ?" he asked.
"Soldiers," said Chuffy.
Anything like General Jack's soldiers ?"
Ten times more courageous," said Chuffy. He had no idea who
General Jack was, but he thought it better to pretend to know.
And as many of them ? "
Twenty times as many."
"And with as good a general ?"
Dozens of 'em, much better."
Chuffy felt that everything depended on making the Giant be-
48 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
lieve in his importance, and in the power of his countrymen-per-
haps his very life. Besides he had heard that nobody must injure
an Englishman, go where he would, so what he said was true after all.
"They would not know where you are," said the Giant.
"Yes they would," said Chuffy.
Because my little sister saw me fall."
"That's quite true," said the Woblin.
"You shut up," said the Giant. "When I want your opinion
I'll ask for it."
But," said the Woblin, "perhaps your Majesty does not know
that his sister is in Sunnyrealm, and of course she'll tell General
But General Jack could not do half what our own soldiers can,"
said Chuffy. Why, our soldiers beat everybody in the world. One
of our cannons would knock down this palace in half an hour."
What's a cannon ?" asked the Giant.
Why, don't you know," answered Chuffy. One of those big
guns that shoot out great iron balls so fast you can hardly see them.
Some will send a ball as big as your head three or four miles. It
would knock down a line of men half a mile long. It would go right
through one of your biggest gates. It would cut you in two in a
Chuffy had warmed with his subject and stood glowing with
excitement. The Giant looked bewildered. He was evidently very
much impressed by what he heard.
"Why," said Chuffy, feeling still more desperate, even I can
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 49
do a good deal that would astonish you. If you stand up on that
chair, for instance, I can make you come down without moving from
where I am the first time I call you."
"You can make me come down ? Ridiculous !"
I dare say you think so, but only just try."
"You can make me come down the first time you call me ?"
Ah I see," said the Giant, with a knowing wink, You won't
call me at all."
"I will, I promise to."
The Giant got up on his chair, when he looked so immensely tall
that he reminded Chuffy of the man who was obliged to go up a
ladder to shave himself.
"Come down," said Chuffy.
I shan't," said the Giant.
I shall not call you any more," said Chuff, feeling as cold as a
For a moment an expression passed over the King's face, compared
with which a thunder-cloud was a joke. The Woblin looked aghast,
and Chuffy certainly thought his last hour was come. But the next
moment the King burst into a laugh so loud that Chuffy was obliged
to stop his ears. The laugh quite shook the walls.
That's good," said the giant. Have you any more tricks like
that? I'll take in all the youngsters by and bye."
Chuffy wondered very much what the "youngsters were like.
There was a novelty about the idea of a boy or girl giant that was
50 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
The King turned to the Woblin. Go to the nursery and call
them," he said.
The Woblin was off like a shot. The giant lit his pipe, the
bowl of which wa as bias s as cocoa-nut.
I 1, ..1 ..\ .
Presently a hullaballoo was heard, such as Chuffy had never
heard in his life before. It was like a dozen earthquakes racing
along the passage.
The door burst open, and in came a troop of boys and girls,
ranging from six feet to sixteen, and apparently of all ages. When
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 51
they saw Chuffy they stopped in amazement, then came cautiously
towards him ; then burst into a roar, and joining hands danced wildly
round him, shrieking with laughter. Then one of the biggest took
him up by the collar, and was about to fling him up on to the table,
when the Giant shouted in his loudest voice, Hands off. Be quiet,
all the lot of you; that little chap has got more brains in Iis
little finger than you have in all your bodies put together. Let
him alone." Then Chuff was set down again, feeling very thankful
for his escape.
"Now then," shouted the Giant, I'll show you a trick he has
shown me. Stand up on chairs, all of you."
Up got all the children, ten in number, on ten chairs. Chuff
was ready to burst with laughter, the sight was so comical.
"' Now then, I'll make you all come down the first time I call
you, and I only mean to call you once."
"Now you've done it," said Chuff.
Done what ? said the Giant.
"Why, you've told them you only mean to call them once.
You've let out the trick."
The children burst into a roar altogether. The King looked
unutterably silly. Chuff saw his advantage.
"You should let me do it another time," he said.
"Go about your business, all of you," cried the Giant.
"And take him with us ? shouted the young giants, pointing
Yes, if you like; but if you hurt him I'll warm you."
There was another shout, and in a moment Chuff was hustled off
52 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
into the garden, where there were cabbages and lettuces above his
head, and gooseberries as big as a pumpkin.
"Let's put him inside a lettuce," they shouted.
They pulled open the leaves of a young lettuce in which the
head had not yet formed. They seized Chuff and popped him inside.
He could only just see out over the top of the leaves, and the
juvenile giants were capering round like young demons.
In another moment he was not sorry he was where he was, for
one of the young giants opened a gate and called out, Hoblins,
Goblins, Woblins, Sprites; Goders, Globs, and Grypes; here, here,
here. Come along, come along. Here Glob, Glob, Glob, Glob."
In a moment a frightful assembly of grotesque monsters came
rushing, and tumbling, and flying into the garden like a lot of dogs
or poultry or pigeons. They were so exceedingly ugly and horrid
that Chuffy involuntarily ducked into the lettuce, but he could not
help taking a peep out from between the leaves, for they were
evidently the Giant's domestic pets.
The most mischievous of the young giants began setting them on
at Chuffy, just as wicked boys set on a dog at a cat. Chuffy was in
a dreadful fright and felt quite at his wits' end. Some of the
creatures had horribly long necks, and leaned over to peep at him
inside the lettuce. Others had enormously long arms-these were
the grypes-and they reached over the top of the lettuce, and
tweaked his nose and his ears. He began to feel desperate. He
crouched down in the bottom of the lettuce and felt in his pocket
for his knife, for if the worst came to the worst he was determined
to give these goblins a lesson.
AMONG THE WOIBLIN. S
Suddenly his hand struck against a little metal box. It was a
box of wax matches with which he had been lighting a bonfire
the day before.
He took out a match and lighted it, and the next time a claw
came into the lettuce he gently applied the flame to it.
r; .. ',
Such a yell as there was he never heard before in all his life.
All the young giants and their pets stopped their gambols to see
what was the matter.
An idea struck Chuffy. He had a piece of paper in his pocket.
He lit it and held it up blazing above the top of the lettuce.
In a moment there was a stampede. He looked out. Every
54 AMONG TIIE WOBLINS.
creature had rushed off to a respectable distance and stood gazing in
He can make fire He can make fire !" they shouted.
The King heard the cry and came rushing out.
He can make fire without a tinder-box," cried the children.
Don't be ridiculous," cried the Giant.
He can, he can, he can," they shouted again. He made fire
inside the lettuce and he could not have a tinder-box there."
The giants only made fire with the old tinder-boxes and flint and
steel that were used forty years ago, and their tinder-boxes were as
big as a washing-tub, so it was obvious Chuffy could not have one in
"Make fire again," cried the Giant.
Take me out of the lettuce, then," said Chuff, as he concealed the
match-box in his pocket.
The Giant lifted him out. Now make fire," he said.
Then stand further off," said Chuff, or you'll get burnt."
The Giant retreated somewhat precipitately. Chuff picked up
some dry sticks and some dry leaves, and made a little pile. Do
you want a big fire or a little fire," he asked ?
"A big fire," they all shouted.
Then make a big pile of wood and leaves," said Chuff.
In two minutes they had a pile six feet high, composed of nice
dry sticks and grass and leaves.
"Now stand off," said Chuff. "You see I have nothing in my
hands," he continued, holding them both up.
We see they all shouted.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 55
Chuffy stooped down beside the fire and unobserved whipped out
his box. Holding it carefully within the pile so that it might not be
S- -. ,.* : .- -
seen, he lit a match and set fire to some leaves and straw. The
next moment the whole pile burst into a magnificent blaze.
next moment the whole pile burst into a magnificent blatze.
CHUFF LIGHTS THE KING'S FIRE.
HEN Chuffy had satisfied himself that the whole pile was
in a blaze and rose from his stooping position, lie could
hardly believe his eyes.
The giants, young and old, and the whole of the
attendant monsters were making off as fast as their legs could carry
them. In fact they were almost out of sight, each having sought
the nearest available cover.
Why, what in the world does it all mean !" said Chuff.
"They surely are not afraid of a bonfire. What extraordinary
creatures they are "
Presently he saw his friend the Woblin peeping out from behind
a tree at some distance away.
"Why have you run away ? shouted Chuff at the top of his
Somewhat reassured, the Woblin ventured a little further from
Conic back," shouted Chuff. The fire won't hurt you."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 57
The Woblin cautiously approached. When he got quite near,
Chuff asked him again why he had run away.
The Woblin still looked suspiciously at him. Then he came still
nearer. Then he seemed gathering courage to speak.
"I know the fire won't hurt me," he said, "but perhaps you
may. If you can set fire to that, you can set fire to me. The
grype told me you burnt his hand inside the lettuce."
A new idea struck Chuffy. It was evident they thought he had
the power of burning and making fire without any visible means.
He thought he would keep up the idea. He had often written in
his copy-book, Knowledge is power," but he never thought that his
knowledge of the way to use a few matches would give him such
power as this.
"Oh, it's very easy when you know how to do it," he said.
You are a most wonderful boy," said the Woblin, but I don't
think you will get the King to come near you for some time."
Chuff thought if they were such cowards, it was not much
wonder that General Jack had so easily conquered them. He began
to think there was a strong probability of his getting Imy and
himself out of Ogredom, and he resolved to set his wits to work to
Presently he saw the King and the young giants peeping at him
from behind some bushes a long way off, so he thought he would
send the Woblin to set matters right.
"Tell them I don't want to make fire if they don't wish it, and
that I don't want to burn them if they let me alone."
The Woblin ran off at the top of his speed. Chuff saw that he
58 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
was having a long conversation with the King. At last they came
back together, but the King looked quite meek, and Chuffy felt he
had gained a complete victory. How he blessed his stars that he
had put the box of matches into his pocket.
He was taken back to the palace, and had the best apartments
given to him. Two or three Woblins, including his own friend,
were told off to wait on him, and a most magnificent meal was set
Late at night the Woblin came to him with a message from the
His Majesty wants to know if you will promise not to burn
down the palace. He can't go to bed until he has your word
Tell his )1] ij -y I haven't the least wish to do so. But if
he wants fire at any time I can make it for him in a minute."
Presently the Woblin came back again.
The King wants to know if you will make the fire instead of
the servants in the morning ? "
"Yes, if I may go into the room alone," answered Chuff. I
must always be alone if I am to make fire quickly."
Presently the Woblin came back again.
"The King wishes to know if you will tell him how to make
fire ? "
Chuffy thought a moment; then he said, If I told the King how
to make fire I should never be able to make it again myself."
This was quite true, for Chuff felt perfectly certain that if the
box of matches were discovered, and they saw how to use them, they
AMONG TIE WOBLINS. 59
would take possession of them at once, and all fear of him would be
Presently the Woblin came back again.
"The King says if you will be in his room at six to-morrow
morning you can make the fire alone."
Very well," said Chuff, if you call me I will be there."
"The King is also sending you a chicken's tongue for supper,"
said the Woblin, and between you and me this is about the greatest
compliment he can pay you, for he keeps all the chicken's tongues
to himself; you are in great favour I can tell you."
Chuffy went to bed with a much lighter heart than he could
have thought possible under the circumstances. He slept quite
soundly until half-past five, when the Woblin came and called him.
He jumped up at once, and went into the king's breakfast-room. Just
as he was about to light the fire, which was already laid, he saw his
Majesty peeping through the chink of the door. He stopped at once.
"Why don't you light it ? said the King.
Because you're [, .lpii,-," answered Chuff. If I were to light
it while you peep that door would be all in a blaze in a moment,
and then the palace would go."
Do you really mean that ? said the Giant.
I mean that I could set fire to everything about me in five
minutes. In one minute if I chose."
Then perhaps I had better disappear."
"Perhaps you had."
The King vanished, and Chuff carefully closed the door. Then
as quick as lightning he took out his box and lit the fire. In
60 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
half a minute he had a splendid blaze. Then he threw open the
door, and called the King.
Well, you are a most wonderful boy," said the King, when he saw
the fire roaring up the chimney. I don't wonder at your soldiers being
able to knock down half a mile of men with a cannon. But I must set
to work with my breakfast now as I have a long way to go to-day."
"I suppose you have no objection to my going back to the
Woblin's cave, your Majesty ?" said Chuff.
You can do what you like all day," said the Giant. In fact, I
suppose you will, whether I like it or not."
It seemed to Chuff as if the King was so impressed with his fiery
capabilities as to let him do just as he liked ; so without more ado
he started off to the Woblin's cave, as he was most anxious to see
A CHAT WITH A COCKATOO.
S Chuffy passed through the gates of the King's palace
he stopped to examine the building more closely, for
he had been in such a fright when he arrived there
with the Woblin that he had not noticed things.
It was built almost entirely of huge logs of wood, or rather trunks
of trees, placed quite closely together, both horizontally and
perpendicularly, in a similar method to that adopted by the back-
woodsmen of America and the squatters in Australia. There was
not a vestige of stone work, and Chuffy concluded that the
inhabitants of this strange country were not clever enough to put
stones and mortar together. The idea crossed his mind that he
must be careful with his matches, for if the palace caught fire he
saw that there would be a rare blaze.
He concluded that his friend the Woblin had gone with the
Giant, for he did not see him anywhere about. IIe remembered his
way to the cave, however, and soon came in sight of it.
He had not prepared himself for one difficulty, and that was
62 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
with regard to the pets. The moment they caught sight of him
they all came rushing towards him. Big fowls, frogs, dogs and all.
The fowls were so inquisitive, not having the Woblin to keep
them in order, that they came and put their beaks right into Chuffy's
face, and he really thought at times that they were going to peck
out his eyes. It did not occur to him that they were expecting him
to give them beans as the Woblin had done.
All of a sudden he heard a shrill voice near screaming out:
"Good morning, good morning, good mazwrning, good maw-r-r-
r-ning. How do you do ? How do you do ? How do you do-o-o-o-o-o.
Kah, kah, hah, hah. Ka-a-a-a-a.!
The end was such a sharp, shrill scream that Chuffy was quite
startled. He looked about in every direction.
Why the dickens don't you look up here ?" shouted the voice.
He looked up, and there in a tree lie saw an enormous cockatoo
hanging head downwards from a bough, and screaming out the
following song at the top of his voice :-
I'm a merry, merry bird, as doubtless you have heard,
A merry, merry bird am I,
With a beak like a stone, that will crack the biggest bone,
And a little round coal black eye.
I can whistle, I can chatter, I can make a pretty clatter,
I can sing, and I can laugh, ha, ha,
With a ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho,
And a kah, kah, kah, kah, kah !
The last line ended in a prolonged scream, and then the cockatoo
swung himself up on to the bough, and continued.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 63
I can cackle like a hen, in fact as loud as ten,
I can gobble like a turkey, I can mew;
I can use naughty words like other naughty birds,
But that of course I never, never do.
For mamma would faint away, and the servants wouldn't stny,
And shouldn't I just catch it from papa,
"With a ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho,
With a cackle and a gobble and a kah !
"I can dance, and I can sing, from the highest branch I swing,
Just holding on, head downward, with my toes;
If you try to tease a fellow, with my beak I make you bellow,
If I catch you by the finger or the nose.
But I need not say to you, that's a thing I never do;
So now I'll simply say, ta, ta.'
With a ha, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho,
And a kah, kah, kah, KAH, KAH !"
"That's a very funny song," said Chuffy.
The cockatoo stopped his singing, and throwing himself head
downward again, regarded Chuffy quite seriously for a moment.
Then he said abruptly,
Who are you ?"
"Do you mean to insult me," said Chuff, or do you really want
to know ?"
Of course, I want to know."
Well, then, I'm Chuffy."
And who's Chuffy ?"
Why, I'm Chuffy I tell you."
64 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
But what are you, I mean ? Don't ruffle my temper." He
set up his crest at this and looked very much ruffled indeed as to his
"What am I ?" said Chuff ; "why, a boy I suppose."
And what's a boy ?"
Why, the opposite of a girl, isn't it ?"
And what's a girl ? "
How stupid you are-why, the opposite of a boy."
"Well I suppose so, but I ask what a boy is ?"
Why, I've told you I'm a boy."
But what is a boy ? "
Oh, this is quite ridiculous-a boy is a young man."
Now we're getting at it. Then you are a young man, are you ? "
Well, no, I can't quite call myself that."
Then, why did you ? "
"Don't tell stories, you did. You said you were a boy, and that
a boy was a young man, so you must be a young man."
"Well have it so if you like," said Chuff, getting quite bewildered ;
"but I'm not for all that."
Then why don't.you answer my first question ?"
I haven't the faintest recollection what it was."
"I asked you who you were."
And I said I was Chuffy."
And who's Chuffy ? "
"Oh, for goodness sake, don't begin all over again, I feel quite
,V": s ,.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 67
"Then, why can't you answer a straightforward question?"
"Well, I tried to."
No, you didn't. You said you were a boy, and a boy was a
young man, and that you were not a young man, and that you were
the opposite of a girl, and a Chuffy. I don't call that a straight-
forward answer. Why can't you say you are a young giant at once,
and not try and beat about the bush."
I'm not a young giant," exclaimed Chuffy, indignantly, and
I'm not trying to beat about the bush."
Why, you deny everything. At any rate you've got the face
and figure of a giant, only you're a deal prettier."
"You're a very disagreeable bird," said Chuffy, not feeling at all
flattered at being thought like a young giant."
"That is a matter of opinion, or I might say of a pinion, con-
sidering I think differently myself. Or I might say it is the opinion
of two pinions," he cried, flapping his wings violently.
"I should think you much more agreeable if you would
make these horrid fowls take their beaks out of my face," said
He was quite surrounded by this time, and the fowls were peck-
ing him all over.
They're very peckish about this time," said the Cockatoo, quite
seriously; they wouldn't be satisfied if you gave them a peck, but
I'll soon peck them off. Ha, ha, ha, see that ?"
He gave a scream and dropped down on to the neck of one of the
fowls, and began nipping his head so hard that the hen rushed away
in frantic haste. Then Cocky flew to another and drove him off like-
68 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
wise. In a minute or two they were all scattered and Cocky was
left master of the field. Thereupon he flew up into the tree again
and began such a succession of triumphant kahs that Chuffy was
Oh, do stop that noise," cried Chuff.
Cocky began again.
I want to know what a boy is. I want to know what a boy is.
I want to know what a boy is. I want to know what a boy is."
Chuffy was seized with an irresistible desire to imitate him.
I'm a boy I tell you. I'm a boy I tell you. I'm a boy I tell
you. I'm a boy I tell you."
The Cockatoo was suddenly silent. He looked attentively at
Chuff as if he were the quietest bird in the world.
Don't make such a horrid row," he said.
Well, I like that," said Chuff. It was you began it. You're
the noisiest bird I ever met."
At this moment Imy emerged from the cave.
What is this dreadful noise ? she began. Then seeing Chuff,
she ran towards him and caught him by both hands. Oh, I'm so
glad to see you again," she cried.
Cocky began dancing up and down, and throwing up his crest.
She's so glad to see him again. She so glad to see him again.
She so "
Oh you naughty bird, do be quiet," cried Imy.
Cocky subsided at once. Pretty Cocky," he said, in a voice so
low and mellow that you never would have thought a loud sound
could issue from his beak.
AMONG TIHE WOBLINS. 69
That's a good bird," said Imy, you must not make a noise or
you'll wake my mistress."
What, is she asleep again ? asked Chuffy.
Yes, she generally is asleep when she is not eating. All the
better for me, because I have more time to myself; but come, let us
go up to our seat, and then you can tell me all about the King."
A RIDE ON THE RODNOC.
" HAT a very lucky thing it was you had the matches,"
said Imy when Chuffy had finished his narration.
He had not kept back anything from her, because he
knew he could trust her, and she thought it a great
joke that he had been able to astonish the King and his family
"Do you know where the King is gone ? asked Chuff.
On some foraging expedition I suppose, as my master is gone
with him. They carry off anything they can get from other tribes
of giants and ogres. They kill each other and practise horrible
cruelties. Sometimes they are away for days together."
He seemed quiet enough with me."
That's because he did not wish to do you any harm, and
because he saw you could be useful to him; but I wouldn't advise
you to trust him. Besides, it seemed you frightened him by talking
about your soldiers, and he is a great coward-in fact they all are."
I wish we could hit on some plan of getting away," said Chuffy.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 71
I have thought of what we might do to-day," said Imy. My
mistress will most likely sleep until supper time. Now the Woblin's
rodnoc is very fond of me, because I feed it and am kind to it.
We might take a ride on him."
That would be splendid," exclaimed Chuffy. But if he is so
fond of you, couldn't you persuade him to carry us to Sunnyrealm?"
Alas no," said Imy. "He has no power to fly further than
the river, and there would be no way of getting across."
I'm not so sure of that," said Chuff. At any rate, I should
like to see the river. Do let us go. But I forgot he added, the
Woblin told me that the rodnocs were very treacherous and some-
times turned over in the air and let you drop."
"I think he only said that to frighten you. At any rate, I am
quite sure my rodnoc would not do such a thing."
Well, let us try it at all events," said Chuff. We may as
well be dead as in this place; besides I think I could hold on pretty
tightly to his quills, if he did turn over, and you could tie yourself
Chuffy was so full of excitement at the anticipated ride, that he
felt ready for any emergency. The rodnoc was called, and seemed
in a very docile mood indeed. Chuffy was even more struck with
his size this time than he had been before. It was quite a climb to
get on to his back. They took some cakes with them and a bottle
of water, for Chuffy had not forgotten the oversight he and Tumpy
had committed on the way up the mountain. When they were
comfortably settled among the feathers, Chuff took a piece of cord
they had brought and tied Imy and himself together. Imy
72 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
humoured him in this, for she thought she might be able to hold
him up if the worst came to the worst.
t,,i, Arl o
"j r-- '--
At a signal from Imy the rodnoc gave a great spring, and the
next moment they were rising high into the air. The movement of
the huge wings was so steady and even that the motion was very
delightful. They looked down on the King's palace, and saw other
houses of giants far away, but there was no one moving about, for the
King had taken all his followers with him, as seemed to be his custom.
Sometimes they soared high up among the clouds, where for a time
the earth was blotted out, and the sun shining down on the upper
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 73
surface of the clouds made them look like huge undulating snow-
fields, without a speck of shadow of any kind except the shadow of
the rodnoc moving along upon the cloud beneath. When they were
at this height they saw glimpses of forests, streams, and plains through
rifts in the clouds far, far below. Here and there the blue-black
summit of a mountain reared its crest through the vapour, looking like
a solitary island in the vast white sea of clouds. Against this the
breeze would drive the masses of vapour until they were piled up
mass upon mass like huge ethereal battlements, and then the battle-
ments would suddenly topple over as if shaken by an earthquake, and
a rush and whirl of vapour would sweep down upon Chuffy and Imy,
and envelope them in its dense folds, until another breeze came by
and swept it onward over the fleecy plains.
It was all very wonderful, and it was nearly as wonderful when
they dropped again nearer to the earth, and sped along at a great
speed just above the tops of the tallest trees. The objects flew
beneath them much faster than they appeared to do from any rail-
way train Chuffy had ever been in. Forest after forest was passed,
and then they came to a great range of mountains which Imy thought
were not very far from the river to which they were bound.
There is a thunder storm in the mountains," she said. There
nearly always is one in those mountains. I have seen it from the
Castle of the Guikwaress overlooking the river. We shall have to
pass through it."
She had hardly spoken before they were in the midst of it. The
lightning was flashing below, above, and around in vivid streaks
which seemed almost to blind them. The thunder rolled in long-
74 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
continued peals, but still the huge bird sailed on unmindful of the
storm, and with the same even, monotonous flapping of his wings.
Chuffy was awe-stricken. He had never seen anything half so
wonderful as this before. Imy, too, was impressed.
Isn't it awful," she whispered.
Yes, but somehow I don't feel very frightened," said Chuff in a
That's the effect of the kirkos," said Imy. It's quite wonderful
how they sustain one's courage under all circumstances." Just then
a more than usually vivid flash of lightning shot from the clouds,
followed by a burst of thunder so deafening that even the rodnoc
swerved, and for a moment they thought he was struck. He stopped
the motion of his wings and swept downward, just as he had done
from the mountain where Chuffy first saw him. The next moment
they were clear of the clouds, and were swooping down the side of
the mountain to the plain beyond.
We are safe, and there is the river," cried Imy, clapping her
Chuffy looked up. They were still some five hundred feet high,
and he saw the river plainly about two miles away. The rodnoc
was still dropping fast, and in a second or two they were close to the
"Will he not take us quite to the river ?" asked Chuffy.
I think not," said Imy. "He likes to keep well within the
borders of Ogredom for fear of some misfortune. They dread the
Gibjigs. We shall have to walk on without him, but he will wait
until we come back."
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 75
In another moment they were on the ground. It had been a
wonderful ride. Chuffy could hardly believe he had not been
dreaming. Imy stroked the huge head of the rodnoc, who had
folded his wings and settled down on the ground as if resting
after his long flight.
,V -7 .
We must be back in time for the rodnoc to get home before
dark, or we shall be missed. Besides, I never knew a rodnoc
76 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
stay out after roosting time. They come home as regularly as the
But how do you know he will wait for us ? said Chuffy.
"They are trained to do that. You may make yourself quite
easy about it. I have never known him desert me."
The bird was closing his eyes as if dozing. Imy and Chuffy set
out for the river. They were not long in reaching it. They had
come upon it where some trees rose abruptly from the bank. Some
of them had been uprooted by the winter blasts, and trunks and
branches were lying about in all directions. Chuffy stood gazing
attentively at the water for a long time. At last he said:
Do you know where the castle is you told me about ? Is it
up or down the stream ? "
I think it is down the stream, but I cannot be quite sure; but
why do you ask ? "
Because," said Chuffy, if it is down the stream, and we could
bind enough of these trunks together to make a raft, we might drift
down the stream to the castle."
It would be a fearful risk, the current is so strong," said Imy.
It would be worth trying at any rate."
But how could you move those huge trunks ? You would not
be half strong enough."
We might manage it together. There are some there lying
quite close to the water. With a long pole as a lever we might
roll them over quite easily."
"I don't think so," said Imy. "Not those big enough to float
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 77
"Well, then, we could set fire to some of those growing close to
the water. Then they would fall in. I believe we could do it if we
set our wits to work. See, there is a tree growing right out over the
stream. We could run right along it and moor the branches to it
till we could tie them together."
But what are we to tie them with?"
"Ah there's the difficulty, I admit," said Chuffy. "But stay,
though," he added, "there's the piece of cord that we were tied
But that would not be half long enough."
"No, but it would help though, and while I was collecting the
boughs you could be twisting up some of that long, dry grass into
hay-bands. Hay-bands would tie them quite tight enough for us
to get across."
"You are very hopeful," said Imy, "but you must remember
we don't even know where we should drift to with the stream."
Oh, but we could take a long pole with us, and, some time or
other, we should be sure to get near the other shore, and then we
could push ourselves to land."
"I would give anything to accomplish it," said Imy, but I'm
afraid it is beyond our power."
"Well, at any rate, we may as well try. We can stay here two
or three hours, and still have time to get back. Then we could
come early another day and finish the raft."
Imy longed so much to get away that she at last entered into
Chuffy's ideas, though not with a very sanguine heart. When,
however, she saw the energetic way Chuffy went to work she felt
78 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
inspired herself, and entered into the task with such enthusiasm that
in a very short time they had really made some progress.
They had collected some straight branches, which Chuffy informed
her would do for forming cross pieces. The difficulty was to find
and launch two pieces sufficiently large to take the cross pieces and
bear the weight of Chuffy and herself. They found two young pine
trees which Chuffy said would answer the purpose, but they were so
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 79
far from the water's edge that it seemed a hopeless task to try and
set them afloat. After trying for a long time, Chuffy felt obliged to
fall back upon his original idea of burning down two trees that over-
hung the water. There were several growing out so horizontally
that if a fire were lighted under one part they would in all
probability burn through and fall into the stream above the before
mentioned tree, which Chuffy intended to use as a sort of pier or
dock from which to complete his work.
Collecting, therefore, some dry sticks and leaves, Chuffy produced
his matches, and soon had a fire blazing under the trunks of the
trees, and presently, to his great delight, he saw that the trunks
themselves were beginning to burn.
So intently occupied were they in their work that they never
once thought of the time. It was not until the evening shadows began
to gather that Imy suddenly remembered how long they had been
at work. She started up.
"The sun is setting," she cried in alarm. "It is as much as we
shall be able to do to get home before dark."
Chuffy was dreadfully reluctant to leave the work, but he knew
it would not do to stay, or they might be suspected and followed.
Besides, Imy had told him they could probably return to-morrow or
the next day.
"I hope the trees will be quite burnt through before the fire
goes out," he said. They must fall partly into the river, so we shall
be able to make use of them."
Without delaying another moment they hurried back to where
they had left the rodnoc. They had no difficulty in finding the way,
80 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
as they simply had to follow their own track through the long grass,
but when they arrived at the spot the bird was nowhere to be seen.
We must have come the wrong way," said Chuff.
No," said Imy in an agitated voice. Here is the very place
where the bird rested himself. I must call him."
She gave a peculiar whistle, but there was no response. The
rod1noc had evidently gone home.
CHUFFY MAKES A RAFT.
HUFFY and Imy stood looking at each other in a state of
"I ought to have known he would not stay so
late," said Imy. "I fear to think what the conse-
quences may be."
"But it will take them some time to find out where we are,
won't it ?" said Chuffy.
"I don't know. The rodnoc may take it into his head to come
back for us in the morning, and if they saw him they would perhaps
guess that he was coming after us."
"I don't think that likely," said Chuffy, "because they can't
possibly know that we came here on him."
But they will be furious when they find we do not come."
All the more reason for us to get on fast with the raft, and try
and get away. I'm not quite sure that I am sorry now that there is
no help for it."
But where are we to pass the night ?" said Imy.
82 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
This idea had not occurred to Chuffy, but it came upon him now
with full force.
And what are we to have to eat ?" he said.
They had devoured all their cake hours before, and they were
beginning to feel hungry again, but there was nothing for it but to
go without their suppers. The chief question was where were they
to sleep, for they were both tired out with their day's work.
"I have it," said Chuffy. We'll go back to that long grass, and
make a regular bed in it. I can even cover you up with it. The
night is beautifully fine, and it is quite warm. I wish to goodness,
though, we had something to eat."
It was no good wishing. They made the best of their way back to
the river, and sought the place where the grass was longest. By
beating it down they found they could make quite comfortable beds,
and the high grass drooping over made a canopy that almost shut
out the stars. Chuffy thought, however, it would be more prudent
to have some covering, so he threw a quantity of the grass over Imy,
and then gathered a heap to spread over himself. By this time they
were both so tired out that they had no sooner closed their eyes, and
bade each other good night, than they were off to sleep, and never
opened their eyes until the sun was high in the heavens next
The first thing Chuffy felt was the increasing pangs of hunger.
He shook off his covering of grass, and sat up. Imy had already
Don't you feel awfully hungry ?" asked Chuff.
I do, but there is nothing for it but to bear it. Do you think
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 83
we shall be able to finish the raft to-day ? If so, we might get across
I should work much better if I had something to eat," sighed
If the rodnoc returns, perhaps the wisest plan after all would
be to go back. We could then come here to-morrow with plenty of
provisions. It would never do to fail through hunger."
"But it seems so provoking to go back now we are here,"
They were sauntering towards the place where they had set fire
to the trees. Suddenly Chuffy stopped in amazement.
What in the world is this ?" he said.
There was a huge thing like an egg lying amid the long grass.
It was bigger that Chuffy's head.
Imy darted forward. "A rodnoc's egg!" she cried, "what a
wonderful find. They are delicious eating."
84 AMONG TIE WOBLINS
Chuffy capered round and round in frantic delight. Suddenly he
But how are we to cook it ?" he said; we have nothing to boil
They are better roasted," said Imy. In fact they are con-
sidered a great delicacy, for the rodnocs get into the most out-of-the-
way places to lay them. We have only got to light a wood fire and
roast it. There is enough to last us two days."
f, 4 / o-
Chuffy set to work in high spirits and soon had a blazing fire.
He thought again what a blessing it was he had the matches. In
ten minutes Imy pronounced the egg done enough. Then they
cracked the shell with a stone and set to work at the inside. The
egg was roasted hard, so Chuffy cut out slices with his knife. The
flavour was delicious.
The river was near at hand, and they took a nice refreshing
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 85
draught after their meal. They both declared they had never felt
better in their lives, and were quite in high spirits.
Their appetites being satisfied, the desire to escape came upon
them with renewed force. To Chuffy's great disappointment,
however, he found that the fires which he had lighted under the
trees had gone out, and that the trees were not half burnt through.
He had to light his fires again, and then he saw it must be some
hours before they were likely to fall.
Meanwhile he and Imy set to work to clear off the smaller twigs
86 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
and branches from the pieces they meant to use as cross bars. Then
Imy went on making her hay-bands, and soon had quite a large heap
by her side.
Presently there was a great shout from Chuffy. The trees are
falling, the trees are falling!" he cried.
One of them was certainly, for the end began drooping down
towards the water, and presently the burnt part split up with the
weight of the long stem. Then the dried splinters quickly ignited
and the trunk fell into the water.
Chuffy had taken the precaution to fasten one end of his piece of
cord to the trunk and the other end to the tree that acted as a break-
water, so that there was no chance of its floating away. When he
got it along side his breakwater, he secured it firmly with a hay-band,
and then fastened his cord to the other.
In about half an hour the second tree fell. This, too, was secured
in a like manner.
Then began a difficult task. They had to break off the super-
fluous branches. Fortunately the winter floods had pretty well
cleared the trunk, except at quite the end, and by getting out on to
his breakwater he managed to clear the end sufficiently for his
purpose. Tmy's labours at the cave had made her so strong that
she was able to work well. In fact, without her help it would
have been impossible for Chuffy to have accomplished half his
But now a greater difficulty began, and that was to moor the two
trunks in such a way as to be able to fasten the cross pieces to them.
By the help of the current they were at length able to accomplish
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 87
this, though it was after repeated failures. Then came the further
difficulty of lashing the cross pieces to the trunks by means of the
hay-bands. For this purpose Chuffy was obliged to go into the
water almost up to his waist, and to stand there for an hour or more.
Imy was in dreadful distress, but Chuffy assured her that it was
nothing new for him to get himself wet through, and that in warm
weather he rather liked it than otherwise.
--,- > '
After the square outer frame was made by means of the two
trunks, with cross pieces at each end, there was less difficulty. The
current was very gentle near the shore, and the framework was safely
moored to the breakwater by means of the cord, so that their work
now grew rapidly towards completion. When they had fastened six
88 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
or eight cross pieces sufficiently close together to prevent the danger
of falling through, Chuffy thought they would try its floating power.
He climbed out of the water and got on to it himself first. To his
great delight it was quite firm. He then gave his hand to Imy, and
she stepped on to it. It bore them beautifully. In fact, the logs
only sank a few inches deeper.
Chuffy uttered a shout of delight. "Now," said he, we will
fasten a few more cross pieces so that there will be no danger of one
falling off, then we will put some broad branches across the other
way again, and we can sit down on it. We shall be ready in half an
hour, and then we will be off. Hurrah hurrah hurrah "
Imy pointed to the sky. The sun was already sinking below the
hills on the other side of the river. It will be dark in half an
hour," she said.
Chuff's heart fell. They had been the whole day at work. The
time had slipped by so fast in the excitement of the task that he had
not thought about it.
It will never do to leave at night," she said, although the
moon is full. We should get into all sorts of difficulties. It is very
dark in the shadow of the mountains yonder, and we don't know
where we might be carried."
Well, at any rate," said Chuffy, they are not likely to find us out
at night. We had better have some supper and go to bed again."
"But you are so fearfully wet," said Imy. If you will let me
cover you well up with heaps of dry grass, so as to keep you quite
warm, the wet clothes will not hurt you."
But we can light a fire, and I can dry myself," said Chuffy.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 89
"That would be dangerous at night. It would be seen a long
way off, and might lead to their finding us."
Chuffy admitted this, and agreed that Imy's plan was the best.
She heaped so much grass upon him that he was soon as warm as if
he had been wrapped up in blankets. Then she gave him his supper
We must be off the first thing in the morning," said Chuffy.
"Mind and wake me if you are awake first. I'm awfully sleepy."
He nodded as he spoke, and went off to sleep at once.
But Imy could not sleep. The thought of her escape from the
hated land where she had been a prisoner so long was too delicious.
She could not yet realise it, and yet, so far, everything seemed in their
favour. She sat gazing out over the river upon which the beams of
the full moon were playing in thousands of diamond lights. The
most intense stillness reigned around. The trees which overhung
the water were reflected so perfectly that it seemed like the
continuation of the real foliage into infinite depths. The ragged
outline of the mountains came up dark and distinct against the
moonlit sky, and the moon smiled through a multitude of cloudlets
so light and fleecy that they hardly obscured her exquisite lustre.
Suddenly a dark object like a huge bird seemed to emerge from
the clouds near the moon and rapidly approached the river. It came
nearer and nearer. It passed onward over the river. Imy gave a
great start and uttered a cry. The next moment she laid her hand
on Chuffy's arm.
"Get up quickly," she cried.
Chuffy started up, only half awake. What is it ?" he said.
90 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
Imy clasped her hands, and looked still more intently at the
I cannot be mistaken," she cried. It is a Gibjig."
Chuffy was wide awake in a moment, and followed the direction
of her gaze. At the first glance he saw the object was not a bird.
The next moment he traced the form of a man with widely extended
wings, and there was something he could not make out upon his back.
Suddenly a cry of horror broke from both of them. The wings
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 91
of the Gibjig had dropped like the wings of a wounded bird. He
was falling rapidly to the earth.
Imy closed her eyes in horror, but Chuffy could not withdraw
his gaze. In another moment he felt sure the Gibjig would be
dashed to pieces.
As suddenly as it began, the fall was arrested. There was a
flutter of wings, and the next moment the Gibjig was soaring up
again and repassing the river.
"Look look exclaimed Chuffy. He is safe."
Imy started up. "Oh, thank heaven she cried. It is fatal
to them if they get over this horrid country. But if only we could
have let him know we were here !"
Chuffy jumped up from his bed and rushed to the river's side.
Then he shouted with all his might, but the Gibjig only seemed to
fly faster and faster away, and presently he was quite lost behind
the outline of the mountains.
If Chuffy and Tumpy had only known how near they had been
to each other that night 1
With the earliest dawn of the morning the two fugitives were at
work again preparing their raft. Some light branches with the
leaves upon them were laid on the cross pieces, then Chuffy pro-
vided himself with a long ash bough to guide the raft.
Imy took her place in the middle with the remains of the
rodnoc's egg in her lap, for they intended to breakfast when they
were well out in the stream. Then with a somewhat fluttering
1 See Among the Gibjigs, page 101.
92 AMONG THE WOBLINS.
heart, for it was a critical moment, Chuffy stepped on to the raft
himself, and prepared to loosen the cord which held it.
He undid the fastening. The raft began to float away. In
another second they would be fairly out in the stream, embarked on
their unknown voyage.
AMONG THE WOBLINS. 93
At this moment a grasp as of iron was laid on Chuffy's arm, and
he was lifted fairly off the raft on to the bank. He uttered a loud
cry, and turned to see who had assailed him He was in the arms of
a huge Grype, and two others were dragging Imy and the raft to
the shore, while his friend the Woblin stood behind shaking his
sides with laughter.
THE KING'S MUSTARD POT.
MY and Chuffy were far too much depressed to take any
notice of the Woblin's mirth. They thought how
foolish they had been not to have started the evening
before, even at the risk of being cast away in the
So you thought you would escape, did you? said the Woblin.
" You're mighty clever, but you'll find it a little more difficult than
We should have escaped if we had started last night," said
Would you ?" sneered the Woblin. I suppose you think we
were not watching you last night."
I don't believe you were," said Chuffy.
You may believe it or not as you like, but I tell you we were
here long before you had finished that affair, whatever you may
call it; here he pointed to the raft. I only waited to see how
you went about it, for now you have taught us what we never knew
before-that is, how to cross the river."