Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies

Enid Blyton

  The Book of Brownies

  First published in Great Britain 1926

  This edition published in 2014 by Egmont UK Limited

  The Yellow Building, 1 Nicholas Road

  London W11 4AN

  Text copyright © 1926 Hodder & Stoughton

  ENID BLYTON ® Copyright © 2014 Hodder & Stoughton

  First e-book edition 2013

  ISBN 978 1 4052 1542 8

  eISBN 978 1 7803 1543 0

  A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  Stay safe online. Any website addresses listed in this book are correct at the time of going to print. However, Egmont is not responsible for content hosted by third parties. Please be aware that online content can be subject to change and websites can contain content that is unsuitable for children. We advise that all children are supervised when using the internet.


  Our story began over a century ago, when seventeen-year-old Egmont Harald Petersen found a coin in the street. He was on his way to buy a flyswatter, a small hand-operated printing machine that he then set up in his tiny apartment.

  The coin brought him such good luck that today Egmont has offices in over 30 countries around the world. And that lucky coin is still kept at the company’s head offices in Denmark.



  Title page


  Hop, Skip and Jump Play a Naughty Trick

  Their Adventure in the Cottage Without a Door

  Their Adventure in the Castle of the Red Goblin

  Their Adventure in the Land of Giants

  Their Adventure in the Land of Clever People

  Their Adventure in the Land of Clever People (continued)

  Their Adventure on the Green Railway

  Their Adventure in Toadstool Town

  Their Adventure with the Saucepan Man

  Their Adventure with the Labeller and the Bottler

  Their Adventure in the House of Witch Green-eyes

  Their Very Last Adventure of All


  Waiting for the postman

  Hop, Skip and Jump Play a Naughty Trick

  Hop, Skip and Jump were just finishing their breakfast one morning when they heard the postman rat-tatting on all the knockers down the street.

  ‘Dear me!’ said Hop. ‘Everybody seems to be getting a letter this morning! Perhaps we shall too.’

  The three brownies leaned out of the window of Crab-apple Cottage and watched the postman come nearer. Next door but one, rat-tat! And a large letter fell into the letter-box. Next door, rat-tat! Another large letter, just like the first.

  ‘I wonder whatever the letters are!’ said Skip. ‘They’re all the same and everyone is having one, so there’ll be one for us too!’

  But there wasn’t. The postman walked right past Crab-apple Cottage.

  ‘Hey!’ called Jump. ‘You’ve missed us out! Come back, postman!’

  The postman shook his head.

  ‘There isn’t a letter for you,’ he said, and rat-tatted on the knocker of the cottage next door.

  Well, Hop, Skip and Jump were upset. No letter for them, when everyone else had one! Whoever could be writing letters and missing them out!

  ‘Let’s go and ask Gobo next door what his letter’s about,’ said Hop.

  So the three brownies hopped into Gobo’s. They found him looking very pleased and excited, reading his letter out loud to Pinkie, his wife.

  ‘What’s it all about?’ asked Skip.

  ‘Listen! Just listen!’ said Gobo. ‘It’s an invitation from the King. This is what he says: “His Majesty, the King of Fairyland, is giving a Grand Party on Thursday. Please come”.’

  ‘Oh!’ cried the brownies. ‘Then why haven’t we been asked?’

  Gobo looked surprised.

  ‘Haven’t you had a letter?’ he asked. ‘Oh well, there must be a reason for it. Have you been good lately?’

  ‘Not very,’ said Hop.

  ‘Not much, said Skip.

  ‘Not at all,’ said Jump, who was the most truthful of the three.

  ‘Well, there you are,’ said Gobo, folding up his letter. ‘You know the King never asks bad brownies to his parties. You can’t expect to be invited if you will be naughty.’

  The brownies went out crossly. They ran back into Crab-apple Cottage and sat down round the table.

  ‘What have we done that was naughty lately?’ asked Hop.

  ‘We painted Old Mother Wimple’s pig green,’ said Skip.

  ‘Yes, and we got on to Gillie Brownie’s cottage roof and put fireworks down her chimney,’ said Jump.

  ‘And we put a bit of prickly gorse in that horrid old Wizard’s bed,’ said Hop. ‘Oh dear – perhaps we have been a bit naughtier than usual.’

  ‘And someone’s told the King,’ sighed Skip.

  ‘So we’ve been left out of the party,’ groaned Jump. ‘Well, it serves us right!’

  Everybody except the three bad brownies had got an invitation. Brownie Town was most excited.

  ‘It’s going to be a very grand party!’ said Gobo next door, who was busy making himself a new suit. ‘There’s going to be dancing and conjuring, and presents for everybody!’

  This made Hop, Skip and Jump feel more disappointed than ever.

  ‘Can’t we go somehow?’ wondered Hop. ‘Can’t we dress up and pretend to be someone else, not ourselves?’

  ‘We haven’t got a card to show,’ said Skip mournfully.

  ‘Look, there’s Gobo’s wife,’ said Jump, pointing through the window. ‘What’s she looking upset about? Hey, Pinkie, what’s the matter?’

  ‘Oh, a great disappointment,’ answered Pinkie. ‘The conjurer that the King was going to have at the party can’t come after all, and the Lord High Chamberlain can’t get anyone else. Isn’t it disappointing?’

  ‘Not so disappointing for us as for you!’ said Hop. Then a great idea came to him, and he turned to Skip and Jump.

  ‘I say!’ he said, with his naughty little eyes twinkling. ‘I say, couldn’t we pretend we were conjurers and get the Lord High Chamberlain to let us in to the party?’

  ‘What a fine idea!’ cried Skip and Jump in delight. ‘You can be the conjurer, Hop, and we’ll be your assistants!’

  ‘But what tricks shall we do?’ asked Hop. ‘We don’t know how to do any yet!’

  All that morning the brownies tried to think of conjuring tricks to do at the party, but although they tried their hardest to make rabbits come out of hats, and ribbons come out of their mouths, it wasn’t a bit of good, they just couldn’t do it.

  They were having dinner, and feeling very unhappy about everything, when a knock came at the door.

  ‘Come in!’ cried Hop.

  The door opened and an old woman with green eyes looked in.

  ‘Good afternoon,’ she said, ‘do you want to buy any magic?’

  ‘She’s a witch!’ whispered Jump. ‘Be careful of her.’

  ‘What sort of magic?’ asked Hop.

  ‘Oh, any sort,’ said the witch, coming into the room. ‘Look here!’

  She took Hop’s watch, rubbed it between her hands, blew on it, and opened her hands again. The watch was gone!

  ‘Buttons and buttercups!’ gasped Hop in astonishment. ‘Where’s it gone to?’

  ‘You’ll find it in the teapot,’ said the witch.

  Skip lifted the lid
of the teapot, and there, sure enough, lay the watch, half covered in tea-leaves. He fished it out with a spoon. Hop was very cross.

  ‘I call that a silly trick!’ he said. ‘Why, you might have spoilt my watch!’

  ‘Do something else, Miss Witch,’ begged Jump.

  ‘Give me your tea-cup,’ said the witch.

  Jump gave it to her. The witch filled it full of tea, covered it with a plate, whistled on the plate, and took it off again.

  ‘Oh,’ cried Jump, hardly believing his eyes, ‘it’s full of little goldfish!’

  So it was – the tiniest, prettiest little things you ever saw! The brownies thought it was wonderful.

  Then the witch emptied Jump’s tea into Skip’s cup. And, hey presto! all the fishes vanished.

  The brownies began to feel as if they were dreaming.

  ‘If only we could do one or two tricks like that!’ sighed Hop. ‘Why, we could get into the King’s party as easily as anything.’

  ‘Oho, so you want to go to the party, do you?’ asked the witch. ‘Haven’t you been invited?’

  ‘No,’ answered Skip, and he told the witch all about it. She listened hard.

  ‘Dear, dear!’ she said at the end. ‘It really is a shame not to invite nice little brownies like you! Listen – if I get you into the Palace as conjurers, will you do the trick I want you to? It’s a very, very special one.’

  ‘Show us it!’ said the brownies, beginning to feel most excited.

  The witch went outside and came back carrying a round green basket, with a yellow lid. She put it on the floor.

  ‘Now you,’ she said, pointing to Hop, ‘jump into this basket!’

  Hop jumped inside. The witch put the lid on. Then she tapped three times on the top of it and sang:

  ‘Rimminy, romminy ray

  My magic will send you away;

  Rimminy, romminy ro

  Ever so far you will go!’

  Skip and Jump looked at the basket. It didn’t move or creak!

  ‘Take off the lid and look inside,’ said the witch.

  Skip took off the lid and almost fell into the basket in surprise. ‘Oh!’ he shouted. ‘Oh! Hop’s gone, and the basket’s empty.’

  So it was. There was nothing in it at all.

  ‘Now watch,’ said the witch, and putting the lid on again, she began singing:

  ‘Rimminy, romminy ray

  Hear the spell and obey;

  Rimminy, romminy relf

  Jump out of the basket yourself !’

  Immediately, the lid flew off and out jumped Hop, looking as pleased as could be.

  ‘Good gracious!’ gasped Jump, sitting down suddenly on a chair. ‘Where have you been, Hop?’

  ‘In the basket all the time,’ said Hop.

  ‘But you weren’t, we looked!’ said Skip.

  ‘You couldn’t have,’ said Hop, ‘or you’d have seen me!’

  ‘We did look, I tell you,’ said Skip crossly.

  ‘Be quiet,’ said the witch. ‘It’s the magic in the basket that does the trick. Now listen – I’ll lend you that basket if you’ll promise to do the trick at the party in front of the King and Queen.’

  ‘Of course we will, of course we will!’ cried the brownies. ‘But why do you lend it to us for nothing?’

  ‘Oh, just because I’m kind-hearted,’ said the witch, grinning very wide indeed. ‘But mind – when you’ve got into the basket and have vanished, and been brought back, you’ve got to offer to do the same thing with anyone else. Perhaps the King will offer to get into the basket, or the Queen, or the Princess!’

  ‘My!’ said Hop, ‘do you think they will?’

  ‘They’re almost sure to,’ said the witch. ‘So mind you let them try. But you must remember this. If any of the Royal Family get in, tap seven times, not three times, on the lid when you sing the magic verse. Three times for ordinary folk, but seven times for royalty – see?’

  ‘Yes, we’ll remember,’ promised Skip, ‘and thank you very much for lending us such a lovely trick.’

  When the witch had gone, leaving behind her the green basket with its yellow lid, the three brownies were tremendously excited. They began to plan their clothes for the next day, and spent all the afternoon and evening making them.

  Hop looked very grand in a black velvet suit with a long red cloak and peaked hat. Skip and Jump were dressed like pages and were just alike in bright green suits.

  When the party day came they all went out very early with the magic basket and hid in a nearby wood, for they didn’t want any of the brownies to see them and guess what they were going to do.

  ‘I hope they have lots of lovely things for tea,’ said Hop. ‘I’m getting very hungry.’

  ‘It will soon be time to go,’ said Skip. ‘Listen! There are the drums to say that the first guests have arrived!’

  ‘Come along then,’ said Jump. ‘We’ll arrive too!’

  ‘Now remember, I’m Twirly-wirly the Great Conjurer from the Land of Tiddlywinks,’ said Hop, ‘and you are my two assistants. Don’t forget you’ve got to be polite to me and bow each time you speak to me!’

  Off they went, all feeling a little nervous. But Hop, who was bigger than the others and rather fat, looked so grand in his red cloak, that Skip and Jump soon began to feel nobody could possibly guess their secret.

  At last they reached the Palace Gates.

  ‘Your cards,’ said the sentry to Hop, Skip, and Jump.

  ‘I am Twirly-wirly, the Great Conjurer from the Land of Tiddlywinks,’ said Hop, in such a grand voice that Skip and Jump wanted to laugh. ‘I am here to take the place of the conjurer who could not come.’

  The sentry let them pass.

  ‘Go straight up the drive,’ he said, ‘and at the top of the first flight of steps you will find the Lord High Chamberlain.’

  The three brownies went on. Hop was enjoying himself. He told the others to walk behind him and bow to him, whenever they saw him turn their way.

  ‘You’re getting a great deal too grand,’ grumbled Jump, who began to wish he was the conjurer instead of Hop, for he was carrying the basket and finding it rather heavy.

  The Lord High Chamberlain was very surprised to see them. He was even more surprised when he heard Hop telling him who he was.

  ‘Twirly-wirly, the Great Conjurer,’ he said, pretending to know all about him. ‘Dear me, what an honour to be sure! Very kind of you to have come, very kind. Pray come this way!’

  He led them to a tea table and gave Hop a chair. Skip and Jump stood behind him, and looked longingly at the cakes and jellies, tarts and custards spread out on the table in front of Hop.

  Little pages ran up and offered all the nicest things to the conjurer. He took some of each, and Skip and Jump looked on enviously.

  ‘Aren’t we going to have any?’ whispered Skip in Hop’s ear. ‘You’re not going to leave us out, are you?’

  ‘Hush!’ said Hop. ‘You are only my servants today. If you don’t keep quiet I shall keep turning round to you and you’ll have to bow till your backs ache!’

  Hop had an enormous tea. Then he announced to the Lord High Chamberlain that he would now come and do his famous trick with his magic basket, if Their Majesties the King and Queen would like to see it.

  Their Majesties at once sent a message to say they would be very pleased to see it.

  ‘Come this way,’ said the Chamberlain, and led the three brownies to where the King and Queen sat on their thrones. In front of them was a square piece of grass, and round it sat scores of fairies and gnomes, brownies and elves, all waiting to see Twirly-wirly the Great Conjurer.

  Hop stepped grandly up to the King and Queen, and bowed three times. So did Skip and Jump.

  ‘I will now do my wonderful basket trick’ said Hop in a very loud and haughty voice. Then he turned to Skip.

  ‘Bring me the basket,’ he ordered. Skip rushed forward with it in such a hurry that he tumbled over, and everyone began laughing. Jump helped him up, an
d together they picked up the magic basket.

  ‘Get into it,’ commanded Hop, pointing at Skip. Skip jumped in.

  ‘Put the lid on!’ Hop commanded Jump. Jump did so. Then Hop tapped three times on the lid and sang:

  ‘Rimminy, romminy ray

  My magic will send you away;

  Rimminy, romminy ro

  Ever so far you will go!’

  Everybody listened and watched, and wondered what was going to happen. The King and Queen bent forward to get a better view, and the little Princess Peronel stood up in her excitement.

  ‘Take the lid off !’ ordered Hop.

  Jump took the lid off. The basket was empty!

  ‘Ooh!’ said everyone in the greatest surprise. ‘Ooh! He’s gone!’

  ‘Roll the basket round for everyone to see that it’s empty,’ commanded Hop, who was now thoroughly enjoying himself.

  Jump rolled the basket round so that everyone could have a good look. Then he brought it back to Hop.

  ‘Put the lid on!’ said Hop. Jump put it on. Everybody stopped breathing, to see whatever was going to happen next.

  Hop tapped three times on the lid and sang the magic song:

  ‘Rimminy, romminy ray

  Hear the spell and obey;

  Rimminy, romminy relf,

  Jump out of the basket yourself !’

  Just as he finished, the lid flew off and out jumped Skip in his little green suit, looking as perky as anything! He capered about and bowed to everyone.

  ‘Oh look! Oh look! He’s come back again!’ shouted the fairies and brownies. ‘Oh, what a wonderful trick! Do it again, do it again!’

  Hop bowed very low. ‘Would anyone care to come and get into the basket?’ he asked. ‘I will do the trick with anyone.’

  ‘Oh let me, let me !’ cried a little silvery voice, and who should come running on the grass but the Princess Peronel!

  ‘Come back, Peronel!’ cried the King. ‘You’re not to get into that basket!’

  ‘Oh please, oh, please,’ she begged. ‘It’s my birthday and you said I could have anything I wanted.’

  ‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘You mustn’t get into that basket! Come back!’

  ‘I shall cry then!’ said Peronel, screwing up her pretty little face.