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The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies, Page 2

Enid Blyton

  ‘Oh dear, oh dear!’ said the King, who couldn’t bear to see Peronel cry.

  ‘You’d better have your own way then, but make haste about it!’

  Peronel jumped into the green basket, and Skip clapped on the lid. Hop remembered what the witch had told him – he must tap the lid seven times for royalty. So, very solemnly, he did so. Then he and Skip and Jump all chanted the magic rhyme together.

  ‘Rimminy, romminy ray

  My magic will send you away;

  Rimminy, romminy ro

  Ever so far you will go!’

  But, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Whatever do you think happened?

  Why, just as the magic rhyme was finished, the basket rose into the air, and sailed right away! Higher and higher it went, over the trees and over the palace, towards the setting sun.

  ‘Oh! Oh!’ cried the Queen, jumping up in terrible distress. ‘Where’s my Peronel gone to? Bring her back, quickly!’

  But Hop, Skip and Jump were just as surprised as anyone! What an extraordinary thing for the basket to do!

  ‘Arrest those conjurers!’ suddenly said the King, in an awful voice.

  Six soldiers at once ran up and clapped their hands on the brownies’ shoulders.

  ‘Now, unless you bring Peronel back at once,’ said the King, ‘you go straight to prison, and I’ll have your heads cut off in the morning!’

  ‘Oh, no, no!’ cried the brownies, very frightened indeed. ‘Please, please, we aren’t conjurers! Only just brownies!’

  ‘Nonsense!’ stormed the King. ‘Ordinary brownies can’t do tricks like that! Now then, are you going to bring Peronel back again?’

  ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ wailed Hop, big tears beginning to pour down his cheeks. ‘I’m only a naughty brownie dressed up like a conjurer, because you didn’t ask me to your party!’

  Suddenly a watching brownie gave a shout of surprise. It was Gobo. He ran up to Hop and pulled off his peaked hat and red cloak.

  ‘Why, it’s Hop!’ he cried, in astonishment. ‘Your Majesty, these brownies are Hop, Skip and Jump, the three naughty brownies of our town.’

  ‘Goodness gracious!’ said the King, in a terribly upset voice. ‘This is more serious than I thought. If they are really brownies, then they cannot bring back Peronel. But where did you get the basket from?’ he asked Hop sternly.

  Hop dried his eyes and told the King all about the witch’s visit, and how she had left the basket with them.

  ‘Oh, it’s Witch Green-eyes!’ groaned the King. ‘She’s often vowed to steal Peronel away and now she’s done it through you, you naughty, stupid little brownies.’

  ‘My goodness!’ said Hop. ‘Do you think the witch has really stolen her for always?’

  ‘Yes!’ sobbed the Queen, who was terribly distressed. ‘We shall never get her back again, the darling!’

  ‘Oh my goodness!’ said Skip, in a frightened voice.

  ‘Oh my goodness!’ wailed Jump, in a miserable voice.

  ‘Oh your goodness!’ roared the King suddenly, in a temper. ‘What do you mean, oh your goodness ! You ought to say, “Oh your badness,” you mischievous little brownies! You haven’t a bit of goodness among the three of you. And now see what you’ve done! I’ve a good mind to cut off your heads!’

  ‘Oh my goodness!’ wept Hop again. He didn’t mean to say it, but he couldn’t think of anything else.

  The King grew angrier than ever.

  ‘Where is your goodness?’ he demanded.

  ‘Yes, where is it?’ shouted everybody.

  ‘We d-d-don’t know,’ stammered the brownies in dismay.

  ‘Well, go and find it!’ stormed the King. ‘Go along! Go right out of Fairyland, and don’t come back till you’ve found your goodness that you keep talking about! Make haste before I cut off your heads!’

  ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ cried the three brownies in a great fright, and they all took to their heels and fled. Down the steps they went and down the drive, and out through the palace gates past the astonished sentries.

  Even then they didn’t stop. They rushed down the road and into the Cuckoo Wood, as if a thousand soldiers were after them!

  At last, out of breath, tired and unhappy, they sat down under a big oak tree.

  ‘Oh my goodness!’ began Hop.

  ‘Don’t be silly!’ said Skip. ‘Don’t keep saying that. We’re in a terrible, terrible fix.’

  ‘To be turned out of Fairyland!’ wept Jump. ‘Oh, what a terrible punishment! And how can we find our goodness? Of course we never shall! People don’t have goodness they can find!’

  ‘It’s just the King’s way of banishing us from Fairyland altogether,’ wept Hop. ‘He knows we’ll never be able to go back. And, oh dear, whatever’s happened to poor little Peronel?’

  What indeed? None of the brownies knew, and they were very unhappy.

  ‘The only thing to do now is to go and see if we can find Peronel and rescue her,’ said Jump. ‘We’ll sleep here for the night, and start off in the morning, on our way to Witchland.’

  So all night long they slept beneath the big oak tree, and dreamed of horrid magic baskets, and packets of goodness that would keep running away from them.

  Their Adventure in the Cottage Without a Door

  Next morning the brownies set out on their journey. They soon passed the borders of Fairyland and found themselves in the Lands Outside. For a long, long time they walked, and met nobody at all.

  ‘I am getting hungry!’ sighed Hop.

  ‘So am I!’ said Skip.

  ‘Well, look! There’s a cottage,’ said Jump. ‘We’ll go and ask if we can have something to eat. Have you got any money, Hop?’

  Hop felt in his pockets.

  ‘Not a penny,’ he answered.

  ‘Oh dear, nor have I,’ said Skip.

  ‘What are we to do then?’ asked Jump. ‘Perhaps there’s someone kind living in the cottage, who will give us some breakfast for nothing.’

  The three brownies went up to the little cottage. It was surrounded by trees and its front door was painted a very beautiful bright blue.

  Hop knocked loudly.

  ‘Who is knocking at my door?’ asked a deep voice.

  ‘Three hungry brownies,’ answered Hop boldly.

  ‘Come in!’ said the voice.

  Hop opened the door and the brownies went in.

  Clap! The door swung to behind them, and made them jump. Hop looked round to see who had shut the door.

  But to his enormous surprise, he could see no door at all – and yet they had just come in by one.

  ‘Good gracious!’ he cried. ‘Wherever has the door gone!’

  ‘He, he!’ chuckled a deep voice. ‘It’s gone where you won’t find it! I’ve got you prisoners now. Three nice little servants to work for me all day!’

  Hop, Skip and Jump looked most astonished. This was a fine sort of welcome!

  Then they saw an old wizard, huddled up by the cottage fire, laughing at them.

  ‘We’re not your prisoners, so please let us go,’ said Hop.

  ‘All right, go!’ laughed the wizard.

  But search as they would, the brownies couldn’t find any door at all. There were blank walls all round them. Then they knew that they were prisoners indeed.

  ‘Now, listen,’ said the wizard. ‘I will give you your meals, and in return you must work for me. I have a great many spells I want copied out. Sit down at that table and begin work at once.’

  The three brownies obeyed. They knew that it was best not to anger such a powerful wizard.

  He brought them each a great book of magic, and set it down beside them.

  ‘Begin at page one,’ he said, ‘and if you make me a fair copy of all the books, without one single mistake, perhaps I will let you go.’

  ‘Oh dear!’ groaned Jump. ‘Why, the books have got about a thousand pages each.’

  The three brownies set to work, and very difficult it was too, for the wizard wrote so badly that they could
hardly read his writing in the big magic books.

  All day they wrote, and all the wizard gave them to eat was a large turnip, which tasted just like India-rubber. The brownies kept looking round to see if the door came back again, but alas, it didn’t.

  That night, when the wizard was snoring on his bed, the three brownies began whispering together.

  ‘We must escape somehow!’ said Hop.

  ‘But how?’ whispered Skip and Jump.

  None of them could think of a plan at all.

  ‘It’s no good thinking of escaping until we find out about that disappearing door!’ groaned Hop. ‘The wizard’s barred the window right across. We’d better go to sleep.’

  So off to sleep they went, and were wakened up very early the next morning by the wizard, who wanted his breakfast.

  After that they had to sit down and copy out the magic books again. It was dreadfully dull work.

  But suddenly Hop found he was copying out something that made his heart beat with excitement. It was about Disappearing Doors.

  ‘A Disappearing Door will come back if a wizard’s green stick is swung three times in the air and dropped,’ said the book. Hop’s hand shook as he copied it out.

  ‘If only the wizard’s stick is green, and I could get hold of it whilst he’s asleep!’ he thought.

  He turned round to look at the stick. Yes, it was green, sure enough – but the wizard was holding it tightly in his hand.

  ‘But when he’s asleep, he’ll put it down!’ thought Hop, longing to tell Skip and Jump what he had discovered.

  That night he watched the wizard carefully – but oh, how disappointed he was to see that he went to bed with his stick still held in his hand.

  ‘I’d be sure to wake him if I tried to get his stick!’ thought Hop, and he whispered to Skip and Jump all that he had thought of during the day.

  They were most excited. ‘Oh, do let’s try to get his stick!’ whispered Skip. ‘If only we could get out of this horrid cottage!’

  ‘And if only we could go back to dear old Fairyland!’ whispered Jump, with tears in his eyes.

  Now Hop was the bravest of the brownies, and he couldn’t bear to see Jump crying.

  ‘I’ll go and see if I can possibly get the stick!’ he said. ‘Stay here and don’t make a sound.’

  Then the brave little brownie crept quietly across the floor till he reached the wizard’s bed.

  ‘Snore – snore!’ went the wizard. ‘Snore – snore!’

  Carefully, Hop put up his hand and felt in the bedclothes for the green stick. But oh my! No sooner did he catch hold of it, than what do you think happened?

  Why, that stick jumped straight out of bed by itself and began to chase Hop all round the room. Poor Hop began to yell in fright. That woke the wizard up. He sat up in bed and chuckled.

  ‘He, he,’ he laughed, ‘so you were trying to steal my stick, were you! Well, well! You won’t do it again in a hurry!’

  Poor Hop was running all over the place trying to get out of the way of the stick, which gave him the biggest chase he’d ever had in his life.

  ‘Come back, stick!’ at last said the wizard, and the stick jumped back into bed with him. Hop ran over to the others.

  ‘This all comes of our last naughty trick at the King’s Palace,’ he sobbed. ‘If only we could go back to Brownie Town, I’d never be bad again!’

  After that the brownies knew it was no good trying to get the stick away from the wizard. They were much too afraid of it.

  ‘We must think of something else,’ sighed Skip.

  Each night the brownies whispered together, but they couldn’t think of any plans at all. Then one day the wizard had a visitor.

  He was a red goblin, and the ugliest little fellow you could think of. He didn’t come in by the vanished door, nor by the window, so the brownies thought he must have jumped down the chimney.

  ‘Good morning,’ he said to the wizard. ‘Have you those spells you were going to give me?’

  ‘They are not ready yet,’ answered the wizard, so humbly and politely that the brownies pricked up their ears.

  ‘Oh, ho,’ they thought, ‘this red goblin must be someone more powerful than the wizard, for the wizard seems quite frightened of him!’

  ‘Not ready!’ growled the goblin. ‘Well, see that they are ready by tomorrow, or I’ll spirit you away to the highest mountain in the world.’

  The wizard shivered and shook, and told the goblin he would be sure to have the spells ready by the next day.

  ‘Mind you do,’ said the goblin, and jumped straight up the chimney.

  The brownies stared open-mouthed. Then Hop had a wonderful idea. He turned to the wizard.

  ‘That goblin is much more clever than you, isn’t he?’ he said.

  ‘Pooh!’ growled the wizard, angrily. ‘I can do things he can’t do.’

  ‘Can you really?’ asked Hop, opening his eyes very wide. ‘What can you do?’

  ‘Well, I can make myself as big as a giant!’ said the wizard.

  ‘That’s a wonderful thing,’ said Hop. ‘Let’s see you do it!’

  ‘Yes, let’s,’ said Skip and Jump, seeing that Hop was following out an idea he had suddenly thought of.

  The wizard muttered a few words, and rubbed his forehead with some ointment out of a purple box. All at once he began to grow enormously big. Bump! His head touched the ceiling, so the wizard sat down on the floor. Still he went on growing, until once again his head touched the ceiling, and he filled the cottage from wall to wall. The three brownies had to jump on the window-sill to get out of his way.

  ‘Wonderful! Wonderful!’ cried Hop, clapping his hands. ‘You’re a giant now!’

  The wizard looked pleased. He muttered something else and quickly grew smaller, till he reached his own size again.

  ‘He, he!’ he said. ‘That will teach you to say that the goblin is more clever than me!’

  ‘Oh, but perhaps the goblin can make himself smaller than you can!’ said Hop.

  The wizard snorted crossly.

  ‘That he can’t!’ he said. ‘Why, I can make myself small enough to sit in that pudding-basin!’

  ‘Surely not!’ said Hop, Skip and Jump together.

  ‘I’ll just show you!’ said the wizard. He rubbed some ointment on his forehead out of a yellow box. At once he began to shrink!

  Smaller and smaller he grew until he was the size of a doll.

  ‘Put me on the table!’ he squeaked to the brownies. Skip put him there. He jumped into the pudding-basin and sat down.

  ‘Wonderful! Wonderful!’ cried Hop. ‘You can’t grow any smaller, of course.

  ‘That I can!’ squeaked the wizard.

  ‘Small enough to sit in a tea-cup?’ asked Hop.

  The wizard rubbed some more ointment on his forehead. He grew smaller still, and jumped into a tea-cup.

  ‘Simply marvellous!’ said Hope, Skip, and Jump.

  ‘I can grow smaller still,’ squeaked the wizard.

  ‘What, small enough to creep into this tiny bottle?’ asked Hop, pretending to be greatly surprised, and holding out a very small bottle.

  The wizard laughed, and at once became very tiny indeed – so tiny that he was able to creep through the neck of the little bottle and sit in it easily.

  Then, quick as a flash, Hop picked up the cork and corked up the bottle!

  ‘Ha!’ he cried, in the greatest excitement. ‘Now I’ve got you! Now you can’t get out! Now you can’t get out!’

  The wizard shouted and yelled in his bottle, and struggled and kicked against the cork, but it wasn’t a bit of good, not a bit.

  ‘You’re a wicked wizard,’ said Skip, ‘and now you’ve got your punishment!’

  ‘Where’s the wizard’s stick?’ asked Jump, looking round. ‘Oh, there it is, leaning by his chair. Perhaps the wizard is powerless now and his stick will be harmless to us!’

  He picked it up. It did nothing at all, but behaved just like an ordinary s

  ‘Now to get out of here!’ said Jump.

  He swung the green stick three times into the air, and then let it fall on the ground.

  At once the blue door appeared in one of the walls.

  ‘Hurray!’ cried Skip, and flung it open. ‘Now we’re free again!’

  But, dear me! What a surprise they got when they ran out of the cottage – for, instead of being among the trees in the wood, it now stood on a sandy beach, and in front of the three brownies stretched a calm blue sea!

  ‘Good gracious!’ cried the brownies. ‘What an extraordinary thing! The cottage must have been travelling for days!’

  They looked out over the blue sea. Not a sail was to be seen.

  ‘Well, I don’t want to go exploring along this part of the country any more,’ said Jump, ‘in case we meet any more unpleasant wizards. I wish we could sail away on the sea!’

  ‘I know,’ cried Hop, ‘let’s get the table out of the cottage, and turn it upside down!’

  ‘And use the table-cloth for a sail!’ shouted Skip. ‘And the magic stick for a mast!’

  So into the cottage they went again, and dragged out the big table. They turned it upside down on the water and it floated beautifully. Then they set up the mast and fastened the table-cloth for a sail.

  ‘Bring some of that purple and yellow ointment!’ called Hop to Skip. ‘It might come in useful!’

  So the two boxes of ointment were fetched, and Hop put them into his pocket. Then, picking up the bottle with the angry little wizard inside, he pushed off their table-boat, jumped on it, and there were the brownies safe and sound on the calm, blue sea.

  A tiny little breeze took them along, and they watched the wizard’s cottage grow smaller and smaller in the distance.

  ‘We’ll keep the wizard with us,’ said Hop. ‘He might come in useful somehow, and so long as he’s corked in the bottle, he’s quite harmless.’

  So he slipped the little bottle into his pocket along with the boxes of ointment.

  On and on they went, rocking softly over the sea, till one by one they grew drowsy, and soon in the afternoon sun they fell asleep, whilst their strange little boat went sailing dreamily on.

  Their Adventure in the Castle of the Red Goblin