CHAPTER II: THE TOOTH WILL OUT!

A CHILDREN'S STORY

 
Nod and the Hydragon's Tooth   
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Introduction. Two, in which our little group of friends, that is, Nod the Brownie, Speck the hobbit (who is now a sulcho mushroom), Blinkum the Brownie (who was until very recently a caterpillar), and Wizwoz the inept wood wizard, are accosted by a man in a tall hat over their dangerous antics. Wizwoz again tries to put things right with his magic, with inevitable results.
 

od made his way through the wood towards the spot where he had left Wizwoz and Blinkum during the search for Speck. “This really is the limit,” he muttered to himself. He stopped suddenly. “Shhhhhh! Listen,” he said.

“I can hear it too,” squeaked Speck, “angry voices shouting. It sounds like more trouble to me.”

Nod and the hobbit-mushroom hurried towards the sound of angry voices. Soon they came to the tree where Wizwoz had carried out his magic experiment on Blinkum. There they saw the cause of all the uproar. A strange little man in a tall hat was waving his arms angrily at Blinkum and the wizard. “You’ll hear more of this!” he was shouting. “Just you wait ‘til the Society gets my report.”

“We’d best look into this,” said Nod, and he walked towards the group of figures with Speck following close behind. “Now then,” he said, emerging from the undergrowth, “what seems to be the trouble?” The little man spun 'round angrily. “I’ll tell you what the trouble is, my lad! I represent the W.S.P.C.T.B.P.E.P.W.T.!” he stormed. “And this is the worst case I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“Err, the worst case of what?” asked Nod, “and what in the names of all the Gods is the W.S.P.B.F...erm..L?..." "W.S.P.C.T.B.P.E.P.W.T.!" snapped the little man.

"That's what I said," said Nod, "what's the W.S.P.C.F.T.X...erm....whassit... when it's at home?”

The little man in the top hat approached Nod and began to jab the air in front of Nod's chest with a fat finger.“That, (jab) my friend (jab), is the Woodland Society (jab) for the Prevention of Cruelty (jab) to Trees (jab), Bushes (jab), Plants (jab) and Everything except Ptoria Weeds and Things! (jab)” he shouted.

“Why not ptoria weeds?” asked Nod, keeping his eyes on the man's finger, “What’s wrong with ptoria weeds?”

“He sat on one once!” said the man’s assistant, who was up a ladder, tying a bandage around a damaged tree branch. Everyone struggled to stifle a smile as the man continued ranting.

“Look at this poor, defenceless tree,” shouted the official of the W.S.P.C.T.B.P.E.P.W.T. “Look at it! Almost blown to splinters by this…..this wand-waving quarter wit!” He pointed angrily towards Wizwoz.

“But he’s a wizard,” explained Nod, “and when one is a wizard, anything can happen,” he continued, ruefully. “Nonsense!” yelled the little man, "Balderdash!. “This ruffian deliberately placed an unstable burning stone or something beside this poor, innocent tree and tried his utmost to blow it to sawdust! And don’t argue, I heard the explosion myself,” he sniffed.

So far, no-one had noticed that a small, ivory-coloured mushroom was standing in their midst on a pair of spindly, black legs. Suddenly, Speck spoke, “If you want my opinion,” he squeaked, “I……” Wizwoz and the little man looked down and saw Speck for the first time. “Eeeewwwww!” screeched the official, “a walking, talking mushroom! HELP!” he shrieked. “Fungus with legs! It’s witchery! Black magic! There’s evil afoot in these woods! Run for your lives before we’re all turned into ptoria weeds and things!”

His equally frightened, equally little assistant needed no second bidding. He almost fell down his ladder in his haste, and fled hot on the heels of his master trailing bandages in his wake, while the tree tore itself up by the roots and ran after them.

In a few blinks the spot was deserted except for the Brownies Nod and Blinkum, Wizwoz the wizard, an ivory-coloured mushroom and a hole in the ground where a tree used to be. “Well,” said Nod, ”I don’t think we’ll be seeing any more of Mr W.S.P.C. whassisname and his strange little tree-bandager-upping assistant. But,” he continued, “that’s only one worry off our minds.”

“What d’you mean?” asked Wizwoz. “Blinkum is a Brownie again, and all we have to do is find Speck, then everything will be back to normal…..By the way, where did this odd little mushroom thing come from?” he asked.

“That ‘odd little mushroom thing,’” replied Nod, “just happens to be Speck! I think you’d better consult your notes again.”

“Kindly explain, if you can,” said Nod, when Wizwoz had recovered from the shock of seeing Speck in his new guise, “exactly what you propose to do about this… erm… ’odd little mushroom thing’?”

“Weeeeeeell,” replied the wizard, scratching his beard, “it should be easy enough. All I have to do is…… erm…... turn him back into Speck again. Simple!”

Nod stood open mouthed at the wizard's logic.“Oh, what a good idea. Now why didn’t I think of that?” asked Nod. “How?”

“Pah!” said Wizwoz, “nothing to it. Just sit over there and watch this and prepare to be amazed!” So saying, Wizwoz sat Speck on the ground and marked a circle around him in the dirt with his finger. “Now,” he said, “just give me a blink while I think of the magic words……..AH! Now I remember.”

“Twickle, twackle, twockle, tweck,
Ivory mushroom, change to Speck.
Magic words, my spell ignite,
This time let it turn out right!”


Hardly had he finished speaking when FIZZZzzzzzz…..POP! Wizwoz himself seemed to be growing smaller and smaller. There was a sizzling noise followed by a loud POP! as Wizwoz disappeared. Nod and Blinkum stared at the ground in surprise. Wizwoz had vanished completely, and in his place was a small, white tooth, wearing closer-upper lenses and carpet slippers, standing on two very thin legs.

“Ohh, shhhhinklesticks!” piped the small white tooth. “I must have said something wrong!” Nod looked at Blinkum, whose eyes seemed to be twice their usual size, then back at the bespectacled molar. He crashed down angrily onto his hands and knees in front of the tooth. “Now look here,” he shouted, pointing, “you’re the biggest wash-out of a wizard in the whole forest! You’re nothing but an old quack. D’you hear me? A quack, I say!”

The tooth sat down and burst into tears. “I c….can’t h…help it,” it wailed. “Why was I e…ever a w…wizard? Everything I’ve ever d…done has always g…gone w…wrong.”
“Look here!” interrupted Speck, “It’s all very well you two arguing, but I’m still a talking fungus, and it’s most inconvenient, I can tell you.”

“You’re right,” agreed Nod. “Let’s go back to Wizwoz’s house and see if we can sort this mess out ourselves. The more he tries to put things right, the worse they get.”

So the little party wended its way through the wood towards the wizard’s house. “We’ll study his musty old notes,” said Nod, “and see if they contain anything that makes sense instead of rubbish!”
 


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