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The Goblin's



It was a fine and sunny day and Mr Smith was sitting on a seat in Kensington Gardens. He was looking across the green grass to where, between the trees he could see the Round Pond, and as he gazed at the distant water he wished he could sit idly there all the afternoon instead of going back to work in a stuffy office. His eyelids drooped and he had perhaps dozed for a minute or two, when a voice beside him said, "Good-day." He replied sleepily without stirring, "Good-day."
"Its nice here isn' it?" said the voice.
"Indeed it is," replied Mr Smith. "And the pity of it is that I must soon be going."
"Back to that silly old office," said the voice.
"God bless my soul!" cried Mr Smith. "How do you know? Where are you? Is it someone I know?"
"Only me," said the voice.
Mr Smith looked round in surprise, to right and left, in front and behind. Then he felt a hand plucking at his sleeve, and looking down he saw upon the seat besides him a tiny little man.
"Who are you?" he asked in alarm. "Have I gone mad? There cannot be anyone as small as you. You're not really there."
"Oho, but yes I am," said the little man. "I suppose you don't believe in goblins?"
"Of course I don't," said Mr Smith. "Nor does anyone else. Not in the twentieth century anyway."


Scottish Recipes: Peppermint Creams

Peppermint creams have been made for generations in Scotland (and, no doubt, elsewhere too!)

Recipe Ingredients:

White from one large egg or two small eggs
8 oz icing sugar (one cup of frosting if you live in the US)
Peppermint essence or peppermint oil

Preparation Method:

Beat the egg white in a bowl with a fork and sieve (sift) in 6 oz of icing sugar (frosting). Mix well with a wooden spoon and slowly sieve in more icing sugar, half a tablespoon at a time until you have made a stiff paste. Shake a little icing sugar on the work surface and empty the paste onto this. Add š drops of peppermint essence or oil and gently knead it together with your fingers until you have a smooth paste. Have a taste of a small piece and if the flavour is not strong enough, add a few more drops of the peppermint.

Rub icing sugar on a rolling pin and roll the paste to quarter of an inch (0.5cm) thick. Cut out individual peppermint creams with a cutter - a round one or any other shape you have handy. Cover a plate with non-stick parchment or greaseproof paper (vegetable parchment) and place the peppermint shapes on the paper. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight in a cool place (but not the fridge). Store in small paper cases in an airtight tin.

I say a big thankyou to the Glasgow Guide, who's Peppermint Creams turned out the nicest.


This story is dedicated to
Miss Brooke Sexton,
my young friend in Canada.

If you would like to learn more about Autism and see how wonderfully Brooke deals with her goblins go to:


Seligors Castle the home of Diddily Dee Dots Stories for Sleepy Children
Autism Every Day
Copyright © Autism Speaks - http://www.brookesexton.com/

PLEASE COME TO;http://seligorscastle.zoomshare.com/.30html

 Of Peppermint Larks and Goblins.
          :-The Golden Age of Mallie-Ann Sparks was filled with dolls and Peppermint Larks.

By Michael Willowdown

 Of Peppermint Larks and Goblins.

          :-The Golden Age of Mallie-Ann Sparks was filled with dolls and Peppermint Larks.

By Michael Willowdown

Chapter One

Pollie and Mollie, Edward and Gollie took it in turns to have birthdays and sometimes, as the moonlight cast the shadow of the giant tree in the garden over her bedroom walls, they would get married, have babies and sometimes even die.
Once, Gollie got very frightened by the shadow of the tree and the goblins running up and down its branches and hid.
            Mallie-Ann promised to keep his peppermint lark until the next evening for him, smacking Edward smartly on the paw when he tried to steal it. She even had a crossword for Pollie and Mollie who seemed, for all their polished charm and good manners; to let their soft button eyes stray in its direction far too often for their own lady-likeEdward teddy good... beneath Mallie-Ann, despite the taunting of Edward Bear (Even the promise of a peppermint lark, covered in chocolate and wrapped in glittering green tinsel foil, would not shift the normally cheerful Gollie from his hiding place.
In the end, to prevent the lark becoming too much an object of greed in that, she decided to eat it herself. It was the only real solution, she told herself - otherwise who knows what mischief her dollies might get up to while she slept. Why, they might even fight over it!  
Silly old Gollie – fancy being afraid of shadows. Undoubtedly he would have quite forgotten all about the lark by morning... after all he only had straw for brains!
All the same, what if they’re really were goblins running up and down the branches of the old tree? There were certainly lots of very overgrown and weedy corners in the garden. Harmless enough during the day of course - but who knew what came out of them at night?
Sucking the peppermint lark with thoughtful deliberation, Mallie scolded Pollie and Mollie and gave Edward a somewhat harsh flick on the nose. She pulled back the blanket a mite and peered suspiciously at the shadows weaving mysteriously over the walls and ceiling. Perhaps she should get out of bed and draw the curtains?Pollie and Mollie
But then it would be very dark - and if there WERE any goblins she would rather be able to see them in the moonlight than NOT see them in the dark!
Groping under her pillow, she found Gollie's old stuffed hand and took it in her own, reassuring him gently and telling him that tomorrow it could be HIS birthday and perhaps he might have TWO peppermint larks as a special treat...
Outside, an owl hooted.
Did owls eat goblins? Mallie-Ann wasn't sure but she thought perhaps they might.
She pulled the blanket back up over her head. Pollie, Mollie and Edward snuggled up to her chest and eventually Gollie slipped from under the pillow and nestled comfortably under her arm. Downstairs she heard the old grandfather clock chiming midnight.
Goblins in the trees
            Outside in the garden, there was quite a ruckus going. Old Gobby Goblin had just discovered that one of his most prized possessions; a yet unopened box of peppermint larks had been stolen from his hideaway by two mischievous brownies. He was furious, more so because he knew that they had access to any amount of the delicious candy as they lived in the basement of the house, just below the kitchen area, whilst he had had to risk life and limb to get past the vicious house pets to get his loot.
To add insult to injury, he had been keeping it for a special occasion, his birthday no less, so that he could eat his belly full of them, and now here were these two rascals with a trail ofThe other Brownie thief, he, he, he. opened wrappers strewn around the place, laughing at him. He was furious.
He banged his fists against the branch of an old tree, causing a cascade of leaves and small berries and his howls of rage could be heard for miles around.
The two brownies were laughing uncontrollably, high-pitched sounds shattering the night air.
           In her bed Mallie-Ann snuggled even closer to her dolls.
She even thought that she should go and bring the huge stuffed bear Osito and her spotted dog Dalmy that were in a corner of her room, but reluctant to leave the safety of her bed, she convinced herself that they would be more useful there, guarding her room from any intruders.
When she felt Gollie’s shivering, she squeezed his paw and whispered, “It’s okay Gollie, it’s just the night animals howling, and the wind rustling through the trees.”
The little brownies were cheerful flat-faced hairy little creatures, very attached to the family in whose house they lived. They had become quite indignant when they saw Gobby steal into the house one night, sprinkling some sort of magical dust over the sleeping dog and cat, head straight for the cupboards where the different candies were stashed, and make off with the new fairly large box of peppermint larks … Mallie-Ann’s favourites.
It would be too much for them to retrieve the box, and bring it back to the house undetected, but they were determined that he would not enjoy them either, and so they planned how they could get into his hideaway and eat as many of the candies as they possibly could, leaving the wrappers so that he would know that he had been robbed.
The owl hooted again. Really he did not understand this fascination with peppermint larks and chocolate - he had tried the latter once and found it a sticky and distasteful substance that clung to his beak and made him feel quite thirsty. As for larks - he preferred the flesh and blood variety! Still, it was amusing to watch the antics of the mischievous brownies and the consternation of old Gobby Goblin - what a frightful face the fellow pulled! But what on earth was he up to now - no good by the looks of it... a trapdoor had opened in the earth next to the old tree and out of it climbed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR more grumpy looking goblins, not any old goblins mind but village elders decorated with fish-heads and old chicken bones. Pooh - what a stink!
They did not seem at all pleased at being roused by Gobby from their slumber (highly placed goblins such as these liked to have at least 16 hours of sleep per day) but once they grasped the situation they barked indignantly and took to stamping their feet on the ground, muttering nasty goblin curses and shaking their fists. There's nothing goblins dislike worse than being cheated of their purloined comestibles by house brownies - such cheerful and polite creatures... and to think that some authorities even claimed that they and goblins came from the same stock! An honest goblin would never consent to live inside a house full of humans and even do household chores for them such as clearing away cobwebs at night and keeping evil dreams at bay. Why, it was positively sickening.
And now, old Gobby Goblin informed them, not only had the brownies belonging to 22 Cheshire Apartments stolen back the peppermint larks that Gobby had gone to such great trouble to filch but also they had eaten them themselves almost in front of his very snout! (Actually Gobby had told the Elders that he had in fact intended to give them to the Elders - but of course none of them believed that for an instant!).
Action was required - of that there could be no doubt. Now goblins are usually the laziest of creatures but once their minds are made up they take a lot of dissuading.
As Murgatroyd Owl looked on two of the Elders disappeared briefly back down their trap door again but soon came back followed by the most enormous lady Goblin, fairly bristling with bags and pouches holding all manner of wicked implements and devices. Bertha was one of the meanest Goblins ever!!!
In one hand she had a big meat-cleaver and in the other she carried a noose... it was Beautiful Bertha, also known as the Exterminator!
By just whose standards exactly she had acquired her soubriquet is not certain. I'm reliably informed (please don't ask me how) that even the mirrors in her own subterranean den are permanently covered with dustsheets but that is neither here nor there.
What it did mean, however, was that the goblins meant business and they had gone for the professionals...
Bertha was the number one exterminator in Hollow Land and domestic pets were her specialty! Her bags and pouches contained all manner of dusts, philtres, powders and potions guaranteed to dispatch domestic dogs and cats in all manner of horrible ways.
And beside her infamous noose she also had a wide selection of hooks and wickedly bladed tools for pulling the eyes and stuffing out of teddy bears and stuffed toys!
No-body messed with Beautiful Bertha!
Clearing her many-jowled throat and scratching the hairy wattles between her fourth and fifth chins for good luck Bertha uttered a horrible goblin prayer to Hecate and danced a little jig that woke up several families of rabbits, moles and a solitary old crocodile living nearby (he had escaped from a zoo ten years earlier and lived a furtive existence in some tall elephant reeds growing wild on an island in the lake of the nearby park, coming out at early dawn and dusk to gobble up what ducks and other unfortunate migrating birds he might find - only one Park Keeper knew of his existence but he and the old croc had long since formed a sort of friendship and not infrequently played games of chess and Pictionary together).
Dropping to all four Bertha proceeded to sniff the ground. Yes, there it was alright - the unmistakable stench of brownies: a pleasant enough smell to you or me, something like a cross between baked potatoes, old woolly clothes and a slight whiff of furniture polish, but absolutely detestable to goblins!
Selecting a wicked looking darning needle from her belt and pinning back her hair from out of her glowering eyes she proceeded along the ground at a nifty pace (still on all fours), followed by the elders and, last of all, old Gobby Goblin, snuffling and wheezing asthmatically to himself.
At length they came to a corner of the garden where an old beech tree supported the ruins of a very old tree-house where Mallie-Ann's father had once played as a young boy and later (although Mallie-Ann knew nothing of this) he had often courted her mother-to-be, reading her poetry from different parts of the world and tempting her with candied roses and, yes, peppermint larks...
Up in the old tree-house the watching brownies grew silent and wondered what might happen next...
Meanwhile, Mallie-Ann, her throat extremely ticklish, was creeping nervously downstairs to get a drink of water from the kitchen, Gollie clutched under her arm. She was just replacing her glass on the draining board beside the sink when the back kitchen door creaked ever so In the kitchen getting a drink of water.slightly and started opening slowly inwards... Gollie saw a green scaled hand and arm come around the side of the door and tried to shout to alert Mallie-Ann but he was tucked up tight again beneath her arm and he simply couldn't get his mouth open - never easy at the best of times, with it being stitched up, but quite impossible altogether covered as it was now by the sleeve of her dressing gown!
Mallie-Ann turned from the kitchen to make her way back to her room when the ugliest creature she had ever seen confronted her. A small misshapen body, and red eyes set in a grotesque face.
The whole ‘thing’ was covered in a rough green ‘skin’ for want of a better word. Mallie-Ann raised her hands to her face and in so doing dropped poor Gollie on the floor.
Poor Gollie he was so, so frightened.A bony hand reached out towards her face, but not before she let out and ear piercing scream. Gollie was screaming too, inside his head, but of course no sound came forth. Out of nowhere four equally ugly creatures appeared, followed by a female version of them, all muttering and jabbering in some strange tongue.  Mallie-Ann felt sure that she was going to die, and could only look at Gollie with eyes that were wide with fear. “Oh Gollie” she cried, “I’m so sorry!”
The stench of the ‘thing’ holding her was unbearable, and Mallie-Ann felt herself beginning to gag. He hurriedly handed her over to the ‘female,’ whose smell was just as revolting, and began giving what appeared to be instructions.
Her retching sounds seemed to propel them into action.
To her amazement, they clambered onto the kitchen counters and began raiding the shelves where her mother kept all the candies and treats. Boxes and packages were being thrown all over the place, and a few were passed to the creature that had first seized her.
It appeared to Mallie-Ann that for some strange reason the focus was on the boxes of chocolate covered peppermint larks.
Suddenly she had a babble of smaller voices and was astounded to see two, no four, no at least a dozen small hairy beings coming towards them. Unexplainably she felt no sense of dread at their approach. Though their faces at first glance were belligerent and angry, when their gaze fell on her, their expression changed to one of near gentleness, and something akin to a smile lit up their countenances. Mallie-Ann felt that help had arrived, and she was even more convinced of this when one of them picked up the shivering Gollie and put him gently on the kitchen table, patting him reassuringly as he did so.Goblin Korrigan's
The first group seemed taken aback by the arrival of this lot, and Mallie-Ann heard the ‘woman thing’ as she thought of her hiss ‘Hurry up you fools, the brownies are here, and there are probably a dozen more on the way.”
She then shoved Mallie-Ann to the ground, and gathering some of the boxes that had been discarded, she was about to leave when she spied Gollie on the table. She grabbed him up too, shaking him in front of the terrified Mallie-Ann as she threatened,
“If anyone follows us, you’ll be picking him up in pieces.”
The threads that held Gollie’s mouth together were actually splitting open, he was shaking so much.
Mallie-Ann was crouched on the floor whimpering, but when she saw how roughly the ‘woman’ had handled Gollie, she was filled with rage, and jumped at her, biting hard on a rather large scaly leg.
Bonzo the dog came tearing in from somewhere and joined in too.“Ugh, ” she spluttered, sure now that she was going to be sick all over the kitchen floor, but the sudden attack had, had the desired effect.
She had heard the larger creatures calling the thing  “Bertha”, and as she sank her teeth into the smelly leg a second time, she shouted “Let go of my Gollie, you horrid beast, take that!” Bertha was caught completely unawares, and almost lost her balance, and as she struggled to right herself, a shower of boxes, and amongst them Gollie, came tumbling to the floor.
Out of the corner of her eye Mallie-Ann saw the other goblins disappear beneath a tumult of little brown bodies and heard their cries and growls of outrage. Bonzo the dog came tearing in from somewhere and started to join in too, nipping at the goblin's heels and barking excitedly.
Nor was he alone - from upstairs came Osito the stuffed bear and her spotted dog Dalmy (also stuffed). the Brownies were making more plans to defeat the Goblins
"At 'em lads!" shouted one of the brownies with a wide grin on his face. "I told you they was up to no good", he added to one of his companions, busily wrestling a snarling goblin to the ground. "Its just as well we decided to follow them after that big Bertha almost sniffed us out in the tree-house... fortunately the anti-goblin incense stick you lit put her off the scent!" Look out, here's a load more of them..."
         In no time at all the entire kitchen was a swirling maelstrom of fighting, and struggling bodies. Cereal boxes, cutlery, plates and pans were flying everywhere and brownies and goblins alike were slipping and sliding on overturned milk, washing-up liquid and half a trifle from the fridge.

 Chapter Two

one of the Brownies who stole Gobby's Lark
Bonzo, Osito and Dalmy were enjoying themselves immensely... Osito had taken it upon
himself to tackle the green-skinned monster that Mallie-Ann later found out was a sort of wild rhododendron troll all the way from Nepal.
 "Oh dear", thought the little girl, "what an horrible mess the kitchen is in - Mother will not be happy at all!"
Indeed, she could not understand why no adult had come to investigate the awful ruckus-taking place.
Father was away at the northern plantation of course and would not be back for several days but there was still old Jeremiah the gardener.
Who slept in a cubby-hole under the stairs, the two-maids Harriet and Hildebrandt, and of course, her mother... were they under some sort of spell, Mallie-Ann wondered or, an even worse thought struck her, might they even now be dead, slain by these horrid creatures of the Night!
It was all Mallie-Ann could do not to be crushed underfoot as arms and legs and heads and hooves and tails whipped and thrashed all around her. One minute the wide snarling maw of Hidious looking Troll tried to bite off her nosethe hideous troll loomed in front of her face, threatening to bite her nose off, but then it was dragged swiftly down as Osito grappled the monster from behind and Bonzo sank his teeth into one of its shanks.
Mallie-Ann stumbled on a pat of butter and the next minute she was under the kitchen table where one of the brownies was rolling over and over with a goblin. She cowered against one of the table legs for a moment but then, overcome with rage at her own cowardice, grabbed the handle of a frying pan as it went skittering past on the floor and bashed the goblin smartly over the head with it!
For a moment the horrid creature took no notice whatsoever but then a glazed look came into its eyes and it fell back unconscious! "Well done, Mallie-Ann," said the brownie and flashed her a wide amiable smile. "Now just you stay put here a while and we'll have these rascals sorted out in no time... they've been getting too big for their boots recently and need to be taught a good lesson!"
As quickly as the shenanigans had begun they were over... one minute the fight was in full swing, the next, it seemed, the goblins had been routed and were fleeing out of the kitchen doors fast as their legs would carry them, tails (those that had them) tucked between their hairy buttocks. Bonzo and Dalmy flew after them, nipping and yapping furiously!
The Brownies were cheering and patting themselves on the back.The brownies (there were now at least a dozen of them) were patting each other on the back, grinning widely as they inspected each other’s injuries and black eyes. None of them seemed any seriously worse for wear. The same could not be said for the kitchen! Mallie-Ann looked around in dismay at the chaos and carnage and burst into tears. Even when a kindly lady brownie put an arm around her shoulder and offered her a peppermint lark (the floor was liberally strewn with them) she was unable to do anything but sob... until a horrible thought struck her and she leapt up at once and began staring around wildly this way and that. And the terrible truth struck her... the goblins had beenGollie is taken by the Goblins
“They’ve taken Gollie,” wailed Mallie-Ann, “he must be so scared, he needs me to look after him! Oh Gollie,” she sobbed for the second time that night “I’m so very sorry!” Osito and Dalmy huddled together in a corner, all the fight suddenly gone from them. Bonzo was still barking furiously when Marble Cat emerged from somewhere outside, yawning as she said, “What’s all the commotion about? I was having the strangest dream, frightening really, about weird looking creatures and a tremendous scuffle,” she picked her way daintily though the mess and leapt atop a counter top, looking at the brownies suspiciously. What on earth really happened here, and who are these people?” 
 One brownie stepped forward from the group and bowing low said “I’m Rufus, the leader of this group. We’re called brownies and we live in the basement of your home. We don’t often show ourselves but I’m sure you sometimes seen some mess that has been miraculously cleaned up, or some chore that has been left undone, (he winked at Mallie-Ann, whoHelpful Brownies was now whimpering), suddenly finished, we are the ones who help out. And as for you Bonzo, who do you think pulled that huge dog off of you last month, just before he nearly chewed your ear off, or MC, who do you think shooed that furious bird off last week, why he would have plucked your eye right out of its socked if Ras (here he pointed to a smaller brownie whose hair was somewhat matted) had not pelted him with pebbles.” He turned to Mallie-Ann saying gently,
” Don’t cry little one, the goblins sprinkled sleeping powder on Bonzo, MC and the rest of the household before they entered here. They’ve done the same to Gollie so that he would not resist. But little do they know that we sprayed them with fluorescent dust that lasts for days, so they’ll be glowing like neon lights in the dark. Go back to bed, and when you awake Gollie will be back in bed with you. Hurry, because even now Pollie and Mollie are wondering where you’ve gone.”
Reluctantly, Mallie-Ann accompanied by Osito and Dalmy, who were instructed to stand guard over turned to go back upstairs. They growled their understanding. “Thank you Rufus,” she murmured,” please bring Gollie back to me, I’m the only one who can soothe him when he is nervous, and that’s almost all the time. If he seems scared when you find him, squeeze his paw, that always works.” That said, the trio left the kitchen and went upstairs.

Rufus turned to his little band of brownies, which were already clearing up the mess that was all over the kitchen. ”Hurry up,” he said; we have a lot to do before the night is over. Bonzo, MC, can we count on you for your help?”
The two animals barked and meowed their commitment. “Well,” said Rufus, I knew that you two would rise to the occasion, here’s what I have in mind.”
He got no further when the kitchen door was pushed open, and in came Mallie-Ann. She had taken off her nightclothes and was dressed for action. A thick sweater to keep out the cold, a cap pulled low over her forehead, sturdy shoes and thick socks on her feet and a pair of faded denims. “I had to come back” she said, “Dalmy and Osito really obey only me, and they understood that Gollie would need to see me when he is found, otherwise he would probably never get over this.

Pollie and Mollie are both fast asleep. Please can I come?” Rufus was a caring brownie and
realized that the child would probably not sleep a wink anyway, so he agreed, with the condition that she would exactly what she was told to do, no routed, yes - but they had not gone without exacting vengeance, for search as she might, high and low, there was absolutely no sign of Gollie anywhere... the fleeing goblins had taken him as a hostage... questions asked. Mallie-Ann readily agreed.
He turned to Ras”Do you remember exactly how to get to Gobby’s hideout?” he asked. Ras nodded, his locks bouncing as he did so, “like the back of hand I Man,” he said. Ras liked to use Rasta terms every now and then, just to show off what a ‘cool’ brownie he was.  “Good,” said Rufus, “because if I know that wily good for nothing greedy goblin, he’s not going to entrust those larks to anyone else. He’s going straight to his place and maybe post a few guards outside the entrance, and eat himself sick. What’s the big deal about these larks anyway?”
“They’re really quite delicious,” piped up Mallie, “why I eat loads of them myself, sometimes until I have a tummy ache. That’s why my Mum keeps them on a high shelf.” She added shamefacedly.
”You can have as many as you’d like. All my dolls love them, especially Bonzo the dog came tearing in from somewhere and joined in too.Gollie; even Bonzo and MC enjoy them once in a while.” Rufus and the other brownies smiled indulgently at her, as both Bonzo and MC upon hearing their names sidled up to her and lay at her feet. “Maybe we’ll try them after all this is over, “said Rufus, ‘but here’s the plan.”
Its simple enough - we follow those duppy sneaks, beat 'em black and blue and rescue the Gollie bruddah!" Ras grinned and gave Rufus a hi-five. "Right on, my man! Follow me brethren – it’s about time thoseFarmer Jossup's farm and old windmill
Rufus stroked his little beard thoughtfully and a look of doubt came over his face. "You might well be right", he said at last, "but can we take the chance that you're not and miss them altogether? Don’t forget, they have the Exterminator with them and the longer we leave poor Gollie with them and her the more likely something nasty will happen to him..."
Hearing this Mallie-Ann shuddered and whimpered softly until Bonzo nudged her gently with his head and started licking her hand... then she felt a rough tickling on her other hand. It was Dalmy - despite being told by his mistress to stay behind and guard the house he had snook out after her. She didn't have the heart now to send him back but was relieved that at least Osito would be there should Pollie and Mollie or any of the other toys wake up... although Rufus assured her that the spells the goblins had put over the household would last until morning at least, by which time the youngest brownies that remained would have cleaned up all the mess and made everything quite spic and span again.
"Lets split up," he said "I can run on ahead with Bonzo and Dalmy and a few of the brownies and investigate the windmill and we can try to gain access to the goblin's tunnels from that end.
There are so many tunnelsThe rest of you can go with Ras and Rufus and Mallie-Ann down through Gobby Goblin's old trap-door and follow them that way... but do be careful. With luck we can trap them halfway between here and the windmill and they won't know what’s hit 'em! But there are miles and miles of tunnels down there; will you be able to follow their scent? I expect everything down there stinks pretty much and even though they're fluorescent the tunnels will undoubtedly twist and turn so much you won't be able to see in front of you more than a few yards at best!
"Don't you worry about that," piped up Marble Cat. "I've got their scent alright and will be able to follow it - it isn't only dogs who make good trackers you know... although I'm made of marble much of the time when I do become flesh and blood I like a bit of fish and those filthy goblins have been stealing the old fish-heads that Widow Mawkins leaves outside her door for me at night... I've been itching for a chance to repay them!"
And so, as Bonzo and Dalmy loped off over the fields with Rufus and a handful of eager brownies, the rest of the crew, led by Marble Cat, made their way to old Gobby Goblin's rotten trap door.
A Pumpkin LightIt was still open; the goblins had been in a hurry!
 As they passed a young brownie they had left behind in the tree-house signalled with a pumpkin lantern that the goblins had indeed passed down that way and looking like a bunch of scalded cats! When Ras translated this for Mallie-Ann Marble Cat snarled and arched his back indignantly but he was a sensible cat as far as cats go and after a moment’s thought decided not to hold a grudge. Although the next time he saw that young brownie up in the treehouse
It was very dark down in old Gobby Goblin's hideaway but after a bit of stumbling about and cursing Ras found a lamp and lit it.
Immediately everyone started coughing and choking on the thick and nasty fumes that rose up from it.
 "Ugh." said Mallie-Ann, "it smells like fish-oil." Furthermore, there were bits of half-eaten fish scattered all over the place, not to mention hunks of rotten old cabbage, several decomposing chicken carcasses, innumerable crushed beer-cans and what looked like a pile of discarded styro-foam cartons almost alive with horrid green and purple and yellow mould...
"It looks as if old Gobby has been raiding the bins outside Mi Ling's Takeaway in WassailGobby's place was filthy and stinking like a dustbin of rubbish town," said one of the more fastidious brownies, a little chap called Alexander. He pulled a rather fine silk handkerchief out from his pocket and held it to his nose.
"I shall need several baths after this little escapade is over, I think!"
Meanwhile, MC and Ras were rooting about in the darkened corners of the main room - there seemed to be several tunnels leading off from it - but which was the right one? They heard a sudden shout and turned to see Mallie-Ann holding up a little woollen booty. "Its one of Gollie's!" said Mallie-Ann excitedly. "Quickly - there's a narrow passage just behind this chest of drawers - I'm certain that they've gone this way... "
MC sniffed about a minute and meowed triumphantly.
"You're absolutely right, Mistress," he confirmed, "the stench of goblin is much stronger here and my delicate nostrils can also pick up the smell of that Nepalese rhododendron-troll, a sort of cross between rotting roses and a haunch of rotting yak-meat - and look, here's the wrapper off a Peppermint Lark!"
The magical cat rubbed himself briefly between the legs of the little girl and then the others off like a shot down the pitch-black tunnel followed him presently. Ras brought out a torch he suddenly remembered that he had in his hand-knitted red, gold and green shoulder bag and
Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.Alexander began lighting and handing out candles he had found - although, like the lamp in the living room they were fairly horrible smelling as if they were made of something not quite nice.
"Better watch out where you're stepping," he said. "There might be trip-wires, or hidden springs waiting to release knives and stones - you know the sort of thing - like in Indiana Jones!"
"With a bit of luck the goblins will have been in too much of a hurry to think of priming any traps," said Ras, somewhat condescendingly to the younger brownie - but no sooner had the words left his mouth when a secret compartment in the roof of the tunnel above him opened and a shower of what must have been hundreds of cockroaches, worms, maggots and fire-ants fell all over him.
"Marcus Garvey! He shouted and leapt up like a wild thing, banging his head on the roof of the tunnel and waving his hands this way and that, slapping at the cockroaches and trying to stop the fire ants getting down his collar... "Arrghhh, get them off me, get them off me, I'm being eaten alive... "
Then from further down the tunnel came a strange whistling andThe Tunnels are full of creepy crawlies and bats chittering noise that grew louder and louder and the next minute there were what seemed to be hundreds of bats flapping about all over them and diving at their faces, pulling at their hair and yes, urinating over them... Ugh! If the stench had been appalling before it was a thousand times worse now and Alexander moaned in disgust as he caught several bats, threw them to the ground and stamped on them.
"Oh no, now what?" he exclaimed as, out of the corner of his eye he glimpsed an even larger thing flapping down from the tunnel behind Murgatroyd the Owl appeared.them.
But then it hooted gleefully and they saw that it was Murgatroyd the Owl. And what's more he wasn't alone but had brought several of his chums with him. "Whoo, whoo, whoo-do-you-do?" he called cheerfully. "I hope you don't mind but me and the lads didn't think it right that you had all the fun... at 'em, lads!" And then the half dozen or so owls began laying into the bats, scattering them like you or I might scatter a cloud of midges or mosquitoes, except of course you and I don’t then proceed to eat the midges...
"Well that WAS fun!" said Murgatroyd at last and swivelled his head around three times upon his somewhat gory neck.
"Sorry we can't come any further with you but tunnels aren't really our natural habitat, you know, nevertheless, we don't mind a bit of hardship in a good cause.
He bobbed his head respectfully to Mallie-Ann and said. "Goodbye, and good-luck, young Mistress, we do hope you manage to get Gollie back again in one piece - that Exterminator is a nasty piece of work and thinks nothing of killing young owl-chicks for fun. The Old Windmill, were the Goblins hung out
We'll fly off now and alert our cousins by Farmer Jossup's windmill - if there's any goblins hanging about that way they'll have us to contend with!"
"Thank you very much for your help!" called out Mallie-Ann and the brownies, although of course the wise owls words about the 'Exterminator' only made her yet more anxious about poor Gollie.
"Come on lads" said Ras, who had finally managed to get most of the worms and centipedes and fire ants from out beneath his jumper. "Now where's that blasted cat got to?"
"Here I am," said the blasted cat " pooh, you lot pong something awful - there's a sort of underground stream around the next few bends and I don't fancy crossing it by myself. One of you will have to carry me... now which one of you smells the least?"
Ras smiled at the arrogance of MC. He really was a decent fellow as far as cats go and he did love Mallie-Ann fiercely, and that was the most important thing.
“Don’t be so prissy I man,” he laughed. Mc felt his hackles rise and was about to hiss an unkind retort when Mallie-Ann said, “Come on MC, I’ll carry you if the water is shallow enough for me to wade across, otherwise I fear someone will be carrying me as well.”
MC did not need a second invitation; he jumped into her arms and rubbed his head against her purring. No wonder he loved this girl so much.
And so the smelly bunch set off to check the other tunnels that lay ahead. Mallie-Ann had tucked Gollie’s side of booty into her pocket for safe keeping, and every now and then she patted her pocket to make sure that it was safe.

Bonzo the dog came tearing in from somewhere and joined in too.Meanwhile, Rufus, a few of the goblins, and the two dogs, one stuffed and one real, were fast approaching the windmill which was the exit point for the maze of underground tunnels that were inhabited by Gobby Goblin and some of his cohorts. They heard a ‘swooshing’ sound overhead, and looking up were delighted to see Murgatroyd Owl and a parliament of his friends circling the area overhead. “Just keeping an eye out in case anyone tries to escape” he hooted “We’ve just had a wonderful time in the tunnels with Ras and his lot. Think we got there just in time too, were they ever glad to us!”  Rufus called back “Are they all right” his main concern really being for Mallie-Anna; he knew the others could look after themselves, and now he wondered if he should have kept the little girl with him. Ras was a responsible fellow, but a bit too daring at times.
“They are fine”Murgatroyde returns hooted back the owl, a bit smelly, but none the worse for their escapade so far!” “Thanks for the update Murgatroyd,” said Rufus,
“really appreciate your hanging around.’
Rufus decided to leave the brownies at the base of the windmill, and the unlikely trio made their way below the outer structure and let themselves down through the chute that led to the tunnels. They were overcome by the stench that engulfed them. It was almost as bad as the one that had hit Ras and his party. Dalmy tried holding his breath, but that did not make much sense, because when he eventually had to breathe in, it seemed as even his mouth was filled with the acrid smell. This was a far cry from the pleasing scent of Peppermint Larks of which he had grown quite fond, not to mention the delightful shampoo and conditioner and bath soap that he was treated to on a regular basis by his Mallie-Ann. “Oh the things we do for love” he thought to himself, “I’ll probably be sick for days!”
Bonzo on the other hand seemed quite immune to the foul odours and was sniffing everywhere, trying to pick up the goblins’ scent. Rufus thought to himself “What a difference environment makes.” Both dogs lived in the same household, but one was allowed to roam outdoors and chase rabbits and dig holes, whilst the other sat upstairs on a soft bedDalmy travelled everywhere on the pram with a warm duvet over him at nights, and if he did go outdoors, he was placed on the bars of the rather large stroller that Mallie-Ann used to take her dolls out for a walk. The former was in his element; the latter was doing his best not to be sick. Rufus laughed out as he wondered what would happen if a few of his brownies were suddenly handed a ‘cushy’ lifestyle.
Would they adjust, or would they miss the way they lived now.” He thought of Ras with his hair neatly groomed, maybe even in a collar and tie, and the image sent him into gales of laughter.
Both dogs looked at him quizzically. Bonzo had picked up something and he ran ahead of them. He came back panting heavily, a few minutes later and reported that he had come upon a large closed door with a couple of goblins, who appeared to be asleep posted outside.
What had him even more excited was that he had also picked up the scent of Mallie-Ann and that group, moving towards them. That meant that they had not found Gollie as yet either. Rufus instructed Bonzo to go ahead quietly to meet the approaching group and to alert them of their presence and of what he had found. Then they would storm whatever lay behind the closed door from both sides.
Bonzo nodded his agreement and bounded off. Dalmy was feeling somewhat embarrassed by his lack lustre performance, and Rufus noting that, and being a rather sensitive Brownie told him “I needed someone to stay with me Dalmy, do you mind terribly?” Dalmy smiled broadly and said ”Your wish is my command Rufus; I’m at your service.” Rufus patted his head and said “we’ll just hunker down in this corner for a while. It should not be too long before Bonzo gets back.”
Meanwhile the group of brownies under Ras had come to what appeared to be a fairly swift-flowing underground steam. It was, they saw by the light of their torches and horribly-smelling candles, at least six feet across and looked jolly deep too.
Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.Now that may not seem all that wide to you but don’t forget, brownies are only three feet high at the most. "I think I can just about make out the silhouette of a boat drawn up on the earth across the other side," said Alexander, "It doest appear to be tied up - not that that does us any good... it looks like someone is going to have to swim for it... maybe we should toss coins for it!” What," piped up Sammy Too-Good, a rather cheeky looking goblin with two front teeth missing, "and let you use your double-headed dollar!" Amidst the general laughter the assembled group were eying the farther shore warily... brownies really did not like getting wet.
Suddenly there was an unexpected splash and there was Marble Cat swimming for the little boat! He seemed to be struggling a bit at first but soon rallied his efforts as the rest of the group cheered him on. Presently he climbed up on to the land, took the boat's short piece of rope, which the fleeing goblins had thankfully been in too much of a hurry to think of tying up, between his teeth and before you could say 'Dick Whittington', was on his way back across the stream, tugging the light vessel behind him. As soon he was back on land Mallie-Ann scooped him up into her arms and began making a fuss of him whilst Ras and Sammie pulled the boat up out of the water to prevent it being swept away. "MAN!" declared Alexander " you is one righteous pussycat, bruddah - you must have Ethiopian blood running in your veins,the Marble Cat snuggle tightly to his mistresses chest. the Lion of Judah couldn't have done it better!" Marble Cat affected to ignore the Rastafarian brownie, snuggling up close to his Mistresses chest, but of course really he was very pleased!

     There were eight of them altogether, counting Mallie-Ann and MC, so it would take several trips to ferry them all across. It was only a very small boat and would only hold two at a time. Mallie-Ann went first, with MC and Sammy Too-Good. The rest of the brownies were laughing and joking now and perhaps it was that which drew the attention of the creature that had its hidey-hole just behind a corner of the tunnel the stream was flowing
Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.out of. It was generally a lazy sort of thing, a sort of cross between a crocodile and a hippopotamus (save that it was bright pink with yellow spots) and didn’t bother the goblins too much. For one thing they always carried catapults and were rather good shots - but this was not the sound of goblins that woke it now from a rather pleasant dream of chasing tasty ducks in a tranquil tropical pool, surrounded by handsome Nubian eunuchs and slave-girls fanning it with large fronds and feathery ferns... oh no, this sounded like detestable brownies and what’s more, they were laughing! Really, the creature did not like the sound of laughter! Indignantly, the garish pink and yellow Hippodile (for that is what it was of course) launched itself out of its hole so violently it banged its head on the roof of its den, which of course only made it even madder so that it couldn't quite decide whether to yelp in outrage first or just plain miserable pain... it in the end it just howled, as loud as it possibly could! Which was lucky for the brownies otherwise they might not have seen it coming. As it was, Ras turned towards the hideous noise and saw the brightly coloured monster bearing down at the boat carrying him and Uncle Albert, the eldest of the group, a taciturn but doughty brownie whose hair was already turning grey (despite the coconut oil he rubbed it with each morning and evening).
*"Look out, Uncle Albert!" yelled Ras and bringing up the ships single oar he smacked the bellowing Hippodile across its chops, breaking several of its teeth - and breaking the oar in the process too. The creature screeched horribly and reared up on its back legs but it was so fat and bloated it couldn’t hold that position long and belly flopped back onto the water causing a giant wave that almost toppled the small boat and its occupants right over. Indeed, perhaps that was its new strategy... but as the pink and yellow thing began to rear up again, roaring loudly as it did so, Ras plunged the shattered stump of the oar as hard as he could into the creature’s soft, exposed underbelly. If they thought it had been noisy before that was nothing to the groans and shrieks it came out with now. It thrashed and rolled over several times, trying to dislodge the oar. Luckily, Ras had managed to let go of it or he would have been pulled in himself...
                Meanwhile, the rest of the brownies had armed themselves with rocks and stones and were pelting the maddened beast with them.
The Hippodile knew when to beat an inglorious retreat and that moment was now! Finally
Poor Gollie he was so, so frightened. managing to dislodge the spar of splintered wood from its flesh it turned about as quick as it could and limped back home to its hole, where it stayed for several days without moving a muscle so great was its agony and indignation. If the other hippodiles ever learned he had been bested by a group of brownies and a little girl he would never hear the last of it!
‘Jah Rule” Shouted Ras triumphantly “go back to yuh hideout, yuh unsavoury being. If I man wasn’ a Rasta who ate only Ital food, I man would have had yub for I man’s dinner!” The other brownies were applauding Ras, praising him for his bravery. Even Mallie-Ann who had become quite frightened, hugging a willing MC close to her, was jumping up and down gleefully. Eventually they had ferried the entire group across, and MC once again picked up the scent of the Goblins.

Here is a short break before you reach the fantastic climax of
Mallie Ann and poor Golly, not to mention the Goblins.

I Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.don't know if you have heard of the "Studio Ghibli." It is amazing, the studio made some of the most remarkable animated films. I have in my collection everyone of them now, after a long time collecting. here is a very small  selection.

1.   Miracles Happen       
2.     Totoro Violin Song (on twice, so good)the Marble Cat snuggle tightly to his mistresses chest.
3/4.    Studio Ghibli Trailers 1987 - 2001.
5.  Studio Ghibli  Trailers 2002 - 2004
6.   Studio Ghibli Movies.
How on earth did Charlie Brown get in there.

Bonzo the dog came tearing in from somewhere and joined in too.

 Chapter Three

           They had walked no more than fifteen minutes or so when they came upon a network of tunnels, a veritable maze, and they stood perplexed, wondering which way to go. Even MC seem confused, because it appeared that the clever goblins had separated, so their smell was everywhere. “Perhaps,” suggested Alexander rather timidly, “we should split up further.” He looked inquiringly at Ras, who was officially in charge of the group, and the latter shook his head slowly, “Bad idea” he mouthed, casting a glance in Mallie-Ann’s direction. Alexander understood straightaway that they needed to stay together to provide the best protection for Mallie-Ann should any problems be encountered, and a diluted group might find that difficult to do.
No one had noticed that MC had taken off on his own, until they heard a soft ‘Meow” followed by an equally soft “ Woof” and to their surprise and immense delight, who could emerge from the darkest of the tunnels but MC closely followed by Bonzo. The former jumped into what he now considered his rightful place, namely Mallie-Ann’s arms, whilst Bonzo whined and licked her cheek.
“How did you find each other?” asked Mallie-Ann, “have you found Gollie? Where are Rufus and Dalmy and the others?” the questions came tumbling out one after another. “Well” said Bonzo, “we think we know where Gollie is, but we need your help. I had picked up your scent as soon as you crossed the stream, and MC, who I must say is pretty sharp for a cat, picked up mine when you got to the crossroads here. Rufus is at the meeting point with Dalmy and he has posted the other brownies outside the windmill with instructions that no one is allowed to enter or exit until he says so. Additionally Murgatroyd and his lot are hovering overhead to signal if they see anything going on. We believe that Gollie is with Gobby and maybe Bertha, and who knows who else, behind some immense closed doors that are being guarded by two sleeping goblins. We need all our manpower to charge those doors and enter, do battle if necessary and rescue Gollie. So just follow me” he added smugly, feeling rather like ‘Charles in Charge’, “I know the way back.”

It must have taken them a further thirty minutes of brisk walking until they got to a point where Bonzo growled in a low voice “Stay here, I’ll just alert Rufus that we’ve reached.” He bounded across the tunnel quickly to the spot where he had left Rufus and Dalmy, and found the two of them speaking quietly. “We’re here,” he panted, “everyone’s okay, but I think you should let Mallie-Ann stay here with Dalmy … so that he can protect her,” he added quickly, seeing Rufus raise his bushy eyebrows just a fraction. ”She should not allowed into what could turn out to be a big fight, and she can’t be left alone here either. We need someone brave to stay and look after her.” “Then Dalmy’s our man,” said Rufus. “He’s calm and collected and Mallie-Ann loves and trusts him implicitly. However we have to make her understand that this time around Dalmy is in charge. Bring her across with Ras as well, so I can at least formulate a game plan with him, and have a serious chat with her.”
Bonzo took off again and returned in a few minutes with a beaming Ras and a rather subdued Mallie-Anne. She immediately stooped in front of Dalmy and hugged his neck tightly. “Are you Okay?” she whispered. Dalmy, although he was supposed to be the protector, felt comforted by the fact that Mallie-Ann was here and hugging him. He nodded slowly. “I’m fine,’ he answered, ‘but I was so worried about you.” Rufus was touched by her concern for the gentle Dalmy, he patted her head and said “Listen Mallie-Ann, it is very important that you stay” … but before he could finish what he had set out to say, she cried out “No!” I’m going in with you, Gollie needs me,” she cried, stamping a small foot. “Oh oh” thought Rufus, “problems, ” because he really was not accustomed to dealing with small determined little girls; to his surprise and relief however, Dalmy now spoke up in a firm voice. “Listen Mallie-Ann,” he said, “you gave your word, your solemn word that you would do whatever Rufus said, and so did I and I’ve keeping my end of the bargain. They have gone to an awful lot of trouble to help you, to help us, rescue Gollie, please do as he says.”  Mallie-Ann calmed down immediately, and looking at Rufus, tears welling up in her eyes, she said, “I’m so sorry. It is just that I am so scared. I promise I’ll do exactly as you say.” Once again Rufus patted her and said, “I understand perfectly how you feel Mallie-Ann. All I want is for you to wait out here, with Dalmy. We will break into the room and if Gollie is there, one of us will bring him out right away to you, so that you can comfort him. We know that he must be terrified. Dalmy is in charge. Just stay with him until we say otherwise. Do I have your word?” Mallie-AnnPoor Gollie he was so, so frightened. murmured a shaky “Yes Mr. Rufus.” “Good girl” he whispered, “That’s settled then. Dalmy, you stay here and guard Mallie-Ann, And Gollie, once we’ve got him out. Just stay put until we come out. Stay out of sight, and be very quiet in case any goblins come this way. Remember I’m counting on you” Dalmy’s heart was almost bursting with pride. Rufus really trusted him. Rufus then turned to Ras who was standing aside playing with Bonzo. “Come Ras,” he said, you too Bonzo, let’s decide which is the best way to handle this.”
Meanwhile, what had happened to Gollie? During the fight in the kitchen he had been thrown ignominiously into a clothes basket full of smelly shirts, dresses and socks etc. waiting for the weekly wash. He had wanted very much Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.to close his eyes and ears to the awful sights and sounds of the battle raging all around him but of course his eyes were sewed permanently open and Bertha had tied his hands behind his back so he could nor even put his fingers in his ears... All he could do was watch in horror as plates, knives and bottles flew about everywhere. He caught a glimpse of Mallie-Ann beneath the table and tried to call to her but his voice was lost in the general melee.
But then the tide turned and the goblins, it seemed, were in retreat! Yet Gollie had no time to celebrate, for just as he was about to give a silent cheer a horrible green hand reached out and plucked him roughly from the clothes basket - it was the Nepalese Rhododendron-troll and he tried to shrink back away from its leering face and vile breath as the monster held him up the Marble Cat snuggle tightly to his mistresses chest.
and inspected him. "Oi, Bertha!" it shouted at last, "do you want this little bit of scrap after-all, or what?" "Give it 'ere", yelled Bertha and Gollie found himself flying across the kitchen, over the heads of brownies and goblins and the wildly barking Bonzo and Dalmy. The Exterminator snatched him roughly from the air and the next thing he knew he was tucked upside-down beneath her belt, his sides aching as the gross female goblin took to all fours and loped briskly after her fleeing compatriots.

                    The next hour or two were a nightmarish jumble of feverish images as the goblins raced for Gobby Goblins hideout and tumbled down its old trap-door as fast as their legs could carry them, swearing and cursing at each in their vile goblinish tongue which I will not attempt to copy here incase any impressionable young girls or old ladies are reading. Only pausing briefly to swig some of Gobby's rancid Sour-root beer and to rig a little trap in the tunnel roof, they proceeded on and on, deeper and deeper into the underworld. "Keep an eye open for the Hippodile when we comes to the river," said one of the goblins to his fellow. "Bah," said the Rhododendron-troll over his shoulder, "that pathetic gimboid will run a mile if it as much as sees me... its cousin the Crocopotamus, who lives further upstream - now he's a different kettle of fish altogether, as stupid as any human but as feisty as a Pekinese. He'll take a chunk out of your ankles as soon as look at you!"
"Are they similar to look?" asked the first goblin of his mate. "In a manner of speaking", replied his friend, "but whereas the hippodile is pink with yellow spots the crocopotamus is lilac with green spots. Once upon a time they were rubber soap dishes in some ladies bathroom until Dr. Moon stole them and made them into the living monsters they are today. You know what Dr. Moon is like - he'll experiment on anything. Did you hear about the stuffed giraffe he turned into a thousand-headed Hydra or the Winnie-the-Pooh pyjama -case he
three little boys, two little girls, several dogs and a young pig called Gerald. "Why," said the first goblin lowering his voice so that Gollie could barely make out his words, "there's some people say that it was Dr. Moon himself, or his great-grandfather maybe, who first made goblins such as you and me out of injured brownies...'
"Shut yer mouth, Erasmus Flatbottom!" hissed the other goblin. "I'll be hearing none of your
"I'm only saying what many folks sez," sneered the goblin known as Flatbottom, "no need to get hoity-toity..."

                    But they crossed the river without sighting either hippodile or crocopotamus and presently they came to what at first Gollie thought was a dead end - though he had been bounced about so much by now he felt the straw stuffing was going to come right out of his head. But one of the Goblin Elders took an instrument out of a sheath at his side and began drawing the outline of a door upon the sheer rock face in front of them. Then he took some roots out of his pocket and began chewing them. Bending down, the old goblin examined the soil carefully and then with a sudden exclamation pounced and snatched up a large, albino centipede that he immediately popped into his mouth too, masticating it noisily and giving occasional little yaps as the tough little animal bit him. Eventually however he spat out a sort of gooey, horrid smelling paste, which he smeared over the outline of the door, he had roughly etched upon the tunnel wall. Then, dancing a little jig, he began muttering a horrible incantation and calling on the Elder Gods that goblins worship. Gollie thought he heard the name of Dr. Moon mentioned several times as well but it was difficult to make anything out clearly as his poor head was ringing like anything.
Smoke began issuing from the paste-smeared outline of the improvised ‘door’; there was a loud, deafening crash and a bright flash of blinding green light. Obviously the goblins had known what to expect and had all closed their eyes the second before it happened but of course Gollie was quite unable to do that and he was quite blinded. "Oh no," he thought to himself, "that’s the last thing I need." but then, mercifully, he blacked out completely.

                    When he woke up his first thought was that he wished he hadn’t. He was stretched out on a sort of large flat stone and the
huge, blistered face of Big Bertha was glowering down at him, smiling horribly. "Well, well," she grinned, "so you're awake transformed into a carnivorous grizzly... the last I heard it had already eaten now are you, little Gollie - and your sight has returned too by the looks of it... but that might not be for long!" blasphemous hearsay... Dr. Moon is the friend of goblins such as you and me; don't we make him offering every twenty-eight days to keep the hideous Sun at bay? You be careful none of the Elders hears you or you'll be in for a whippin'"
Chortling vilely to herself the loathsome female began searching in the many pockets and pouches attached to her belt, bringing out at last a long evil looking needle and a ball of twine. Carefully threading the end of the twine through the eye of the needle she bent even lower over Gollie and started to stitch up his left eye! Now although Gollie was only made of
cloth and was stuffed full of straw he had a very good imagination and he imagined thatPoor Gollie he was so, so frightened. having an eye sown up must hurt horribly and so indeed, it did...
And not being able to scream only seemed to make it worse...
"DO you like that Gollie?" asked Big Bertha. "Would you like me to stitch your other eye up now, my darlin' - or shall I sew your legs together?"
Just before he fainted again the last thing Gollie saw was the angry face of the Nepalese troll next to that of Bertha's.
"None of that!" the huge green ogre hissed. "You know Dr. Moon wants the toy unharmed... no doubt he has plans of his own for the little pickaninny-thing." And he lunged suddenly at Big Bertha and bit at one of her ears...
Only very dimly did the sounds of the ensuing uproar come to Gollie's ears for Gollie was drifting, drifting, drifting away on soft clouds of music and fragrance, the world of pain and struggle temporarily put aside. He seemed to be floating down a long corridor of softly pulsing, beautiful light and all around him soft relaxing 'pan' music came and went like the sound of gentle surf rolling up upon some golden shore... and then he felt the presence of a great Personality standing before him. It was Living Spear, sacred to both Brownies and (though few people knew it) to Golliwogs as well!

            Gollie was uncertain just how long he stood there; a tiny (but precious) thing before the soft flame and holy presence of Living Spear but it was a time that would remain with him for the rest of his life. He must, he knew, presently return to his frail and tortured body and the vile ministrations of the goblins and their Masters but he also knew now that he could tolerate any pain or indignity they might foist upon him - for Living Spear assured him that this was so...
 Although at first Gollie had been convinced that he was going to be killed, that he would die from the sheer torture that was being meted out to him, had even welcomed the thought at one point, all this changed once he had had his sublime encounter with the Living Spear. He knew that he would be all right, eventually, and comforted by that thought, he drifted off into a sort of semi-conscious state, not quite comatose, but aware of what was taking place as if from a distance. The goblins had once again unceremoniously thrown him aside, as they set about eating the Larks and the other candies they had stolen and making some diabolical plans to deal with Rufus, Ras and even Mallie-Ann, because she had dared to bite Big Bertha.
At some point he seemed to hear the sound of distant pounding, some kind of crashing noise, and voices, lots of voices, why at one point he even imagined he heard Bonzo and MC. The noise seemed to get closer and closer, and suddenly he felt something wet across his face, a Alexander was a most elegant Brownie.soft licking, and he could see dimly though his one open eye the beloved face of Bonzo, and nuzzling his paw a beaming MC. Maybe he had died he thought drowsily and his friends were saying goodbye to him. But no, Bonzo was taking his frail, pain-wracked body gently in his mouth, and walked quietly out the room and straight to the waiting arms of his beloved Mallie-Ann. She cried when she saw his dishevelled little form, one bootie off his foot and one eye sewn shut. She kissed him, over and over again, and he could feel her tears soaking through his body. She carefully put on his missing booty, and said, “Never mind Gollie, I’ll fix your eye when we get home, and have you cleaned up until you’re as good as new. Thank you Bonzo and MC, thank you ever so much”. The two of them beamed and for once MC made no effort to jump into Mallie-Ann’s arms, he realized that Gollie needed her now. Dalmy came up to Gollie then and sniffed at him. He gave him a gentle nudge and said, “Phew man, you stink to hell high, but I’m so happy to smell you!” He laughed at his own little joke. ”We’ve got to get back inside” said Bonzo, “all hell has broken loose in there, There are goblins and brownies flying all over the place and although it would appear that Rufus has everything under control, a little extra help would be welcome. Dalmy will you stay with Mallie-Ann and Gollie please?

 “Dalmy was only too happy to stay out of the fray. “Bonzo added, “MC, if you’d prefer, you can stay here too, and keep them company.” “No way Jose, its payback time for thosethe Marble Cat snuggle tightly to his mistresses chest. creatures, and I want my pound of flesh, or perhaps I should say fish!”
Meanwhile, inside the room chaos reigned supreme. The goblins were dirty fighters, but the brownies gave as good as they got, and they were by far a younger set, more agile, and they were having great fun! Rufus was their undisputed leader, and they followed his instructions to the letter, even Ras. However, the latter called down the wrath of Jah and referred to the goblins as Babylonians, and as he battled he sang the words of Bob Marley’s River of Babylon and his Redemption Song lustily in a strong sweet tenor voice. The singing seemed to add fuel to the brownies, and a few of the younger ones, who knew the songs, joined in with Ras. However it certainly had the reverse effect on the goblins, they became confused and disoriented, striking each other, and one even boxed Big Bertha in the gut. When Gobby, who had removed himself from the fracas and was hiding under a large box saw what was happening he decided to make good his escape. Crawling through a maze of entangled legs and arms, he was about to make a hasty exit when he came face to face with Rufus. A fierce fight ensued, now they were pitted one against the other, no weapons, just pure brute strength, or so Rufus thought. He was certainly getting the better of Gobby, when the latter pulled a sharp knife from the top of his boot and slashed at Rufus’ face. Blood spurted from a gash that just barely missed his eye, and as he paused to wipe the blood that was blinding him, Gobby rushed through the door.

But Alexander, the refined brownie had seen what had taken place and he bolted after Gobby, shouting, “Stay, you coward, take your licks like a man!” Of course Gobby had no intention of even pausing, far less staying, but as he rounded the corner, he came upon Dalmy; not the quiet, gentle Dalmy that everyone knew, but a snarling, frothing beast who bared his teeth at the terrified gnome. “Don’t move,” he growled, “I’ve been wanting to bite someone all night, and I think my wish has just been granted.” At the same moment Alexander came up saying, “Thank goodness Dalmy, I thought he was going to get away. What made you come out?” “Well,” said Dalmy, a little hesitantly, I could hear all the shouting and singing, and I just wanted to witness a bit of the whole thing, so I made sure that Mallie-Ann and Gollie were safe and I just came out for a peek, and heard you calling out and saw this brigand running for his life. Here give me a hand. Take this collar from around my neck and lend me the belt to your trousers, they won’t fall off will they?” he added laughingly. “No way” replied Alexander, ‘quickly removing the articles. “Now let’s tie him and leave him in the corner so that Rufus can deal with him, when he‘s ready,” said a suddenly confident Dalmy. They did so, with no resistance from the shaking goblin. He was such a coward that all the fight had gone out of him, and he lay there practically snivelling, melted peppermint larks all over his hideous face. “Turn him face down,” added Alexander, “I don’t even want to see his face.”  From that moment onwards Dalmy and Alexander were friends for life. The genteel dog and the finicky brownie had captured the infamous goblin. That done, Dalmy returned to Mallie-Ann and Gollie and Alexander went back to tell the others of what had happened and to tend to Rufus wound.

    Later on, as the tired but victorious group trudged across the fields back to Mallie-Ann's house (they could not bear the thought of going through the underground tunnels again) they

"So you see," said Rufus, through swollen lips, a black eye spreading over the side of his right cheek, "although Gobby Goblin was motivated by his sheer lust for Peppermint Larks, some greater far more nefarious plot was at the back of things... for some time now we brownies have been aware that Dr. Lucius Moon has taken up residence in the Haunted House on top of Desolate Hill and has been conducting his infamous experiments there, stealing innocent toys and making them into things of terror and nightmare. I suspect it was on his orders that Beautiful Bertha and the Troll thing had become involved... unfortunately both of them have managed to escape. No doubt even now they are reporting back to their Master.
(What Rufus did not say was that not only did he suspect the hand of Moon behind the recent events but also, what is more, he strongly suspected that the abduction of Gollie had merely been a ruse to lure the brownies and Mallie-Ann into following them. It was, thought Rufus, with a shudder, the little girl herself who was the mad Doctor's real target. Many years ago,
the stalwart brownie knew, Lucius Moon had been a colleague of Mallie-Ann's father Professor Robert Johnson, a leading scientist at the prestigious Crossroads Research Institute - but Moon and Professor Johnson had fallen out over the direction the formers experiments were taking. Whilst Professor Johnson worked tirelessly to try to find cures for difficult diseases Lucius Moon had become more and more interested in genetic manipulation as a goal in itself, cross-breeding different species and fostering diabolic sentience in inanimate objects... so far his work had been confined to animals and toys but, Rufus, suspected, he was eager to continue his experiments using human tissue... and what better subject than the daughter of the man who had brought about his public disgrace and had him outlawed from the legitimate scientific community?
Of course, Rufus said nothing of this - poor Mallie-Ann had quite enough to think on without the shadow of Moon hanging over her. But the Brownie resolved in his heart to be more vigilant than ever and to keep a 24 hour watch posted on the Johnson household from now on.
"We would have had that rhododendron-troll too if Farmer Jossup's old Scarecrow hadn't suddenly come to life and attacked me just as I was about to sink my teeth into its calf... I got the fright of my life I can tell you. And then, when several animated Corn-dollies joined it... more of Moon's creatures! If I ever come face to face with him alone... "
Rufus patted the excited dog on the head. "Yes," he said, "we shall have to keep a very careful watch on the Haunted House from now on... thankfully, Farmer Jossup is a reasonable man as far as humans go and I'm sure if we have a word with him and alert him to the situation he will be only too willing to help us. I'm sure he doesn't know his old windmill was being used as a hideaway by the local goblins and will be as appalled as anyone by the magic worked on his scarecrow and corn-dollies.
We've always had a good relationship with the brownies of Jossup Farm and can depend upon them to report any more sinister occurrences once they know what is afoot. Furthermore the local owls, under the wise leadership of Murgatroyd will keep an eye
on the Haunted House too. "Although", the wide-eyed owl had told them, any respectable owl has long shunned Desolation Hill... "Still, reports have reached our ears also of things inhabiting the ruined towers and belfries of the ancient House thereon, things that might have at one time have been owls but now are things of horror and dread... " The old Pollie and Mollie owl shuddered and hooted softly to itself. "Are you sure you will be quite safe now, getting the girl back home?" he had asked at length. But the brownies had assured him that they would and, thanking the owls warmly for their help in the recent events and subsequent battle, bade them farewell and wished them a good night's hunting.

                Back at the house at last Mallie-Ann was greeted warmed by an anxious Osito and the rest of the brownies. The kitchen of course was absolutely spotless and even the broken plates had all somehow been mended! Passing by the cupboard underneath the stairs Mallie-Ann could even hear the gentle snores of old Jeremiah the gardener sleeping in his favourite hammock... at last she entered her own bedroom again and there were Pollie, Mollie, Edward Bear and all her other toys tucked up fast asleep in bed or on their customary shelves...  Seeing them looking so quiet and peaceful made Mallie-Ann realise just how tired she was and she yawned loudly... had it all been a rather strange and complicated dream after all? But then she looked down at poor Gollie, clutched tenderly in her arms and shuddered once more at the crude yarn stitching closing his eye tight shut...
Too tired even to think of Peppermint Larks, Mallie-Ann quickly undressed and climbed into bed, nursing poor Gollie tenderly, too tired even to think of the terrible state her hair must undoubtedly be in. Before her head even touched the pillow she was fast asleep but whether she dreamed of anything at all is quite a different tale... discussed everything that had happened and its larger implications...
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The End
This story was written by my very good friend WILLOWDOWN        (aka Pete Crossland.)

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