“I WANT THAT LAND!” he wailed, stamping his foot on the ground like a child having a tantrum.
Titspoke, the Chief Disgusting Warlord of Furkle was a peculiar looking individual. He had a nose like a floret of broccoli, tiny eyes that bulged out of his lumpy face, lips like burst sausages and putrid green hair that stuck out at all angles, especially from his trumpet shaped ears. He was accustomed to getting everything he wanted and didn’t like being told ‘no’.
The other Disgusting Warlords cringed. They knew they wouldn’t get a moments peace until Titspoke got his way. Skunkit, who was second in command, had a devious mind and used it to good advantage on many occasions. He sat and thought for a few minutes before letting out a whoop of exultation.
“I have a cunning plan, Titspoke Sir. Why don’t we bribe the Phumblebobs to drive Nuvaplop out and when you’ve got the farm, you don’t pay them,” Skunkit chuckled.
“I like it! Skunkit, go talk to them immediately,” Titspoke jumped around, clapping his hands with glee. Skunkit bowed low and departed. Uncle Nuvaplop sat on a bale of goosegrass, surrounded by Phumblebobs and Phumbletums. It was story time at the farm – the best time of the day. Uncle Nuvaplop always brought cherry toffee fizzwhizzers with him and shared them after the story.
As he regaled his audience with a story of derring-do, he realised that a number of Phumblebobs were missing. His eyes scanned the undergrowth to see if they were playing hidey-seeky, but couldn’t see them anywhere. This troubled him greatly. They loved fizzwhizzers with a passion and wouldn’t miss them for all the Dewdrop wine in Flitterland.
By the time Uncle Nuvaplop had finished his tale and distributed the fizzwhizzers, the Phumblebobs were still missing. He was worried and began to search for them. As he ambled along the path towards the Wishing Tree he thought he heard a chuckle in the bushes ahead. He forged on and the next thing he knew, he was flat on his face, his spectacles askew on his bruised nose. He glanced back and was amazed to see a rope tied between two trees. Someone had deliberately tripped him up. Who would want to do that? He thought, perplexed.
Uncle Nuvaplop stood up and continued along the path, this time watching carefully for more trip ropes. Suddenly he got a sinking feeling. Looking down, he saw one of his feet disappearing into a hole that had been obscured by leaves. He tried to walk on but it wouldn’t move and he almost fell again. He grabbed his leg with both hands and tugged and tugged until eventually, with a loud sucking noise, his foot was free. It came out so abruptly that he lost his balance and ended up on his backside in a patch of thistleymire. He jumped up like he’d been shot out of a cannon and, when steady on his feet, carefully plucked half a dozen mirehooks from his rear.
He began to get angry. Why were they doing this to him? He treated them so well. He pulled a whistlehorn from his pocket, blew it three times and waited impatiently, tapping his foot on the ground. He heard little feetsies running towards him and a few seconds later, the Phumbletums were gathered around him. “My dearlings, someone has been playing nasty tricks on me. Do any of you know what’s going on?”
“I do! I do!” squeaked Tooby Phumbletum, his hand raised in the air. “Skunkit has bribed the Phumblebobs to get you to leave Crazy Phumbling Farm.”
“But why?” Uncle Nuvaplop asked, his voice sad.
“Titspoke wants the farm,” Tooby explained.
“Oh does he? We’ll see about that! Will you help me?” Nuvaplop implored.
A chorus of ‘yes’ filled the air and Uncle Nuvaplop smiled. He crouched down and gestured for them to come closer.
“Tooby, will you go to the Phumblebobs, tell them they’re being lied to and see if they will come over to our side? The rest of us will set a trap and then we’ll meet at Hoopity Hill, okay?”
Tooby nodded and set off. Nuvaplop and the Phumbletums worked hard for the next hour and then set off to Hoopity Hill, where they were relieved to see Tooby and the Phumblebobs waiting. Uncle Nuvaplop picked the two trustworthiest Phumblebobs and whispered in their ears. They nodded and set off to Furkle. As the Phumblebobs strode into Furkle, Chief Titspoke came to greet them.
“What news?” he demanded.
“The farm is empty and he’s gone, but you must come and claim it now in case Nuvaplop changes his mind,” they replied.
Titspoke jumped for joy; he whooped and hollered until the rest of the Disgusting Warlords came running to see what all the fuss was about.
“Come, my friends, the farm is ours!” Titspoke commanded grinning inanely and they set off immediately.
They tramped over the fields, taking great delight in stomping on the pretty wild flowers that littered the meadows. They were a motley crew and quite comical as they marched with an air of triumph towards Crazy Phumbling Farm. Chief Titspoke, full of his own self-importance, gave a running commentary to anyone within earshot about how his ‘superior tactics and wiley cunning’ had brought them this victory. It was a good job he was the Chief – he would have got lynched otherwise, as the others rolled their eyes and wished he would shut up.
An hour later, the farm came into view. Excitement surged through the Warlords seeing their prize ahead of them and they broke into a trot, Chief Titspoke in the lead. They reached the path leading to the farm and broke into a run, bunched together like a herd of sheep.
As the Warlords ran through the wide farm gate, they suddenly found themselves waist-deep in a huge pit of funkysmelly gunge. Chief Titspoke bellowed with rage and tried to climb on the backs of the Warlords to reach dry land, but all he succeeded in doing was pushing them deeper into the foulness. There was much thrashing of arms, shouts for help, cursing and tears as they tried in vain to escape.
Gradually, one by one, the Warlords sunk below the surface until only Chief Titspoke’s head was still visible. The last thing he saw was Uncle Nuvaplop’s face grinning triumphantly at him then he disappeared beneath the surface never to be seen again.
An almighty cheer erupted from the Phumbletums and Phumblebobs; they danced around Uncle Nuvaplop in glee, clapping their handsies and stomping their feetsies. He spread his arms wide and shouted,
“Double fizzwhizzers for everyone!”