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Authors: Roald Dahl

Tags: #children

The BFG (10 page)

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‘Who is this Jack he’s on about?’ Sophie whispered.
‘Jack is the only human bean all giants is frightened of,’ the BFG told her. ‘They is all absolutely terrified of Jack. They is all hearing that Jack is a famous giant-killer.’
‘Save me!’ screamed the Fleshlumpeater. ‘Have mercy on this poor little giant! The beanstalk! He is coming at me with his terrible spikesticking beanstalk! Take it away! I is begging you, Jack, I is praying you not to touch me with your terrible spikesticking beanstalk!’
‘Us giants,’ the BFG whispered, ‘is not knowing very much about this dreaded human bean called Jack. We is knowing only that he is a famous giant-killer and that he is owning something called a beanstalk. We is knowing also that the beanstalk is a fearsome thing and Jack is using it to kill giants.’
Sophie couldn’t stop smiling.
‘What is you griggling at?’ the BFG asked her, slightly nettled.
‘I’ll tell youk later,’ Sophie said.



The awful nightmare had now gripped the great brute to such an extent that he was tying his whole body into knots. ‘Do not do it, Jack!’ he screeched. ‘I was not eating you, Jack! I is never eating human beans! I swear I has never gobbled a single human bean in all my wholesome life!’
‘Liar,’ said the BFG.
Just then, one of the Fleshlumpeater’s flailing fists caught the still-fast-asleep Meatdripping Giant smack in the mouth. At the same time, one of his furiously thrashing legs kicked the snoring Gizzardgulping Giant right in the guts. Both the injured giants woke up and leaped to their feet.
‘He is swiping me right in the mouth!’ yelled the Meatdripper.
‘He is bungswoggling me smack in the guts!’ shouted the Gizzardgulper.
The two of them rushed at the Fleshlumpeater and began pounding him with their fists and feet. The wretched Fleshlumpeater woke up with a bang. He awoke straight from one nightmare into another. He roared into battle, and in the bellowing thumping rough and tumble that followed, one sleeping giant after another either got stepped upon or kicked. Soon, all nine of them were on their feet having the most almighty free-for-all. They punched and kicked and scratched and bit and butted each other as hard as they could. Blood flowed. Noses went crunch. Teeth fell out like hailstones. The giants roared and screamed and cursed, and for many minutes the noise of battle rolled across the yellow plain.
The BFG smiled a big wide smile of absolute pleasure. ‘I is loving it when they is all having a good tough and rumble,’ he said.
‘They’ll kill each other,’ Sophie said.
‘Never,’ the BFG answered. ‘Those beasts is always bishing and walloping at one another. Soon it will be getting dusky and they will be galloping off to fill their tummies.’
‘They’re coarse and foul and filthy,’ Sophie said. ‘I hate them!’
As the BFG headed back to the cave, he said quietly, ‘We certainly was putting that nightmare to good use though, wasn’t we?’
‘Excellent use,’ Sophie said. ‘Well done you.’
The Big Friendly Giant was seated at the great table in his cave and he was doing his homework.
Sophie sat cross-legged on the table-top near by, watching him at work.
The glass jar containing the one and only good dream they had caught that day stood between them.
The BFG, with great care and patience, was printing something on a piece of paper with an enormous pencil.
‘What are you writing?’ Sophie asked him.
‘Every dream is having its special label on the bottle,’ the BFG said. ‘How else could I be finding the one I am wanting in a hurry?’
‘But can you really and truly tell what sort of a dream it’s going to be simply by listening to it?’ Sophie asked.
‘I can,’ the BFG said, not looking up.
Is it by the way it hums and buzzes?’
‘You is less or more right,’ the BFG said. ‘Every dream in the world is making a different sort of buzzy-hum music. And these grand swashboggling ears of mine is able to read that music.’
‘By music, do you mean tunes?’
‘I is not meaning tunes.’
‘Then what
you mean?’
‘Human beans is having their own music, right or left?’
‘Right,’ Sophie said. ‘Lots of music.’


‘And sometimes human beans is very overcome when they is hearing wonderous music. They is getting shivers down their spindels. Right or left?’
‘Right,’ Sophie said.
‘So the music is saying something to them. It is sending a message. I do not think the human beans is knowing what that message is, but they is loving it just the same.’
‘That’s about right,’ Sophie said.
‘But because of these jumpsquiffling ears of mine,’ the BFG said, ‘I is not only able to
the music that dreams is making but I is
it also.’
‘What do you mean
it?’ Sophie said.
‘I can read it,’ the BFG said. ‘It talks to me. It is like a langwitch.’
‘I find that just a little hard to believe,’ Sophie said.
‘I’ll bet you is also finding it hard to believe in quogwinkles,’ the BFG said, ‘and how they is visiting us from the stars.’
‘Of course I don’t believe that,’ Sophie said.
The BFG regarded her gravely with those huge eyes of his. ‘I hope you will forgive me,’ he said, ‘if I tell you that human beans is thinking they is very clever, but they is not. They is nearly all of them notmuchers and squeakpips.’
your pardon,’ Sophie said.
‘The matter with human beans,’ the BFG went on, ‘is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles. Of course quogwinkles is existing. I is meeting them oftenly. I is even chittering to them.’ He turned away contemptuously from Sophie and resumed his writing. Sophie moved over to read what he had written so far. The letters were printed big and bold, but were not very well formed. Here is what it said:




‘The kiss of
’ Sophie asked.
The BFG stopped writing and raised his head slowly. His eyes rested on Sophie’s face. ‘I is telling you once before,’ he said quietly, ‘that I is never having a chance to go to school. I is full of mistakes. They is not my fault. I do my best. You is a lovely little girl, but please remember that you is not exactly Miss Knoweverything yourself.’
‘I’m sorry’ Sophie said. ‘I really am. It is very rude of me to keep correcting you.’
The BFG gazed at her for a while longer, then he bent his head again to his slow laborious writing.
‘Tell me honestly,’ Sophie said. ‘If you blew this dream into my bedroom when I was asleep, would I really and truly start dreaming about how I saved my teacher from drowning by diving off the bridge?’
‘More,’ the BFG said. ‘A lot more. But I cannot be squibbling the whole gropefluncking dream on a titchy bit of paper. Of course there is more.’
The BFG laid down his pencil and placed one massive ear close to the jar. For about thirty seconds he listened intently. ‘Yes,’ he said, nodding his great head solemnly up and down. ‘This dream is continuing very nice. It has a very dory-hunky ending.’
‘How does it end?’ Sophie said. ‘
tell me.’
‘You would be dreaming,’ the BFG said, ‘that the morning after you is saving the teacher from the river, you is arriving at school and you is seeing all the five hundred pupils sitting in the assembly hall, and all the teachers as well, and the head teacher is then standing up and saying, “I is wanting the whole school to give three cheers for Sophie because she is so brave and is saving the life of our fine arithmatic teacher, Mr Figgins, who was unfortunately pushed off the bridge into the river by our gym-teacher, Miss Amelia Upscotch. So three cheers for Sophie!” And the whole school is then cheering like mad and shouting bravo well done, and, for ever after that, even when you is getting your sums all gungswizzled and muggled up, Mr Figgins is always giving you ten out of ten and writing
Good Work Sophie
in your exercise book. Then you is waking up.’
‘I like that dream,’ Sophie said.
‘Of course you like it,’ the BFG said. ‘It is a phizzwizard.’ He licked the back of the label and stuck it on the jar. ‘I is usually writing a bit more than this on the labels,’ he said. ‘But you is watching me and making me jumpsy.’
‘I’ll go and sit somewhere else,’ Sophie said.
‘Don’t go,’ he said. ‘Look in the jar carefully and I think you will be seeing this dream.’
Sophie peered into the jar and there, sure enough, she saw the faint translucent outline of something about the size of a hen’s egg. There was just a touch of colour in it, a pale sea-green, soft and shimmering and very beautiful. There it lay, this small oblong sea-green jellyish thing, at the bottom of the jar, quite peaceful, but pulsing gendy, the whole of it moving in and out ever so slightly, as though it were breathing.
‘It’s moving!’ Sophie cried. ‘It’s alive!’
‘Of course it’s alive.’
‘What will you feed it on?’ Sophie asked.
‘It is not needing any food,’ the BFG told her.
‘That’s cruel,’ Sophie said. ‘Everything alive needs food of some sort. Even trees and plants.’
‘The north wind is alive,’ the BFG said. ‘It is moving. It touches you on the cheek and on the hands. But nobody is feeding it.’
Sophie was silent. This extraordinary giant was disturbing her ideas. He seemed to be leading her towards mysteries that were beyond her understanding.
‘A dream is not needing anything,’ the BFG went on. ‘If it is a good one, it is waiting peaceably for ever until it is released and allowed to do its job. If it is a bad one, it is always fighting to get out.’
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