The Tale of Lanky-Panky
O nce upon a time there was a great upset in the land of Twiddle because Someone had stolen the Queen's silver tea-service!
" Yes, it's all gone! " wept the Queen. " My lovely silver teapot! My lovely silver hot-water jug! My lovely sugar-basin and milk-jug—and my perfectly beautiful silver tray! "
" Who stole it? " cried every one. But nobody knew.
" It was kept locked up in the tall cupboard," said the Queen, " and it was on the very topmost shelf. Nobody could have reached it unless they had a ladder—or were very, very tall! "
Now among those who were listening were the five clever imps. When they heard the Queen say that the thief must have had a ladder—or have been very tall—they all pricked up their pointed ears at once.
" Ha! Did you hear that? " said Tuppy. " The Queen said someone tall! "
" What about Mr. Spindle-Shanks the new wizard, who has come to live in the big house on the hill? " said Higgle.
" He's tall enough for anything! " said Pop.
" I guess he's the thief! " said Snippy. " I saw him round here last night when it was dark."
" Then we'll go to his house and get back the stolen tea-service," said Pip.
" Don't be silly," said the Queen, drying her eyes. " You know quite well that if you five clever imps go walking up to Mr. Spindle-Shanks'