THE TALE OF MR. BUSYBODY
"Why—why! He's actually cleaning those magic shoes with a dreadfully dirty duster! " said Busybody, in great surprise and disgust. " I shall go and tell Old Man Jog-About what I have seen. Really, he should dismiss a dirty, lazy servant like that and find a new one. Now I should do very well indeed to go about the country with him and take the pennies from the people. I am dean, J am hardworking, I am . . ."
But dear me, it would take too long to tell all the wonderful things that Busybody thought he was! He went back to his breakfast, but he didn't finish it. He grew quite excited at the thought of being Old Man Jog-About's servant. How grand it would be to travel with a famous magician! How pleased he would be with a fine fellow like Busybody, and perhaps he would share all the money with him—then Busybody would indeed be rich, a thing he had never been in all his life.
He couldn't wait to finish his breakfast. He clapped his pointed red hat on his head and hurried out of his front door. He crossed the road and saw that Pipkin was no longer in front of the tent. From inside came the sound of snores. Old Man Jog-About was still sound asleep. What was Pipkin doing?
Mister Busybody felt quite sure that the litde servant was doing something wrong. He heard him whistling softly behind the tent, and he crept round to peep at him.
And oh, my goodness, what a shock Mister Busybody got! For Pipkin was putting on the magic shoes! Yes, before Busybody's very eyes he was slipping on a pair of bright red and yellow shoes, laced with green thongs!
" He's going to steal them! " thought Busybody with horror. "There! Didn't I think he was a good-for-nothing servant! Just as Old Man Jog-About is peacefully asleep off goes Pipkin the servant—and I'm sure hell take all the money too! "
Sure enough, just at that very moment there came the sound of chinking and clinking, and Busybody saw the litde servant tying the leather bag of money to the belt at his waist.
Busybody stared as if he couldn't believe his eyes. Pipkin took up a stick and set off round the tent, going at a good pace, whistling as he went. Busybody wondered what to do. Should he go after Pipkin? Should he wake up Jog-About? He would do both!