LITTLE MR. WOFFLES
children. Splash! They fell into the big lake below, and Mr. Woffles chuckled.
" That's the first bath they've had for a year! " he said. " Do them good! Look at their swan-car, too—it's gone flying on without them! It will probably fly to the moon and never come back again. They've lost it!"
" Oh, Tom, I'm so glad you've rescued me," said Bessie. " There was a horrid goblin in that hollow tree, and he took me away to a little room. He made a door come in the wall, and dragged me through it. He made the door vanish afterwards so that if you came after me you wouldn't know where I'd gone. He said I was to be nursemaid to his horrid, bad-tempered little children! But I knew you would rescue me! "
" Of course! " said Tom. ' But I say, Bessie, you are getting heavy. I'd better fly down to the ground, or you might drop."
So down he flew—and when he sat down for a rest and looked round, he saw a most peculiar thing! He was sitting in the field just outside his garden! They were home!
" Isn't that strange! " said Tom, surprised. :< I say, what's happening . to my wings? "
His wings gently pulled themselves from his back and flew into the air alone. Tom turned to Mr. Woffles to tell him, but just then a dog began to bark not far off. Mr. Woffles turned pale and his nose winked up and down.
" A dog! " he said, in a frightened voice. " I must go! Come and see me again some time, Tom! "
Off he went, and popped down a rabbit-hole in a twinkling.
" Goodbye and thank you for your help !" shouted Tom. " I'll call on you again soon."
The two children went home and told their mother all about it. She was so surprised to hear of such strange adventures, and promised to go with them to the hollow tree. But do you know, when they climbed down into the hollow tree again, the trap-door leading to the passage had gone! The bench round the tree, the tiny cupboard and the table had gone too. It was just like an ordinary tree.
" So we shall never be able to see dear little Mr. Woffles again! " said Tom. " What a pity! "
But they may do—you never know!