BILLY'S LITTLE BOATS
eleven of them. He took six walnuts from the dish of nuts on the dining-room sideboard.
He ran upstairs again. He carefully slit each walnut into its two half-shells and took out the nut. He and the brownies chewed the nuts between them as Billy worked.
" Now, there you are! " said Billy, when he had the six shells empty, standing neatly in their halves. " Twelve little boats! Good! Now I'll make the masts and the sails."
He got out a box in which he kept all sorts of odds and ends. In it were a lot of dead matches. Billy was not allowed to touch proper matches, only ones that had already been struck, but he had quite a lot of these.
He took a dead match and made holes in a small piece of white paper so that he could slip the bit of paper on the match for a sail! The match was the mast, you see. When he had got the sail nicely fixed, he looked for his tube of seccotine.
" What's that? " asked the brownies in surprise, as they saw Billy squee2ing a tiny, sticky sort of worm out of the tube on to the end of the match.
" It's seccotine—sticky stuff that sticks things together," said Billy. " This drop of seccotine will stick the end of the match to the bottom of the walnut shell, you see, brownies—and then you will have a nice straight mast, with a dear little sail to catch the wind! "
The brownies were simply amazed to see Billy making them the dear little walnut-shell boats. Billy was so quick and so clever!
He stuck the match into the bottom of a shell. He arranged the bit of paper for a sail. The boat was ready!
" One boat done," he said. " Now for the next! "
As soon as the brownies saw how the boats were made, they began to help. Tiggy got in a bit of a mess with the seccotine, which stuck to his hands, and then everything seemed to stick to him\ Poor Tiggy!
It was not long before there were twelve boats finished. " You only need eleven," said Billy, " but it would be quite a good idea to let the twelfth boat carry your bits of luggage. I can tie it on to one of the other boats."
Soon Billy and the brownies were creeping quietly down the garden