BIG-HANDS AND NOBBLY
the wind was blowing towards Big-Hands' cottage, so the poor gnome had his kitchen filled with smoke all day long. And he put his gramophone on very loudly indeed when he knew that Big-Hands was having his afternoon nap!
This made the gnome very angry. He ran up the path to Nobbly's front-door and banged on the knocker. Nobbly wouldn't open the door, so Big-Hands stood on the doorstep and yelled at him.
" I'm going to punish you for all these unkind things! Yes, you look out, Nobbly! You'll be sorry for yourself, you will! I'll just show you what I can do! Grrrrrrr! "
Big-Hands sounded so very fierce that Nobbly really felt rather frightened. Big-Hands did not usually lose his temper, for he was a good-natured fellow, but when he did people knew about it!
Nobbly looked at Big-Hands going down the path, from behind the curtain. He saw him doubling up his big hands into fists, and shaking them, muttering angrily all the time.
" Oooh ! " thought Nobbly. " I'd better be careful. There's really no knowing what he might do! "
So that day Nobbly didn't throw any more rubbish over the wall, and didn't set his gramophone going. He went to bed early that night, read a book for a little while and then fell fast asleep.
When he woke up, the moon was shining outside his window. And, to Nobbly's great fright and horror, he suddenly saw what looked like two enormous hands sticking up at the end of his bed, looking for all the world as if they belonged to someone crouching behind the foot of the bed, ready to pounce out!
Nobbly turned pale and shivered so that the bed shook very much indeed. His hair stood up on end.
" It's Big-Hands the Gnome come to scare me! " he groaned to himself. " Oh my, oh my, look at those awful great hands sticking up there, ready to come at me if I so much as speak a word."
Now, Nobbly had made a very great mistake. What he thought were hands were not hands at all—but simply his own great bony feet sticking up out of the bed-clothes! Nobbly was so bony that the clothes found it difficult to keep on him, and were for ever slipping off!