BIG-HANDS AND NOBBLY
surprised to see him for he quite thought he must be inside Nobbly's cottage, frightening him!
The two of them opened the door and ran to the stairs. Nobbly was still shouting and yelling, rolling about on the floor with his feet tied tightly together by the loop of rope.
" Come on, quick, someone's hurting poor Nobbly! " cried Big-Hands, all his quarrel with the goblin quite forgotten. Up the stairs they rushed, both of them, and flung open the bedroom door. It was quite dark in the bedroom, and Mister Stick shone his lantern round.
Nobbly was panting on the floor, pulling with all his might at his rope! Mister Stick set his lantern down on a table and lifted Nobbly to his feet.
" Someone's tied your feet together," said Big-Hands in astonishment, as he saw the loop of rope tightly round the goblin's bony feet. " Whoever did that? "
" Why, wasn't ityou?" said Nobbly in amazement, staring at Big-Hands.
" No, indeed it wasn't," answered Big-Hands at once. " I wouldn't do such a horrid thing! You ought to know that. Besides, Mister Stick the policeman will tell you I came rushing up the stairs with him—I wasn't in your bedroom at all. I do wonder who it was. Let's hunt round a bit and see if we can see any robber, shall we, Mister Stick? "
They untied poor Nobbly's feet and then, taking the lantern, they all hunted round the cottage—but, of course there was no one there at all! They couldn't understand it.
" I'm so frightened! " wept Nobbly. " I can't make it out. Who is this person with great, enormous hands who keeps coming to frighten me? Oh, dear Big-Hands, do please stay with me for the rest of the night and sleep here so that I shan't be alone. Then, if the person comes again, you will be able to scare him away for me. You are so brave."
" Very well," promised Big-Hands. So they said goodnight to Mister Stick, and off he went home. Big-Hands and Nobbly settled down to sleep in the bed—it was rather a tight fit for two people—and soon nothing was to be heard but gentle snores from Nobbly and enormously loud ones from Big-Hands.
Well, Big-Hands suddenly gave such a tremendous snore that Nobbly woke up with a jump—and goodness me, there were his feet again, sticking up in the moonlight just like big hands coming to get him.