For Madeline

The enormous hairy legs that were crawling out of the chimney pot wriggled a bit and after a huge struggle, a big, black, hairy body followed. And a lot of eyes. Oh gosh, yes. Really, a lot of eyes.

Marigold fainted. Dorothy turned white (as she’d only just stopped being green, this was a shame). Arnold swallowed, took a deep breath and bravely addressed the creature.

‘Um, er, er… what I mean is… well, um, HELLO!’

The eyes swivelled round and looked down at him.

‘Oh hello!’ the creature replied in a squeaky, high pitched, breathless sort of voice. ‘I don’t suppose you could help could you? I’m stuck you see and I’ve been trying to get of here for ages and I think one of my feet is still jammed under something and however much I pull it it just won’t come and the thing is I’ve sort of had enough of being in the attic and and and… Oh!’

The creature burst into tears and looked down woefully at Arnold.

Arnold quite forgot that he was terrified and said, ‘Of course I’ll help if I can. What would you like me to do?’

‘No, no, no!’ exclaimed the Dodo. ‘You’ve begun all wrong! You need to introduce yourselves first.’ Setting an example, he bowed ungracefully to the creature on the roof and said, ‘How do you do. My name is Dave.’

This surprised Arnold: in his view Dodos ought to be called things like Cornelius or Aelfric. However, he rose to the occasion and introduced himself too. Then he and the Dodo looked up at the roof.

‘Oh, gosh,’ said the creature bashfully. ‘Well, my name is Rosalind Spidersweb and…. and I’m a librarian.’ She fluttered her many eyelids at them.

‘That’s unusual,’ said the Dodo.



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