Cruise of the Little Dipper Page 6

Behold what happened to Birdling! He did not know that the witch-hazel flowers were full of Fairy Bread! Suddenly he grew smaller and smaller, like a candle on a birthday-cake, till he thought he must go out altogether—but just before it was time to go out he stopped shrinking and saw to his great relief that he was still a good inch taller than the bumble-bee.

He sat down with surprise, hands on the ground and feet apart, and the short grasses closed above his head. All around him the daisies, who always enjoy a joke, were tittering and looking at him through the grass. Somewhere behind a huge fuzzy mullen-plant was a great noise, like the motor of an aeroplane—it was the bumble-bee, coming to see what was going on.

“What’s happened?” he boomed in his rolling bass voice.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” replied the boy, picking himself up. “I never felt so small in my life, not even when I tore my Sunday shirt and my great-aunt scolded me before everybody! Why I’m no bigger than a sea-horse!”

The daisies were still laughing and now they could no longer contain themselves.

“He ate fairy-bread,” they giggled, “and he grew as little as a balloon when the air goes out, ho, ho, ho, ho! Tee, tee, tee, tee!”