Authors: Enid Blyton
“It isn’t!” said Chinky, with a grin, lifting up his black shawl and peeping at the children merrily. “You couldn’t possibly find it unless you had me with you!”
“Is that Bone-Lazy’s cottage?” asked Mollie, pointing towards a cottage at the foot of a nearby hill.
“I’ll go on ahead now,” he said. “Then you must do your part as we have planned. Good luck!”
He hobbled on in front, looking for all the world like an old woman. When he came just by the cottage, Chinky suddenly gave a dreadful groan, and fell to the ground. At once the children rushed up and pulled the pretended old woman to her feet. From the corner of his eye Peter saw someone looking out of the window of the cottage at them.
“Quick! Quick!” he cried very loudly to Mollie. “This poor woman has fainted! We must take her into this cottage and ask for a drink of water for her. She must rest!”
They half-carried Chinky to the cottage door and knocked loudly. An old, old man opened it. He had narrow cunning eyes and the children didn’t like the look of him at all. They explained about the old woman and took her into the cottage. “Could you get a drink of water?” said Mollie.
The old chap left the room, grumbling. “I shall have to go to the well,” he muttered crossly.
“Good!” thought Peter. “It will give us time for a look round.”
But, to their great disappointment, the wishing-chair was not to be seen! The cottage only had one room, so it did not take them long to hunt all round it. Before they had time to say anything the old, old man came back with a jug of water.
Mollie took it from him—and then she suddenly noticed a very curious thing. A great draught was coming from a big chest-of-drawers standing in a corner. She stared at it in surprise. How could it be making such a wind round her feet? It was only a chest-of-drawers!
But wait a minute! Was it only a chest-of-drawers? Quick as lightning Mollie upset the jug of water, and then turned to Bone-Lazy in apology. “Oh! I’m so sorry! I’ve upset the water! How very careless of me! I wonder if you’d be good enough to get some more?”
The old man shouted at her rudely, snatched up the jug, and went down the garden to the well. The others stared at Mollie in surprise.
“Whatever did you do that for?” said Peter.
“There’s something queer about that chest-of-drawers,” said Mollie. “There’s a strange wind coming from it. Feel, Chinky! I upset the jug just to get the old man out of the way for a minute.”
“Stars and moon! He’s changed our chair into a chest!” cried Chinky. “It must have grown wings, but we can’t see them because of Bone-Lazy’s magic! Quick, all of you! Jump into a drawer, and I’ll wish us away!”
The children pulled open two of the enormous drawers and sat inside. Chinky sat on the top, crying “Home, wishing-chair, home!”
The chest groaned, and the children heard a flapping noise Just at that moment the old man came into the room again with a jug of water. How he stared! But, before he could do anything, the chest-of-drawers rose up in the air, knocked the water out of his hand, almost pushed him over, and squeezed itself out of the door.
“You won’t steal our chair again!” shouted cheeky Chinky, and he flung his black shawl neatly over Bone-Lazy’s head.
The chest rose high into the air, and then a funny thing happened. It began to change back into the chair they all knew so well! Before they could think what to do, the children found themselves sitting safely on the seat, for the drawers all vanished into cushions! Chinky was on the top of the back, singing for joy.
“That was a marvellous plan of yours!” said Peter.
“Well, Mollie was the sharpest!” laughed Chinky.
“It was she who noticed the draught from the chest. Good old Mollie!”
ONCE the wishing-chair played a very silly trick on Mollie. The children were cross about it for a long time, and so was Chinky the pixie.
The chair had grown its wings and the children sat on the seat as usual with Chinky on the back.
“Where shall we go?” asked Peter.
“Let's go to Topsy-Turvy Land,” said Chinky with a laugh. “It's a funny place to see—everything wrong, you know! It will give us a good laugh!”
“Yes, let's go there!” said Peter, pleased. “It would be fun.”
“To Topsy-Turvy Land, chair!” commanded Chinky. The chair rose up in the air and flew off at once. It flapped its wings fast, and very soon the children had flown right over the spires of Fairyland and were gazing down on a strange-looking land.
The chair flew downwards. It came to rest in a village, and the children and Chinky jumped off. They stared in surprise at the people there.
Nobody seemed to know how to dress properly! Coats were on back to front, and even upside down. One little man had his trousers on his arms! He wore his legs through the sleeves of his coat. The children began to giggle, and the little man looked at them in surprise.
“Have you had bad news?” he asked.
“Of course not,” said Peter. “We shouldn't laugh if we had!”
“You would if you lived in Topsy-Turvy Land,” grinned Chinky. “Look at this woman coming along, crying into her handkerchief. Ask her what's the matter.”
“What is the matter?” asked Mollie. The woman mopped her streaming eyes and said, “Oh, I've just found my purse, which I lost, and I'm so glad.”
“There you are!” said Chinky. “They cry when they're glad and smile when they're sad!”
“Look at that man over there!” said Mollie suddenly. “He's getting into his house by the window instead of through the door; and do look! his door has lace curtains hung over it. Does he think it's a window?”
“I expect so,” said Chinky, with a grin. “Do you see that little boy over there with gloves on his feet and shoes on his hands? I must say I wouldn't like to live in Topsy-Turvy Land!”
The children didn't want to live there either—but it really was fun to see all the curious things around them. They saw children trying to read a book backwards. They watched a cat crunching up a bone and a dog lapping milk, so it seemed as if even the animals were topsy-turvy too!
Suddenly a policeman came round the corner, and, as soon as he saw the children and Chinky with their chair, he bustled up to them in a hurry, taking out a notebook as large as an atlas as he did so.
“Where is your licence to keep a chair?” he asked sternly. He took out a rubber and prepared to write with it.
“You can't write with a rubber!” said Mollie.
“I shall write with whatever I please!” said the policeman. “Yes, and I shall rub out with my pencil if I want to. Now, then, where's your licence?”
“You don't need to have a licence for a chair,” said Chinky, impatiently. “Don't be silly. It isn't a motorcar.”
“Well, it's got wings, so it must be an aeroplane chair,” said the policeman, tapping with his rubber on his enormous notebook. “You have to have a licence for that in this country.”
“We haven't a licence and we're not going to get one,” said Peter, and he pushed the policeman's notebook away, for it was sticking into him. The policeman was furious. He glared at Chinky. He glared at Peter. He glared at Mollie—and then he glared at the chair. The chair seemed to feel uncomfortable. It hopped about on the pavement and tried to edge away from the policeman.
“I shall take your chair to prison,” said the policeman, and he made a grab at it. The chair hopped away—and then hopped back unexpectedly and trod hard on one of the policeman's feet. Then off it went again. Chinky ran after it.
“Hie, come back, chair!” he yelled. “We can't have you going off like this. Don't be afraid. We won't let the policeman get you! Come on, Mollie and Peter—jump into the chair quickly, and we'll fly off.”
Peter ran after the chair—but the policeman caught hold of Mollie's arm. Chinky and Peter jumped into the chair before they saw what was happening to Mollie—and, dear me, before they could get off it again, the chair spread its red wings and rose up into the air!
“Peter! Chinky! Don't leave me here!” shouted Mollie, trying to wriggle away from the policeman.
“Chair, fly down again!” commanded Chinky.
But, do you know, the wishing-chair was so scared of being put into prison that it wouldn't do as it was told! It flew on, straight up into the air with Peter and Chinky, and left poor Mollie behind. Nothing Chinky could say would make that disobedient chair go down again to fetch Mollie. It flew on and on and was soon out of sight.
Mollie was terribly upset. She began to cry, and the policeman stared at her. “What is amusing you?” he asked. “What are you glad about?”
“I'm not amused or glad!” said Mollie. “I'm not like you silly topsy-turvy people, crying when I'm glad, and laughing when I'm sad. I don't belong to this horrid, stupid country at all!”
“Dear me, I didn't know that,” said the policeman, putting away his notebook. “Why didn't you say so before?”
“You never asked me,” said Mollie, half angry, half frightened. “My friend, the pixie who was here just now, will probably tell the pixie King how you kept me here, and he will be
very angry indeed
“Oh, you must go home at once,” said the policeman, who was now shaking like a jelly with fright. “You shall catch a bus home. I will pay your fare myself. I will show you where the bus is.”
He took Mollie to a stopping-place—but as the buses all went straight on, and passengers had to jump on and off whilst it was going, Mollie thought it was silly to call it a stopping-place! It was a comical-looking bus, too, for although the driver drove it by a wheel, he had a whip by his side and cracked it loudly whenever the bus seemed to slow down, just as if it were a horse!
The policeman put Mollie on the bus as it came past the stopping-place and threw some money at the conductor. He picked it up and threw it back. Mollie thought that the topsy-turvy people were the maddest she had ever seen.
She sat down on a seat. “Standing room only in this bus,” said the conductor. “Give me your ticket, please.”
“Well, you've got to give me one,” said Mollie. “And what do you mean by saying 'standing room only?' There are heaps of seats.”
She sat down and the conductor glared at her. “The seats will be worn out if people keep sitting on them,” he said. “And where's your ticket, please?”
“I'll show it to you when you give me one,” said Mollie, impatiently. “Give me a ticket for home. I live in Hilltown.”
“Then you're going the wrong way,” said the conductor. “But as a matter of fact no bus goes to Hilltown. So you can stay in my bus if you like. One is as good as another.”
Mollie jumped up in a rage. She leapt out of the bus and began to walk back to where she had started from. What a silly place Topsy-Turvy Land was. She would never get home from here!
Just as she got back to the street from which the bus had started, Mollie saw Chinky! How pleased she was. She shouted to him and waved. “Chinky! Chinky! Here I am!”
Chinky saw her and grinned. He came over to her and gave her a hug.
“Sorry to have left you like that, Mollie,” he said. “The wishing-chair did behave badly. I've left it at home in the corner! It is very much ashamed of itself.”
“Well, if you left the chair at home how did you come here?” asked Mollie in astonishment.
“I borrowed a couple of Farmer Straw's geese,” grinned Chinky. “Look! There they are, over there. There's one for you to fly back on and one for me. Come on, or Farmer Straw will miss his fat old geese.”
“Chinky, quick! There's that policeman again!” cried Mollie suddenly. “Oh—and he's going to the geese—and getting his big notebook out—I'm sure he's going to ask them for a licence or something! Let's get them, quick!”
Chinky and Mollie raced to where the two geese were staring in great astonishment at the policeman, who was looking all around them, trying, it seemed, to find their number-plates! Mollie jumped on to the back of one and Chinky on to the other.
“Hie!” cried the policeman, “have these geese got numbers and lamps?”
“I'll go and ask the farmer they belong to!” laughed Chinky. The geese rose up into the air and the wind they made with their big wings blew off the policeman's helmet.