<xmp> <body> </xmp> The Witch, The Tooth, And The Dragon

Flowers And Fuss

~Hoobie And Scat Make A Friend~

No sooner had Hooblinka and her new familiar looked at one another, mouths hanging open like draw bridges let down, than a totally unexpected GREAT SNEEZE was heard, and it shook the ground!

"What on EARTH......" Scatcat began, huddling as close to Hooblinka as possible; so close, he could hear her racing little witch-heart going 'THUMP!THUMP!THUMP!' as they both stood bug-eyed, staring in the direction of the polka-dotted blur from seconds before.

"We have no WEAPONS, Hoobie!"

"Goose!" said the witch. "We have our wits. And for all the things you don't have," she added, "you DO have working leg stumps as we both KNOW, 'Fraidy Cat'," Hooblinka taunted him. "We can RUN!"

For all her bluster, Scat could feel the jumping of her heart and Scatcat knew she was just trying to ACT brave.

The shaking two slowly inched their way toward the nearest rocks, which were boulder-sized things where moss had nearly covered them in a green, soft velvet. "Shhhhhhhh," cautioned Hoodie. "I think it's behind there." At those words a big FIREWORKS kind of explosion of FLOWERS came bursting up into the gray sky. And then more pitiful sobbing.

"What in the WORLD..." said the tooth, and just then, a spiky tail, big as a Cadillac, came swishing back and forth from the bottom edge of the rock and it was plated with triangular and strangely happy-looking green scales. They both jumped BACK!

"OH MY! OH MY SAD SORRY BONES," they heard. "And NOW look what I've done! Burped FLOWERS!" as more sobs wracked through something that was clearly VERY LARGE.

"I don't think it's dangerous," whispered Hooblinka. "However big it might be, that... thing .....is surely one of the saddest things I've ever heard. Sad equals 'weak', cat-- as you well know," taunted Hoodie.

Scatcat shot her an angry look when they both turned to see a slithering, huge HULK of a beast come sobbing out from his hiding place, completely dotted in green spots.

"IT'S....IT'S.... A GIANT LIZARD!" exclaimed Hooblinka.

"And he's PAINTED LIKE AN EASTER EGG!" -- which brought on harder sobbing as the poor creature heaved its great shoulders and shuddered in perfect misery.

"I..I...I'm a.............DRAGON!" he corrected her.

"A big, dumb, silly looking dragon whose wings are so small," he said as he shifted his large body around so they could see, "they could be fastened to a HOUSE SPARROW!"

As he turned to show them his tiny wings

they couldn't HELP IT- Hooblinka and Scatcat broke out in gleeful, crazy laughter and couldn't stop. The beast was just that ridiculous-looking. BIG certainly, but not in the least frightening. And instead of fire when he honked a deep, throaty, broken cough in his horrid embarrassment, FLOWERS shot out of his mouth like a cannon!

They both fell over with laughter, holding their stomachs and snorting. Hoobie, kicking her stick-like feet and beating the ground while Scatcat rolled this way and that, giggling uncontrollably.

Gathering herself together as best she could and trying to stop the waves of laughter, Hooblinka finally said, "We're sorry, Mr. DRAGON... but we've never seen your likes before so forgive our unkindness. You're really very wonderful looking and you mustn't be sad. See here.... LOOK AT US. Do WE LOOK LIKE anything NORMAL to you?" She watched the dragon intently as his shoulders slowly stopped shuddering. He looked at them. He studied them with great interest.

Calming down a bit he finally said, "That's not the worst part," sniffling and trusting them a little. "The part your just saw? No, it's not the worst part at all."

"The WORST PART... is my name. Witch? Tooth???..... Allow me to introduce myself. Theophilus Frankenhouse Lumpenrump," and he bowed slowly, "at your service."

Hoobie and Scat looked at one another, then Hoobie pronounced, "That's really lame, that name. It won't do...it simply WON'T DO. Why, it's....it's feeble," she said finally.

"Hoobie! THAT'S IT! It IS feeble. FEEBLES will be his name!" he shouted quite happily.

"YES!" said the little witch (quite impressed that her tooth friend was picking up her great talent for naming things.) "Oh, Scatcat......It's PERFECT!

They hardly noticed that as they were beaming at one another, the poor dragon was looking more downcast than ever.

"Now," he said. "Let me tell you my story." And he began.

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