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Tiddly and Skel

Chapter 1

“Oh no! Let it stop, pleeeease!”, Tiddly Peeps begged.

The noise went on.

And on, and on, and on.

In the end, Tiddly Peeps could not take it any more.

He put his glasses carefully on the book he had been trying to read. Then, he climbed out of his little nest.

Tiddly peeped through the leaves hiding his nest to where the terrible noise was coming from. Over there, by the big rock something was moving.

Tiddly wondered if it all was a trick to get him to come out. “No”, he said to himself, they wouldn’t think of something that clever.” Very quietly, the little gnome tiptoed through the high grass. Only the top of his head was peeping out between the long stalks. He reached the rock. The noise was ear numbingly loud by now.

Tiddly tried to hold his ears and peep around the rock at the same time. This was a bad idea, because he fell over and landed right in front of the rock. “Oops!”, Tiddly tried to right himself, but his big feet got in the way.

The noise stopped for a moment, then it began again. “Boohooo, waaah!”

Tiddly managed to get upright again. He looked to the source of the noise.

“STOP!”, he shouted. It was all just too much. His ears ached and his head felt all wobbly, as much from the fall as from the terrible noise.

“Please don’t shout at me, quack.”

“Quack?”, Tiddly asked.

“Quack, Quack!”, the voice replied.

“Why are you pretending to be a duck?”, Tiddly asked.

Pretending? BUT I am a duck! I came out of a duck’s egg. All my brothers and sisters are ducks. My mum is a duck. I am a duck, too. Quack!”, the voice replied.

“Now, now. You are definitely not a duck. A duck is all feathers and fluff with a beak. You’ve got none of those things!”, Tiddly replied. “Well, you do have wings, but they do not look very duck-like to me.”

" You are just like the others. Making fun of me! Quack!”, the voice cried.

I am not making fun of you”, Tiddly said kindly. “I am just saying you are not a duck. I am pretty sure you are a dragon.”

“A dragon? But dragons are large and scary! Quack!”, the voice disagreed.

“Well, even dragons are little before they grow up”, Tiddly replied. “You do have scales and claws, and a forked tail. Just like a dragon!”

“But my mum is a duck!”, the dragon whimpered.

“That’s as maybe, I don’t know much about where dragons come from. But I have seen a picture of a dragon in a book!”, Tiddly settled the argument.

“You have a picture of a real dragon?”, the dragon asked wiggling his forked tail, “Can I see it?”

“Sure, as long as you promise not to make such a terrible noise again”, Tiddly said sternly.

“I promise, I promise”, the little dragon said, bouncing up and down with excitement.

Tiddly smiled and nodded. “I am Tiddly Peeps. What’s your name?”

“They call me Skel”, the dragon replied.

“Skel?”, Tiddly asked.

“Yes, it used to be Scaly Duck, but that was too long, so they just call me Skel now”, Skel explained.

“Oh”, Tiddly said, “Do you want to look at the picture?”

“Yes, please! Is it a colour picture?”, the dragon asked, weaving his tail round a stalk of grass.

“This is cosy”, a voice said from behind the rock.

Tiddly jumped. They had found him, in the open, with no place to hide!


Copyright, Sybille Sterk 2002, 2003
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