Monday 2 March 2015

'The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand' - OUT NOW!

It's been a long time coming, but we're so proud to announce that finally - 'The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand' - Part 2 of the 'Most Majelicus trilogy featuring Matlock and all the clottabussed, crumlushed and saztaculous creatures of Winchett Dale is finally out and published; in paperback, e-book and hardback editions....
At over 500 pages of adventure filled griffles, with over 30 full-page illustrations, full glossary, a copy of the 'Dale-Bugle' - Matlock's latest adventure sees him undertake the second Most Majelicus task - the finding of the elusive Tillian Wand in a journey filled with twizzly peril, ganticus chickles and a freggle of old and familiar characters all helping or hindering him on his way...


Picking up from the moment 'The Riddle of Trefflepugga Path' finishes, Matlock has no time to rest his weary hare's feet as he is soon summoned to the mysterious upside-down tower of Jericho and Lily Krettle deep in Wand Wood.  The two cheery creatures waste no time in griffling to him the nature of the task - and also the price for failure for majickal-hares who attempt it - to be 'stroffed' and made into hare 'soupy-soupy' all the while a ganticus flood rises from beneath Winchett Dale threatening to drown all the creatures who live there.  Only one hare can the day - and the dales!  You guessed it - it's Matlock.  Let's only hope he's up to the task...

It's a book we sincerely hope folk will enjoy as much as 'The Riddle of Trefflepugga Path'.  A few more 'secrets' from the first book are revealed - and some others which will have to wait for the 3rd and final part of the trilogy - 'The Trial of the Majickal Elders' before they are ever fully known...

But for now, if it's a truly immersive magical read that you want - books to take you from the mundane and sweep you effortlessly into a world packed full of chickles and saztaculous adventures - then Matlock is peffa-definitely the 'hare' for you - and just waiting to take you with him on his journeys right now! 

....then settle down with a crumlush brottle-leaf brew and let the saztaculous majick happen....

Saturday 19 July 2014

Pid-padding on...

   It can be hard at times to realise just how quickly the sun-turns pass, turn themselves into weeks, then moon-turns.  We're somehow already half way through the year, and as the sun-turns shorten, thoughts begin to turn to Autumn, and all the crumlush saztaculousness it brings...and the amount of work still left for Jacqui and I to do before we finish the book...

  However, first things first, and we were most peffa-grateful for the saztaculous clackety-janglers that are Shrewsbury Morris for their help with our Kickstarter prize draw to win two black-and-white original pen and ink drawings of Matlock and Ursula, held in Shrewsbury's town square during their shindinculous 'Drums, Dance and Dynamix' day on Saturday 19th July - despite the ever present threat of a cracksploding lid and rain!

Graydon Radford and Cath Brown from the saztaculous Shrewsbury Morris draw the two lucky winners from Matlock's majickal-chest of our Kickstarter-backers - despite the best efforts of some grey-haired clottabus to photo-bomb the occasion - honestly, where do they come from...?

As tension mounted, two names were effortlessly picked from the box, revealing the two winners to be Susan Hughes and John Grisswell - so congratulations to them both, the pictures will be on their way - and once again grillions of thanks to Shrewsbury Morris, for whom Matlock is peffa-proud to be associated with as one of their sponsors...

Susan Hughes and John Grisswell plucked from the majickal-box!

   Much of the last couple of weeks has been spent making rewards for our backers, together with writing and illustrating the book - alongside plans for a selection of Christmas goodies and curiosities, perfect for the most peffa-crumlushed 'Borascus'...of which there will be more in the next saztoblog...

...anyway, here's a sneak peak to get you in the mood....

   For now, though, 'tis time for us to be pid-padding on, back to Matlock's adventures in the many majickal-dales, and see just how well he's doing in trying to solve 'The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand' - which despite what he seems to think, might just turn out to be an oidy bit more tricky and twizzly than he expects...

Goodbye for now - and may all your pid-pads be peffa-crumlushed ones...

Sunday 29 June 2014


Whoa!  Just hang on a blinksnap, what the drifflejubbs be going on here?  Some excrimbly clackety-janglers on the majickal-hare's blog?  Have we been blog-bombed by traditional street-dancing Morris folk?  Some explanation, please, good Matlock...

Well - hankies in the air and bells strapped to your legs - Matlock the hare is peffa-proud to announce that he has become a sponsor of Shrewsbury Morrisformed in 1976, providing an opportunity for both men and women to practice and perform traditional and contemporary dances in the traditional style – celebrating and keeping alive the rich heritage of our country.  At present, Shrewsbury Morris is comprised of three teams: The Shrewsbury Lasses, The Bull & Pump Morris Men and Shrewsbury Clog.
And as you can see, they also have saztaculous literary taste, too....

So how has this crumlush meld come about?  What forces were at work to bring together Matlock and the saztaculous world of Morris dancing?  For starters, there's a shared love of tradition, of fun, of the sheer exhilaration of 'doing something different' - and of course, the ocassional guzzwort or two...

Having lived in Shrewsbury for many years, moon-turns and sun-turns, Jacqui and I have often seen the good Shrewsbury Morris about their 'clackety-jangling' in and around the town and at various country fairs. As you'd expect, they're full of vibrant, energetic fun - keeping alive a tradition that never fails to attract appreciative, smiling crowds, wherever they dance.

As we cautiously pid-padded into the world of Twitter to begin promoting Matlock, we encountered an online community of saztaculous 'clackety-janglers' who all seemed to share the same daft sense of humour as we did, with an appreciation for whimsy, and also Matlock the Hare.  Perhaps something about a majickal-hare had clicked with them, too - as they have always been peffa-supportive folk, which has really meant a lot to us over the last two years...
...indeed, we sometimes began to wonder if it meant more to Matlock than to us, as he never shied away from griffling to the folk he always describes as 'crumlush-janglers'...

So it didn't take a lot for Matlock to convince us of the wisdom of becoming a sponsor for Shrewsbury Morris - they do ganticus amounts for the local community, have an extremely high profile online Twitter presence @shrewsmorris - and are crumlushly pleasant and supportive folk to have the occasional guzzwort or two with!

...And as a mutually beneficial arrangement, that definitely has to one with saztaculous bells on!!!

Please visit Shrewsbury Morris website for more details about them, their up-coming appearances - and if you're looking for one of the most excrimbly ways to get fit and dance - you could even join them!!!


Saturday 14 June 2014

As Promised an oidy-peek into me new and saztaculous book...

It's been yet another busy week in the potionary, as Jacqui and I forsake the sunlushly to continue on with writing and illustrating 'The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand'...

We thought you might like an 'oidy glimpse' into the prologue and first few pages of Chapter 1.  Hope you enjoy it, and it may even give you a flavour of what to expect if you ever find yourself in the crumlush position of sipping guzzworts in the Winchett Dale Inn on the night of their pub-quiz.

Let's just hope it doesn't all go too peffa-glopped-up for them...


What is a ‘Majickal-Hare’?

All hares, it is widely acknowledged, are ‘majickal’ to some degree or another, although this is perhaps less accepted by those of us that live out here in The Great Beyond.   And if this makes little or no sense to you, then it is as well to remember that our lives don’t make a lot of sense to the creatures of Winchett Dale, either – excepting perhaps, a shared appreciation for the majickal qualities of all hares.
    Griffled quite simply, dear reader, dale-creatures would find our lives just as different and confusing as anything we might ever find in Winchett Dale, and were you to ever stumble upon the entrance to Trefflepugga Path, hidden high in the crumlush Derbyshire Peaks, then take its winding, constantly changing route down into the dale itself, this would become all too immediately apparent, from the very first pid-pads you took down towards Wand Wood, then into the village itself.
   But more of Winchett Dale, and all the creatures who live there, later…
   For now, these griffles concern themselves with the most majickal business of the ascension of hares, a sacred practice that has existed since Oramus first created Trefflepugga Path; together with the moon, the stars, and each and every saztaculous thing in the twinkling-lid above.  Indeed, some think the ascension of hares may well have been the most peffa-important of His plans for us all in the very first place.
   There are, as far as we know, four kinds of majickal-hare.
   The first live alongside us all, out here in The Great Beyond, in family groups and droves, rarely glimpsed during the day, lying flat in forms, ears to their backs, hoping not to be disturbed, usually in open fields and lush grasslands.  Brown in colour, they are born with their eyes open, alert and seemingly ready for whatever life may have in store for them.  To see one is a peffa-rare pleasure, but if you do, and dare to look into its bright majickal eyes, you might well get an oidy inkling as to why it is that just so many myths, spuddles and legends have been written and griffled about these saztaculous creatures, in cultures and countries the world over.
    The second kind of hare, good reader of these griffles, are true ‘majickal-hares’; hares that have been chosen to make the long and perilous journey along Trefflepugga Path and down into any one of the waiting dales, there to serve their apprenticeship under a Most Majelicus hare-master; to learn and be taught the ways of ancient-dalelore, to walk on their hind legs, dress in their saztaculous green robes, long purple shoes and caps, and eventually to begin reading the many majickal-driftolubb books that will provide them with essential potionary and wand-wielding skills they’ll need during their time as a true ‘majickal-hare’. 
    Once trained by their masters, and their apprenticeship is complete, majickal-hares are left in their various  dale homelands to tend the immediate needs of the creatures, plants and trees who live there, from sorting out the most gobflopped squabbles, to conjuring saztaculous vrooshers, as and when the need arises.
    The third kind of hare are Most Majelicus hares, the briftest of all majickjal-hares; those few that have successfully completed three tasks to prove themselves worthy of this most shindinculous majickal accolade, and the wearing of the saztaculous red robes that accompanies it.  After becoming Most Majelicus, they spend their sun-turns searching for hares back out in The Great Beyond, then taking a chosen few as apprentices back to the dales in order to train them in the ways of  majickal-hares, in so doing passing on their own knowledge, experience and wisdom gained from their own times as majickal-hares themselves.
    Thus the circle on this good Earth is complete; from hare, to majickal-hare, to Most Majelicus hare, leaving just the final ascension to that of a Majickal Elder – the fourth kind of hare - achieved when the hare is finally taken into Oramus’ eternal-care to join the ranks of other blue-robed Majickal Elders, whose combined ethereal governance over all Oramus’ many lands, seas and dales becomes their sole duty from that sun-turn forth…
    …except for when they’re eating niff-soup, or squabbling amongst themselves, or failing to reach any kind of a decision in the many separate committees and councils that were ironically designed by Oramus to make the whole business of ethereal governance a good deal more simpler in the first place.  Indeed, some peffa, peffa-wise Majickal Elder hares have sometimes wondered if Oramus didn’t have a fifth and final ascension in His Most Majelicus Eternally Shindinculous Mind when He planned the four-stage ascension, but seeing as He has never really been glimpsed (saving shadowy appearances on the surface of the occasional full-moon) no one has ever really been able to griffle to Him as to what His true intentions and purposes really were.
    In the meantime, the Majickal Elders content themselves as best they can with the knowledge that their blue-robes of shindinculous office signify they have risen to the peffa-highest of all places for any hare that once hid and sheltered in open fields and crumlush green pastures back out in The Great Beyond so peffa-many moon-turns ago, and leaving the vexing possibility of a fifth ascension for Oramus’ Himself to finally reveal, if and when He sees fit to do so. 
    And until that distant sun-turn arrives, all hares, of whatever office, rank and stature, must simply wait…

…which, if you were Matlock, the majickal-hare of Winchett Dale, would suit you from the top of your long brown ears, right down to the tip of your long purple shoes, and most other places on your softulous.  For Matlock, it has to be griffled, is one of the few majickal-hares that really rather likes waiting.  Not that he’d ever see it as ‘waiting’, as such – more he sees lots of other things he’d much rather be doing instead, mostly in and around his cottage garden, his potionary, Wand Wood and the village of Winchett Dale itself.  Indeed, this ability of simply being able to get on with what he thought was necessary at the time, rather than worrying about or pondering any sort of ‘greater scheme’ was one of the main reasons Chatsworth, his Most Majelicus master, had first chosen Matlock to be his apprentice when he’d first set eyes on him as a leaping leveret way out in The Great Beyond.  For no matter what was going on, Matlock always simply busied himself with his own chores; searching for food in the hedgerows, building his form, seemingly oblivious to any lurking predators or dangers, completely absorbed by whatever he’d set his mind on.  After just a single sun-turn observing Matlock in this way, Chatsworth knew the young leveret to be the peffa-perfect choice for his next apprentice, and had taken him back along Trefflepugga Path, the path itself then deciding Winchett Dale to be Matlock’s brand new home and training ground.
    And some might wonder just why it was that Trefflepugga Path chose Winchett Dale of all the majickal-dales for the young leveret.  Even Chatsworth, as a Most Majelicus hare had no idea of the path’s true intentions, save for the fact that it always seemed to take creatures where it best thought they needed to go, and that this was in some strange and majickal way connected to Oramus’ will, and therefore wasn’t really ever open to much dispute or negotiation.  Trefflepugga Path had decided on Winchett Dale, so it was there that Matlock began his apprenticeship in what was generally acknowledged to be the most peffa-glopped-up and clottabussed of all the majickal-dales.
    Peffa-glopped-up?  Clottabussed?  Confusing griffles indeed, but not perhaps if you were to spend a snutch of sun-turns in Winchett Dale yourself, in and amongst the creatures themselves, watching them pid-padding about their daily lives.  You might even find yourself using some of their griffles yourself, as Dalespeak can be peffa, peffa-catching…
    And what would be your first impressions of this most crumlush place?  Certainly, its unspoilt beauty would shine through; from the limestone cliffs of Twinkling Lid Heights, to the dense forest of Wand Woods; the crisp, clear waters of Thinking Lake, the sweeping grasslands of Chiming Meadows, and finally, the wooden houses of the village, cosily clustered around a saztaculous tree at its very centre. You might even notice an inn, on far the side of the village-square, with creatures drinking guzzworts and griffling loudly inside, as landlord Slivert Jutt tried his jovial best to keep order and stop any unnecessary singing - although, as no one really knows what ‘unnecessary’ means in Winchett Dale, you’d probably realise that his efforts in this regard were also – perhaps  somewhat ironically – rather unnecessary in themselves.
   And of the creatures?  Well, some would look like creatures you might vaguely recognise from your time in The Great Beyond.  But here any similarity would end, as you soon discovered that nearly every creature griffled, albeit what they actually had to say might sound rather glopped-up at times.  But then it would be well worth remembering that life as seen through eyes of any creature in Winchett Dale – or any of the other majickal-dales – is peffa-different to ours own out in The Great Beyond…
…which is perhaps the reason why Oramus made it that way in the first place…

Some Useful ‘Griffles’ for your Journey…
Briftest - (adj)  What you know as ‘the best’.
Chickle – (v) To laugh.
Clottabus - (n, colloquial) A bit of a fool.  Clottabussed – foolish, but mostly harmless.
Creaker – (n) Door.
Crumlush – (adj) The feeling you get inside when all’s saztaculoulsy well.  Cosy, warm, lovely.
Driftolubb – (n) A book.  Part of a set of driftolubbs used by majickal-hares to find spells, potions and vrooshers.
Excrimbly – (adj) Excited.
Fuzzcheck - (sl) - When everything’s saztaculoulsy fine.
Gobflop –(n) – to fail at something.
Glopped-up – (n phrase) When something has gone wrong.
Glubbstool - (n) When something has gone peffa-wrong! 
Griffle(s) - (n) Word(s)
Juzzpapped – (n) Tired, exhausted.
Lid – (n) Sky.  Twinkling-lid (n) being a night sky full of stars.
Majelicus - (adj)  Peffa-majickal, the most majickal majick, that can't be vrooshed from books, tinctures or potions.  The very heartbeat of our majickal world. 
Nifferduggle(s) - (n) Sleeping. To go to nifferduggles is sometimes the most crumlush part of our sun-turn
Oidy – (adj) Tiny, peffa-small.
Peffa - (adj) Very. 
Pid-pad - (v)  To walk.  Humans tend to `bud-thud'; wehereas we, more delicate creatures of the dale simply pid-pad.  Except Proftulous, who lump-thumps, and oidy creatures who sometimes scrittle.
Russisculoffed - (n) Irritated.  From the gutteral noises made by Russicers if you go too near to them while they are hoarding shlomps.  Be warned, they much prefer their schlomps to you! 
Saztaculous - (adj) Incredible, fantastic.
Shindinculous – (adj) Something that it so peffa-saztaculous that it shines out.
Sisteraculous - (n) The absolute being of you.  The complimentary part of your softulous (body) that if you really take the time to listen to, has some truly shindinculous answers to questions you never thought to even ask.  Something so many have forgotten how to trust, but we at Winchett Dale rely on most glopped-up sun-turns
Snutch - (n) A few. 
Stroff – (v) To be taken to pass into Oramus’ eternal care.
Sun-turn - (n) A day.  The period of time it takes for the sun to rise and fall, before leaving just the saztaculous twinkling-lid. Twenty-eight of them make a moon-turn (or ‘month’, as you would griffle.)
Twizzly - (n) To feel scared; something rather scary.
Vilish - (adv)  Quickly.  From the noise made by a woodland creature rushing through the undergrowth, searching for berries, or trying to escape a hungry predator!
Vroosher - (n).  A wand-assisted majick spell.  From the saztaculous vrooshing noise they make!
Yechus – (n) horrible, awful, hideous; something that might be peffa-glopped-up.

Armed with these few griffles, the wary traveller should have little difficulty in easily pid-padding around Winchett Dale.  However, in the unlikely event of you ever getting lost, a more comprehensive glossary can be found waiting for you at the end of your journey through the dales…


Questions, Snoffibs and the Dale Vrooshfest.

Some even’ups, Matlock had often suspected, were simply made for friends, brottle-leaf brew and griffling in his cottage garden on the edge of Wand Wood.  As such, this was just one of those crumlush, and almost peffa-perefct even’ups, one of the last sun-turns of summer, the lid twinkling with stars, and a slight breeze settling over Matlock and his two briftest friends; Proftulous the dworp, and Ursula Brifthaven Stoltz, a visiting white hare-witch from across The Icy Seas.  An even’up fluthropp flew in slow circles high above their heads, greeping exquisitely to the moon, which shone down and bathed them all in its crumlush glory.
    “So,” Proftulous griffled, as he finished the last of his brew, slamming down the wooden mug on the table and wiping his yechus lips with a ganticus paw,  “there still be a snutch of things that I just don’t be understanding at all.”
    Ursula screwed her white hare’s face into a frown.  “Just a snutch of things? I would be thinking that there would be grillions of them, dworp.”
    Proftulous thought about this for a moment, then began silently counting on his paws, frowning heavily as he tried to recall all the things he found confusing.
    “I have a feeling in my Sisteraculous,’ Matlock whispered into Ursula’s long white ear, “that this could take a peffa-long time.”
    “And I have a feeling,’ she vilishly snapped, “that you are far too close to my ears. Just because you have completed the first task to becoming Most Majelicus doesn’t mean you can sit this close.”
    “Sorry,” Matlock apologised, swiftly leaning away, as Proftulous moved onto counting his yechus toes, mumbling to himself all the while.
    Ursula’s stern face didn’t change. “And you would do as well to also remember that you only solved the riddle of Trefflepugga Path because you had a peffa-lot of tzorkly help from many of us – including that clottabussed dworp of yours.”  She looked at Proftulous.  “What will you do, when you run out of fingers and toes to count?”
    Proftulous looked up.  “Count?”
    “Because that’s what you’re doing, isn’t it?” Ursula snapped. “Trying to count all the things you don’t understand, like the clottabussed splurk you are?”
    Proftulous blinked back very slowly, trying to understand the griffles, confusion written ganticus on his yechus face.  “Well, methinks the biggest problem be that I don’t be remembering how to be counting too well.  So I’s having peffa-difficulty with all this counting and trying to remember things at the same time, I really am.”
    Ursula sighed.  “And I wonder why am I not even being an oidy bit surprised by that.”  She turned back to Matlock.  “Are you really sure your dworp is Most Majelicus?”
    Matlock nodded, looking over at his oldest friend. “Fairly.  Although at times even I’m not that sure, to be honest.  I mean he did eat nearly a full set of majickal-driftolubbs, so somewhere inside that glopped-up head, there’s supposed to be all sorts of Most Majelicus majick and wisdom just waiting to burst out and be used.”
    Ursula took another long look at Proftulous.  “It helps to be remembering that he’s spent most of his life living here in Winchett Dale, and also has you as his briftest friend.  I’m supposing that explains peffa-much about his cottabussedness.”
    Matlock tried not to be too offended.  He already had a lot to thank Ursula for, and the peffa-last thing he wanted on such a crumlush even’up was to have a russisculoffed white hare-witch on his paws.  For even though she had helped indeed him in completing the first task to becoming Most Majelicus, she had also proved herself a more than formidable friend.  He well knew that just one swish from her wand could easily send out a bright blue vroosh to turn him into any number of glopped-up and yechus creatures in the oidiest blinksnap.  “I think it’ll take time before his Most Majelicus nature really surfaces,” Matlock tried diplomatically, anxious not to upset either of his two friends.  “I mean, it’s peffa-early sun-turns, yet.”
    “Well, this is time that I don’t have,” Ursula griffled, finishing the last of her brottle-leaf brew and gently setting her mug on the table.  “It is already late for me, and I have a long journey back to my home across The Icy Seas.”  She stood and made ready to leave, pid-padding to where her waiting broom lay against the side of the cottage, its vroffa-branches already beginning to frizz and glow bright red as she approached.   “So I will be leaving you two to your counting, griffling and generally being splurked.”
    “But I know what it is, now!” Proftulous suddenly griffled, a ganticus smile spreading over his yechus face.  “I know one of the things that I don’t be understanding!”
    “Just one?”  Ursula called back, shrugging.  “Progress, I suppose. Even for you, dworp.”
    “Well, what is it?” Matlock asked, realising that the last thing he wanted was to see Ursula fly off and leave, ending what had been such a peffa-pleasant even’up.  For no matter how stern the white hare-witch was, he enjoyed her company, and knew full well that the blinksnap she was gone, Proftulous would soon turn the griffversation round to his all time peffa-favourite subject – tweazle-pies, the one thing he could griffle about almost as endlessly as he could eat the yechus pies themselves.  And in all the moon-turns they had been briftest friends, from the peffa-first moment they’d met, Matlock, even as a majickal-hare, couldn’t even begin to estimate the amount of tweazle-pie griffversations he’d had to endure.  On the one paw, it was an oidy price to pay for having a dworp as a peffa-loyal friend (and over the years he had learned how to mostly close his long hare’s ears to the Proftulous’ endless pie-related griffles), but on the other, Matlock did still sometimes wonder if there wasn’t something else slightly more excrimbly to griffle about than the needs of Proftulous’ continually rumbling crimple.
    “What be what?” Proftulous griffled, trying to remember.
    “What’s the thing that you’ve finally remembered?”  Matlock griffled, trying not to grind his hare’s teeth too much.
    Proftulous stared blankly back.  “I’s trying to be remembering something?”
    Matlock took a deep hare’s breath, something he often did when griffling with Proftulous, and something that Chatsworth, his master had taught him to do when he’d first trained him as an apprentice many, many moon-turns previously. 
    “You griffled that you were trying to remember something,” Matlock griffled, sighing and waving a paw at Ursula as she mounted her broom across the way.  “But I don’t suppose it really matters, now.”
    Ursula waved back, gripping powerfully onto her broom, as suddenly a deafening roaring filled the small cottage garden and she took to the lid, streaking up towards the stars, leaving Matlock wondering just when he would see her again.

He reached out and gently cupped her empty mug, still warm from the brottle-leaf brew.  “Well, old friend,” he griffled to Proftulous, “I guess that leaves just the two of us.”
    Proftulous nodded enthusiastically, lump-thumping after Matlock, as he collected the brew-mugs and headed inside the cottage.  “I’s be thinking that p’raps we could be making ourselves a slurpilicious tweazle-pie.  T’would be the most peffa-saztaculous end to the even’up, wouldn’t it be, Matlock?  Wouldn’t it?”
     “It would,” Matlock slowly agreed, his mind still on a distant white hare-witch flying back to her home across The Icy Seas,  “but for two things.”
    “And what they be?” Proftulous griffled, trying to help Matlock wash the brew mugs in the small kitchen, inevitably making his usual peffa-glopped mess.
    “Well, firstly,” Matlock explained, “I don’t have any tweazles in the cottage…”
    “That be one problem Proftulous can solve right now!” Proftulous eagerly griffled.  “I’s be lump-thumping out into Wand Wood and stroffing a snutch of ‘em so we can pie and pastry ‘em all up!  Honestly, Matlock, we’ll be sat down and crunching on slurpilicious tweazle-pie before you can griffle…”
    “Before I can griffle that I never eat tweazle-pies,” Matlock quietly reminded him.  “Ever.  Do I?”
    Proftulous slapped the side of his yechus head, his ganticus ears drooping a little.  “You be right, Matlock.  I be clean forgetting you’s only like eating niff soup, or niffs and cloff-beetle salad.  I’s be such a clottabus.  Must be all this Most Majelicus business.  I’ve not been feeling very fuzzcheck since I ate all those griffles from your majickal-driftolubbs.  I think they be playing all sorts of glubbstooled tricks with me memory, I really do.”
    Matlock frowned, drying his paws on a long-haired frittle sitting on the sink-top, before it shook itself dry and scrittled happily back into the garden.  “I wonder where Ayaani is?”
    Proftulous brightened at this.  “Now that much I can be remembering,” he griffled.  “She be gone somewhere, and she hasn’t got back yet.”
    “Indeed, but the question is where?”
    “What question?”
    Matlock sighed, making his way into his potionary, its tables and shelves heaving with all kinds of jars, majickal-equipment and exotic tinctures.  “The question of where she is, of course.  Honestly, how can you forget the question?”
    “That’s it!” Proftulous shouted, nodding his yechus head so vilishly that a stottle-beetle, that for reasons it alone only knew had decided to spend the best part of the even’up nifferduggling deep inside Proftulous’ left ear, suddenly shot across the potionary, knocking into several jars before finally landing on the window sill and chickling loudly.  “That’s the thing I’ve tried to be remembering all this time, Matlock.  ‘Tis all about answering questions! The question even’up!  ‘Tis tonight, at the inn!  The ganticus question even’up!  Can we be going, Matlock?  Can we be going for all sorts of guzzworts and questions?  After all, you’ve got a peffa-lot of celebrating to be doing, now that you’s be completing the first of the three Most Majelicus tasks.”
    “I’m really not sure that it’s such a good…” Matlock tried.
    “But ‘tis a competition, Matlock,” Proftulous griffled, his yechus eyes alive with fuzzcheck excrimblyness.  “Those that gets the most questions all correctly answered wins the most saztaculous things.”
    “What sort of things?” Matlock sighed, already sensing in his hare’s heart that he didn’t have it in him to disappoint the excrimbly dworp, and realising that to finish the even’up at the Winchett Dale Inn would at least put and end to all tweazle-pie griffversations, which surely had to be a good thing – or at least peffa-preferable to his current situation.  “What are the prizes?”
    “Well, it not be mattering to us, does it?” Proftulous smiled back.  “We’s too clottabussed to be winning anything, anyway.”
    “’Tis a fair point,” Matlock agreed.  “Even if it is made by a dworp.”
    “A Most Majelicus Dworp,” Proftulous corrected him.
    “Yes, well, we have to keep peffa, peffa-quiet about all that,” Matlock griffled.  “Dworps aren’t supposed to be Most Majelicus.  If too many folk discover you are, then there could be ganticus trouble.”
    “But no one from Winchett Dale’s going to griffle anything about it,” Proftulous griffled.  “Besides, they all still be thinking that I’m the most clottabussed dworp in all the dales.  There’s not one creature, tree, plant or leaning-shrivver that’d ever be believing that I be Most Majelicus, Matlock, you know that. After all, I not really be looking the part, do I?”  He puffed out his large chest proudly.  “I still be looking just as glopped-up, yechus and clottabussed as I always did, don’t I?”
    “Indeed, you do,” Matlock smiled.  “Peffa, peffa-yechus and clottabussed.”
    “And glopped-up?”
    “Oh, completely,” Matlock agreed.  “Possibly the most glopped-up dworp in the eternal history of all the dales, my good friend.”
    Content with Matlock’s verdict, Proftulous headed for the front creaker of the cottage.  “We’s got to be hurrying,” he griffled.  “We don’t wants to get there before all the tweazle-sandwiches and guzzworts have gone.”
    “I’m not so sure there’ll be too many folk queuing up for tweazle-sandwiches,” Matlock griffled.
    Proftulous turned, raised a paw, pointing a long and yechus claw.  “Well that’s where you could be peffa-wrong, Matlock.  And not for the first time at that, I can griffle.”
    “What do you mean?”
    Proftulous lowered his voice to a confidential whispgriffle.  “Tonight’s question even’up is going to a peffa-special one.  There be teams coming from all over the many dales.  Visiting teams of peffa-clever creatures, not just us Winchett Dale folk.  There’ll be creatures we’ve never seen before, all waiting at the inn, and chances are some of ‘em will be all too willing to get their glopped-up paws and claws on my tweazle-sandwiches, you just wait and see.”
    Matlock took a moment to try and take the news in.  “There’s going to be visiting teams? I mean, are you sure about this?”
    Proftulous nodded.  “It’s going to be a peffa-fuzzcheck end to our even’up, Matlock.  Teams of three can be taking part, which means you and me can be a team, just like we are in real life.” He smothered Matlock in an excrimbly hug, which, as he stood two hares tall, meant Matlock rather wished he hadn’t.
    Matlock managed to extricate himself, shaking his head and standing back a pid-pad or two, trying not to sneeze or heave. Being hugged by Proftulous was even worse than being cuddled by a swamp-glopped disidula, of which there are far too many in Winchett Dale. “Teams of three?”
    “S’right.  So, me and you’s going to be the briftest team, ever.”
    Matlock took a breath.  “But Proftulous, there’s only two of us.”
    Proftulous frowned.  “And that be different to ‘three’, is it?”
    Matlock nodded.  “It’s one short, really.”
    “One short what?  One short tweazle?  Because I can find one of those if you need one!  Plenty of short tweazles around this time of year.”  Proftulous rubbed his ganticus crimple.  “Makes for the briftest, most slurpilicious crunch, they do, them short ones.”
    Before Matlock could even think of a response, he was interrupted by a sudden and most welcome tugging at his robes, looking down to see Ayaani, his dripple, by his feet, waiting to be lifted up and placed in his hood.  “Ayaani,” he gratefully griffled, holding her up to his face, “Am I glad to see you.”
    She smiled.  “The dworp been griffling about tweazles again?”
    “Pretty much,” Matlock nodded.  “Where have you been?”
    “To get this,” she griffled, producing an oidy twig, no bigger than one of Matlock’s toes, and thinner than a murpworm.  “It’s for the dworp.”
    “For Proftulous?”  Matlock griffled, frowning slightly before whispgriffling in her ear.  “What is it?”
    “A twig,” Ayaani replied, her dark eyes unblinkingly staring back. 
    “A twig?”
   Ayaani nodded in the way that dripples often do when they’re peffa-serious – peffa-slowly.  She held out an oidy paw to Proftulous, offering him the twig.  “For you, dworp.”
    Proftulous, who it has be griffled, had never exactly been the briftest of friends with Matlock’s dripple, narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
    “Take it,” Ayaani instructed.
    Proftulous carefully reached out a ganticus paw.  “It not be going to be biting me, is it?”
    “Just take it!”  Ayaani snapped.  “It be your very own wand.  Ayaani thought every Most Majelicus dworp should be having one.”
    Proftulous gasped in pleasant surprise.  “Me own wand? Me actual and very own all Proftulously Most Majelicussy own wand?”
    Ayaani yawned, an oidy squeeking noise coming from her open mouth as she did so.  “Something like that, dworp, yes.”
    “What’s I can be doing all saztaculous vrooshers with?”  He turned the oidy twig in his paw, marvelling at it.
    Ayaani vilishly shook her furry dripple’s head, her face as suddenly serious as it had ever been.  “No,” she firmly griffled.  “Never for vrooshing, dworp, ever.  You can’t be seen to be doing vrooshers, or being the oidiest bit Most Majelicus, you know that.”
    Proftulous sighed, his voice almost pleading. “Not even the oidiest, oidiest vroosh, when I can be vrooshing  meself a peffa-ganticus tweazle-pie?”
    “One vroosh, and I take the wand back,” Ayaani warned him. “I go a long way into Wand Wood to find it for you, so you must use it wisely, and only if you really, really peffa-really have to.”
    Matlock gently popped her into his long velvet hood.  “Any good at answering questions, Ayaani?”  he griffled, trying to change the subject.  “There’s a question even’up at the inn tonight, and it’s open for teams of three.”
    Ayaani blinked.  “What?  You, me, and who else?”
    “Me, of course” Proftulous griffled, putting the oidy twig into the leather tweazle-pouch he kept tied around his ganticus waist.  “I can be answering all kinds of questions.”
    Ayaani narrowed her eyes.  “Like what?”
    Proftulous thought for a snutch of moments, eyes narrowed in ganticus concentration as a heavy silence filled the cottage.
    “It’s all going to go peffa-glopped,” Ayaani griffled.  “I just know it.”  She sighed heavily. “ Let’s just go and get the gopflopping humiliation over with as vilishly as possible.”
     So it was that moments later, all three friends had left Matlock’s crumlush cottage on the end of Wand Wood, Ayaani safe in Matlock’s hood, Proftulous lump-thumping alongside, excrimbily griffling about all the tweazle-sandwiches he would soon be eating as they made their way along well pid-padded pathways through the dense woods towards the village of Winchett Dale. 
    All was quiet, apart from Proftulous’ griffling, allowing Matlock to simply enjoy the place he most probably loved being in the most, out and about in Wand Woods, under a twinkling-lid, savouring the feeling of being at one with the trees and creatures, the land and all the hidden majick, feeling both connected, yet also strangely distant from this most shindinculous place.  Ayaani, as dripples often do, had already started gently snoring in his hood, her short arms wrapped around his neck, nifferduggling soundly to the rhythm of his soft pid-padding.  All, it seemed to Matlock, was peffa-perfect, and barring the fact that Ursula had suddenly had to leave, he felt saztaculously content with the world, knowing that it had almost been a year to the sun-turn since he’d trod this very pathway as he’d begun his journey to complete the first task to becoming Most Majelicus  - the solving of the ancient riddle of Trefflepugga Path.  Which, even he was forced to griffle, wasn’t nearly as easy as he’d thought it would be.  Indeed, there were twizzly times along the way that he almost preferred to forget – and yet, in solving the task the way he had done, he’d met Ursula Brifthaven Stoltz, Proftulous had become Most Majelicus, his dripple had learned to griffle, and he’d even come by the way of a Most Majelicus hawthorn wand.  And if  all that seemed peffa-lucky, then perhaps that was because Matlock had always appreciated the simple things in his life, making him feel peffa-lucky, maybe the most peffa-lucky majickal-hare in the histories of all the majickal dales.
    He was just in the middle of deciding what herbs and spices he would add to his niff-soup the following morn’up, when his thoughts were rudely interrupted by a familiar voice, urgently calling out his name in somewhat of a twizzly panic through the quiet of the crumlush, moonlit woodland.
    “Serraptomus?” Matlock griffled, as a short, rather rotund and wheezing krate dressed in a tattered tweed suit pulled up breathlessly in front of them.  “What in Balfastulous’ name is the matter?”
    Serraptomus held up a paw, doubled over and fighting for breath.  As a krate, whose duties are normally officious, Serraptomus was hardly used to running at all, and those vilish pid-pads he’d taken seemed to have knocked the very breath out of his officious body.
    “Is he stroffing?”  Proftulous asked, pointing at the coughing krate.  “I hope he not be, because even though he can be peffa-officious and bossy, he can still sometimes be making crumlush things from wood.”
    Which was true, Serraptomus, Winchett Dale’s most officious krate, had also proved himself to be a competent whittler and carver over the previous year, though for just how much longer, Matlock wondered as he helped straighten Serraptomus and rubbed his back to stop him coughing, he had no idea.  Certainly, it didn’t seem that exercise was doing him any good at all.  “I don’t think all this rushing around suits you,” Matlock griffled, straightening his tweed jacket.  “Perhaps better to stick to your whittling and carving from now on.”
    Serraptomus nodded, taking a huge breath.  “Normally, I would,” he finally griffled, trying his briftest to adopt the officious tone favourited by all krates of the dales.  “But this, Matlock, is something of a peffa-emergency.”
    Serraptomus nodded, finally being able to take regular breaths.  “The snoffibs have arrived!”
    Matlock simply stared back, unable to spot even the oidiest beginnings of any ‘emergency’ in any of Serraptomus’ griffles.  “Snoffibs?”
    Serraptomus nodded vilishly, a short, stubby paw pointing urgently back up the path.  “And they’re at the inn already, Matlock! Three of them, the peffa-cleverest snoffibs I’ve ever seen, all peffa-eager and ready for the question even’up to begin.  Their heads be all full of grillions of answers, Matlock, grillions and grillions of them!”
    “But I’ve never even heard of snoffibs,” Matlock griffled, rather confused.
    “Me, neither,” Proftulous griffled.  “Never be hearing anything about no snoffibs, ever, and I’ve lump-thumped around a fair-few dales in my time, believe me I has.”
    Serraptomus’ officious jaw dropped.  “You’ve never heard of snoffibs?”  He vilishly scratched at an itch on the back of his krate’s head.  “But everybody’s heard of snoffibs.”
    “Clearly not,” Matlock griffled.  “If we don’t know what they are.”
    Disturbed from her hooded slumbers, Ayaani stretched and yawned.  “Snoffibs,” she griffled, “are griffled to be the peffa-cleverest creatures in all the dales.  They spend all their time in Snoffib Dale, learning answers to grillions and grillions of questions.  And if they’re going to be at the inn tonight, I suggest we all pid-pad back to the cottage for a brew, because there really won’t be the oidiest point in trying to beat them.  Yet again, it’ll all go peffa, peffa-glubstool and everyone will be chickling at us.”
    Matlock narrowed his eyes.  “How do you know all that?”
    Ayaani shrugged.  “I know lots of things.  You’ve just never think to ask me, that’s all.”
    “Because you’ve only just learned how to griffle,” Matlock sighed.
   Which was also true.  For traditionally – and according to majickal-dalelore - dripples are silent creatures, born mute, whose main duty is to be a noiseless familiar for majickal-hares, tending to their needs for niff-soup and endless supplies of trupplejuice and brottle-leaf brews, whilst also tidying their cottages and potionaries, allowing their majickal-hare masters to go about their business of being saztaculous and majickal without ever really worrying too much about chores, food or any other such matters.  And while some may think that this represents something of a thankless life for dripples, it’s worth remembering that for whatever bizarre and peffa-strange reasons they may be, dripples do, in fact, choose this life for themselves, born to it, it seems, from the very fist blinksnap they open their eyes as drip-kittens, as if somehow already knowing that one distant sun-turn, they will be able to choose their majickal-hare master to work for, and begin their peffa-important dripple-duties.
   Furthermore, another crucial connection between majickal-hares and dripples concerns their life together.  Each are born on the very same sun-turn, and will finally pass into Oramus’ eternal care together on the very same sun-turn, also – bonded in life and subsequently in all things in the majickal hereafter, for all eternities.  As such, Ayaani, born on the same sun-turn as Matlock, chose to spend the rest of her years with Matlock, faithfully serving as his dripple-familiar, and had done so willingly and as dalelore strictly dictates; without ever griffling a single griffle.  But no longer.  In undertaking to solve the riddle of Treffelpugga Path, and for reasons Matlock himself couldn’t even begin to fathom, Ayaani had begun to griffle – only the second ever dripple from all the dales to ever have been known to make even the oidiest noise whatosever.
   “Well?” she griffled, yawning and hugging his neck.  “How much longer are we going to stand around here for?  Let’s pid-pad back to the cottage.  There’s no point in going to any sort of question even’up if snoffibs are going to be there.”
   Serraptomus waved his short stubby paw.  “Absolutely not!  I forbid it!  Winchett Dale needs your services more than ever before, Matlock.  You must go to the inn and beat the snoffibs.  Or else our beloved dale will be the chickling-stock of all the dales.”
    “But it already is,” Proftulous proudly griffled.  “Every dale-creature knows Winchett Dale be the most peffa-glopped and clottabussed of all the dales.”
    “But don’t you see?” Serraptomous insisted.  “If we can win the competition, then our good and crumlush dale will no longer be something to chickle at.  And with you three as a team, we simply have to win.  After all, who else has a majickal-hare, a griffling dripple and a clottabussed dworp on their team?”
   Proftulous shook his yechus head.  “Aha! But I not just simply be clottabussed, Serraptomus,” he griffled.  “I also be Most Maj…”
    Matlcock vilishly silenced him with a bliff in the ribs and a long hard stare.
    “You’re also what?” Serraptomous pressed.
    “He’s also most pleased at the thought of eating all the tweazle-sandwiches,” Matlock vilishly griffled, shooting Proftulous another look. 
    Serraptomous considered this in his most officious mind for a snutch of moments, before seeming satisfied.  “Of tweazle-sandwiches, there will be a ganticus supply, indeed, good dworp.  Enough, even, I suspect, even for you.”
    Proftulous broke into a yechus smile at the news. “Then I be griffling that as far as my name be Proftulous, and I be named after the oldest star high in the twinkling-lid, that I be willing to be taking on that challenge, Serraptomous.  I don’t be knowing if there are enough tweazle-sandwiches in all the dales for me not to be eating ‘em all up.  I be peffa-hungry, I really do.”  He turned to Matlock.  “What you be thinking of it all, Matlock? How ‘bout we all be pid-padding and lump-thumping to the inn, and you and Ayaani do all the clever answering of the questions, while I be filling my crimple with tweazles?”
    Matlock took a deep hare’s breath, before – much to Ayaani’s disappointment and Proftulous’ excrimbly joy – finally agreeing; all four creatures then vilishly making their way out through Wand Wood, over the wooden walkway of Grifflop Marshes, across the River Winchett and finally down into the crowded village of Winchett Dale itself.
    Normally, at this time of the even’up, most creatures would be getting ready for nifferduggles, but on the even’up in question (ironically, perhaps, the ‘question even’up’) the whole village was still awake and peffa-excrimbly, already eagerly crowded around the entrance to the inn, leaning through the open windows, peffa-keen to see and hear just what was going on inside.  Then, when a lone tilted-graggle spotted Matlock and the others making their way into the square, a ganticus round of pawplause broke out, with everyone beginning to chant Matlock’s name, reaching out to eagerly shake his paw and playfully bliffing him on the back as he made his way inside, there to be shown to a specially reserved table inside the packed inn.
    Landlord Slivert Jutt vilishly delivered a fregle of guzzworts and a ganticus plate of tweazle-sandwiches to the table, as Serraptomus officiously appealed for calm, before loudly clearing his throat in what was most probably a totally unnecessary manner.  “Good creatures of Winchett Dale,” he griffled, “and all our many esteemed visitors who have travelled far and peffa-wide from other dales, I bid you all a most shindinculous and fuzzcheck welcome to our humble inn for this saztaculous question even-up.”
    “I got’s meself a question,” a short-legged trullip asked from the back.  “You be getting fatter, Serraptomus, or is it that your clothes be getting smaller?”
    Serraptomous ignored the chickling, still trying his briftest to be officious, going on to welcome and announce the visiting teams, which, as far as Matlock could make out, occupied most of the other tables in the inn; some clearly simply there for the guzzworts, others taking the competition a good deal more seriously than the rest, and some simply looking peffa-confused at the whole thing, even at this early stage.  Many dales were represented; a saztaculously dressed team from Alfisc Dale, an oidy team of cloff-beetles from Scrittles Dale, a team of bearded-hicklegoats from Svaeg Dale being just some of the creatures Matlock could recognise.
    “Which ones are the snoffibs?”  he griffled to Ayaani, as she sat in his lap sipping at his guzzwort.
    She looked around the tables, taking her time, before finally pointing to the three strange creatures, each with four eyes and the oidiest noses and mouths, sat directly next to them.  “Them,” she griffled, pointing.  “They be snoffibs.”
Proftulous paused, his mouth full of tweazle-sandwiches, then immediately turned to the creatures, offering a greasy and glopped up paw.  “Even’up snoffib folk,” he cheerfully griffled, as a glopp of drool ran from his yechus chin.  “We be the Winchett Dale team.  And we’s going to be right beating you.”
    The snoffib pulled a disgusted face, flinching and refusing to shake Proftulous’ paw, its lizard’s skin flushing an alarming deep red for just a blinksnap.
    “Well, not me, really,” Proftulous added for good measure, cramming another sandwich in.  “I just be here for the food.  My briftest friend Matlock will be the one beating you, ‘cause he be a majickal-hare who is simply the briftest majickal-there ever is.”
    Matlock felt he should at least wave at politely as he could at the peculiar looking trio.  “Even’up,” he griffled.  “Please ignore my friend.  He can get things an oidy bit clottabussed at times.”
    The snoffib rearranged his chair so the back of his large grey head faced them, clearly having no wish to griffle with such lowly creatures.
    “And now,” Serraptomus proudly announced, having introduced all the other teams, “’Tis my most honourable pleasure to finally introduce to you all…”
    “Get on with it!” someone called out from the back.
    “…the team from Winchett Dale – Matlock, his dripple thing, and Proftulous!” 
    Landlord Sliver Jutt pid-padded over, whispgriffling in Serraptomus’ ear for a snutch of moments as everyone waited.
    “But as it’s just been pointed out to me by good Mr Jutt, keeper of this most fine hostelry…”
    “Please get on with it,” the voice from the back called out.
    Serraptomus cleared his throat.  “…that because most of us here already be knowing who Matlock, his dripple thing and Proftulous are, they not really be needing an introduction…”
    Proftulous quickly raised an eager paw.  “S’true, Serraptomous.  All we be needing is more of Slivert’s slurpilicious tweazle-sandwiches.”
    The snoffibs turned to Matlock, becoming rapidly russisculoffed with delays to the proceedings, their skin now flushing pulsing greens and reds. “Can you possibly shut that dworp thing of yours up, hare?”
    “I find the briftest way is to simply let him eat,” Matlock griffled.  “The more he eats, the less he griffles.”
    The snoffibs all pulled a face, as Slivert Jutt replenished Proftulous’ plate with another ganticus pile of tweazle sandwiches, before making his way back to the middle of the crowded inn, and calling for silence, savouring the moment as all eyes fell upon him. “Right,” he griffled.  “Are we all being ready for the questions?”
    “Yes!” Proftulous loudly griffled, filling his paws with food.
    “Is the right answer!” Jutt griffled, as a ganticus cheer filled the inn, ringing right out to the village square. “The first pointy-thing will be awarded to Winchett Dale!  Well done, Proftulous.  You got’s enough sandwiches, over there?”
    Proftulous looked at the plate.  “No.”
    “Is another right answer!  You’s never be having enough tweazles to eat!  Winchett Dale now has another pointy-thing!”
    ‘Which makes two points,” Proftulous corrected him.  “Even I be knowing that much, Slivert.”
    “Another pointy-thing to Winchet Dale!” Jutt roared, as once again the whole inn shook with ganticus cheers and pawplause, the excrimbly creatures crammed at the window eagerly passing the saztaculous news back to the waiting crowd outside. “Though I don’t quite be knowing how many pointy-things that be making.”
    The nearest snoffib stood, outrage in all four eyes, the whole of his head shaking, flushing the deepest reds and purples.  “This…this is peffa-outrageous!  I’ve never known anything as glopped up as this!”  Silence gradually fell over the inn, as everyone awkwardly looked at the peffa-russisculoffed snoffib.  “Landlord, how can you possibly even begin to griffle that this is any sort of proper and decent question even’up?”
    “It be peffa-simple,” Proftulous replied from behind a mouth completely crammed with half eaten sandwiches.  “You begins by opening your mouth, then you goes and griffles it.”
    “Correct!”  Jutt cried, becoming quite excrimbly, then turning to the crowd.  “Another right answer for Winchett Dale!  I don’t know how we be doing it, but we be winning this right easily!”
    “I don’t know either, Slivert,” Proftulous.  “Not even the oidest idea.  Far too clottabussed, me.”
    “Completely correct answer! Another point to Winchett Dale!!”  Jutt griffled, as once again the whole inn erupted into cheers, with creatures chickling loudly and clinking guzzwort-jugs high in the air.  “That be more right answers than I can ever be counting!”  he griffled, turning to the excrimbly crowd.  “What you think that we just declares Winchett Dale the winner, right now, to save everyone else looking all clottabussed – especially those snoffibs over there?”
    “Fuzzcheck idea, Slivert!”  Proftulous called out over the loud cheers.
    “He’s done it again!”  Jutt cried.  “It is a fuzzcheck idea, because it be one of my ideas!  So that be another pointy-thing to Winchett Dale!  Honestly, we must be the peffa-cleverest creatures in all the dales!”
    The snoffib stood again, it face puce with rage, unable to conceal pure and utter russisculoftulation in its shaking voice.  “Just…just how much longer is this farce going to go on?”
    “Until it be ending, probably,” Proftulous calmly replied, motioning to Slivert for another plate of sandwiches.  “Which also gives us another pointy-thing for a yet another correct answer, methinks.”
    “But,” the snoffib cried out, “these aren’t questions!  They’re not questions at all!”
    Matlock, who had spent most of the time simply watching with a gently amused smile, met the snoffib in the largest of its four eyes.  “Well, just what are they then?”
    “They’re not proper questions!”  He pointed a long, thin claw at Matlock accusingly.  “You!  You’re supposed to be some sort of majickal-hare, supposedly clever.  You know full well these aren’t proper questions at all!”
    Matlock considered this as silence fell over the inn, and everyone waitied on his griffles.  “You’re right,” he eventually griffled.  “I am a majickal-hare.  And as such, I can read, make potions and tinctures, and sometimes even do saztaculous vrooshers with my wand.  But I really don’t know that that makes me ‘clever’, I really don’t.  But I will griffle this, as far as I know, there are no ‘proper’ questions that I know of – only perhaps, ‘proper’ answers to just some questions.”
    “What in Oramus’ name are you griffling about, hare?”  the snoffib griffled, his two teammates beside him nodding along in support.  “You know very well that I’m griffling about proper questions for a question even’up.  Hard questions.  Peffa-difficult questions!  Questions we can peffa-easily answer to show how much more we snoffibs know than any other dale creatures! Not easy, clottabussed, glopped-up questions that even a sandwich-eating dworp can answer!”
    “Aah, but he did answer them, didn’t he?” Matlock calmly griffled.  “And you didn’t.  None of you.  Imagine that, three of the peffa-cleverest snoffibs from Snoffibs Dale – beaten by a clottabussed dworp?  And as for your griffles about difficult questions, I griffle you this – if you can answer them so easily, then by definition, that has to make them easy-questions for you in the first place.  So, what you’ve been struggling with this even’up is accepting the fact that the questions Proftulous successfully answered were really far too peffa-difficult for you – even though you said they were too easy.”  He gave the shocked, open-mouthed snoffibs his familiar curling hare’s smile.  “I suggest you devote more time into looking into the real meaning and truth behind questions, instead of merely trying to remember answers.  And, as such, my question to all you is this – which is more important; remembering answers, or asking the right questions?”
    No-one griffled a single griffle for a long snutch of moments, until a competing cloff-beetle from a nearby table raised an oidy wing to attract Matlock’s attention.  “I’ve no idea what you’re griffling about, hare,” it griffled in a peffa-high voice.  “But it sort of sounded alright, didn’t it, fellas?”  He nodded at his other two oidy teammates who both shrugged before nodding uncertainly back.
    The snoffib rounded on them.  “It sounded,” he angrily griffled to the startled beetle, “exactly the sort of glubbstooled, gobflopped nonsense I’d expect from a majickal-hare who’d spent too many moon-turns in this most glopped-up dale!”  He marched straight to the centre of the inn, the other two snoffibs following closely behind, turning to everyone, his face flushing and swirling in a changing sea of raging colours.
   “Methinks it’s going to get peffa-glopped any blinksnap now,” Ayaani whispgriffled into Matlock’s long ear, as he hushed her and gently stroked the top of her soft head.
 “My name is Dr Irapus Klaxon,” the irate snoffib loudly announced, turning to his two teammates.  “This is Dr Ritellal Crumble. And this…this is Spig.”
    “How come he’s not a doctor?”  someone called out.
    “Spig’s only here because Dr Forticous Grik couldn’t make it,” Klaxon griffled, as the unfortunate Spig looked at his feet somewhat shamefully, flushing an embarrassed pink. “Spig will be a peffa-clever doctor one sun-turn, but at the moment, he still has far too many answers to learn.  Many moon-turns of study will be required.”
    “Bet you can’t wait for that, eh, Spiggy?” a slow-jarrop griffled from the front, as chickles broke out around it.
    “Enough of your chickling!” Klaxon barked.  “Spig’s progress is our concern, not yours!”  He turned to Slivert Jutt.  “You, landlord!  You are somehow going to somehow find it within yourself to ask one peffa-difficult question that only we can answer, in order that we can win the prizes, and can finally go home from this wretched, clottabussed place!”
    “Seems fair,” Jutt griffled.
    “Of course it’s fair!” Klaxon griffled.  “We win.  We always win.  We have to win.  Because we are snoffibs!”  He took a breath, staring at everyone, daring them with all four unblinking eyes to griffle even the oidiest griffle that would break the heavy silence.  Creatures crammed at the windows waited as expectantly as those inside for Jutt to painfully think of a question.
    “Is it going to take long?”  Klaxon asked.
    Jutt closed his eyes, scratching his head, making a series of strange guttural noises, concentration filling his landlord’s face.  At length, he opened his eyes.  “A question only you can answer?” he griffled.
    “Yes,” Klaxon nodded, finally beginning to get excrimbly for the first time that even’up. “A peffa, peffa, peffa-difficult question.  A question about anything.”
    Slivert thought for another snutch of moments, before finally nodding to himself.  “All right. Are you ready?”
    “Peffa-ready.  Ready to win and get the prize.”
    “You sure?”
    “Completely. Get on with it.”
    “Right,” Jutt griffled, frowing slightly as he formulated his question.  “What is…anything?”
    “What is anything?”
    “S’what I griffled,” Jutt nodded.  “What is anything?”
    Klaxon frowned.  “But it’s not even a question!”
    “Indeed, it does be one,” Jutt proudly insisted.  “You just griffled me to ask you a question about anything, so I be asking you what is anything?”
    Klaxon flushed bright greens and purple.  “But…but…” he stammered, balling his thin fists, “…it doesn’t even have an answer!  Anything is just anything. Anything can be anything!  ‘Tis the most glopped-up question I’ve ever heard!”
    Jutt courteously bowed.  “A grillion thanks, Dr Klaxon.  I do be having my standards to be keeping up, after all.”
    Spig humbly raised a small, lizardlike hand, with a quietly griffled suggestion for Jutt.  “Perhaps, if you could griffle us a question about…say…the moon, or the stars in the twinkling-lid, then Dr Klaxon and Dr Crumble would be able to answer it.  For they both consider themselves to be the briftest astronomers in al the dales, you see.”
    Jutt frowned, confused.  “Astronomers?  What be they, then?”
    “Creatures who study maps of the twinkling-lid,” Spig replied.  “They know the name of every star, every constellation.  Sometimes they be called lid-gazers.”
     Jutt tried his briftest to understand.  “And what in Balfsatulous name be a ‘constellation’ when it be at home, young Spig?”
    “’Tis a group of stars,” Spig replied.  “They can sometimes form patterns shapes and pictures high in the twinkling-lid.  There are spuddles and legends surrounding them.  Many griffle of the majickal power of the constellations.”
    Jutt looked into all four eyes of the earnest-faced young snoffib for a long time, before finally turning to Matlock.  “Pictures and spuddles from stars?  This be true, Matlock?”
   “It be true,” Matlock confirmed from his table.
   Jutt smiled, patting the cautious snoffib on the shoulder.  “Then I can be confirming that you have been answering a peffa-difficult question correctly, young Spig.  And as such, I take great pleasure in making you the winner of the question even’up!”
    An appreciative round of pawplause broke around the inn, everyone congratulating the confused young snoffib, as he desperately tried to divert the attention onto his two scowling doctor teammates.  “I really couldn’t have done it without good Dr Klaxon and Dr Crumble.”  He weakly griffled, trying to ignore their frowns.
    “So, that leaves us just to present the prizes to the winning team,” Jutt announced, nodding at Serraptomus to take over, as he vilishly disappeared behind the bar.
    Serraptomus duly stepped forward and officiously puffed out his krate’s chest, keen to do the honours.  “Indeed, Slivert.  And I think we’d all agree that we’ve all had the most saztaculous even’up so far.”  He went through the business of slowly thanking all the other visiting teams, as Jutt loudly searched for something behind the bar.  “Slivert, you got those prizes, yet?”
    “Slight problem,” Jutt griffled, weakly shrugging his shoulders. “I’ve just be remembering that the prizes were two ganticus plates of tweazle-sandwiches.  And Proftulous has already been eating them.”
    “Oh, my flipperjubbles!” Serraptomus moaned, as gradually the gobflopped news filtered to the waiting crowd of excrimbly creatures outside, inevitably causing the loudest round of pawplause and chickling of the whole even’up.  A chant of ‘Proftulous be eating all the prizes!’ soon begin to ring around the whole square, as inside the inn, Klaxon turned to Serraptomus, fury now writ ganticus in all four eyes.
    “This even’up,” he struggled to griffle above the rising noise, russisculoffed colours chasing themselves over his whole body, “has been a complete glopp-up; from the peffa-first moment to the ridiculous, clottabussed last one!  Your dale can’t even organise a question even’up without eating the prizes!  Winchett Dale is still the biggest joke of all the dales!  It always has been, and always will be!”  He turned on the chanting room.  “Just look at them - all fools!  Each and every clottabussed one!  What are you going to do, Serraptomus, when come the morn’up, you have to host and organise the Dale Vrooshfest, eh?  Or do you simply want me to pid-pad up to Trefflepugga Path and tell everyone who’s currently on their way not to bother?”
    Serraptomus quickly called for silence.  “What did you just griffle?” he asked, beginning to get an oidy bit twizzly.
    “That tomorrow’s Dale Vrooshfest here in Winchett Dale will be just as badly organised and glopped-up as tonight’s question even’up,” Klaxon griffled, a thin smile spreading over his oidy mouth.  “And then, it won’t just be me that sees just how glubbstooled everything is here – it’ll be thousands of visiting creatures besides.”
    Serraptomus slowly swallowed, his nervous gulp echoing around the shocked inn.  “The Dale Vrooshfest…is…here…tomorrow morn’up?”


Currently, we have just 9 days remaining to try and hit our kickstarter target in order that we can fund and publish the book.  It's all a bit paw-biting, but as of today, we're 80% funded - so a most peffa-ganticus thanks to all the saztaculous folk who have backed us so far - and please keep 'spreading the griffles' as best as you can...

Our kickstarter project can be seen here, good folk...!

Please take a look and see our progress, the pitch - and most importantly - the peffa-crumlush and saztaculous rewards....

Many thanks, and may all your pid-pads be truly shindinculous  ones!