Little Toppy the Elf, took a tentative step back, trying to stay out of the way of the tall Wizard’s boots.
‘It cannot be done, your Wizardiness’ said Toppy, and then stopped when he saw Merlin glaring down at him from behind his spectacles.
‘What did you say?’ said Merlin, still glaring, his hand reaching down toward Toppy.
‘I … I,’ squeaked Toppy.
Merlin reached down and grabbed Toppy by his tunic, lifting him up, until he was face to face with the Wizard. His feet dangled 5 feet from the ground.
‘Do you mean,’ continued Merlin, ‘that I, Merlin the Mighty Wizard, cannot teach a lowly Witch a lesson?’
‘No, No, your Mightyness,’ cried Toppy, terrified. He was very scared of heights. He glanced at the ground far below before continuing, ‘I am sorry. I only meant that she is so rude. Surely, a Wizard as great as yourself would not want to be spoken to like that.’
‘Hmmmm, you are quite right,’ said Merlin, suddenly letting go. Toppy yelped in fright as he bounced off the sofa.
By the time he emerged, rubbing his head, the Wizard had resumed his pacing.
Toppy scratched his head and thought hard. There must be something they could do to stop her. Why only the other day, Witch Gertrude had made her milkman cry when she had shouted at him for leaving her 5 bottles of milk instead of 6. Toppy shuddered. He didn’t like Witch Gertrude at all.
Toppy looked up to see Merlin glaring at him again.
‘Can’t you hear the door? Someone is knocking,’ said Merlin.
Sure enough, at that very moment the door went, Knock! Knock! Knock!
Toppy opened it to find Winkle the Faerie hovering in mid-air with tears streaming down her face. As soon as the door opened, she flew straight to the Wizard.
‘Mr. Wizard Sir,’ she wailed. ‘It’s Witch Gertrude again, sir. She just screamed at everyone in the town square for not noticing her new hat. Please sir, Mr. Wizard sir. Please, do something.’
Merlin drew up to his full height. ‘THAT WITCH!’
Toppy was looking at Winkle, who was sobbing into her handkerchief. He suddenly had a brainwave.
‘I know. I know your Mighty Magical Majesty. I know how to teach the rude Witch a lesson,’ he said, suddenly smiling his broadest smile.
‘How?’ said Merlin and Winkle together, now looking at Toppy skipping around the room.
‘A tickle spell, Your Enchantedness’ said Toppy, stopping in mid-skip to look at Merlin. ‘Winkle can fly over Witch Gertrude and shower her with it, then when she tries to be rude to someone, she will find that she is ticklish and will start laughing.’
‘By Jove!’ said Merlin, clapping a hand on Toppy’s shoulder and making his knees buckle. ‘What an absolutely fantastic idea Toppy. That will teach her not to be rude to people.’
Winkle flew round and round his head in happiness. ‘Let’s go use this spell right away.’
So Winkle and Toppy took the spell and set off. They met Gertrude at the town square where she was telling someone off for accidentally stepping on her toe. Winkle took some of the tickle spell in a pinch and flew over the Witch’s head. Gertrude, noticing a fine powder in her hair, turned in fury to shout down her long nose at Winkle and Toppy but instead, started laughing!
Oh, how she laughed! She clutched her stomach and rolled round and round on the ground, cackling madly.
‘Serves you right,’ grinned Toppy.
And since then, thanks to clever little Toppy, Witch Gertrude has been unable to be rude. For every time she opens her mouth, she starts laughing until her sides hurt.