A Cheese Too Long
Urk the toad sat on one side of the table.
I sat on the other.
Between us was the piece of cheese that used to be our
friend, Moongobble the Magician.
Moongobble had turned himself into cheese with a magic spell. That was not unusual—he did it at least once a week. He didn’t do it on purpose. It was just that he didn’t have very good control of his magic. Most of the time he turned back to himself in a few hours. But he had been cheese since yesterday afternoon, and Urk and I were getting worried.
“Do you think we should send for help?” I asked.
“Who are we going to ask?” snorted Urk. “Fazwad?”
Fazwad is head of the Society of Magicians. He had told Moongobble that unless he performed three Mighty Tasks, he would not be allowed to join.
This worried me. If Moongobble could not join the Society, he would not be allowed to do magic anywhere in the kingdom. I liked working for Moongobble—and not just because he paid me a silver penny every day. He was a very good person… even if he was not a very good magician.
I glanced at the big yellow chunk on the table. Moongobble certainly couldn’t perform his next mighty task if he was cheese.
“What will we do if Fazwad shows up before Moongobble turns back?” I asked.
Urk shrugged his bumpy shoulders. “We could pretend Moongobble has gone to visit someone. I don’t know if that will fool Fazwad, though. He’s pretty good at detecting magic. He’s likely to guess this isn’t a normal cheese.”
At least we had taken Moongobble’s hat off the cheese. That would have been a sure giveaway. Of course, the main reason we moved the hat was to keep the mice who lived inside it from being too tempted. I didn’t know what would happen if they nibbled on Moongobble before he turned back—and I didn’t want to find out!
I went to the front of the cottage and stepped out. Something hissed above me. Looking up, I saw a little dragon sitting in a nearby tree. He stretched his wings and fluttered down to my shoulder.
This was Fireball. I had met him on our first adventure, and he came back to stay with us. I wanted him to live in our cottage, but mother does not think dragons and people should live together. Even so, I liked having a dragon for a friend. (You don’t want to think about calling a dragon a “pet”!)
“Is Moongobble still cheese?” asked Fireball.
Below us, at the bottom of the hill was my village, Pigbone-East-of-the-Mountains. There isn’t much to Pigbone, just fifteen cottages. The farthest one belongs to our friend, the Rusty Knight. The closest one is where I live.
I have always lived with my mother. Until a little while ago, my father was missing. Then Moongobble and I found him while we were out on the second Mighty Task.
That was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was also one more reason I wanted Moongobble to do well. If he hadn’t moved to Pigbone, I still wouldn’t have a father.
While I was thinking about this, a little voice asked, “Is this where Moongobble lives?”
I looked around, but couldn’t see anyone.
“Down here!” cried the voice.
I looked down, then gasped in surprise.
“Who are you?” I cried.