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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Battle Of The Fluffy Clouds


Page 2


"It's a fire regulation," explained the parson who had the duty of organising the festival every year and who rather unfortunately was named Snows.
"But I only ever use non-flammable toads," explained Rostrum, "Look."
And he struck a match and held the flame to one of his toads. The toad did smoulder a little but it never actually caught fire.
"Yes, but supposing somebody, a child maybe, spills a glass of petrol onto a toad," said Snows, "and then sets fire to it?"
The parson demonstrated this by pouring a pint of petrol onto one of Rostrum's toads and dropping a lighted match onto it. The toad woofed into flame and burned brightly before shrivelling into a black mess of charred flesh and bone.
"Hmmm, I see what you mean," said Rostrum, "But suppose I kept a bucket of water handy?"
"Ah, well, then we have a risk of flooding," argued the parson.
"From one bucket of water?" countered Rostrum.
"It depends how big a bucket of water you used."
"Well, just a small one."
"Then it won't be enough to extinguish a burning toad."
"Well, perhaps I could . . . "
"Look," interrupted the parson, "the fact of the matter is that we don't want any toad tossing here. It puts a downer on the whole festival, it worries the sheep and it's just very, very silly. If the Good Lord had meant us to toss toads he would have, um, made them a bit more tossable. Now bugger off out of here before I set the hamsters on you!"
"But it's my livelihood!" protested Rostrum.
"Oh, stop whinging! You think you've got it bad? You should try going around being named after a chicken's bollocks!" said Parson Snows.*

But Rostrum knew he was on to a loser and reluctantly he left Ig with the remainder of his toads. It wasn't worth putting up a fight, for the hamsters of Ig were renowned for their ferocity. Since the Spleens Day Massacre they had been employed to guard the village for fear of reprisals from organ activists from Frippit and were instrumental in the keeping of the peace between the two villages.
In the ensuing days, other villages had learnt of the success of Ig's prohibition on toad tossing and had implemented their own bans. Eventually, Rostrum had nowhere left to ply his trade. His only chance was to take his case to the Guild of Amphibian Abusers.
Neville the newt balancer had arranged for a hearing of his friend's plight at the next Guild meeting. After Rostrum had presented his case, he and Neville sat back to hear the opinions of their fellow Guild members. The chairman, Ivan the tadpole tormentor, was the first to speak.
"Look, er, Rostrum," he said, "we do sympathise when a member finds himself in the shit. But what worries us is this toad tossing business."
"Yeah," said Cecil the salamander licker, "It really is bringing down the tone of the Guild."
"What bothers me," added Brian the lung-fish lubricator, "is what next is going to be outlawed. I mean, imagine a world in which it is illegal to lubricate lung-fish."
"Absolutely," said Ivan, "No, I'm sorry, but for the good of the Guild we have no choice but to terminate your membership. All those in favour say Wibble."
"Wibble," said the democratically indefectible majority of the meeting.
"Motion carried," said Ivan, "Now get out!"

*Bad Humour.

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The Battle Of The Fluffy Clouds
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