by Enoch Blyton
transcribed and edited
from the original manuscript
by Robin Gordon
- Auksford, 2009 -
Noddy comes to Toyland
Link to Part I
“Were you with Noddy last night, Tessie my
love?” Mr Plod asked.
“No, Mr Plod. A were trying to find out
more about the wreckers so A went out with Wiley.”
“With him the whole night.”
“Ay, Mr Plod, till nigh on midnight.”
“A hope, Tessie, that you don’t let Wiley
“Oh no, Mr Plod. A wouldn’t,
and he’s never tried.”
“And where was Noddy?”
“A don’t know, Mr Plod. A saw
him looking for
me, then A think he went off for a walk.”
“Ay, happen he did. And where’s
Noddy this morning?”
“A ‘spect he’s in the moulding
shed, Mr Plod.”
“Go fetch him then, will you, Love?”
“Ay, Mr Plod.”
But Noddy wasn’t in the moulding shed and nobody
had seen him that morning.
“Go and find Tubby, then, there’s a good
lass,” said Mr Plod.
“Summat’s up, Uncle Tubby,”
“Mr Plod’s being ever so jovial and calling me Love
He’s looking for Noddy, but A can’t find him
anywhere. You’d best come.”
“A’m looking for Noddy,” said
“but he’s not at his work. Where is he,
“He’s at home, Mr Plod,”
“At home, Tubby? Why is that?
hasn’t given up his job. Come into a legacy
“No Mr Plod. He hasn’t got any
“No trousers? You surprise me,
Tubby. I am
perplexed, astounded even. Why has Noddy got no
“Well,” wheezed Tubby, “he went
out for a walk
last night and was attacked by a gang. They beat him up, Mr
knocked him out, cold, and when he came to he was sitting on the ground
with his arms tied round a tree behind him, and his trousers had
“What a harrowing tale, Tubby. You mean
to tell me
that our little town, the home of the Toyland factory, is now plagued
by trouser-thieves who would strip a man of his dignity and leave him
tied up by the wayside. But tell me Tubby, how did poor Noddy
“He sat there for hours, Mr Plod, then, about
someone sneaked up behind him and cut him free.”
“A public benefactor, Tubby? A good
Samaritan on the
lookout for victims of these wicked trouser-thieves.”
“Noddy thinks it was one of the gang.
taught him a lesson and now they let him go. They were the
Hobgoblins, you see, Mr Plod. They tried to get him to join,
“Most interesting, Tubby. What happened
“Well Noddy found some dock-leaves
“Dock-leaves? Well, whatever
next. I suppose he
sewed them together to make himself a skirt. Can you imagine
Tessie, Noddy sneaking through the village in a skirt of green
“No, Mr Plod,” wheezed Tubby.
them on his legs. They dragged him through the nettles, you
see. Took off his trousers and dragged him through the
nettles. Poor lad’s still in pain”
“I imagine he would be,” smiled Mr
“Acid’s a terrible thing for burns. Well,
can we expect to see Noddy back at work?”
“Tomorrow, Mr Plod.”
“No Mr Plod. Glenys is going into town
later to get him some trousers.”
“A’m glad to hear it. A
poor little Tessie here subjected to the sight of one of our plastic
moulders in a state of semi-nudity. All right,
can go. Back to work.”
“You’re late Plod! I thought
you were never
coming. Afraid to tell me what’s happened, is that
it? More sabotage? Well, speak up, man!
been more sabotage?”
“Ay, Mr Claws, there has!”
“Wreckers in my
factory! Wicked men destroying my
you stand there smirking as if it was summat wonderful!”
Mr Claws. We’ve got
The proof’s there. There’s not a court in
the land would let him off. We’ve got
“Stop sniggering and tell me properly
“They broke into the factory again last night, Mr
and they put a spike through a vat of acid …”
“Ay, but they weren’t quick
enough. The acid
gushed out and soaked one of them. He had to pull off his
trousers, and he left them at the scene of the crime.”
“As far as I can see, Plod,” said Mr
“you’ve lost a vat of valuable acid and all
got to show for it is an old pair of workman’s
Mr Claws. There’s a man couldn’t come to
because he’s lost his trousers, and his legs are all burned
acid too. He made up some cock-and-bull story about being set
and stripped and thrown in a patch of nettles, but he’s
man, Mr Claws. We’ve got
“Well done, Plod. Who is it?”
“Noddy, Mr Claws.”
… the man you
took on without checking his references … the man you
wasn’t a union man … and now we find
he’s the leader of the Hobgoblins.”
“Yes, Mr Claws,” said Mr Plod, in a small
and chastened voice.
“Well, never mind that now,” said Mr
Claws. “The main thing is, we’ve got
him. Send for the constable and have him formally charged and
arrested, then have him brought before me. As a justice of
peace I shall commit him to prison and have him tried at the next
assizes. I wonder if this might be a hanging
think it might, oh yes, I think it might. – Well
don’t just stand there, Plod. Go and have him
Mr Plod arrived back at the factory, muttering to
When he was halfway up the steps to his office he saw Wiley.
“Hey, you, Wiley,” he shouted.
Wiley slouched over.
“A want you to go and find the
constable,” shouted Mr
Plod. “We know who the leader of the Hobgoblins
It’s that new man, Noddy. He got his trousers
acid when he holed the vat, so he’s at home today.
constable, take him to Tubby Bear’s house, and get him to
Noddy and take him before Mr Claws. Mr Claws’ll
guilty and send him up for trial at the next assizes.
probably be hanged, poor fellow, but there’s nowt we can do
that. Hurry up and get him arrested before Glenys gets back
the shop with his new trousers, or he’ll give us the
Go on, man!”
“Yes, Mr Plod,” said Wiley, and went off
Tessie was listening from the top of the steps.
“Oh, Mr Plod,” she said, “A
wonder if A could just …”
“Oh, Tessie, Tessie,” groaned Mr
need me ’ot chocolate. Oh, what a day, what a
Hot chocolate, Tessie, quick as you can.”
“Yes, Mr Plod,” Tessie sighed.
As soon as Tessie and Mr Plod were in the office and the door
closed, Big Lugs Brown appeared from under the steps. He
across to where the packing materials were kept, grabbed a sack and
By the time Wiley had found the constable Big Lugs had run to
Tubby’s house, warned Noddy, given him the sack to wear as a
of skirt, and hurried him away, much to the amusement of some little
boys and girls hanging about in the street.
You are an idiot,
Plod. You are a
thick-skulled useless clod,
Plod! You disgust
me, Plod! You
are an incompetent,
stupid, idle, addle-pated, pea-brained
grrrrumph … g-g-g-rrrrrr-fffff-p!”
Mr Claws was incandescent with fury. His face shone
internal purplish-reddish light as if he was filled with boiling
lava. He looked as if he were about to explode, as if he were
about to burst into flame. Plod almost expected to witness
spontaneous human combustion before his eyes, as Mr Claws lost his
capacity for speech and popped and spluttered like a boiling mud-hole.
Mr Claws shuddered and trembled and at last managed to
control himself enough to speak.
“Plod,” he snarled, “you have
gone too far this
time. You are dismissed!
You are no longer
overseer at the
Toyland factory. Send me Wiley.”
“He’s outside Mr Claws. It was
Wiley I sent to …”
“Shut your mouth, Plod. Bring Wiley in,
Mr Plod scuttled to the door and beckoned Wiley in.
“Wiley,” roared Mr Claws.
overseer. Plod can have your hovel
if you can find a job for him, otherwise he can go. Now get
both of you, and FIND ME NODDY! I’ll have him
strung up on
the gallows. OUT!”
When Tess came out of the packing department to go and make
Plod his hot chocolate there was a thin, miserable drizzle.
hurried over to the office, then stopped in surprise. Plod
hunched against the wall close to the stairs, his hair plastered down
over his face and rain dripping off his nose.
“Mr Plod!” she cried.
“What are you doing
out here in the wet? You’ll catch your
aren’t you in your office?”
“It’s not my office, Tessie,”
Plod. “Wiley is overseer now. He told me
to wait here
till he’s ready to see me.”
terrible, Mr Plod,” said Tessie. “And
making you wait
out here in the rain – it’s cruel and disgusting,
A’ll tell him so.”
“No, Tessie, you mustn’t,” said
“If you put his back up he’ll not give me a
A’ll be unemployed and A’ll starve.”
Tessie hurried up the steps.
“Are you overseer now, Wiley? she asked.
“I am, and you’ll call me Mr
Wiley from now
on,” said Wiley.
Wiley,” said Tessie. “Mr Plod’s
“Plod,” said Wiley, not
Plod. A’ll see
him when A’m good and ready. Get me me
“He’s getting soaked, poor
man,” said Tessie.
“A won’t tell you again, Tess,”
Wiley. “A’ll see Plod when A’m
good and ready
– and now A want me ’ot chocolate.”
“Yes Mr Wiley,” said Tessie and slipped
kitchen to prepare the overseer’s morning beverage.
When she brought it Wiley took a sip, sighed contentedly,
said, “You can call Plod in now, Tess – and mind
don’t call him Mr
Tessie opened the door. “You can come in
now … Plod,” she called.
Plod came in, dripping.
“Stay over there by the door, Plod,” said
Wiley. “A don’t want you dripping water
all over my
He took another sip of chocolate, sighed again and smacked
“Now, Plod,” he said, “the
question is, can we
use you? Does Toyland have any use for an overseer
been sacked for incompetence? Well?”
“A used to be a wheel-fitter,” said Plod.
“Used to be, yes, used to be, but you’re
practice now, Plod. A couldn’t take the risk of
engine wheels being fitted to pull-along ducks. What would it
to Toyland’s reputation? No, Plod, you’ll
the bottom like every other new boy. You’ll be on
sweeping-up duties. Go and find La’al Tubby, ask
his broom, tell him he’s being promoted and send him to
And just think yourself lucky to have a job at all.
kind, I am. What Mr Claws’ll say A don’t
Well? Aren’t you going to thank me?”
“Thank you, Mr Wiley,” muttered Plod, and
“A’m too soft, Tess,” said
“A shouldn’t have let him get away with muttering
that. A should have made him say it properly, out loud and
– shouldn’t A, Tess?”
“Yes, Mr Wiley,” said Tess, loudly and
“There’s going to be some changes round
girl,” said Wiley, and one of them affects you.”
“Me, Mr Wiley?”
“Yes, you, Tess. A’ve decided
not to have you
bring me me ’ot chocolate. After tomorrow
full time in the packing department.”
“Yes, Mr Wiley,” said Tess, not sure if
she was sorry
to lose her privileged position as the overseer’s hot
girl or glad not to have to serve Wiley.
There was a tap at the door.
“IN!” honked Wiley.
La’al Tubby came in, wringing his cap nervously in
“You wanted to see me, Mr Wiley?”
“Yes, Tubby,” said Wiley.
me eye on you, and A think it’s time you were
Plod can do the sweeping up till there’s another new lad,
– we’ll see. As for you, well,
A’ve a vacancy
for a wheel-fitter, and A think it’d just suit you.
What’s the matter, Tess? Got summat in your
Don’t gasp like that, girl! Well, Tubby, me boy,
like to be a wheel-fitter?”
“Yes, Mr Wiley. Thank you, Mr
the delighted boy. To be a wheel fitter, working in the
shed, away from the fumes. It was one of the best jobs at
“Good,” purred Wiley, “but
more. Like A said, A’ve had me eye on you, and
got a special job for you – you’re going to bring
La’al Tubby’s jaw dropped.
“A…a…, no, Mr Wiley,” he
“Not me. That’s a girl’s
They’d all laugh at me.”
“Sticks and stones, La’al Tubby, may
bones, but the laughter of the ignorant can’t hurt
“A won’t do it, Mr Wiley,” said
Tubby. “You can make me a plastic moulder if you
A won’t bring ’ot chocolate to anybody.”
“You’ll bring me me ’ot
Tubby,” Wiley grated, “or you’ll be out
of a job, you
and that idle swine of a father of yours, and out of your house and on
“You can’t do that, Mr Wiley,”
Tubby. “Mr Claws would never let you!”
“Mr Claws! What do you know about Mr
see him in church every week, smiling and looking benevolent, but you
don’t hear what he says to Plod. Squeeze ’em,
that’s what he says. A’ll just need say
that you and
your family know where Noddy is but won’t tell me, and
he’ll have you thrown in gaol. Well, what is it to
be? Hot chocolate for you and me, or prison for all the Bear
“Hot chocolate, Mr Wiley,” muttered
“Good! Tess’ll show you how to
tomorrow, that after that you’re on your own! Well,
don’t stand about all day! Over to the assembly
Tell them A said you’re to be a wheel fitter. And
– back to the packing shed. There’ll be
lounging about for anyone now Ah’m
The evening was dark and odd strands of fog hung about as
hurried towards her Uncle Tubby’s house. The moon
hidden behind clouds, appearing briefly as they moved, to cast strange
shadows. Occasional gusts of cold wind shifted the strands of
and smoke and sent dead leaves and dust rattling along the
gutters. As she came round the last corner a man came out of
shadows towards her.
“Oh! Oh it’s you, Mr
It wasn’t the awestruck Mister
she would have
referred to Mr Claws, or the respectful Mister
when talking to
Mr Plod, nor yet the contemptuous Mister
she reserved for Wiley: it was
a wary, unfriendly, keep-your-distance sort of Mister.
Big-Lugs paid no heed.
“Things have come to a pretty pass,
Tess,” he said,
“with Mr Plod dismissed and Wiley in his place as overseer
– and then there’s Noddy, accused of being a
threatened with prison or worse. You don’t believe
he’s a Hobgoblin, do you, Tessie?”
“I certainly do not,” said Tessie.
“No more do I,” said Big Lugs.
“It’s a put-up job. He’s no
more a wrecker than
you are, Tessie. Somebody’s out to get him
it’s up to us to find out who. But tell, me,
does Tubby think?”
“He doesn’t know what to think, Mr Brown,
he really doesn’t.”
was less hostile now, scarcely more than the standard
form of address from a youngster to an older man.
“He believes Noddy, doesn’t he?”
“He’d like to, Mr Brown, he’s
Noddy was a good lad, but there’s the evidence you
he wasn’t a wrecker how did he get his trousers ruined by
from the vat?”
“A thought he’d explained that.”
“Ay, and Ah
believe him, Mr Brown, but Uncle Tubby just doesn’t
“Can A come along with you, Tessie, and mebbe speak
“Well, A suppose A can’t stop you if you
want to, Mr Brown.”
La’al Tubby was leaning against the front wall.
“Thought you’d be out wi’ the
other lads,” said Big-Lugs”
“It’s not fair,” snarled
Tubby. “A don’t want to tek Wiley
chocolate. They’re all laughing at me.
calling me ’Ot Chocolate, cos it’a a
job. Why does Wiley want me
to do it? Why can’t
Tessie do it like she’s always done it?”
“Who knows,” said Big-Lugs.
“Maybe he’s posing as a somdomite.”
gasped. This time the
Mister expressed shock and disapproval.
“A’m only teasing him,”
“What’s a somdomite?”
La’al Tubby asked.
“Summat A hope you’ll never find out
said Big-Lugs. “Let’s go in, Tessie.
“A’ve brought Mr Brown,” said
Tessie to Uncle Tubby.
“Oh, ay,” wheezed Tubby, “and
what do you want, Big-Lugs?”
“A’ve come,” said Big Lugs,
“to tell you
that Noddy is innocent. He’s never been a wrecker
he’d never join the Hobgoblins.”
“That’s what you say,” wheezed
“but Mr Plod found his trousers eaten away by acid where the
Hobgoblins punctured the vat, and his legs were covered in
“Nettle stings,” said Big-Lugs.
He told you.”
“A don’t know what to believe,”
“Noddy’s telling the truth,”
burst out La’al Tubby.
“How would you know?” wheezed his father.
“A joined the Hobgoblins,” said
“but A’m having nothing more to do with them after
this. They beat Noddy up and knocked him out. They
his trousers and dragged him through the nettles, then they sat him
against a tree and tied him up. It was me as came back to cut
free after we’d wrecked the acid vat. One of them
Noddy’s trousers in the acid then threw them in the corner
Plod to find.”
“You stupid little
…” Tubby broke off coughing.
“Leave him, Tubby,” said
“He’s learnt his lesson.
There’s lots of young
lads joined the Hobgoblins. A’ve seen ’em
and Ah know. What we’ve got to do is find out
“He’s a useless little …
girl,” wheezed Tubby. “What
d’you ever take
that job for, Our Kid? You should have refused. A
can’t go into Tom Catt’s any more without someone
snigger about it. You should have refused.”
“A couldn’t refuse,” yelled
Tubby. “Wiley said he’d put us out of
work and out of
“Mr Claws would never let him do a thing like
that,” said Glenys.
“Wiley said he’d tell Mr Claws we were
Noddy,” said Tessie. “He said Mr Claws
would have us
thrown in gaol. He said Mr Claws was always telling Mr Plod
squeeze us harder.”
“Surely not,” said Glenys.
“A think Mr Plod’s been trying to protect
us from Mr
Claws,” said Tessie. “He’s
often quite upset
when he comes back from Mr Claws.”
seen him too,” said Big Lugs, “and
A’ve heard him muttering to himself. Things like: Squeeze
’em, Plod! How am I supposed to squeeze
they’ve not enough to live on as it is.
It was when I heard
him mutterin’ Poor
la’al fella, he’s a good worker,
and a nice little chap, and Mr Claws’ll probably get him
that A decided to follow him back to the factory – and it was
good thing A did, cos A heard him telling Wiley to fetch the constable
and drag Noddy to Mr Claws to be condemned as a wrecker.
as soon as they were out of the way A stole a sack, ran along here and
got Noddy away wearing the sack like a skirt.”
“So he’s at you’re
house,” said Tessie.
“Did A ever tell you,” said Big-Lugs,
call my little cabin Toadstool House? It’s cos
there’s not mush-room in there.”
“What?” said Tessie.
“You’re right, Big-Lugs,”
There’s not much room there, and it’s better none
knows where Noddy is.”
“Anyway,” said Big-Lugs, “if
should’ve happened to have bought Noddy a new pair of
seeing as we don’t know where he’s got to, it would
kind thought to bestow them on a poor old man that’s got no
regular work and lives by himself on the edge of the woods.”
“It would,” said Glenys.
“I’ll get them.”
“Now, La’al Tubby,” said Big
“you’ve served Noddy a nasty trick, the least you
can do is
help put it right. Can you identify the leader of the
or Captain Moonlight?”
“A only saw Captain Moonlight once,” said
Tubby. “It was when A joined. Noddy asked
me if he
was from London, but he talked much like everybody round here
except … when he was talking to me he sought of purred, like
cat, or like a lass trying to sweet-talk a man.
the boss o’ the Hobgoblins a few times, but A don’t
who he is. They all wear masks, you see. Older than
but not as old as you. A know one o’ the younger
lads. It was Monkey
as asked me to join”
“That’ll do to start with,”
Big-Lugs. “Listen, Tubby and La’al
with Monkey, find out who he knows, then ask that
lad, till you
your way up to the leaders. An’ as for you, Glenys
Tessie, spread the word round what happened to Noddy, and keep your
ears open for anything useful. It always seems to me that
know more about anything that’s going on than us men do, so
knows what we may find between us?”
Weeks passed. Christmas came and went.
The snow lay
heavy, then was churned to slush, then froze and was covered by fresh
snow, then, finally, melted away. Mr Claws appeared each
in church, beaming benevolently on his workers as if he wished he could
increase their wages in spite of the poor sales that had scarcely
raised his profits at all. Wiley squeezed them on his behalf:
hourly rates were cut, rents were raised. A couple of plastic
moulders died of pneumonia and were buried in the churchyard.
Wiley told La’al Tubby that if he didn’t look more
about bringing the hot chocolate he might well find himself transferred
from the wheel-fitting team to the plastic-moulding shed. The
lads accepted the boy again when they heard how he’d been
into accepting the demeaning “girl’s
job”, and, step
by step, the Bears identified more and more of the Hobgoblins.
La’al Tubby had identified Monkey, a slightly older
and Monkey identified a lad everyone called Clockwork because of his
constant jerky movements. Clockwork said he had been
Mouse, and Mouse knew that Bumpy was a wrecker. From the
lads the trail led to the older men, until it reached Wally
Wally swore and blasphemed, said he didn’t care what happened
Noddy, denied he’d ever been a saboteur, then finally
that he’d been recruited by Noah Arkwright. Like
questioned before him he had no idea who Captain Moonlight was.
Noah admitted straightaway that he’d been a
said he’d decided never to go out wrecking again after the
the gang had trapped Noddy and made him a scapegoat. A man
the right, he thought, not to belong to a gang if he didn’t
to, and to put him in danger of prison, or even hanging, just because
he wouldn’t join was a disgrace. Luckily, he added,
he’d never been asked to go wrecking since that day, and
had seen Captain Moonlight for weeks.
Did he know who Captain Moonlight was? Was he a
local man or a Londoner maybe?
Noah had no idea. Only one man knew who Captain
Moonlight was, he said, and that was Gobby.
That was a surprise. Gobby was known for his big
anything he achieved he trumpeted to the town; any misfortune that
befell a neighbour would be told with relish to every passer-by; every
secret he found out would be published to the world. How
Gobby know the identity of Captain Moonlight and not tell a single soul?
Perhaps, Noah suggested, he was afraid of Captain
Moonlight. That seemed to be the answer.
Noddy, meanwhile, lay low at Big-Lugs Brown’s
out only at night when the workers were safely snoring in their
beds. He didn’t waste his time though: rabbits
sometimes come out of Mr Claws’ woods, and Noddy and Big-Lugs
snares in the hedgerows. Each night too he would go to the
and talk to the guard dogs, gradually winning them over. The
bit of rabbit helped.
“Won’t be long now, Big-Lugs,”
“When A’ve got them eating out of me hand
over the fence. If they don’t tear me to pieces
be able to set snares in Mr Claws’ woods, just like
“Rather you than me,” said
“A’m terrified of dogs – any dogs, not
So it was at Big-Lugs’ house that the conspirators
discuss their findings: Big Lugs and Noddy, Tubby and La’al
Tubby, Glenys and Tessie, and Plod.
Glenys and Tessie hadn’t been able to find out
anything. The Hobgoblins had kept their nocturnal activities
secret from their wives – warned no doubt by Captain
that the careless gossip of women could send them all to
was the men’s careful tracing from recruit to recruiter that
taken them back as far as Gobby, and Gobby, despite his reputation
refused to talk.
“We could threaten to tell Mr Claws that
he’s the leader of the Hobgoblins,” said Plod.
“We couldn’t,” wheezed
couldn’t hand over even a filthy creature like Gobby to Mr
“You’re right,” said Big-Lugs,
if we did, he’d not believe us. He’s
Noddy’s his man.”
“Ay,” sighed Plod gloomily.
“He’s not one for being persuaded.”
“We’re stuck,” wheezed
Tubby. If Gobby
won’t talk and we can’t make him, we’ll
out who Captain Moonlight is.”
know who he is!” It was La’al
Tubby. They all turned to look at him and the boy blushed.
“Well,” he said, “A think A
know who he is: it’s Wiley!”
“WILEY?” they chorused.
“It’s the way he talks,” said
Tubby. “A told you when A joined the Hobgoblins
Moonlight talked to me like a cat purring or like a lass trying to
sweet-talk a man – well when A bring him his ’ot
that’s just how Wiley talks. A’ve never
anyone. It’s horrible. It’s
like … well
it’s like he’s talking to a girl that he wants to
A hate him!”
Glenys put a comforting arm round her son. Tubby
pacing, smacking his right fist into his left palm.
“A’ll kill him!” he
him. Even if A get hung for’t.”
“Easy, easy,” murmured Noddy.
“If La’al Tubby’s right you
won’t need to
kill him,” said Big Lugs, “and A think he
there’s never been a Hobgoblin attack since Wiley became
“Right,” said Plod.
“Captain Moonlight hasn’t been seen since
Wiley became overseer, right?”
“Right,” said Plod and Noddy.
“So,” said Big-Lugs,
isn’t it. Wiley’s Captain Moonlight and
he used the
Hobgoblins to get Plod dismissed and get himself made
A’ve sometimes seen him sneaking into Mr Claws’
– well, there’s your spy. It’s
that’s been letting Mr Claws know everything that’s
going on in town. It’s Wiley that told the
to do. It’s Wiley that got Noddy blamed for the
– and all to get himself made overseer.”
“He’ll regret it,” muttered
“He’ll find out what sort of a temper Mr Claws has
got. It’s not a bed of roses being
“Not even if you squeeze the workers like
Wiley’s been doing,” said Big Lugs.
“What’ll we do?” Noddy asked.
“Somebody better keep watch on Wiley.
be your job, La’al Tubby. Young-uns can wander
following people in the streets without it looking
He’d know we were on to him if old Tubby followed
“Can I have Monkey to come with me?”
“Ay, that’s even better. Two
lads just mooching
round together. But not Clockwork. All that
his will draw too much attention. Get Mouse and Bumpy to
Gobby. We’ll meet here every Sunday and see what we
Plod was right that the overseer’s job was no bed
roses. The next morning Mr Claws was in a foul mood and Wiley
trembling and stuttering.
“Production down!” yelled Mr
Claws. “Why is production down Wiley.”
“A … A… don’t know,
“Down!” snarled Mr Claws, “Down
forgot to order supplies of plastic on time – just like you
forgot to order wheels and springs and paint. I had
standing round idle because they didn’t have the materials to
make toys. Standing idle
“A’ll dock it from their wages next time
Mr Claws. A’ll lay them off.”
“There’d better not be a next time,
you’ll be out of that grand house of yours and on sweeping-up
duties. Understand? Now get out and don’t
production be interrupted again! OUT!”
Wiley backed out of the presence, was shown out of the house
haughty flunkey, and shambled down the drive. As he passed
little gate to the wood the dogs hurled themselves at it, barking
furiously. Wiley jumped, then scrambled away, down to the
and out of the main gate. The dogs run along the fence,
at him and crashing against it until he was out of sight, while he
muttered and swore.
Wally Cox was waiting at the bottom of the steps.
followed Wiley into his office and closed the door.
On Sunday afternoon Old Tubby wandered casually along to the
of his street. Plod came along and joined him, then they
off towards the woods and Big-Lugs Brown’s house.
Cox, who’d been leaning against a wall smoking strolled
after them until he saw where they were headed, then he turned and
hurried to the overseer’s house.
A few minutes later Wiley emerged and marched off towards Mr
Claws’ woods. Two boys who’d been
lounging against a
nearby wall sprang into action and hurried after him. He
at the end of the street, but the lads were scuffling in a sort of
fight, so he went on. He heard feet running after him and
round. It was La’al Tubby. Monkey caught
up with him
and knocked him down and they scuffled again.
“So much energy,” thought
“They’re being paid too much if they’ve
got energy to
waste playing games on Sunday.”
He hurried on. When they left the town the boys
over a gate and followed him behind the hedge. They saw him
into Mr Claws’ garden.
“Gone to see Mr Claws. What’ll
we do?” said Monkey.
“Wait and see, then A’ll go and tell me
Wiley didn’t stay long, just a few minutes, then
hurrying out and set off down the road, almost running. They
followed him almost as far as the beginning of the houses.
saw him meet Wally Cox, and crept up quietly behind the hedge to
listen, then they raced off to report to the conspirators.
Noddy and Big-Lugs had met Tubby and Plod in a copse not far
Big-Lugs’ cottage. The four were gloomy.
learned nothing new all week. Noah Arkwright was sympathetic
couldn’t tell them any more, Wally Cox had sworn at them, and
Gobby, usually so ready to boast, had refused to talk at all.
The dogs suddenly began a terrific commotion, barking and
snarling and crashing through the wood.
“They’re after summat,” said
Noddy. Then suddenly they heard a child screaming.
“They’ve got a babby,” wheezed
They ran as hard as they could for Mr Claws’
The only way in to the wood where the dogs ran loose was a gate along
his drive. They pounded in, past the lodge.
The dogs were loose in the garden, and they were after Mr
Claws’ little girl. Terror lent her
strength. She had
swung herself up into a tree and clambered higher among its branches,
while the hounds snapped and snarled below her, and leapt up to try and
pull her down. One dog’s teeth snapped shut on her
skirt. She almost lost her hold, but the skirt ripped, the
fell back and she scrambled a few inches higher.
“Grab the girl,” yelled Noddy.
“Big-Lugs, look after the gate!”
Then he ran towards the dogs, shouting madly.
They turned and raced towards him. He disappeared
in their midst.
“He’ll be torn to pieces,”
wheezed Tubby, then
he hobbled after Plod. They ran to the tree, somehow lifted
little girl down, and set her on Plod’s back. Plod
towards the house, where Mrs Claws was having hysterics while Mr Claws
shouted for servants to come and help.
Tubby followed Plod, brandishing a stick that he’d
and turning from time to time to make sure the dogs weren’t
Meanwhile Noddy was edging back towards the wood, surrounded
the pack of excitedly barking dogs. They’d
friend who had talked to them through the fence for so many
weeks. They hadn’t torn him to pieces, but he had
scratch from their enthusiastic leaping and clawing.
As soon as the pack was through the gate Big-Lugs slammed it
shut. Noddy found a stick and threw it for the
raced after it and started worrying it. He found another and
threw it. Now the dogs had got the idea. They raced
the stick, tussling and scuffling for it, all except one, who
wouldn’t be parted from Noddy. He edged back along
fence. Big Lugs opened the gate a crack. Noddy
and the two of them slammed the gate shut and bolted it.
Noddy’s special friend let out a great howl, and the other
came racing back to the gate.
Noddy and Big-Lugs hurried towards the house. Mrs
covering her little girl in kisses, and Mr Claws was shaking the hands
of Plod and Tubby and swearing eternal gratitude. He pumped
Noddy’s hand, and Big-Lugs’ too, promising them any
“What I want to know,” said Mr Claws,
“is, who let those dogs out?”
“It was Wiley!” yelled a boy’s
voice. La’al Tubby and Monkey came running up.
“It was Wiley,” said La’al
“We were following him. He came into your garden,
Claws. We thought he was coming to see you, but he only
few minutes, then he came running out. We wondered why he was
such a hurry, so we followed him till he met Wally Cox. We
him say this. That’ll learn ’em, all on
Claws’ll not to speak to me like that again after he finds
babby torn to bits by them dogs, and the best thing is Plod and Tubby
and ol’ Big-Lugs’ll get the blame.
come spying on me again. They’ll be in gaol or
or mebbe hanged. I’ll see you’re rewarded
your lugs open, Wally, but if you split, that’ll be the end
o’ you. It was Wiley let them dogs out …
La’al Tubby suddenly seemed to realise who he was
to. He stammered and blushed and edged behind his father.
“Fetch the lodge keeper,” roared Mr
Claws, and a flunky set off.
“Ay,” said the lodge keeper,
in. A thought he was coming to see you, Mr Claws, but then he
went off in a great hurry. A thought you must have sent him
“I’ll have him hanged for
this!” stormed Mr
Claws. “Murder! Attempted murder, that
“Yes, Mr Claws.”
“You’re overseer again. Sort
out the mess yon
Wiley’s got us into. As for you, you brave young
man,” said Mr Claws, turning to Noddy, “just tell
“A job, Mr Claws, making toys.”
“Don’t you work for me already.”
“A did, Mr Claws, for a bit.”
“What’s your name lad?”
“Noddy, Mr Claws.”
The leader of the Hobgoblins! Captain
Moonlight! Seize him! Hold him! Throw him
cellar! Send for the constable. As Justice of the
find him guilty. Hang him! Hang him I
“No, Mr Claws,” said Plod
firmly. “Noddy’s not Captain
“Don’t contradict me, Plod, or
you’ll be back
to sweeping floors. Of course he’s Captain
There’s been no sabotage since he was driven out.”
“If he’d been Captain Moonlight, Mr
said Plod, “there would have been nothing to stop him coming
into town in disguise and stirring up the Hobgoblins – and
he’d have had every reason to do it. It’s
that’s Captain Moonlight. There’s been no
since he became overseer because he was using the Hobgoblins to get
himself made overseer.”
“I’m sure, Mr Claws,” said Mrs
“that this brave young man, who risked his life to save our
little girl from being torn to pieces by those horrible hounds of
yours, couldn’t possibly be a criminal.”
“Me name’s Noddy Woodhead,”
“A were a skilled worker, and A joined a union, and we were
sacked by our bosses. A’ve never been a wrecker,
wouldn’t join the Hobgoblins.”
“There you are, Mr Claws,” said Mrs Claws.
“A’m called Noddy,” said Noddy,
A used to make them little nodding men and animals.”
“You worked for Utterson-Framley?” said
“Ay,” said Mr Claws.
“There were no
little nodding men this Christmas. Utterson-Framley are in a
fix. They’ve had to re-employ their workers and
the union, but they’ve lost Noddy. Plod!”
“Yes, Mr Claws.”
“See to it that Noddy has a workshop and all the
he needs. Toylands going into the nodding-men
Here, you two lads!”
“Yes, Mr Claws,” said La’al
Tubby and Monkey.”
“From now on you’re Noddy’s
He’ll teach you how to make nodding toys. Oh this
splendid. We’ll increase our profits no
else can I do for you, men?”
“A’d like to start a friendly
Noddy. “Not a union, Mr Claws, just a fund to help
that fall sick, or to help their widows, like poor Mrs
“Of course,” said Mr Claws
“You should have explained properly what these noble fellows
wanted, Plod. You know I’d do anything for my
workers. I depend on them and they depend on me.
start your friendly society, and to show my regard for you
start you off with a donation of … um … one
“Thank you Mr Claws.”
“Off with you, then. I mustn’t
keep you all day.”
“There’s one more thing, Mr
Noddy. We’ll all work better if we have enough to
eat. Can you get rid of the dogs and let us take the odd
from the woods.”
“Rabbits is vermin, Mr Claws,” wheezed
“They get into your garden and destroy your
“And our lovely flowers,” said Mrs Claws.
“You don’t pay the lads enough to buy
said Big-Lugs. “Letting them have a few rabbits is
way of feeding them”
“We certainly don’t want those dogs any
more,” said Mrs Claws.
“Grrrh … er…
Rabbits? Of course you can
have rabbits,” said Mr Claws. “Take all
you want. Nothing else, good, off you go then …
They left in high spirits.
“Rabbits,” growled Mr Claws.
“Grrrh! Rabbits and friendly societies.
That’s a whole guinea of my hard-earned cash that
into their friendly society, Plod. One pound and one
shilling! Twenty one shillings! Two hundred and
pence! I want recompense and by God I’ll have
Squeeze ’em, Plod. Squeeze
“Yes, Mr Claws,” sighed Plod.
Someone must have warned Wiley – perhaps it was Big
– at any rate he had fled by the time Plod fetched the
and he was never seen again. The constable found a box in the
overseer’s house, and in it was Wiley’s Captain
disguise. After that Mr Plod moved back in, and chose Tessie
bring him his hot chocolate. He was just beginning to think
might pluck up courage to ask her to be more to him than his hot
chocolate girl, when she announced, with a radiant smile, that Noddy
had asked her to marry him and that she had accepted. Mr Plod
congratulated her and concealed the ache in his heart.
Mr Claws perhaps thought that Plod would be even more
now that he had seen how he could be dismissed so easily, but
Plod’s experiences had the opposite effect. Before
been terrified that if Mr Claws demoted him he would be bullied and
taunted by the workers, now he had friends among them and he was
prepared to speak on their behalf.
“Wiley cut the workers’ wages, Mr
said. “They can’t live on what
them now. If they’re constantly hungry
always tired and we won’t get the best work from
should put up the wages to what they were. You
by it. You’ll only be paying what you were before,
work will be … much …”
“Plod! You are a NINCOMPOOP!”
roared Mr Claws.
Some twenty minutes later, blasted by Mr Claws’
staggered out and tottered home. He hadn’t been
but it had been a near thing.
Mr Claws had listened, however. He stood up in
church the next Sunday to make an announcement.
“Workers of Toyland,” he boomed,
“while I was
going through my accounts I discovered that Wiley, wicked wretch that
he was, had cut your wages. This, of course was entirely
to me, and I have therefore decided to restore your earning to what
they were before to show how much I care for my workers.”
Plod leapt to his feet.
“Three cheers for Mr Claws!” he called,
and the church resounded to their enthusiasm.
“Well done, Plod,” said Mr Claws
“I like to be appreciated. I like my workers to
I’m a humane, benevolent man, and you may be sure that
we’ll find some way to squeeze ’em after the
inspector has come and gone. That’ll be next month,
Plod. Keep them contented till he’s been, then
’em. I rely on you, Plod: Squeeze
this story is copyright. For permitted uses see Copyright
to Toyland, Part I
Index to Robin Gordon's Works
to the Auksford Website
an e-mail to Robin Gordon