'Catch him, Meatdripper!' ...

'Catch him, Gizzardgulper!' …

'Catch him, Maidmasher!' ...

'Catch him, Bioodbottler!' ...

'Catch him! ... Catch him! ... Catch him! ...'

In the end, they got bored with this game. They dumped the poor BFG on the ground. He was daed and shattered. They gave him a few kicks and shouted, 'Run, you little runt! Let us be seeing how fast you is galloping!' The BFG ran. What else could he do? The giants picked up rocks and hurled them after him. He managed to dodge them. 'Ruddy little runt!' they shouted. 'Troggy little twit! Shrivelly little shrimp! Mucky little midget! Squaggy little squib! Grobby little grub!'

At last the BFG got clear of them all and in another couple of minutes the pack of giants was out of sight over the horizon. Sophie popped her head up from the pocket. 'I didn't like that,' she said.

'Phew!' said the BFG. 'Phew and far between! They was in a nasty crotching mood today, was they not! I is sorry you was having such a whirlgig time.'

'No worse than you,' Sophie said. 'Would they ever really hurt you?'

'I isn't ever trusting them,' the BFG said.

'How do they actually catch the humans they eat?' Sophie asked.

'They is usually just sticking an arm in through the bedroom window and snitching them from their beds,' the BFG said.

'Like you did to me.'

'Ah, but I isn't eating you,' the BFG said.

'How else do they catch them?' Sophie asked.

'Sometimes,' the BFG said, 'they is swimmeling in from the sea like fishies with only their heads showing above the water, and then out comes a big hairy hand and grabbles someone off the beach.'

'Children as well?'

'Often chiddlers,' the BFG said. 'Little chiddlers who is building sandcastles on the beach. That is who the swimmeling ones are after. Little chiddlers is not so tough to eat as old grandmamma, so says the Childchewing Giant.'

As they talked, the BFG was galloping fast over the land. Sophie was standing right up in his waistcoat pocket now and holding on to the edge with both hands. Her head and shoulders were in the open and the wind was blowing in her hair.

'How else do they catch people?' she asked.

'All of them is having their own special ways of catching the human bean,' the BFG said. 'The Meatdripping Giant is preferring to pretend he is a big tree growing in the park. He is standing in the park in the dusky evening and he is holding great big branches over his head, and there he is waiting until some happy families is coming to have a picnic under the spreading tree. The Meatdripping Giant is watching them as they lay out their little picnic. But in the end it is the Meatdripper who is having the picnic.'

'It's too awful!' Sophie cried.

'The Gizzardgulping Giant is a city lover,' the BFG went on. 'The Gizzardgulper is lying high up between the roofs of houses in the big cities. He is lying there snuggy as a sniggler and watching the human beans walking on the street below, and when he sees one that looks like it has a whoppsy-good flavour, he grabs it. He is simply reaching down and snitching it off the street like a monkey taking a nut. He says it is nice to be able to pick and choose what you is having for your supper. He says it is like choosing from a menu.'

'Don't people see him doing it?' Sophie asked.

'Never is they seeing him. Do not forget it is dusky-dark at this time. Also, the Gizzardgulper has a very fast arm. His arm is going up and down quicker than squinkers.'

'But if all these people are disappearing every night, surely there's some sort of an outcry?' Sophie said.

'The world is a whopping big place,' the BFG said. 'It has a hundred different countries. The giants is clever. They is careful not to be skididdling off to the same country too often. They is always switchfiddling around.'

'Even so ...' Sophie said.

'Do not forget,' the BFG said, 'that human beans is disappearing everywhere all the time even without the giants is guzzling them up. Human beans is killing each other much quicker than the giants is doing it.'

'But they don't eat each other,' Sophie said.

'Giants isn't eating each other either,' the BFG said. 'Nor is giants killing each other. Giants is not very lovely, but they is not killing each other. Nor is crockadowndillies killing other crockadowndillies. Nor is pussy-cats killing pussy-cats.'

'They kill mice,' Sophie said.

'Ah, but they is not killing their own kind,' the BFG said. 'Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.'

'Don't poisonous snakes kill each other?' Sophie asked. She was searching desperately for another creature that behaved as badly as the human.

'Even poisnowse snakes is never killing each other,' the BFG said. 'Nor is the most fearsome creatures like tigers and rhinostossterisses. None of them is ever killing their own kind. Has you ever thought about that?'

Sophie kept silent.

'I is not understanding human beans at all,' the BFG said. 'You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?'

'Right,' Sophie said.

'But human beans is squishing each other all the time,' the BFG said. 'They is shootling guns and going up in aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other's heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.'

He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants. 'Even so,' she said, defending her own race, 'I think it's rotten that those foul giants should go off every night to eat humans. Humans have never done them any harm.'

'That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day,' the BFG answered. 'He is saying, "I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?"'

'Oh dear,' Sophie said.

'The human beans is making rules to suit themselves,' the BFG went on. 'But the rules they is making do not suit the little piggy-wiggies. Am I right or left?'

'Right,' Sophie said.

'Giants is also making rules. Their rules is not suiting the human beans. Everybody is making his own rules to suit himself.'

'But you don't like it that those beastly giants are eating humans every night, do you?' Sophie asked.

'I do not,' the BFG answered firmly. 'One right is not making two lefts. Is you quite cosy down there in my pocket?'

'I'm fine,' Sophie said.

Then suddenly, once again, the BFG went into that magical top gear of his. He began hurtling forward with phenomenal leaps. His speed was unbelievable. The landscape became blurred and again Sophie had to duck down out of the whistling gale to save her head from being blown off her shoulders. She crouched in the pocket and listened to the wind screaming past. It came knifing in through the tiny peep-hole in the pocket and whooshed around her like a hurricane.



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