'I'm ready!' Sophie cried. Her heart was beginning to thump at the thought of what they were about to do. It really was a wild and crazy thing. Perhaps they would both be thrown into prison.

The BFG was putting on his great black cloak.

He tucked the jar into a pocket in his cloak. He picked up his long trumpet-like dream-blower. Then he turned and looked at Sophie who was still on the table-top. 'The dream-bottle is in my pocket,' he said. 'Is you going to sit in there with it during the travel?'

'Never!' cried Sophie. 'I refuse to sit next to that beastly thing!'

'Then where is you going to sit?' the BFG asked her.

Sophie looked him over for a few moments. Then she said, 'If you would be kind enough to swivel one of your lovely big ears so that it is lying flat like a dish, that would make a very cosy place for me to sit.'

'By gumbo, that is a squackling good idea!' the BFG said.

Slowly, he swivelled his huge right ear until it was like a great shell facing the heavens. He lifted Sophie up and placed her into it. The ear itself, which was about the size of a large tea-tray, was full of the same channels and crinkles as a human ear. It was extremely comfortable.

'I hope I don't fall down your earhole,' Sophie said, edging away from the large hole just beside her.

'Be very careful not to do that,' the BFG said. 'You would be giving me a cronking earache.'

The nice thing about being there was that she could whisper directly into his ear.

'You is tickling me a bit,' the BFG said. 'Please do not jiggle about.'

'I'll try not to,' Sophie said. 'Are we ready?'

'Oweeee!' yelled the BFG. 'Don't do that!'

'I didn't do anything,' Sophie said.

'You is talking too loud! You is forgetting that I is hearing every little thingalingaling fifty times louder than usual and there you is shouting away right inside my ear!'

'Oh gosh,' Sophie murmured. 'I forgot that.'

'Your voice is sounding like tunder and thrumpets!'

'I'm so sorry,' Sophie whispered. 'Is that better?'

'No!' cried the BFG. 'It sounds as though you is shootling off a bunderbluss!'

'Then how can I talk to you?' Sophie whispered.

'Don't!' cried the poor BFG. 'Please don't! Each word is like you is dropping buzzbombs in my earhole!'

Sophie tried speaking right under her breath. 'Is this better?' she said. She spoke so softly she couldn't even hear her own voice.

'That's better,' the BFG said. 'Now I is hearing you very nicely. What is it you is trying to say to me just now?'

'I was saying are we ready?'

'We is off!' cried the BFG, heading for the cave entrance. 'We is off to meet Her Majester the Queen!'

Outside the cave, he rolled the large round stone back into place and set off at a tremendous gallop.

Journey to London

The great yellow wasteland lay dim and milky in the moonlight as the Big Friendly Giant went galloping across it.

Sophie, still wearing only her nightie, was reclining comfortably in a crevice of the BFG's right ear. She was actually in the outer rim of the ear, near the top, where the edge of the ear folds over, and this folding-over bit made a sort of roof for her and gave her wonderful protection against the rushing wind.

What is more, she was lying on skin that was soft and warm and almost velvety. Nobody, she told herself, had ever travelled in greater comfort.

Sophie peeped over the rim of the ear and watched the desolate landscape of Giant Country go whizzing by. They were certainly moving fast. The BFG went bouncing off the ground as though there were rockets in his toes and each stride he took lifted him about a hundred feet into the air. But he had not

yet gone into that whizzing top gear of his, when the ground became blurred by speed and the wind howled and his feet didn't seem to be touching anything but air. That would come later.

Sophie had not slept for a long time. She was very tired. She was also warm and comfortable. She dozed off. She didn't know how long she slept, but when she woke up again and looked out over the edge of the ear, the landscape had changed completely. They were in a green country now, with mountains and forests. It was still dark but the moon was shining as brightly as ever.

Suddenly and without slowing his pace, the BFG turned his head sharply to the left. For the first time during the entire journey he spoke a few words.

'Look quick-quick over there,' he said, pointing his long trumpet.

Sophie looked in the direction he was pointing. Through the murky darkness all she saw at first was a great cloud of dust about three hundred yards away.

'Those is the other giants all galloping back home after their guzzle,' the BFG said.

Then Sophie saw them. In the light of the moon, she saw all nine of those monstrous half-naked brutes thundering across the landscape together. They were galloping in a pack, their necks craned forward, their arms bent at the elbows, and worst of all, their stomachs bulging. The strides they took were

incredible. Their speed was unbelievable. Their feet pounded and thundered on the ground and left a great sheet of dust behind them. But in ten seconds they were gone.

'A lot of little girlsies and boysies is no longer sleeping in their beds tonight,' the BFG said.

Sophie felt quite ill.

But this grim encounter made her more than ever determined to go through with her mission.

It must have been about an hour or so later that the BFG began to slow his pace. 'We is in England now,' he said suddenly.

Dark though it was, Sophie could see that they were in a country of green fields with neat hedges in between the fields. There were hills with trees all over them and occasionally there were roads with the lights of cars moving along. Each time they came to a road, the BFG was over it and away, and no motorist could possibly have seen anything except a quick black shadow flashing overhead.

All at once, a curious orange-coloured glow appeared in the night sky ahead of them.

'We is coming close to London,' the BFG said.

He slowed to a trot. He began looking about cautiously.

Groups of houses were now appearing on all sides. But there were still no lights in their windows. It was too early for anyone to be getting up yet.

'Someone's bound to see us,' Sophie said.

'Never is they seeing me,' the BFG said confidently. 'You is forgetting that I is doing this sort of thing for years and years and years. No human bean is ever catching even the smallest wink of me.'

'I did,' Sophie whispered.

'Ah,' he said. 'Yes. But you was the very first.'

During the next half-hour, things moved so swiftly and so silently that Sophie, crouching in the giant's ear, was unable to understand exactly what was going on. They were in streets. There were houses everywhere. Sometimes there were shops. There were bright lamps in the streets. There were quite a few people about and there were cars with lights on. But nobody ever noticed the BFG. It was impossible to understand quite how he did it. There was a kind of magic in his movements. He seemed to melt into the shadows. He would glide — that was the only word to describe his way of moving — he