'They don't seem to have stunted his growth,' the Queen said.

The BFG grabbed the garden spade and scooped up all the eggs, sausages, bacon and potatoes in one go and shovelled them into his enormous mouth.

'By goggles!' he cried. 'This stuff is making snozzcumbers taste like swatchwallop!'

The Queen glanced up, frowning. Mr Tibbs looked down at his toes and his lips moved in silent prayer.

'That was only one titchy little bite,' the BFG said. 'Is you having any more of this delunctious grubble in your cupboard, Majester?'

'Tibbs,' the Queen said, showing true regal hospitality, 'fetch the gentleman another dozen fried eggs and a dozen sausages.'

Mr Tibbs swam out of the room muttering unspeakable words to himself and wiping his brow with a white handkerchief.

The BFG lifted the huge jug and took a swallow. 'Owch!' he cried, blowing a mouthful across the ballroom. 'Please, what is this horrible swigpill I is drinking, Majester?'

'It's coffee,' the Queen told him. 'Freshly roasted.'

'It's filthsome!' the BFG cried out. 'Where is the frobscottle?'

'The what?' the Queen asked.

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'Delumptious fizzy frobscottle,' the BFG answered. 'Everyone must be drinking frobscottle with breakfast, Majester. Then we can all be whizzpopping happily together afterwards.'

'What does he mean?' the Queen said, frowning at Sophie. 'What is whizzpopping?'

Sophie kept a very straight face. 'BFG,' she said, 'there is no frobscottle here and whizzpopping is strictly forbidden!'

'What!' cried the BFG. 'No frobscottle? No whizzpopping? No glumptious music? No boom-boom-boom?'

'Absolutely not,' Sophie told him firmly.

'If he wants to sing, please don't stop him,' the Queen said.

'He doesn't want to sing,' Sophie said.

'He said he wants to make music,' the Queen went on. 'Shall I send for a violin?'

'No, Your Majesty,' Sophie said. 'He's only joking.'

A sly little smile crossed the BFG's face. 'Listen,' he said, peering down at Sophie, 'if they isn't having any frobscottle here in the Palace, I can still go whizzpopping perfectly well without it if I is trying hard enough.'

'No!' cried Sophie. 'Don't! You're not to! I beg you!'

'Music is very good for the digestion,' the Queen said. 'When I'm up in Scotland, they play the bagpipes outside the window while I'm eating. Do play something.'

'I has Her Majester's permission!' cried the BFG, and all at once he let fly with a whizzpopper that sounded as though a bomb had exploded in the room.

The Queen jumped.

'Whoopee!' shouted the BFG. 'That is better than bagglepipes, is it not, Majester?'

It took the Queen a few seconds to get over the shock. 'I prefer the bagpipes,' she said. But she couldn't stop herself smiling.

During the next twenty minutes, a whole relay of footmen were kept busy hurrying to and from the kitchen carrying third helpings and fourth helpings and fifth helpings of fried eggs and sausages for the ravenous and delighted BFG. When the BFG had consumed his seventy-second fried egg, Mr Tibbs sidled up to the Queen. He bent low from the waist and whispered in her ear, 'Chef sends his apologies, Your Majesty, and he says he has no more eggs in the kitchen.'

'What's wrong with the hens?' the Queen said.

'Nothing's wrong with the hens, Your Majesty,' Mr Tibbs whispered.

'Then tell them to lay more,' the Queen said. She looked up at the BFG. 'Have some toast and marmalade while you're waiting,' she said to him.

'The toast is finished,' Mr Tibbs whispered, 'and chef says there is no more bread.'

'Tell him to bake more,' the Queen said.

While all this was going on, Sophie had been telling the Queen everything, absolutely everything about her visit to Giant Country. The Queen listened, appalled. When Sophie had finished, the Queen looked up at the BFG who was sitting high above her. He was now eating a sponge-cake.

'Big Friendly Giant,' she said, 'last night those man-eating brutes came to England. Can you remember where they went the night before?'

The BFG put a whole round sponge-cake into his mouth and chewed it slowly while he thought about this question. 'Yes, Majester,' he said. 'I do think I is remembering where they said they was going the night before last. They was galloping off to Sweden for the Sweden sour taste.'

'Fetch me a telephone,' the Queen commanded.

Mr Tibbs placed the instrument on the table. The Queen lifted the receiver. 'Get me the King of Sweden,' she said.

'Good morning,' the Queen said. 'Is everything all right in Sweden?'

'Everything is terrible!' the King of Sweden answered. 'There is panic in the capital! Two nights ago, twenty-six of my loyal subjects disappeared! My whole country is in a panic!'

'Your twenty-six loyal subjects were all eaten by giants,' the Queen said. 'Apparently they like the taste of Swedes.'

'Why do they like the taste of Swedes?' the King asked.

'Because the Swedes of Sweden have a sweet and sour taste. So says the BFG,' the Queen said.

'I don't know what you're talking about,' the King said, growing testy. 'It's hardly a joking matter when one's loyal subjects are being eaten like popcorn.'

'They've eaten mine as well,' the Queen said.

'Who's they, for heaven's sake?' the King asked.

'Giants,' the Queen said.

'Look here,' the King said, 'are you feeling all right?'

'It's been a rough morning,' the Queen said. 'First I had a horrid nightmare, then the maid dropped my breakfast and now I've got a giant on the piano.'

'You need a doctor quick!' cried the King.

'I'll be all right,' the Queen said. 'I must go now. Thanks for your help.' She replaced the receiver.

'Your BFG is right,' the Queen said to Sophie. 'Those nine man-eating brutes did go to Sweden.'

'It's horrible,' Sophie said. 'Please stop them, Your Majesty.'

'I'd like to make one more check before I call out the troops,' the Queen said. Once more, she looked up at the BFG. He was eating doughnuts now, popping them into his mouth ten at a time, like peas. 'Think hard, BFG,' she said. 'Where did those horrid giants say they were galloping off to three nights ago?'

The BFG thought long and hard.

'Ho-ho!' he cried at last. 'Yes, I is remembering!'

'Where?' asked the Queen.

'One was off to Baghdad,' the BFG said. 'As they is galloping past my cave, Fleshlumpeater is waving his arms and shouting at me, "I is off to Baghdad and I is going to Baghdad and mum and every one of their ten children as well!"'

Once more, the Queen lifted the receiver. 'Get me the Lord Mayor of Baghdad,' she said. 'If they don't have a Lord Mayor, get me the next best thing.'

In five seconds, a voice was on the line. 'Here is the Sultan of Baghdad speaking,' the voice said. 'Listen, Sultan,' the Queen said. 'Did anything unpleasant happen in your city three nights ago?'