'If any one of them is waking up, he will gobble you down before you can say knack jife,' the BFG answered, grinning hugely. 'Me is the only one what won't be gobbled up because giants is never eating giants. Me and Sophie is the only safe ones because I is hiding her if that happens.'

The Head of the Army took several paces to the rear. So did the Head of the Air Force. They climbed rather quickly back into their jeep, ready to make a fast getaway if necessary. 'Go forward, men!' the Head of the Army said. 'Go forward and do your duty bravely!'

The soldiers crept forward with their ropes and chains. All of them were trembling mightily. None dared speak a word.

The BFG, with Sophie now sitting on the palm of his hand, stood near by watching the operation.

To give the soldiers their due, they were extremely courageous. There were six well-trained efficient men working on each giant and within ten minutes eight out of the nine giants had been trussed up like chickens and were still snoring contentedly. The ninth, who happened to be the Fleshlumpeater, was causing trouble for the soldiers because he was lying with his right arm tucked underneath his enormous body. It was impossible to tie his wrists and arms together without first getting that arm out from underneath him.

Very very cautiously, the six soldiers who were working on the Fleshlumpeater began to pull at the huge arm, trying to release it. The Fleshlumpeater opened his tiny piggy black eyes.

'Which of you foulpesters is wiggling my arm?' he bellowed. 'Is that you, you rotsome Manhugger?'

Suddenly he saw the soldiers. In a flash, he was sitting up. He looked around him. He saw more soldiers. With a roar, he leapt to his feet. The soldiers, petrified with fear, froze where they were. They had no weapons with them. The Head of the Army put his jeep into reverse.

'Human beans!' the Flushlumpeater yelled. 'What is all you flushbunking rotsome half-baked beans doing in our country?' He made a grab at a soldier and swept him up in his hand.

'I is having early suppers today!' he shouted, holding the poor squirming soldier at arm's length and roaring with laughter.

Sophie, standing on the palm of the BFG's hand, was watching horrorstruck. 'Do something!' she cried. 'Quick, before he eats him!'

Advertisement..

'Put that human bean down!' the BFG shouted.

The Fleshlumpeater turned and stared at the BFG. 'What is you doing here with all these grotty twiglets!' he bellowed. 'You is making me very suspichy!'

The BFG made a rush at the Fleshlumpeater, but the colossal fifty-four-foot-high giant simply knocked him over with a flick of his free arm. At the same time, Sophie fell off the BFG's palm on to the ground.

Her mind was racing. She must do something! She must! She must! She remembered the sapphire brooch the Queen had pinned on to her chest. Quickly, she undid it.

'I is guzzling you nice and slow!' the Fleshlumpeater was saying to the soldier in his hand. 'Then I is guzzling ten or twenty more of you midgy little maggots down there! You is not getting away from me because I is galloping fifty times faster than you!'

Sophie ran up behind the Fleshlumpeater. She was holding the brooch between her fingers. When she was right up close to the great naked hairy legs, she rammed the three-inch long pin of the brooch as hard as she could into the Fleshlumpeater's right ankle. It went deep into the flesh and stayed there.

The giant gave a roar of pain and jumped high in the air. He dropped the soldier and made a grab for his ankle.

The BFG, knowing what a coward the Fleshlumpeater was, saw his chance. 'You is bitten by a snake!' he shouted. 'I seed it biting you! It was a frightsome poisnowse viper! It was a dreadly dungerous vindscreen viper!'

'Save our souls!' bellowed the Fleshlumpeater. 'Sound the crumpets! I is bitten by a septicous venomsome vindscreen viper!' He flopped to the ground and sat there howling his head off and clutching his ankle with both hands. His fingers felt the brooch. 'The teeth of the dreadly viper is still sticking into me!' he yelled. 'I is feeling the teeth sticking into my anklet!'

The BFG saw his second chance. 'We must be getting those viper's teeth out at once!' he cried. 'Otherwise you is deader than duck-soup! I is helping you!'

The BFG knelt down beside the Fleshlumpeater. 'You must grab your anklet very tight with both hands!' he ordered. 'That will stop the poisnowse juices from the venomsome viper going up your leg and into your heart!'

The Fleshlumpeater grabbed his ankle with both hands.

'Now close your eyes and grittle your teeth and look up to heaven and say your prayers while I is taking out the teeth of the venomsome viper,' the BFG said.

The terrified Fleshlumpeater did exactly as he was told.

The BFG signalled for some rope. A soldier rushed it over to him. With both the Fleshlumpeater's hands gripping his ankle, it was a simple matter for the BFG to tie the ankles and hands together with a tight knot.

'I is pulling out the frightsome viper's teeth!' the BFG said as he pulled the knot tight.

'Do it quickly!' shouted the Fleshlumpeater, 'before I is pizzened to death!'

'There we is,' said the BFG, standing up. 'You can look now.'

When the Fleshlumpeater saw that he was trussed up like a turkey, he gave a yell so loud that the heavens trembled. He rolled and he wriggled, he fought and he figgled, he squirmed and he squiggled.

But there was not a thing he could do.

'Well done you!' Sophie cried.

'Well done you!' said the BFG, smiling down at the little girl. 'You is saving all of our lives!'

'Will you please get that brooch back for me,' Sophie said. 'It belongs to the Queen.'

The BFG pulled the beautiful brooch out of the Fleshlumpeater's ankle. The Fleshlumpeater howled. The BFG wiped the pin and handed it back to Sophie.

Curiously, not one of the other eight snoring giants had woken up during this shimozzle. 'When you is only sleeping one or two hours a day, you is sleeping extra doubly deep,' the BFG explained.

The Heads of the Army and the Air Force drove forward once again in their jeep. 'Her Majesty will be very pleased with me,' the Head of the Army said. 'I shall probably get a medal. What's the next move?'

'Now you is all driving over to my cave to load up my bottles of dreams,' the BFG said.

'We can't waste time with that rubbish,' the Army General said.

'It is the Queen's order,' Sophie said. She was now back on the BFG's hand.

So the nine jeeps drove across to the BFG's cave and the great dream-loading operation began. There were fifty-thousand jars in all to be loaded up, more than five thousand to each jeep, and it took over an hour to finish the job.

While the soldiers were loading the dreams, the BFG and Sophie disappeared over the mountains on a mysterious errand. When they came back, the BFG had a sack the size of a small house slung over his shoulder.