'You mean skin and bones,' Sophie said.

'I know it is bones,' the BFG said. 'But please understand that I cannot be helping it if I sometimes is saying things a little squiggly. I is trying my very best all the time.' The Big Friendly Giant looked suddenly so forlorn that Sophie got quite upset.

'I'm sorry,' she said. 'I didn't mean to be rude.'

'There never was any schools to teach me talking in Giant Country,' the BFG said sadly.

'But couldn't your mother have taught you?' Sophie asked.

'My mother!' cried the BFG. 'Giants don't have mothers! Surely you is knowing that.'

'I did not know that,' Sophie said.

'Whoever heard of a woman giant!' shouted the BFG, waving the snozzcumber around his head like a lasso. 'There never was a woman giant! And there never will be one. Giants is always men!'

Sophie felt herself getting a little muddled. 'In that case,' she said, 'how were you born?'

'Giants isn't born,' the BFG answered. 'Giants appears and that's all there is to it. They simply appears, the same way as the sun and the stars.'

'And when did you appear?' Sophie asked.

'Now how on earth could I be knowing a thing like that?' said the BFG. 'It was so long ago I couldn't count.'

'You mean you don't even know how old you are?'

'No giant is knowing that,' the BFG said. 'All I is knowing about myself is that I is very old, very very old and crumply. Perhaps as old as the earth.'

'What happens when a giant dies?' Sophie asked.

'Giants is never dying,' the BFG answered. 'Sometimes and quite suddenly, a giant is disappearing and nobody is ever knowing where he goes to. But mostly us giants is simply going on and on like whiffsy time-twiddlers.'

The BFG was still holding the awesome snozzcumber in his right hand, and now he put one end into his mouth and bit off a huge hunk of it. He started crunching it up and the noise he made was like the crunching of lumps of ice.

'It's filthing!' he spluttered, speaking with his mouth full and spraying large pieces of snozzcumber like bullets in Sophie's direction. Sophie hopped around on the table-top, ducking out of the way.

'It's disgusterous!' the BFG gurgled. 'It's sickable! It's rotsome! It's maggotwise! Try it yourself, this foulsome snozzcumber!'

'No, thank you,' Sophie said, backing away.

'It's all you're going to be guzzling around here from now on so you might as well get used to it,' said the BFG. 'Go on, you snipsy little winkle, have a go!'

Sophie took a small nibble. 'Uggggggggh!' she spluttered. 'Oh no! Oh gosh! Oh help!' She spat it out quickly. 'It tastes of frogskins!' she gasped. 'And rotten fish!'

'Worse than that!' cried the BFG, roaring with laughter. 'To me it is tasting of clockcoaches and slimewanglers!'

'Do we really have to eat it?' Sophie said.

'You do unless you is wanting to become so thin you will be disappearing into a thick ear.'

'Into thin air,' Sophie said. 'A thick ear is something quite different.'

Once again that sad winsome look came into the BFG's eyes. 'Words,' he said, 'is oh such a twitchtickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.'

'That happens to everyone,' Sophie said.

'Not like it happens to me,' the BFG said. 'I is speaking the most terrible wigglish.'

'I think you speak beautifully,' Sophie said.

'You do?' cried the BFG, suddenly brightening. 'You really do?'

'Simply beautifully,' Sophie repeated.

'Well, that is the nicest present anybody is ever giving me in my whole life!' cried the BFG. 'Are you sure you is not twiddling my leg?'

'Of course not,' Sophie said. 'I just love the way you talk.'

'How wondercrump!' cried the BFG, still beaming. 'How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! I is all of a stutter.'

'Listen,' Sophie said. 'We don't have to eat snozzcumbers. In the fields around our village there are all sorts of lovely vegetables like cauliflowers and carrots. Why don't you get some of those next time you go visiting?'

The BFG raised his great head proudly in the air. 'I is a very honourable giant,' he said. 'I would rather be chewing up rotsome snozzcumbers than snitching things from other people.'

'You stole me,' Sophie said.

'I did not steal you very much,' said the BFG, smiling gently. 'After all, you is only a tiny little girl.'

The Bloodbottler

Suddenly, a tremendous thumping noise came from outside the cave entrance and a voice like thunder shouted, 'Runt! Is you there, Runt? I is hearing you jabbeling!  Who is you jabbeling to, Runt?'

'Look out!' cried the BFG. 'It's the Bloodbottler!' But before he had finished speaking, the stone was rolled aside and a fifty-foot giant, more than twice as tall and wide as the BFG, came striding into the cave. He was naked except for a dirty little piece of cloth around his bottom.

Sophie was on the table-top. The enormous partly eaten snozzcumber was lying near her. She ducked behind it.

The creature came clumping into the cave and stood towering over the BFG. 'Who was you jabbeling to in here just now?' he boomed.

'I is jabbeling to myself,' the BFG answered.

'Pilfflefizz!' shouted the Bloodbottler. 'Bugswallop!' he boomed. 'You is talking to a human bean, that's what I is thinking!' 'No no!' cried the BFG.

'Yus yus!' boomed the Bloodbottler. 'I is guessing you has snitched away a human bean and brought it back to your bunghole as a pet! So now I is winkling it out and guzzling it as extra snacks before my supper!'

The poor BFG was very nervous. 'There's n-no one in here,' he stammered. 'W-why don't you l-leave me alone?'

The Bloodbottler pointed a finger as large as a tree-trunk at the BFG. 'Runty little scumscrewer!' he shouted. 'Piffling little swishfiggler! Squimpy little bottlewart! Prunty little pogswizzler! I is now going to search the primroses!' He grabbed the BFG by the arm. 'And you is going to help me do it. Us together is going to winkle out this tasteful little human bean!' he shouted.

The BFG had intended to whisk Sophie off the table as soon as he got the chance and hide her behind his back, but now there was no hope of doing this. Sophie peered around the chewed-off end of the enormous snozzcumber, watching the two giants as they moved away down the cave. The Bloodbottler was a gruesome sight. His skin was reddish-brown. There was black hair sprouting on his chest and arms and on his stomach. The hair on his head was long and dark and tangled. His foul face was round and squashy-looking. The eyes were tiny black holes. The nose was small and flat. But the mouth was huge. It spread right across the face almost ear to ear, and it had lips that were like two gigantic purple frankfurters lying one on top of the other. Craggy yellow teeth stuck out between the two purple frankfurter lips, and rivers of spit ran down over the chin.



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