Frederick Parker-Rhodes 1914 - 1987 My father told us these stories while he washed up, and my brothers and I dried and put away. I think some were actually at bathtime. When I, the youngest, asked for a story just for me, Daddy would ask, What about? I asked for one about a Princess, and fairy godmothers stories. They are listed in the Archive, below. If you have anything he has written, or about him to share, it's most welcome.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Once upon a time there were three brothers, called Noddy, Floppy, and Melt. Noddy had a big head which he couldn’t hold very still, but otherwise he was all right. He had a car called Brumph, which he kept in a little garage and wouldn’t let anybody else drive.

Floppy often wanted to drive Noddy’s car. Noddy and Melt always told him he couldn’t possibly drive cars, because he was too floppy. He couldn’t really stand up by himself, but he was quite all right if propped, and of course, he said, he would be propped very nicely once he was actually in the car. But Noddy said “No” and that was that.

At least, he thought it was that. But what it was was this, which you shall hear. Floppy went that evening to Melt’s room and said “Help me to make a plot.” Melt lived in a bucket, but he was very good at plots. He said “Why don’t you go at dead of night when Noddy’s asleep, and creep into the garage and drive Brumph away?” Floppy knew he was rather liable to fall over, especially at night, and might make a noise and wake Noddy. But he had no doubt at all that once he was in the car he would be able to drive it easily. So he said he would, but he wouldn’t wait until the actual dead of night, but start as soon as it was dark and go very slowly, so as not to fall and make a noise.

Well, things went all right. Floppy did fall over twice, but he was too soft to make much noise if he didn’t knock over anything, and luckily he didn’t. So he got to the garage, and crept in, and managed to prop himself up in the seat in Brumph. Then he started to press the knobs. He found one marked start, but it didn’t seem to work. Only after a rather long time did he discover another knob called Ign which made a little red light come on, and then Start worked. There was a great Brumph, and the garage fell down all over him, and there he was, driving along the road in the pitch dark. That was because Noddy always left Brumph in gear, in case of accidents. This wasn’t one of the accidents he had in mind.

When Noddy heard the noise he woke up and said to himself “Ha, someone has stolen Brumph.” Then he went along to Floppy’s bedroom and said “Hi, Floppy.” No answer. “Ha!” said Noddy to himself and went along to Melt’s room and said “Hi, Melt.” “Glub” replied Melt. “Where had Floppy gone to?” asked Noddy. Melt said he had gone away in Brumph. “Oh dear,” said Noddy, “I shall never find him now, it’s much too dark for looking for people and Brumph goes very fast.” But Melt said “Maybe fast, but not very far, not when Floppy is what-he-calls driving.” So Noddy said “Do you know which way he went?” And Melt said he did, and if Noddy would carry him in his bucket he was sure he’d soon be found.

So Noddy did that, and he and Melt went off down the road, and they hadn’t got further than the first turning, when they saw, by the light of the torch they carried, a sorry sight. What had happened was that Floppy did not know about steering. He knew about lights, because he had found the light switches when he was looking for the starter. But steering he thought was obvious, and it turned out that it was only obvious when you didn’t actually do it in the dark in a hurry when you weren’t expecting it. So he had run into a tree and poor Brumph was a good deal bent. So was Floppy, but he was built to bend.

“You wicked brother,” said Noddy, “Stealing my car.” “I didn’t mean to.” said Floppy. “Serves you right and I wish you were hurt more.” Said Noddy, who wouldn’t have said that if he hadn’t been cross about Brumph being bent. “Never mind,” said Melt, “I’ll put that right for you.” Now Melt wasn’t much good at a lot of things but he could flow, and permeate, and expand, better than anyone. So Noddy poured him out of bucket into Brumph, and he flowed under the floorboards and into all the bent parts, and expanded till they were all straightened out beautifully. Then Noddy put the bucket underneath and he flowed into that. “Now,” said Melt, “seeing that I've saved your car for you, won’t you let me drive home?” “Don’t be silly,” said Noddy, “you couldn’t possibly.” “No worse than that Floppy, anyway.” said Melt.

After a bit of argument Melt persuaded Noddy to put his bucket in the driving seat, and with Noddy to hold the steering wheel and work the pedals he could drive quite well. When they got back, there was Brumph’s garage, all of a heap. Actually, it had been made of matchboxes, and most of them were still all right, but several were squashed beyond repair. So they made Floppy get new ones (and he wasn’t allowed to use any of them till all the matches had been used up.) Then he had to build up the garage again. It took him weeks and weeks, and he would have burned his fingers all off, only he hadn’t any fingers.

After that, Floppy never tried to drive Brumph again. But sometimes Noddy would take him out for a drive with Melt. Eventually Floppy bought himself glider which was much better than a car. But it was Melt that kept the family, by driving waterwheels for millers during the dry season.

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