So the cooking fire was lit
Near to but not under the coolabah tree
The cooking pot full of water from the witchity spring
Was put on it.
And all the children watched as the water came to the right temperature.
Some of the grandchildren wanted
To use the littlest great grandchildren
As thermometers to see if the water had reached the right temperature,
And had to be stopped by the No I Humbug Lady.
But she did dip the big toe on the very littlest grandchild in the pot,
And when it smiled and gurgled, they all knew
The water was ready.
The No 1 Humbug Man tipped in the whole bottle of Ecover,
And stirred the water with the big wooden spoon making it foam and bubble.
“Now,” he told the children,
“We must make the magic music.”
So the children fetched their didgeridoos, the grandchildren brought their drums, And the greatgrandchildren played their twangies.
“No drums!” the No 1 Humbug Man said
“Aw!” The grandchildren said, and sounded so disappointed, he relented.
“Well, just one, and you can take turns.
This music has to be healing music. Lente. Pianissimo.”
So all the children sat in a big circle round the cooking pot
And played their musical instruments very quietly.
The No I Humbug Lady sat apart, with her eyes closed,
Playing a completely different tune on her harp.
All the time they played, the No 1 Humbug Man
Was dunking the two maggots into the foaming brew.
He would take them out quickly,
Give them a good shake,
Watch their bright little eyes blink,
And say “Not quite ready yet.”
Before dunking them again.
That went on all day until
The two maggots, their bright little eyes still blinking
Looked round, and not flat.
“Enough!” the No I Humbug Man said.
The music stopped,
Except for the No 1 Humbug Lady,
Who had her eyes closed and wasn’t listening.
No 1 Humbug Man picked up One,
Placed the nozzle of the bicycle pump in his mouth,
And inflated him into a big fluffy ball.
Then he pegged him on the clothes line
Which stretched between two coolabah trees.
He did exactly the same to Another
So there were two very fluffy maggots
Dangling on the clothes line,
Both as big as footballs.
“You will never get them in an envelope,”
Said No 1 Humbug Lady,
Because she was cross about all the litter
And wanted to find fault.
“I know that,” said No 1 Humbug Man
Who was also cross because he hadn’t slept.
“Then how will they get back to Mrs Grumpy?”
“I’m thinking,” snapped No 1 Humbug Man.
“Oh dear!” his partner replied, pretending to be sympathetic,
“Thinking will be very hard.
You have run out of Frothies.”
“Go away,” he said.
So the No 1 Humbug Man stayed awake all night, thinking.
While the maggots swung on the clothes line
Their little bright eyes blinking.
And once or twice he kicked an empty Frothy can
Just to make an awful clatter,
But the No 1 Humbug Lady was not disturbed
Because she was fast asleep.