17 votes, rating 6
The rain was hammering on the door to the Great Gobbo’s cave and the embers of the first fire of autumn were glowing in the heath. Inside his study the Great Gobbo was sitting in his comfy chair thinking whilst smoking his pipe. Training had been cancelled as the squirrel had buried the training ball, an autumnal tradition as much as waiting for all the big juicy spiders to move back into his cave and roasting hedgehogs.
Recent news had been troubling, as Lord Borak had been reported as being very sick and his herald Christer had put out a call for all coaches to dig deep into their pockets to buy him some medicine.
‘Stoopid medicin’ thought the Great Gobbo, ‘where woz me poshun in January? Cheetin gitz! Karnt be ard ter mek a majik poshun. Wait, dats it! Rather den give Christer sum money I will mek a majik poshun an sell it ter der ovva coaches if dey pay im fer me! Geenyuz!!’
'Ere we go, den!' cried the Great Gobbo, jumping up from the chair. 'A majik medcin it shall be!' He put on his traffic cone of wizardlyness (patent pending) and began singing.
'So gizza a bug an a jumpin flee,
Gizza a snail an lizardz free,
An a slimy squiggler frum der see,
An der nasty sting of a bumbler bee,
An der jewce frum der frewt of der ju-jube tree,
An der powdered bone of a wombatz nee.
An lotsa ovva fings az well
Each wiv a nasty smell.’
The Great Gobbo dragged a cauldron into the middle of the kitchen floor. He had absolutely no doubts whatsoever about how he was going to make his famous medicine. He wasn't going to fool about wondering whether to put in a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Quite simply, he was going to put in EVERYTHING he could find. There would be no messing about, no hesitating, no wondering whether a particular thing would make someone’s brains dribble out of their noses or not. The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, in it went. Nobody had ever made a medicine like that before. If it didn't actually cure injuries, then it would anyway cause some exciting results. The Great Gobbo decided to work his way round the various rooms one at a time and see what they had to offer.
He would go first to the bathroom. There are always lots of funny things in a bathroom. So along the cave he went, dragging his cauldron behind him. The first thing into the pot was a bottle labelled L’ORRIBEL shampoo which was Nigel’s, because she was worth it. 'Dat orwt ter wash der injuries away,' he said. He took a full tube of CLAWGATE BRUTAL toothpaste and squeezed out the whole lot of it in one long worm. 'In kase der injury woz a punch in der gob,' he said. He found a pot of AXE body powder, AS USED BY THORIN OAKENSHIELD it said. 'If itz gud enuf fer dat stunty git den itz gud enuf fer me,' Great Gobbo said as he tipped the entire pot into the cauldron. That, he thought, looking around him, was about all from the bathroom.
In his bedroom, the Great Gobbo found a bottle of aftershave called VERT by CHANELF. It smelled of old cheese. In it went. The bedroom had nothing more to offer, so the Great Gobbo carried the enormous cauldron into the laundry-room where the shelves were full of all kinds of household items. The first one he took down was a large box of PERIL washing powder. DIRT, it said, WILL DISAPPEAR LIKE MAGIC. He tipped in the whole boxful. Then there was a big drum of SLOP’N’GO. IT REMOVES FILTH AND FOUL MESSES FROM YOUR FLOOR AND LEAVES EVERYTHING SHINY BRIGHT, it said. That went in as well.
Back in the kitchen, the Great Gobbo put the huge saucepan on the table and went over to the cupboard that served as a larder. The shelves were bulging with bottles and jars of every sort. He chose the following and emptied them one by one into the saucepan:
A TIN OF WILDWOODS ELVEN CURRY POWDER
A TIN OF COALMANS DWARVEN MUSTARD POWDER
A BOTTLE OF HORNZ 'EXTRA HOT' CHILLI SAUCE
'dere!' he said aloud. 'Dat shud do it!
At this point, the Great Gobbo suddenly had an extra good idea, what about the barn where the cart was kept? So he went in to see if he could find any other interesting things. He added a bottle of CASTROLL high performance oil, then went back to the kitchen.
In the kitchen, the Great Gobbo put the saucepan on the stove and turned up the gas flame underneath it as high as it would go. He found a long wooden spoon in a kitchen drawer and began stirring hard. The stuff in the pot got hotter and hotter. Soon the marvellous mixture began to froth and foam. A rich blue smoke, the colour of peacocks, rose from the surface of the liquid, and a fiery fearsome smell filled the kitchen. It made the Great Gobbo choke and splutter. It was a smell unlike any he had smelled before. It was a brutal and bewitching smell, spicy and staggering, fierce and frenzied, full of wizardry and magic. Whenever he got a whiff of it up his nose, firecrackers went off in his skull and electric prickles ran along the backs of his legs. It was wonderful to stand there stirring this amazing mixture and to watch it smoking blue and bubbling and frothing and foaming as though it were alive. At one point, he could have sworn he saw bright sparks flashing in the swirling foam. And suddenly, the Great Gobbo found himself dancing around the steaming pot, chanting strange words that came into his head out of nowhere:
'Fiery broff an witch's brew
Foamy froff an riches blew
Fume an spume an spoondrift spray
Fizzle swizzle showt ooray
Wotch it sloshin, swashin, sploshin
Ear it issin, squishin, spissin
Betta start ter pray.'
The Great Gobbo turned off the heat under the saucepan. When all the steam and froth had gone away, he peered into the giant pan to see what colour the great medicine now was. It was a deep and brilliant blue. He then filled a bottle with his own magic mixture by dipping a small jug into the saucepan and using it as a pourer. All was now ready! This was it! The great moment had arrived!