This excerpt (from chapters 31-34) is a bit long, so let’s jump right in. Follow me, Patee-tee-teeee!
Another rope ladder on the other side of the trunk led up to a trap door in the floor of the tree house through which Peet was already helping Leeli. The boys scrambled up and into Peet’s castle in the trees.
Peet was humming as he tore the diggle carcass into pieces and dropped them into a pot.
Leeli made herself at home and sat cross-legged on the floor against the wall.
“Come in, young men, come in. Diggle cooking, rumple eating, diggle diggle rump food,” he said in a singsong voice.
Tink and Janner climbed into the tree house and sat next to Leeli, who wore a very satisfied expression on her face. She looked up at Peet and gestured to her brothers. “Mister Peet, these are my broth—”
“Janner and Tink, Tanner and Jink, Jinker and Tan, Janker and Teeeeen,” Peet said without looking up from the pot.
“But— how did you know our names?” Janner asked.
“Small town, boys. Crazy people hear lots of things, Wigiby,” Peet said.
“It’s Igiby,” Tink said.
Peet shrugged and lit a small bundle of sticks and moss that sat in a crude fireplace beneath the pot. The fireplace was lined with stones, and above it he had fashioned a chimney of sorts from some kind of hide sewn together to make a tube.
Janner was impressed by Peet’s ingenuity—that is, until the tree house filled with smoke. Peet didn’t seem to notice.
Tink coughed. “Mister, uh, Peet the Sock Man, sir, aren’t you worried that your house will catch fire?”
Peet fished a leather pouch from a small box beside him and sprinkled some of its contents into the pot. A delicious smell rose from the pot and mingled with the smoke.
“Worried? Not at all, young Wingiby.” He pointed through the nearest window and the children could see three nearby trees whose branches were charred and leafless in places. “I’ve burned down my castle three times before, and I’ve always survived. I’m not borried a wit. Worried a bit.” He went back to stirring the pot. “But this time I think I figured out the problem, see, problem, see, problem, see,” he sang with a wink. “ Rocks. See these rocks? They don’t catch fire. Nope.” He coughed and for the first time noticed the smoke filling the room. “Eeep!” he cried. Peet tugged on a piece of twine that dangled from the chimney tube, and the smoke slowly cleared. “Open the flue, open the flue, open the flue for me and for you.”
Janner began to rethink his opinion of Peet. He was as crazy as a moonbird.
—From chapter 34, “Peet’s Castle.”
Are you reading along? I’d love to hear what lines grabbed you (possibly literally!) from your own reading. And if you’re at another spot in the books, that’s fine, too. 🙂
There are some great conversations happening in the forum this week! We’ve been talking about our favorite Oskar quotes, Leeli’s compassion, and what to do when we can’t feel the Maker’s presence. There’s also a brand-new thread about the feeling of homesickness. Come join us!