The Magic Pudding
Written and Illustrated by Norman Lindsay (1879 - 1969)
. . . the story continues . . .
Bill and Same, who were like bloodhounds straining at the leash, sprang out and confronted the scoundrels, while Bunyip and Ben got behind in order to cut off their retreat.
'We've got you at last,' said Bill, sparring up at the Possum with the fiercest activity. 'Out with our Puddin', or prepare for a punch on the snout.'
The Possum turned pale and the Wombat hastily got behind him.
'Puddin',' said the Possum, acting amazement. 'What strange request is this?'
'What means this strange request?' asked the Wombat.
'No bungfoodlin',' said Bill sternly. 'Produce the Puddin' or prepare for death.'
'Before bringing accusations,' said the Possum, 'prove where the Puddin' is.'
'It's under that feller's hat,' roared Bill, pointing at the Wombat.
'Prove it,' said the Wombat.
'You can't wear hats that high, without there's puddin's under them,' said Bill.
'That's not puddin's,' said the Possum; 'that's ventilation. He wears his hat like that to keep his brain cool.'
'Very well,' said Bill. 'I call on Ben Brandysnap, as an independent witness whose bag has been stolen, to prove what's under that hat.'
Ben put on his spectacles in order to study the Wombat carefully, and gravely pronounced this judgement —
'When you see a hat
'Or else you say,
'But whether or not
'Now are you satisfied?' asked Bill, and they all shouted—
'Obey the mandate of our chosen lawyer,
'No, no,' said the Possum, shaking his head. 'No removing people's hats. Removing hats is larceny, and you'll get six months for it.'
'No bashing heads, either,' said the Wombat. 'That's manslaughter, and we'll have you hung for it.'
Bill scratched his head. 'This is an unforeseen predicament,' he said. 'Just mind them puddin'-thieves a minute, Ben, while we has a word in private.' He took Sam and Bunyip aside, and almost gave way to despair. 'What a frightful situation,' wailed he. 'We can't unlawfully take a puddin'-thief's hat off, and while it remains on who's to prove our Puddin's under it? This is one of the worst things that's happened to Sam and me for years.'
'It's worse than being chased by wart-hogs,' said Sam.
'It's worse than rolling off a cowshed,' said Bill.
'It's worse than wearing soup tureens for hats,' said Sam.
'It's almost as bad as swallowing thistle buttons,' said Bill, and both sang loudly —
'It's worse than running in a fright,
'It's worse than barrel organs when
'It's worse than when at midnight you
'All is not yet lost,' said Bunyip Bluegum. 'Without reverting to violent measures, I will engage to have the hat removed.'
'You will?' exclaimed Bill, grasping Bunyip by the hand.
'I will,' said Bunyip firmly. 'All I ask is that you strike a dignified attitude in the presence of these scoundrels, and, at a given word, follow my example.'