James And The Giant Peach

written by Sona

James' parents died and he was adopted by his gruesome aunts. How does he escape?

Last Updated






Chapter Twenty Nine

Chapter 29
It seemed like a long time before the seagulls were able to pull the peach away from that horrible rainbow-cloud. But they managed it at last, and then everybody gathered around the wretched Centipede and began arguing about the best way to get the paint off his body.
He really did look a sight. He was purple all over, and now that the paint was beginning to dry and harden, he was forced to sit very stiff and upright, as though he were encased in cement. And all forty-two of his legs were sticking out straight in front of him, like rods. He tried to say something, but his lips wouldn’t move. All he could do now was to make gurgling noises in his throat.
The Old-Green-Grasshopper reached out and touched him carefully on the stomach. ‘But how could it possibly have dried so quickly?’ he asked.
‘It’s rainbow-paint,’ James answered. ‘Rainbow-paint dries very quick and very hard.’

‘I detest paint,’ Miss Spider announced. ‘It frightens me. It reminds me of Aunt Spiker – the late Aunt Spiker, I mean – because the last time she painted her kitchen ceiling my poor darling grandmother stepped into it by mistake when it was still wet, and there she stuck. And all through the night we could hear her calling to us, saying “Help! help! help!” and it was heartbreaking to listen to her. But what could we do? Not a thing until the next day when the paint had dried, and then of course we all rushed over to her and calmed her down and gave her some food. Believe it or not, she lived for six months like that, upside down on the ceiling with her legs stuck permanently in the paint. She really did. We fed her every day. We brought her fresh flies straight from the web. But then on the twenty-sixth of April last, Aunt Sponge – the late Aunt Sponge, I mean – happened to glance up at the ceiling, and she spotted her. “A spider!” she cried. “A disgusting spider! Quick! Fetch me the mop with the long handle!” And then – Oh, it was so awful I can’t bear to think of it…’ Miss Spider wiped away a tear and looked sadly at the Centipede. ‘You poor thing,’ she murmured. ‘I do feel sorry for you.’
‘It’ll never come off,’ the Earthworm said brightly. ‘Our Centipede will never move again. He will turn into a statue and we shall be able to put him in the middle of the lawn with a bird-bath on the top of his head.’
‘We could try peeling him like a banana,’ the Old-Green-Grasshopper suggested.
‘Or rubbing him with sandpaper,’ the Ladybird said.
‘Now if he stuck out his tongue,’ the Earthworm said, smiling a little for perhaps the first time in his life, ‘if he stuck it out really far, then we could all catch hold of it and start pulling. And if we pulled hard enough, we could turn him inside out and he would have a new skin!’
There was a pause while the others considered this interesting proposal.
‘I think,’ James said slowly, ‘I think that the best thing to do…’ Then he stopped. ‘What was that?’ he asked quickly. ‘I heard a voice! I heard someone shouting!’
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