James And The Giant Peach

written by Sona

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

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Chapter Three

Chapter 3
It was at this point that the first thing of all, the rather peculiar thing that led to so many other much more peculiar things, happened to him.
For suddenly, just behind him, James heard a rustling of leaves, and he turned round and saw an old man in a funny dark-green suit emerging from the bushes. He was a very small old man, but he had a huge bald head and a face that was covered all over with bristly black whiskers. He stopped when he was about three yards away, and he stood there leaning on his stick and staring hard at James.
When he spoke, his voice was very slow and creaky. ‘Come closer to me, little boy,’ he said, beckoning to James with a finger. ‘Come right up close to me and I will show you something wonderful.’
James was too frightened to move.
The old man hobbled a step or two nearer, and then he put a hand into the pocket of his jacket and took out a small white paper bag.
‘You see this?’ he whispered, waving the bag gently to and fro in front of James’s face. ‘You know what this is, my dear? You know what’s inside this little bag?’
Then he came nearer still, leaning forward and pushing his face so close to James that James could feel breath blowing on his cheeks. The breath smelled musty and stale and slightly mildewed, like air in an old cellar.

‘Take a look, my dear,’ he said, opening the bag and tilting it towards James. Inside it, James could see a mass of tiny green things that looked like little stones or crystals, each one about the size of a grain of rice. They were extraordinarily beautiful, and there was a strange brightness about them, a sort of luminous quality that made them glow and sparkle in the most wonderful way.
‘Listen to them!’ the old man whispered. ‘Listen to them move!’
James stared into the bag, and sure enough there was a faint rustling sound coming up from inside it, and then he noticed that all the thousands of little green things were slowly, very very slowly stirring about and moving over each other as though they were alive.
‘There’s more power and magic in those things in there than in all the rest of the world put together,’ the old man said softly.
‘But – but – what are they?’ James murmured, finding his voice at last. ‘Where do they come from?’
‘Ah-ha,’ the old man whispered. ‘You’d never guess that!’ He was crouching a little now and pushing his face still closer and closer to James until the tip of his long nose was actually touching the skin on James’s forehead. Then suddenly he jumped back and began waving his stick madly in the air. ‘Crocodile tongues!’ he cried. ‘One thousand long slimy crocodile tongues boiled up in the skull of a dead witch for twenty days and nights with the eyeballs of a lizard! Add the fingers of a young monkey, the gizzard of a pig, the beak of a green parrot, the juice of a porcupine, and three spoonfuls of sugar. Stew for another week, and then let the moon do the rest!’
All at once, he pushed the white paper bag into James’s hands, and said, ‘Here! You take it! It’s yours!’
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