The imp

Enid Blyton« Down in the pond », Ill. Eileen A. Soper, The Enid Blyton nature readersn°31, Londres, McMillan, 1955, p. 12-22.

« Don’t eat me, don’t eat me ! » begged the tiny grub, and tried to wriggle away.

« I won’t eat you, I promise, » said the imp. « What are you ? »

« I’m called Caddis-Grub, » said the little creature. «  And because I’ve got such a soft body everyone seems to want me for their dinner. It’s most annoying. »

« Well, why don’t you grow a nice hard coat like the crabs do in the sea- or grow a shell like the water-snail ? » asked the imp. «  That’s the thing to do if you have a soft body ! »

« I know. I’ve tried to do that but I can’t, » said the grub. «  Oh dear-here comes that beetle again I must hide ! »

The imp waited till the beetle had gone, then he called to the grub, who has slid down into a little hole.

« Caddis ! I’ve hot an idea. Come out of your hole ! »

The Caddis came out. If you can make some glue, you could get a lot of the  little bits and pieces that float about the water, and stick them all round you to make a coat of armour » » said the imp.

« Dear me-so I could ! » said the caddis. «  You find me some bits and I’ll see if I can make some glue ! »

The imp swam off and collected quite a lot of things- a tiny bit of wood, a few pieces of broken shell, a speck of straw, and many grains of sand. He sawm back to the grub with them.

« Look-if you stuck these together, they would make a fine coat for you » he said.

« Yes ! I’ve managed to make some glue, » said the caddis. «  Let’s use it to stick the bits together all round me ! »

The imp had a most interesting time making a tube-like coat for the grub ! He stuck all the bits and pieces together round the little creature –and there he was, dressed in a small suit of armour, feling quite safe at last !

« Thank you ! » said the grub, very pleased. He stuc khis funny little head out of the top of his new coat, and his legs too- and began to walk about the bottom of the pond.

« You do look funny ! » said the imp, laughing.

« I don’t mind, so long as I feelsafe ! » said the caddis. « Oh-here comes the little frog ! »

But he didn’t need to hide away this time ! The frog came down and had a lokk at him and swam away again. «  You wouldn’t be nice to eat ! » he said.

« You have been kind to me ! » said the cadis, gratefully, to the imp. «  You can come into our pond whenever you like ! And if anyone says you mayn’t- just come and tell me ! »

« right ! » saidthe imp, and off he went. He came often to bathe in the pond and always had a word  with his friend the caddis- and howpleased he was to see that, as the caddis grew, he was clever enough to add more bits and pieces to his tube-like coat, so that when an enemy came near, all he had to do was to squeeze right into it and hide in safety.