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Dinky Poore didn't really mean to start the story about the huge sea monster in Strawberry Lake. He was only telling a fib because he had to have an excuse for getting home late for supper. So he told his folks he'd been running around the lake trying to get a closer look at a huge, snakelike thing he'd seen in the water, and the first thing he knew he was too far from home to get back in time.
His mother and father greeted the tale with some skepticism. But Dinky's two sisters were more impressionable, and that's how the story really got out. They kept pestering him for so many details about the monster that he had to invent a fantastic tale to satisfy them. That's one of the troubles with a lie. You've got to keep adding to it to make it believable to people.
It didn't take long for the story to get around town, and pretty soon Dinky Poore was a celebrity in Mammoth Falls. He even had his picture in the paper, together with an "artists conception" of the thing he'd seen. It was gruesome-looking -- something like a dinosaur, but with a scaly, saw-toothed back like a dragon. Dinky was never short on imagination, and he was able to give the artist plenty of details.
It was the artists' sketch in the newspaper that got Henry Mulligan all excited. Henry is First Vice President and also Chief of Research for the Mad Scientists' Club and is noted for his brainstorms. Neither Henry nor anyone else in the club actually believed Dinky had seen a real monster, but we were all willing to play along with the gag -- especially when Henry suggested that we could build a monster just like the one shown in the newspaper.