"Fans of . . . [Scholastic's Captain Underpants series] will welcome the humor and appreciate the protagonist." School Library Journal
Tashi and the Big Stinkerby Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg, Kim Gamble
Tashi’s life is never dull. In the seventh book of the series, Tashi plots with the wife of Chintu the giant to rid the village of his Only Brothera giant who will eat anything in sight. Unless Tashi can stop him, Only Brother may even eat the villagers. Things go horribly wrong when a stranger appears with a magic flute, but in the face of
Tashi’s life is never dull. In the seventh book of the series, Tashi plots with the wife of Chintu the giant to rid the village of his Only Brothera giant who will eat anything in sight. Unless Tashi can stop him, Only Brother may even eat the villagers. Things go horribly wrong when a stranger appears with a magic flute, but in the face of trouble Tashi acts fast and saves the village from a terrible disaster.
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Tashi and the Big Stinker
By Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg, Kim Gamble
Allen & UnwinCopyright © 2000 Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg
All rights reserved.
'What kind of sandwiches have you got today, Tashi?' asked Jack.
'Egg,' said Tashi.
'Oh.' Jack pulled at some weeds growing under the bench. There were only ten minutes until the bell.
It was a dull kind of day, thought Jack. The sky was grey all over. There wasn't a single dragon or battleship or wicked face in the clouds. And then Tashi had been busy taking a boy to the sick bay – Angus Figment had been bitten by a strange green spider which made Angus's finger go all black and dead-looking. Tashi said it needed urgent treatment, so they hadn't even had time to play.
'Ooh, let me see.'
Tashi licked the last crumb from the corner of his mouth. 'Sorry, I just finished – boy, was I hungry! I could have eaten ten thousand and six of them!'
'What do dragon eggs taste like?'
'Salty, and a bit hot, like chilli – your tongue tingles as if it's on fire.'
'Gosh,' said Jack. 'I just had cheese.' He stood up gloomily.
'Once somebody really did swallow ten thousand and six of those eggs. It was terrible. Everyone said that's why there are so few dragons around any more. We were lucky – Third Aunt had already salted away piles of them, just in case.'
Jack sat down. 'In one gulp? Swallowed them, I mean.'
'Oh, sure,' said Tashi, stretching out his legs.
'Who was he? Come on, tell me, we've still got nine minutes before the bell.'
'Well,' said Tashi, throwing his lunch scraps into the bin, 'it was like this. On a grey, still afternoon, remarkably like this one in fact, I was sitting with my friends in the schoolhouse when suddenly the Magic Warning Bell began to ring. We all ran straight home, I can tell you! Our mothers came in from the fields and our fathers gathered up the animals and bolted the doors of their shops. What danger could there be? I wondered. Was it the war lord, stung by wasps and gone mad? Was it blood-thirsty pirates? Ravenous witches?
'The ground began to tremble and the dishes clattered on the shelves. Peeping through a crack in the shutters, I saw a giant striding down the street.'
'Chintu!' yelled Jack. 'Remember how you were prisoner in his house once and Mrs Chintu –'
'It wasn't Chintu, Jack. This giant was almost as wide as he was tall. He swelled out in the middle as if he had a hill under his jumper. Well, he passed our house, thank goodness, but he stopped next door and do you know what? He just lifted the roof off, as easily as you please. He scooped up a whole pig that was roasting on a spit and gobbled it down as he went on his way to the end of the village.
'As soon as the earth stopped shuddering under our feet, everyone ran into the street. They were shouting with fright, telling of their wild escapes from death. "He missed me by a hair," Wu was gasping. "That great foot of his came down like a brick wall, and squashed my poor hens flat."
'"Just as well you were roasting a pig at the time, Mrs Wang," said Wiseas-an-Owl, "otherwise he might have taken you instead." A fearful groan ran through the crowd.
'"My word, yes," said Mrs Wang. "I just heard this morning that two people have disappeared from the village over the river."
'People were still muttering and moaning when the village gossip ran up. Wah! That one practically knows what you're going to say and who you're going to visit before you do!'
'Oh, we used to have a neighbour like that – Mr Bigmouth. He was like the local newspaper.'
'Well, anyway, Mrs Fo – the gossip – shouted over everyone. "My second son's wife's cousin works for Chintu the Giant, and he has just told me that Chintu's Only Brother has come to live with him. My cousin says Only Brother is a hundred times worse than Chintu. He says Only Brother eats from morning to night!" Another moan rippled through the crowd and Wise-as-an-Owl turned to me, just as I knew he would.
'"Tashi," he said, "you are the only one of us who has been to Chintu's castle and managed to leave alive. Do you think that you could go again and find out if this is true?"'
'Oh no,' said Jack. 'You didn't have to go, did you?'
'Well,' said Tashi, 'it was like this. I didn't want to, but then I thought it could be my roof that was lifted next time, and no pig in the courtyard! "All right," I said, "I'll get ready straight away."
'My mother packed some food and a warm scarf in a basket. "Be careful, Tashi," she said, "and give these plums to Mrs Chintu with my best wishes."
'I gave her a hug, and set off. It was a night and a day's hard walking ahead of me but I remembered the way well. When I arrived at Chintu's castle I stopped and listened. There was a great muttering and clanging of spoons and forks coming from the kitchen. I made my way towards it and pushed open the door. (That took a while – giants' doors are heavy!)
'There, in the kitchen, was Mrs Chintu. She was rolling some dough, her face creased with bad temper. I ran over and tugged at her skirt.
'"Well, hello, Tashi," she said, most surprised. "What are you doing here?"
'I told her about Only Brother's visit to the village and how frightened the people all were that he would come again. But when I asked if there was anything she could do to help us, Mrs Chintu threw down her chopper and cried, "I wish there was, Tashi. Only Brother is driving me crazy as well. He eats all day long, I never stop cooking, so fussy he is with his food. And he keeps Chintu up drinking till dawn, the both of them singing at the tops of their voices. But whenever I ask Chintu to tell him to go, he says, 'He is my Only Brother, I could never ask him to leave.'"
'Just then Chintu stamped into the kitchen roaring, "Fee fi fo – "
'"Now don't start that all over again," Mrs Chintu snapped. "Here's Tashi come to see us. You remember him, don't you? He's the boy who –"
'"Didn't we eat him?"
'"No," said Mrs Chintu hastily, "that was another boy altogether. Is something the matter?"
'Chintu flopped down like a mountain crumbling. "You know how I've been waiting for the pomegranates to ripen on my tree down by the pond? Well, I just went there to pick some and I found that Only Brother has stripped the tree bare and eaten the lot."
'"I told you he should go," said Mrs Chintu.
'"Now don't you start that all over again," Chintu roared and he stamped out.
'"You see," sighed Mrs Chintu, "Only Brother will be here forever."
'"Unless we come up with a cunning scheme," I said. "Now let me think ..."
'Mrs Chintu sat me on the table. "You'll think better if you're comfortable," she said.
'I closed my eyes and swung my legs and then an idea came. "Did you say Only Brother was a fussy eater?"
'"Yes, I did. Everything has to be just so, even if he does guzzle it all down in a trice."
'"Well then," I said, "for Step One, when you give him his dinner tonight, make sure that his helpings have four times as much pepper as he likes."
'At dinner time, Only Brother gulped down three or four spoonfuls of stew before he realised how hot and spicy it was. "UGH!" he bellowed. "This stew would burn the tonsils off a warthog! No giant could eat it!"
'Chintu, who had no extra pepper in his dinner, took a spoonful. "What's wrong with it?" he growled. "You probably aren't hungry because you are full of my pomegranates."
'The two brothers went to bed, scowling. There was no drinking or singing that night. Good, I thought, now for tomorrow – and Step Two.
'The next morning was Chintu's birthday. Mrs Chintu spent all morning making a magnificent birthday cake. When he saw it, Chintu licked the icing on the top and said, "Now, wife, we must be sure Only Brother doesn't see this before dinnertime! I'll hide it in the cellar."
'I waited until Chintu was out of sight and then went to find Only Brother. I described the beauty of the cake and Only Brother's eyes glistened. "Would you like to see it?" I asked. "Just to look at, not to touch, of course." Only Brother would.
'We went downstairs to the cellar and Only Brother stood before the cake, mouth watering. I quietly slipped away.
'That night, after dinner and presents, Chintu went away to fetch his cake. There was a tremendous, ear-splitting roar. He came upstairs with an empty plate and a frightening scowl.
'"Oh, that," said Only Brother, shrugging his shoulders like boulders. "I meant to have just one little slice, but before I knew it, I had finished every sweet-as-heaven crumb. Mmm, delicious, delectable ... ah!"
'"I've been looking forward to that cake all day!" Chintu kicked Only Brother out of the way and stomped upstairs to bed. "Only Bother should be his name," he hissed under his breath. Another early night.
'Good, I thought, now for tomorrow and Step Three.
'The next morning Chintu went down to the river early and stopped a fishing boat laden with lobsters, octopus and fish. He bought the whole catch and went home to tell his wife. "We will have a wonderful meal tonight – shark fin soup and seafood stew. I have left it all in a net in the river to stay cool – just tell me when you want it."
'But when Mrs Chintu sent him down to get the fish, he found Only Brother had eaten the lot – and one or two fishermen as well. Chintu shook his fist and growled.
'"Oh that," said Only Brother, shrugging his shoulders like boulders. "When Tashi told me about the fish I meant to have just one or two, but before I knew it, I had finished them all. Delicious, delectable ... ah!"
'Chintu ground his teeth (it sounded like rocks crashing against each other!) and told his wife she would have to find something else for dinner. But Mrs Chintu and I were already making our preparations. I told her to tip two big sacks of beans into the cooking pot. "We'll have bean stew," I said, "and into Only Brother's bowl we'll put a few handfuls of these special berries and spices that Wise-as-an-Owl gave me."
'Only Brother liked the stew so much he had six big bowls of it. And sure enough, after a while, when he and Chintu were sitting drinking their tea, the beans did their work. "BLATT, BANG, PARF!"
'Great gusts of wind exploded from Only Brother's bottom. They were like bombs going off. And the spices we'd added to his stew made the explosions terribly, horribly smelly.
'Chintu threw open the windows and door, beetles curled over on their backs, their legs waving weakly in the air, and the canary dropped off its perch.
'Mrs Chintu ran outside, her apron over her nose. Even I was growing dizzy from trying to hold my breath, and I followed her outside.
'The smell came after us. I wiped my eyes. "How can it be so strong, Mrs Chintu?"
'"Well, Tashi, Only Brother is a giant after all, with a giant-sized bottom that makes a giant-sized smell!"
'Inside the castle Chintu was bellowing, "What a stink! What a pong! This is too much – off you go!" and he pushed his brother out the door. He galloped upstairs and gathered Only Brother's clothes and bag and threw them out the window. "Go and find someone else to keep that great stomach of yours full, why don't you!"
'"I'm glad to go," sneered Only Brother. "The food here doesn't suit me at all. Your wife uses too much pepper and her stew gives me wind. Besides," he added as he picked up his slippers, "there's a dreadful smell in your castle. You should do something about it." And he burped like a volcano erupting.
'Mrs Chintu and I did a little victory dance and then she said, "I think you had better slip away home now, Tashi. I saw Chintu giving you hard looks when Only Brother mentioned that you told him where to find the fish."
'I was only too happy to obey. But when I reached the village and tried to tell the news of Only Brother's going, no one would come out into the street.
'"We can't talk now, Tashi, there is this revolting stink. Can't you smell it? Look, even the trees are wilting!"
'"Oh, that," I said, grinning. "That's Only Brother – and it's the very reason for his leaving!"'
The bell rang out over the playground, and Jack stopped laughing. 'There's our warning to get to class,' he said. 'So, quickly, did the villagers give you a reward?'
Tashi grinned. 'No – do you know what happened? Instead of saying how brave I was to get rid of the fearsome giant, people still moan about the time I caused the terrible smell!'
Just then Angus Figment ran past. He waved, and Tashi saw that his black, dead-looking finger looked healthy again. 'It was texta,' Angus cried. 'Mrs Fitzpatrick washed it.'
Tashi laughed, and Jack blew loud exploding raspberries on his arm all the way back to class.
THE MAGIC FLUTE
'Dad,' said Jack, 'can I ask you something?'
'Sure,' said Dad. 'What's it about – turbo engines, shooting stars, hermit crabs – I'm good at all those subjects!'
'No,' Jack said, 'it's like this. Say your friend is in trouble, but when you go to save him, you hurt the person who got him into trouble. Does that mean you did the wrong thing?'
'Which friend is that, Jack?' said Dad. 'Would it be my mate Charlie over the road, or is it Henry, the one I play cards with?'
'Oh, Dad, it doesn't matter,' sighed Jack. 'It's the idea, see – a question of right or wrong. Or say you owe someone a hundred dollars and ...'
'Who owes a hundred dollars?' Mum came in with three bowls and spoons.
Jack rolled his eyes. 'It doesn't matter who, Mum! Maybe I'd better tell you the whole story – just the way Tashi told me.'
'Oh boy, icecream, peaches and a Tashi story for dessert!' Dad cried gleefully.
'Yes,' said Jack sternly. 'But listen carefully, because I'll ask you some questions at the end.'
Dad leant forward, frowning thoughtfully, to show how serious he could be.
'Well,' began Jack, 'back in the old country, it had been a good summer and the rice had grown well. People were looking forward to a big harvest, when a traveller arrived with dreadful news. The locusts were coming! In the next valley he'd seen a great swarm of grasshoppers settle on the fields in the morning, leaving not one blade of grass at the end of the day.'
Dad shook his head. 'Awful damage they do, locusts. You can ask me anything about them, son. Anything. They're one of my best subjects.'
'Later,' Jack said. 'Well, the Baron called a meeting in the village square.'
'That sneaky snake!' exploded Dad. 'He diddles everyone out of their money, doesn't he!'
'That's the one,' agreed Jack. 'But now the Baron was very worried because he owned most of the fields, although everyone in the town worked a little vegetable patch or had a share in the village rice fields.
'At the meeting, Tashi's grandfather suggested hosing the crops with poison but there wasn't time to buy it. Someone else said they should cover the fields with sheets, but of course there weren't enough sheets in the whole province to do that. Tashi racked his brains for an idea but nothing came.
'Just when everyone was in despair, a stranger stepped into the middle of the square. He was a very odd-looking fellow, dressed in a rainbow coloured shirt and silk trousers. On his head was a red cap with a bell. The people had to blink as they stared at him – he glowed like a flame.
'"I can save your fields from the locusts," he said. Tashi looked up into his eyes. They were pale and hooded.
'"Can you really? How?" the people shouted as they crowded around. They wanted to believe him, and there was something about him, this man. You could feel a kind of power that made you think he would deliver whatever he promised to do. But his eyes were full of shadows.
'"What will you need?" asked the Baron.
'"Nothing except my payment," replied the stranger. "You must give me a bag of gold when the locusts have gone."
'The people quickly agreed, and it was just as well they did. Only a moment later the sky began to grow dark and a deep thrumming like a million fingers drumming could be heard.
'Clouds of locusts appeared overhead, clouds so big and black that the sun was blocked completely, and then wah! just like that, the noise stopped and they settled on the village rice fields and gardens.
Excerpted from Tashi and the Big Stinker by Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg, Kim Gamble. Copyright © 2000 Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg. Excerpted by permission of Allen & Unwin.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Anna Fienberg is the author of more than 20 children’s books, including the Tashi series, the Minton series, The Hottest Boy Who Ever Lived, and Madeline and the Mermaid. Barbara Fienberg is the coauthor of the Tashi series. Kim Gamble is the illustrator of the Tashi series, the Minton series, and Joseph, and the author of You Can Draw Anything.
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