One day, Hello decided he wanted to be cleverer – perhaps not as clever as Pencil, as he suspected that’s what made him such a pain in the butt. Rather, he just wanted to be clever enough to win the Sunday Crossword.
You see, Hello had seen a sombrero for sale in Big Al’s Mexican Emporium and he was desperate to have it.
Not too keen on learning, Hello decided the best way to make himself cleverer was to use magic. So, he got a bowl and into it put a button, a ribbon, a daisy and the Sunday Crossword. Pleased with his concoction, he stirred it altogether with a whisk.
Just then, Pencil came along. Figuring his fluffy-brain friend was up to his usual tricks, he reluctantly asked Hello what he was doing.
“I am doing the crossword,” said Hello with pride.
“Doing the crossword?” said Pencil in disbelief. “That’s not how you do a crossword. You have to use your brain, not jiggery pokery.”
“Jiggery Pokery?” said Hello, scratching his head. “Who the heck is Jiggery Pokery?”
“Jiggery pokery is a what, not a who!” corrected Pencil, “It’s what magic is…you know, mumbo-jumbo, religious quackery…!”
Hello didn’t have a clue what Pencil was going on about. The blank look on Hello’s face was more than Pencil could take, so, in his frustration, Pencil said:-
“Oh Hello…I wish you weren’t such a nincompoop!”
Hello, shocked that his best friend said something so mean, pointed the whisk at Pencil and, after the minute or two it took to think of something equally mean, said,
“Well…well…I wish you were a banana!”
With that, the pair didn’t speak to each other for the rest of the day.
Hello felt sad when he went to bed that night. Normally, Pencil would read him a bedtime-story, and although they were usually boring, he missed hearing Pencil witter on.
Nevertheless, tired from a day of ignoring his friend and trying to do the crossword by magic, Hello soon fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke he got the fright of his life, for there at the side of the bed was the strangest creature he had ever seen.
“Wh…who…are you?” stammered Hello.
“I’m The Jiggery Pokery,” said The Jiggery Pokery. “I’ve come to fulfil your wish, just like you asked.”
“Wow…The Jiggery Pokery!” exclaimed Hello in awe. “Just wait till I tell my friend Pencil you’re a who not a what.”
With that, Hello turned to wake-up Pencil; but, to his utter astonishment, instead of Pencil lying next to him, there was a banana.
“Oh my,” said Hello. “Where is Pencil, and who is this banana?”
“That banana is Pencil,” said The Jiggery Pokery. “At least it used to be Pencil, till I turned it into a banana just like you wished.”
Hello was thrilled. Not only was Pencil wrong about The Jiggery Pokery, now he was a banana. Pleased to have a banana for a friend, Hello proceeded to tell it all about the day’s events: he told it about the sombrero in Big Al’s Mexican Emporium and about the crossword and, of course, about his best friend Pencil.
To all this, the banana said nothing. Instead, it just stared into space.
“Jiggery Pokery, what’s wrong with this banana?” enquired Hello. “It’s like talking to a vegetable.”
“Well, that’s the thing about bananas,” replied The Jiggery Pokery. “They’re like Hippies: they make great smoothies, but they aren’t noted for their intelligent conversation. Indeed, they are generally considered to be nincompoops.”
“Nincompoops?” said Hello feeling muddled. “But I’m a nincompoop, at least that’s what my friend Pencil said.”
“Well,” said the Jiggery Pokery. “That’s the thing about nincompoopery: it’s relative. You might be a nincompoop compared to your friend Pencil, but compared to this banana, you’re a genius.”
Hello couldn’t quite grasp what the Jiggery Pokery was saying, but he felt happy that nincompoops were his relatives.
Then he felt sad.
“Oh Jiggery Pokery, sighed Hello mournfully. “I’ve been such a fool. If only I hadn’t tried to do the crossword by magic, Pencil wouldn’t have got mad, I wouldn’t have wished him into a banana, and now I wouldn’t be stuck with a nincompoop for a friend.
“Well,” said the Jiggery Pokery. “That’s the thing about wishes: when you get what you wish for, it is generally at the expense of what you already have.”
Just then, Hello woke up (which he thought was strange, considering he had already woken up) and noticed that the Jiggery Pokery was gone. Scratching his head in confusion, he turned to ask the banana if it knew where the Jiggery Pokery was, but instead of the banana lying next to him, there was Pencil reading a book.
“Oh Pencil, you’re here!” cried Hello with Joy.
“Of course I am here,” said Pencil. “Where else do you think I would be?”
“I’m not sure,” said Hello thoughtfully. “Wherever pencils go when they turn into bananas, I suppose.
Pencil, thrilled his little friend was talking to him again, decided he’d let that comment slide, and put it down to Hello’s normal morning confusion. Though he did think it odd he should mention bananas, because, for some strange reason, his pillow smelled of banana. “Ah well, never mind,” he thought, shrugging it off as one of those funny coincidences that don’t mean anything, at least to serious minded people.
Later, after a leisurely breakfast, the pair spent the morning doing the Sunday crossword.
At least, Pencil did the crossword, and Hello turned the pages of the dictionary.
They had a brilliant time, and Pencil being so clever, they won!