Swift as a swift and slimy thing,
Gilbert the monster snail slid between the trees.
Everyone knew he was a monster snail,
because he had a big toothy grin, full of sharp toothy teeth -
not at all like the other snails,
whose mouths were small and cabbage-sized,
for munching on cabbage.

"Roar!" he roared,
just to show all the little forest critters what a big mouth he had.

Lots of little fluffy woodland critters scattered in panic.
They had never seen a monster snail before,
and running away seemed like a really good idea at the time.

Gilbert chased after them - for,
as well as being louder than the average snail,
he was also a lot faster, thanks to his super-speedy slime.

This was cool.

"There isn't anything I can't do!" smiled Gilbert.
And, just to prove it,
he swallowed three frogs and a bluebell - in a single gulp.

That was when the camel trotted into the forest.

"Ooh look, a camel," said the trees, just to show that they had noticed.

"Bet you can't go without water for ages and ages and ages!" said the camel.

"NOBODY can go without water for ages and ages and ages!" sneered Gilbert.
"Maybe ages... well, maybe ages and ages, if they were really brave...
but not ages and ages and ages!"

"Well, I can!" smiled the Camel.
"I'm Geraldine, the camel,
and I can go ages and ages and ages and AGES without water!"

"Bet you can't!" snapped Gilbert.
He didn't like people boasting... unless it was him, of course.

"Let's see, then," said Geraldine.
"We'll start right now - and the first person to need a drink of water is the loser!"

"That'll be YOU then," said Gilbert, "because I NEVER lose!"

Five minutes later, Gilbert lost.
Eating bluebells makes snails very thirsty -
even monster snails -
and he really, really needed a drink of water.

Then he slid off - quite slowly this time - feeling very silly.

"What a shame," said Geraldine.
"That wasn't even ages - let alone ages and ages and ages!
What a wimp!"

So now, whenever the fluffy critters in the forest
want to get rid of Gilbert the monster snail,
they call Geraldine the camel.

This story was written by my good friend John Hulme
for Marie Eline
(our granddaughter aged 5½yrs)
when he saw her drawings of
Gilbert, the Snail,
and Geraldine, the Camel.
Thank you John!

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