06 July 2009

Gerald and the Ugly-Wuglies

This spring Eva's Book Addiction offered an insightful review of E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle, with particular attention to the Ugly-Wuglies:

those creatures created out of coats and hangers and pillows and blankets and broom handles and hockey sticks and gloves to fill out the seats for the children's home theatrical performance. They come alive accidentally due to an unwise wish, and scare the dickens out of everyone when they start applauding at the end.

It's horrible when these scarecrow-like figures get up and stump down the hall on their odd and unwieldy legs but worse yet when one of them tries to talk. A long string of vowels comes out of its painted mouth, vivid against its white pillow-case face, and it says the same thing over and over - "Aa oo re o me me oo a oo ho el?" - until finally Gerald understands. And what horror did this Ugly-Wugly utter?

"Can you recommend me to a good hotel?"
The Ugly-Wuglies are, it turns out, empty versions of middle-class Victorian Englishmen and women. And nothing's scarier than that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh I don't know. I'd see your Ugly-Wiglies and raise you the Zombie Scarecrows from" Worxel Gummidge Down Under", a rather odd extension to the UK series starring Jon Pertwee (and based on the books by Barbara Euphemia Todd). This series was part funded by New Zealand TV and therefore set there. The local Crow Man's rival, a travelling scarecrow maker, makes his scarecrows using rotting vegetables, resulting in ghastly shambling scarecrow zombies lurching around the place... Genuine nightmare fuel!