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"The poor dear," Old Mother Berryhoney said.
"Mmf. Mm-hm," agreed Barrelsitter around the stem of his clay pipe.
"I wonder if he don't like honey," Old Mother Berryhoney said. "How could anyone not like honey?"
Barrelsitter grunted. "Well, he is from away, y'know."
"Oh, aye," the woman said. "Maybe it don't agree with him, like?"
Barrelsitter stuck out his lower lip thoughtfully. "Could be."
"Well, that's it, then. It's not that he don't like honey; it just don't agree with him. He looks delicate."
"Mmf. Well, he is from away, y'know." Barrelsitter blew a smoke ring at the visitor.
As the smoke wafted over the pale, noseless face, the visitor coughed.
Old Mother Berryhoney rushed to the grey being's side. "Oh, there you are, luv! There you are, just a little disagreement between you and my blackberry honey."
The little being, taller than the villagers but much thinner, kicked its feet weakly. It lifted its twig-thin, attenuated arms to its distended belly, moving long fingers delicately over it. It let out a high, modulating noise that sounded like a moan.
"There, there, lovey," Old Mother Berryhoney said, supporting its head in one hand. "I know now the honey and you don't get along." She looked over at Barrelsitter, her eyes wide. "--'Ere now! Maybe it was the berries in the honey!"
"Or the berries themselves. Recall he had a bowlful," said Barrelsitter.
"Aye, or the buttercream biscuits! Oh, dear..." She turned back to the visitor. "Was it the buttercream biscuits, luv?"
"Could've been any of those," Barrelsitter offered. "After all, he is--"
"--From away, I know," said Old Mother Berryhoney.
The membranes over the visitor's huge, black eyes clicked closed once. When they opened, the visitor's body quivered and buckled. Suddenly, its eyes seemed to grow even larger, and it let out a huge belch.
"There you go, luv, there you go..." The old woman comforted the visitor, whose belly was slowly but visibly shrinking.
Barrelsitter started when from outside the Berryhoney hut came a sharp, hacking cough, then a series of keening, hoarse barks that sounded like a dog dying. With uncustomary speed, he lifted himself off his stump and hurried outside.
Just off the foot-path, a couple of younger villagers were kneeling next to a visitor sitting on its bum on the lawn. It held a clay pipe awkwardly in amongst its long, knobbly fingers.
One of the boys was saying, "There you go, there you go! Only just don't inhale it all the way, like..."