Bella was wandering through the forest, talking to herself as she went, till, on turning a sharp corner, she came upon two little men, so suddenly that she could not help starting back, but in another moment she recovered herself, feeling sure they that they must be real.
They were standing under a tree, each with an arm round the other’s neck, and though they had looked very nearly the same from far away, now that she was closer Bella could see that they were rather different indeed, for one of them very pale-skinned and had large, pointy teeth, and the other’s face was covered entirely in russet-coloured fur. “Oh, my!” Bella said to herself. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stranger-looking pair in all my life!”
The little man with the sharp teeth stood very still, and if it wasn’t for his twin distractedly scratching his own fur—”As though he has fleas!” Bella thought with a shudder—she would have quite forgot they were alive. She was just inching her way past the pair, doing her best to keep well away from the flea-ridden one, when she was startled by a voice coming from the little man with the very sharp teeth.
“My name is Edward. And this is Jacob. Who are you?” he said. “And would you tell me, please, why do you smell so very good?”
Bella was too much puzzled by such a peculiar remark to say anything, so after a minute the little man with the sharp teeth began again. “It’s very rude to stand and stare. And rather dangerous for you, because you smell so good, that it makes me quite hungry to look at you.”
“What a curious thing!” Bella replied, rather shyly, and she took a very large step backwards. “I’ve never met anyone who enjoys the taste of people!”
“Contrariwise, I’d far rather eat mountain lions,” said Edward.
“Mountain lions!” cried Bella. “That’s weird.”
“And I would rather eat vampires!” added Jacob. “Isn’t that funny?”
“Are you a mountain lion?” asked Bella, looking at Jacob’s furry face.
“No!” said Jacob in a hoarse voice. “I am a mountain wolf!” And then suddenly he stood up and turned into a giant russet-coloured wolf.
“Oh my! He must be the size of a horse!” Bella thought to herself. And an extremely small voice, which sounded very much like Edward’s, and—much more strangely—as though it was coming from inside her own head, said, “You might make a joke on that—something about ‘horse’ and ‘hoarse,’ you know.”
“I’m sorry!” said Bella. “I was only just trying to find my way out of the wood. Would you tell me which is the best way, please? It’s getting so dark.”
“Don’t leave!” said Edward angrily, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Bella thought over all she could remember about navigation and travel and finding one’s way out of the forest, which wasn’t much.
Jacob, who had turned back into a little furry-faced man, was the first to break the silence. “Do you like music? We could sing you a lullaby.”
“No,” said Bella firmly. “No I don’t. Stop it.”
But the little men only looked at each other and grinned. Jacob’s grin was very wide indeed. It seemed as though his grin was growing while the rest of his body vanished quite slowly, beginning with his feet and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of him had gone.
“Oh, I hate when he does that!” cried Edward.
“Ye-es, well, I think I should be going now,” said Bella, and she took another step away from the peculiar-looking little man.
“Come back!” Edward called after her. “I’ve something important to say!”
This sounded promising, certainly. Bella turned and came back again.
“Keep your temper,” said Edward.
“Is that all?” said Bella, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.
“No,” said Edward, and he peered at her neck. “Could I please have just a little nibble? Please? I think you would taste rather sweet.”
“No! And you should learn not to make such remarks,” said Bella with some severity, “it’s very rude.”
Edward opened his eyes very wide on hearing this, and he opened his mouth as though to speak, but for a minute or two sobs choked his voice. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said Edward to himself, “a great vampire like you to go on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!” But he went on all the same, shedding buckets of sparkling tears, until there was a small pool all around him.
Bella sighed deeply, and drew the back of her hand across her eyes, and waited for Edward to stop crying. When she opened her eyes again Edward had shrunk. He was less than three inches tall.
“I drank my own tears,” he explained.
“Oh, this is all too very strange,” cried Bella, and she stomped off into the woods, leaving behind the peculiar little men and their peculiar little ways.