Nelly May Nimble and her twelve brothers and sisters live with their parents in a tiny cottage in the Bottoms, where there's never enough food to feed so many hungry mouths. Nelly May decides that she is old enough to earn her keep and takes a job as Lord Ignasius Pinkwinkle's new housekeeper and cook. Along with her many chores, Lord Pinkwinkle also expects Nelly May to learn his own special language. So Nelly May gets to work, using a wet scooperooty to hold the water she mops the floor with and then cooking supper for him, the Most Excellent of All Masters. But late that night, when a spark from the flaming-pop-and-sizzle lands on the fur-faced-fluffenbarker's wigger-wagger, Nelly May puts her foot down. She'll save his roof-topped castleorum, but she will not be his fuzzy-dust-and-fooder any longer.