Dumpling Ep11 Portrait Cover

The Dumpling Short Story & Audiobook Series: Episode 11 - A Pillow Problem

A pillow won’t stop growing in Fluffland, causing all sorts of havoc. Why is it growing and how can it be stopped? Detective Bonnie Fields is on the case!

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A Pillow Problem


Sylvie Fields drank up the last drops of the warm soymilk in her cup. Bonnie hadn’t touched hers yet.

“Gracious!” said their mum, getting ready to turn off the bedroom light. “You must have been thirsty.”

“No,” said Sylvie, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “It’s just that you said drinking it would make me grow. I’m tired of being shorter than Bonnie, so tomorrow I want to wake up taller!”

Sylvie is sitting up in bed, holding a cup of milk with one hand and using the back of her other hand to wipe her mouth. Her hair is purple and bushy with a turquoise bow on top. She is wearing turquoise pajamas adorned with little blue planets. The background, depicted as Sylvie's thought bubble, shows her imagination where she is seated on her bed smiling, and looking very tall, her arms outstretched. Bonnie is standing on the bedroom rug looking up at Sylvie. Bonnie's mouth is wide open and her eyes are wide with surprise.

“That’s not how it works,” said Bonnie.

“Well, just to be sure, can I drink yours?” asked Sylvie, who started getting out of bed.

“Mum!” said Bonnie, picking up her cup protectively. “Make her stop!”

“Alright, you two,” said their mum. “Enough! Say goodnight.”

“Goodnight!” said the two sisters.

The bedroom went dark and soon Sylvie was out, just like the light. Bonnie heard the sound of a small tongue lapping from her cup.


“Thank you for saving your soymilk,” said a voice that Bonnie recognised.

Dumpling is seated on a wooden surface, legs spread out, head over a cup of milk, drinking milk with his tongue sticking out. Both of Dumpling's hands hold the rim of the cup. On the left is a large lamp with a green base and a purple shade.

“I’m happy to save it for you, Dumpling,” Bonnie said.

“Besides, I don’t want Sylvie to grow too fast.”

“Well, funnily enough, ‘growing too fast’ is the reason you’re wanted in Fluffland.”

“Oh? How so?” asked Bonnie.

In response, her shaggy toy friend began to glow. Before she knew it, Bonnie was flying with Dumpling over the white, frosting-topped fields of Fluffland.

“We have a bit of a pillow problem,” Dumpling explained, as they flew into a fluffy cloud.

“Oh! The geese aren’t upset again, are they?” said Bonnie. “I thought all the pillows are stuffed with dandelion fluff instead of goose feathers.”

“No,” answered Dumpling, “it’s a bigger problem.”

As they emerged from the cloud, Bonnie instantly saw the “bigger” problem. An enormous pillow was towering over everything. It wasn’t just taller than the trees, it was taller than a mountain. Bonnie was speechless.

Bonnie and Dumpling are in Fluffland. The sky is pink with light pink clouds. They are holding hands and flying towards a huge pillow which casts a shadow over both of them. Bonnie is wearing pink pajamas with white stars.  On either side of the pillow are yellow mountains, covered in frosting. There are two small trees in front of the pillow, and a tree that looks like a lollipop on one side.

Dumpling delivered Bonnie to Whistlecrisp’s front garden. Bonnie had to adjust her eyes. Normally, the garden sparkled with white sugar pearls and gleamed with meringue and whipped cream. Today, however, the garden was dark.

“Ah, the amazing Bonnie Fields!” Whistlecrisp said. “We shouldn’t have waited this long to call you.”

The silver-haired deer-like leader of Fluffland pointed up. “That, unfortunately, has grown so tall it’s blocking the sun and leaving most of the land in shadow.”

“I didn’t know pillows could grow!” said Bonnie.

“Well,” said Whistlecrisp, “it’s not technically a pillow. It’s a pillow flower.”

“A what?”

“Dumpling will explain. Before he does, perhaps you should choose a tool to help you.”

Whistlecrisp presented Bonnie with a mallet, a wheelbarrow, a shovel and a whirligig.

“Hmm,” Bonnie mused. “I like the look of this shovel. I hope it’s not too heavy, Dumpling.”

“I think we can manage. Hang on!”

Bonnie is standing in front of a fence, holding a shovel. She is standing opposite Whistlecrisp. Whistlecrisp is wearing a yellow long robe. Dumpling is seated beside Bonnie. There is a red wheel barrow and a mallet on the ground. They are all overshadowed by the enormous pillow in the background.

Dumpling and Bonnie took to the sky. As they got nearer to the giant pillow, Bonnie saw several furry flying fish and a flock of snow birds crash with a soft *PLUMF!* into the pillow.

“Yes,” said Dumpling. “It’s a hazard.”

All over the pillow, Bonnie saw Fluffland creatures curled up or stretched out, taking naps.

“I hear it’s very comfortable,” reported Dumpling. “Now, look over here.”

Dumpling was flying Bonnie over a field covered in what looked like tiny pillows.

“This is a field of pillow flowers in bloom,” explained Dumpling.

“They’re so small!” observed Bonnie.

“Yes,” said Dumpling. “Lots of creatures bring them back to their homes because the larger blooms make a perfect pillow if you’re a rabbit or a fox, and, if you’re a mouse, the smaller blooms are very nice.”

They landed near a clump of flowers. Dumpling pointed to a flower.

“When the pillow bloom gets big enough for a human — like this one — watch what happens.”


Bonnie and Dumpling are surrounded by six pillow flowers. Dumpling is sitting on Bonnie's head, pointing at a pillow flower that has just popped. His feet are dangling over her forehead. Bonnie is looking at the popped pillow flower. Her mouth is open, and her eyes are wide. The pillow flowers have long green stalks, and green leaves,  with white, pillow-like blooms.

A cloud of pillow fluff was sent into the air.

“The fluff is carried by the wind, until it lands in another field to make new pillow flowers,” said Dumpling.

“Hmm,” said Bonnie. “But why has the one pillow flower grown so large without poofing? Can you take me to it?”

When they arrived at the base of the giant pillow, Bonnie began investigating. First, she touched it.

“Oo!” she exclaimed. “It’s so soft and spongy.” She laid her head against it. “I could fall asleep right now.”

“Bonnie!” Dumpling shouted. “Focus!”

Bonnie shook the sleep from her eyes and began walking around the pillow. “Why is it sticky here? And look!”

Bonnie was pointing to markings in the soft ground.

“I think these are tyre treads. Come on,” Bonnie beckoned. “Let’s see where they lead!”

Bonnie and Dumpling are holding hands, Bonnie is pointing at two tyre treads on the ground. There is a structure that looks like a dollop of yellow ice cream, with a cherry on the top, in the background.

Bonnie and Dumpling followed the tracks all the way to a garage topped with a dome that looked like a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Inside, they found a large tanker. On top of the tanker, they saw a ferret-like creature with milk-white fur using a blowtorch to repair a hole.

“Bonnie Fields!” said the mechanic, taking off his safety goggles. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Bonnie is looking at the tanker. The tanker is white, and painted in purple and blue at the bottom. It has a purple ladder at the back. On the top is the mechanic, a ferret-like white creature. The mechanic is raising its safety goggles and looking at Bonnie..

“This tanker truck. I’m guessing it had an accident in the field where the giant pillow flower is now?”

“It did!” confirmed the ferret. “Every last drop in the tanker got spilled. Why? Does it have something to do with the growth of the flower?”

“Well,” said Bonnie, “what was in the tanker?”

“Marshmallow milkshake!” said the ferret.

“Of course!” Bonnie said, as she and Dumpling hurried back to the giant pillow. “Marshmallows are so pillowy! The roots of the flower must be slurping it up!”

“What do we do?” asked Dumpling.

Using the shovel, Bonnie dug a trench around the base of the pillow. 

“This will stop the milkshake underground, so the flower won’t get any bigger. Now we must round up everyone in the land!”

Bonnie is digging a trench around the enormous pillow, using her shovel. Dumpling is on his knees watching.

From rabbits to bridgegators to giraffes, Fluffland citizens were carried to the top of the pillow by a tall escalator on wheels, normally used for folks wanting to enjoy the view from the top of Wedding Cake Cliff without having to climb it.

“Now,” directed Bonnie from the top of the pillow, “everyone jump!”

All of Fluffland jumped up and down on the pillow. 


Bonnie and Dumpling are jumping on top of the pillow. They are joined by rabbits, bridgegators which resemble alligators, a llama, and other citizens of Fluffland.

Huge plumes of pillow fluff were released with every jump. Meanwhile, Bonnie recruited a large flock of geese to fly near the pillow. When the fluff began floating out, Bonnie directed the geese to flap their wings as hard and fast as they could. The flapping made a breeze that carried the fluff far away. Lower and lower the Fluffland creatures descended as the fluff left the flower. Before long, the giant pillow flower was its proper size again.

“You’ve done it again, Bonnie,” said Whistlecrisp. “We can’t thank you enough!”

Dumpling began to glow as Bonnie yawned. She blinked twice and found herself back in her bed, with her head resting on a pillow that was just the right size. And it smelled, just a little bit, like marshmallows.

Bonnie is on her bed, her head is on top of the pillow. Her eyes are closed, and she is smiling. She is covered in a pink and white striped blanket. Dumpling lays on top of Bonnie.

The End


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