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     The centaur was tempted to mash the tendril with his hoof, but instead bowed humbly. “Sorry I let you down, Grim. Can we still be friends if I remind you that everything you want is within your long arms' reach. Once all the necessary ingredients are combined according to my dispatch's simple recipe, it's only a matter of uttering the correct incantation, and POOF! In mere minutes twigs turn into towering spires. Sprouts blossom into plump persimmons.  
     “Sss-s-s . . . Did you say 'towering spires'?” asked He-limb.
     “Did you say 'incantation'? Sss-s-s.” She-limb growled.
     “Yes! It's that hocus pocus part that makes it all work.” Peter stepped away from the tree's root and emphasized this point by whirling his arms every which way. “. . . All these verdures and herbages coalesce into invigorated soils promoting presto germination maximus blah-blah . . . add some mulch and . . . blah-blah-blah . . .”
     Such jargon left Grimwood twisted up like a bucket of worms. It didn't know whether to thank the centaur, or swallow him now to end this whole ordeal.
     For his part, Peter settled down under the ebony tree's thick trunk to give his aching joints a rest. While Grimwood's heads were still spinning, the centaur thought to give it one more thing to ponder. Flashing his ax again, he picked up a chunk of wood and began to whittle.

     It didn't take long for Peter to put the finishing touches on his new project—a slingshot. Some leather strapping from his tack made it complete. After selecting a suitable persimmon from the dried out pods strewing the ground, he couched it snugly in place, and fired away.
     “Ouch!” Grimwood ducked too late, and the pod shot through a clump of the ebony's leaves.
     “Sorry.” Peter muffled a laugh. “Didn't think a tough old croc' like you would flinch like a daisy. When the tree started to grumble, the centaur put away his slingshot. “Think I hear someone's stomach growling. Why don't you and me lunch on what's left of last night's gruel . . . Afterward, I'll find something else to shoot at, a toad maybe . . . or an ogre.”