The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty - 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel - Tiffany Watt Smith 2016


Perkin Flump is in a very bad mood.* The quiet tune his grandfather is playing on the flumpet is just too loud. The water he’s supposed to wash in is too cold. The floor he walks on every day is too bumpy, and it’s hurting his feet. His breakfast porridge is too lumpy and too sticky.

“Are you feeling all right?” asks the mother.

“No I’m not feeling all right,” he snaps back. “I’m feeling all wrong. I feel sort of yuck, all horrible. I feel umpty.”

“What’s umpty?” asks his mother.

“I’m umpty,” he tells her. “It’s a too-much morning. I’m just fed up and I’m going out to the yard to be umpty on my own.”

When he gets there, his sister Posie and little brother Pootle spot a little gray cloud hanging stubbornly over his head. They try hiding from it, blowing at it, even singing to it, but nothing shifts it. It’s only when an unlikely accident involving the flumpet and a carrot reduces Perkin to giggles that the little cloud lifts higher and higher, and finally floats away.

Umpty: a feeling of everything being “too much” and all in the wrong way.

Its only known cure: laughter.