|“||Down they go! Hail and snow! Freezes and sneezes and noses will blow!||„|
|~ The Cloud Men's chant|
The Cloud Men are the secondary antagonists in James and the Giant Peach, besides Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. The Cloud Men are ancient threatening giant humanoids who live high up in the atmosphere of Earth and the Cloud Men possess command over ice, snowstorms, blizzards and freezing wind. The Cloud Men live on the clouds high high up, higher than plane travel, because Dahl remarks that people who travel on planes never get to see any hidden life, because they retreat when humans approach.
James and the insects encounter several Cloud Men cities, two of which threaten them and one which totally ignores them. In the first, the Cloud Men are scary and hostile but don't actually harm the crew until the Centipede, always a pompous jerk, starts insulting the Cloud Men for being fools. Instantly, the Cloud Men spin round and stare at the Peach, having finally seen the intrusion. They are furious, and the Centipede mocks them some more, causing them to finally snap and send giant snowballs hurling at the Peach and the travellers, who are all hit. The Centipede gets his shell smashed and the Glow-worm gets her light bulb broken and has to replace it.
The Cloud Men finally stop the furious snow attack and the Peach goes on through the night. The Peach comes to another city of Cloud Men, who are all making a giant rainbow, to send down to Earth. The Cloud Men get infuriated when the Peach hits the giant beautiful rainbow, destroying their hard work, and the Peach is once again subject of another vicious attack by the Cloud Men, who throw freezing missiles and one of them even empties a whole load of paint over the Centipede, freezing him.
At the height of the attack one of the Cloud Men jumps onto a silk strand with a gull on the end, and climbs down to the Peach itself, scaring James and the insects, but just as the slow moving Cloud Man winds himself hand over hand to get down to the stalk, the Centipede is freed and bites the strand, sending the angry Cloud Man flying off roaring.
The other Cloud Men realize they cannot defeat the Peach and angrily leave for more snowstorm production.