CHAPTER 1 THE PRINCE OF PINGAREE
If you have a map of the Land of Oz handy, you will find that the
great Nonestic Ocean washes the shores of the Kingdom of Rinkitink,
between which and the Land of Oz lies a strip of the country of the Nome
King and a Sandy Desert. The Kingdom of Rinkitink isn't very big and
lies close to the ocean, all the houses and the King's palace being built
near the shore. The people live much upon the water, boating and
fishing, and the wealth of Rinkitink is gained from trading along the
coast and with the islands nearest it.
Four days' journey by boat to the north of Rinkitink is the
Island of Pingaree, and as our story begins here I must tell you
something about this island. At the north end of Pingaree, where it is
widest, the land is a mile from shore to shore, but at the south end it
is scarcely half a mile broad; thus, although Pingaree is four miles
long, from north to south, it cannot be called a very big island. It is
exceedingly pretty, however, and to the gulls who approach it from the
sea it must resemble a huge, green wedge lying upon the waters, for its
grass and trees give it the color of an emerald.
The grass came to the edge of the sloping shores; the beautiful
trees occupied all the central portion of Pingaree, forming a continuous
grove where the branches met high overhead and there was just space
beneath them for the cozy houses of the inhabitants. These houses were
scattered everywhere throughout the island, so that there was no town or
city, unless the whole island might be called a city. The canopy of
leaves, high overhead, formed a shelter from sun and rain, and the
dwellers in the grove could all look past the straight tree trunks and
across the grassy slopes to the purple waters of the Nonestic Ocean.
At the big end of the island, at the north, stood the royal
palace of King Kitticut, the lord and ruler of Pingaree. It was a
beautiful palace, built entirely of snow-white marble and capped by domes
of burnished gold, for the King was exceedingly wealthy. All along the
coast of Pingaree were found the largest and finest pearls in the whole
These pearls grew within the shells of big oysters, and the
people raked the oysters from their watery beds, sought out the milky
pearls and carried them dutifully to their King. Therefore, once every
year, His Majesty was able to send six of his boats, with sixty rowers
and many sacks of the valuable pearls, to the Kingdom of Rinkitink, where
there was a city called Gilgad in which King Rinkitink's palace stood on
a rocky headland and served, with its high towers, as a light-house to
guide sailors to the harbor. In Gilgad the pearls from Pingaree were
purchased by the King's treasurer, and the boats went back to the island
laden with stores of rich merchandise and such supplies of food as the
people and the royal family of Pingaree needed.
The Pingaree people never visited any other land but that of
Rinkitink, and so there were few other lands that knew there was such an
island. To the southwest was an island called the Isle of Phreex, where
the inhabitants had no use for pearls. And far north of Pingaree--six
days' journey by boat, it was said--were twin islands named Regos and
Coregos, inhabited by a fierce and warlike people.
Many years before this story really begins, ten big boatloads of
those fierce warriors of Regos and Coregos visited Pingaree, landing
suddenly upon the north end of the island. There they began to plunder
and conquer, as was their custom, but the people of Pingaree, although
neither so big nor so strong as their foes, were able to defeat them and
drive them all back to the sea, where a great storm overtook the raiders
from Regos and Coregos and destroyed them and their boats, not a single
warrior returning to his own country.
This defeat of the enemy seemed the more wonderful because the
pearl-fishers of Pingaree were mild and peaceful in disposition and
seldom quarreled even among themselves. Their only weapons were their
oyster rakes; yet the fact remains that they drove their fierce enemies
from Regos and Coregos from their shores.
King Kitticut was only a boy when this remarkable battle was
fought, and now his hair was gray; but he remembered the day well, and
during the years that followed his one constant fear was of another
invasion of his enemies. He feared they might send a more numerous army
to his island, both for conquest and revenge, in which case there could
be little hope of successfully opposing them.
This anxiety on the part of King Kitticut led him to keep a sharp
lookout for strange boats, one of his men patrolling the beach
constantly, but he was too wise to allow any fear to make him or his
subjects unhappy. He was a good King and lived very contentedly in his
fine palace with his fair Queen Garee and their one child, Prince Inga.
The wealth of Pingaree increased year by year; and the happiness
of the people increased, too. Perhaps there was no place outside the
land of Oz where contentment and peace were more manifest than on this
pretty island, hidden in the bosom of the Nonestic Ocean. Had these
conditions remained undisturbed, there would have been no need to speak
of Pingaree in this story.
Prince Inga, the heir to all the riches and the kingship of
Pingaree, grew up surrounded by every luxury; but he was a manly little
fellow, although somewhat grave and thoughtful, and he could never bear
to be idle a single minute. He knew where the finest oysters lay hidden
along the coast and was as successful in finding pearls as any of the men
of the island, although he was so slight and small. He had a little boat
of his own and a rake for dragging up the oysters, and he was very proud
indeed when he could carry a big white pearl to his father.
There was no school upon the island, as the people of Pingaree
were far removed from the state of civilization that gives our modern
children such advantages as schools and learned professors, but the King
owned several manuscript books, the pages being made of sheepskin. Being
a man of intelligence, he was able to teach his son something of reading,
writing and arithmetic.
When studying his lessons, Prince Inga used to go into the grove
near his father's palace and climb into the branches of a tall tree,
where he had built a platform with a comfortable seat to rest upon, all
hidden by the canopy of leaves. There, with no one to disturb him, he
would pore over the sheepskin on which were written the queer characters
of the Pingarese language.
King Kitticut was very proud of his little son, as well he might
be, and he soon felt a high respect for Inga's judgment and thought that
he was worthy to be taken into the confidence of his father in many
matters of state. He taught the boy the needs of the people and how to
rule them justly, for some day he knew that Inga would be King in his
place. One day, he called his son to his side and said to him:
"Our island now seems peaceful enough, Inga, and we are happy and
prosperous, but I cannot forget those terrible people of Regos and
Coregos. My constant fear is that they will send a fleet of boats to
search for those of their race whom we defeated many years ago and whom
the sea afterwards destroyed. If the warriors come in great numbers, we
may be unable to oppose them, for my people are little trained to
fighting at best; they surely would cause us much injury and suffering."
"Are we, then, less powerful than in my grandfather's day?" asked
The King shook his head thoughtfully.
"It is not that," said he. "That you may fully understand that
marvelous battle, I must confide to you a great secret. I have in my
possession three Magic Talismans which I have ever guarded with utmost
care, keeping the knowledge of their existence from anyone else. But
lest I should die and the secret be lost, I have decided to tell you what
these talismans are and where they are hidden. Come with me, my son."
He led the way through the rooms of the palace until they came to
the great banquet hall. There, stopping in the center of the room, he
stooped down and touched a hidden spring in the tiled floor. At once,
one of the tiles sank downward, and the King reached within the cavity
and drew out a silken bag.
This bag he proceeded to open, showing Inga that it contained
three great pearls, each one as big around as a marble. One had a blue
tint, and one was of a delicate rose color, but the third was pure white.
"These three pearls," said the King, speaking in a solemn,
impressive voice, "are the most wonderful the world has ever known. They
were gifts to one of my ancestors from the Mermaid Queen, a powerful
fairy whom he once had the good fortune to rescue from her enemies. In
gratitude for this favor, she presented him with these pearls. Each of
the three possesses an astonishing power, and whoever is their owner may
count himself a fortunate man. This one having the blue tint will give
to the person who carries it a strength so great that no power can resist
him. The one with the pink glow will protect its owner from all dangers
that may threaten him, no matter from what source they may come. The
third pearl--this one of pure white--can speak, and its words are always
wise and helpful."
"What is this, my father!" exclaimed the Prince, amazed; "Do you
tell me that a pearl can speak? It sounds impossible."
"Your doubt is due to your ignorance of fairy powers," returned
the King gravely. "Listen, my son, and you will know that I speak the
He held the white pearl to Inga's ear, and the Prince heard a
small voice say distinctly: "Your father is right. Never question the
truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with
"I crave your pardon, dear father," said the Prince, "for clearly
I heard the pearl speak, and its words were full of wisdom."
"The powers of the other pearls are even greater," resumed the
King. "Were I poor in all else, these gems would make me richer than any
other monarch the world holds."
"I believe that," replied Inga, looking at the beautiful pearls
with much awe. "But tell me, my father, why do you fear the warriors of
Regos and Coregos when these marvelous powers are yours?"
"The powers are mine only while I have the pearls upon my
person," answered King Kitticut, "and I dare not carry them constantly
for fear they might be lost. Therefore, I keep them safely hidden in
this recess. My only danger lies in the chance that my watchmen might
fail to discover the approach of our enemies and allow the warrior
invaders to seize me before I could secure the pearls. I should, in that
case, be quite powerless to resist. My father owned the magic pearls at
the time of the Great Fight of which you have so often heard, and the
pink pearl protected him from harm while the blue pearl enabled him and
his people to drive away the enemy. Often I have suspected that the
destroying storm was caused by the fairy mermaids, but that is a matter
of which I have no proof."
"I have often wondered how we managed to win that battle,"
remarked Inga thoughtfully. "But the pearls will assist us in case the
warriors come again, will they not?"
"They are as powerful as ever," declared the King. "Really, my
son, I have little to fear from any foe. But lest I die and the secret
be lost to the next King, I have now given it into your keeping. Remember
that these pearls are the rightful heritage of all Kings of Pingaree. If
at any time I should be taken from you, Inga, guard this treasure well,
and do not forget where it is hidden."
"I shall not forget," said Inga.
Then the King returned the pearls to their hiding place, and the
boy went to his own room to ponder upon the wonderful secret his father
had that day confided to his care.
A few days after this, on a bright and sunny morning when the
breeze blew soft and sweet from the ocean and the trees waved their
leaf-laden branches, the Royal Watchman, whose duty it was to patrol the
shore, came running to the King with news that a strange boat was
approaching the island.
At first, the King was sore afraid and made a step toward the
hidden pearls, but the next moment he reflected that one boat, even if
filled with enemies, would be powerless to injure him, so he curbed his
fear and went down to the beach to discover who the strangers might be.
Many of the men of Pingaree assembled there also, and Prince Inga
followed his father. Arriving at the water's edge, they all stood gazing
eagerly at the oncoming boat.
It was quite a big boat, they observed, and covered with a canopy
of purple silk embroidered with gold. It was rowed by twenty men, ten on
each side. As it came nearer, Inga could see that in the stern, seated
upon a high, cushioned chair of state, was a little man who was so very
fat that he was nearly as broad as he was high. This man was dressed in
a loose silken robe of purple that fell in folds to his feet, while upon
his head was a cap of white velvet curiously worked with golden threads
and having a circle of diamonds sewn around the band. At the opposite
end of the boat stood an oddly shaped cage, and several large boxes of
sandalwood were piled near the center of the craft.
As the boat approached the shore, the fat little man got upon his
feet and bowed several times in the direction of those who had assembled
to greet him, and as he bowed he flour-ished his white cap in an
energetic manner. His face was round as an apple and nearly as rosy.
When he stopped bowing, he smiled in such a sweet and happy way that Inga
thought he must be a very jolly fellow.
The prow of the boat grounded on the beach, stopping its speed so
suddenly that the little man was caught unawares and nearly toppled
headlong into the sea. But he managed to catch hold of the chair with
one hand and the hair of one of his rowers with the other, and so
steadied himself. Then, again waving his jeweled cap around his head, he
cried in a merry voice:
"Well, here I am at last!"
"So I perceive," responded King Kitticut, bowing with much
The fat man glanced at all the sober faces before him and burst
into a rollicking laugh. Perhaps I should say it was half laughter and
half a chuckle of merriment, for the sounds he emitted were quaint and
droll and tempted every hearer to laugh with him.
"Heh, heh--ho, ho, ho!" he roared. "Didn't expect me, I see.
Keek-eek-eek-eek! This is funny--it's really funny. Didn't know I was
coming, did you? Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo! This is certainly amusing. But I'm
here, just the same."
"Hush up!" said a deep, growling voice. "You're making yourself
Everyone looked to see where this voice came from; but none could
guess who had uttered the words of rebuke. The rowers of the boat were
solemn and silent, and certainly no one on the shore had spoken. But the
little man did not seem astonished in the least, or even annoyed.
King Kitticut now addressed the stranger, saying courteously:
"You are welcome to the Kingdom of Pingaree. Perhaps you will
deign to come ashore and at your convenience inform us whom we have the
honor of receiving as a guest."
"Thanks, I will," returned the little fat man, waddling from his
place in the boat and stepping, with some difficulty, upon the sandy
beach. "I am King Rinkitink, of the City of Gilgad in the Kingdom of
Rinkitink, and I have come to Pingaree to see for myself the monarch who
sends to my city so many beautiful pearls. I have long wished to visit
this island; and so, as I said before, here I am!"
"I am pleased to welcome you," said King Kitticut. "But why has
Your Majesty so few attendants? Is it not dangerous for the King of a
great country to make distant journeys in one frail boat, and with but
"Oh, I suppose so," answered King Rinkitink with a laugh. "But
what else could I do? My subjects would not allow me to go anywhere at
all, if they knew it. So I just ran away."
"Ran away?" exclaimed King Kitticut in surprise.
"Funny, isn't it? Heh, heh, heh--woo, hoo!" laughed Rinkitink,
and this is as near as I can spell with letters the jolly sounds of his
laughter. "Fancy a King running away from his own people--hoo,
hoo--keek, eek, eek, eek! But I had to, don't you see!"
"Why?" asked the other King.
"They're afraid I'll get into mischief. They don't trust me.
Keek-eek-eek--Oh, dear me! Don't trust their own King. Funny, isn't
"No harm can come to you on this island," said Kitticut,
pretending not to notice the odd ways of his guest. "And whenever it
pleases you to return to your own country, I will send with you a fitting
escort of my own people. In the meantime, pray accompany me to my
palace, where everything shall be done to make you comfortable and happy."
"Much obliged," answered Rinkitink, tipping his white cap over
his ear and heartily shaking the hand of his brother monarch. "I'm sure
you can make me comfortable if you've plenty to eat. And as for being
happy--ha, ha, ha, ha!--why, that's my trouble. I'm TOO happy. But
stop! I've brought you some presents in those boxes. Please order your
men to carry them up to the palace."
"Certainly," answered King Kitticut, well pleased, and at once he
gave his men the proper orders.
"And, by the way," continued the fat little King, "let them also
take my goat from his cage."
"A goat!" exclaimed the King of Pingaree.
"Exactly, my goat Bilbil. I always ride him wherever I go, for
I'm not at all fond of walking, being a trifle stout--eh, Kitticut?--a
trifle stout! Hoo, hoo, hoo--keek, eek!"
The Pingaree people started to lift the big cage out of the boat,
but just then a gruff voice cried: "Be careful, you villains!" and as the
words seemed to come from the goat's mouth, the men were so astonished
that they dropped the cage upon the sand with a sudden jar.
"There! I told you so!" cried the voice angrily. "You've rubbed
the skin off my left knee. Why on earth didn't you handle me gently?"
"There, there, Bilbil," said King Rinkitink soothingly; "don't
scold, my boy. Remember that these are strangers, and we their guests."
Then he turned to Kitticut and remarked: "You have no talking goats on
your island, I suppose."
"We have no goats at all," replied the King; "nor have we any
animals of any sort who are able to talk."
"I wish my animal couldn't talk, either," said Rinkitink, winking
comically at Inga and then looking toward the cage. "He is very cross at
times, and indulges in language that is not respectful. I thought, at
first, it would be fine to have a talking goat with whom I could converse
as I rode about my city on his back; but--keek-eek-eek-eek!--the rascal
treats me as if I were a chimney sweep instead of a King. Heh, heh, he,
keek, eek! A chimney sweep--hoo, hoo, hoo!--and me a King! Funny, isn't
it?" This last was addressed to Prince Inga, whom he chucked familiarly
under the chin, to the boy's great embarrassment.
"Why do you not ride a horse?" asked King Kitticut.
"I can't climb upon his back, being rather stout; that's why.
Kee, kee, keek, eek!--rather stout--hoo, hoo, hoo!" He paused to wipe
the tears of merriment from his eyes and then added: "But I can get on
and off Bilbil's back with ease."
He now opened the cage, and the goat deliberately walked out and
looked about him in a sulky manner. One of the rowers brought from the
goat a saddle made of red velvet and beautifully embroidered with silver
thistles, which he fastened upon the goat's back. The fat King put his
leg over the saddle and seated himself comfortably, saying:
"Lead on, my noble host, and we will follow."
"What! Up that steep hill?" cried the goat. "Get off my back at
once, Rinkitink, or I won't budge a step."
"But--consider, Bilbil," remonstrated the King. "How am I to get
up that hill unless I ride?"
"Walk!" growled Bilbil.
"But I'm too fat. Really, Bilbil, I'm surprised at you. Haven't
I brought you all this distance so you may see something of the world and
enjoy life? And now you are so ungrateful as to refuse to carry me!
Turn about is fair play, my boy. The boat carried you to this shore
because you can't swim, and now you must carry me up the hill because I
can't climb. Eh, Bilbil, isn't that reasonable?"
"Well, well, well," said the goat surlily, "keep quiet and I'll
carry you. But you make me very tired, Rinkitink, with your ceaseless
After making this protest, Bilbil began walking up the hill,
carrying the fat King upon his back with no difficulty whatever.
Prince Inga and his father and all the men of Pingaree were much
astonished to overhear this dispute between King Rinkitink and his goat;
but they were too polite to make critical remarks in the presence of
their guests. King Kitticut walked beside the goat, and the Prince
followed after, the men coming last with the boxes of sandalwood.
When they neared the palace, the Queen and her maidens came out
to meet them, and the royal guest was escorted in state to the splendid
throne room of the palace. Here the boxes were opened, and King
Rinkitink displayed all the beautiful silks and laces and jewelry with
which they were filled. Every one of the courtiers and ladies received a
handsome present, and the King and Queen had many rich gifts and Inga not
a few. Thus the time passed pleasantly until the Chamberlain announced
that dinner was served.
Bilbil the goat declared that he preferred eating of the sweet,
rich grass that grew abundantly in the palace grounds, and Rinkitink said
that the beast could never bear being shut up in a stable; so they
removed the saddle from his back and allowed him to wander wherever he
During the dinner, Inga divided his attention between admiring
the pretty gifts he had received and listening to the jolly sayings of
the fat King, who laughed when he was not eating and ate when he was not
laughing and seemed to enjoy himself immensely.
"For four days I have lived in that narrow boat," said he, "with
no other amusement than to watch the rowers and quarrel with Bilbil; so I
am very glad to be on land again with such friendly and agreeable people."
"You do us great honor," said King Kitticut with a polite bow.
"Not at all--not at all, my brother. This Pingaree must be a
wonderful island, for its pearls are the admiration of all the world; nor
will I deny the fact that my kingdom would be a poor one without the
riches and glory it derives from the trade in your pearls. So I have
wished for many years to come here to see you, but my people said: 'No!
Stay at home and behave yourself, or we'll know the reason why.' "
"Will they not miss Your Majesty from your palace at Gilgad?"
"I think not," answered Rinkitink. "You see, one of my clever
subjects has written a parchment entitled 'How to be Good,' and I
believed it would benefit me to study it, as I consider the
accomplishment of being good one of the fine arts. I had just scolded
severely my Lord High Chancellor for coming to breakfast without combing
his eyebrows, and was so sad and regretful at having hurt the poor man's
feelings that I decided to shut myself up in my own room and study the
scroll until I knew how to be good--hee, heek, keek, eek, eek!--to be
good! Clever idea, that, wasn't it? Mighty clever! And I issued a
decree that no one should enter my room, under pain of my royal
displeasure, until I was ready to come out. They're awfully afraid of my
royal displeasure, although not a bit afraid of me. Then I put the
parchment in my pocket and escaped through the back door to my boat--and
here I am. Oo, hoo-hoo, keek-eek! Imagine the fuss there would be in
Gilgad if my subjects knew where I am this very minute!"
"I would like to see that parchment," said the solemn-eyed Prince
Inga, "for if it indeed teaches one to be good, it must be worth its
weight in pearls."
"Oh, it's a fine essay," said Rinkitink, "and beautifully written
with a goose quill. Listen to this: You'll enjoy it--tee, hee,
He took from his pocket a scroll of parchment tied with a black
ribbon, and having carefully unrolled it, he proceeded to read as
"'A Good Man is One who is Never Bad.' How's that, eh? Fine
thought, what? 'Therefore, in order to be Good, you must avoid those
Things which are Evil.' Oh, hoo-hoo-hoo!--how clever! When I get back,
I shall make the man who wrote that a royal hippolorum, for beyond
question he is the wisest man in my kingdom--as he has often told me
himself." With this, Rinkitink lay back in his chair and chuckled his
queer chuckle until he coughed, and coughed until he choked, and choked
until he sneezed. And he wrinkled his face in such a jolly, droll way
that few could keep from laughing with him, and even the good Queen was
forced to titter behind her fan.
When Rinkitink had recovered from his fit of laughter and had
wiped his eyes upon a fine lace handkerchief, Prince Inga said to him:
"The parchment speaks truly."
"Yes, it is true beyond doubt," answered Rinkitink, "and if I
could persuade Bilbil to read it, he would be a much better goat than he
is now. Here is another selection: 'To avoid saying Unpleasant Things,
always Speak Agreeably.' That would hit Bilbil, to a dot. And here is
one that applies to you, my Prince: 'Good Children are seldom punished,
for the reason that they deserve no punishment.' Now, I think that is
neatly put, and shows the author to be a deep thinker. But the advice
that has impressed me the most is in the following paragraph: 'You may
not find it as Pleasant to be Good as it is to be Bad, but Other People
will find it more Pleasant.' Haw-hoo-ho! keek-eek! 'Other people will
find it more pleasant!'--hee, hee, heek, keek!--'more pleasant.' Dear
me--dear me! Therein lies a noble incentive to be good, and whenever I
get time, I'm surely going to try it."
Then he wiped his eyes again with the lace handkerchief and,
suddenly remembering his dinner, seized his knife and fork and began
THE WARRIORS FROM THE NORTH
King Rinkitink was so much pleased with the Island of Pingaree
that he continued his stay day after day and week after week, eating good
dinners, talking with King Kitticut, and sleeping. Once in a while he
would read from his scroll. "For," said he, "whenever I return home, my
subjects will be anxious to know if I have learned 'How to Be Good,' and
I must not disappoint them."
The twenty rowers lived on the small end of the island with the
pearl fishers and seemed not to care whether they ever returned to the
Kingdom of Rinkitink or not. Bilbil the goat wandered over the grassy
slopes or among the trees and passed his days exactly as he pleased. His
master seldom cared to ride him. Bilbil was a rare curiosity to the
islanders, but since there was little pleasure in talking with the goat,
they kept away from him. This pleased the creature, who seemed well
satisfied to be left to his own devices.
Once Prince Inga, wishing to be courteous, walked up to the goat
and said: "Good morning, Bilbil."
"It isn't a good morning," answered Bilbil grumpily. "It is
cloudy and damp and looks like rain."
"I hope you are contented in our kingdom," continued the boy,
politely ignoring the other's harsh words.
"I'm not," said Bilbil. "I'm never contented, so it doesn't
matter to me whether I'm in your kingdom or in some other kingdom. Go
away, will you?"
"Certainly," answered the Prince, and after this rebuff he did
not again try to make friends with Bilbil.
Now that the King, his father, was so much occupied with his
royal guest, Inga was often left to amuse himself, for a boy could not be
allowed to take part in the conversation of two great monarchs. He
devoted himself to his studies, therefore, and day after day he climbed
into the branches of his favorite tree and sat for hours in his "tree-top
rest" reading his father's precious manuscripts and thinking upon what he
You must not think that Inga was a mollycoddle or a prig because
he was so solemn and studious. Being a King's son and heir to the
throne, he could not play with the other boys of Pingaree, and he lived
so much in the society of the King and Queen and was so surrounded by the
pomp and dignity of a court that he missed all the jolly times that boys
usually have. I have no doubt that had he been able to live as other
boys do, he would have been much like other boys; as it was, he was
subdued by his surroundings and more grave and thoughtful than one of his
years should be.
Inga was in his tree one morning when, without warning, a great
fog enveloped the Island of Pingaree. The boy could scarcely see the
tree next to that in which he sat, but the leaves above him prevented the
dampness from wetting him, so he curled himself up in his seat and fell
All that forenoon the fog continued. King Kitticut, who sat in
his palace talking with his merry visitor, ordered the candles lighted,
that they might be able to see one another. The good Queen, Inga's
mother, found it was too dark to work at her embroidery, so she called
her maidens together and told them wonderful stories of bygone days in
order to pass away the dreary hours.
But soon after noon, the weather changed. The dense fog rolled
away like a heavy cloud, and suddenly the sun shot his bright rays over
"Very good!" exclaimed King Kitticut. "We shall have a pleasant
afternoon, I am sure," and he blew out the candles.
Then he stood a moment motionless, as if turned to stone, for a
terrible cry from without the palace reached his ears--a cry so full of
fear and horror that the King's heart almost stopped beating. Immediately
there was a scurrying of feet as everyone in the palace, filled with
dismay, rushed outside to see what had happened. Even fat little
Rinkitink sprang from his chair and followed his host and the others
through the arched vestibule.
After many years, the worst fears of King Kitticut were realized.
Landing upon the beach, which was but a few steps from the palace
itself, were hundreds of boats, every one filled with a throng of fierce
warriors. They sprang upon the land with wild shouts of defiance and
rushed to the King's palace, waving aloft their swords and spears and
King Kitticut, so completely surprised that he was bewildered,
gazed at the approaching host with terror and grief.
"They are the men of Regos and Coregos!" he groaned. "We are
Then he bethought himself, for the first time, of his wonderful
pearls. Turning quickly, he ran back into the palace and hastened to the
hall where the treasures were hidden. But the leader of the warriors had
seen the King enter the palace and bounded after him, thinking he meant
to escape. Just as the King had stooped to press the secret spring in
the tiles, the warrior seized him from the rear and threw him backward
upon the floor, at the same time shouting to his men to fetch ropes and
bind the prisoner. This they did very quickly, and King Kitticut soon
found himself helplessly bound and in the power of his enemies. In this
sad condition he was lifted by the warriors and carried outside, where
the good King looked upon a sorry sight.
The Queen and her maidens, the officers and servants of the royal
household, and all who inhabited this end of the Island of Pingaree had
been seized by the invaders and bound with ropes. At once they began
carrying their victims to the boats, tossing them in as unceremoniously
as if they had been bales of merchandise.
The King looked around for his son Inga, but failed to find the
boy among the prisoners. Nor was the fat King, Rinkitink, to be seen
The warriors were swarming over the palace like bees in a hive,
seeking anyone who might be in hiding, and after the search had been
prolonged for some time, the leader asked impatiently: "Do you find
"No," his men told him. "We have captured them all."
"Then," commanded the leader, "remove everything of value from
the palace and tear down the walls and towers so that not one stone
remains upon another!"
While the warriors were busy with this task, we will return to
the boy Prince, who, when the fog lifted and the sun came out, wakened
from his sleep and began to climb down from his perch in the tree. But
the terrifying cries of the people, mingled with the shouts of the rude
warriors, caused him to pause and listen eagerly.
Then he climbed rapidly up the tree, far above his platform, to
the topmost swaying branches. This tree, which Inga called his own, was
somewhat taller than the other trees that surrounded it, and when he had
reached the top he pressed aside the leaves and saw a great fleet of
boats upon the shore--strange boats with banners that he had never seen
before. Turning to look upon his father's palace, he found it surrounded
by a horde of enemies. Then Inga knew the truth: that the island had
been invaded by the barbaric warriors from the north. He grew so faint
from the terror of it all that he might have fallen had he not wound his
arms around a limb and clung fast until the dizzy feeling had passed
away. Then with his sash he bound himself to the limb and again ventured
to look out through the leaves.
The warriors were now engaged in carrying King Kitticut and Queen
Garee and all their other captives down to the boats, where they were
thrown in and chained one to another. It was a dreadful sight for the
Prince to witness, but he sat very still, concealed from the sight of
anyone below by the bower of leafy branches around him. Inga knew very
well that he could do nothing to help his beloved parents, and that if he
came down he would only be forced to share their cruel fate.
Now a procession of the Northmen passed between the boats and the
palace, bearing the rich furniture, splendid draperies and rare ornaments
of which the royal palace had been robbed, together with such food and
other plunder as they could lay their hands upon. After this, the men of
Regos and Coregos threw ropes around the marble domes and towers and
hundreds of warriors tugged at these ropes until the domes and towers
toppled and fell in ruins upon the ground. Then the walls themselves
were torn down, till little remained of the beautiful palace but a vast
heap of white marble blocks tumbled and scattered upon the ground.
Prince Inga wept bitter tears of grief as he watched the ruin of
his home; yet he was powerless to avert the destruction. When the palace
had been demolished, some of the warriors entered their boats and rowed
along the coast of the island, while others marched in a great body down
the length of the island itself. They were so numerous that they formed
a line stretching from shore to shore, and they destroyed every house
they came to and took every inhabitant prisoner.
The pearl fishers who lived at the lower end of the island tried
to escape in their boats, but they were soon overtaken and made prisoners
like the others. Nor was there any attempt to resist the foe, for the
sharp spears and pikes and swords of the invaders terrified the hearts of
the defenseless people of Pingaree, whose sole weapons were their oyster
When night fell, the whole of the Island of Pingaree had been
conquered by the men of the North, and all its people were slaves of the
conquerors. Next morning the men of Regos and Coregos, being capable of
no further mischief, departed from the scene of their triumph, carrying
their prisoners with them and taking also every boat to be found upon the
island. Many of the boats they had filled with rich plunder, with pearls
and silks and velvets, with silver and gold ornaments and all the
treasure that had made Pingaree famed as one of the richest kingdoms in
the world. And the hundreds of slaves they had captured would be set to
work in the mines of Regos and the grain fields of Coregos.
So complete was the victory of the Northmen that it is no wonder
the warriors sang songs of triumph as they hastened back to their homes.
Great rewards were awaiting them when they showed the haughty King of
Regos and the terrible Queen of Coregos the results of their ocean raid
All through that terrible night, Prince Inga remained hidden in
his tree. In the morning, he watched the great fleet of boats depart for
their own country, carrying his parents and his countrymen with them as
well as everything of value the Island of Pingaree had contained.
Sad indeed were the boy's thoughts when the last of the boats had
become a mere speck in the distance, but Inga did not dare leave his
perch of safety until all of the craft of the invaders had disappeared
beyond the horizon. Then he came down, very slowly and carefully, for he
was weak from hunger and the long and weary watch, as he had been in the
tree for twenty-four hours without food.
The sun shone upon the beautiful green isle as brilliantly as if
no ruthless invader had passed and laid it in ruins. The birds still
chirped among the trees, and the butterflies darted from flower to flower
as happily as when the land was filled with a prosperous and contented
Inga feared that only he was left of all his nation. Perhaps he
might be obliged to pass his life there alone. He would not starve, for
the sea would give him oysters and fish, and the trees fruit; yet the
life that confronted him was far from enticing.
The boy's first act was to walk over to where the palace had stood
and search the ruins until he found some scraps of food that had been
overlooked by the enemy. He sat upon a block of marble and ate of this,
and tears filled his eyes as he gazed upon the desolation around him.
But Inga tried to bear up bravely, and having satisfied his hunger, he
walked over to the well, intending to draw a bucket of drinking water.
Fortunately, this well had been overlooked by the invaders, and
the bucket was still fastened to the chain that wound around a stout
wooden windlass. Inga took hold of the crank and began letting the
bucket down into the well, when suddenly he was startled by a muffled
voice crying out:
"Be careful up there!"
The sound and the words seemed to indicate that the voice came
from the bottom of the well, so Inga looked down. Nothing could be seen
on account of the darkness.
"Who are you?" he shouted.
"It's I--Rinkitink," came the answer, and the depths of the well
echoed: "Tink-i-tini-i-tink!" in a ghostly manner.
"Are you in the well?" asked the boy, greatly surprised.
"Yes, and nearly drowned. I fell in while running from those
terrible warriors, and I've been standing in this damp hole ever since,
with my head just above the water. It's lucky the well was no deeper,
for had my head been under water instead of above it--hoo, hoo, hoo,
keek, eek!--under instead of over, you know--why, then, I wouldn't be
talking to you now! Ha, hoo, hee!" And the well dismally echoed: "Ha,
hoo, hee!" which you must imagine was a laugh half merry and half sad.
"I'm awfully sorry," cried the boy in answer. "I wonder you have
the heart to laugh at all. But how am I to get you out?"
"I've been considering that all night," said Rinkitink, "and I
believe the best plan will be for you to let down the bucket to me, and
I'll hold fast to it while you wind up the chain and so draw me to the top."
"I will try to do that," replied Inga, and he let the bucket down
very carefully until he heard the King call out:
"I've got it! Now pull me up--slowly, my boy, slowly--so I won't
rub against the rough sides."
Inga began winding up the chain, but King Rinkitink was so fat
that he was very heavy, and by the time the boy had managed to pull him
halfway up the well, his strength was gone. He clung to the crank as
long as possible, but suddenly it slipped from his grasp, and the next
minute he heard Rinkitink fall "plump!" into the water again.
"That's too bad!" called Inga, in real distress, "But you were so
heavy I couldn't help it."
"Dear me!" gasped the King from the darkness below as he
sputtered and coughed to get the water out of his mouth. "Why didn't you
tell me you were going to let go?"
"I hadn't time," said Inga sorrowfully.
"Well, I'm not suffering from thirst," declared the King, "for
there's enough water inside me to float all the boats of Regos and
Coregos--or at least it feels that way. But never mind! So long as I'm
not actually drowned, what does it matter?"
"What shall we do next?" asked the boy anxiously.
"Call someone to help you," was the reply.
"There is no one on the island but myself," said the boy,
"excepting you," he added as an afterthought.
"I'm not on it--more's the pity!--but IN it," responded Rinkitink.
"Are the warriors all gone?"
"Yes," said Inga, "and they have taken my father and mother and
all our people to be their slaves," he added, trying in vain to repress a
"So--so!" said Rinkitink softly; and then he paused a moment, as
if in thought. Finally, he said: "There are worse things than slavery,
but I never imagined a well could be one of them. Tell me, Inga, could
you let down some food to me? I'm nearly starved, and if you could
manage to send me down some food I'd be WELL fed--hoo, hoo, heek, keek,
eek!--well fed. Do you see the joke, Inga?"
"Do not ask me to enjoy a joke just now, Your Majesty," begged
Inga in a sad voice, "but if you will be patient, I will try to find
something for you to eat."
He ran back to the ruins of the palace and began searching for
bits of food with which to satisfy the hunger of the King, when to his
surprise he observed the goat Bilbil wandering among the marble blocks.
"What!" cried Inga. "Didn't the warriors get you, either?"
"If they had," calmly replied Bilbil, "I shouldn't be here."
"But how did you escape?" asked the boy.
"Easily enough. I kept my mouth shut and stayed away from the
rascals," said the goat. "I knew that the soldiers would not care for a
skinny old beast like me, for to the eye of a stranger I seem good for
nothing. Had they known I could talk and that my head contained more
wisdom than a hundred of their own noodles, I might not have escaped so
"Perhaps you are right," said the boy.
"I suppose they got the old man?" carelessly remarked Bilbil.
"What old man?"
"Oh, no! His Majesty is at the bottom of the well," said Inga,
"and I don't know how to get him out again."
"Then let him stay there," suggested the goat.
"That would be cruel. I am sure, Bilbil, that you are fond of
the good King, your master, and do not mean what you say. Together let
us find some way to save poor King Rinkitink. He is a very jolly
companion and has a heart exceedingly kind and gentle."
"Oh, well, the old boy isn't so bad, taken altogether," admitted
Bilbil, speaking in a more friendly tone. "But his bad jokes and fat
laughter tire me dreadfully at times."
Prince Inga now ran back to the well, the goat following more
"Here's Bilbil!" shouted the boy to the King. "The enemy didn't
get him, it seems."
"That's lucky for the enemy," said Rinkitink. "But it's lucky
for me, too, for perhaps the beast can assist me out of this hole. If
you can let a rope down the well, I am sure that you and Bilbil, pulling
together, will be able to drag me to the earth's surface."
"Be patient, and we will make the attempt," replied Inga
encouragingly, and he ran to search the ruins for a rope. Presently he
found one that had been used by the warriors in toppling over the towers,
which in their haste they had neglected to remove, and with some
difficulty he untied the knots and carried the rope to the mouth of the
Bilbil had lain down to sleep, and the refrain of a merry song
came in muffled tones from the well, proving that Rinkitink was making a
patient endeavor to amuse himself.
"I've found a rope!" Inga called down to him, and then the boy
proceeded to make a loop in one end of the rope for the King to put his
arms through, and the other end he placed over the drum of the windlass.
He now aroused Bilbil and fastened the rope firmly around the goat's
"Are you ready?" asked the boy, leaning over the well.
"I am," replied the King.
"And I am not," growled the goat, "for I have not yet had my nap
out. Old Rinki will be safe enough in the well until I've slept an hour
or two longer."
"But it is damp in the well," protested the boy, "and King
Rinkitink may catch the rheumatism, so that he will have to ride upon
your back wherever he goes."
Hearing this, Bilbil jumped up at once.
"Let's get him out," he said earnestly.
"Hold fast!" shouted Inga to the King. Then he seized the rope
and helped Bilbil to pull. They soon found the task more difficult than
they had supposed. Once or twice the King's weight threatened to drag
both the boy and the goat into the well to keep Rinkitink company. But
they pulled sturdily, being aware of this danger, and at last the King
popped out of the hole and fell sprawling full length upon the ground.
For a time, he lay panting and breathing hard to get his breath
back, while Inga and Bilbil were likewise worn out from their long strain
at the rope; so the three rested quietly upon the grass and looked at one
another in silence.
Finally, Bilbil said to the King:
"I'm surprised at you. Why were you so foolish as to fall down
that well? Don't you know it's a dangerous thing to do? You might have
broken your neck in the fall, or been drowned in the water."
"Bilbil," replied the King solemnly, "you're a goat. Do you
imagine I fell down the well on purpose?"
"I imagine nothing," retorted Bilbil. "I only know you were there."
"There? Heh-heh-heek-keek-eek! To be sure I was there," laughed
Rinkitink. "There in a dark hole, where there was no light; there in a
watery well, where the wetness soaked me through and
through--keek-eek-eek-eek--through and through!"
"How did it happen?" inquired Inga.
"I was running away from the enemy," explained the King, "and I
was carelessly looking over my shoulder at the same time to see if they
were chasing me. So I did not see the well, but stepped into it and
found myself tumbling down to the bottom. I struck the water very neatly
and began struggling to keep myself from drowning, but presently I found
that when I stood upon my feet on the bottom of the well, that my chin
was just above the water. So I stood still and yelled for help, but no
one heard me."
"If the warriors had heard you," said Bilbil, "they would have
pulled you out and carried you away to be a slave. Then you would have
been obliged to work for a living, and that would be a new experience."
"Work!" exclaimed Rinkitink. "Me work? Hoo, hoo, heek-keek-eek!
How absurd! I'm so stout--not to say chubby--not to say fat--that I can
hardly walk, and I couldn't earn my salt at hard work. So I'm glad the
enemy did not find me, Bilbil. How many others escaped?"
"That I do not know," replied the boy, "for I have not yet had
time to visit the other parts of the island. When you have rested and
satisfied your royal hunger, it might be well for us to look around and
see what the thieving warriors of Regos and Coregos have left us."
"An excellent idea," declared Rinkitink. "I am somewhat feeble
from my long confinement in the well, but I can ride upon Bilbil's back,
and we may as well start at once."
Hearing this, Bilbil cast a surly glance at his master, but said
nothing since it was really the goat's business to carry King Rinkitink
wherever he desired to go.
They first searched the ruins of the palace, and where the
kitchen had once been they found a small quantity of food that had been
half hidden by a block of marble. This they carefully placed in a sack
to preserve it for future use, the little fat King having first eaten as
much as he cared for. This consumed some time, for Rinkitink had been
exceedingly hungry and liked to eat in a leisurely manner. When he had
finished the meal, he straddled Bilbil's back and set out to explore the
island, Prince Inga walking by his side.
They found on every hand ruin and desolation. The houses of the
people had been pilfered of all valuables and then torn down or burned.
Not a boat had been left upon the shore, nor was there a single person,
man or woman or child, remaining upon the island, save themselves. The
only inhabitants of Pingaree now consisted of a fat little King, a boy
and a goat.
Even Rinkitink, merry-hearted as he was, found it hard to laugh
in the face of this mighty disaster. Even the goat, contrary to its
usual habit, refrained from saying anything disagreeable. As for the
poor boy whose home was now a wilderness, the tears came often to his
eyes as he marked the ruin of his dearly loved island.
When at nightfall they reached the lower end of Pingaree and
found it swept as bare as the rest, Inga's grief was almost more than he
could bear. Everything had been swept from him--parents, home and
country--in so brief a time that his bewilderment was equal to his
Since no house remained standing in which they might sleep, the
three wanderers crept beneath the overhanging branches of a cassa tree
and curled themselves up as comfortably as possible. So tired and
exhausted were they by the day's anxieties and griefs that their troubles
soon faded into the mists of dreamland. Beast and King and boy slumbered
peacefully together until wakened by the singing of the birds which
greeted the dawn of a new day.
When King Rinkitink and Prince Inga had bathed themselves in the
sea and eaten a simple breakfast, they began wondering what they could do
to improve their condition.
"The poor people of Gilgad," said Rinkitink cheerfully, "are
little likely ever again to behold their King in the flesh, for my boat
and my rowers are gone with everything else. Let us face the fact that
we are imprisoned for life upon this island, and that our lives will be
short unless we can secure more to eat than is in this small sack."
"I'll not starve, for I can eat grass," remarked the goat in a
pleasant tone--or a tone as pleasant as Bilbil could assume.
"True, quite true," said the King. Then he seemed thoughtful for
a moment, and turning to Inga he asked: "Do you think, Prince, that if
the worst comes, we could eat Bilbil?"
The goat gave a groan and cast a reproachful look at his master
as he said: "Monster! Would you, indeed, eat your old friend and
"Not if I can help it, Bilbil," answered the King pleasantly.
"You would make a remarkably tough morsel, and my teeth are not as good
as they once were."
While this talk was in progress, Inga suddenly remembered the
three pearls which his father had hidden under the tiled floor of the
banquet hall. Without doubt, King Kitticut had been so suddenly
surprised by the invaders that he had found no opportunity to get the
pearls, for otherwise the fierce warriors would have been defeated and
driven out of Pingaree. So they must still be in their hiding place, and
Inga believed they would prove of great assistance to him and his
comrades in this hour of need. But the palace was a mass of ruins;
perhaps he would be unable now to find the place where the pearls were
He said nothing of this to Rinkitink, remembering that his father
had charged him to preserve the secret of the pearls and of their magic
powers. Nevertheless, the thought of securing the wonderful treasures of
his ancestors gave the boy new hope.
He stood up and said to the King: "Let us return to the other end
of Pingaree. It is more pleasant than here in spite of the desolation of
my father's palace. And there, if anywhere, we shall discover a way out
of our difficulties."
This suggestion met with Rinkitink's approval, and the little
party at once started upon the return journey. As there was no occasion
to delay upon the way, they reached the big end of the island about the
middle of the day, and at once began searching the ruins of the palace.
They found, to their satisfaction, that one room at the bottom of
a tower was still habitable, although the roof was broken in and the
place was somewhat littered with stones. The King was, as he said, too
fat to do any hard work, so he sat down on a block of marble and watched
Inga clear the room of its rubbish. This done, the boy hunted through
the ruins until he discovered a stool and an amrchair that had not been
broken beyond use. Some bedding and a mattress were also found, so that
by nightfall the little room had been made quite comfortable.
The following morning, while Rinkitink was still sound asleep and
Bilbil was busily cropping the dewy grass that edged the shore, Prince
Inga began to search the tumbled heaps of marble for the place where the
royal banquet hall had been. After climbing over the ruins for some
time, he reached a flat place which he recognized by means of the tiled
flooring and the broken furniture scattered about to be the great hall he
was seeking. But in the center of the floor, directly over the spot
where the pearls were hidden, lay several large and heavy blocks of
marble which had been torn from the dismantled walls.
This unfortunate discovery for a time discouraged the boy, who
realized how helpless he was to remove such vast obstacles; but it was so
important to secure the pearls that he dared not give way to despair
until every human effort had been made. So he sat down to think over the
matter with great care.
Meantime, Rinkitink had risen from his bed and walked out upon
the lawn, where he found Bilbil reclining at ease upon the greensward.
"Where is Inga?" asked Rinkitink, rubbing his eyes with his
knuckles because their vision was blurred with too much sleep.
"Don't ask me," said the goat, chewing with much satisfaction a
cud of sweet grasses.
"Bilbil," said the King, squatting down beside the goat and
resting his fat chin upon his hands and his elbows on his knees, "allow
me to confide to you the fact that I am bored and need amusement. My
good friend Kitticut has been kidnapped by the barbarians and taken from
me, so there is no one to converse with me intelligently. I am the King
and you are the goat. Suppose you tell me a story."
"Suppose I don't," said Bilbil with a scowl, for a goat's face is
"If you refuse, I shall be more unhappy than ever, and I know
your disposition is too sweet to permit that. Tell me a story, Bilbil."
The goat looked at him with an expression of scorn. Said he:
"One would think you are but four years old, Rinkitink! But there--I
will do as you command. Listen carefully, and the story may do you some
good--although I doubt if you understand the moral."
"I am sure the story will do me good," declared the King, whose
eyes were twinkling.
"Once on a time," began the goat.
"When was that, Bilbil?" asked the King gently.
"Don't interrupt; it is impolite. Once on a time there was a
King with a hollow inside his head, where most people have their brains,
"Is this a true story, Bilbil?"
"And the King with a hollow head could chatter words which had no
sense, and laugh in a brainless manner at senseless things. That part of
the story is true enough, Rinkitink."
"Then proceed with the tale, sweet Bilbil. Yet it is hard to
believe than any King could be brainless--unless, indeed, he proved it by
owning a talking goat."
Bilbil stared at him a full minute in silence. Then he resumed
"This empty-headed man was a King by accident, having been born
to that high station. Also, the King was empty-headed by the same
chance, being born without brains."
"Poor fellow!" quoth the King. "Did he own a talking goat?"
"He did," answered Bilbil.
"Then he was wrong to have been born at all. Cheek-eek-eek-eek,
oo, hoo!" chuckled Rinkitink, his fat body shaking with merriment. "But
it's hard to prevent oneself from being born; there's no chance for
protest, eh, Bilbil?"
"Who is telling this story, I'd like to know," demanded the goat
"Ask someone with brains, my boy; I'm sure I can't tell," replied
the King, bursting into one of his merry fits of laughter.
Bilbil rose to his hoofs and walked away in a dignified manner,
leaving Rinkitink chuckling anew at the sour expression of the animal's
"Oh, Bilbil, you'll be the death of me some day--I'm sure you
will!" gasped the King, taking out his lace handkerchief to wipe his
eyes; for, as he often did, he had laughed till the tears came.
Bilbil was deeply vexed and would not even turn his head to look
at his master. To escape from Rinkitink, he wandered among he ruins of
the palace, where he came upon Prince Inga.
"Good morning, Bilbil," said the boy. "I was just going to find
you, that I might consult you upon an important matter. If you will
kindly turn back with me, I am sure your good judgment will be of great
The angry goat was quite mollified by the respectful tone in
which he was addressed, but he immediately asked:
"Are you also going to consult that empty-headed King over
"I am sorry to hear you speak of your kind master in such a way,"
said the boy gravely. "All men are deserving of respect, being the
highest of living creatures, and Kings deserve respect more than others,
for they are set to rule over many people."
"Nevertheless," said Bilbil with conviction, "Rinkitink's head is
certainly empty of brains."
"That I am unwilling to believe," insisted Inga. "But anyway,
his heart is kind and gentle, and that is better than being wise. He is
merry in spite of misfortunes that would cause others to weep, and he
never speaks harsh words that wound the feelings of his friends."
"Still," growled Bilbil, "he is--"
"Let us forget everything but his good nature, which puts new
heart into us when we are sad," advised the boy.
"But he is--"
"Come with me, please," interrupted Inga, "for the matter of
which I wish to speak is very important."
Bilbil followed him, although the boy still heard the goat
muttering that the King had no brains. Rinkitink, seeing them turn into
the ruins, also followed, and upon joining them asked for his breakfast.
Inga opened the sack of food, and while he and the King ate of
it, the boy said:
"If I could find a way to remove some of the blocks of marble
which have fallen in the banquet hall, I think I could find means for us
to escape from this barren island."
"Then," mumbled Rinkitink with his mouth full, "let us remove the
blocks of marble."
"But how?" inquired Prince Inga. "They are very heavy."
"Ah, how indeed?" returned the King, smacking his lips
contentedly. "That is a serious question. But--I have it! Let us see
what my famous parchment says about it." He wiped his fingers upon a
napkin, and then, taking the scroll from a pocket inside his embroidered
blouse, he unrolled it and read the following words: "'Never step on
another man's toes.'"
The goat gave a snort of contempt; Inga was silent; the King
looked from one to the other inquiringly.
"That's the idea, exactly!" declared Rinkitink.
"To be sure," said Bilbil scornfully, "it tells us exactly how to
move the blocks of marble."
"Oh, does it?" responded the King, and then for a moment he
rubbed the top of his bald head in a perplexed manner. The next moment
he burst into a peal of joyous laughter. The goat looked at Inga and
"What did I tell you?" asked the creature. "Was I right, or was
"This scroll," said Rinkitink, "is indeed a masterpiece. Its
advice is of tremendous value. 'Never step on another man's toes.' Let
us think this over. The inference is that we should step upon our own
toes, which were given us for that purpose. Therefore, if I stepped upon
another man's toes, I would be the other man. Hoo, hoo, hoo!--the other
man--hee, hee, heek-keek-eek! Funny, isn't it?"
"Didn't I say--" began Bilbil.
"No matter what you said, my boy," roared the King. "No fool
could have figured that out as nicely as I did."
"We still have to decide on how to remove the blocks of marble,"
suggested Inga anxiously.
"Fasten a rope to them, and pull," said Bilbil. "Don't pay any
more attention to Rinkitink, for he is no wiser than the man who wrote
that brainless scroll. Just get the rope, and we'll fasten Rinkitink to
one end of it for a weight, and I'll help you pull."
"Thank you, Bilbil," replied the boy. "I'll get the rope at
Bilbil found it difficult to climb over the ruins to the floor of
the banquet hall, but there are few places a goat cannot get to when it
makes the attempt, so Bilbil succeeded at last, and even fat little
Rinkitink finally joined them, though much out of breath.
Inga fastened one end of the rope around a block of marble and
then made a loop at the other end to go over Bilbil's head. When all was
ready, the boy seized the rope and helped the goat to pull; yet, strain
as they might, the huge block would not stir from its place. Seeing this,
King Rinkitink came forward and lent his assistance, the weight of his
body forcing the heavy marble to slide several feet from where it had
But it was hard work, and all were obliged to take a long rest
before undertaking the removal of the next block.
"Admit, Bilbil," said the King, "that I am of some use in the
"Your weight was of considerable help," acknowledged the goat,
"but if your head were as well filled as your stomach, the task would be
When Inga went to fasten the rope a second time, he was rejoiced
to discover that by moving one more block of marble he could uncover the
tile with the secret spring. So the three pulled with renewed energy,
and to their joy the block moved and rolled upon its side, leaving Inga
free to remove the treasure when he pleased.
But the boy had no intention of allowing Bilbil and the King to
share the secret of the royal treasures of Pingaree; so, although both
the goat and its master demanded to know why the marble blocks had been
moved and how it would benefit them, Inga begged them to wait until the
next morning, when he hoped to be able to satisfy them that their hard
work had not been in vain.
Having little confidence in this promise of a mere boy, the goat
grumbled and the King laughed; but Inga paid no heed to their ridicule
and set himself to work rigging up a fishing rod with line and hook.
During the afternoon, he waded out to some rocks near the shore and
fished patiently until he had captured enough yellow perch for their
supper and breakfast.
"Ah," said Rinkitink, looking at the fine catch when Inga
returned to the shore, "these will taste delicious when they are cooked;
but do you know how to cook them?"
"No," was the reply. "I have often caught fish, but never cooked
them. Perhaps Your Majesty understands cooking."
"Cooking and majesty are two different things," laughed the
little King. "I could not cook a fish to save me from starvation."
"For my part," said Bilbil, "I never eat fish, but I can tell you
how to cook them, for I have often watched the palace cooks at their
work." And so, with the goat's assistance, the boy and the King managed
to prepare the fish and cook them, after which they were eaten with good
That night, after Rinkitink and Bilbil were both fast asleep,
Inga stole quietly through the moonlight to the desolate banquet hall.
There, kneeling down, he touched the secret spring as his father had
instructed him to do, and to his joy the tile sank downward and disclosed
the opening. You may imagine how the boy's heart throbbed with
excitement as he slowly thrust his hand into the cavity and felt around
to see if the precious pearls were still there. In a moment, his fingers
touched the silken bags, and without pausing to close the recess, he
pressed the treasure against his breast and ran out into the moonlight to
examine it. When he reached a bright place, he started to open the bag,
but he observed Bilbil lying asleep upon the grass nearby. So, trembling
with the fear of discovery, he ran to another place, and when he paused
he heard Rinkitink snoring lustily. Again he fled and made his way to the
seashore, where he squatted under a bank and began to untie the cords
that fastened the mouth of the bag. But now another fear assailed him.
"If the pearls should slip from my hand," he thought, "and roll
into the water, they might be lost to me forever. I must find some safer
Here and there he wandered, still clasping the silken bag in both
hands, and finally he went to the grove and climbed into the tall tree
where he had made his platform and seat. But here it was pitch dark, so
he found he must wait patiently until morning before he dared touch the
pearls. During those hours of waiting, he had time for reflection and
reproached himself for being so frightened by the possession of his
"These pearls have belonged to our family for generations," he
mused, "yet no one has ever lost them. If I use ordinary care, I am sure
I need have no fears for their safety."
When the dawn came and he could see plainly, Inga opened the bag
and took out the Blue Pearl. There was no possibility of his being
observed by others, so he took time to examine it wonderingly, saying to
himself: "This will give me strength."
Taking off his right shoe, he placed the Blue Pearl within it,
far up in the pointed toe. Then he tore a piece from his handkerchief
and stuffed it into the shoe to hold the pearl in place. Inga's shoes
were long and pointed, as were all the shoes worn in Pingaree, and the
points curled upward so that there was quite a vacant space beyond the
place where the boy's toes reached when the shoe was upon his foot.
After he had put on the shoe and laced it up, he opened the bag
and took out the Pink Pearl. "This will protect me from danger," said
Inga, and, removing the shoe from his left foot, he carefully placed the
pearl in the hollow toe. This, also, he secured in place by means of a
strip torn from his handkerchief.
Having put on the second shoe and laced it up, the boy drew from
the silken bag the third pearl--that which was pure white--and, holding
it up to his ear, asked: "Will you advise me what to do in this, my hour
Clearly the small voice of the pearl made answer: "I advise you
to go the Islands of Regos and Coregos, where you may liberate your
parents from slavery."
"How could I do that?" exclaimed Prince Inga, amazed at receiving
"Tonight," spoke the voice of the pearl, "there will be a storm,
and in the morning a boat will strand upon the shore. Take this boat and
row to Regos and Coregos."
"How can I, a weak boy, pull the boat so far?" he inquired,
doubting the possibility.
"The Blue Pearl will give you strength," was the reply.
"But I may be shipwrecked and drowned before I ever reach Regos
and Coregos," protested the boy.
"The Pink Pearl will protect you from harm," murmured the voice,
soft and low but very distinct.
"Then I shall act as you advise me," declared Inga, speaking
firmly because this promise gave him courage, and as he removed the pearl
from his ear, it whispered:
"The wise and fearless are sure to win success."
Restoring the White Pearl to the depths of the silken bag, Inga
fastened it securely around his neck and buttoned his waist above it to
hide the treasure from all prying eyes. Then he slowly climbed down from
the tree and returned to the room where King Rinkitink still slept.
The goat was browsing upon the grass, but looked cross and surly.
When the boy said good morning as he passed, Bilbil made no response
whatsoever. As Inga entered the room, the King awoke and asked:
"What is that mysterious secret of yours? I've been dreaming
about it, and I haven't got my breath yet from tugging at those heavy
blocks. Tell me the secret."
"A secret told is no longer a secret," replied Inga with a laugh.
"Besides, this is a family secret which it is proper I should keep to
myself. But I may tell you one thing, at least: We are going to leave
this island tomorrow morning."
The King seemed puzzled by this statement.
"I'm not much of a swimmer," said he, "and, though I'm fat enough
to float upon the surface of the water, I'd only bob around and get
nowhere at all."
"We shall not swim, but ride comfortably in a boat," promised
"There isn't a boat on this island!" declared Rinkitink, looking
upon the boy with wonder.
"True," said Inga. "But one will come to us in the morning." He
spoke positively, for he had perfect faith in the promise of the White
Pearl; but Rinkitink, knowing nothing of the three marvelous jewels,
began to fear that the little Prince had lost his mind through grief and
For this reason, the King did not question the boy further, but
tried to cheer him by telling him witty stories. He laughed at all the
stories himself, in his merry, rollicking way, and Inga joined freely in
the laughter because his heart had been lightened by the prospect of
rescuing his dear parents. Not since the fierce warriors had descended
upon Pingaree had the boy been so hopeful and happy.
With Rinkitink riding upon Bilbil's back, the three made a tour
of the island and found in the central part some bushes and trees bearing
ripe fruit. They gathered this freely, for--aside from the fish which
Inga caught--it was the only food they now had, and the less they had,
the bigger Rinkitink's appetite seemed to grow.
"I am never more happy," said he with a sigh, "than when I am
Toward evening, the sky became overcast, and soon a great storm
began to rage. Prince Inga and King Rinkitink took refuge within the
shelter of the room they had fitted, and there Bilbil joined them. The
goat and the King were somewhat disturbed by the violence of the storm,
but Inga did not mind it, being pleased at this evidence that the White
Pearl might be relied upon.
All night the wind shrieked around the island; thunder rolled,
lightning flashed, and rain came down in torrents. But with morning the
storm abated, and when the sun arose no sign of the tempest remained save
a few fallen trees.
Prince Inga was up with the sun and, accompanied by Bilbil, began
walking along the shore in search of the boat which the White Pearl had
promised him. Never for an instant did he doubt that he would find it,
and before he had walked any great distance a dark object at the water's
edge caught his eye.
"It is the boat, Bilbil!" he cried joyfully, and running down to
it, he found it was, indeed, a large and roomy boat. Although stranded
upon the beach, it was in perfect order and had suffered in no way from
Inga stood for some moments gazing upon the handsome craft and
wondering where it could have come from. Certainly it was unlike any
boat he had ever seen. On the outside it was painted a lustrous black,
without any other color to relieve it; but all the inside of the boat was
lined with pure silver, polished so highly that the surface resembled a
mirror and glinted brilliantly in the rays of the sun. The seats had
white velvet cushions upon them, and the cushions were splendidly
embroidered with threads of gold. At one end, beneath the broad seat,
was a small barrel with silver hoops, which the boy found was filled with
fresh, sweet water. A great chest of sandalwood, bound and ornamented
with silver, stood in the other end of the boat. Inga raised the lid and
discovered the chest filled with sea-biscuits, cakes, tinned meats and
ripe, juicy melons; enough good and wholesome food to last the party a
Lying upon the bottom of the boat were two shining oars, and
overhead, but rolled back now, was a canopy of silver cloth to ward off
the heat of the sun.
It is no wonder the boy was delighted with the appearance of this
beautiful boat; but on reflection, he feared it was too large for him to
row any great distance. Unless, indeed, the Blue Pearl gave him unusual
While he was considering this matter, King Rinkitink came
waddling up to him and said:
"Well, well, well, my Prince, your words have come true! Here is
the boat, for a certainty, yet how it came here--and how you knew it
would come to us--are puzzles that mystify me. I do not question our
good fortune, however, and my heart is bubbling with joy, for in this
boat I will return at once to my City of Gilgad, from which I have
remained absent altogether too long."
"I do not wish to go to Gilgad," said Inga.
"That is too bad, my friend, for you would be very welcome. But
you may remain upon this island, if you wish," continued Rinkitink, "and
when I get home, I will send some of my people to rescue you."
"It is my boat, Your Majesty," said Inga quietly.
"May be, may be," was the careless answer, "but I am King of a
great country, while you are a boy Prince without any kingdom to speak
of. Therefore, being of greater importance than you, it is just and right
that I take your boat and return to my own country in it."
"I am sorry to differ from Your Majesty's views," said Inga, "but
instead of going to Gilgad, I consider it of greater importance that we
go to the islands of Regos and Coregos."
"Hey? What!" cried the astounded King. "To Regos and Coregos!
To become slaves of the barbarians like the King, your father? No, no,
my boy! Your Uncle Rinki may have an empty noodle, as Bilbil claims, but
he is far too wise to put his head in the lion's mouth. It's no fun to
be a slave."
"The people of Regos and Coregos will not enslave us," declared
Inga. "On the contrary, it is my intention to set free my dear parents,
as well as all my people, and to bring them back again to Pingaree."
"Cheek-eek-eek-eek-eek! How funny!" chuckled Rinkitink, winking
at the goat, which scowled in return. "Your audacity takes my breath
away, Inga, but the adventure has its charm, I must confess. Were I not
so fat, I'd agree to your plan at once, and could probably conquer that
horde of fierce warriors without any assistance at all--any at all--eh,
Bilbil? But I grieve to say that I am fat and not in good fighting trim.
As for your determination to do what I admit I can't do, Inga, I fear you
forget that you are only a boy, and rather small at that."
"No, I do not forget that," was Inga's reply.
"Then please consider that you and I and Bilbil are not strong
enough, as an army, to conquer a powerful nation of skilled warriors. We
could attempt it, of course, but you are too young to die, while I am too
old. Come with me to my City of Gilgad, where you will be greatly
honored. I'll have my professors teach you how to be good. Eh? What do
Inga was a little embarrassed how to reply to these arguments,
which he knew King Rinkitink considered were wise; so, after a period of
thought, he said: "I will make a bargain with Your Majesty, for I do not
wish to fail in respect to so worthy a man and so great a King as
yourself. This boat is mine, as I have said, and in my father's absence
you have become my guest; therefore, I claim that I am entitled to some
consideration as well as you."
"No doubt of it," agreed Rinkitink. "What is the bargain you
"Let us both get into the boat, and you shall first try to row us
to Gilgad. If you succeed, I will accompany you right willingly; but
should you fail, I will then row the boat to Regos, and you must come
with me without further protest."
"A fair and just bargain!" cried the King, highly pleased. "Yet,
although I am a man of mighty deeds, I do not relish the prospect of
rowing so big a boat all the way to Gilgad. But I will do my best and
abide by the result."
The matter being thus peaceably settled, they prepared to embark.
A further supply of fruits was placed in the boat, and Inga also raked up
a quantity of the delicious oysters that abounded on the coast of
Pingaree but which he had before been unable to reach for lack of a boat.
This was done at the suggestion of the ever-hungry Rinkitink, and when
the oysters had been stowed in their shells behind the water barrel and a
plentiful supply of grass brought aboard for Bilbil, they decided they
were ready to start on their voyage.
It proved no easy task to get Bilbil into the boat, for he was a
remarkably clumsy goat, and once, when Rinkitink gave him a push, he
tumbled into the water and nearly drowned before they could get him out
again. But there was no thought of leaving the quaint animal behind.
His power of speech made him seem almost human in the eyes of the boy,
and the fat King was so accustomed to his surly companion that nothing
could have induced him to part with him. Finally, Bilbil fell sprawling
into the bottom of the boat, and Inga helped him to get to the front end,
where there was enough space for him to lie down.
Rinkitink now took his seat in the silver-lined craft, and the
boy came last, pushing off the boat as he sprang aboard so that it
floated freely upon the water.
"Well, here we go for Gilgad!" exclaimed the King, picking up the
oars and placing them in the row-locks. Then he began to row as hard as
he could, singing at the same time an odd sort of a song that ran like
"The way to Gilgad isn't bad
For a stout old King and a brave young lad,
For a cross old goat with a dripping coat,
And a silver boat in which to float.
So our hearts are merry, light and glad
As we speed away to fair Gilgad!"
"Don't, Rinkitink; please don't! It makes me seasick," growled
Rinkitink stopped rowing, for by this time he was all out of
breath, and his round face was covered with big drops of perspiration.
And when he looked over his shoulder, he found to his dismay that the
boat had scarcely moved a foot from its former position.
Inga said nothing and appeared not to notice the King's failure.
So now Rinkitink, with a serious look on his fat, red face, took off his
purple robe and rolled up the sleeves of his tunic and tried again.
However, he succeeded no better than before, and when he heard
Bilbil give a gruff laugh and saw a smile upon the boy Prince's face,
Rinkitink suddenly dropped the oars and began shouting with laughter at
his own defeat. As he wiped his brow with a yellow silk handkerchief, he
sang in a merry voice:
"A sailor bold am I, I hold,
But boldness will not row a boat,
So I confess I'm in distress
And just as useless as the goat."
"Please leave me out of your verses," said Bilbil with a snort of
"When I make a fool of myself, Bilbil, I'm a goat," replied
"Not so," insisted Bilbil. "Nothing could make you a member of
my superior race."
"Superior? Why, Bilbil, a goat is but a beast, while I am a
"I claim that superiority lies in intelligence," said the goat.
Rinkitink paid no attention to this remark, but turning to Inga,
he said: "We may as well get back to the shore, for the boat is too heavy
to row to Gilgad or anywhere else. Indeed, it will be hard for us to
reach land again."
"Let me take the oars," suggested Inga. "You must not forget our
"No, indeed," answered Rinkitink. "If you can row us to Regos,
or to any other place, I will go with you without protest."
So the King took Inga's place in the stern of the boat, and the
boy grasped the oars and commenced to row. And now, to the great wonder
of Rinkitink--and even to Inga's surprise--the oars became as light as
feathers as soon as the Prince took hold of them. In an instant, the
boat began to glide rapidly through the water, and, seeing this, the boy
turned its prow toward the north. He did not know exactly where Regos
and Coregos were located, but he did know that the islands lay to the
north of Pingaree, so he decided to trust to luck and the guidance of the
pearls to carry him to them.
Gradually, the Island of Pingaree became smaller to their view as
the boat sped onward, until at the end of an hour they had lost sight of
it altogether and were wholly surrounded by the purple waters of the
Prince Inga did not tire from the labor of rowing; indeed, it
seemed to him no labor at all. Once he stopped long enough to place the
poles of the canopy in the holes that had been made for them in the edges
of the boat, and to spread the canopy of silver over the poles, for
Rinkitink had complained of the sun's heat. But the canopy shut out the
hot rays and rendered the interior of the boat cool and pleasant.
"This is a glorious ride!" cried Rinkitink as he lay back in the
shade. "I find it a decided relief to be away from that dismal island of
"It may be a relief for a short time," said Bilbil, "but you are
going to the land of your enemies, who will probably stick your fat body
full of spears and arrows."
"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Inga, distressed at the thought.
"Never mind," said the King calmly, "a man can die but once, you
know, and when the enemy kills me, I shall beg him to kill Bilbil also,
that we may remain together in death as in life."
"They may be cannibals, in which case they will roast and eat
us," suggested Bilbil, who wished to terrify his master.
"Who knows?" answered Rinkitink with a shudder. "But cheer up,
Bilbil; they may not kill us after all, or even capture us; so let us not
borrow trouble. Do not look so cross, my sprightly quadruped, and I will
sing to amuse you."
"Your song would make me more cross than ever," grumbled the
"Quite impossible, dear Bilbil. You couldn't be more surly if
you tried. So here is a famous song for you."
While the boy rowed steadily on and the boat rushed fast over the
water, the jolly King, who never could be sad or serious for many minutes
at a time, lay back on his embroidered cushions and sang as follows:
"A merry maiden went to sea--
She sat upon the Captain's knee
And looked around the sea to see
What she could see, but she couldn't see me--
"How do you like that, Bilbil?"
"I don't like it," complained the goat. "It reminds me of the
alligator that tried to whistle."
"Did he succeed, Bilbil?" asked the King.
"He whistled as well as you sing."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, heek, keek, eek!" chuckled the King. "He must
have whistled most exquisitely, eh, my friend?"
"I am not your friend," returned the goat, wagging his ears in a
"I am yours, however," was the King's cheery reply, "and to prove
it, I'll sing you another verse."
"Don't, I beg of you!"
But the King sang as follows:
"The wind blew off the maiden's shoe--
And the shoe flew high to the sky so blue
And the maiden knew 'twas a new shoe, too;
But she couldn't pursue the shoe, 'tis true--
"Isn't that sweet, my pretty goat?"
"Sweet, do you ask?" retorted Bilbil. "I consider it as sweet as
candy made from mustard and vinegar."
"But not as sweet as your disposition, I admit. Ah, Bilbil, your
temper would put honey itself to shame."
"Do not quarrel, I beg of you," pleaded Inga. "Are we not sad
"But this is a jolly quarrel," said the King, "and it is the way
Bilbil and I often amuse ourselves. Listen, now, to the last verse of
"The maid who shied her shoe now cried--
Her tears were fried for the Captain's bride
Who ate with pride her sobs, beside,
And gently sighed, 'I'm satisfied'--
"Worse and worse!" grumbled Bilbil with much scorn. "I am glad
that is the last verse, for another of the same king might cause me to
"I fear you have no ear for music," said the King.
"I have heard no music, as yet," declared the goat. "You must
have a strong imagination, King Rinkitink, if you consider your songs
music. Do you remember the story of the bear that hired out for a
"I do not recall it just now," said Rinkitink with a wink at Inga.
"Well, the bear tried to sing a lullaby to put the baby to sleep."
"And then?" said the King.
"The bear was highly pleased with its own voice, but the baby was
nearly frightened to death."
"Heh, heh, heh, heh, whoo, hoo, hoo! You are a merry rogue,
Bilbil," laughed the King, "a merry rogue in spite of your gloomy
features. However, if I have not amused you, I have at least pleased
myself, for I am exceedingly fond of a good song. So let us say no more
All this time the boy Prince was rowing the boat. He was not in
the least tired, for the oars he held seemed to move of their own accord.
He paid little heed to the conversation of Rinkitink and the goat, but
busied his thoughts with plans of what he should do when he reached the
islands of Regos and Coregos and confronted his enemies. When the others
finally became silent, Inga inquired:
"Can you fight, King Rinkitink?"
"I have never tried," was the answer. "In time of danger, I have
found it much easier to run away than to face the foe."
"But COULD you fight?" asked the boy.
"I might try, if there was no chance to escape by running. Have
you a proper weapon for me to fight with?"
"I have no weapon at all," confessed Inga.
"Then let us use argument and persuasion instead of fighting.
For instance, if we could persuade the warriors of Regos to lie down and
let me step on them, they would be crushed with ease."
Prince Inga had expected little support from the King, so he was
not discouraged by this answer. After all, he reflected, a conquest by
battle would be out of the question, yet the White Pearl would not have
advised him to go to Regos and Coregos had the mission been a hopeless
one. It seemed to him on further reflection that he must rely upon
circumstances to determine his actions when he reached the islands of the
By this time, Inga felt perfect confidence in the Magic Pearls.
It was the White Pearl that had given him the boat, and the Blue Pearl
had given him the strength to row it. He believed that the Pink Pearl
would protect him from any danger that might arise; so his anxiety was
not for himself, but for his companions. King Rinkitink and the goat had
no magic to protect them, so Inga resolved to do all in his power to keep
them from harm.
For three days and three nights the boat with the silver lining
sped swiftly over the ocean. On the morning of the fourth day, so
quickly had they traveled, Inga saw before him the shores of the two
great islands of Regos and Coregos.
"The pearls have guided me aright!" he whispered to himself.
"Now, if I am wise and cautious and brave, I believe I shall be able to
rescue my father and mother and my people."
The Island of Regos was ten miles wide and forty miles long, and
it was ruled by a big and powerful King named Gos. Near to the shores
were green and fertile fields, but farther back from the sea were rugged
hills and mountains, so rocky that nothing would grow there. But in these
mountains were mines of gold and silver which the slaves of the King were
forced to work, being confined in dark, underground passages for that
purpose. In the course of time, huge caverns had been hollowed out by
the slaves, in which they lived and slept, never seeing the light of day.
Cruel overseers with whips stood over these poor people, who had been
captured in many countries by the raiding parties of King Gos, and the
overseers were quite willing to lash the slaves with their whips if they
faltered a moment in their work.
Between the green shores and the mountains were forests of thick,
tangled trees, between which narrow paths had been cut to lead up to the
caves of the mines. It was on the level green meadows, not far from the
ocean, that the great City of Regos had been built wherein was located
the palace of the King. This city was inhabited by thousands of the
fierce warriors of Gos, who frequently took to their boats and spread
over the sea to the neighboring islands to conquer and pillage as they
had done at Pingaree. When they were not absent on one of these
expeditions, the City of Regos swarmed with them, and so became a
dangerous place for any peaceful person to live in, for the warriors were
as lawless as their King.
The Island of Coregos lay close behind the Island of Regos; so
close, indeed, that one might have thrown a stone from one shore to
another. But Coregos was only half the size of Regos, and instead of
being mountainous, it was a rich and pleasant country covered with fields
of grain. The fields of Coregos furnished food for the warriors and
citizens of both countries, while the mines of Regos made them all rich.
Coregos was ruled by Queen Cor, who was wedded to King Gos; but
so stern and cruel was the nature of this Queen that the people could not
decide which of their sovereigns they dreaded most.
Queen Cor lived in her own City of Coregos, which lay on the side
of the island facing Regos, and her slaves, who were mostly women, were
made to plow the land and to plant and harvest the grain.
From Regos to Coregos stretched a bridge of boats, set close
together, with planks laid across their edges for people to walk upon.
In this way, it was easy to pass from one island to the other, and in
times of danger the bridge could be quickly removed.
The native inhabitants of Regos and Coregos consisted of the
warriors, who did nothing but fight and ravage, and the trembling
servants who waited on them. King Gos and Queen Cor were at war with all
the rest of the world. Other islanders hated and feared them, for their
slaves were badly treated and absolutely no mercy was shown to the weak
When the boats that had gone to Pingaree returned loaded with
rich plunder and a host of captives, there was much rejoicing in Regos
and Coregos, and the King and Queen gave a fine feast to the warriors who
had accomplished so great a conquest. This feast was set for the
warriors in the grounds of King Gos's palace, while with them in the
great throne room all the captains and leaders of the fighting men were
assembled with King Gos and Queen Cor, who had come from her island to
attend the ceremony. Then all the goods that had been stolen from the
King of Pingaree were divided according to rank, the King and Queen
taking half, the captains a quarter, and the rest being divided amongst
The day following the feast, King Gos sent King Kitticut and all
the men of Pingaree to work in his mines under the mountains, having
first chained them all together so they could not escape. The gentle
Queen of Pingaree and all her women, together with the captured children,
were given to Queen Cor, who set them to work in her grain fields.
Then the rulers and warriors of these dreadful islands thought
they had done forever with Pingaree. Despoiled of all its wealth, its
houses torn down, its boats captured, and all its people enslaved, what
likelihood was there that they might ever again hear of the desolated
islands? So the people of Regos and Coregos were surprised and puzzled
when one morning they observed approaching their shores from the
direction of the south a black boat containing a boy, a fat man, and a
goat. The warriors asked one another who these could be and where they
had come from. No one ever came to those islands of their own accord,
that was certain.
Prince Inga guided his boat to the south end of the Island of
Regos, which was the landing place nearest to the city, and when the
warriors saw this action, they went down to the shore to meet him, being
led by a big captain named Buzzub.
"Those people surely mean us no good," said Rinkitink uneasily to
the boy. "Without doubt, they intend to capture us and make us their
"Do not fear, sir," answered Inga in a calm voice. "Stay quietly
in the boat with Bilbil until I have spoken with these men."
He stopped the boat a dozen feet from the shore, and standing up
in his place, made a grave bow to the multitude confronting him. Said
the big Captain Buzzub in a gruff voice: "Well, little one, who may you
be? And how dare you come, uninvited and all alone, to the Island of
"I am Inga, Prince of Pingaree," returned the boy, "and I have
come here to free my parents and my people, whom you have wrongfully
When they heard this bold speech, a mighty laugh arose from the
band of warriors, and when it had subsided, the captain said: "You love
to jest, my baby Prince, and the joke is fairly good. But why did you
willingly thrust your head into the lion's mouth? When you were free,
why did you not stay free? We did not know we had left a single person
in Pingaree! But since you managed to escape us then, it is really kind
of you to come here of your own free will to be our slave. Who is the
funny fat person with you?"
"It is His Majesty, King Rinkitink, of the great City of Gilgad.
He has accompanied me to see that you render full restitution for all you
have stolen from Pingaree."
"Better yet!" laughed Buzzub. "He will make a fine slave for
Queen Cor, who loves to tickle fat men and see them jump."
King Rinkitink was filled with horror when he heard this, but the
Prince answered as boldly as before, saying: "We are not to be frightened
by bluster, believe me; nor are we so weak as you imagine. We have magic
powers so great and terrible that no host of warriors can possibly
withstand us, and therefore I call upon you to surrender your city and
your island to us, before we crush you with our mighty powers."
The boy spoke very gravely and earnestly, but his words only
aroused another shout of laughter. So while the men of Regos were
laughing, Inga drove the boat well up onto the sandy beach and leaped
out. He also helped Rinkitink out, and when the goat ha
d unaided sprung to the sands, the King got upon Bilbil's back, trembling
a little internally, but striving to look as brave as possible.
There was a bunch of coarse hair between the goat's ears, and this
Inga clutched firmly in his left hand. The boy knew the Pink Pearl would
protect not only himself, but all whom he touched, from any harm, and as
Rinkitink was astride the goat and Inga had his hand upon the animal, the
three could not be injured by anything the warriors could do. But
Captain Buzzub did not know this, and the little group of three seemed so
weak and ridiculous that he believed their capture would be easy. So he
turned to his men and with a wave of his hand said: "Seize the
Instantly, two or three of the warriors stepped forward to obey,
but to their amazement they could not reach any of the three; their hands
were arrested as if by an invisible wall of iron. Without paying any
attention to these attempts at capture, Inga advanced slowly, and the
goat kept pace with him. And when Rinkitink saw that he was safe from
harm, he gave one of his big, merry laughs, and it startled the warriors
and made them nervous. Captain Buzzub's eyes grew big with surprise as
the three steadily advanced and forced his men backwards; nor was he free
from terror himself at the magic that protected these strange visitors.
As for the warriors, they presently became terror stricken and fled in a
panic up the slope toward the city, and Buzzub was obliged to chase after
them and shout threats of punishment before he could halt them and form
them into a line of battle.
All the men of Regos bore spears and bows and arrows, and some of
the officers had swords and battleaxes; so Buzzub ordered them to stand
their ground and shoot and slay the strangers as they approached. This
they tried to do. Inga being in advance, the warriors sent a flight of
sharp arrows straight at the boy's breast, while others cast their long
spears at him.
It seemed to Rinkitink that the little Prince must surely perish
as he stood facing this hail of murderous missiles; but the power of the
Pink Pearl did not desert him, and when the arrows and spears had reached
to within an inch of his body, they bounded back again and fell
harmlessly at his feet. Nor were Rinkitink or Bilbil injured in the
least, although they stood close beside Inga.
Buzzub stood for a moment looking upon the boy in silent wonder.
Then, recovering himself, he shouted in a loud voice: "Once again! All
together, my men. No one shall ever defy our might and live!"
Again, a flight of arrows and spears sped toward the three, and
since many more of the warriors of Regos had by this time joined their
fellows, the air was for a moment darkened by the deadly shafts. But
again, all fell harmless before the power of the Pink Pearl, and Bilbil,
who had been growing very angry at the attempts to injure him and his
party, suddenly made a bolt forward, casting off Inga's hold, and butted
into the line of warriors, who were standing amazed at their failure to
Taken by surprise at the goat's attack, a dozen big warriors
tumbled in a heap, yelling with fear, and their comrades, not knowing
what had happened but imagining that their foes were attacking them,
turned about and ran to the city as hard as they could go. Bilbil, still
angry, had just time to catch the big captain as he turned to follow his
men, and Buzzub first sprawled headlong upon the ground, then rolled over
two or three times, and finally jumped up and ran yelling after his
This butting on the part of the goat was very hard upon King
Rinkitink, who nearly fell off Bilbil's back at the shock of encounter;
but the little fat King wound his arms around the goat's neck and shut
his eyes and clung on with all his might. It was not until he heard Inga
say triumphantly "We have won the fight without striking a blow!" that
Rinkitink dared open his eyes again. Then he saw the warriors rushing
into the City of Regos and barring the heavy gates, and he was very much
relieved at the sight.
"Without striking a blow!" said Bilbil indignantly. "That is not
quite true, Prince Inga. You did not fight, I admit, but I struck a
couple of times to good purpose, and I claim to have conquered the
cowardly warriors unaided."
"You and I together, Bilbil," said Rinkitink mildly. "But the
next time you make a charge, please warn me in time so that I may
dismount and give you all the credit for the attack."
There being no one now to oppose their advance, the three walked
to the gates of the city, which had been closed against them. The gates
were of iron and heavily barred, and upon the top of the high walls of
the city a host of the warriors now appeared with arrows and spears and
other weapons. For Buzzub had gone straight to the palace of King Gos
and reported his defeat, relating the powerful magic of the boy, the fat
King and the goat, and had asked what to do next.
The big captain still trembled with fear, but King Gos did not
believe in magic and called Buzzub a coward and a weakling. At once, the
King took command of his men personally, and he ordered the walls manned
with warriors and instructed them to shoot to kill if any of the three
strangers approached the gates.
Of course, neither Rinkitink nor Bilbil knew how they had been
protected from harm, and so at first they were inclined to resent the
boy's command that the three must always keep together and touch one
another at all times. But when Inga explained that his magic would not
otherwise save them from injury, they agreed to obey, for they had now
seen enough to convince them that the Prince was really protected by some
As they came before the gates, another shower of arrows and
spears descended upon them, and, as before, not a single missile touched
their bodies. King Gos, who was upon the wall, was greatly amazed and
somewhat worried, but he depended upon the strength of his gates and
commanded his men to continue shooting until all their weapons were gone.
Inga let them shoot as much as they wished, while he stood before
the great gates and examined them carefully.
"Perhaps Bilbil can batter down the gates," suggested Rinkitink.
"No," replied the goat, "my head is hard, but not harder than
"Then," returned the King, "let us stay outside; especially as we
can't get in."
But Inga was not at all sure they could not get in. The gates
opened inward, and three heavy bars were held in place by means of stout
staples riveted to the sheets of steel. The boy had been told that the
power of the Blue Pearl would enable him to accomplish any feat of
strength, and he believed that this was true.
The warriors, under the direction of King Gos, continued to hurl
arrows and darts and spears and axes and huge stones upon the invaders,
all without avail. The ground below was thickly covered with weapons,
yet not one of the three before the gates had been injured in the
slightest manner. When everything had been cast that was available and
not a single weapon of any sort remained at hand, the amazed warriors saw
the boy put his shoulder against the gates and burst asunder the huge
staples that held the bars in place. A thousand of their men could not
have accomplished this feat, yet the small, slight boy did it with
seeming ease. The gates burst open, and Inga advanced into the city
street and called upon King Gos to surrender.
But Gos was now as badly frightened as were his warriors. He and
his men were accustomed to war and pillage, and they had carried terror
into many countries, but here were a small boy, a fat man and a goat who
could not be injured by all his skill in warfare, his numerous army and
thousands of death-dealing weapons. Moreover, they not only defied King
Gos's entire army, but they had broken in the huge gates of the city as
easily as if they had been made of paper, and such an exhibition of
enormous strength made the wicked King fear for his life.
Like all bullies and marauders, Gos was a coward at heart, and
now a panic seized him, and he turned and fled before the calm advance of
Prince Inga of Pingaree. The warriors were like their master, and having
thrown all their weapons over the wall and being helpless to oppose the
strangers, they all swarmed after Gos, who abandoned his city and crossed
the bridge of boats to the island of Coregos. There was a desperate
struggle among these cowardly warriors to get over the bridge, and many
were pushed into the water and obliged to swim; but finally every
fighting man of Regos had gained the shore of Coregos, and they tore away
the bridge of boats and drew them up on their own side, hoping the
stretch of open water would prevent the magic invaders from following
The humble citizens and serving people of Regos, who had been
terrified and abused by the rough warriors all their lives, were not only
greatly astonished by this sudden conquest of their masters, but greatly
delighted. As the King and the army fled to Coregos, the people embraced
one another and danced for very joy, and then they turned to see what the
conquerors of Regos were like.
The fat King rode his goat through the streets of the conquered
city, and the boy Prince walked proudly beside him, while all the people
bent their heads humbly to their new masters, whom they were prepared to
serve in the same manner they had King Gos.
Not a warrior remained in all Regos to oppose the triumphant
three; the bridge of boats had been destroyed; Inga and his companions
were free from danger--for a time, at least.
The jolly little King appreciated this fact and rejoiced that he
had escaped all injury during the battle. How it had all happened he
could not tell, or even guess, but he was content in being safe and free
to take possession of the enemy's city. So as they passed through the
lines of respectful civilians on their way to the palace, the King tipped
his crown back on his bald head and folded his arms and sang in his best
voice the following lines:
"Oh, here comes the army of King Rinkitink!
It isn't a big one, perhaps you may think,
But it scattered the warriors quicker than a wink--
Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!
Our Bilbil's a hero and so is his King;
Our foemen have vanished like birds on the wing;
I guess that as fighters we're quite the real thing--
Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!"
"Why don't you give a little credit to Inga?" inquired the goat.
"If I remember aright, he did a little of the conquering himself."
"So he did," responded the King, "and that's the reason I'm
sounding our own praise, Bilbil. Those who do the least often shout the
loudest and so get the most glory. Inga did so much that there is danger
of his becoming more important than we are, and so we'd best say nothing
When they reached the palace, which was an immense building, Inga
took formal possession and ordered the majordomo to show them the finest
rooms the building contained. There were many pleasant apartments, but
Rinkitink proposed to Inga that they share one of the largest bedrooms
"For," said he, "we are not sure that old Gos will not return and
try to recapture his city, and you must remember that I have no magic to
protect me. In any danger, were I alone, I might be easily killed or
captured, while if you are by my side you can save me from injury."
The boy realized the wisdom of this plan and selected a fine, big
bedroom on the second floor of the palace, in which he ordered two golden
beds placed and prepared for King Rinkitink and himself. Bilbil was given
a suite of rooms on the other side of the palace, where servants brought
the goat fresh-cut grass to eat and made him a soft bed to lie upon.
That evening, the boy Prince and the fat King dined in great
state in the lofty-domed dining hall of the palace, where forty servants
waited upon them. The royal chef, anxious to win the favor of the
conquerors of Regos, prepared his finest and most savory dishes for them,
which Rinkitink ate with much appetite and found so delicious that he
ordered the royal chef brought into the banquet hall and presented him
with a gilt button which the King cut from his own jacket.
"You are welcome to it," said he to the chef, "because I have
eaten so much that I cannot use that lower button at all."
Rinkitink was mightily pleased to live in a comfortable palace
again and to dine at a well-spread table. His joy grew every moment, so
that he came in time to be as merry and cheery as before Pingaree was
despoiled. And although he had been much frightened during Inga's
defiance of the army of King Gos, he now began to turn the matter into a
"Why, my boy," said he, "you whipped the big, black-bearded King
exactly as if he were a schoolboy, even though you used no warlike weapon
at all upon him. He was cowed through fear of your magic, and that
reminds me to demand from you an explanation. How did you do it, Inga?
And where did the wonderful magic come from?"
Perhaps it would have been wise for the Prince to have explained
about the magic pearls, but at that moment he was not inclined to do so.
Instead, he replied: "Be patient, Your Majesty. The secret is not my
own, so please do not ask me to divulge it. Is it not enough, for the
present, that the magic saved you from death today?"
"Do not think me ungrateful," answered the King earnestly. "A
million spears fell on me from the wall, and several stones as big as
mountains, yet none of them hurt me!"
"The stones were not as big as mountains, sire," said the Prince
with a smile. "They were, indeed, no larger than your head."
"Are you sure about that?" asked Rinkitink.
"Quite sure, Your Majesty."
"How deceptive those things are!" sighed the King. "This
argument reminds me of the story of Tom Tick, which my father used to
"I have never heard that story," Inga answered.
"Well, as he told it, it ran like this:
When Tom walked out, the sky to spy,
A naughty gnat flew in his eye;
But Tom knew not it was a gnat--
He thought, at first, it was a cat.
"And then it felt so very big
He thought it surely was a pig
Till, standing still to hear it grunt,
He cried: 'Why, it's an ELEPHUNT!'
"But when the gnat flew out again
And Tom was free from all his pain,
He said: 'There flew into my eye
A leetle, teenty-tiny fly.'"
"Indeed," said Inga, laughing, "the gnat was much like your
stones that seemed as big as mountains."
After their dinner, they inspected the palace, which was filled
with valuable goods stolen by King Gos from many nations. But the day's
events had tired them, and they retired early to their big sleeping
"In the morning," said the boy to Rinkitink as he was undressing
for bed, "I shall begin the search for my father and mother and the
people of Pingaree. And when they are found and rescued, we will all go
home again and be as happy as we were before."
They carefully bolted the door of their room that no one might
enter and then got into their beds, where Rinkitink fell asleep in an
instant. The boy lay awake for a while thinking over the day's
adventures, but presently he fell sound asleep also, and so weary was he
that nothing disturbed his slumber until he awakened next morning with a
ray of sunshine in his eyes, which had crept into the room through the
open window by King Rinkitink's bed.
Resolving to begin the search for his parents without any
unnecessary delay, Inga at once got out of bed and began to dress
himself, while Rinkitink, in the other bed, was still sleeping
peacefully. But when the boy had put on both his stockings and began
looking for his shoes, he could find but one of them. The left shoe,
that containing the Pink Pearl, was missing.
Filled with anxiety at this discovery, Inga searched through the
entire room, looking underneath the beds and divans and chairs and behind
the draperies and in the corners and every other possible place a shoe
might be. He tried the door and found it still bolted; so, with growing
uneasiness, the boy was forced to admit that the precious shoe was not in
With a throbbing heart he aroused his companion.
"King Rinkitink," said he, "do you know what has become of my
"Your shoe!" exclaimed the King, giving a yawn and rubbing his
eyes to get the sleep out of them. "Have you lost a shoe?"
"Yes," said Inga. "I have searched everywhere in the room and
cannot find it."
"But why bother me about such a small thing?" inquired Rinkitink.
"A shoe is only a shoe, and you can easily get another one. But, stay!
Perhaps it was your shoe which I threw at the cat last night."
"The cat!" cried Inga. "What do you mean?"
"Why, in the night," explained Rinkitink, sitting up and
beginning to dress himself, "I was wakened by the mewing of a cat that
sat upon a wall of the palace just outside my window. As the noise
disturbed me, I reached out in the dark and caught up something and threw
it at the cat to frighten the creature away. I did not know what it was
that I threw, and I was too sleepy to care; but probably it was your
shoe, since it is now missing."
"Then," said the boy in a despairing tone of voice, "your
carelessness has ruined me as well as yourself, King Rinkitink, for in
that shoe was concealed the magic power which protected us from danger."
The King's face became very serious when he heard this, and he
uttered a low whistle of surprise and regret.
"Why on earth did you not warn me of this?" he demanded. "And
why did you keep such a precious power in an old shoe? And why didn't
you put the shoe under a pillow? You were very wrong, my lad, in not
confiding to me, your faithful friend, the secret, for in that case the
shoe would not now be lost."
To all this Inga had no answer. He sat on the side of his bed
with hanging head, utterly disconsolate, and seeing this, Rinkitink had
pity for his sorrow.
"Come!" cried the King, "Let us go out at once and look for the
shoe which I threw at the cat. It must even now be lying in the yard of
This suggestion roused the boy to action. He at once threw open
the door and in his stocking feet rushed down the staircase, closely
followed by Rinkitink. But although they looked on both sides of the
palace wall and in every possible crack and corner where a shoe might be,
they failed to find it.
After a half hour's careful search, the boy said sorrowfully:
"Someone must have passed by as we slept and taken the precious shoe, not
knowing its value. To us, King Rinkitink, this will be a dreadful
misfortune, for we are surrounded by dangers from which we have now no
protection. Luckily, I have the other shoe left, within which is the
magic power that gives me strength, so all is not lost."
Then he told Rinkitink, in a few words, the secret of the
wonderful pearls, and how he had recovered them from the ruins and hidden
them in his shoes, and how they had enabled him to drive King Gos and his
men from Regos and capture the city. The King was much astonished, and
when the story was concluded, he said to Inga: "What did you do with the
"Why, I left it in our bedroom," replied the boy.
"Then I advise you to get it at once," continued Rinkitink, "for
we can ill afford to lose the second shoe as well as the one I threw at
"You are right!" cried Inga, and they hastened back to their
On entering the room, they found an old woman sweeping and
raising a great deal of dust.
"Where is my shoe?" asked the Prince anxiously.
The old woman stopped sweeping and looked at him in a stupid way,
for she was not very intelligent.
"Do you mean the one odd shoe that was lying on the floor when I
came in?" she finally asked.
"Yes--yes!" answered the boy. "Where is it? Tell me where it
"Why, I threw it on the dust-heap outside the back gate," said
she, "for, it being but a single shoe with no mate, it can be of no use
"Show us the way to the dust-heap at once!" commanded the boy
sternly, for he was greatly frightened by this mew misfortune which
The old woman hobbled away, and they followed her, constantly
urging her to hasten; but when they reached the dust-heap, no shoe was to
"This is terrible!" wailed the young Prince, ready to weep at his
loss. "We are now absolutely ruined and at the mercy of our enemies. Nor
shall I be able to liberate my dear father and mother."
"Well," replied Rinkitink, leaning against an old barrel and
looking quite solemn, "the thing is certainly unlucky any way we look at
it. I suppose someone has passed along here and, seeing the shoe upon the
dust-heap, has carried it away. But no one could know the magic power
the shoe contains, and so will not use it against us. I believe, Inga,
we must now depend upon our wits to get us out of the scrape we are in."
With saddened hearts, they returned to the palace, and entering a
small room where no one could observe them or overhear them, the boy took
the White Pearl from its silken bag and held it to his ear, asking: "What
shall I do now?"
"Tell no one of your loss," answered the Voice of the Pearl. "If
your enemies do not know that you are powerless, they will fear you as
much as ever. Keep your secret, be patient, and fear not!"
Inga heeded this advice and also warned Rinkitink to say nothing
to anyone of the loss of the shoes and the powers they contained. He
sent for the shoemaker of King Gos, who soon brought him a new pair of
red leather shoes that fitted him quite well. When these had been put
upon his feet, the Prince, accompanied by the King, started to walk
through the city.
Wherever they went, the people bowed low to the conqueror,
although a few, remembering Inga's terrible strength, ran away in fear
and trembling. They had been used to severe masters and did not yet know
how they would be treated by King Gos's successor. There being no
occasion for the boy to exercise the powers he had displayed the previous
day, his present helplessness was not suspected by any of the citizens of
Regos, who still considered him a wonderful magician.
Inga did not dare to fight his way to the mines at present, nor
could he try to conquer the Island of Coregos, where his mother was
enslaved; so he set about the regulation of the City of Regos, and having
established himself with great state in the royal palace, he began to
govern the people by kindness, having consideration for the most humble.
The King of Regos and his followers sent spies across to the
island they had abandoned in their flight, and these spies returned with
the news that the terrible boy conqueror was still occupying the city.
Therefore, none of them ventured to go back to Regos, but continued to
live upon the neighboring island of Coregos, where they passed the days
in fear and trembling and sought to plot and plan ways how they might
overcome the Prince of Pingaree and the fat King of Gilgad.
Now it so happened that on the morning of that same day when the
Prince of Pingaree suffered the loss of his priceless shoes, there
chanced to pass along the road that wound beside the royal palace a poor
charcoal-burner named Nikobob, who was about to return to his home in the
Nikobob carried an ax and a bundle of torches over his shoulder,
and he walked with his eyes to the ground, being deep in thought as to
the strange manner in which the powerful King Gos and his city had been
conquered by a boy Prince who had come from Pingaree.
Suddenly, the charcoal-burner espied a shoe lying upon the ground
just beyond the high wall of the palace and directly in his path. He
picked it up, and, seeing it was a pretty shoe although much too small
for his own foot, he put it in his pocket.
Soon after, on turning a corner of the wall, Nikobob came to a
dust-heap where, lying amidst a mass of rubbish, was another shoe--the
mate to the one he had before found. This also he placed in his pocket,
saying to himself: "I have now a fine pair of shoes for my daughter
Zella, who will be much pleased to find I have brought her a present from
And while the charcoal-burner turned into the forest and trudged
along the path toward his home, Inga and Rinkitink were still searching
for the missing shoes. Of course, they could not know that Nikobob had
found them, nor did the honest man think he had taken anything more than
a pair of cast-off shoes which nobody wanted.
Nikobob had several miles to travel through the forest before he
could reach the little log cabin where his wife, as well as his little
daughter Zella, awaited his return, but he was used to long walks and
tramped along the path whistling cheerfully to beguile the time.
Few people, as I said before, ever passed through the dark and
tangled forests of Regos except to go to the mines in the mountain
beyond, for many dangerous creatures lurked in the wild jungles, and King
Gos never knew, when he sent a messenger to the mines, whether he would
reach there safely or not.
The charcoal-burner, however, knew the wild forest well, and
especially this part of it lying between the city and his home. It was
the favorite haunt of the ferocious beast Choggenmugger, dreaded by every
dweller in the Island of Regos. Choggenmugger was so old that everyone
thought it must have been there since the world was made, and each year
of its life the huge scales that covered its body grew thicker and
harder, and its jaws grew wider, and its teeth grew sharper, and its
appetite grew more keen than ever.
In former ages, there had been many dragons in Regos, but
Choggenmugger was so fond of dragons, that he had eaten all of them long
ago. There had also been great serpents and crocodiles in the forest
marshes, but all had gone to feed the hunger of Choggenmugger. The people
of Regos knew well there was no use opposing the Great Beast, so when one
unfortunately met with it, he gave himself up for lost.
All this Nikobob knew well, but fortune had always favored him in
his journeys through the forest, and although he had at times met many
savage beasts and fought them with his sharp ax, he had never to this day
encountered the terrible Choggenmugger. Indeed, he was not thinking of
the Great Beast at all as he walked along, but suddenly he heard a
crashing of broken trees and felt a trembling of the earth and saw the
immense jaws of Choggenmugger opening before him. Then Nikobob gave
himself up for lost, and his heart almost ceased to beat.
He believed there was no way of escape. No one ever dared oppose
Choggenmugger. But Nikobob hated to die without showing the monster in
some way that he was eaten under protest. So he raised his ax and
brought it down upon the red, protruding tongue of the monster--and cut
it clean off!
For a moment, the charcoal-burner scarcely believed what his eyes
saw, for he knew nothing of the pearls he carried in his pocket or the
magic power they lent his arm. His success, however, encouraged him to
strike again, and this time the huge, scaly jaw of Choggenmugger was
severed in twain, and the beast howled in terrified rage.
Nikobob took off his coat to give himself more freedom of action,
and then he earnestly renewed the attack. But now the ax seemed blunted
by the hard scales and made no impression upon them whatever. The
creature advanced with glaring, wicked eyes, and Nikobob seized his coat
under his arm and turned to flee.
That was foolish, for Choggenmugger could run like the wind. In
a moment, it overtook the charcoal-burner and snapped its four rows of
sharp teeth together. But they did not touch Nikobob because he still
held the coat in his grasp, close to his body, and in the coat pocket
were Inga's shoes, and in the points of the shoes were the magic pearls.
Finding himself uninjured, Nikobob put on his coat, again seized his ax,
and in a short time had chopped Choggenmugger into many small pieces--a
task that proved not only easy, but very agreeable.
"I must be the strongest man in all the world!" thought the
charcoal-burner as he proudly resumed his way, "For Choggenmugger has
been the terror of Regos since the world began, and I alone have been
able to destroy the beast. Yet it is singular that never before did I
discover how powerful a man I am."
He met no further adventure, and at midday reached a little
clearing in the forest where stood his humble cabin.
"Great news! I have great news for you," he shouted as his wife
and little daughter came to greet him. "King Gos has been conquered by a
boy Prince from the Island of Pingaree, and I have this day--unaided--
destroyed Choggenmugger by the might of my strong arm."
This was indeed great news. They brought Nikobob into the house
and set him in an easy chair and made him tell everything he knew about
the Prince of Pingaree and the fat King of Gilgad, as well as the details
of his wonderful fight with mighty Choggenmugger.
"And now, my daughter," said the charcoal-burner when all his
news had been related for at least the third time, "here is a pretty
present I have brought you from the city."
With this, he drew the shoes from the pocket of his coat and
handed them to Zella, who gave him a dozen kisses in payment and was much
pleased with her gift. The little girl had never worn shoes before, for
her parents were too poor to buy her such luxuries, so now the possession
of these, which were not much worn, filled the child's heart with joy.
She admired the red leather and the graceful curl of the pointed toes.
When she tried them on her feet, they fitted as well as if made for her.
All the afternoon as she helped her mother with the housework,
Zella thought of her pretty shoes. They seemed more important to her
than the coming to Regos of the conquering Prince of Pingaree, or even
the death of Choggenmugger.
When Zella and her mother were not working in the cabin, cooking
or sewing, they often searched the neighboring forest for honey which the
wild bees cleverly hid in hollow trees. The day after Nikobob's return,
as they were starting out after honey, Zella decided to put on her new
shoes, as they would keep the twigs that covered the ground from hurting
her feet. She was used to the twigs, of course, but what is the use of
having nice, comfortable shoes if you do not wear them?
So she danced along, very happily, followed by her mother, and
presently they came to a tree in which was a deep hollow. Zella thrust
her hand and arm into the space and found that the tree was full of
honey, so she began to dig it out with a wooden paddle. Her mother, who
held the pail, suddenly cried in warning: "Look out, Zella, the bees are
coming!" and then the good woman ran fast toward the house to escape.
Zella, however, had no more than time to turn her head when a
thick swarm of bees surrounded her, angry because they had caught her
stealing their honey and intent on stinging the girl as a punishment. She
knew her danger and expected to be badly injured by the multitude of
stinging bees, but to her surprise the little creatures were unable to
fly close enough to her to stick their dart-like stingers into her flesh.
They swarmed about her in a dark cloud, and their angry buzzing was
terrible to hear, yet the little girl remained unharmed.
When she realized this, Zella was no longer afraid, but continued
to ladle out the honey until she had secured all that was in the tree.
Then she returned to the cabin, where her mother was weeping and
bemoaning the fate of her darling child, and the good woman was greatly
astonished to find Zella had escaped injury.
Again they went to the woods to search for honey, and although
the mother always ran away whenever the bees came near them, Zella paid
no attention to the creatures, but kept at her work, so that before
suppertime came the pails were again filled to overflowing with delicious
"With such good fortune as we have had this day," said her
mother, "we shall soon gather enough honey for you to carry to Queen
Cor." For it seems the wicked Queen was very fond of honey, and it had
been Zella's custom to go, once every year, to the City of Coregos to
carry the Queen a supply of sweet honey for her table. Usually, she had
but one pail.
"But now," said Zella, "I shall be able to carry two pailsful to
the Queen, who will, I am sure, give me a good price for it."
"True," answered her mother, "and as the boy Prince may take it
into his head to conquer Coregos as well as Regos, I think it best for
you to start on your journey to Queen Cor tomorrow morning. Do you not
agree with me, Nikobob?" she added, turning to her husband, the
charcoal-burner, who was eating his supper.
"I agree with you," he replied. "If Zella must go to the City of
Coregos, she may as well start tomorrow morning."
You may be sure the Queen of Coregos was not well pleased to have
King Gos and all his warriors living in her city after they had fled from
their own. They were savage natured and quarrelsome men at all times,
and their tempers had not improved since their conquest by the Prince of
Pingaree. Moreover, they were eating up Queen Cor's provisions and
crowding the houses of her own people, who grumbled and complained until
their Queen was heartily tired.
"Shame on you!" she said to her husband, King Gos, "To be driven
out of your city by a boy, a roly-poly King and a billy goat! Why do you
not go back and fight them?"
"No human can fight against the powers of magic," returned the
King in a surly voice. "That boy is either a fairy or under the
protection of fairies. We escaped with our lives only because we were
quick to run away, but should we return to Regos, the same terrible power
that burst open the city gates would crush us all to atoms."
"Bah! You are a coward," cried the Queen, tauntingly.
"I am not a coward," said the big King. "I have killed in battle
scores of my enemies; by the might of my sword and my good right arm I
have conquered many nations; all my life people have feared me. But no
one would dare face the tremendous power of the Prince of Pingaree, boy
though he is. It would not be courage, it would be folly to attempt it."
"Then meet his power with cunning," suggested the Queen. "Take
my advice and steal over to Regos at night when it is dark and capture or
destroy the boy while he sleeps."
"No weapon can touch his body," was the answer. "He bears a
charmed life and cannot be injured."
"Does the fat King possess magic powers, or the goat?" inquired
"I think not," said Gos. "We could not injure them, indeed, any
more than we could the boy, but they did not seem to have any unusual
strength, although the goat's head is harder than a battering-ram."
"Well," mused the Queen, "there is surely some way to conquer
that slight boy. If you are afraid to undertake the job, I shall go
myself. By some stratagem I shall manage to make him my prisoner. He
will not dare to defy a Queen, and no magic can stan
d against a woman's cunning."
"Go ahead, if you like," replied the King with an evil grin, "and
if you are hung up by the thumbs or cast into a dungeon, it will serve
you right for thinking you can succeed where a skilled warrior dares not
make the attempt."
"I'm not afraid," answered the Queen. "It is only soldiers and
bullies who are cowards."
In spite of this assertion, Queen Cor was not so brave as she was
cunning. For several days she thought over this plan and that, and tried
to decide which was most likely to succeed. She had never seen the boy
Prince, but had heard so many tales of him from the defeated warriors,
and especially from Captain Buzzub, that she had learned to respect his
Spurred on by the knowledge that she would never get rid of her
unwelcome guests until Prince Inga was overcome and Regos regained for
King Gos, the Queen of Coregos finally decided to trust to luck and her
native wit to defeat a simple-minded boy, however powerful he might be.
Inga could not suspect what she was going to do, because she did not know
herself. She intended to act boldly and trust to chance to win.
It is evident that had the cunning Queen known that Inga had lost
all his magic, she would not have devoted so much time to the simple
matter of capturing him, but like all others, she was impressed by the
marvelous exhibition of power he had shown in capturing Regos and had no
reason to believe the boy was less powerful now.
One morning, Queen Cor boldly entered a boat and, taking four men
with her as an escort and bodyguard, was rowed across the narrow channel
to Regos. Prince Inga was sitting in the palace playing checkers with
King Rinkitink when a servant came to him saying that Queen Cor had
arrived and desired an audience with him.
With many misgivings lest the wicked Queen discover that he had
now lost his magic powers, the boy ordered her to be admitted, and she
soon entered the room and bowed low before him in mock respect.
Cor was a big woman, almost as tall as King Gos. She had
flashing black eyes and the dark complexion you see on gypsies. Her
temper, when irritated, was something dreadful, and her face wore an evil
expression which she tried to cover by smiling sweetly, often when she
meant the most mischief.
"I have come," she said in a low voice, "to render homage to the
noble Prince of Pingaree. I am told that Your Highness is the strongest
person in the world and invincible in battle, and therefore I wish you to
become my friend rather than my enemy."
Now Inga did not know how to reply to this speech. He disliked
the appearance of the woman and was afraid of her, and he was unused to
deception and did not know how to mask his real feelings. So he took
time to think over his answer, which he finally made in these words: "I
have no quarrel with Your Majesty, and my only reason for coming here is
to liberate my father and mother and my people, whom you and your husband
have made slaves, and to recover the goods King Gos has plundered from
the island of Pingaree. This I hope soon to accomplish, and if you
really wish to be my friend, you can assist me greatly."
While he was speaking, Queen Cor had been studying the boy's face
stealthily from the corners of her eyes, and she said to herself: "He is
so small and innocent that I believe I can capture him alone and with
ease. He does not seem very terrible, and I suspect that King Gos and
his warriors were frightened at nothing." Them, aloud, she said to Inga:
"I wish to invite you, mighty Prince, and your friend, the great King of
Gilgad, to visit my poor palace at Coregos, where all my people shall do
you honor. Will you come?"
"At present," replied Inga uneasily, "I must refuse your kind
"There will be feasting and dancing girls and games and
fireworks," said the Queen, speaking as if eager to entice him and at
each word coming a step nearer to where he stood.
"I could not enjoy them while my poor parents are slaves," said
the boy sadly.
"Are you sure of that?" asked Queen Cor, and by that time she was
close beside Inga. Suddenly she leaned forward and threw both of her
long arms around Inga's body, holding him in a grasp that was like a
Now Rinkitink sprang forward to rescue his friend, but Cor kicked
out viciously with her foot and struck the King squarely on his
stomach--a very tender place to be kicked, especially if one is fat.
Then, still hugging Inga tightly, the Queen called aloud: "I've got him!
Bring in the ropes."
Instantly, the four men she had brought with her sprang into the
room and bound the boy hand and foot. Next they seized Rinkitink, who
was still rubbing his stomach, and bound him likewise.
With a laugh of wicked triumph, Queen Cor now led her captives
down to the boat and returned with them to Coregos.
Great was the astonishment of King Gos and his warriors when they
saw that the mighty Prince of Pingaree, who had put them all to flight,
had been captured by a woman. Cowards as they were, they now crowded
around the boy and jeered at him, and some of them would have struck him
had not the Queen cried out: "Hands off! He is my prisoner, remember,
"Well, Cor, what are you going to do with him"" inquired King
"I shall make him my slave, that he may amuse my idle hours. For
he is a pretty boy, and gentle, although he did frighten all of you big
warriors so terribly."
The King scowled at this speech, not liking to be ridiculed, but
he said nothing more. He and his men returned that same day to Regos
after restoring the bridge of boats. And they held a wild carnival of
rejoicing, both in the King's palace and in the city, although the poor
people of Regos who were not warriors were all sorry that the kind young
Prince had been captured by his enemies and could rule them no longer.
When her unwelcome guests had all gone back to Regos and the
Queen was alone in her palace, she ordered Inga and Rinkitink brought
before her and their bonds removed. They came sadly enough, knowing they
were in serious straits and at the mercy of a cruel mistress. Inga had
taken counsel of the White Pearl, which had advised him to bear up
bravely under his misfortune, promising a change for the better very
soon. With this promise to comfort him, Inga faced the Queen with a
dignified bearing that indicated both pride and courage.
"Well, youngster," said she, in a cheerful tone because she was
pleased with her success, "you played a clever trick on my poor husband
and frightened him badly, but for that prank I am inclined to forgive
you. Hereafter I intend you to be my page, which means that you must
fetch and carry for me at my will. And let me advise you to obey my
every whim without question or delay, for when I am angry I become ugly,
and when I am ugly someone is sure to feel the lash. Do you understand
Inga bowed, but made no answer. Then she turned to Rinkitink and
said: "As for you, I cannot decide how to make you useful to me, as you
are altogether too fat and awkward to work in the fields. It may be,
however, that I can use you as a pincushion."
"What!" cried Rinkitink in horror, "Would you stick pins into the
King of Gilgad?"
"Why not?" returned Queen Cor. "You are as fat as a pincushion,
as you must yourself admit, and whenever I needed a pin I could call you
to me." Then she laughed at his frightened look and asked: "By the way,
are you ticklish?"
This was the question Rinkitink had been dreading. He gave a
moan and shook his head.
"I should love to tickle the bottom of your feet with a feather,"
continued the cruel woman. "Please take off your shoes."
"Oh, your Majesty!" pleaded poor Rinkitink. "I beg you to allow
me to amuse you in some other way. I can dance, or I can sing you a
"Well," she said, shaking with laughter, "you may sing a song, if
it be a merry one. But you do not seem in a merry mood."
"I FEEL merry--indeed, Your Majesty, I do!" protested Rinkitink,
anxious to escape the tickling. But even as he professed to "feel
merry," his round, red face wore an expression of horror and anxiety that
was really comical.
"Sing, then!" commanded Queen Cor, who was greatly amused.
Rinkitink gave a sigh of relief, and after clearing his throat
and trying to repress his sobs, he began to sing this song, gently at
first, but finally roaring it out at the top of his voice:
"Oh! There was a Baby Tiger lived in a men-ag-er-ie--
Fizzy-fezzy-fuzzy--they wouldn't set him free;
And ev'rybody thought that he was gentle as could be--
"Oh! They patted him upon his head and shook him by the paw--
Fizzy-fezzy-fuzzy--he had a bone to gnaw;
But soon he grew the biggest Tiger that you ever saw--
Fizzy-fezzy-fuzzy--what a Ti-ger!
"Oh! One day they came to pet the brute and he began to fight--
Fizzy-fezzy-fuzzy--how he did scratch and bite!
He broke the cage and in a rage he darted out of sight--
Fizzy-fezzy-fuzzy was a Ti-ger!"
"And is there a moral to the song?" asked Queen Cor when King
Rinkitink had finished his song with great spirit.
"If there is," replied Rinkitink, "it is a warning not to fool
The little Prince could not help smiling at this shrewd answer,
but Queen Cor frowned and gave the King a sharp look. "Oh," said she, "I
think I know the difference between a tiger and a lapdog. But I'll bear
the warning in mind, just the same."
For, after all her success in capturing them, she was a little
afraid of these people who had once displayed such extra-ordinary powers.
The forest in which Nikobob lived with his wife and daughter
stood between the mountains and the City of Regos, and a well-beaten path
wound among the trees leading from the city to the mines. This path was
used by the King's messengers, and captured prisoners were also sent by
this way from Regos to work in the underground caverns.
Nikobob had built his cabin more than a mile away from this path
that he might not be molested by the wild and lawless soldiers of King
Gos, but the family of the charcoal-burner was surrounded by many
creatures scarcely less dangerous to encounter, and often in the night
they could hear savage animals growling and prowling about the cabin.
Because Nikobob minded his own business and never hunted the wild
creatures to injure them, the beasts had come to regard him as one of the
natural dwellers in the forest and did not molest him or his family.
Still, Zella and her mother seldom wandered far from home except on such
errands as carrying honey to Coregos, and at these times Nikobob
cautioned them to be very careful.
So when Zella set out on her journey to Queen Cor with the two
pails of honey in her hands, she was undertaking a dangerous adventure,
and there was no certainty that she would return safely to her loving
parents. But they were poor, and Queen Cor's money, which they expected
to receive for the honey, would enable them to purchase many things that
were needed; so it was deemed best that Zella should go. She was a brave
little girl, and poor people are often obliged to take chances that rich
ones are spared.
A passing woodchopper had brought news to Nikobob's cabin that
Queen Cor had made a prisoner of the conquering Prince of Pingaree and
that Gos and his warriors were again back in the city of Regos; but these
struggles and conquests were matters which, however interesting, did not
concern the poor charcoal-burner or his family. They were more anxious
over the report that the warriors had become more reckless than ever
before and delighted in annoying all the common people; so Zella was told
to keep away from the beaten path as much as possible, that she might not
encounter any of the King's soldiers.
"When it is necessary to choose between the warriors and the wild
beasts," said Nikobob, "the beasts will be found the more merciful."
The little girl had put on her best attire for the journey, and
her mother threw a blue shawl over her head and shoulders. Upon her feet
were the pretty red shoes her father had brought her from Regos. Thus
prepared, she kissed her parents goodbye and started out with a light
heart, carrying the pails of honey in either hand.
It was necessary for Zella to cross the path that led from the
mines to the city, but once on the other side she was not likely to meet
with anyone, for she had resolved to cut through the forest and so reach
the bridge of boats without entering the City of Regos, where she might
be interrupted. For an hour or two she found the walking easy enough,
but then the forest, which in this part was unknown to her, became badly
tangled. The trees were thicker, and creeping vines intertwined between
them. She had to turn this way and that to get through at all, and
finally she came to a place where a network of vines and branches
effectually barred her farther progress.
Zella was dismayed, at first, when she encountered this obstacle,
but setting down her pails, she made an endeavor to push the branches
aside. At her touch, they parted as if by magic, breaking asunder like
dried twigs, and she found she could pass freely. At another place, a
great log had fallen across her way, but the little girl lifted it easily
and cast it aside, although six ordinary men could scarcely have moved
The child was somewhat worried at this evidence of a strength she
had heretofore been ignorant that she possessed. In order to satisfy
herself that it was no delusion, she tested her newfound power in many
ways, finding that nothing was too big or too heavy for her to lift. And
naturally enough, the girl gained courage from these experiments and
became confident that she could protect herself in any emergency.
When presently a wild boar ran toward her, grunting horribly and
threatening her with its great tusks, she did not climb a tree to escape
as she had always done before on meeting such creatures, but stood still
and faced the boar. When it had come quite close and Zella saw that it
could not injure her--a fact that astonished both the beast and the
girl--she suddenly reached down and, seizing it by one ear, threw the
great beast far off amongst the trees, where it fell headlong to the
earth, grunting louder than ever with surprise and fear.
The girl laughed merrily at this incident, and picking up her
pails resumed her journey through the forest. It is not recorded whether
the wild boar told his adventure to the other beasts or they had happened
to witness his defeat, but certain it is that Zella was not again
molested. A brown bear watched her pass without making any movement in
her direction, and a great puma, a beast much dreaded by all men, crept
out of her path as she approached, and disappeared among the trees.
Thus everything favored the girl's journey, and she made such good
speed that by noon she emerged from the forest's edge and found she was
quite near to the bridge of boats that led to Coregos. This she crossed
safely and without meeting any of the rude warriors she so greatly
feared, and five minutes later the daughter of the charcoal-burner was
seeking admittance at the back door of Queen Cor's palace.
Our story must now return to one of our characters whom we have
been forced to neglect. The temper of Bilbil the goat was not sweet
under any circumstances, and whenever he had a grievance, he was inclined
to be quite grumpy. So when his master settled down in the palace of
King Gos for a quiet life with the boy Prince and passed his time in
playing checkers and eating and otherwise enjoying himself, he had no use
whatever for Bilbil and shut the goat in an upstairs room to prevent his
wandering through the city and quarreling with the citizens. But this
Bilbil did not like at all. He became very cross and disagreeable at
being left alone, and he did not speak nicely to the servants who came to
bring him food; therefore, those people decided not to wait upon him any
more, resenting his conversation and not liking to be scolded by a lean,
scraggly goat, even though it belonged to a conqueror. The servants kept
away from the room, and Bilbil grew more hungry and more angry every
hour. He tried to eat the rugs and ornaments, but found them not at all
nourishing. There was no grass to be had unless he escaped from the
When Queen Cor came to capture Inga and Rinkitink, both the
prisoners were so filled with despair at their own misfortune that they
gave no thought whatever to the goat, who was left in his room. Nor did
Bilbil know anything of the changed fortunes of his comrades until he
heard shouts and boisterous laughter in the courtyard below. Looking out
of a window with the intention of rebuking those who dared thus to
disturb him, Bilbil saw the courtyard quite filled with warriors and knew
from this that the palace had in some way again fallen into the hands of
Now although Bilbil was often exceedingly disagreeable to King
Rinkitink, as well as to the Prince, and sometimes used harsh words in
addressing them, he was intelligent enough to know them to be his friends
and to know that King Gos and his people were his foes. In sudden anger,
provoked by the sight of the warriors and the knowledge that he was in
the power of the dangerous men of Regos, Bilbil butted his head against
the door of his room and burst it open. Then he ran to the head of the
staircase and saw King Gos coming up the stairs followed by a long line
of his chief captains and warriors.
The goat lowered his head, trembling with rage and excitement,
and just as the King reached the top stair, the animal dashed forward and
butted His Majesty so fiercely that the big and powerful King, who did
not expect an attack, doubled up and tumbled backward. His great weight
knocked over the man just behind him, and he in turn struck the next
warrior and upset him, so that in an instant the whole line of Bilbil's
foes was tumbling heels over head to the bottom of the stairs, where they
piled up in a heap, struggling and shouting and in the mix-up hitting one
another with their fists until every man was bruised and sore.
Finally, King Gos scrambled out of the heap and rushed up the
stairs, very angry indeed. Bilbil was ready for him and a second time
butted the King down the stairs; but now the goat also lost his balance
and followed the King, landing full upon the confused heap of soldiers.
Then he kicked out so viciously with his heels that he soon freed himself
and dashed out of the doorway of the palace.
"Stop him!" cried King Gos, running after.
But the goat was now so wild and excited that it was not safe for
anyone to stand in his way. None of the men were armed, and when one or
two tried to head off the goat, Bilbil sent them sprawling upon the
ground. Most of the warriors, however, were wise enough not to attempt
to interfere with his flight.
Coursing down the street, Bilbil found himself approaching the
bridge of boats, and without pausing to think where it might lead him, he
crossed over and proceeded on his way. A few moments later, a great
stone building blocked his path. It was the palace of Queen Cor, and
seeing the gates of the courtyard standing wide open, Bilbil rushed
through them without slackening his speed.
The wicked Queen of Coregos was in a very bad humor this morning,
for one of her slave drivers had come from the fields to say that a
number of slaves had rebelled and would not work.
"Bring them here to me!" she cried savagely. "A good whipping may
make them change their minds."
So the slave driver went to fetch the rebellious ones, and Queen
Cor sat down to eat her breakfast, an ugly look on her face.
Prince Inga had been ordered to stand behind his new mistress with
a big fan of peacock's feathers, but he was so unused to such service
that he awkwardly brushed her ear with the fan. At once, she flew into a
terrible rage and slapped the Prince twice with her hand--blows that
tingled, too, for her hand was big and hard, and she was not inclined to
be gentle. Inga took the blows without shrinking or uttering a cry,
although they stung his pride far more than his body. But King Rinkitink,
who was acting as the queen's butler and had just brought in her coffee,
was so startled at seeing the young Prince punished that he tipped over
the urn, and the hot coffee streamed across the lap of the Queen's best
Cor sprang from her seat with a scream of anger, and poor
Rinkitink would doubtless have been given a terrible beating had not the
slave driver returned at this moment and attracted the woman's attention.
The overseer had brought with him all of the women slaves from Pingaree,
who had been loaded down with chains and were so weak and ill they could
scarcely walk, much less work in the fields.
Prince Inga's eyes were dimmed with sorrowful tears when he
discovered how his poor people had been abused, but his own plight was so
helpless that he was unable to aid them. Fortunately, the boy's mother,
Queen Garee, was not among these slaves, for Queen Cor had placed her in
the royal dairy to make butter.
"Why do you refuse to work?" demanded Cor in a harsh voice as the
slaves from Pingaree stood before her trembling and with downcast eyes.
"Because we lack strength to perform the tasks your overseers
demand," answered one of the women.
"Then you shall be whipped until your strength returns!"
exclaimed the Queen and, turning to Inga, she commanded: "Get me the whip
with the seven lashes."
As the boy left the room wondering how he might manage to save
the unhappy women from their undeserved punishment, he met a girl
entering by the back way who asked: "Can you tell me where to find Her
Majesty, Queen Cor?"
"She is in the chamber with the red dome, where green dragons are
painted upon the walls," replied Inga, "but she is in an angry and
ungracious mood today. Why do you wish to see her?"
"I have honey to sell," answered the girl, who was Zella just
come from the forest. "The Queen is very fond of my honey."
"You may go to her if you so desire," said the boy, "but take
care not to anger the cruel Queen, or she may do you a mischief."
"Why should she harm me, who brings her the honey she so dearly
loves?" inquired the child innocently. "But I thank you for your
warning, and I will try not to anger the Queen."
As Zella started to go, Inga's eyes suddenly fell upon her shoes,
and instantly he recognized them as his own, for only in Pingaree were
shoes shaped in this manner: high at the heel and pointed at the toes.
"Stop!" he cried in an excited voice, and the girl obeyed,
wonderingly. "Tell me," he continued more gently, "where did you get
"My father brought them to me from Regos," she answered.
"Yes. Are they not pretty?" asked Zella, looking down at her
feet to admire them. "One of them my father found by the palace wall,
and the other on an ash-heap. So he brought them to me, and they fit me
By this time Inga was trembling with eager joy, which of course
the girl could not understand.
"What is your name, little maid?" he asked.
"I am called Zella, and my father is Nikobob, the
"Zella is a pretty name. I am Inga, Prince of Pingaree," said
he, "and the shoes you are now wearing, Zella, belong to me. They were
not cast away as your father supposed, but were lost. Will you let me
have them again?"
Zella's eyes filled with tears.
"Must I give up my pretty shoes, then?" she asked. "They are the
only ones I have ever owned."
Inga was sorry for the poor child, but he knew how important it
was that he regain possession of the Magic Pearls. So he said,
pleadingly: "Please let me have them, Zella. See! I will exchange for
them the shoes I now have on, which are newer and prettier than the
The girl hesitated. She wanted to please the boy Prince, yet she
hated to exchange the shoes which her father had brought her as a
"If you will give me the shoes," continued the boy anxiously, "I
will promise to make you and your father rich and prosperous. Indeed, I
will promise to grant any favors you may ask of me," and he sat down upon
the floor and drew off the shoes he was wearing and held them toward the
"I'll see if they will fit me," said Zella, taking off her left
shoe, the one that contained the Pink Pearl, and beginning to put on one
Just them Queen Cor, angry at being made to wait for her whip
with the seven lashes, rushed into the room to find Inga. Seeing the boy
sitting upon the floor beside Zella, the woman sprang toward him to beat
him with her clenched fists, but Inga had now slipped on the shoe, and
the Queen's blows could not reach his body.
Then Cor espied the whip lying beside Inga, and snatching it up
she tried to lash him with it, all to no avail.
While Zella sat horrified by this scene, the Prince, who realized
he had no time to waste, reached out and pulled the right shoe from the
girl's foot, quickly placing it upon his own. Then he stood up and,
facing the furious but astonished Queen, said to her in a quiet voice:
"Madam, please give me that whip."
"I won't!" answered Cor. "I'm going to lash those Pingaree women
The boy seized hold of the whip and with irresistible strength
drew it from the Queen's hand. But she drew from her bosom a sharp
dagger, and with the swiftness of lightning aimed a blow at Inga's heart.
He merely stood and smiled, for the blade rebounded and fell clattering
to the floor.
Then at last Queen Cor understood the magic power that had
terrified her husband but which she had ridiculed in her ignorance, not
believing in it. She did not know that Inga's power had been lost and
found again, but she realized the boy was no common foe and that unless
she could still manage to outwit him, her reign in the Island of Coregos
was ended. To gain time, she went back to the red-domed chamber and
seated herself in her throne, before which were grouped the weeping
slaves from Pingaree.
Inga had taken Zella's hand and assisted her to put on the shoes
he had given her in exchange for his own. She found them quite
comfortable and did not know she had lost anything by the transfer.
"Come with me," then said the boy Prince, and led her into the
presence of Queen Cor, who was giving Rinkitink a scolding. To the
overseer, Inga said: "Give me the keys which unlock these chains, that I
may set these poor women at liberty."
"Don't you do it!" screamed Queen Cor.
"If you interfere, madam," said the boy, "I will put you into a
By this Rinkitink knew that Inga had recovered the Magic Pearls,
and the little fat King was so overjoyed that he danced and capered all
around the room. But the Queen was alarmed at the threat, and the slave
driver, fearing the conqueror of Regos, tremblingly gave up the keys.
Inga quickly removed all the shackles from the women of his
country and comforted them, telling them they should work no more but
would soon be restored to their homes in Pingaree. Then he commanded the
slave driver to go and get all the children who had been made slaves and
to bring them to their mothers. The man obeyed and left at once to
perform his errand, while Queen Cor, growing more and more uneasy,
suddenly sprang from her throne and, before Inga could stop her, rushed
through the room and out into the courtyard of the palace, meaning to
make her escape. Rinkitink followed her, running as fast as he could go.
It was at this moment that Bilbil, in his mad dash from Regos,
turned in at the gates of the courtyard, and as he was coming one way and
Queen Cor was going the other, they bumped into each other with great
force. The woman sailed through the air over Bilbil's head and landed on
the ground outside the gates, where her crown rolled into a ditch, and
she picked herself up, half dazed, and continued her flight. Bilbil was
also somewhat dazed by the unexpected encounter, but he continued his
rush rather blindly and so struck poor Rinkitink, who was chasing after
Queen Cor. They rolled over one another a few times, and then Rinkitink
sat up and Bilbil sat up and they looked at each other in amazement.
"Bilbil," said the King, "I'm astonished at you!"
"Your Majesty," said Bilbil, "I expected kinder treatment at your
"You interrupted me," said Rinkitink.
"There was plenty of room without your taking my path," declared
And then Inga came running out and said: "Where is the Queen?"
"Gone," replied Rinkitink, "but she cannot go far, as this is an
island. However, I have found Bilbil, and our party is again reunited.
You have recovered your magic powers, and again we are masters of the
situation. So let us be thankful."
Saying this, the good little King got upon his feet and limped
back into the throne room to help comfort the women.
Presently the children of Pingaree, who had been gathered
together by the overseer, were brought in and restored to their mothers,
and there was great rejoicing among them, you may be sure.
"But where is Queen Garee, my dear mother?" questioned Inga. But
the women did not know, and it was some time before the overseer
remembered that one of the slaves from Pingaree had been placed in the
royal dairy. Perhaps this was the woman the boy was seeking.
Inga at once commanded him to lead the way to the butter house,
but when they arrived there, Queen Garee was nowhere in the place,
although the boy found a silk scarf which he recognized as one that his
mother used to wear. Then they began a search throughout the island of
Coregos, but could not find Inga's mother anywhere.
When they returned to the palace of Queen Cor, Rinkitink
discovered that the bridge of boats had again been removed, separating
them from Regos, and from this they suspected that Queen Cor had fled to
her husband's island and had taken Queen Garee with her. Inga was much
perplexed what to do and returned with his friends to the palace to talk
the matter over.
Zella was now crying because she had not sold her honey and was
unable to return to her parents on the island of Regos, but the boy
Prince comforted her and promised she should be protected until she could
be restored to her home. Rinkitink found Queen Cor's purse, which she
had had no time to take with her, and gave Zella several gold pieces for
the honey. Then Inga ordered the palace servants to prepare a feast for
all the women and children of Pingaree and to prepare for them beds in
the great palace, which was large enough to accommodate them all.
Then the boy and the goat and Rinkitink and Zella went into a
private room to consider what should be done next.
"Our fault," said Rinkitink, "is that we conquer only one of these
twin islands at a time. When we conquered Regos, our foes all came to
Coregos, and now that we have conquered Coregos, the Queen has fled to
Regos. And each time they removed the bridge of boats so that we could
not follow them."
"What has become of our own boat, in which we came from
Pingaree?" asked Bilbil.
"We left it on the shore of Regos," replied the Prince, "but I
wonder if we could not get it again."
"Why don't you ask the White Pearl?" suggested Rinkitink.
"That is a good idea," returned the boy, and at once he drew the
White Pearl from its silken bag and held it to his ear. Then he asked:
"How may I regain our boat?"
The Voice of the Pearl replied: "Go to the south end of the
Island of Coregos and clap your hands three times, and the boat will come
"Very good!" cried Inga, and then he turned to his companions and
said: "We shall be able to get our boat whenever we please; but what then
shall we do?"
"Take me home in it!" pleaded Zella.
"Come with me to my City of Gilgad," said the King, "where you
will be very welcome to remain forever."
"No," answered Inga, "I must rescue my father and mother, as well
as my people. Already I have the women and children of Pingaree, but the
men are with my father in the mines of Regos, and my dear mother has been
taken away by Queen Cor. Not until all are rescued will I consent to
leave these islands."
"Quite right!" exclaimed Bilbil.
"On second thought," said Rinkitink, "I agree with you. If you
are careful to sleep in your shoes and never take them off again, I
believe you will be able to perform the task you have undertaken."
They counseled together for a long time as to their mode of
action, and it was finally considered best to make the attempt to
liberate King Kitticut first of all, and with him the men from Pingaree.
This would give them an army to assist them, and afterward they could
march to Regos and compel Queen Cor to give up the Queen of Pingaree.
Zella told them that they could go in their boat along the shore of Regos
to a point opposite the mines, thus avoiding any conflict with the
warriors of King Gos.
This being considered the best course to pursue, they resolved to
start on the following morning, as night was even now approaching. The
servants being all busy in caring for the women and children, Zella
undertook to get a dinner for Inga and Rinkitink and herself and soon
prepared a fine meal in the palace kitchen, for she was a good little
cook and had often helped her mother. The dinner was served in a small
room overlooking the gardens, and Rinkitink thought the best part of it
was the sweet honey, which he spread upon the biscuits that Zella had
made. As for Bilbil, he wandered through the palace grounds and found
some grass that made him a good dinner.
During the evening Inga talked with the women and cheered them,
promising soon to reunite them with their husbands who were working in
the mines and to send them back to their own island of Pingaree.
Next morning the boy rose bright and early and found that Zella
had already prepared a nice breakfast. And after the meal they went to
the most southern point of the island, which was not very far away,
Rinkitink riding upon Bilbil's back and Inga and Zella following behind
them, hand in hand.
When they reached the water's edge, the boy advanced and clapped
his hands together three times as the White Pearl had told him to do.
And in a few moments they saw in the distance the black boat with the
silver lining coming swiftly toward them from the sea. Presently it
grounded on the beach, and they all got into it.
Zella was delighted with the boat, which was the most beautiful
she had ever seen, and the marvel of its coming to them through the water
without anyone to row it made her a little afraid of the fairy craft. But
Inga picked up the oars and began to row, and at once the boat shot
swiftly in the direction of Regos. They rounded the point of that island
where the city was built and noticed that the shore was lined with
warriors who had discovered their boat but seemed undecided whether to
pursue it or not. This was probably because they had received no
commands what to do, or perhaps they had learned to fear the magic powers
of these adventurers from Pingaree and were unwilling to attack them
unless their King ordered them to.
The coast on the western side of the Island of Regos was very
uneven, and Zella, who knew fairly well the location of the mines from
the inland forest path, was puzzled to decide which mountain they now
viewed from the sea was the one where the entrance to the underground
caverns was located. First she thought it was this peak, and then she
guessed it was that; so considerable time was lost through her
They finally decided to land and explore the country to see where
they were, so Inga ran the boat into a little rocky cove where they all
disembarked. For an hour they searched for the path without finding any
trace of it, and now Zella believed they had gone too far to the north
and must return to another mountain that was nearer to the city.
Once again they entered the boat and followed the winding coast
road until they thought they had reached the right place. By this time,
however, it was growing dark, for the entire day had been spent in the
search for the entrance to the mines, and Zella warned them that it would
be safer to spend the night in the boat than on the land where wild
beasts were sure to disturb them. None of them realized at this time how
fatal this day of search had been to their plans, and perhaps if Inga had
realized what was going on he would have landed and fought all the wild
beasts in the forest rather than quietly remain in the boat until
However, knowing nothing of the cunning plans of Queen Cor and
King Gos, they anchored their boat in a little bay and cheerfully ate
their dinner, finding plenty of food and drink in the boat's lockers. In
the evening, the stars came out in the sky and tipped the waves around
their boat with silver. All around them was delightfully still save for
the occasional snarl of a beast on the neighboring shore.
They talked together quietly of their adventures and their future
plans, and Zella told them her simple history and how hard her poor
father was obliged to work burning charcoal to sell for enough money to
support his wife and child. Nikobob might be the humblest man in all
Regos, but Zella declared he was a good man, and honest, and it was not
his fault that his country was ruled by so wicked a King.
Then Rinkitink, to amuse them, offered to sing a song, and
although Bilbil protested in his gruff way, claiming that his master's
voice was cracked and disagreeable, the Little King was encouraged by the
others to sing his song, which he did.
"A red-headed man named Ned was dead;
In battle he had lost his head;
'Alas, poor Ned,' to him I said,
'How did you lose your head so red?'
"Said Ned: 'I for my country bled,'
'Instead of dying safe in bed;'
'If I had only fled, instead,
I then had been a head ahead.'
"I said to Ned--"
"Do stop, Your Majesty!" pleaded Bilbil. "You're making my head
"But the song isn't finished," replied Rinkitink, "and as for your
head aching, think of poor Ned, who hadn't any head at all!"
"I can think of nothing but your dismal singing," retorted Bilbil.
"Why didn't you choose a cheerful subject instead of telling how a man
who was dead lost his red head? Really, Rinkitink, I'm surprised at you."
"I know a splendid song about a live man," said the King.
"Then don't sing it," begged Bilbil.
Zella was both astonished and grieved by the disrespectful words
of the goat, for she had quite enjoyed Rinkitink's singing and had been
taught a proper respect for Kings and those high in authority. But as it
was now getting late, they decided to go to sleep that they might rise
early the following morning, so they all reclined upon the bottom of the
big boat and covered themselves with blankets which they found stored
under-neath the seats for just such occasions. They were not long in
falling asleep and did not waken until daybreak.
After a hurried breakfast, for Inga was eager to liberate his
father, the boy rowed the boat ashore, and they all landed and began
searching for the path. Zella found it within the next half hour and
declared they must be very close to the entrance to the mines; so they
followed the path toward the north, Inga going first, and then Zella
following him, while Rinkitink brought up in the rear riding upon
Before long they saw a great wall of rock towering before them in
which was a low, arched entrance, and on either side of this entrance
stood a guard armed with a sword and a spear. The guards of the mines
were not so fierce as the warriors of King Gos, their duty being to make
the slaves work at their tasks and guard them from escaping; but they
were as cruel as their master wished them to be, and as cowardly as they
Inga walked up to the two men at the entrance and said: "Does
this opening lead to the mines of King Gos?"
"It does," replied one of the guards, "but no one is allowed to
pass out who once goes in."
"Nevertheless," said the boy, "we intend to go in, and we shall
come out whenever it pleases us to do so. I am the Prince of Pingaree,
and I have come to liberate my people, whom King Gos has enslaved."
Now when the two guards heard this speech, they looked at one
another and laughed, and one of them said: "The King was right, for he
said the boy was likely to come here and that he would try to set his
people free. Also, the King commanded that we must keep the little
Prince in the mines and set him to work together with his companions."
"They let us obey the King," replied the other man.
Inga was surprised at hearing this, and asked: "When did King Gos
give you this order?"
"His Majesty was here in person last night," replied the man,
"and went away again but an hour ago. He suspected you were coming here
and told us to capture you if we could."
This report made the boy very anxious, not for himself, but for
his father, for he feared the King was up to some mischief. So he
hastened to enter the mines, and the guards did nothing to oppose him or
his companions, their orders being to allow him to go in but not to come
The little group of adventurers passed through a long, rocky
corridor and reached a low, wide cavern where they found a dozen guards
and a hundred slaves, the latter being hard at work with picks and
shovels digging for gold while the guards stood over them with long
Inga found many of the men from Pingaree among these slaves, but
King Kitticut was not in this cavern; so they passed through it and
entered another corridor that led to a second cavern. Here also,
hundreds of men were working, but the boy did not find his father amongst
them and so went on to a third cavern.
The corridors all slanted downward, so that the farther they
went, the lower into the earth they descended, and now they found the air
hot and close and difficult to breathe. Flaming torches were stuck into
the walls to give light to the workers, and these added to the oppressive
The third and lowest cavern was the last in the mines, and here
were many score of slaves and many guards to keep them at work. So far,
none of the guards had paid any attention to Inga's party, but allowed
them to proceed as they would, and while the slaves cast curious glances
at the boy and girl and man and goat, they dared say nothing. But now the
boy walked up to some of the men of Pingaree and asked news of his
father, telling them not to fear the guards as he would protect them from
Then he learned that King Kitticut had indeed been working in
this very cavern until the evening before, when King Gos had come and
taken him away--still loaded with chains.
"Seems to me," said King Rinkitink when he heard this report,
"that Gos has carried your father away to Regos to prevent us from
rescuing him. He may hide poor Kitticut in a dungeon where we cannot
"Perhaps you are right," answered the boy, "but I am determined
to find him wherever he may be."
Inga spoke firmly and with courage, but he was greatly
disappointed to find that King Gos had taken his father away. However,
he tried not to feel disheartened, believing he would succeed in the end
in spite of all opposition. Turning to the guards, he said: "Remove the
chains from these slaves and set them free."
The guards laughed at this order, and one of them brought forward
a handful of chains, saying: "His Majesty has commanded us to make you,
also, a slave, for you are never to leave these caverns again."
Then he attempted to place the chains on Inga, but the boy
indignantly seized them and broke them apart as easily as if they had
been cotton cords. When a dozen or more of the guards made a dash to
capture him, the Prince swung the end of the chain like a whip and drove
them into a corner, where they cowered and begged for mercy.
Stories of the marvelous strength of the boy Prince had already
spread to the mines of Regos, and although King Gos had told them that
Inga had been deprived of all his magic power, the guards now saw this
was not true, so they deemed it wise not to attempt to oppose him.
The chains of the slaves had all been riveted fast to their
ankles and wrists, but Inga broke the bonds of steel with his hands and
set the poor men free--not only those from Pingaree, but all who had been
captured in the many wars and raids of King Gos They were very grateful,
as you may suppose, and agreed to support Prince Inga in whatever action
He led them to the middle cavern, where all the guards and
overseers fled in terror at his approach, and soon he had broken apart
the chains of the slaves who had been working in that part of the mines.
Then they approached the first cavern and liberated all there.
The slaves had been treated so cruelly by the servants of King
Gos that they were eager to pursue and slay them in revenge; but Inga
held them back and formed them into companies, each company having its
own leader. Then he called the leaders together and instructed them to
march in good order along the path to the City of Regos, where he would
meet them and tell them what to do next.
They readily agreed to obey him, and arming themselves with iron
bars and pickaxes which they brought from the mines, the slaves began
their march to the city.
Zella at first wished to be left behind that she might make her
way to her own home, but neither Rinkitink nor Inga thought it was safe
for her to wander alone through the forest, so they induced her to return
with them to the city.
The boy beached his boat this time at the same place as when he
first landed at Regos, and while many of the warriors stood on the shore
and before the walls of the city, not one of them attempted to interfere
with the boy in any way. Indeed, they seemed uneasy and anxious, and
when Inga met Captain Buzzub, the boy asked if anything had happened in
"A great deal has happened," replied Buzzub. "Our King and Queen
have run away and left us, and we don't know what to do."
"Run away!" exclaimed Inga. "Where did they go to?"
"Who knows?" said the man, shaking his head despondently. "They
departed together a few hours ago in a boat with forty rowers, and they
took with them the King and Queen of Pingaree!"
Now it seems that when Queen Cor fled from her island to Regos,
she had wit enough, although greatly frightened, to make a stop at the
royal dairy, which was near to the bridge, and to drag poor Queen Garee
from the butter-house and across to Regos with her. The warriors of King
Gos had never before seen the terrible Queen Cor frightened, and
therefore when she came running across the bridge of boats dragging the
Queen of Pingaree after her by one arm, the woman's great fright had the
effect of terrifying the waiting warriors.
"Quick!" cried Cor. "Destroy the bridge, or we are lost."
While the men were tearing away the bridge of boats, the Queen
ran up to the palace of Gos, where she met her husband.
"That boy is a wizard!" she gasped. "There is no standing
"Oh, have you discovered his magic at last?" replied Gos,
laughing in her face. "Who, now, is the coward?"
"Don't laugh!" cried Queen Cor. "It is no laughing matter. Both
our islands are as good as conquered this very minute. What shall we do,
"Come in," he said, growing serious, "and let us talk it over."
So they went into a room of the palace and talked long and
"The boy intends to liberate his father and mother and all the
people of Pingaree and to take them back to their island," said Cor. "He
may also destroy our palaces and make us his slaves. I can see but one
way, Gos, to prevent him from doing all this, and whatever else he
pleases to do."
"What way is that?" asked King Gos.
"We must take the boy's parents away from here as quickly as
possible. I have with me the Queen of Pingaree, and you can run up to the
mines and get the King. Then we will carry them away in a boat and hide
them where the boy cannot find them with all his magic. We will use the
King and Queen of Pingaree as hostages and send word to the boy wizard
that if he does not go away from our islands and allow us to rule them
undisturbed in our own way, we will put his father and mother to death.
Also, we wil say that as long as we are let alone, his parents will be
safe, although still safely hidden. I believe, Gos, that in this way we
can compel Prince Inga to obey us, for he seems very fond of his
"It isn't a bad idea," said Gos reflectively, "but where can we
hide the King and Queen so that the boy cannot find them?"
"In the country of the Nome King on the mainland away at the
south," she replied. "The nomes are our friends, and they possess magic
powers that will enable them to protect the prisoners from discovery. If
we can manage to get the King and Queen of Pingaree to the Nome Kingdom
before the boy knows what we are doing, I am sure our plot will succeed."
Gos gave the plan considerable thought in the next five minutes,
and the more he thought about it the more clever and reasonable it
seemed. So he agreed to do as Queen Cor suggested, and at once hurried
away to the mines, where he arrived before Prince Inga did. The next
morning he carried King Kitticut back to Regos.
While Gos was gone, Queen Cor busied herself in preparing a large
and swift boat for the journey. She placed in it several bags of gold
and jewels with which to bribe the nomes and selected forty of the
strongest oarsmen in Regos to row the boat. The instant King Gos returned
with his royal prisoner, all was ready for departure. They quickly
entered the boat with their two important captives, and without a word of
explanation to any of their people, they commanded the oars-men to start
and were soon out of sight upon the broad expanse of the Nonestic Ocean.
Inga arrived at the city some hours later and was much distressed
when he learned that his father and mother had been spirited away from
"I shall follow them, of course," said the boy to Rinkitink, "and
if I cannot overtake them on the ocean, I will search the world over
until I find them. But before I leave here, I must arrange to send our
people back to Pingaree."
Almost the first persons that Zella saw when she landed from the
silver-lined boat at Regos were her father and mother. Nikobob and his
wife had been greatly worried when their little daughter failed to return
from Coregos, so they had set out to discover what had become of her.
When they reached the City of Regos that very morning, they were
astonished to hear news of all the strange events that had taken place;
still, they found comfort when told that Zella had been seen in the boat
of Prince Inga, which had gone to the north. Then, while they pondered
what this could mean, the silver-lined boat appeared again with their
daughter in it, and they ran down to the shore to give her a welcome and
many joyful kisses.
Inga invited the good people to the palace of King Gos, where he
conferred with them as well as with Rinkitink and Bilbil.
"Now that the King and Queen of Regos and Coregos have run away,"
he said, "there is no one to rule these islands. So it is my duty to
appoint a new ruler, and as Nikobob, Zella's father, is an honest and
worthy man, I shall make him the King of the Twin Islands."
"Me?" cried Nikobob, astounded by this speech. "I beg Your
Highness on my bended knees not to do so cruel a thing as to make me
"Why not?" inquired Rinkitink. "I'm a King, and I know how it
feels. I assure you, good Nikobob, that I quite enjoy my high rank,
although a jeweled crown is rather heavy to wear in hot weather."
"With you, noble sir, it is different," said Nikobob, "for you
are far from your kingdom and its trials and worries and may do as you
please. But to remain in Regos as King over these fierce and unruly
warriors would be to live in constant anxiety and peril, and the chances
are that they would murder me within a month. As I have done no harm to
anyone and have tried to be a good and upright man, I do not think that I
should be condemned to such a dreadful fate."
"Very well," replied Inga, "we will say no more about your being
King. I merely wanted to make you rich and prosperous as I had promised
"Please, forget that promise," pleaded the charcoal-burner
earnestly. "I have been safe from molestation for many years because I
was poor and possessed nothing that anyone else could envy. But if you
make me rich and prosperous, I shall at once become the prey of thieves
and marauders and probably will lose my life in the attempt to protect my
Inga looked at the man in surprise. "What, then, can I do to
please you?" he inquired.
"Nothing more than to allow me to go home to my poor cabin," said
"Perhaps," remarked King Rinkitink, "the charcoal-burner has more
wisdom concealed in that hard head of his than we gave him credit for.
But let us use that wisdom for the present to counsel us what to do in
"What you call my wisdom," said Nikobob, "is merely common sense.
I have noticed that some men become rich and are scorned by some and
robbed by others. Other men become famous and are mocked at and derided
by their fellows. But the poor and humble man who lives unnoticed and
unknown escapes all these troubles and is the only one who can appreciate
the joy of living."
"If I had a hand instead of a cloven hoof, I'd like to shake
hands with you, Nikobob," said Bilbil the goat. "But the poor man must
not have a cruel master, or he is undone."
During the council they found, indeed, that the advice of the
charcoal-burner was both shrewd and sensible, and they profited much by
Inga gave Captain Buzzub the command of the warriors and made him
promise to keep his men quiet and orderly if he could. Then the boy
allowed all of King Gos's former slaves, except those from Pingaree, to
choose what boats they required and to stock them with provisions and row
away to their own countries. When these had departed with grateful
thanks and many blessings showered upon the boy Prince who had set them
free, Inga made preparations to send his own people home, where they were
told to rebuild their houses and then erect a new royal palace. They
were then to await patiently the coming of King Kitticut or Prince Inga.
"My greatest worry," said the boy to his friends, "is to know
whom to appoint to take charge of this work of restoring Pingaree to its
former condition. My men are all pearl fishers and, although willing and
honest, have no talent for directing others how to work."
While the preparations for departure were being made, Nikobob
offered to direct the men of Pingaree and did so in a very capable
manner. As the island had been despoiled of all its valuable furniture
and draperies and rich cloths and paintings and statuary and the like as
well as gold and silver and ornaments, Inga thought it no more than just
that they be replaced by the spoilers. So he directed his people to
search through the storehouses of King Gos and to regain all their goods
and chattels that could be found. Also, he instructed them to take as
much else as they required to make their new homes comfortable, so that
many boats were loaded full of goods that would enable the people to
restore Pingaree to its former state of comfort.
For his father's new palace, the boy plundered the palaces of
both Queen Cor and King Gos, sending enough wares away with his people to
make King Kitticut's new residence as handsomely fitted and furnished as
had been the one which the ruthless invaders from Regos had destroyed.
It was a great fleet of boats that set out one bright, sunny
morning on the voyage to Pingaree, carrying all the men, women and
children and all the goods for refitting the homes. As he saw the fleet
depart, Prince Inga felt that he had already successfully accomplished a
part of his mission, but he vowed he would never return to Pingaree in
person until he could take his father and mother there with him unless,
indeed, King Gos wickedly destroyed his beloved parents, in which case
Inga would become the King of Pingaree, and it would be his duty to go to
his people and rule over them.
It was while the last of the boats were preparing to sail for
Pingaree that Nikobob, who had been of great service in getting them
ready, came to Inga in a thoughtful mood and said: "Your Highness, my
wife and daughter Zella have been urging me to leave Regos and settle
down in your island in a new home. From what your people have told me,
Pingaree is a better place to live than Regos, and there are no cruel
warriors or savage beasts there to keep one in constant fear for the
safety of those he loves. Therefore, I have come to ask to go with my
family in one of the boats."
Inga was much pleased with this proposal and not only granted
Nikobob permission to go to Pingaree to live, but instructed him to take
with him sufficient goods to furnish his new home in a comfortable
manner. In addition to this, he appointed Nikobob general manager of the
buildings and of the pearl fisheries until his father or he himself
arrived, and the people approved this order because they liked Nikobob
and knew him to be just and honest.
As soon as the last boat of the great flotilla had disappeared
from the view of those left at Regos, Inga and Rinkitink prepared to
leave the island themselves. The boy was anxious to overtake the boat of
King Gos, if possible, and Rinkitink had no desire to remain in Regos.
Buzzub and the warriors stood silently on the shore and watched
the black boat with its silver lining depart, and I am sure they were as
glad to be rid of their unwelcome visitors as Inga and Rinkitink and
Bilbil were to leave.
The boy asked the White Pearl what direction the boat of King Gos
had taken, and then he followed after it, rowing hard and steadily for
eight days without becoming at all weary. But although the black boat
moved very swiftly, it failed to overtake the barge which was rowed by
Queen Cor's forty picked oarsmen.
The Kingdom of the Nomes does not border on the Nonestic Ocean,
from which it is separated by the Kingdom of Rinkitink and the Country of
the Wheelers, which is a part of the Land of Ev. Rinkitink's country is
separated from the country of the Nomes by a row of high and steep
mountains, from which it extends to the sea. The Country of the Wheelers
is a sandy waste that is open on one side to the Nonestic Ocean and on
the other side has no barrier to separate it from the Nome Country;
therefore, it was on the coast of the Wheelers that King Gos landed, in a
spot quite deserted by any of the curious inhabitants of that country.
The Nome Country is very large in extent and is only separated
from the Land of Oz on its eastern borders by a Deadly Desert that cannot
be crossed by mortals unless they are aided by the fairies or by magic.
The nomes are a numerous and mischievous people, living in
underground caverns of wide extent connected one with another by arches
and passages. The word "nome" means "one who knows," and these people
are so called because they know where all the gold and silver and
precious stones are hidden in the earth--a knowledge that no other living
creatures share with them. The nomes are a busy people, constantly
digging up gold in one place and taking it to another place, where they
secretly bury it, and perhaps this is the reason they alone know where to
find it. The nomes were ruled at the time of which I write by a King
King Gos had expected to be pursued by Inga in his magic boat, so
he made all the haste possible, urging his forty rowers to their best
efforts night and day. To his joy, he was not overtaken, but landed on
the sandy beach of the Wheelers on the morning of the eighth day.
The forty rowers were left with the boat while Queen Cor and King
Gos with their royal prisoners, who were still chained, began the journey
to the Nome King.
It was not long before they passed the sands and reached the
rocky country belonging to the nomes, but they were still a long way from
the entrance to the underground caverns in which lived the Nome King.
There was a dim path winding between stones and boulders over which the
walking was quite difficult, especially as the path led up hills that
were small mountains and then down steep and abrupt slopes where any
misstep might mean a broken leg. Therefore, it was the second day of
their journey before they climbed halfway up a rugged mountain and found
themselves at the entrance of the Nome King's caverns.
On their arrival, the entrance seemed free and unguarded, but Gos
and Cor had been there before, and they were too wise to attempt to enter
without announcing themselves, for the passage to the caves was full of
traps and pitfalls. So King Gos stood still and shouted, and in instant
they were surrounded by a group of crooked nomes who seemed to have
sprung from the ground.
One of these had very long ears and was called The Long-Eared
Hearer. He said: "I heard you coming early this morning."
Another had eyes that looked in different directions at the same
time and were curiously bright and penetrating. He could look over a
hill or around a corner and was called The Lookout. Said he: "I saw you
"Then," said King Gos, "perhaps King Kaliko is expecting us."
"It is true," replied another nome who wore a gold collar around
his neck and carried a bunch of golden keys. "The mighty Nome King
expects you and bids you follow me into his presence."
With this, he led the way into the caverns, and Gos and Cor
followed, dragging their weary prisoners with them, for poor King
Kitticut and his gentle Queen had been obliged to carry, all through the
tedious journey, the bags of gold and jewels which were to bribe the Nome
King to accept them as slaves.
Through several long passages the guide led them, and at last
they entered a small cavern which was beautifully decorated and set with
rare jewels that flashed from every part of the wall, floor and ceiling.
This was a waiting-room for visitors, and there their guide left them
while he went to inform King Kaliko of their arrival.
Before long, they were ushered into a great domed chamber cut
from the solid rock and so magnificent that all of them--the King and
Queen of Pingaree and the King and Queen of Regos and Coregos--drew long
breaths of astonishment and opened their eyes as wide as they could.
In an ivory throne sat a little round man who had a pointed beard
and hair that rose to a tall curl on top of his head. He was dressed in
silken robes, richly embroidered, which had large buttons of cut rubies.
On his head was a diamond crown, and in his hand he held a golden scepter
with a big, jeweled ball at one end of it. This was Kaliko, the King and
ruler of all the nomes. He nodded pleasantly enough to his visitors and
said in a cheery voice:
"Well, Your Majesties, what can I do for you?"
"It is my desire," answered King Gos respectfully, "to place in
your care two prisoners, whom you now see before you. They must be
carefully guarded to prevent them from escaping, for they have the
cunning of foxes and are not to be trusted. In return for the favor I am
asking you to grant, I have brought Your Majesty valuable presents of
gold and precious gems."
He then commanded Kitticut and Garee to lay before the Nome King
the bags of gold and jewels, and they obeyed, being helpless.
"Very good," said King Kaliko, nodding approval, for like all the
nomes, he loved treasures of gold and jewels. "But who are the prisoners
you have brought here, and why do you place them in my charge instead of
guarding them yourself? They seem gentle enough, I'm sure."
"The prisoners," returned King Gos, "are the King and Queen of
Pingaree, a small island north of here. They are very evil people and
came to our islands of Regos and Coregos to conquer them and slay our
poor people. Also, they intended to plunder us of all our riches, but by
good fortune we were able to defeat and capture them. However, they have
a son who is a terrible wizard and who by magic art is trying to find
this awful King and Queen of Pingaree and to set them free that they may
continue their wicked deeds. Therefore, as we have no magic to defend
ourselves with, we have brought the prisoners to you for safe keeping."
"Your Majesty," spoke up King Kitticut, addressing the Nome King
with great indignation, "do not believe this tale, I implore you. It is
all a lie!"
"I know it," said Kaliko. "I consider it a clever lie, though,
because it is woven without a thread of truth. However, that is none of
my business. The fact remains that my good friend King Gos wishes to put
you in my underground caverns so that you will be unable to escape. And
why should I not please him in this little matter? Gos is a mighty King
and a great warrior, while your island of Pingaree is desolated and your
people scattered. In my heart, King Kitticut, I sympathize with you, but
as a matter of business policy we powerful Kings must stand together and
trample the weaker ones under our feet."
King Kitticut was surprised to find the King of the Nomes so
candid and so well informed, and he tried to argue that he and his gentle
wife did not deserve their cruel fate and that it would be wiser for
Kaliko to side with them than with the evil King of Regos. But Kaliko
only shook his head and smiled, saying: "The fact that you are a
prisoner, my poor Kitticut, is evidence that you are weaker than King
Gos, and I prefer to deal with the strong. By the way," he added,
turning to the King of Regos, "have these prisoners any connection with
the Land of Oz?"
"Why do you ask?" said Gos.
"Because I dare not offend the Oz people," was the reply. "I am
very powerful, as you know, but Ozma of Oz is far more powerful than I;
therefore, if this King and Queen of Pingaree happened to be under Ozma's
protection, I would have nothing to do with them."
"I assure Your Majesty that the prisoners have nothing to do with
the Oz people," Gos hastened to say. And Kitticut, being questioned,
admitted that this was true.
"But how about that wizard you mentioned?" asked the Nome King.
"Oh, he is merely a boy; but he is very ferocious and obstinate,
and he is assisted by a little fat sorcerer called Rinkitink and a
"Oho! A talking goat, do you say? That certainly sounds like
magic; and it also sounds like the Land of Oz, where all the animals
talk," said Kaliko with a doubtful expression.
But King Gos assured him the talking goat had never been to Oz.
"As for Rinkitink, whom you call a sorcerer," continued the Nome
King, "he is a neighbor of mine, you must know, but as we are cut off
from each other by high mountains beneath which a powerful river runs, I
have never yet met King Rinkitink. But I have heard of him, and from all
reports he is a jolly rogue and perfectly harmless. However, in spite of
your false statements and misrepresentations, I will earn the treasure
you have brought me by keeping your prisoners safe in my caverns."
"Make them work," advised Queen Cor. "They are rather delicate,
and to make them work will make them suffer delightfully."
"I'll do as I please about that," said the Nome King sternly.
"Be content that I agree to keep them safe."
The bargain being thus made and concluded, King Kaliko first
examined the gold and jewels and then sent it away to his royal
storehouse, which was well filled with like treasure. Next, the captives
were sent away in charge of the nome with the golden collar and keys,
whose name was Klik, and he escorted them to a small cavern and gave them
a good supper.
"I shall lock your door," said Klik, "so there is no need of your
wearing those heavy chains any longer." He therefore removed the chains
and left King Kitticut and his Queen alone. This was the first time
since the Northmen had carried them away from Pingaree that the good King
and Queen had been alone together and free of all bonds, and as they
embraced lovingly and mingled their tears over their sad fate, they were
also grateful that they had passed from the control of the heartless King
Gos into the more considerate care of Kaliko. They were still captives,
but they believed they would be happier in the underground caverns of the
nomes than in Regos and Coregos.
Meantime, in the King's royal cavern, a great feast had been
spread. King Gos and Queen Cor, having triumphed in their plot, were so
well pleased that they held high revelry with the jolly Nome King until a
late hour that night. And the next morning, having cautioned Kaliko not
to release the prisoners under any consideration without their orders,
the King and Queen of Regos and Coregos left the caverns of the nomes to
return to the shore of the ocean where they had left their boat.
The White Pearl guided Inga truly in his pursuit of the boat of
King Gos, but the boy had been so delayed in sending his people home to
Pingaree that it was a full day after Gos and Cor landed on the shore of
the Wheeler Country that Inga's boat arrived at the same place.
There he found the forty rowers guarding the barge of Queen Cor,
and although they would not or could not tell the boy where the King and
Queen had taken his father and mother, the White Pearl advised him to
follow the path to the country and the caverns of the nomes.
Rinkitink didn't like to undertake the rocky and mountainous
journey, even with Bilbil to carry him, but he would not desert Inga even
though his own kingdom lay just beyond a range of mountains which could
be seen towering southwest of them. So the King bravely mounted the
goat, who always grumbled but always obeyed his master, and the three set
off at once for the caverns of the nomes.
They traveled just as slowly as Queen Cor and King Gos had done,
so when they were about halfway, they discovered the King and Queen
coming back to their boat. The fact that Gos and Cor were now alone
proved that they had left Inga's father and mother behind them; so, at
the suggestion of Rinkitink, the three hid behind a high rock until the
King of Regos and the Queen of Coregos, who had not observed them, had
passed them by. Then they continued their journey, glad that they had
not again been forced to fight or quarrel with their wicked enemies.
"We might have asked them, however, what they had done with your
poor parents," said Rinkitink.
"Never mind," answered Inga. "I am sure the White Pearl will
guide us aright."
For a time they proceeded in silence, and then Rinkitink began to
chuckle with laughter in the pleasant way he was wont to do before his
misfortunes came upon him.
"What amuses Your Majesty?" inquired the boy.
"The thought of how surprised my dear subjects would be if they
realized how near to them I am, and yet how far away. I have always
wanted to visit the Nome Country, which is full of mystery and magic and
all sorts of adventures, but my devoted subjects forbade me to think of
such a thing, fearing I would get hurt or enchanted."
"Are you afraid, now that you are here?" asked Inga.
"A little, but not much, for they say the new Nome King is not as
wicked as the old King used to be. Still, we are undertaking a dangerous
journey, and I think, you ought to protect me by lending me one of your
Inga thought this over, and it seemed a reasonable request.
"Which pearl would you like to have?" asked the boy.
"Well, let us see," returned Rinkitink. "You may need strength
to liberate your captive parents, so you must keep the Blue Pearl. And
you will need the advice of the White Pearl, so you had best keep that
also. But in case we should be separated, I would have nothing to
protect me from harm, so you ought to lend me the Pink Pearl."
"Very well," agreed Inga, and sitting down upon a rock, he
removed his right shoe and, after withdrawing the cloth from the pointed
toe, took out the Pink Pearl--the one which protected from any harm the
person who carried it.
"Where can you put it, to keep it safely?" he asked.
"In my vest pocket," replied the King. "The pocket has a flap to
it, and I can pin it down in such a way that the pearl cannot get out and
become lost. As for robbery, no one with evil intent can touch my person
while I have the pearl."
So Inga gave Rinkitink the Pink Pearl, and the little King placed
it in the pocket of his red-and-green brocaded velvet vest, pinning the
flap of the pocket down tightly.
They now resumed their journey and finally reached the entrance
to the Nome King's caverns. Placing the White Pearl to his ear, Inga
asked: "What shall I do now?" and the Voice of the Pearl replied: "Clap
your hands together four times and call aloud the word 'Klik.' Then
allow yourselves to be conducted to the Nome King, who is now holding
your father and mother captive."
Inga followed these instructions, and when Klik appeared in
answer to his summons, the boy requested an audience of the Nome King.
So Klik led them into the presence of King Kaliko, who was suffering from
a severe headache due to his revelry the night before and therefore was
unusually cross and grumpy.
"I know what you've come for," said he before Inga could speak.
"You want to get the captives from Regos away from me; but you can't do
it, so you'd best go away again."
"The captives are my father and mother, and I intend to liberate
them," said the boy firmly.
The King stared hard at Inga, wondering at his audacity. Then he
turned to look at King Rinkitink and said: "I suppose you are the King of
Gilgad, which is in the Kingdom of Rinkitink."
"You've guessed it the first time," replied Rinkitink.
"How round and fat you are!" exclaimed Kaliko.
"I was just thinking how fat and round YOU are," said Rinkitink.
"Really, King Kaliko, we ought to be friends, we're so much alike in
everything but disposition and intelligence."
Then he began to chuckle, while Kaliko stared hard at him, not
knowing whether to accept his speech as a compliment or not. And now the
nome's eyes wandered to Bilbil, and he asked: "Is that your talking
Bilbil met the Nome King's glowering look with a gaze equally
surly and defiant, while Rinkitink answered: "It is, Your Majesty."
"Can he really talk?" asked Kaliko curiously.
"He can. But the best thing he does is to scold. Talk to His
But Bilbil remained silent and would not speak.
"Do you always ride upon his back?" continued Kaliko, questioning
"Yes," was the answer, "because it is difficult for a fat man to
walk far, as perhaps you know from experience."
"That is true," said Kaliko. "Get off the goat's back and let me
ride him a while to see how I like it. Perhaps I'll take him away from
you, to ride through my caverns."
Rinkitink chuckled softly as he heard this, but at once got off
Bilbil's back and let Kaliko get on. The Nome King was a little awkward,
but when he was firmly astride the saddle, he called in a loud voice:
When Bilbil paid no attention to the command and refused to stir,
Kaliko kicked his heels viciously against the goat's body, and then
Bilbil made a sudden start. He ran swiftly across the great cavern until
he had almost reached the opposite wall, when he stopped so abruptly that
King Kaliko sailed over his head and bumped against the jeweled wall. He
bumped so hard that the points of his crown were all mashed out of shape,
and his head was driven far into the diamond-studded band of the crown so
that it covered one eye and a part of his nose. Perhaps this saved
Kaliko's head from being cracked against the rock wall, but it was hard
on the crown.
Bilbil was highly pleased at the success of this feat, and
Rinkitink laughed merrily at the Nome King's comical appearance; but
Kaliko was muttering and growling as he picked himself up and struggled
to pull the battered crown from his head, and it was evident that he was
not in the least amused. Indeed, Inga could see that the King was very
angry, and the boy knew that the incident was likely to turn Kaliko
against the entire party.
The Nome King sent Klik for another crown and ordered his workmen
to repair the one that was damaged. While he waited for the new crown,
he sat regarding his visitors with a scowling face, and this made Inga
more uneasy than ever. Finally, when the new crown was placed upon his
head, King Kaliko said: "Follow me, strangers!" and led the way to a
small door at one end of the cavern.
Inga and Rinkitink followed him through the doorway and found
themselves standing on a balcony that overlooked an enormous domed
cave--so extensive that it seemed miles to the other side of it. All
around this circular cave, which was brilliantly lighted from an unknown
source, were arches connected with other caverns.
Kaliko took a gold whistle from his pocket and blew a shrill note
that echoed through every part of the cave. Instantly, nomes began to
pour in through the side arches in great numbers until the immense space
was packed with them as far as the eye could reach. All were armed with
glittering weapons of polished silver and gold, and Inga was amazed that
any King could command so great an army.
They began marching and countermarching in very orderly array
until another blast of the gold whistle sent them scurrying away as
quickly as they had appeared. And as soon as the great cave was again
empty, Kaliko returned with his visitors to his own royal chamber, where
he once more seated himself upon his ivory throne.
"I have shown you," said he to Inga, "a part of my bodyguard.
The royal armies, of which this is only a part, are as numerous as the
sands of the ocean and live in many thousands of my underground caverns.
You have come here thinking to force me to give up the captives of King
Gos and Queen Cor, and I wanted to convince you that my power is too
mighty for anyone to oppose. I am told that you are a wizard and depend
upon magic to aid you, but you must know that the nomes are not mortals
and understand magic pretty well themselves, so if we are obliged to
fight magic with magic, the chances are that we are a hundred times more
powerful than you can be. Think this over carefully, my boy, and try to
realize that you are in my power. I do not believe you can force me to
liberate King Kitticut and Queen Garee, and I know that you cannot coax
me to do so, for I have given my promise to King Gos. Therefore, as I do
not wish to hurt you, I ask you to go away peaceably and let me alone."
"Forgive me if I do not agree with you, King Kaliko," answered
the boy. "However difficult and dangerous my task may be, I cannot leave
your dominions until every effort to release my parents has failed and
left me completely discouraged."
"Very well," said the King, evidently displeased. "I have warned
you, and now if evil overtakes you, it is your own fault. I've a
headache today, so I cannot entertain you properly according to your
rank, but Klik will attend you to my guest chambers, and tomorrow I will
talk with you again."
This seemed a fair and courteous way to treat one's declared
enemies, so they politely expressed the wish that Kaliko's headache would
be better and followed their guide, Klik, down a well-lighted passage and
through several archways until they finally reached three nicely furnished
bedchambers which were cut from solid gray rock and well lighted and
aired by some mysterious method known to the nomes.
The first of these rooms was given King Rinkitink, the second was
Inga's, and the third was assigned to Bilbil the goat. There was a
swinging rock door between the third and second rooms and another between
the second and first, which also had a door that opened upon the passage.
Rinkitink's room was the largest, so it was here that an excellent dinner
was spread by some of the nome servants, who in spite of their crooked
shapes proved to be well trained and competent.
"You are not prisoners, you know," said Klik. "Neither are you
welcome guests, having declared your purpose to oppose our mighty King
and all his hosts. But we bear you no ill will, and you are to be well
fed and cared for as long as you remain in our caverns. Eat hearty,
sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you."
Saying this, he left them alone, and at once Rinkitink and Inga
began to counsel together as to the best means to liberate King Kitticut
and Queen Garee. The White Pearl's advice was rather unsatisfactory to
the boy just now, for all that the Voice said in answer to his questions
was: "Be patient, brave and determined."
Rinkitink suggested that they try to discover in what part of the
series of underground caverns Inga's parents had been confined, as that
knowledge was necessary before they could take any action; so together
they started out, leaving Bilbil asleep in his room, and made their way
unopposed through many corridors and caverns.
In some places were great furnaces where gold dust was being
melted into bricks. In other rooms workmen were fashioning the gold into
various articles and ornaments. In one cavern immense wheels revolved
which polished precious gems, and they found many caverns used as
storerooms where treasure of every sort was piled high. Also, they came
to the barracks of the army and the great kitchens.
There were nomes everywhere, countless thousands of them, but
none paid the slightest heed to the visitors from the earth's surface.
Yet although Inga and Rinkitink walked until they were weary, they were
unable to locate the place where the boy's father and mother had been
confined, and when they tried to return to their own rooms, they found
that they had hopelessly lost themselves amid the labyrinth of passages.
However, Klik presently came to them, laughing at their discomfiture, and
led them back to their bedchambers.
Before they went to sleep, they carefully barred the door from
Rinkitink's room to the corridor, but the doors that connected the three
rooms one with another were left wide open.
In the night, Inga was awakened by a soft grating sound that
filled him with anxiety because he could not account for it. It was dark
in his room, the light having disappeared as soon as he got into bed, but
he managed to feel his way to the door that led to Rinkitink's room and
found it tightly closed and immovable. Then he made his way to the
opposite door, leading to Bilbil's room, to discover that also had been
closed and fastened.
The boy had a curious sensation that all of his room--the walls,
floor and ceiling--was slowly whirling as if on a pivot, and it was such
an uncomfortable feeling that he got into bed again, not knowing what
else to do. And as the grating noise had ceased and the room now seemed
stationary, he soon fell asleep again.
When the boy wakened after many hours, he found the room again
light. So he dressed himself and discovered that a small table containing
a breakfast that was smoking hot had suddenly appeared in the center of
his room. He tried the two doors, but finding that he could not open
them, he ate some breakfast, thoughtfully wondering who had locked him in
and why he had been made a prisoner. Then he again went to the door
which he thought led to Rinkitink's chamber, and to his surprise the
latch lifted easily and the door swung open.
Before him was a rude corridor hewn in the rock and dimly
lighted. It did not look inviting, so Inga closed the door, puzzled to
know what had become of Rinkitink's room and the King, and went to the
opposite door. Opening this, he found a solid wall of rock confronting
him which effectually prevented his escape in that direction.
The boy now realized that King Kaliko had tricked him, and while
professing to receive him as a guest had plotted to separate him from his
comrades. One way had been left, however, by which he might escape, and
he decided to see where it led to.
So, going to the first door, he opened it and ventured slowly
into the dimly lighted corridor. When he had advanced a few steps, he
heard the door of his room slam shut behind him. He ran back at once,
but the door of rock fitted so closely into the wall that he found it
impossible to open it again. That did not matter so much, however, for
the room was a prison, and the only way of escape seemed ahead of him.
Along the corridor he crept until, turning a corner, he found
himself in a large, domed cavern that was empty and deserted. Here also
was a dim light that permitted him to see another corridor at the
opposite side; so he crossed the rocky floor of the cavern and entered a
second corridor. This one twisted and turned in every direction but was
not very long, so soon the boy reached a second cavern not so large as
the first. This he found vacant also, but it had another corridor
leading out of it, so Inga entered that. It was straight and short, and
beyond was a third cavern which differed little from the others except
that it had a strong iron grating at one side of it.
All three of these caverns had been roughly hewn from the rock,
and it seemed they had never been put to use as had all the other caverns
of the nomes he had visited. Standing in the third cavern, Inga saw what
he thought was still another corridor at its farther side, so he walked
toward it. This opening was dark, and that fact and the solemn silence
all around him made him hesitate for a while to enter it. Upon
reflection, however, he realized that unless he explored the place to the
very end he could not hope to escape from it, so he boldly entered the
dark corridor and felt his way cautiously as he moved forward.
Scarcely had he taken two paces when a crash resounded back of
him and a heavy sheet of steel closed the opening into the cavern from
which he had just come. He paused a moment, but it still seemed best to
proceed, and as Inga advanced into the dark, holding his hands
outstretched before him to feel his way, handcuffs fell upon his wrists
and locked themselves with a sharp click, and an instant later he found
he was chained to a stout iron post set firmly in the rock floor.
The chains were long enough to permit him to move a yard or so in
any direction, and by feeling the walls he found he was in a small
circular room that had no outlet except the passage by which he had
entered, and that was now closed by the door of steel. This was the end
of the series of caverns and corridors.
It was now that the horror of his situation occurred to the boy
with full force. But he resolved not to submit to his fate without a
struggle, and realizing that he possessed the Blue Pearl, which gave him
marvelous strength, he quickly broke the chains and set himself free of
the handcuffs. Next, he twisted the steel door from its hinges, and
creeping along the short passage found himself in the third cave.
But now the dim light which had before guided him had vanished;
yet on peering into the gloom of the cave, he saw what appeared to be two
round disks of flame which cast a subdued glow over the floor and walls.
By this dull glow he made out the form of an enormous man seated in the
center of the cave, and he saw that the iron grating had been removed,
permitting the man to enter.
The giant was unclothed, and its limbs were thickly covered with
coarse red hair. The round disks of flame were its two eyes, and when it
opened its mouth to yawn, Inga saw that its jaws were wide enough to
crush a dozen men between the great rows of teeth.
Presently the giant looked up and perceived the boy crouching at
the other side of the cavern, so he called out in a hoarse, rude voice:
"Come hither, my pretty one. We will wrestle together, you and I, and if
you succeed in throwing me, I will let you pass through my cave."
The boy made no reply to this challenge. He realized he was in
dire peril and regretted that he had lent the Pink Pearl to King
Rinkitink. But it was now too late for vain regrets, although he feared
that even his great strength would avail him little against this hairy
monster. For his arms were not long enough to span a fourth of the
giant's huge body, while the monster's powerful limbs would be likely to
crush out Inga's life before he could gain the mastery.
Therefore, the Prince resolved to employ other means to combat
this foe, who had doubtless been placed there to bar his return.
Retreating through the passage, he reached the room where he had been
chained and wrenched the iron post from its socket. It was a foot thick
and four feet long, and being of solid iron was so heavy that three
ordinary men would have found it hard to lift.
Returning to the cavern, the boy swung the great bar above his
head and dashed it with mighty force full at the giant. The end of the
bar struck the monster upon its forehead, and with a single groan it fell
full length upon the floor and lay still.
When the giant fell, the glow from its eyes faded away and all
was dark. Cautiously, for Inga was not sure the giant was dead, the boy
felt his way toward the opening that led to the middle cavern. The
entrance was narrow, and the darkness was intense, but feeling braver now
the boy stepped boldly forward. Instantly, the floor began to sink
beneath him, and in great alarm he turned and made a leap that enabled
him to grasp the rocky sides of the wall and regain a footing in the
passage through which he had just come.
Scarcely had he obtained this place of refuge when a mighty crash
resounded throughout the cavern, and the sound of a rushing torrent came
from far below. Inga felt in his pocket and found several matches, one
of which he lighted and held before him. While it flickered, he saw that
the entire floor of the cavern had fallen away and knew that had he not
instantly regained his footing in the passage, he would have plunged into
the abyss that lay beneath him.
By the light of another match, he saw the opening at the other
side of the cave, and the thought came to him that possibly he might leap
across the gulf. Of course, this could never be accomplished without the
marvelous strength lent him by the Blue Pearl, but Inga had the feeling
that one powerful spring might carry him over the chasm into safety. He
could not stay where he was, that was certain, so he resolved to make the
He took a long run through the first cave and the short corridor;
then, exerting all his strength, he launched himself over the black gulf
of the second cave. Swiftly he flew and, although his heart stood still
with fear, only a few seconds elapsed before his feet touched the ledge
of the opposite passageway, and he knew he had safely accomplished the
Only pausing to draw one long breath of relief, Inga quickly
traversed the crooked corridor that led to the last cavern of the three.
But when he came in sight of it, he paused abruptly, his eyes nearly
blinded by a glare of strong light which burst upon them. Covering his
face with his hands, Inga retreated behind a projecting corner of rock,
and by gradually getting his eyes used to the light, he was finally able
to gaze without blinking upon the strange glare that had so quickly
changed the condition of the cavern. When he had passed through this
vault, it had been entirely empty. Now the flat floor of rock was
covered everywhere with a bed of glowing coals which shot up little
tongues of red and white flames. Indeed, the entire cave was one monster
furnace, and the heat that came from it was fearful.
Inga's heart sank within him as he realized the terrible obstacle
placed by the cunning Nome King between him and the safety of the other
caverns. There was no turning back, for it would be impossible for him
again to leap over the gulf of the second cave, the corridor at this side
being so crooked he could get no run before he jumped. Neither could he
leap over the glowing coals of the cavern that faced him, for it was much
larger than the middle cavern. In this dilemma he feared his great
strength would avail him nothing, and he bitterly reproached himself for
parting with the Pink Pearl, which would have preserved him from injury.
However, it was not in the nature of Prince Inga to despair for
long, his past adventures having taught him confidence and courage,
sharpened his wits and given him the genius of invention. He sat down
and thought earnestly on the means of escape from his danger, and at last
a clever idea came to his mind. This is the way to get ideas: never to
let adverse circumstances discourage you, but to believe there is a way
out of every difficulty, which may be found by earnest thought.
There were many points and projections of rock in the walls of
the crooked corridor in which Inga stood, and some of these rocks had
become cracked and loosened, although still clinging to their places. The
boy picked out one large piece and, exerting all his strength, tore it
away from the wall. He then carried it out to the cavern and tossed it
upon the burning coals about ten feet away from the end of the passage.
Then he returned for another fragment of rock, and wrenching it free from
its place he threw it ten feet beyond the first one, toward the opposite
side of the cave. The boy continued this work until he had made a series
of stepping-stones reaching straight across the cavern to the dark
passageway beyond, which he hoped would lead him back to safety, if not
When his work had been completed, Inga did not long hesitate to
take advantage of his stepping-stones, for he knew his best chance of
escape lay in his crossing the bed of coals before the rocks became so
heated that they would burn his feet. So he leaped to the first rock and
from there began jumping from one to the other in quick succession. A
withering wave of heat at once enveloped him, and for a time he feared he
would suffocate before he could cross the cavern; but he held his breath
to keep the hot air from his lungs and maintained his leaps with
Then, before he realized it, his feet were pressing the cooler
rocks of the passage beyond, and he rolled helpless upon the floor,
gasping for breath. His skin was so red that it resembled the shell of a
boiled lobster, but his swift motion had prevented his being burned, and
his shoes had thick soles which saved his feet.
After resting a few minutes, the boy felt strong enough to go on.
He went to the end of the passageway and found that the rock door by
which he had left his room was still closed, so he returned to about the
middle of the corridor and was thinking what he should do next, when
suddenly the solid rock before him began to move and an opening appeared
through which shone a brilliant light. Shielding his eyes, which were
somewhat dazzled, Inga sprang through the opening and found himself in
one of the Nome King's inhabited caverns, where before him stood King
Kaliko with a broad grin upon his features; and Klik, the King's
chamberlain, who looked surprised; and King Rinkitink seated astride
Bilbil the goat, both of whom seemed pleased that Inga had rejoined them.
We will now relate what happened to Rinkitink and Bilbil that
morning while Inga was undergoing his trying experiences in escaping the
fearful dangers of the three caverns.
The King of Gilgad wakened to find the door of Inga's room fast
shut and locked, but he had no trouble in opening his own door into the
corridor, for it seems that the boy's room, which was the middle one,
whirled around on a pivot while the adjoining rooms occupied by Bilbil
and Rinkitink remained stationary. The little King also found a
breakfast magically served in his room, and while he was eating it Klik
came to him and stated that His Majesty King Kaliko desired his presence
in the royal cavern.
So Rinkitink, having first made sure that the Pink Pearl was
still in his vest pocket, willingly followed Klik, who ran on some
distance ahead. But no sooner had Rinkitink set foot in the passage than
a great rock weighing at least a ton became dislodged and dropped from
the roof directly over his head. Of course, it could not harm him
protected as he was by the Pink Pearl, and it bounded aside and crashed
upon the floor, where it was shattered by its own weight.
"How careless!" exclaimed the little King, and waddled after
Klik, who seemed amazed at his escape.
Presently another rock above Rinkitink plunged downward, and then
another, but none touched his body. Klik seemed much perplexed at these
continued escapes, and certainly Kaliko was surprised when Rinkitink,
safe and sound, entered the royal cavern.
"Good morning," said the King of Gilgad. "Your rocks are getting
loose, Kaliko, and you'd better have them glued in place before they hurt
someone." Then he began to chuckle: "Hoo, hoo, hoo-hee, hee-heek, keek,
eek!" and Kaliko sat and frowned because he realized that the little fat
King was poking fun at him.
"I asked Your Majesty to come here," said the Nome King, "to show
you a curious skein of golden thread which my workmen have made. If it
pleases you, I will make you a present of it."
With this, he held out a small skein of glittering gold twine,
which was really pretty and curious. Rinkitink took it in his hand, and
at once the golden thread began to unwind so swiftly that the eye could
not follow its motion. And as it unwound it coiled itself around
Rinkitink's body, at the same time weaving itself into a net, until it
had enveloped the little King from head to foot and placed him in a
prison of gold.
"Aha!" cried Kaliko, "THIS magic worked all right, it seems."
"Oh, did it?" replied Rinkitink, and stepping forward he walked
right through the golden net, which fell to the floor in a tangled mess.
"I understand a good bit of magic," said he, "but Your Majesty
has a sort of magic that greatly puzzles me, because it is unlike
anything of the sort I ever met with before."
"Now see here, Kaliko," said Rinkitink, "if you are trying to
harm me or my companions, give it up, for you will never succeed. We're
harm-proof, so to speak, and you are merely wasting your time trying to
"You may be right, and I hope I am not so impolite as to argue
with a guest," returned the Nome King. "But you will pardon me if I am
not yet satisfied that you are stronger than my famous magic. However, I
beg you to believe that I bear you no ill will, King Rinkitink; but it is
my duty to destroy you, if possible, because you and that insignificant
boy Prince have openly threatened to take away my captives and have
positively refused to go back to the earth's surface and let me alone.
I'm very tender-hearted, as a matter of fact, and would enjoy having you
as a friend, but--" here he pressed a button on the arm of his throne
chair, and the section of the floor where Rinkitink stood suddenly opened
and disclosed a black pit beneath, which was part of the terrible
But Rinkitink did not fall into the pit; his body remained
suspended in the air until he put out his foot and stepped to the solid
floor, when the opening suddenly closed again.
"I appreciate Your Majesty's friendship," remarked Rinkitink as
calmly as if nothing had happened, "but I am getting tired with standing.
Will you please send for my goat, Bilbil, that I may sit upon his back to
"Indeed I will!" promised Kaliko. "I have not yet completed my
test of your magic, and as I owe that goat a slight grudge for bumping my
head and smashing my second-best crown, I will be glad to discover if the
beast can also escape my delightful little sorceries."
So Klik was sent to fetch Bilbil, and presently returned with the
goat, which was very cross this morning because it had not slept well in
the underground caverns.
Rinkitink lost no time in getting upon the red velvet saddle
which the goat constantly wore, for he feared the Nome King would try to
destroy Bilbil and knew that as long as his body touched that of the
goat, the Pink Pearl would protect them both; whereas, if Bilbil stood
alone, there was no magic to save him.
Bilbil glared wickedly at King Kaliko, who moved uneasily in his
ivory throne. Then the Nome King whispered a moment in the ear of Klik,
who nodded and left the room.
"Please make yourself at home here for a few minutes while I
attend to an errand," said the Nome King, getting up from the throne. "I
shall return pretty soon, when I hope to find you pieceful--ha, ha,
ha!--that's a joke you can't appreciate now, but will later. Be
pieceful, that's the idea. Ho, ho, ho! How funny." Then he waddled
from the cavern, closing the door behind him.
"Well, why didn't you laugh when Kaliko laughed?" demanded the
goat when they were left alone in the cavern.
"Because he means mischief of some sort," replied Rinkitink, "and
we'll laugh after the danger is over, Bilbil. There's an old adage that
says: 'He laughs best who laughs last,' and the only way to laugh last is
to give the other fellow a chance. Where did that knife come from, I
For a long, sharp knife suddenly appeared in the air near them,
twisting and turning from side to side and darting here and there in a
dangerous manner without any support whatever. Then another knife became
visible--and another and another--until all the space in the royal cavern
seemed filled with them. Their sharp points and edges darted toward
Rinkitink and Bilbil perpetually, and nothing could have saved them from
being cut to pieces except the protecting power of the Pink Pearl. As it
was, not a knife touched them, and even Bilbil gave a gruff laugh at the
failure of Kaliko's clever magic.
The goat wandered here and there in the cavern, carrying
Rinkitink upon his back, and neither of them paid the slightest heed to
the whirring knives, although the glitter of the hundreds of polished
blades was rather trying to the eyes. Perhaps for ten minutes the knives
darted about them in bewildering fury; then they disappeared as suddenly
as they had appeared.
Kaliko cautiously stuck his head through the doorway and found
the goat chewing the embroidery of his royal cloak, which he had left
lying over the throne, while Rinkitink was reading his manuscript on "How
to be Good" and chuckling over its advice. The Nome King seemed greatly
disappointed as he came in and resumed his seat on the throne. Said
Rinkitink with a chuckle: "We've really had a peaceful time, Kaliko,
although not the pieceful time you expected. Forgive me if I indulge in
a laugh--hoo, hoo, hoo-hee, heek-keek-eek! And now, tell me; aren't you
getting tired of trying to injure us?"
"Eh-heh," said the Nome King. "I see now that your magic can
protect you from all my arts. But is the boy Inga as well protected as
Your Majesty and the goat?"
"Why do you ask?" inquired Rinkitink, uneasy at the question
because he remembered he had not seen the little Prince of Pingaree that
"Because," said Kaliko, "the boy has been undergoing trials far
greater and more dangerous than any you have encountered, and it has been
hundreds of years since anyone has been able to escape alive from the
perils of my Three Trick Caverns."
King Rinkitink was much alarmed at hearing this, for although he
knew that Inga possessed the Blue Pearl, that would only give to him
marvelous strength, and perhaps strength alone would not enable him to
escape from danger. But he would not let Kaliko see the fear he felt for
Inga's safety, so he said in a careless way: "You're a mighty poor
magician, Kaliko, and I'll give you my crown if Inga hasn't escaped any
danger you have threatened him with."
"Your whole crown is not worth one of the valuable diamonds in my
crown," answered the Nome King, "but I'll take it. Let us go at once,
therefore, and see what has become of the boy Prince, for if he is not
destroyed by this time, I will admit he cannot be injured by any of the
magic arts which I have at my command."
He left the room accompanied by Klik, who had now rejoined his
master, and by Rinkitink riding upon Bilbil. After traversing several of
the huge caverns, they entered one that was somewhat more bright and
cheerful than the others, where the Nome King paused before a wall of
rock. Then Klik pressed a secret spring, and a section of the wall
opened and disclosed the corridor where Prince Inga stood facing them.
"Tarts and tadpoles!" cried Kaliko in surprise. "The boy is
One day when Princess Dorothy of Oz was visiting Glinda the Good,
who is Ozma's Royal Sorceress, she was looking through Glinda's Great
Book of Records--wherein is inscribed all important events that happen in
every part of the world--when she came upon the record of the destruction
of Pingaree, the capture of King Kitticut and Queen Garee and all their
people, and the curious escape of Inga, the boy Prince, and of King
Rinkitink and the talking goat. Turning over some of the following
pages, Dorothy read how Inga had found the Magic Pearls and was rowing
the silver-lined boat to Regos to try to rescue his parents.
The little girl was much interested to know how well Inga
succeeded, but she returned to the palace of Ozma at the Emerald City of
Oz the next day, and other events made her forget the boy Prince of
Pingaree for a time. However, she was one day idly looking at Ozma's
Magic Picture, which shows any scene you may wish to see, when the girl
thought of Inga and commanded the Magic Picture to show what the boy was
doing at that moment.
It was the time when Inga and Rinkitink had followed the King of
Regos and Queen of Coregos to the Nome King's country, and she saw them
hiding behind the rock as Cor and Gos passed them by after having placed
the King and Queen of Pingaree in the keeping of the Nome King. From that
time, Dorothy followed, by means of the Magic Picture, the adventures of
Inga and his friends in the Nome King's caverns, and the danger and
helplessness of the poor boy aroused the little girl's pity and
So she went to Ozma and told the lovely girl Ruler of Oz all
about Inga and Rinkitink.
"I think Kaliko is treating them dreadfully mean," declared
Dorothy, "and I wish you'd let me go to the Nome Country and help them
out of their troubles."
"Go, my dear, if you wish to," replied Ozma, "but I think it
would be best for you to take the Wizard with you."
"Oh, I'm not afraid of the nomes," said Dorothy, "but I'll be
glad to take the Wizard for company. And may we use your Magic Carpet,
"Of course. Put the Magic Carpet in the Red Wagon and have the
Sawhorse take you and the Wizard to the edge of the desert. While you
are gone, Dorothy, I'll watch you in the Magic Picture, and if any danger
threatens you, I'll see you are not harmed."
Dorothy thanked the Ruler of Oz and kissed her goodbye, for she
was determined to start at once. She found the Wizard of Oz, who was
planting shoe-trees in the garden, and when she told him Inga's story, he
willingly agreed to accompany the little girl to the Nome King's caverns.
They had both been there before and had conquered the nomes with ease, so
they were not at all afraid.
The Wizard, who was a cheery little man with a bald head and a
winning smile, harnessed the Wooden Sawhorse to the Red Wagon and loaded
on Ozma's Magic Carpet. Then he and Dorothy climbed to the seat, and the
Sawhorse started off and carried them swiftly through the beautiful Land
of Oz to the edge of the Deadly Desert that separated their fairyland
from the Nome Country.
Even Dorothy and the clever Wizard would not have dared to cross
this desert without the aid of the Magic Carpet, for it would have
quickly destroyed them; but when the roll of carpet had been placed upon
the edge of the sands leaving just enough lying flat for them to stand
upon, the carpet straight-away began to unroll before them, and as they
walked on it continued to unroll until they had safely passed over the
stretch of Deadly Desert and were on the border of the Nome King's
This journey had been accomplished in a few minutes, although
such a distance would have required several days' travel had they not
been walking on the Magic Carpet. On arriving, they at once walked
toward the entrance to the caverns of the nomes.
The Wizard carried a little black bag containing his tools of
wizardry, while Dorothy carried over her arm a covered basket in which
she had placed a dozen eggs with which to conquer the nomes if she had
any trouble with them.
Eggs may seem to you to be a queer weapon with which to fight,
but the little girl well knew their value. The nomes are immortal; that
is, they do not perish, as mortals do, UNLESS THEY HAPPEN TO COME INTO
CONTACT WITH AN EGG. If an egg touches them--either the outer shell or
the inside of the egg--the nomes lose their charm of perpetual life and
thereafter are liable to die through accident or old age just as all
For this reason, the sight of an egg fills a nome with terror,
and he will do anything to prevent an egg from touching him, even for an
instant. So when Dorothy took her basket of eggs with her, she knew that
she was more powerfully armed than if she had a regiment of soldiers at
After Kaliko had failed in his attempts to destroy his guests, as
has been related, the Nome King did nothing more to injure them, but
treated them in a friendly manner. He refused, however, to permit Inga
to see or to speak with his father and mother, or even to know in what
part of the underground caverns they were confined.
"You are able to protect your lives and persons, I freely admit,"
said Kaliko, "but I firmly believe you have no power, either of magic or
otherwise, to take from me the captives I have agreed to keep for King
Inga would not agree to this. He determined not to leave the
caverns until he had liberated his father and mother, although he did not
then know how that could be accomplished. As for Rinkitink, the jolly
King was well fed and had a good bed to sleep upon, so he was not
worrying about anything and seemed in no hurry to go away.
Kaliko and Rinkitink were engaged in pitching a game with solid
gold quoits on the floor of the royal chamber, and Inga and Bilbil were
watching them, when Klik came running in, his hair standing on end with
excitement, and cried out that the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy were
Kaliko turned pale on hearing this unwelcome news, and abandoning
his game went to sit in his ivory throne and try to think what had
brought these fearful visitors to his domain.
"Who is Dorothy?" asked Inga.
"She is a little girl who once lived in Kansas," replied Klik
with a shudder, "but she now lives in Ozma's palace at the Emerald City
and is a Princess of Oz--which means that she is a terrible foe to deal
"Doesn't she like the nomes?" inquired the boy.
"It isn't that," said King Kaliko with a groan, "but she insists
on the nomes being goody-goody, which is contrary to their natures.
Dorothy gets angry if I do the least thing that is wicked and tries to
make me stop it, and that naturally makes me downhearted. I can't
imagine why she has come here just now, for I've been behaving very well
lately. As for the Wizard of Oz, he's chock-full of magic that I can't
overcome, for he learned it from Glinda, who is the most powerful
sorceress in the world. Woe is me! Why didn't Dorothy and the Wizard
stay in Oz where they belong?"
Inga and Rinkitink listened to this with much joy, for at once
the idea came to them both to plead with Dorothy to help them. Even
Bilbil pricked up his ears when he heard the Wizard of Oz mentioned, and
the goat seemed less surly and more thoughtful than usual.
A few minutes later, a nome came to say that Dorothy and the
Wizard had arrived and demanded admittance, so Klik was sent to usher
them into the royal presence of the Nome King.
As soon as she came in, the little girl ran up to the boy Prince
and seized both his hands.
"Oh, Inga!" she exclaimed, "I'm so glad to find you alive and
Inga was astonished at so warm a greeting. Making a low bow, he
said: "I don't think we have met before, Princess."
"No, indeed," replied Dorothy, "but I know all about you, and I've
come to help you and King Rinkitink out of your troubles." Then she
turned to the Nome King and continued: "You ought to be ashamed of
yourself, King Kaliko, to treat an honest Prince and an honest King so
"I haven't done anything to them," whined Kaliko, trembling as
her eyes flashed upon him.
"No, but you tried to, an' that's just as bad, if not worse,"
said Dorothy, who was very indignant. "And now I want you to send for
the King and Queen of Pingaree and have them brought here IMMEJITLY!"
"I won't," said Kaliko.
"Yes, you will!" cried Dorothy, stamping her foot at him. "I
won't have those poor people made unhappy any longer, or separated from
their little boy. Why, it's DREADFUL, Kaliko, an' I'm surprised at you.
You must be more wicked than I thought you were."
"I can't do it, Dorothy," said the Nome King, almost weeping with
despair. "I promised King Gos I'd keep them captives. You wouldn't ask
me to break my promise, would you?"
"King Gos was a robber and an outlaw," she said, "and p'r'aps you
don't know that a storm at sea wrecked his boat while he was going back
to Regos and that he and Queen Cor were both drowned."
"Dear me!" exclaimed Kaliko. "Is that so?"
"I saw it in Glinda's Record Book," said Dorothy. "So now you
trot out the King and Queen of Pingaree as quick as you can."
"No," persisted the contrary Nome King, shaking his head. "I
won't do it. Ask me anything else and I'll try to please you, but I
can't allow these friendly enemies to triumph over me."
"In that case," said Dorothy, beginning to remove the cover from
her basket, "I'll show you some eggs."
"Eggs!" screamed the Nome King in horror. "Have you eggs in that
"A dozen of 'em," replied Dorothy.
"Then keep them there--I beg--I implore you!--and I'll do
anything you say," pleaded Kaliko, his teeth chattering so that he could
"Send for the King and Queen of Pingaree," said Dorothy.
"Go, Klik," commanded the Nome King, and Klik ran away in great
haste, for he was almost as much frightened as his master.
It was an affecting scene when the unfortunate King and Queen of
Pingaree entered the chamber and with sobs and tears of joy embraced
their brave and adventurous son. All the others stood silent until
greetings and kisses had been exchanged and Inga had told his parents in
a few words of his vain struggles to rescue them and how Princess Dorothy
had finally come to his assistance.
Then King Kitticut shook the hands of his friend King Rinkitink
and thanked him for so loyally supporting his son Inga, and Queen Garee
kissed little Dorothy's forehead and blessed her for restoring her
husband and herself to freedom.
The Wizard had been standing near Bilbil the goat, and now he was
surprised to hear the animal say: "Joyful reunion, isn't it? But it
makes me tired to see grown people cry like children."
"Oho!" exclaimed the Wizard. "How does it happen, Mr. Goat, that
you who have never been to the Land of Oz are able to talk?"
"That's my business," returned Bilbil in a surly tone.
The Wizard stooped down and gazed fixedly into the animal's eyes.
Then he said with a pitying sigh: "I see; you are under an enchantment.
Indeed, I believe you to be Prince Bobo of Boboland."
Bilbil made no reply, but dropped his head as if ashamed.
"This is a great discovery," said the Wizard, addressing Dorothy
and the others of the party. "A good many years ago, a cruel magician
transformed the gallant Prince of Boboland into a talking goat, and this
goat, being ashamed of his condition, ran away and was never after seen
in Boboland, which is a country far to the south of here but bordering on
the Deadly Desert opposite to the Land of Oz. I heard of this story long
ago and know that a diligent search has been made for the enchanted
Prince without result. But I am well assured that in the animal you call
Bilbil I have discovered the unhappy Prince of Boboland."
"Dear me, Bilbil," said Rinkitink, "why have you never told me
"What would be the use?" asked Bilbil in a low voice and still
refusing to look up.
"The use?" repeated Rinkitink, puzzled.
"Yes, that's the trouble," said the Wizard. "It is one of the
most powerful enchantments ever accomplished, and the magician is now
dead and the secret of the anti-charm lost. Even I, with all my skill,
cannot restore Prince Bobo to his proper form. But I think Glinda might
be able to do so, and if you will all return with Dorothy and me to the
Land of Oz, where Ozma will make you welcome, I will ask Glinda to try to
break this enchantment."
This was willingly agreed to, for they all welcomed the chance to
visit the famous Land of Oz. So they bade goodbye to King Kaliko, whom
Dorothy warned not to be wicked any more if he could help it, and the
entire party returned over the Magic Carpet to the Land of Oz. They
filled the Red Wagon, which was still waiting for them, pretty full; but
the Sawhorse didn't mind that and with wonderful speed carried them
safely to the Emerald City.
Ozma had seen in her Magic Picture the liberation of Inga's
parents and the departure of the entire party for the Emerald City, so
with her usual hospitality she ordered a splendid banquet prepared and
invited all her quaint friends who were then in the Emerald City to be
present that evening to meet the strangers who were to become her guests.
Glinda also, in her wonderful Record Book, had learned of the
events that had taken place in the caverns of the Nome King, and she
became especially interested in the enchantment of the Prince of
Boboland. So she hastily prepared several of her most powerful charms and
then summoned her flock of sixteen white storks, which swiftly bore her
to Ozma's palace. She arrived there before the Red Wagon did and was
warmly greeted by the girl Ruler.
Realizing that the costume of Queen Garee of Pingaree must have
become sadly worn and frayed owing to her hard-ships and adventures, Ozma
ordered a royal outfit prepared for the good Queen and had it laid out in
her chamber ready for her to put on as soon as she arrived, so she would
not be shamed at the banquet. New costumes were also provided for King
Kitticut and King Rinkitink and Prince Inga, all cut and made and
embellished in the elaborate and becoming style then prevalent in the
Land of Oz, and as soon as the party arrived at the palace, Ozma's guests
were escorted by her servants to their rooms that they might bathe and
Glinda the Sorceress and the Wizard of Oz took charge of Bilbil
the goat and went to a private room where they were not likely to be
interrupted. Glinda first questioned Bilbil long and earnestly about the
manner of his enchantment and the ceremony that had been used by the
magician who enchanted him. At first, Bilbil protested that he did not
want to be restored to his natural shape, saying that he had been forever
disgraced in the eyes of his people and of the entire world by being
obliged to exist as a scrawny, scraggly goat. But Glinda pointed out
that any person who incurred the enmity of a wicked magician was liable
to suffer a similar fate, and assured him that his misfortune would make
him better beloved by his subjects when he returned to them freed from
his dire enchantment.
Bilbil was finally convinced of the truth of this assertion and
agreed to submit to the experiments of Glinda and the Wizard, who knew
they had a hard task before them and were not at all sure they could
succeed. We know that Glinda is the most complete mistress of magic who
has ever existed, and she was wise enough to guess that the clever but
evil magician who had enchanted Prince Bobo had used a spell that would
puzzle any ordinary wizard or sorcerer to break; therefore, she had given
the matter much shrewd thought and hoped she had conceived a plan that
would succeed. But because she was not positive of success, she would
have no one present at the incantation except her assistant, the Wizard
First she transformed Bilbil the goat into a lamb, and this was
done quite easily. Next she transformed the lamb into an ostrich, giving
it two legs and feet instead of four. Then she tried to transform the
ostrich into the original Prince Bobo, but this incantation was an utter
failure. Glinda was not discouraged, however, but by a powerful spell
transformed the ostrich into a Tottenhot--which is a lower form of man.
Then the Tottenhot was transformed into a Mifket, which was a great step
in advance, and finally Glinda transformed the Mifket into a handsome
young man, tall and shapely, who fell on his knees before the great
Sorceress and gratefully kissed her hand, admitting that he had now
recovered his proper shape and was indeed Prince Bobo of Boboland.
This process of magic, successful though it was in the end, had
required so much time that the banquet was now awaiting their presence.
Bobo was already dressed in princely raiment, and although he seemed
very much humbled by his recent lowly condition, they finally persuaded
him to join the festivities.
When Rinkitink saw that his goat had now become a Prince, he did
not know whether to be sorry or glad, for he felt that he would miss the
companionship of the quarrelsome animal he had so long been accustomed to
ride upon, while at the same time he rejoiced that poor Bilbil had come
to his own again.
Prince Bobo humbly begged Rinkitink's forgiveness for having been
so disagreeable to him at times, saying that the nature of a goat had
influenced him, and the surly disposition he had shown was a part of his
enchantment. But the jolly King assured the Prince that he had really
enjoyed Bilbil's grumpy speeches and forgave him readily. Indeed, they
all discovered the young Prince Bobo to be an exceedingly courteous and
pleasant person, although he was somewhat reserved and dignified.
Ah, but it was a great feast that Ozma served in her gorgeous
banquet hall that night, and everyone was as happy as could be. The
Shaggy Man was there, and so was Jack Pumpkinhead and the Tin Woodman and
Cap'n Bill. Beside Princess Dorothy sat Tiny Trot and Betsy Bobbin, and
the three little girls were almost as sweet to look upon as was Ozma, who
sat at the head of her table and outshone all her guests in loveliness.
King Rinkitink was delighted with the quaint people of Oz and
laughed and joked with the tin man and the pumpkin-headed man and found
Cap'n Bill a very agreeable companion. But what amused the jolly King
most were the animal guests, which Ozma always invited to her banquets
and seated at a table by themselves, where they talked and chatted
together as people do, but were served the sort of food their natures
required. The Hungry Tiger and Cowardly Lion and the Glass Cat were much
admired by Rinkitink, but when he met a mule named Hank which Betsy
Bobbin had brought to Oz the King found the creature so comical that he
laughed and chuckled until his friends thought he would choke. Then while
the banquet was still in progress, Rinkitink composed and sang a song to
the mule, and they all joined in the chorus, which was something like this:
"It's very queer how big an ear
Is worn by Mr. Donkey;
And yet I fear he could not hear
If it were on a monkey.
'Tis thick and strong and broad and long
And also very hairy;
It's quite becoming to our Hank
But might disgrace a fairy!"
This song was received with so much enthusiasm that Rinkitink was
prevailed upon to sing another. They gave him a little time to compose
the rhyme, which he declared would be better if he could devote a month
or two to its composition, but the sentiment he expressed was so
admirable that no one criticized the song or the manner in which the
jolly little King sang it.
Dorothy wrote down the words on a piece of paper, and here they are:
"We're merry comrades all, tonight,
Because we've won a gallant fight
And conquered all our foes.
We're not afraid of anything,
So let us gaily laugh and sing
Until we seek repose.
"We've all our grateful hearts can wish;
King Gos has gone to feed the fish,
Queen Cor has gone as well;
King Kitticut has found his own,
Prince Bobo soon will have a throne
Relieved of magic spell.
"So let's forget the horrid strife
That fell upon our peaceful life
And caused distress and pain;
For very soon across the sea
We'll all be sailing merrily
To Pingaree again."
It was unfortunate that the famous Scarecrow--the most popular
person in all Oz next to Ozma--was absent at the time of the banquet, for
he happened just then to be making one of his trips through the country;
but the Scarecrow had a chance later to meet Rinkitink and Inga and the
King and Queen of Pingaree and Prince Bobo, for the party remained
several weeks at the Emerald City, where they were royally entertained
and where both the gentle Queen Garee and the noble King Kitticut
recovered much of their good spirits and composure and tried to forget
their dreadful experiences.
At last, however, the King and Queen desired to return to their
own Pingaree, as they longed to be with their people again and see how
well they had rebuilt their homes. Inga also was anxious to return,
although he had been very happy in Oz, and King Rinkitink, who was happy
anywhere except at Gilgad, decided to go with his former friends to
Pingaree. As for Prince Bobo, he had become so greatly attached to King
Rinkitink that he was loath to leave him.
On a certain day, they all bade goodbye to Ozma and Dorothy and
Glinda and the Wizard and all their good friends in Oz, and were driven
in the Red Wagon to the edge of the Deadly Desert, which they crossed
safely on the Magic Carpet. They then made their way safely across the
Nome Kingdom and the Wheeler Country, where no one molested them, to the
shores of the Nonestic Ocean. There they found the boat with the silver
lining still lying undisturbed on the beach.
There were no important adventures during the trip, and on their
arrival at the pearl kingdom they were amazed at the beautiful appearance
of the island they had left in ruins. All the houses of the people had
been rebuilt and were prettier than before, with green lawns before them
and flower gardens in the back yards. The marble towers of King
Kitticut's new palace were very striking and impressive, while the palace
itself proved far more magnificent that it had been before the warriors
from Regos destroyed it.
Nikobob had been very active and skillful in directing all this
work, and he had also built a pretty cottage for himself not far from the
King's palace, and there Inga found Zella, who was living very happy and
contented in her new home. Not only had Nikobob accomplished all this in
a comparatively brief space of time, but he had started the pearl
fisheries again, and when King Kitticut returned to Pingaree he found a
quantity of fine pearls already in the royal treasury.
So pleased was Kitticut with the good judgment, industry and
honesty of the former charcoal-burner of Regos that he made Nikobob his
Lord High Chamberlain and put him in charge of the pearl fisheries and
all the business matters of the island kingdom.
They all settled down very comfortably in the new palace, and the
Queen gathered her maids about her once more and set them to work
embroidering new draperies for the royal throne. Inga placed the three
Magic Pearls in their silken bag and again deposited them in the secret
cavity under the tiled flooring of the banquet hall, where they could be
quickly secured if danger ever threatened the now prosperous island.
King Rinkitink occupied a royal guest chamber built especially
for his use and seemed in no hurry to leave his friends in Pingaree. The
fat little King had to walk wherever he went and so missed Bilbil more
and more; but he seldom walked far, and he was so fond of Prince Bobo
that he never regretted Bilbil's disenchantment.
Indeed, the jolly monarch was welcome to remain forever in
Pingaree if he wished to, for his merry disposition set smiles on the
faces of all his friends and made everyone near him as jolly as he was
himself. When King Kitticut was not too busy with affairs of state, he
loved to join his guest and listen to his brother monarch's songs and
stories. For he found Rinkitink to be, with all his careless disposition,
a shrewd philosopher, and in talking over their adventures one day, the
King of Gilgad said:
"The beauty of life is its sudden changes. No one knows what is
going to happen next, and so we are constantly being surprised and
entertained. The many ups and downs should not discourage us, for if we
are down, we know that a change is coming and we will go up again; while
those who are up are almost certain to go down. My grandfather had a
song which well expresses this, and if you will listen, I will sing it."
"Of course I will listen to your song," returned Kitticut, "for
it would be impolite not to."
So Rinkitink sang his grandfather's song:
"A mighty King once ruled the land--
But now he's baking pies,
A pauper, on the other hand,
Is ruling, strong and wise.
A tiger once in jungles raged--
But now he's in a zoo;
A lion, captive-born and caged,
Now roams the forest through.
A man once slapped a poor boy's pate
And made him weep and wail.
The boy became a magistrate
And put the man in jail.
A sunny day succeeds the night;
It's summer--then it snows!
Right oft goes wrong and wrong becomes right,
As ev'ry wise man knows."
One morning, just as the royal party was finishing breakfast, a
servant came running to say that a great fleet of boats was approaching
the island from the south. King Kitticut sprang up at once in great
alarm, for he had much cause to fear strange boats. The others quickly
followed him to the shore to see what invasion might be coming upon them.
Inga was there with the first, and Nikobob and Zella soon joined
the watchers. And presently, while all were gazing eagerly at the
approaching fleet, King Rinkitink suddenly cried out: "Get your pearls,
Prince Inga--get them quick!"
"Are these our enemies, then?" asked the boy, looking with
surprise upon the fat little King, who had begun to tremble violently.
"They are my people of Gilgad!" answered Rinkitink, wiping a tear
from his eye. "I recognize my royal standards flying from the boats. So
please, dear Inga, get out your pearls to protect me!"
"What can you fear at the hands of your own subjects?" asked
But before his frightened guest could answer the question, Prince
Bobo, who was standing beside his friend, gave an amused laugh and said:
"You are caught at last, dear Rinkitink. Your people will take you home
again and oblige you to reign as King."
Rinkitink groaned aloud and clasped his hands together with a
gesture of despair, an attitude so comical that the others could scarcely
But now the boats were landing upon the beach. They were fifty
in number, beautifully decorated and upholstered and rowed by men clad in
the gay uniforms of the King of Gilgad. One splendid boat had a throne
of gold in the center, over which was draped the King's royal robe of
purple velvet embroidered with gold buttercups.
Rinkitink shuddered when he saw this throne; but now a tall man,
handsomely dressed, approached and knelt upon the grass before his King,
while all the other occupants of the boats shouted joyfully and waved
their plumed hats in the air.
"Thanks to our good fortune," said the man who kneeled, "we have
found Your Majesty at last!"
"Pinkerbloo," answered Rinkitink sternly, "I must have you hanged
for thus finding me against my will."
"You think so now, Your Majesty, but you will never do it,"
returned Pinkerbloo, rising and kissing the King's hand.
"Why won't I?" asked Rinkitink.
"Because you are much too tender-hearted, Your Majesty."
"It may be, it may be," agreed Rinkitink sadly. "It is one of my
greatest failings. But what chance brought you here, my Lord
"We have searched for you everywhere, sire, and all the people of
Gilgad have been in despair since you so mysteriously disappeared. We
could not appoint a new King because we did not know but that you still
lived; so we set out to find you, dead or alive. After visiting many
islands of the Nonestic Ocean, we at last thought of Pingaree, from where
come the precious pearls; and now our faithful quest has been rewarded."
"And what now?" asked Rinkitink.
"Now, Your Majesty, you must come home with us like a good and
dutiful King and rule over your people," declared the man in a firm
"I will not."
"But you must--begging Your Majesty's pardon for the
"Kitticut," cried poor Rinkitink, "you must save me from being
captured by these, my subjects. What! Must I return to Gilgad and be
forced to reign in splendid state when I much prefer to eat and sleep and
sing in my own quiet way? They will make me sit in a throne three hours
a day and listen to dry and tedious affairs of state; and I must stand up
for hours at the court receptions till I get corns on my heels; and
forever must I listen to tiresome speeches and endless petitions and
"But someone must do this, Your Majesty," said Pinkerbloo
respectfully, "and since you were born to be our King, you cannot escape
"'Tis a horrid fate!" moaned Rinkitink. "I would die willingly
rather than be a King if it did not hurt so terribly to die."
"You will find it much more comfortable to reign than to die,
although I fully appreciate Your Majesty's difficult position and am
truly sorry for you," said Pinkerbloo.
King Kitticut had listened to this conversation thoughtfully, so
now he said to his friend: "The man is right, dear Rinkitink. It is your
duty to reign, since Fate has made you a King, and I see no honorable
escape for you. I shall grieve to lose your companionship, but I feel
the separation cannot be avoided."
Rinkitink sighed. "Then," said he, turning to Lord Pinkerbloo,
"in three days I will depart with you for Gilgad; but during those three
days I propose to feast and make merry with my good friend King Kitticut."
Then all the people of Gilgad shouted with delight and eagerly
scrambled ashore to take their part in the festival.
Those three days were long remembered in Pingaree, for never,
before or since, has such feasting and jollity been known upon that
island. Rinkitink made the most of his time, and everyone laughed and
sang with him by day and by night.
Then at last the hour of parting arrived, and the King of Gilgad
and Ruler of the Dominion of Rinkitink was escorted by a grand procession
to his boat and seated upon his golden throne. The rowers of the fifty
boats paused with their glittering oars pointed into the air like
gigantic, uplifted sabers, while the people of Pingaree--men, women and
children--stood upon the shore shouting a royal farewell to the jolly
Then came a sudden hush while Rinkitink stood up and, with a bow
to those assembled to witness his departure, sang the following song,
which he had just composed for the occasion.
"Farewell, dear Isle of Pingaree--
The fairest land in all the sea!
No living mortals, kings or churls,
Would scorn to wear thy precious pearls.
"King Kitticut, 'tis with regret
I'm forced to say farewell; and yet
Abroad no longer can I roam
When fifty boats would drag me home.
"Goodbye, my Prince of Pingaree;
A noble King some time you'll be
And long and wisely may you reign
And never face a foe again!"
They cheered him from the shore; they cheered him from the boats;
and then all the oars of the fifty boats swept downward with a single
motion and dipped their blades into the purple-hued waters of the
As the boats shot swiftly over the ripples of the sea, Rinkitink
turned to Prince Bobo, who had decided not to desert his former master
and his present friend, and asked anxiously: "How did you like that song,
Bilbil--I mean Bobo? Is it a masterpiece, do you think?"
And Bobo replied with a smile: "Like all your songs, dear
Rinkitink, the sentiment far excels the poetry."