The Surprising Adventures of
The Magical Monarch of Mo
And His People
BY L. FRANK BAUM
I dare say there are several questions you would like to ask at
the very beginning of this history. First: Who is the Monarch of Mo?
And why is he called the Magical Monarch? And where IS Mo, anyhow? And
why have your never heard of it before? And can it be reached by a
railroad or a trolley-car or must one walk all the way?
These questions I realize should be answered before we (that "we"
means you and the book) can settle down together for a comfortable
reading of all the wonders and astonishing adventures I shall endeavor
faithfully to relate.
In the first place, the Monarch of Mo is a very pleasant
personage holding the rank of King. He is not very tall, nor is he very
short; he is midway between fat and lean; he is delightfully jolly when
he is not sad, and seldom sad if he can possible be jolly. How old he
may be I have never dared to inquire, but when we realize that he is
destined to live as long as the Valley of Mo exists, we may reasonably
suppose the Monarch of Mo is exactly as old as his native land. And no
one in Mo has ever reckoned up the years to see how many they have been.
So we will just say that the Monarch of Mo and the Valley of Mo are each
a part of the other and cannot be separated.
He is not called the Magical Monarch because he deals in magic,
for he doesn't deal in magic. But he leads such a queer life in such a
queer country that his history will surely seem magical to us who inhabit
the civilized places of the world and think that anything we can not find
a reason for must be due to magic. The life of the Monarch of Mo seems
simple enough to him, you may be sure, for he knows no other existence.
And our ways of living, could he know of them, would doubtless astonish
The land of Mo, which is ruled by the King we call the Magical
Monarch, is often spoken of as the "Beautiful Valley." If they would
only put in on the maps of our geographies and paint it pink or light
green and print a big round dot where the King's castle stands, it would
be easy enough to point out to you its exact location. But I cannot find
the Valley of Mo in any geography I have examined, so I suspect the men
who made these instructive books really know nothing about Mo, else it
would surely be on the maps.
Of one thing I am certain: that no other country included in the
maps is so altogether delightful as the Beautiful Valley of Mo. The sun
shines all the time, and its rays are perfumed. The people who live in
the Valley do not sleep, because there is no night. Everything they can
possibly need grows on the trees, so they have no use for money at all,
and that saves them a deal of worry.
There are no poor people in this quaint Valley. When a person
desires a new hat, he waits till one is ripe, and then picks it and wears
it without asking anybody's permission. If a lady wishes a new ring, she
examines carefully those upon the ring tree, and when she finds one that
fits her finger, she picks it and wears it upon her hand. In this way
they procure all they desire.
There are two rivers in the Land of Mo, one of which flows milk
of a very rich quality. Some of the islands in Milk River are made of
excellent cheese, and the people are welcome to spade up this cheese
whenever they wish to eat it. In the little pools near the bank, where
the current does not flow swiftly, delicious cream rises to the top of
the milk, and instead of water-lilies great strawberry leaves grow upon
the surface, and the ripe, red berries lie dipping their noses into the
cream as if inviting you to come and eat them. The sand that forms the
river bank is pure white sugar, and all kinds of candies and bonbons grow
thick on the low bushes, so that anyone may pluck them easily.
These are only a few of the remarkable things that exist in the
Beautiful Valley. The people are merry, light-hearted folk, who live in
beautiful houses of pure crystal, where they can rest themselves and play
their games and go in when it rains. For it rains in Mo as it does
everywhere else, only it rains lemonade, and the lightning in the sky
resembles the most beautiful fireworks, and the thunder is usually a
chorus from the opera of Tannhauser.
No one ever dies in this Valley, and the people are always young
and beautiful. There is the King and a Queen, besides several princes
and princesses. But it is not much use being a prince in Mo, because the
King cannot die, therefore a prince is a prince to the end of his days,
and his days never end.
Strange things occur in this strange land, as you may imagine;
and while I relate some of these, you will learn more of the peculiar
features of the Beautiful Valley.
A good many years ago the Magical Monarch of Mo became annoyed by
the Purple Dragon, which came down from the mountains and ate up a patch
of his best chocolate caramels just as they were getting ripe. So the
King went out to the sword tree and picked a long, sharp sword and tied
it to his belt and went away to the mountains to fight the Purple Dragon.
The people all applauded him, saying one to another, "Our King is
a good King. He will destroy this naughty Purple Dragon and we shall be
able to eat the caramels ourselves."
But the Dragon was not alone naughty; it was bad and fierce and
strong and did not want to be destroyed at all. Therefore the King had a
terrible fight with the Purple Dragon, and cut it with his sword in
several places, so that the raspberry juice which ran in its veins
squirted all over the ground.
It is always difficult to kill Dragons. They are by nature
thick-skinned and tough, as doubtless everyone has heard. Besides, you
must not forget that this was a Purple Dragon, and all scientists who
have studied deeply the character of Dragons say those of a purple color
are the most disagreeable to fight with. So all the King's cutting and
slashing had no other effect upon the monster than to make him angry.
Forgetful of the respect due to a crowned King, the wicked Dragon
presently opened wide its jaws and bit his Majesty's head clean off from
his body. Then he swallowed it.
Of course the King realized it was useless to continue the fight
after that, for he could not see where the Dragon was. So he turned and
tried to find his way back to his people. But at every other step he
would bump into a tree, which made the naughty Dragon laugh at him.
Furthermore, he could not tell in which direction he was going, which is
an unpleasant feeling under any circumstances.
As last some of the people came to see if the King had succeeded
in destroying the Dragon and found their monarch running around in a
circle, bumping into trees and rocks but not getting a step nearer home.
So they took his hand and led him back to the palace, where everyone was
filled with sorrow at the sad sight of the headless King. Indeed, his
devoted subjects for the first time in their lives came as near to
weeping as an inhabitant of the Valley of Mo ever gets.
"Never mind," said the King cheerfully. "I can get along very
well without a head, and as a matter of fact, the loss has its
advantages. I shall not be obliged to brush my hair or clean my teeth or
wash my ears. So do not grieve, I beg of you, but he happy and joyful as
you were before." Which showed the King had a good heart, and after all,
a good heart is better than a head any day.
The people, hearing him speak out of the top of his neck (for he
had no mouth), immediately began to laugh, which in a short time led to
their being as happy as ever. But the Queen was not contented. "My
love," she said to him, "I can not kiss you any more, and that will break
Thereupon the King sent word throughout the Valley that anyone
who could procure for him a new head should wed one of the princesses.
The princesses were all exceedingly pretty girls, and so it was not long
before one young man made a very nice head out of candy and brought it to
the King. It did not look exactly like the old head, but the face was
very sweet, nevertheless, so the King put it on and the Queen kissed it
at once with much satisfaction.
The young man had put a pair of glass eyes in the head with which
the King could see very well after he got used to them.
According to the royal promise, the young man was now called into
the palace and asked to take his pick of the princesses. They were all
so sweet and lady-like that he had some trouble in making a choice, but
at last he took the biggest, thinking that he would thus secure the
greatest reward, and they were married amid great rejoicing.
But a few days afterward the King was caught in a rainstorm, and
before he could get home, his new head had melted in the great shower of
lemonade that fell. Only the glass eyes were left, and these he put in
his pocket and went sorrowfully to tell the Queen of his new misfortune.
Then another young man who wanted to marry a princess made the
King a head out of dough, sticking in the glass eyes, and the King tried
it on and found that it fitted very well. So the young man was given the
next-biggest princess. But the following day the sun chanced to shine
extremely hot, and when the King walked out, it baked his dough head into
bread, at which the monarch felt very light-headed. And when the birds
saw the bread, they flew down from the trees, perched upon the King's
shoulder, and quickly ate up his new head. All but the glass eyes.
Again the good King was forced to go home to the Queen without a
head, and the lady firmly declared that this time her husband must have a
head warranted to last at least as long as the honeymoon of the young man
who made it; which was not at all unreasonable under the circumstances.
So a request was sent to all loyal subjects throughout the Valley asking
them to find a head for their King that was neat and substantial.
In the meanwhile, the King had a rather hard time of it. When he
wished to go anyplace, he was obliged to hold out in front of him,
between his thumbs and fingers, the glass eyes, that they might guide his
footsteps. This, as you may imagine, made his Majesty look rather
undignified, and dignity is very precious to every royal personage.
At last a woodchopper in the mountains made a head out of wood
and sent it to the King. It was neatly carved, besides being solid and
durable; moreover, it fitted the monarch's neck to a T. So the King
rummaged in his pocket and found the glass eyes, and when these were put
in the new head, the King announced his satisfaction. There was only one
drawback--he couldn't smile, as the wooden face was too stiff; and it was
funny to hear his Majesty laughing heartily while his face maintained a
solemn expression. But the glass eyes twinkled merrily and everyone knew
that he was the same kind-hearted monarch of old, although he had become
of necessity rather hard-headed.
Then the King sent word to the woodchopper to come to the palace
and take his pick of the princesses, and preparations were at once begun
for the wedding. But the woodchopper on his way to the court
unfortunately passed by the dwelling of the Purple Dragon and stopped to
speak to the monster.
Now it seems that when the Dragon had swallowed the King's head,
the unusual meal made the beast ill. It was more accustomed to berries
and caramels for dinner than to heads, and the sharp points of the King's
crown (which was firmly fastened to the head) pricked the Dragon's
stomach and made the creature miserable. After a few days of suffering,
the Dragon disgorged the head, and not knowing what else to do with it,
locked it up in a cupboard and put the key in its pocket.
When the Dragon met the woodchopper and learned he had made a new
head for the King and as a reward was to wed one of the princesses, the
monster became very angry. It resolved to do a wicked thing, which will
not surprise you when you remember the beast's purple color. "Step into
my parlor and rest yourself," said the Dragon politely. Wicked people are
most polite when they mean mischief.
"Thank you, I'll stop for a few minutes," replied the
woodchopper, "but I cannot stay long, as I am expected at court."
When he had entered the parlor, the Dragon suddenly opened its
mouth and snapped off the poor woodchopper's head. Being warned by
experience, however, it did not swallow the head, but placed it in the
cupboard. Then the Dragon took from a shelf the King's head and glued it
on the woodchopper's neck. "Now," said the beast with a cruel laugh,
"you are the King! Go home and claim your wife and your kingdom."
The poor woodchopper was much amazed, for at first he did not
really know which he was, the King or the woodchopper. He looked in the
mirror, and seeing the King, made a low bow. Then the King's head
thought, "Who am I bowing to? There is no one greater than the King!"
And so at once there began a conflict between the woodchopper's heart and
the King's head.
The Dragon was mightily pleased at the result of its wicked
stratagem, and having pushed the bewildered woodchopper out of the
castle, immediately sent him on his way to the court. When the poor man
neared the town, the people ran out and said, "Why, this is the King come
back again. All hail, your Majesty!"
"All nonsense!" returned the woodchopper. "I am only a poor man
with the King's head upon my shoulders. You can easily see it isn't
mine, for it's crooked; the Dragon didn't glue it on straight."
"Where then is your own head?" they asked.
"Locked up in the Dragon's cupboard," replied the poor fellow,
beginning to weep.
"Here," cried the King's head, "stop this. You mustn't cry out
of my eyes! The King never weeps."
"I beg pardon, your Majesty," said the woodchopper meekly. "I'll
not do it again."
"Well see that you don't," returned the head more cheerfully.
The people were greatly amazed at this, and took the woodchopper
to the palace, where all was soon explained. When the Queen saw the
King's head, she immediately kissed it, but the King rebuked her, saying
she must kiss only him. "But it is your head," said the poor Queen.
"Probably it is," replied the King, "but it is on another man.
You must confine yourself to kissing my wooden head."
"I'm sorry," sighed the Queen, "for I like to kiss the real head
"And so you shall," said the King's head. "I don't approve your
kissing that wooden head at all."
The poor lady looked from one to the other in perplexity.
Finally, a happy thought occurred to her. "Why don't you trade heads?"
"Just the thing!" cried the King, and, the woodchopper
consenting, the exchange was made and the Monarch of Mo found himself in
possession of his own head again, whereat he was so greatly pleased that
he laughed long and merrily.
The woodchopper, however, did not even smile. He couldn't
because of the wooden face. The head he had made for the King he now was
compelled to wear himself. "Bring hither the princesses," commanded the
King. "This good man shall choose his bride at once, for he has restored
to me my own head."
But when the princesses arrived and saw that the woodchopper had
a wooden head, they each and all refused to marry him, and begged so hard
to escape that the King was in a quandary. "I promised him one of my
daughters," he argued, "and a King never breaks his word."
"But he hadn't a wooden head then," explained one of the girls.
The King realized the truth of this. Indeed, when he came to look
carefully at the wooden head, he could not blame his daughters for not
wishing to marry it. Should he force one of them to consent, it was not
unlikely she would call her husband a blockhead, a term almost certain to
cause trouble in any family.
After giving the matter deep thought, the King resolved to go to
the Purple Dragon and oblige it to give up the woodchopper's head. So
all the fighting men in the kingdom were got together, and having picked
ripe swords off the sword tree, they marched in a great body to the
Dragon's castle. Now the Purple Dragon realized that if it attempted to
fight all this army, it would perhaps be cut to pieces, so it retired
within its castle and refused to come out.
The woodchopper was a brave man. "I'll go in and fight the
Dragon alone," he said, and in he went. By this time the Dragon was both
frightened and angry, and the moment it saw the man, it rushed forward
and made a snap at his head. The wooden head came off at once, and the
Dragon's long, sharp teeth got stuck in the wood and would not come out
again; so the monster was unable to do anything but flop its tail and
The woodchopper now ran to the cupboard, took out his head and
placed it upon his shoulders where it belonged. Then he proudly walked
out of the castle and was greeted with loud shouts by the army, which
carried him back in triumph to the King's palace. And now that he wore
his own head again, one of the prettiest of the young princesses
willingly agreed to marry him, so the wedding ceremony was performed
amidst great rejoicing.
One day the Monarch of Mo, having nothing better to do, resolved
to go hunting blackberries among the bushes that grew on the foot of the
mountains. So he put on an old crown that would not get tarnished if it
rained, and having found a tin pail in the pantry, started off without
telling anyone where he was going.
For some distance the path was a nice, smooth taffy that was very
agreeable to walk on, but as he got nearer the mountains, the ground
became gravelly, the stones being jackson-balls and gumdrops, so that his
boots, which were a little green when he picked them, began to hurt his
But the King was not easily discouraged, and kept on until he
found the blackberry bushes, when he immediately began to fill his pail,
the berries being remarkably big and sweet. While he was thus occupied,
he heard a sound of footsteps coming down the mountainside, and presently
a little dog ran out from the bushes and trotted up to him. Now there
were no dogs at all in Mo, and the King had never seen a creature like
this before, therefore he was greatly surprised and said, "What are you,
and where do you come from?"
The dog also was surprised at this question and looked
suspiciously at the King's tin pail, for many times wicked boys had tied
such a pail to the end of his tail. In fact, that was the reason he had
run away from home and found his way, by accident, to the Valley of Mo.
"My name is Prince," replied the dog gravely, "and I have come from a
country beyond the mountains and the desert."
"Indeed! Are you in truth a prince?" exclaimed the monarch.
"Then you will be welcome in my kingdom, where we always treat nobility
with proper respect. But why do you have four feet?"
"Because six would be too many," replied the dog.
"But I have only two," said the King.
"I am sorry," said the dog, who was something of a wag, "because
where I come from it is more fashionable to walk on four feet."
"I like to be in fashion," remarked the King thoughtfully, "but
what am I to do, having only two legs?"
"Why, I suppose you would walk on your hands and feet," replied
the dog with a laugh.
"So I will," said the King, being pleased with the idea, "and you
shall come to the palace with me and teach all the fashions of the
country from whence you came."
The King got down on his hands and knees and was delighted to find
he could get along in this way very nicely. "How am I to carry my pail?"
"In your mouth, of course," replied the dog. This suggestion
seeming a happy one, the King took the pail in his mouth, and they
started back toward the palace. But when his Majesty came to the
gumdrops and jackson-balls, they hurt his hands and knees so that he
groaned aloud. But the dog only laughed. Finally they reached a place
where it was quite muddy. Of course the mud was only jelly, but it
hadn't dried up since the last rain. The dog jumped over the place
nimbly enough, but when the King tried to do likewise, he failed, and
came down into the jelly with both hands and knees, and stuck fast.
Now the monarch had a very good temper, which he carried in his
vest pocket; but as he passed over the gumdrop pebbles on his hands and
knees, this temper dropped out of his pocket, and having lost it he
became very angry at the dog for getting him into such a scrape. So he
began to scold, and when he opened his mouth, the pail dropped out and
the berries were all spilled. This made the dog laugh more than ever, at
which the King pulled himself out of the jelly, jumped to his feet and
began to chase the dog as fast as he could. Finally the dog climbed a
tall tree where the King could not reach him, and when safe among the
branches, he looked down and said, "See how foolish a man becomes who
tries to be in fashion rather than live as nature intended he should!
You can no more be a dog than I can be a king, so hereafter, if you are
wise, you will be content to walk on two legs."
"There is truth in what you say," replied the Monarch of Mo.
"Come with me to the palace and you shall be forgiven. Indeed, we shall
have a fine feast in honor of your arrival." So the dog climbed down
from the tree and followed the King to the palace, where all the
courtiers were astonished to see so queer an animal, and made a great
favorite of him.
After dinner the King invited the dog to take a walk around the
grounds of the royal mansion, and they started out merrily enough. But
the King's boots had begun to hurt him again, for as they did not fit,
being picked green, they had rubbed his toes until he had corns on them.
So when they reached the porch in front of the palace the King asked, "My
friend, what is good for corns?"
"Tight boots," replied the dog, laughing, "but they are not very
good for your feet."
Now the King, not yet having found his lost temper, became
exceedingly angry at this poor jest, so he rushed at the dog and gave it
a tremendous kick. Up into the air like a ball flew the dog, while the
King, having hurt his toe by the kick, sat down on the doorstep and
nursed his foot while he watched the dog go farther and farther up until
it seemed like a tiny speck against the blue of the sky. "I must have
kicked harder than I thought," said the King ruefully. "There he goes,
out of sight, and I shall never see him again!"
He now limped away into the back garden, where he picked a new
pair of boots that would not hurt his feet, and while he was gone the dog
began to fall down again. Of course he fell faster than he went up and
finally landed with a crash exactly on the King's doorstep. But so great
was the force of the fall and so hard the doorstep that the poor dog was
flattened out like a pancake and could not move a bit.
When the King came back, he said, "Hullo! Some kind friend has
brought me a new doormat as a present," and he leaned down and stroked
the soft hair with much pleasure. Then he wiped his feet on the new mat
and went into the palace to tell the Queen. When her Majesty saw the
nice, soft doormat, she declared it was too good to be left outside, so
she brought it into the palace and put it on the floor before the
The good King was sorry he had treated the dog so harshly, and
for fear he might do some other dreadful thing he went back to the place
where he had lost his temper and searched until he found it again, when
he put it carefully away in his pocket, where it would stay. Then he
returned to the palace and entered the parlor, but as he passed the mat,
his new boots were so clumsy he stumbled against the edge and pushed the
mat together into a roll.
Immediately the dog gave a bark, got upon its legs and said,
"Well, this is better! Now I can breathe again, but while I was so flat
I could not draw a single breath."
The monarch and his Queen were much surprised to find that what
they had taken for a mat was only the dog that had fallen so flat on
their doorstep, but they could not forbear laughing at his queer
appearance. For, as the King had kicked the mat on the edge, the dog was
more than six feet long and no bigger around than a lead pencil; which
brought its front legs so far from its rear legs that it could scarcely
turn around in the room without getting tangled up.
"But it is better than being a doormat," said the dog, and the
King and Queen agreed with him in this. Then the King went away to tell
the people he had found the dog again, and when he left the palace he
slammed the front door behind him. The dog had started to follow the King
out, so when the front door slammed, it hit the poor animal so sharp a
blow on the nose that it pushed his body together again, and, lo and
behold! there was the dog in his natural shape just as he was before the
King kicked him.
After this, the dog and the King agreed very well, for the King
was careful not to kick, since he had recovered his temper, and the dog
took care not to say anything that would provoke the King to anger. And
one day the dog saved the Kingdom and all the Valley of Mo from
destruction, as I shall tell you another time.
Prince Zingle, who was the eldest of all the princes of the Valley
of Mo, at one time became much irritated because the King, his father,
would not allow him to milk the cow with the golden horns. This cow was
a great favorite with the King because she gave as large a quantity of
ice cream at a milking as an ordinary cow does of milk, and in the warm
days this was an agreeable luxury. The King liked to keep the cow with
the golden horns for his own use and that of the Queen, so Prince Zingle
thought he was being abused, having a great fondness for ice cream
To be sure, there was the great fountain of ice cream soda water
playing constantly in the courtyard, which was free to everyone, but the
Prince longed for what he could not have. Therefore, being filled with
anger against his father, the King, he wandered away until he chanced to
come near to the castle of the Purple Dragon. When the wicked monster
saw the Prince, it decided that here was a splendid opportunity to make
mischief, so it said politely, "Good morning, King Zingle."
"I am not a king, I am only a prince," replied Zingle.
"What! Not a king?" exclaimed the Dragon as if surprised. "That
is too bad."
"I can never be a king while my father lives," continued the
Prince, "and it is impossible for him to die. So what can I do?"
"Since you ask my advice, I will tell you," answered the naughty
Dragon. "Down near Rootbeer River, where the peanut trees grow, is a
very deep hole in the ground. You must get the King to go and look into
the hole, and while he is leaning over the edge push him in. Of course,
he will not die, for that, as you say, is impossible; but no one will
know where to find him. So, your father being out of the way, you will
be king in his place."
"That is surely good advice," said the Prince, "and I will go and
do it at once. Then the cow with the golden horns will be mine, and I
shall become the Monarch of Mo." The Prince turned to go back to the
palace, and as soon as he was out of sight, the horrid Dragon laughed to
think what a fool it had made of the boy.
When Zingle saw his father, he called him aside and said, "Your
Majesty, I have discovered something very funny at the bottom of the hole
near the peanut trees. Come and see what it is."
So the King went with the Prince without suspecting his evil
design, and while he leaned over the hole, the Prince gave him a sudden
push. The next moment down fell the Monarch of Mo, way to the bottom!
Then Prince Zingle went back to the palace and began to milk the cow with
the golden horns.
Now when the King found himself at the bottom of the hole, he at
first did not know what to do, so he sat down and thought about it.
Presently a happy idea came into his head. He knew if only he was at the
other end of the hole, he would be at the top instead of the bottom and
could make his escape. So the King took hold of the hole, and exerting
all his strength turned the hole upside down. Being now at the top, he
stepped upon the ground and walked back to the palace, where he caught
Prince Zingle milking the cow with the golden horns.
"Oho!" he said. "You wish to be King, do you? Well, we'll see
about that!" Then he took the naughty Prince by the ear and led him into
the palace, where he locked him up in a room from which he could not
escape. The King now sat himself down in an easy chair and began to
think on how he could best punish the Prince, but after an hour of deep
thought he was unable to decide on anything that seemed a sufficient
chastisement for so great an offense. At last he resolved to consult the
The Wise Donkey lived in a pretty little house away at the end of
the Valley, for he didn't like to mix with the gay life at the court. He
had not always been wise, but at one time was a very stupid donkey
indeed, and he acquired his wisdom in this way.
One Friday afternoon, just as school was letting out, the stupid
donkey strayed into the schoolhouse, and the teachers and scholars were
all so anxious to get home that they never noticed the donkey, but locked
him up in the schoolhouse and went away without knowing he was there. No
one came into the building from Friday afternoon until Monday morning, so
the donkey got very hungry and certainly would have starved had he not
chanced to taste of a geography that was sticking out from one of the
desks. The hungry donkey decided it was not so very bad, so he ate it
all up. Then he ate an arithmetic, an algebra, and two first readers.
After that he lay down and went to sleep, but becoming hungry again, he
awoke and commenced on the school library, which he completely devoured.
This library comprised all the solid and substantial wisdom in the Valley
of Mo, and when the janitor opened the schoolhouse door on Monday
morning, all the books of learning in the whole land had been eaten up by
the stupid donkey.
You can readily imagine that after he had digested all this
knowledge he became very wise, and thereafter the King and the people
often consulted the Wise Donkey when their own intelligence was at fault.
So now the monarch went to the donkey's house and told him of the
Prince's wickedness, asking how he could best punish him.
The Wise Donkey thought about the matter for a moment and then
replied, "I do not know a worse punishment than a pain in the stomach.
Among the books I ate in the schoolhouse was a trigonometry, and before I
had digested it I suffered very severe pains indeed."
"But I cannot feed the Prince a trigonometry," returned the King.
"You ate the last one yourself."
"True," answered the donkey, "but there are other things that
cause pain in the stomach. You know there is a certain island in
Rootbeer River that is made of fruitcake of a very rich quality. I
advise you to put the Prince on this island and allow him nothing to eat
except the fruitcake. Presently he will have violent pains in his
stomach and will be punished as greatly as you could desire."
The King was very well pleased with this plan, and having thanked
the donkey for his wise advice hurried back to the palace. Prince Zingle
was now brought from his room and rowed in a boat to the Fruit Cake
Island in Rootbeer River, where he was left without any way to escape. He
knew how to swim, to be sure, but it was forbidden by law to swim in the
Rootbeer, as many people came to this river to drink.
"You shall stay here," said the King sternly, "until you are
sorry for your wickedness, and you shall have nothing to eat but fruitcake."
The Prince laughed, because he thought the punishment was no
punishment at all. When the King had rowed away in the boat and Zingle
was left alone, he said to himself, "Why, this is delightful! I shall
have a jolly time here and can eat all the cake I want without anyone
scolding me for being greedy." He broke off a large piece of the island
where the raisins and citron were thickest and commenced to eat. But
after a time he became tired of eating nothing but fruitcake and longed
for something to go with it. But the island did not contain a single
thing except the cake of which it was composed.
Presently Prince Zingle began to have a pain inside him. He paid
no attention to it at first, thinking it would pass away; but instead it
grew more severe so that he began to cry out, but no one heard him. The
pain steadily increased, and the Prince wept and rolled on the ground and
began to feel exceeding sorry he had been so wicked. Finally he seized
the telephone, which was connected with the palace, and called up the
"Hello!" said the King's voice in reply. "What is wanted?"
"I have a terrible pain," said the Prince with a groan, "and I'm
very sorry indeed that I pushed your Majesty down the hole. If you'll
only take me off this dreadful island, I'll be the best prince in all the
Valley from this time forth!"
So the King sent the boat and had the Prince brought back to the
palace, where he forgave his naughty actions. Being a kind parent, he
next fed his suffering son a blossom from a medicine tree, which quickly
relieved his pain and led him to appreciate the pleasure of repentance.
There were great festivities in the Valley of Mo when the King had
a birthday. The jolly monarch was born so many years ago that everyone
had forgotten the date. One of the Wise Men said the King was born in
February, another declared it was in May, and a third figured that the
great event happened in October. So the King issued a royal decree that
he would have three birthdays every year in order to be on the safe side,
and whenever he happened to think of it, he put in an odd birthday or two
for luck. The King's birthdays came to be regarded as very joyful
events, for on these occasions festivities of unusual magnificence were
held, and everybody in the kingdom was invited to participate.
On one occasion the King, suddenly recollecting he had not
celebrated his birthday for several weeks, announced a royal festival on
a most elaborate scale. The cream puff crop was an unusually large one,
and the bushes were hanging full of the delicious ripe puffs, which were
highly prized by the people of Mo. So all the maidens got out their best
dresses and brightest ribbons, and the young men carefully brushed their
hair and polished their boots, and soon the streets leading to the palace
were thronged with gay merrymakers.
When the guests were all assembled, a grand feast was served in
which the newly picked cream puffs were an important item. Then the King
stood up at the head of the table and ordered his ruby casket to be
brought him, and when the people heard this, they at once became quiet
and attentive, for the Ruby Casket was one of the most curious things in
the Valley. It was given the King many years before by the sorceress
Maetta, and whenever it was opened something was found in it that no
living person had seen before.
So the people, and even the King himself, always watched the
opening of the Ruby Casket with much curiosity, for they never knew what
would be disclosed. The King placed the casket on a small table before
him, and then, after a solemn look at the expectant faces, he said
slowly, "Giggle-gaggle-goo!" which was the magic word that opened the
At once the lid flew back and the King peered within and
exclaimed, "Ha!" This made the guests more excited than before, for they
did not know what he was saying "ha!" about, and they held their breaths
when the King put his thumb and finger into the box and drew out a little
wooden man about as big as my finger. He wore a blue jacket and a red
cap and held a little brass horn in his hand.
The King stood the wooden man upon the table and then reached
within the box and brought out another wooden man dressed just the same
as the other, and also holding a horn in his hand. This the King stood
beside the first wooden man, and then took out another, and another,
until ten little wooden men were standing in a row on the table, holding
drums and cymbals and horns in their small, still hands. "I declare,"
said the King when he had stood them all up. "It's a little German band.
But what a shame it is they cannot play."
No sooner had the King uttered the word "play" than every little
wooden man put his horn to his mouth or beat his drum or clashed his
cymbal, and immediately they began to play such delicious music that all
the people were delighted, and even the King clapped his hands in
Just then out from the casket leaped a tiny Baby Elephant about
as large as a mouse, and began capering about on its toes. It was
dressed in short, fluffy skirts like those worn by a ballet dancer, and
it danced so funnily that all who saw it roared with laughter. When the
elephant stopped to rest, two pretty Green Frogs sprang from the casket
and began to play leapfrog before the astonished guests, who had never
before seen such a thing as a frog. The little green strangers jumped
over each other quick as a flash, and finally one of them jumped down the
other's throat. Then, as the Baby Elephant opened his mouth to yawn, the
remaining frog jumped down the elephant's throat.
The audience was so much amused at this feat that the Baby
Elephant thought he would see what he could do to please them, so he
stood on his head and gave a great jump and disappeared down his own
throat, leaving the musicians to play by themselves.
Then all the young men caught the girls about their waists and
began spinning around in a pretty dance of their own, and the fun
continued until they were tired out. The King thanked the tiny wooden
musicians and put them back in the Ruby Casket. He did not offer to take
up a collection for them, there being no money of any kind in the Valley
of Mo. The casket was then carried back in the royal treasury, where it
was guarded with much care when not in use.
Just then a young man approached the King asking permission for
the people to skate on the Crystal Lake, and his Majesty graciously
consented. As it was never cold in the Kingdom of Mo, there was, of
course, no ice for skating. But the Crystal Lake was composed of sugar
syrup, and the sun had candied the surface of the lake so it had become
hard enough to skate on and was, moreover, as smooth as glass.
It was not often the King allowed skating there, for he feared
someone might break through the crust, but as it was his birthday he
could refuse the people nothing. So presently hundreds of the boys and
girls were skating swiftly on the Crystal Lake and having rare sport, for
it was just as good as ice without being cold or damp.
In the center there was one place where the crust was quite thin,
and just as the merriment was at its height, crack! went the ice--or
candy, rather--and down into the sugar syrup sank the Princess Truella
and the Prince Jollikin, and the King's royal chamberlain, Nuphsed.
Down and down they went until they reached the bottom of the
lake, and there they stood, stuck fast in the syrup and unable to move a
bit, while all the people gathered on the shore to look at them, the lake
being as clear as the clearest water. Of course, this calamity put an
end to further skating, and the King rushed around asking everyone how he
could get his daughter and his son and his royal chamberlain out of the
mess. But no one could tell him.
Finally the King consulted the Wise Donkey, and after he had
thought the matter over and consulted his learning, the donkey advised
his Majesty to fish for them. "Fish!" exclaimed the King. "How can I do
"Take a fish line and put a sinker on it to make it sink through
the syrup. Then bait the end of the line with the thing that each one of
them likes best. In that way you can catch hold of them and draw them
out of the lake."
"Well," said the King, "I'll try it, for of course you know what
you are talking about."
"Have you ever eaten a geography?" demanded the Wise Donkey.
"No," said the King.
"Well I have," declared the donkey haughtily, "and what I don't
know about lakes and such things isn't in the geography."
So the King went back to the Crystal Lake and got a strong fish
line, which he tied to the end of a long pole. Then he put a sinker on
the end of the line and was ready for the bait. "What does the Princess
Truella like best?" he asked the Queen.
"I'm sure I do not know," replied the royal lady, "but you might
try her with a kiss."
So one of the nicest young men sent a kiss to the Princess, and
the King tied it to the end of the line and put it in the lake. The
sinker carried it down through the sugar syrup until the line was just
before the sweet, red lips of the pretty Princess. She took the bait at
once, as the Queen had guessed, and the King pulled up the line with the
Princess at the end of it until he finally landed her on the shore.
Then all the people shouted for joy and the Queen took the
Princess Truella home to change her clothes, for they were very sticky.
"What does the Prince Jollikin like best?" asked the King.
"A laugh!" replied a dozen at once, for everyone knew the
Prince's failing. Then one of the girls laughed quite hard, and the King
tied it to the end of the line and dropped it into the lake. The Prince
caught the laugh at once and was quickly drawn from the syrup and
likewise sent home to change his clothes.
Then the King looked around on the people and asked, "What does
the Chamberlain Nuphsed like best?"
But they were all silent, for Nuphsed liked so many things it was
difficult to say which he liked best. So again the King was obliged to
go to the Wise Donkey in order to find out how he should bait the line to
catch the royal chamberlain.
The Wise Donkey happened to be busy that day over his own affairs
and was annoyed at being consulted so frequently without receiving
anything in return for his wisdom. But he pretended to consider the
matter, as was his wont, and said, "I believe the royal chamberlain is
fond of apples. Try to catch him with a red apple."
At this the King and his people hunted all over the kingdom and
at last found a tree with one solitary red apple growing on a little
branch nearly at the top. But unfortunately someone had sawed off the
trunk of the tree close up to the branches and had carried it away and
chopped it up for kindling wood. For this reason there was no way to
climb the tree to secure the apple.
While the King and the people were considering how they might get
into the tree, Prince Thinkabit came up to them and asked what they
wanted. "We want the apple," replied the King, "but someone has cut away
the tree trunk so that we cannot climb up."
Prince Thinkabit rubbed the top of his head a minute to get his
brain into good working order. It was a habit he had acquired. Then he
walked to the bank of the river, which was near, and whistled three
times. Immediately a school of fishes swam up to him, and one of the
biggest cried out, "Good afternoon, Prince Thinkabit. What can we do for
"I wish to borrow a flying fish for a few minutes," replied the
Prince. Scarcely had he spoken when a fish flew out of the river and
perched upon his shoulder. Then he walked up to the tree and said to the
fish, "Get me the apple."
The flying fish at once flew into the tree and bit off the stem
of the apple, which fell down and hit the King on the nose, for,
unfortunately, he was standing exactly under it. Then the Prince thanked
the flying fish and sent it back to the river, and the King, having first
put a plaster over his nose, took the apple and started for the Crystal
Lake, followed by all his people.
But when the apple was fastened to the fishline and let down
through the syrup to the royal chamberlain, Nuphsed refused to touch it.
"He doesn't like it," said the King with a sigh, and he went again to the
"Didn't he want the apple?" asked the donkey as if surprised.
But you must know he was not surprised at all, as he had planned to get
the apple for himself.
"No indeed," said the King, taking it out of his pocket. The
donkey took the apple, looked at it thoughtfully for a moment, and then
ate it up and smacked his lips, for he was especially fond of apples.
"What shall we do now?" asked the King.
"I believe the thing Nuphsed likes best is a kind word. Bait the
line with that, and you may catch him."
So the King went again to the lake and, having put a kind word on
the fish line, quickly succeeded in bringing the royal chamberlain to the
shore in safety. You can well imagine poor Nuphsed was glad enough to be
on dry land again after his long immersion in the sugar syrup. And now
that all had been rescued from the Crystal Lake, the King put a rope
around the broken crust and stuck up a sign that said, "Danger!" so that
no one else would fall in. After that the festivities began again, and
as there were no further accidents, the King's birthday ended very
happily after all.
Across the mountains at the north of the Valley of Mo there
reigned a wicked King named Scowleyow, whose people lived in caves and
mines and dug iron and tin out of the rocks and melted them into bars.
These bars they then carried away and sold for money. King Scowleyow
hated the Monarch of Mo and all his people because they lived so happily
and cared nothing for money, and he would have sent his army into the
Valley to destroy the merry people who dwelt there had he not been afraid
of the sharp swords that grew on their trees, which they knew so well how
to use against their foes.
So King Scowlyow pondered for a long time how to destroy the
Valley of Mo without getting hurt himself, and at last he hit on a plan
he believed would succeed. He put all his mechanics to work and built a
great man out of cast iron with machinery inside of him. When he was
wound up, the Cast Iron Man could roar and roll his eyes and gnash his
teeth and march across the Valley crushing trees and houses to the earth
as he went. For the Cast Iron Man was as tall as a church and as heavy
as iron could make him, and each of his feet was as big as a barn.
It took a long time to build this man, as you may suppose, but
King Scowleyow was so determined to ruin the pretty Valley of Mo that he
made his men work night and day, and at last the Cast Iron Man was ready
to be wound up and sent on his journey of destruction. They stood him on
the top of the mountain with his face toward the Beautiful Valley and
began to wind him up. It took a hundred men a whole week to do this, but
at last he was tightly wound, and the wicked King Scowleyow stood ready
to touch the spring that made him go.
"One, two, three!" said the King, and touched the spring with his
finger. The Cast Iron Man gave so terrible a roar that he even
frightened the men who had made him, and then he rolled his eyes, and
they flashed fire, and gnashed his teeth till the noise sounded like
The next minute he raised one great foot and stepped forward,
crushing fifty trees that stood in his path, and then away he went,
striding down the mountain, destroying everything that stood in his way
and nearing with every step the Beautiful Valley of Mo.
The King and his people were having a game of ball that day, and
the dog was acting as umpire. Suddenly, just as Prince Jollikin had made
a home run and everybody was applauding him, a terrible roaring noise
sounded in their ears, and they heard a great crashing of trees on the
mountainside and saw a monstrous man approaching the Valley.
The people were so frightened they stood perfectly still, being
unable to move through surprise and terror; but the dog ran with all his
might toward the mountain to see what was the matter. Just as the dog
reached the foot of the mountain, the Cast Iron Man came tramping along
and stepped into the Valley, where he ruined in one instant a large bed
of ladyfingers and a whole patch of ripe pumpkin pies. Indeed, the entire
Valley would soon have been destroyed had not the Cast Iron Man stubbed
his toe against the dog and fallen flat on his face, where he lay roaring
and gnashing his teeth, but unable to do any further harm.
Presently the King and his people recovered from their fright and
gathered around their prostrate foe, marveling at his great size and
strength. "Had you not tripped him up," said the King to the dog, "this
giant would certainly have destroyed my kingdom. Who do you suppose was
so wicked as to send this monster to crush us?"
"It must have been King Scowleyow," declared the dog, "for no one
else would care to harm you, and the giant came from the direction of the
wicked King's country."
"Yes," replied the monarch thoughtfully, "it must indeed have
been Scowleyow, and it was a very unkind act, for we never harmed him in
any way. But what shall we do with this great man? If he is left here,
he will scare all the children with his roarings, and none of the ladies
will care to walk near this end of the Valley. He is so heavy that not
all of us together could lift him, and even if we succeeded, we have no
place to put him where he would be out of the way."
This was indeed true, so all the people sat down in a circle
around the Cast Iron Man and thought upon the matter intently for the
space of an hour. Then the monarch asked, solemnly, as became the
importance of this occasion, "Has anyone thought of a way to get rid of
The people shook their heads gravely and thought deeply for
another hour. At the end of that time the dog suddenly laughed and
called out in a voice of loud that it startled them, "I have thought of a
"Good!" exclaimed the King. "Let us hear your plan."
"You see," explained the dog, "the Cast Iron Man is now lying on
his face. If we could only roll him over onto his back and then raise
him to his feet again, he would be turned around and would march straight
back to where he came from and do us no further harm."
"That is a capital idea," replied the King. "But how can we roll
him over or make him stand up?"
That puzzled them all for a while, but by and by Prince
Thinkabit, who was a very clever young man, announced his readiness to
undertake the job. "First bring me a feather," commanded the Prince.
The royal chamberlain hunted around and soon found for him a
long, fluffy feather. Taking this in his hand, the Prince approached the
Cast Iron Man and tickled him under the left arm with the end of the
feather. "Ouch!" said the Cast Iron Man, giving a jump and rolling
completely over so that he lay on his back.
"Hurrah!" cried the people, clapping their hands with joy at this
successful stratagem, "the Prince is a very wise Prince indeed!"
Prince Thinkabit took off his hat and bowed politely to them in
return for the compliment. Then he said, "Bring me a pin."
So Nuphsed brought him a pin with a very sharp point, and the
Prince took it and walked up to the Cast Iron Man and gave him a sharp
prod in the back with the point of the pin. "Ouch!" again yelled the
Cast Iron Man, giving at the same time such a great jump that he leaped
square on his feet. But now, to their joy, they saw he was facing the
mountains instead of the Valley.
As soon as the Cast Iron Man stood up, the machinery began to
work again, and he marched with great steps up the mountainside and over
into the kingdom of the wicked Scowleyow, where he crushed the King and
all his people and laid waste the land wherever he went.
And that was their punishment for being envious of the good
people of Mo. As to the fate of the Cast Iron Man, he was wound up so
tightly that he kept walking straight on until he reached the sea, where
he stepped into the water, went down to the bottom, and stuck fast in the
mud. And I have no doubt he is there to this day.
Now of all of the monarch's daughters the most beautiful by far
was the Princess Pattycake. The deep blue of her eyes made even the sky
envious, and the moss roses blushed when they saw the delicate bloom on
her cheeks. The long strands of her silken hair were brighter than
sunbeams, while her ears were like two tiny pink shells from the
seashore. Indeed, there was nothing in all the Valley so dainty and
pretty as Princess Pattycake, and many young men would have loved her had
they dared. But alas! The Princess had a most terrible temper and was
never pleased with anything, so the young men, and even the old ones,
were afraid to come near her.
She scolded from morning till night; she stamped her pretty foot
with rage when anyone spoke to her; and if ever her brothers tried to
reason with her, she boxed their ears so soundly that they were glad to
let her alone. Even the good Queen could not love Pattycake as she did
her other children, and the King often sighed when he thought of the ugly
disposition of his beautiful daughter. Of course, no one cared very much
for her society, and she sat in her room all day long refusing to join
the others in their sports and games, and becoming more moody and
bad-tempered the older she grew.
One day a young man came to the court to bring pickled peaches to
his Majesty, the King. This youth's name was Timtom, and he lived so far
away and came so seldom to court that never before had he seen the
Princess Pattycake. When he looked into her sweet blue eyes, he loved
her at once for her beauty, and being both brave and bold, he went
directly to the King and asked for Pattycake's hand in marriage.
His Majesty was naturally surprised at so strange a request, so
he said to the young man, "What does the Princess say? Does she love
"I do not know," replied Timtom, "for I have never spoken with
"Well," said the King, much amazed at the ignorance and temerity
of the youth, "go and speak to my daughter about the matter and then come
and tell me what she replies."
Timtom went at once to the room where Princess Pattycake was
moodily sitting and said boldly, "I should like to marry you."
"What!" screamed the Princess in a great rage. "Marry me! Go
away this instant, you impudent boy, or I shall throw my shoe at your
Timtom was both surprised and shocked at this outburst, but he
realized that the Princess had a remarkably bad temper. Still he was not
moved from his purpose, for she was so pretty he decided not to abandon
the attempt to win her. "Do not be angry, for I love you," he pleaded,
looking bravely into Pattycake's blue eyes.
"Love me?" echoed the surprised Princess. "That is not possible!
Everyone else hates me."
"They do not hate you," ventured Timtom. "It is your temper they
"But my temper and I are one," answered the Princess harshly as
she stamped her foot.
"Surely this is not so," returned the young man, "for certainly I
love YOU, while your temper I do not like a bit. Don't you think you
could love me?"
"Perhaps I might if you could cure my bad temper, but my temper
will not allow me to love anyone. In fact, I believe that unless you go
away at once, I shall be obliged to box your ears!"
There seemed to be no help for her, so Timtom left the room
sadly, and going to the King told him what she had said. "Then that is
the end of the matter," declared the King, "for no one can cure Pattycake
of her bad temper."
"I am resolved to try, nevertheless," replied Timtom, "and if I
succeed, you must give me the Princess in marriage."
"I will, and my blessing into the bargain," answered the King
Then Timtom left the court and went back to his father's house,
where he thought on the problem for a week and a day. At the end of that
time he was no nearer solving it than he was before, but his mother, who
had noticed that her boy was in trouble, came to him to ask the cause of
his sad looks. Timtom told her all about the Princess Pattycake and of
his love for her and the evil temper that would not be cured.
His mother gave him her sympathy, and after some thought said to
him, "You must go to the sorceress Maetta and ask her assistance. She is
a good lady, and a friend to all the King's family. I am quite sure she
will aid you if only you can find your way to the castle in which she
"Where is this castle?" asked Timtom, brightening up.
"Away to the south in the midst of a thick wood," answered his
"Then," said he sturdily, "if this castle exists, I will surely
find it, for to win Pattycake is my only hope of happiness."
The next day he set out on his journey, filled with the hope of
finding Maetta's castle and securing her assistance. Before he had gone
very far, a snowstorm began to rage. Now the snowstorms in Mo are
different from ours, for the snow is popcorn, and on this day it fell so
thick and fast that poor Timtom had much difficulty in wading through it.
He was obliged to stop frequently to rest, and ate a great deal of the
popcorn that encumbered his path, for it was nicely buttered and salted.
Finally, to his joy, it stopped snowing, and then he was able to
walk along easily until he came to the River of Needles. When he looked
on this river, he was nearly discouraged and could not think of a way to
get across, for instead of water, the river flowed a perfect stream of
sharp, glittering needles.
Sitting down on the bank, he was wondering what he should do when
to his astonishment a small but sharp and disagreeable voice said to him,
"Where are you going, stranger?"
Timtom looked down between his feet and saw a black spider which
sat on a blade of grass and watched him curiously. "I am on my way to
visit the sorceress Maetta," replied Timtom, "but I cannot get across the
River of Needles."
"They are very sharp and would make a thousand holes through you
in an instant," remarked the spider thoughtfully. "But perhaps I can
help you. If you are willing to grant me a favor in return, I will
gladly build a bridge so you may cross the river in safety."
"What is the favor?" he asked.
"I have lost an eye, and you must ask the sorceress to give me a
new one, for I can see but half as well as I could before."
"I will gladly do this for you," said Timtom.
"Very well, then I will build you a bridge," promised the spider,
"but if you have not the eye with you when you return, I shall destroy
the bridge and you will never be able to get home again."
The young man agreed to this, for he was anxious to proceed. So
the spider threw a web across the river, and then another and another,
until it had made a bridge of spiderweb strong enough for Timtom to cross
over. It bent and swayed when his weight was on the slender bridge, but
it did not break, and after he was safe across he thanked the spider and
renewed his promise to bring back the eye. Then he hurried away on his
journey, for he had lost much time at the river.
But to his dismay, the young man shortly came to a deep gulf that
barred his way as completely as had the River of Needles. He peered down
into it and saw it had no bottom, but opened away off at the other side
of the world. Here was an obstacle which might well dishearten the
boldest traveler, and Timtom was so grieved that he sat down on the brink
and wept tears of disappointment. "What is troubling you?" asked a soft
voice in his ear.
Turning his head, the youth saw a beautiful white bird sitting
beside him. "I wish to visit the castle of the sorceress Maetta on very
important business," he replied, "but I cannot get over the gulf."
"I could carry you over with ease," said the bird, "and shall
gladly do so if in return you promise to grant me one favor."
"What is the favor?" inquired Timtom.
"I have forgotten my song through having a sore throat for a long
time," replied the bird. "So try as I may, I cannot sing a single note.
If you will agree to bring me a new song from the sorceress, I will take
you over the gulf and bring you back when you return. But unless you
bring the song, I shall not carry you over again."
Timtom joyfully agreed to this bargain, and then, sitting on the
bird's neck, he was borne safely across the deep gulf. After continuing
his journey for an hour without further interruption, he saw before him
the edge of a great wood and knew that in the midst of this forest of
trees was the castle of Maetta.
He thought then that his difficulties were all over, and tramped
bravely on until he reached the woods. What now, was the youth's horror
on discovering on one side of his path a great lion crouched ready to
spring on anyone who ventured to enter the wood, while on the other side
was a monstrous tiger likewise prepared to attack any intruder. The
fierce beasts were growling fiercely, and their eyes glowed like balls of
Timtom gladly would have turned back had such a thing been
possible, for his heart was full of fear. But he remembered that without
the bird's song and the spider's eye he could never reach home again. He
also thought of the pretty face of Princess Pattycake, and this gave him
courage. Resolving to perish if need be rather than fail in his
adventure, the youth stepped boldly forward, and when he approached the
snarling guardians of the forest he gave one bound and dashed into the
At the same moment the lion leaped at him from one side and the
tiger from the other, and no doubt they would have devoured him had not
Timtom's foot slipped just then and thrown him flat on the ground. The
lion and the tiger therefore met in mid-air, and each one thinking it had
hold of Timtom, tried to tear him to pieces, with the result that in a
few moments they had devoured each other instead of him. The youth now
strode rapidly through the wood and was getting along famously when he
came to a high wall of jasper that completely blocked his way. It was
smooth as glass, and Timtom saw no way of climbing over it.
While he stood wondering how he might overcome this new obstacle,
a gray rabbit hopped out from the bushes and asked, "Where do you wish to
"To the castle of the sorceress Maetta," answered Timtom.
"Well, perhaps I can assist you," said the rabbit. "I need a new
tail badly, for my old one is merely a stump and no use at all in fly
time. If you will be kind enough to get me a new tail from the sorceress
Maetta--a long, nice, bushy tail--I will dig under the wall and so make a
passage for you to the other side."
"I shall be pleased to return the favor by bringing you the
tail," declared Timtom eagerly.
"Very well, then you shall see how fast I can work," returned the
rabbit. Immediately it began digging away with its little paws, and in a
very short time had made a hole large enough for Timtom to crawl under
the wall. "If you do not bring the tail," said the rabbit in a warning
voice, "I shall fill up the hole again so that you will be unable to get
"Oh, I shall bring the tail, never fear," answered the youth, and
hurried away toward the castle of Maetta, which was now visible through
the trees. The castle was built of pure white marble and was very big
and beautiful. It stood in a lovely garden filled with blue roses and
pink buttercups, where fountains of gold spouted showers of diamonds and
rubies and emeralds and amethysts, all of which sparkled in the sun so
gorgeously that it made Timtom's eyes ache just to look at them.
However, he had not come to admire these things gorgeous and
beautiful, though they were, but to win the Princess Pattycake; so he
walked to the entrance of the castle, and seeing no one about entered the
great doorway and passed through. He found himself in a passageway
covered with mother-of-pearl, where many electric lights were hidden in
shells of most exquisite tintings. At the other end of the passage was a
door studded with costly gems.
Timtom walked up to this door and knocked on it. Immediately it
swung open, and the youth found himself in a chamber entirely covered
with diamonds. In the center was a large diamond throne, and on this sat
Maetta, clothed in a pure white gown, with a crown of diamonds on her
brow and in her hand a golden scepter tipped with one enormous diamond
that glowed like a ball of fire. Above the throne was a diamond-covered
chandelier with hundreds of electric lights, and these made the Grand
Chamber of Diamonds glitter so brightly that Timtom was nearly blinded
and had to shade his eyes with his hand.
But after a few moments he grew accustomed to the brightness, and
advancing to the throne fell on his knees before the sorceress and begged
her earnestly to grant him her assistance. Maetta was the most beautiful
woman in all the world, but she was likewise gracious and kind. So she
smiled sweetly on the youth, bidding him in a voice like a silver bell to
arise from his knees and sit before her. Timtom obeyed and looked around
for a chair, but could see none in the room. The lady made a motion with
her scepter, and instantly at his side appeared a splendid diamond chair
in which the young man seated himself, finding it remarkably comfortable.
"Tell me what you desire," said the sorceress in her sweet voice.
"I love the Princess Pattycake," replied Timtom without
hesitation, "but she has so evil a disposition that she has refused to
marry me unless I am able to cure her of her bad temper, which not only
makes her miserable but ruins the pleasure of everyone about her. So,
knowing your power and the kindness of your heart, I have been bold enough
to seek your castle that I might crave your assistance, without which I
cannot hope to accomplish my purpose."
Maetta waved her scepter thrice above her head, and a golden pill
dropped at Timtom's feet. "Your request is granted," she said. "If you
can induce the Princess to swallow this pill, her evil temper will
disappear, and I know she will love you dearly for having cured her. Take
great care of it, for if it should be lost, I cannot give you another.
Do you wish me to grant any other request before you return to the
Then Timtom remembered the rabbit and the bird and the spider and
told Maetta how he had promised to bring back a gift for each of them.
So the kind sorceress gave him a nice, bushy tail for the rabbit and a
very pretty song for the bird and a new, bright eye for the spider. These
Timtom put in a little red box and placed the box carefully in his
pocket. But the golden pill he tied into the corner of his handkerchief,
for that was more precious than the rest.
Having thanked the generous lady for her kindness and
respectfully kissed the white hand she held out to him, Timtom left the
Chamber of Diamonds and was soon proceeding joyfully on his homeward way.
In a short time he reached the wall of jasper, but the rabbit was not to
be seen. So while he waited its coming, he lay down to rest and, being
tired by the long journey, was soon fast asleep. And while he slept, a
Sly Fox stole out from the wood and discovered Timtom lying on the
"Oho!" said the Sly Fox to himself. "This young man has been to
visit the sorceress, and I'll warrant he has some fine gift from her in
that little red box I see sticking out from his pocket. I must try to
steal that box and see what is in it!" Then, while the youth slumbered
unconscious of danger, the Sly Fox carefully drew the little red box from
his pocket and, taking it in his mouth, ran off into the woods with it.
Soon after this the rabbit came back, and when it saw Timtom
lying asleep it awakened him and asked, "Where is my new tail?"
"Oh, I have brought you a fine one," replied Timtom with a smile.
"It is in this little red box." But when he searched for the box, he
discovered it had been stolen. So great was his distress at the loss
that the gray rabbit was sorry for him. "I shall never be able to get
home again," he moaned, weeping tears of despair, "for all the gifts
Maetta gave me are now lost forever!"
"Never mind," said the rabbit. "I shall allow you to go under
the wall without giving me the tail, for I know you tried to keep your
promise. I suppose I can make this stubby tail do a while longer, since
it is the only one I ever possessed. But beware when you come to the
bird and the spider, for they will not be so kind to you as I am. The
bird has no heart at all, and the spider's heart is hard as a stone.
Still, I advise you to keep up your courage, for if you are brave and
fearless, you may succeed in getting home after all. If you cannot cross
the gulf and the River of Needles, you are welcome to come back and live
Hearing this, Timtom dried his eyes and thanked the kind rabbit,
after which he crawled under the wall and resumed his journey. He became
more cheerful as he trudged along, for the golden pill was safe in the
corner of his handkerchief. When he came to the white bird and began to
explain how it was he had lost the song and could not keep his promise,
the bird became very angry and refused to listen to his excuses. Nor
could he induce it to carry him again across the gulf. "I shall keep my
word," declared the bird stiffly, "for I warned you that if you returned
without the song I should refuse to assist you further."
Poor Timtom was at his wits' end to know what to do, so he sat
down near the brink of the gulf and twirled his thumbs and tried to keep
up his courage and think of some plan, while the white bird strutted
around in a cold and stately manner.
Now it seems that just about this time the Sly Fox reached his
den and opened the little red box to see what was in it. The spider's
eye, being small, rolled out into the moss and was lost. The fox thought
he would put the bushy tail on himself and see if it would not add to his
beauty, and while he did this the song escaped from the box and was blown
by the wind directly to the spot where Timtom was sitting beside the
gulf. He happened to hear the song coming, so he took off his hat and
caught it, after which he called to the bird that he had found the song
"Then I shall keep my promise," said the bird. "First, however,
let me try the song and see if it is suited to my voice." So he tried
the song and liked it fairly well. "It sounds something like a comic
opera," said the bird, "but after all, it will serve my purpose very
A minute later Timtom rejoiced to find himself on the other side
of the gulf, and so much nearer home. But when he came to the River of
Needles, there was more trouble in store for him, for the spider became
so angry at the loss of its eye that it tore down the spiderweb bridge
and refused to build another. This was indeed discouraging to the
traveler, and he sat down beside the river and looked longingly at the
farther shore. The spider paid no attention to him, but curled up and
went to sleep, and the needles looked at him curiously out of their small
eyes as they flowed by in an endless stream.
After a time a wren came flying along, and when it noticed the
look of despair on Timtom's face, the little creature perched on his
shoulder and asked, "What is your trouble, young man?"
Timtom related his adventures to the sympathetic wren, and when
he came to the loss of the spider's eye and the refusal of the spiteful
creature to allow him to cross the bridge, the wren exclaimed with every
appearance of surprise, "A spider's eye, you say? Why, I believe that is
what I have here in my claw!"
"Where?" cried Timtom eagerly.
The wren hopped into his lap and, carefully opening one of its
tiny claws, disclosed the identical spider's eye which Maetta had given
him. "That is wonderful!" exclaimed Timtom in amazement. "But where did
you get it?"
"I found it in the wood, hidden in the moss near the den of the
Sly Fox. It is so bright and sparkling I thought I would take it home
for my children to play with. But now, as you seem to want it so badly,
I shall have much pleasure in restoring it to you."
Timtom thanked the little wren most gratefully, and called to the
spider to come and get its eye. When the spider tried the eye and found
that it fitted perfectly and was even brighter than the old one, it
became very polite to the young man and soon built the bridge again.
Having passed over the glittering needles to safety, Timtom
pushed forward on his way, being urged to haste by the delays he had
suffered. When he reached the place where he had encountered the
snowstorm, he found the birds had eaten all the popcorn, so he was able
to proceed without interruption. At last he reached the Monarch of Mo's
palace and demanded an audience with the Princess Pattycake. But the
young lady, being in an especially bad temper, positively refused to see
him. Having overcome so many obstacles, Timtom did not intend to be
thwarted by a sulky girl, so he walked boldly to the room where the
Princess sat alone, everyone being afraid to go near her.
"Good day, my dear Pattycake," he said pleasantly. "I have come
to cure your bad temper."
"I do not want to be cured!" cried the Princess angrily. "Go
away at once, or I shall hurt you!"
"I shall not go away until you have promised to marry me,"
replied Timtom firmly. At this, Pattycake began to scream with rage, and
threw her shoe straight at his head. Timtom dodged the shoe and paid no
attention to the naughty action, but continued to look at the pretty
Princess smilingly. Seeing this, Pattycake rushed forward and, seizing
him by his hair, began to pull with all her strength. At the same time
she opened her mouth to scream, and while it was open Timtom threw the
golden pill down her throat.
Immediately the Princess released his hair and sank at his feet
sobbing and trembling while she covered her pretty face with her hands to
hide her blushes and shame. Timtom tenderly patted her bowed head and
tried to comfort her, saying, "Do not weep, sweetheart, for the bad
temper has left you at last, and now everyone will love you dearly."
"Can you forgive me for having been so naughty?" asked Pattycake,
looking up at him pleadingly from her sweet blue eyes.
"I have forgiven you already," answered Timtom promptly, "for it
was not you, but the temper that made you so naughty."
The Princess Pattycake dried her tears and kissed Timtom,
promising to marry him, and together they went to seek the King and
Queen. Those good people were greatly delighted at the change in their
daughter and consented at once to the betrothal. A week later there was
a great feast in the Valley of Mo, and much rejoicing among the people,
for it was the wedding day of Timtom and the Princess Pattycake.
There is no country so delightful but that it suffers some
disadvantages, and so it was with the Valley of Mo. At times the good
people were obliged to leave their games and sports to defend themselves
against a foe or some threatened disaster. But there was one danger they
never suspected which at last came upon them very suddenly. Away at the
eastern end of the Valley was a rough plain composed entirely of loaf
sugar covered with boulders of rock candy which were piled up in great
masses reaching nearly to the foot of the mountains, containing many
caves and recesses.
The people seldom came here, as there was nothing to tempt them,
the rock candy being very hard and difficult to walk on. In one of the
great hollows formed by the rock candy lived a monstrous Gigaboo
completely shut in by the walls of its caverns. It had been growing and
growing for so many years that it had attained an enormous size.
For fear you may not know what a Gigaboo is, I shall describe
this one. Its body was round, like that of a turtle, and on its back was
a thick shell. From the center of the body rose a long neck much like
that of a goose, with a most horrible-looking head perched on the top of
it. This head was round as a ball and had four mouths on the sides of it
and seven eyes set in a circle and projecting several inches from the
head. The Gigaboo walked on ten short but thick legs, and in front of
its body were two long arms tipped with claws like those of a lobster.
So sharp and strong were these claws that the creature could pinch a tree
in two easily. Its eyes were remarkably bright and glittering, one being
red in color, another green, and the others yellow, blue, black, purple
It was a dreadful monster to see. Only no one had ever seen it,
for it had grown up in the confinement of its cave. But one day the
Gigaboo became so big and strong that in turning around it broke down the
walls of the cavern, and finding itself at liberty the monster walked out
into the lovely Valley of Mo to see how much evil it could do.
The first thing the Gigaboo came to was a large orchard of
preserved apricots, and after eating a great quantity of the preserves it
wilfully cut off the trees with its sharp claws and utterly ruined them.
Why the Gigaboo should have done this I cannot tell, but scientists say
these creatures are by nature destructive and love to ruin everything
they come across.
One of the people, being in the neighborhood, came on the monster
and witnessed its terrible deeds, whereupon he ran in great terror to
tell the King that the Gigaboo was on them and ready to destroy the
entire valley. Although no one had ever before seen a Gigaboo or even
heard of one, the news was so serious that in a short time the King and
many of his people came to the place where the monster was, all having
hastily armed themselves with swords and spears.
But when they saw the Gigaboo, they were afraid and stood gazing
at it in alarm without knowing what to do or how to attack it. "Who
among us can hope to conquer this great beast?" asked the King in dismay.
"Yet something must be done, or soon we shall not have a tree left
standing in all the Valley of Mo."
The people looked at one another in a frightened way, but no one
volunteered his services or offered to advise the monarch what to do. At
length Prince Jollikin, who had been watching the monster earnestly,
stepped forward and offered to fight the Gigaboo alone. "In a matter of
this kind," said he, "one man is as good as a dozen. So you will all
stand back while I see where the beast can best be attacked."
"Is your sword sharp?" asked his father, the King, anxiously.
"It was the sharpest on the tree," replied the Prince. "If I
fail to kill the monster, at least it cannot kill me, although it may
cause me some annoyance. At any rate, our trees must be saved, so I will
do the best I can." With this manly speech, he walked straight toward
the Gigaboo, which, when it saw him approaching, raised and lowered its
long neck and twirled its head around so that all the seven eyes might
get a glimpse of its enemy.
Now you must remember, when you read what follows, that no
inhabitant of the Valley of Mo can ever be killed by anything. If one is
cut to pieces, the pieces still live; and although this seems strange,
you will find, if you ever go to this queer Valley, that it is true.
Perhaps it was the knowledge of this fact that made Prince Jollikin so
courageous. "If I can but manage to cut off that horrible head with my
sword," thought he, "the beast will surely die."
So the Prince rushed forward and made a powerful stroke at its
neck, but the blow fell short and cut off instead one of the Gigaboo's
ten legs. Quick as lightning the monster put out a claw and nipped the
Prince's arm which held the sword, cutting it from its body. As the
sword fell, the Prince caught it in his other hand and struck again, but
the blow fell on the beast's shell and did no harm.
The Gigaboo, now very angry, at once nipped off the Prince's left
arm with one of its claws, and his head with the other. The arm fell on
the ground and the head rolled down a little hill behind some bonbon
bushes. The Prince, having lost both arms and his head as well, now
abandoned the fight and turned to run, knowing it would be folly to
resist the monster further. But the Gigaboo gave chase, and so swiftly
did its nine legs carry it that soon it overtook the Prince and nipped
off both his legs.
Then, its seven eyes flashing with anger, the Gigaboo turned
toward the rest of the people as if seeking a new enemy, but the brave
Men of Mo, seeing the sad plight of their Prince and being afraid of the
awful nippers on the beast's claws, decided to run away; which they did,
uttering as they went loud cries of terror. But had they looked back
they might not have gone so fast nor so far, for when the Gigaboo heard
their cries it, in turn, became frightened, having been accustomed all
its life to silence; so that it rushed back to its cavern of rock candy
and hid itself among the boulders.
When Prince Jollikin's head stopped rolling, he opened his eyes
and looked about him, but could see no one, for the people and the
Gigaboo had now gone. So, being unable to move, he decided to be quiet
for a time, and this was not a pleasant thing for an active young man
like the Prince to do. To be sure, he could wiggle his ears a bit and
wink his eyes, but that was the extent of his powers. After a few
minutes, because he had a cheerful disposition and wished to keep himself
amused, he began to whistle a popular song, and then, becoming interested
in the tune, he whistled it over again with variations.
The Prince's left leg, lying a short distance away, heard his
whistle and, recognizing the variations, at once ran up to the head.
"Well," said the Prince, "here is a part of me, at any rate. I wonder
where the rest of me can be." Just then, hearing the sound of his voice,
the right leg ran up to the head. "Where is my body?" asked the Prince.
But the legs did not know.
"Pick up my head and put it on top of my legs," continued the
Prince, "then, with my eyes and your feet, we can hunt around until we
find the rest of me." Obeying this command, the legs took the head and
started off, and perhaps you can imagine how funny the Prince's head
looked perched on his legs, with neither body nor arms. After a careful
search they found the body lying upon the ground at the foot of a
shrimp-salad tree. But nothing more could be done without the arms, so
they next searched for those, and having discovered them, the legs kicked
them to where the body lay.
The arms now took the head from the legs and put the legs on the
body where they belonged. Then the right arm stuck the left arm in its
place, after which the left arm picked up the right arm and placed it
also where it belonged. Then all that remained was for the Prince to
place his head on his shoulders, and there he was, as good as new!
He picked up his sword and was feeling himself all over to see if
he was put together right, when he chanced to look up and saw the Gigaboo
again coming toward him. The beast had recovered from its fright, and
tempted by its former success again ventured forth. But Prince Jollikin
did not intend to be cut to pieces a second time. He quickly climbed a
tree and hid himself among the branches.
Presently the Gigaboo came to the tree and reached its head up to
eat a cranberry tart. Quick as a flash the Prince swung his sword
downward, and so true was his stroke that he cut off the monster's head
with ease. Then the Gigaboo rolled over on its back and died, for wild
and ferocious beasts may be killed in Mo as well as in other parts of the
world. Having vanquished his enemy, Prince Jollikin climbed down from
the tree and went to tell the people that the Gigaboo was dead.
When they head this joyful news, they gave their Prince three
cheers and loved him better than ever for his bravery. The King was so
pleased that he presented his son with a tin badge set with diamonds, on
the back of which was engraved the picture of a Gigaboo. Although Prince
Jollikin was glad to be the hero of his nation and enjoyed the triumph of
having been able to conquer his ferocious enemy, he did not escape some
inconvenience. For, as the result of his adventure, he found himself
very stiff in the joints for seven days after his fight with the Gigaboo.
Within the depths of the mountains which bordered the valley of
Mo to the east lived a Wicked Wizard in a cavern of rubies. It was many,
many feet below the surface of the earth and cut off entirely from the
rest of the world save for one passage which led through dangerous caves
and tunnels to the top of the highest mountain. So that, in order to get
out of his cavern, the Wizard was obliged to come to this mountaintop and
from there descend to the outside world.
The Wizard was all alone, but he did not mind that, for his
thoughts were always on his books and studies, and he seldom showed
himself on the surface of the earth. But when he did go out everyone
laughed at him, for this powerful magician was no taller than my knee,
and was very old and wrinkled, so that he looked comical indeed beside an
The Wizard was nearly as sensitive as he was wicked, and was
sorry he had not grown as big as other people, so the laughter that
always greeted him made him angry. At last he determined to find some
magical compound that would make him grow bigger. He shut himself up in
his cave and searched diligently amongst his books until, finally, he
found a formula recommended by some dead-and-gone magician as sure to
make anyone grow a foot each day so long as the dose was taken. Most of
the ingredients were quite easy to procure, being such as spiders'
livers, kerosene oil and the teeth of canary birds, mixed together in a
boiling cauldron. But the last item of the recipe was so unusual that it
made the Wizard scratch his head in perplexity. It was the big toe of a
young and beautiful princess.
The Wizard thought on the matter for three days, but nowhere
could he think of a young and beautiful princess who would willingly part
with her big toe, even that he might grow to be as big as he wished.
Then, as such a thing was not to be come by honestly, the Wicked Wizard
resolved to steal it. So he went through all the caves and passages
until he came to the mountaintop. Standing on the point of a rock, he
placed one hand on his chin and the other on the back of his neck, and
then recited the following magical incantation:
"I wish to go
To steal the big toe
Of a princess I know,
In order to grow
Quite big. And so,
I'LL CHANGE TO A CROW!"
No sooner had he spoken the words than he changed into a Black
Crow and flew away into the Valley of Mo, where he hid himself in a tall
tree that grew near the King's palace. That morning, as the Princess
Truella was lying late in bed with one of her dainty pink feet sticking
out from under the covers, in through the window fluttered a Black Crow,
which picked off her big toe and immediately flew away with it.
The Princess awoke with a scream and was horrified to find her
beautiful foot ruined by the loss of her biggest toe. When the King and
Queen and the Princess and Princesses, having heard her outcry, came
running in to see what was the matter, they were each and all very
indignant at the theft. But search as they might, nowhere could they
find the audacious Black Crow, nor the Princess' big toe, and the whole
court was in despair.
Finally, Timtom--who was now a Prince--suggested that Truella
seek assistance from the kind sorceress Maetta, who had helped him out of
his own difficulties. The Princess thought well of this idea and
determined to undertake a journey to the castle. She whistled for her
favorite Stork, and soon the great bird came to her side. It was pure
white and of an extraordinary size. When the Stork had been saddled, the
Princess kissed her father and mother goodbye and seated herself on the
bird's back, when it instantly rose into the air and flew away toward the
castle of Maetta.
Traveling in this pleasant way, high in the air, the Princess
crossed the River of Needles and the deep gulf and the dangerous wood and
at last was set down safe at the castle gates. Maetta welcomed the
pretty Princess very cordially and on being told of her misfortune at
once agreed to assist her. So the sorceress consulted the Oracle, which
told her truly anything she wanted to know, and then said to the
Princess, "Your toe is in the possession of the Wicked Wizard who lives
in the ruby cave under the mountains. In order to recover it, you must
go yourself to seek it, but I warn you that the Wizard will put every
obstacle in your path to prevent your finding the toe and taking it from
"Oh dear!" exclaimed Truella. "I am afraid I shall never be able
to get my toe from such a horrid man."
"Have courage and trust in me," returned Maetta, "for I believe
my powers are stronger than his. I shall now furnish you the weapons you
must use to overcome him. Here is a magical umbrella, and in this basket
which you must carry on your arm you will find a lump of putty, an iron
ball, a mirror, a package of chewing gum and a magic veil, all of which
will be very useful. Here also is a winged dagger, with which you must
protect yourself if the Wizard attempts to harm you. With these enchanted
weapons and a brave heart, I believe you will succeed. So kiss me, my
child, and start on your journey."
Truella thanked the kind sorceress, and mounting the saddle of her
Stork, flew away toward the high mountain in which dwelt the Wicked
Wizard. But the naughty man, by means of his black magic, saw her coming
and sent such a fierce wind to blow against her that it prevented the
Stork from making any headway through the air. Therefore, in spite of his
huge wings and remarkable strength, the brave bird was unable to get an
inch nearer the mountain.
When Truella saw this, she put up the umbrella and held it in
front of the Stork, whereupon, being shielded from the wind, he flew
easily to the mountain. The Princess now dismounted and, looking into
the hole at the top of the mountain, discovered a flight of stairs
leading downward. Taking her basket on her arm as she had been directed,
Truella walked boldly down the steps until she came to a door. But then
she shrank back in affright, for before the door coiled a great serpent,
not quite a mile long and fully as large around as a stick of wood. The
girl knew she must manage in some way to overcome this terrible creature,
so when the serpent opened its mouth and raised its head to bite her, she
reached within the basket and, finding the lump of putty, threw it
quickly into the serpent's mouth. The creature snapped its jaws together
so suddenly that its teeth stuck fast in the putty, and this made it so
furious that it wriggled around until it had tied itself into a hard knot
and could wriggle no longer.
Seeing there was no further danger, the Princess passed the door
and entered a large cave which was but dimly lighted. While she paused
to allow her eyes to become accustomed to the darkness so she might see
her way, a faint rustling sound reached her ears, and a moment later
there came toward her a hideous old woman, lean and bent, with wrinkled
face and piercing black eyes. She had only one tooth, but that was of
enormous size, being nearly as large as the tusk of an elephant, and it
curved out of her mouth and down under her chin, where it ended in a very
sharp point. Her fingernails were a foot long, and they also were very
sharp and strong. "What are you doing here?" asked the old woman in a
harsh voice, while she moved her horrible fingers as if about to scratch
out Truella's eyes.
"I came to see the Wizard," said the Princess calmly, "and if you
will allow me to pass, I shall give you, in return for the favor, some
delicious chewing gum."
"Chewing gum!" croaked the old woman. "What is that?"
"It is a dainty of which all ladies are very fond," replied
Truella, taking the packet from her basket. "This is it."
The old woman hesitated a moment, and then said, "Well, I'll try
the chewing gum and see what it is like. There will be plenty of time to
scratch out your eyes afterwards." She placed the gum in her mouth and
tried to chew it, but when she shut her jaws together, the great tusk
went straight through her neck and came out at the back. The old hag
gave a scream and put up her hands to pull out the tusk again, but so
great was her excitement that in her haste she scratched out both her own
eyes and could no longer see where the Princess was standing.
So Truella ran through the cave and came to a door, on which she
knocked. Instantly it flew open, and before her she saw another cave,
this time brightly lighted, but filled with knives and daggers which were
flying about in every direction. To enter this cave was impossible, for
the Princess saw she would immediately be pierced by dozens of the sharp
daggers. So she hesitated for a time, now knowing how to proceed; but
chancing to remember her basket, she took from it the iron ball, which
she tossed into the center of the Cave of Daggers. At once the dangerous
weapons began to strike against the ball, and as soon as they touched it
they were broken and fell on the floor. In a short time every one of the
knives and daggers had been spoiled by contact with the iron ball, and
Truella passed safely through the cave and came to another long stairway
leading downward. At the bottom of this she reached the third cave and
came upon a horrible monster.
It had the body of a zebra, the legs of a rhinoceros, the neck of
a giraffe, the head of a bulldog, and three corrugated tails. This
monster at once began to growl and run toward her, showing its terrible
teeth and lashing its three tails. The Princess snatched the mirror from
her basket, and as the creature came near her, she held the glittering
surface before its eyes. It gave one look into the mirror and fell
lifeless at her feet, being frightened to death by its own reflection in
Truella now walked through several more caves and descended a
long flight of stairs, which brought her to another door, on which was a
sign that read, "A. WIZARD, Esq., Office hours: From 10:45 until a
quarter to 11."
The Princess, knowing that she had now reached the den of the
Wizard who had stolen her big toe, knocked boldly on the door. "Come
in!" called a voice.
Truella obeyed, and found herself in a large cave, the walls of
which were lined with rubies. In each of the four corners were big
electric lights, and these, shining upon the rubies, filled the cave with
a deep red glow. The Wizard himself sat at his desk in one of the
corners, and when the Princess entered he looked up and exclaimed, "What!
Is it you? Really, I did not expect to see you. How did you manage to
pass the guards I placed within the caves and passageways to prevent your
"Oh, that was not difficult," answered Truella, "for you must
know I am protected by a power stronger than your own."
The Wizard was much annoyed at this reply, but he knew it was
true and that only by cunning could he hope to oppose the pretty
Princess. Still, he was resolved not to give up the big toe unless
obliged to, for it was necessary to complete the magic compound. "What
do you want?" he asked after a moment's thought.
"I want the toe you stole from me while I was asleep."
The Wizard knew it was useless to deny the theft, so he replied,
"Very well, take a chair and I will see if I can find it."
But Truella feared the little man was deceiving her, so when he
turned his back she took the magic veil from her basket and threw it over
her head. Immediately it began unfolding until it covered her completely
from head to foot. The Wizard walked over to a cupboard, which he
opened, and while pretending to search for the toe he suddenly turned on
a big faucet that was concealed under a shelf. At once the thunder
rolled, the lightning flashed, and from the arched ceiling of the cavern
drops of fire began to fall, coming thicker and thicker until a perfect
shower of burning drops filled the room. These fell hissing upon
Truella's veil, but could not penetrate it, for they all bounded off and
were scattered upon the rocky floor, where they soon burned themselves
out. Seeing this, the Wizard gave a sigh of disappointment and turned
off the faucet, when the firedrops ceased to fall.
"Please excuse this little interruption," he said as if he had
not been the cause of it himself. "I'll find the toe in a few minutes.
I must have mislaid it somewhere." But Truella suspected he was up to
more mischief and was on her guard. She saw him stealthily press a
button, and in the same instant a deep gulf opened in the floor of the
cave halfway between the Princess and the Wizard. Truella did not know
what this meant at first, unless it was to prevent her getting across the
room to where her toe was. But soon she noticed that the gulf was moving
toward her, slowly but steadily, and as it extended across the cave from
wall to wall, it would in time be sure to reach the spot where she stood,
when she would, of course, fall into it.
When she saw her danger, the Princess became frightened and tried
to escape through the door by which she had entered, but to her dismay
she found it locked. Then she turned to look at the Wizard. The little
man had perched himself upon a high stool and was carelessly swinging his
feet and laughing with glee at Truella's awful peril. He thought that at
last he had certainly found a way to destroy her. The poor Princess
looked again into the gulf, which was gradually getting nearer and
nearer, and she shuddered at its vast depths.
A cold wind began to sweep up from the abyss, and she heard
mocking laughter and savage growls from below, as if evil spirits were
eagerly waiting to seize her. Just as she was giving way to despair and
the gulf had crept very close to her feet, Truella thought of her winged
dagger. She drew it from her bosom, and pointing it toward her enemy,
said, "Save me from the Wizard's art--Fly until you reach his heart.
Foil his power and set me free. This is my command to thee!"
In a flash the dagger flew from her hand and struck the Wizard
full on his breast. With a loud cry he fell forward into the gulf, which
in the same instant closed up with a crash. Then, when the rocks about
her had ceased trembling from the shock, the door swung open, leaving the
Princess at liberty to go where she pleased. She now searched the
Wizard's cupboard until she found her toe, which had been safely hidden
in a little ivory box. Truella stopped only long enough to put on her
toe, and then she ran through the caves and up the stairways until she
reached the top of the mountain again. There she found her Stork
patiently awaiting her, and having seated herself on its back, she rode
safely and triumphantly back to her father's palace.
The King and Queen were delighted when she recounted to them the
success of her adventure, but they shuddered when they learned of the
fearful dangers their sweet little daughter had encountered. "It seems
to me," said the good Queen, "that a big toe is scarcely worth all the
trouble you have had in recovering it."
"Perhaps not," replied the Princess thoughtfully, "but a big toe
is very handy to have when you wish to dance, and after all, I succeeded
in destroying the Wicked Wizard, which surely repays me for the trials I
have been forced to undergo."
The Duchess Bredenbutta was forty-seventh cousin to the Monarch of
Mo, and great-grandniece to the Queen, so you can readily see she was
nearly related to the Princess Pattycake and had blue blood in her veins.
She lived in a pretty house on the banks of Rootbeer River, and one of
her favorite amusements was to row on the river in her boat, which,
although rather small, was light as a cork.
One day, as usual, the Duchess went for a row on the river,
expecting to return home in about an hour. But after floating a long
distance down the stream, she fell asleep in the boat and did not awake
until she felt a sudden shock. Then, sitting up and looking about her,
she found to her alarm that the boat had drifted to the end of the Land
of Mo and was in the rapids leading to the Great Hole in the ground where
the river disappeared from view. Becoming very much frightened,
Bredenbutta looked for the oars of her boat that she might row to the
bank, but she soon discovered that the oars had fallen overboard and were
lost, leaving her without any means of saving herself.
The poor Duchess now began to cry out, but no one heard her.
Gradually the boat came nearer and nearer to the Great Hole, now bumping
against the rocks and now spinning around with the current until at last
it paused for an instant on the very brink of the chasm down which the
river fell. The girl seized the sides of the boat in a firm grasp, and
the next moment it plunged headlong into the Hole.
After the shock was over, Bredenbutta wiped the moisture from her
eyes and looked to see where she was and what had become of her. She
found that she had landed in a very remarkable country, and for a time
could do nothing but gaze in wonder on the strange sights that met her
view. The trees were all growing on their top branches, with their roots
high in the air, and the houses rested on the tops of their chimneys, the
smoke going into the ground and the doorsteps being at the tops of the
buildings. A rabbit was flying around in the air, and a flock of
skylarks walked on the ground as if they belonged there.
Bredenbutta rubbed her eyes, for at first the girl thought she
must be dreaming, but when she looked again everything was in the same
unnatural position. To add to her amazement she now saw a queer creature
coming toward her. She might have taken him for a young man, only he was
just the reverse of any young man Bredenbutta had ever seen. He stood
upon his hands, which were clad in boots, and used his feet as we use our
hands, seeming to be very handy with his toes. His teeth were in his
ears, and he ate with them and heard with his mouth. He also smelled with
his eyes and saw out of his nose, which was all very curious. When he
walked, he ran, and when he ran, he stood still. He spoke when he was
silent and remained dumb when he had anything to say. In addition to
this, he wept real tears when he was pleased and laughed merrily whenever
anything grieved him.
It was no wonder the Duchess Bredenbutta stared in surprise when
such an odd creature came up to her backward and looked at her solemnly
from his pug nose. "Who are you?" asked Bredenbutta as soon as she could
find breath to speak.
The young man remained quiet and answered, "My name is Upsydoun."
"I think you are," laughed Bredenbutta.
"You think I am what?" demanded the young man, the voice coming
from his ear.
"Upside-down," she replied.
At this the tears rolled down his cheeks with joy. "Why, it is
YOU who are upside-down," he said. "How in the world did you get up
"Down here, you mean," corrected the Duchess with dignity.
"I mean nothing of the kind," he said silently, while his nose
twinkled with amusement. "This country is up, and not down."
"What country is it?" inquired Bredenbutta, much perplexed by
such an absurd statement.
"Why, Turvyland, to be sure," was the answer.
"Oh!" sighed Bredenbutta, but she was no wiser than before.
"Now you are here," said Upsydoun, "you may come home with me and
eat some dinner."
"I shall be very glad to," answered the Duchess, who was really
hungry. "Where do you live?"
"Over there," replied Upsydoun, pointing to the south, "so stay
where you are and follow me." Then he walked away on his hands in
exactly the opposite direction from that he had indicated. Bredenbutta
followed him, and shortly after encountered several other people of just
the same queer appearance as her conductor. They looked out of their
noses at her in great surprise, and without speaking asked Upsydoun who
"The Duchess Bredenbutta," he silently answered. "I found her
where the Rootbeer River bubbles up. Isn't she a queer-looking
"She is indeed," they all answered in a still chorus, and then
they followed the girl out of curiosity as boys follow a band or a
dancing bear. When they reached the house of Upsydoun, more than a
hundred inhabitants of Turvyland were at Bredenbutta's heels and
Upsydoun's thumbs. She was welcomed very kindly, however, and the young
man's mother kissed the Duchess with her left ear, an act which was
considered a special mark of favor in Turvyland.
"Would you like to stand up and rest yourself until dinner time?"
asked the lady when the girl had entered the parlor.
"No thank you," replied Bredenbutta, who was very tired. Being
ignorant of their custom, she did not know these people usually stood up
when the slept or rested. Her answer seemed to satisfy Upsydoun's
mother, who thought when she said "no" she meant "yes."
"You really don't look equal to lying down," she remarked
pleasantly, "so you may stand until I call you to dinner, which will be
in a long time." Then she excused herself and walked backward out of the
window, which Bredenbutta noticed they all used instead of doors.
"Dear me," said the Duchess when she was left alone. "I am sure
I shall never be able to understand these strange people. But I mean to
sit down anyway, and if it really is a long time before dinner, I shall
probably starve in the meantime."
She had not rested more than a few minutes, however, before the
lady again put her foot through the window and waving it invitingly
toward her, exclaimed, "Go away to dinner."
"Go away!" replied the Duchess in dismay. "Where shall I go to?"
"Why, to me, of course," answered Upsydoun's mother, dumbly, but
she winked her nose thoughtfully, as if she scarcely knew how to converse
with her strange visitor. Surely Bredenbutta ought to know that when
they said "go" in Turvyland, they meant "come."
In spite of her uncertainty, she followed her hostess, and when
they entered the dining room the Duchess was shocked to see all the
family stand on their heads on the chairs and pick up their knives and
forks with their toes. She was more horrified, however, when they began
to eat, for contrary to all custom these people placed their food in
their ears. And they did it so calmly that she did not even remonstrate,
remembering it must be their habit to eat in this way. She, herself, sat
down in her chair in a proper manner and began to eat with the fork in
her hand, and when the people of Turvyland saw this, they all shed tears
Just then the youngest child of the family began laughing, and
the mother rushed to it as fast as her hands would carry her to see what
was the matter. But the child had only put its foot into its pocket and
could not get it out again. The mother soon managed to get it free, and
then the child stopped laughing and began weeping as happily as any of
the others. Bredenbutta was greatly bewildered at all this, but she ate
heartily nevertheless, and after having begged her in vain to stand on
her hands as they did, the family let her alone, being surprised to see
how well she could use her hands.
After dinner Upsydown's sister played on the piano with her toes,
while the others indulged in a dance, whirling around on their thumbs in
a manner truly marvelous, and seeming by their tears to enjoy themselves
very much. As the dance ended, a kitten came running into the room on
its ears and the tip of its tail, and this looked so funny that
Bredenbutta began laughing. But seeing she had frightened her kind
friends, who wanted to send for a doctor, she refrained from laughing and
asked gravely if she could not find a way to return to the Valley of Mo.
"The only possible way of getting down there," replied Upsydoun,
"is to jump into the Rootbeer River, but that would be dangerous, and
none of our people have ever tried it."
"Any danger," said the Duchess, "I will gladly brave, for
otherwise I shall be obliged to spend my entire life down here among
people whose ways are exactly opposite to my own. If you will kindly
take me to the river, I shall lose no time in making an effort to return
They goodnaturedly assented to do this, and walked backward with
her until they came to the place where the river bubbled up. It really
did bubble UP, Bredenbutta noticed, although she knew very well she had
fallen DOWN the Great Hole. But then, everything was topsy-turvy in this
strange land. The girl found her little boat, which had stranded on the
beach, and having placed it where she could push it into the river, she
turned to say goodbye to the queer people of Turvyland.
"I am glad to see you go," said Upsydoun without speaking, "for I
like you. But you are a strange creature, and perhaps know what is best
for you. Here are some oars for your boat, for I see you have none, and
when you get down to your country you may need them." Bredenbutta
joyfully accepted the oars, and placed them in her boat. Then the people
of Turvyland all kissed her with their left ears and waved their toes in
farewell, while the Duchess got into the boat and pulled it out into the
Instantly she was in the midst of such a whirling of foam and
rushing and roaring of root beer that she could neither see nor hear
anything. Gasping for breath, the girl clung tightly to the sides of the
boat, and in a few minutes it was all over, and the boat bobbed up in the
Valley of Mo, just above the Great Hole. Bredenbutta then seized the
oars and rowed hard until there was no danger of her falling in again,
and soon she had passed the rapids and was rowing safely up the river to
her own home.
Of course the Duchess was very glad again to be among the people
who acted in a natural manner instead of the absurd fashion of her
friends the Turvylanders. She resolved that whenever she rowed her boat
upon the river again, she would be careful to keep away from the Great
Hole, for she realized that another visit to Upsydown and his people would
be very trying to her nerves.
It happened one morning that the Monarch of Mo was not in his
usual pleasant humor, and of course there was an excellent reason for
this. At the back of his garden grew one tree that generally bore an
abundant crop of animal crackers, and although the King and his court,
being surfeited with all the dainties of the land, did not care much for
these edibles, the younger inhabitants of Mo were especially fond of
them, and yelled with delight whenever the King divided the crop of his
tree among them.
A few days before the King had examined the tree and found the
animal crackers not quite ripe. Whereupon he had gone away and forgotten
all about them. And in his absence they had ripened to a delicious light
brown, and their forms had rounded out so that they hung as thickly
together as peas in a pod. As they swung from their stems, swaying
backward and forward in the light breeze, they waited and waited for
someone to come and pick them. But no one came near the tree, and the
animals grew cross and restless in consequence.
"I wonder when we shall be gathered," remarked a hippopotamus
cracker with a yawn.
"Oh, you wonder, do you?" mockingly replied a camel cracker
hanging near. "Do you really expect anyone to gather YOU, with your
thick hide and clumsy legs? Why, the children would break their teeth on
you at the first bite."
"What!" screamed the hippopotamus in much anger. "Do you dare
insult ME, you humpbacked beast of burden?"
"Now then, now then!" interrupted a wolf cracker that hung from a
stem just above them. "What's the use of fighting when we are so soon to
But the camel cracker would not be appeased. "Thick-headed
brute!" he yelled at the hippopotamus angrily.
"Humpbacked idiot!" shrieked the other.
At this the camel swung himself fiercely on his branch and bumped
against the hippopotamus, knocking him off from the tree. The ground
underneath was chocolate, and it was soft and sticky, not having dried
since the last rain. So when the hippopotamus fell, he sank halfway into
the ground, and his beautiful brown color was spattered with the muddy
chocolate. At this vengeful deed on the part of the camel, all the other
animals became furious. A full-grown goat cracker swung himself against
the camel and knocked it, in turn, from its stem, and in falling on the
ground it broke its hump off. Then a lion cracker knocked the goat down,
and an elephant knocked a cat down, and soon the whole tree was in a
violent commotion. The animals fought with each other so desperately
that before long the entire treeful of animal crackers had fallen to the
ground, where many lay broken and disfigured, and the remainder were sunk
deep in the chocolate mud.
So when the King, finally remembering his tree, came and looked
on the sorry sight, it dampened his usual good spirits, and he heartily
wished he had picked the quarrelsome crackers before they began to fight
among themselves. While he stood thinking dismally on this, up came
Prince Fiddlecumdoo and asked permission to go on a journey. "Where do
you wish to go?" asked the King.
"I am tired of this beautiful Valley," answered Fiddlecumdoo,
"and as the bicycle tree beside the Crystal Lake is now hanging full of
ripe wheels, I thought I would gather one and ride over into the next
valley in search of adventure." You see, this Prince was the King's
youngest son, and had been rather spoiled by petting, as youngest sons
"The next valley, my son, is inhabited by the great Hartilaf,"
said the King, "and should you meet him, he might do you an injury."
"Oh, I am not afraid of Hartilaf," replied Fiddlecumdoo boldly.
"If he should not be pleasant to me, I could run away from him on my
"I don't know about that," responded the King. "There may be
bicycle trees in the next valley as well as here, and it is always
dangerous and foolish for anyone to leave this Valley, where there is
everything that heart could wish. Instead of running away in search of
adventure, you would do better to remain at home and help your mother
pick collar buttons and neckties for the family."
"That is work," said Fiddlecumdoo sulkily, "and I hate work."
"Yet somebody has to pick the collar buttons," returned the King,
"or we should be unable to keep our collars on."
"Then let Jollikin help my mother. I am horribly tired of this
stupid place, and shall not be happy until I have traveled around and
seen something more of the world."
"Well, well! Go if you wish," answered the King impatiently.
"But take care of yourself, for when you are away from this Valley, there
will be no one to protect you from danger."
"I can take care of myself," cried the Prince, "so do not worry
about me." And he ran away quickly before his father had time to change
his mind and withdrew his consent. He selected the best and ripest
bicycle on the tree, and having mounted it, was soon speeding away along
the path to the mountains.
When he reached the far eastern part of Mo, he came on a bush
bearing a very good quality of violins, and this at once attracted
Fiddlecumdoo, who was a most excellent violinist, being able to play
correctly a great number of tunes. So he dismounted and selected from
the bush a small violin that seemed to have a sweet tone. This he
carried with him under his arm, thinking if he became lonesome he could
amuse himself with the music.
Shortly after resuming his journey, he came to the Maple Plains,
a level stretch of country composed entirely of maple sugar. These
plains were quite smooth and very pleasant to ride on, but so swiftly did
his bicycle carry him that he soon crossed the plains and came on a river
of pure maple syrup, so wide and deep that he could neither leap nor swim
Dismounting from his bicycle, the Prince began looking for some
means of crossing the river. No bridge was visible in either direction,
and the bank was bare save for a few low bushes on which grew maple
bonbons and maple caramels. But Prince Fiddlecumdoo did not mean to be
turned back by so small a matter as a river, so he scooped a hole in the
maple sand and, having filled it with syrup from the river, lighted a
match and began boiling it. After it had boiled for a time, the maple
syrup became stringy, and the Prince quickly threw a string of it across
the river. It hardened almost immediately, and on this simple bridge the
Prince rode over the stream.
Once on the other side, he sped up the mountain and over the top
into the next valley, where he stopped and began to look about him. He
could see no roads in any direction, but away down at the foot of the
valley was a monstrous house, so big you could easily put a small village
inside it, including the church. This, Fiddlecumdoo thought, must be
where the giant lived, and although he saw no one about the house, he
decided to make a call and introduce himself to Mr. Hartilaf. So he rode
slowly down the valley, playing on his violin as he went, that the music
might announce his coming.
The giant Hartilaf was lying on the sofa in his sitting room,
waiting for his wife to prepare the dinner, and he had nearly fallen
asleep when the sound of Fiddlecumdoo's music fell on his ear. This was
so unusual in his valley that the giant arose and went to the front door
to see what caused it. The Prince had by this time nearly reached the
house, and when the giant appeared, he was somewhat startled, as he had
not expected to see anyone quite so big. But he took care not to show
any fear, and taking off his hat he bowed politely to the giant and said,
"This is Mr. Hartilaf, I suppose?"
"That is my name," replied the giant, grinning at the small size
of his visitor. "May I ask who you are?"
"I am Prince Fiddlecumdoo, and I live in the next valley, which is
called the Valley of Mo. Being determined to see something of the world,
I am traveling for pleasure, and have just dropped in on you for a
"You are very welcome, I am sure," returned the giant. "If you
will graciously step into my humble home, I shall be glad to entertain
you at dinner." Prince Fiddlecumdoo bowed low and accepted the
invitation, but when he endeavored to enter the house, he found the steps
so big that even the first one was higher than his head, and he could not
climb to the top of it.
Seeing his difficulty, the giant carefully picked him up with one
finger and his thumb and put him down in the palm of his other hand. "Do
not leave my bicycle," said the Prince, "for should anything happen to
it, I could not get home again." So the giant put the bicycle in his
vest pocket, and then he entered the house and walked to the kitchen,
where his wife was engaged in preparing the dinner.
"Guess what I've found," said the giant to his wife, holding his
hand doubled up so she could not see the Prince.
"I'm sure I don't know," answered the woman.
"But guess!" pleaded the giant.
"Go away and don't bother me," she replied, bending over the
stewpan, "or you won't have any dinner today."
The giant, however, was in a merry mood, and for a joke he
suddenly opened his hand and dropped the Prince down his wife's neck.
"Oh, oh!" she screamed, trying to get at the place where the Prince had
fallen, which was near the small of her back. "What is it? I'm sure
it's some horrible crocodile, or dragon, or something that will bite me!"
And the poor woman lay down on the carpet and began to kick her heels
against the floor in terror.
The giant roared with laughter, but the Prince, now being able to
crawl out, scrambled from the lady's neck and, standing beside her head,
he made a low bow and said, "Do not be afraid, Madam. It is only I. But
I must say it was a very ungallant trick for your husband to play on you,
to say nothing of my feelings in the matter."
"So it was," she exclaimed, getting upon her feet again and
staring curiously at Fiddlecumdoo. "But tell me who you are and where
you came from."
The giant, having enjoyed his laugh, now introduced the Prince to
his wife, and as dinner was ready to serve, they sat down at the table
together. Fiddlecumdoo got along very well at dinner, for the giant
thoughtfully placed him on the top of the table, where he could walk
around as he pleased. There being no knife nor fork small enough for him
to use, the Prince took one of the giant's toothpicks, which was as big
as a sword, and with this served himself from the various dishes that
stood upon the table.
When the meal was over, the giant lighted his pipe, the bowl of
which was as big as a barrel, and asked Fiddlecumdoo if he would kindly
favor them with some music. "Certainly," replied the Prince.
"Please come into the kitchen," said the giantess, "for then I
can listen to the music while I am washing the dishes."
The Prince did not like to refuse this request, although at home
he was not allowed to enter his mother's kitchen, so the giant carried
him in and placed him on a high shelf, where Fiddlecumdoo seated himself
on a spool of thread and began to play his violin. The big people
enjoyed the music very much at first, for the Prince was a capital
player. But soon came a disagreeable interruption.
About a month before, the giant had caught several dancing bears
in the mountains, and having brought them home, had made them into
strings of sausages. These were hanging in graceful festoons from the
beams of the kitchen ceiling, awaiting the time when they should be
eaten. Now when the dancing-bear sausages heard the music of
Fiddlecumdoo's violin, they could not resist dancing, for it is well
known that sausages made from real dancing bears cannot remain quiet
where there is music. The Prince was playing such a lively tune that
presently the strings of sausage broke away from the ceiling and fell
clattering to the floor, where they danced about furiously. Not being
able to see where they were going, they bumped against the giant and his
wife, thumping them on their heads and backs and pounding them so severely
that the woman became frightened and hid under the table, while the giant
started to run away.
Seeing their plight, Fiddlecumdoo stopped playing, and at once the
sausages fell to the floor and lay still. "That was strange," said the
giant as soon as he could catch his breath. "The bears evidently do not
forget how to dance even after they are chopped up into sausage meat. I
must beg you to abandon your concert for the present, but before you
visit us again we shall have eaten the sausages, and then you may play to
your heart's content."
"Had I known they were so lively," remarked the giantess as she
crawled from beneath the table, "we should have eaten them before this."
"That reminds me that I intended to have stewed polar bears for
supper," continued the giant, "so I think I will walk over into Alaska
and catch some."
"Perhaps the Prince would prefer elephant pie," suggested the
lady, "and in that case you might make a run into South America for
"I have no choice in the matter," said the Prince, "never having
eaten either. But is it not rather a long journey to Alaska or to South
"Not at all!" protested the giant. "I shall enjoy the walk and
can easily be back by sundown. Won't you come with me?" he asked the
boy. But Fiddlecumdoo did not like the idea of so long a journey and
begged to be excused. The giantess brought her lord a great bag to put
the polar bears in, and he prepared to start. "I leave you to amuse my
wife during my absence," he said to the Prince. "Pray make yourself
entirely at home and use my castle as you would your own house, and if I
have good luck you shall eat a delicious polar bear stew for your
supper." Then he slung the sack across his back and went away, whistling
merrily. And so great were his strides that in less than a minute he was
out of sight.
"This is my busy day," said the giantess to Fiddlecumdoo, "and I
fear I shall not be able to entertain you in a proper manner, for I must
hasten to the laundry to wash the clothes. However, if you care to
accompany me, we may converse together while I am doing my work."
"I shall take great pleasure in visiting your laundry," he
replied, "for never before have I been in such a place. And surely it
will be more agreeable to watch you at your work than to spend the day
alone in these great rooms."
"Come along, then," she said, and picking him up she placed him
in the pocket of her apron, for she knew he would be unable to walk down
the flight of stairs that led to the laundry. He was very comfortable in
the pocket, which was just deep enough to allow his head and shoulders to
project from the top. Therefore he was able to see all that was going on
while the lady was at work. He watched her wash and rinse the clothes,
and was greatly interested in the operation, as it was all new to him.
By and by the giantess brought an immense clothes wringer from a
shelf, and having fastened it to the side of the big washtub, began to
wring out the clothes. Prince Fiddlecumdoo had never seen a clothes
wringer before, and so pleased was he with the novelty of it that he
leaned far out of the pocket to watch it work. But unfortunately he lost
his balance, and before he knew what had happened to him had fallen from
the pocket and lay sprawling on one of the giant's shirts, which was just
then passing through the wringer.
The woman did not notice his fall, and the next instant he was
drawn between the two great rollers and came out on the other side as
thin and flat as a sheet of paper. Then the giant's wife saw what she
had done, and realizing how serious was the Prince's condition, the good
lady was much grieved over the accident. She picked Fiddlecumdoo up and
tried to stand him on his feet, but he was so thin that at the least
draft he fluttered like a flag, while a puff of wind would blow him
completely over. "Dear me!" exclaimed the woman sorrowfully. "Whatever
can we do with you in that shape?"
"I really do not know what will become of me," replied the
Prince. "I am certainly no good in this condition. I cannot even walk
across the room without toppling over. Can not you manage to push me
The giantess tried to do this, but the Prince was so sharp that
his edges hurt her hands, and all she could do was to fold him up and
carry him into the drawing room, where she laid him carefully on the
center table. Just before the giant returned from Alaska, bringing
several fat polar bears in his bag, and scarcely had he set foot within
the house before he inquired after his guest, the Prince.
"You will find him on the drawing room table," said the giantess.
"I accidentally ran him through the clothes wringer this afternoon, and
the poor boy is as thin as a pie crust. So I folded him up and put him
away until you returned."
The giant immediately went to the table and unfolded
Fiddlecumdoo, asking him how he felt. "Very miserable," answered the
Prince, "for I cannot move at all when I am folded up. Where is my
The giant searched all his pockets, but could not find it. "I
must have lost in on my journey to Alaska," he said.
"Then how am I ever to get home again?" asked the Prince.
"That is a puzzle," the giant responded thoughtfully. "I do not
see how you could ride on a bicycle even if you had one, and you
certainly cannot walk far in your present condition."
"Not if the wind blows," acknowledged the Prince.
"Couldn't you go edgewise?" asked the giant after a moment's
"I might try," answered Fiddlecumdoo hopefully. So the giant
stood him up, and he tried to walk edgewise. But whenever a breath of
wind struck him, he fell over at once, and several times he got badly
crumpled up, so that the giant had to smooth him out again with his
"This certainly will not do at all," declared the giant, "for not
only are you getting wrinkled, but you are liable to be blown away
altogether. I have just thought of a plan to get you back into the
Valley of Mo again, and when you are in your own country your friends may
get you out of the scrape the best way they can."
Hartilaf then made the Prince into a neat roll and tied a string
around the middle to hold it in place. Then he tucked the roll under his
arm and carried it to the top of the mountain that stood between the two
valleys. Placing the Prince carefully on the ground, he started him
rolling, and in a short time he had rolled down the mountainside into the
Valley of Mo. At first the people were much frightened, not knowing what
this strange thing could be that had come rolling into their midst. They
stood around curiously looking at the roll but afraid to touch it, when
suddenly Fiddlecumdoo began to cry out. And then, so fearful was the
sound, they all ran away as fast as their legs could carry them.
Prince Thinkabit, however, being more courageous than the rest, at
last ventured to approach and cut the string that fastened the roll.
Instantly it opened, and to their amazement the people saw what it was.
"Upon my word, it is brother Fiddlecumdoo!" cried Prince Thinkabit. "The
giant must have stepped on him."
"No indeed," said poor Fiddlecumdoo. "I've been run through a
clothes wringer, which is much worse than being stepped on." With many
expressions of pity, the kind people stood the Prince up and helped him
to the palace, where the King was greatly shocked at his sad plight.
Fiddlecumdoo was so broad that the only thing he could sit down on was
the sofa, and he was so thin that when Princess Pattycake sneezed, he was
blown halfway across the room. At dinner he could eat nothing that was
not sliced as thin as a shaving, and so sad was his predicament that the
King determined to ask the Wise Donkey what could be done to relieve his
After hearing all the particulars of the accident, the Donkey
said, "Blow him up."
"I did blow him up for being so careless," replied the King, "but
it didn't make him any thicker."
"What I mean," explained the Donkey, "is to bore a hole in the
top of his head and blow air into him until he resumes his natural shape.
Then, if he takes care of himself, he soon will be all right again."
So the King returned to the palace and bored a hole in
Fiddlecumdoo's head, and then pumped him full of air with a bicycle pump.
When he had filled out into his natural shape, they put a plug in the
hole and stopped it up, and after that Fiddlecumdoo could walk around as
well as before his accident. His only danger now was that he might get
punctured, and indeed his friends found him one day lying in the garden
all flattened out again, the Prince having pricked his finger on a
rosebush and thereby allowed his air to escape. But they inflated him
once again, and afterward he was more careful of himself.
Fiddlecumdoo had such a horror of being flat that if his father
ever wished to make him behave, he threatened to stick a pin into him,
and that always had the desired effect. After several years, the Prince,
being a hearty eater, filled up with solid flesh and had no further use
for the air pump, but his experience had made him so nervous that he
never again visited the giant Hartilaf for fear of encountering another
I must now tell you of a very strange adventure that befell Prince
Zingle, which, had it not turned out exactly as it did, might have
resulted in making him a captive for life in a remarkable country. By
consulting Smith's History of Prince Zingle, you will notice that from
boyhood he had a great passion for flying kites, and unlike other boys he
always undertook to make each kite larger than the last one. Therefore
his kites grew in size and became larger and larger, until at length the
Prince made one twice as tall as himself.
When it was finished, he was very proud of this great kite, and
took it out to a level place to see how well it would fly, being
accompanied by many of the people of Mo, who took considerable interest
in the Prince's amusement. There happened to be a strong south wind
blowing, and fearing the kite might get away from him, Zingle tied the
string around his waist. It flew beautifully at first, but pulled so
hard the Prince could scarcely hold it.
At last, when the string was all let out, there came a sudden
gust of wind, and in an instant poor Zingle was drawn into the air as
easily as an ordinary kite draws its tail. Up and up he soared, and the
kite followed the wind and carried him over many countries until the
strength died out of the air, when the kite slowly settled toward the
earth and landed the Prince in the top of a tall tree.
He now untied the string from his waist and fastened it to a
branch of the tree, as he did not wish to lose the kite after all his
bother in making it. Then he began to climb down to the ground, but on
reaching the lower branches he was arrested by a most curious sight.
Standing on the ground and gazing up at him were a dozen monkeys, all
very neatly dressed and all evidently filled with surprise at the
Prince's sudden appearance in the tree.
"What a very queer animal!" exclaimed an old monkey who wore a
tall silk hat and had white kid gloves on his hands. Gold spectacles
rested on his nose, and he pointed toward the Prince with a gold-headed
cane. By his side was a little-girl monkey dressed in pink skirts and a
blue bonnet, and when she saw Zingle she clung to the old monkey's hand
and seemed frightened.
"Oh, grandpapa!" she cried. "Take me back to mama. I'm afraid
the strange beast will bite me."
Just then a big monkey wearing a blue coat with brass buttons and
swinging a short club in his hand strutted up to them and said, "Don't be
afraid, little one. The beast can't hurt you while I'm around!" And then
he tipped his hat over his left ear and shook his club at the Prince as
if he did not know what fear meant.
Two monkeys who were dressed in red jackets and carried muskets
in their hands then came running up, and having looked at Zingle with
much interest, they called for someone to bring them a strong rope. "We
will capture the brute and put him in the Zoo," said one of the soldier
"What kind of animal is it?" asked the other.
"I do not know. But some of our college professors can doubtless
tell, and even if they can't, they will give it some scientific name that
will satisfy the people just as well."
All this time Prince Zingle remained clinging to the branches of
the tree. He could not understand a word of the monkey language, and
therefore had no idea what they were talking about, but he judged from
their actions that the monkeys were not friendly. When they brought a
long and stout rope and prepared to throw one end of it over his head in
order to capture him, he became angry and called out to them, "Stop, I
command you! What is the meaning of this strange conduct? I am Prince
Zingle, oldest son of the Monarch of Mo, and since I have been blown into
your country through an accident, I certainly deserve kind treatment at
But this speech had no meaning in the ears of the monkeys, who
said to each other, "Hear him bark! He jabbers away almost as if he
could talk!" By this time a large crowd of monkeys had surrounded the
tree, some being barefooted boy-monkeys and some lady monkeys dressed in
silken gowns and gorgeous raiment of the latest mode, and others
men-monkeys of all sorts and conditions. There were dandified monkeys
and sober-looking business monkeys as well as several who appeared to be
politicians and officials of high degree.
"Stand back, all of you!" shouted one of the soldiers. "We're
going to capture this remarkable beast for the royal menagerie, and
unless you stand out of the way, he may show fight and bite someone." So
they moved back to a safe distance, and the soldier monkey prepared to
throw a rope.
"Stop!" cried Zingle again. "Do you take me for a thief that you
try to bind me? I am a prince of the royal blood, and unless you treat
me respectfully, I shall have my father, the King, march his army on you
and destroy your whole country."
"He barks louder," said the soldier. "Look out for him, he may
be dangerous." The next moment he threw the rope and caught poor Zingle
around his arms and body so that he was helpless. Then the soldier
monkey pulled hard on the rope, and Prince Zingle fell out of the tree to
At first the monkeys all pressed backward, as if frightened, but
their soldiers cried out, "We've got him. He can't bite now."
Then one of them approached the Prince and punched him with a
stick, saying, "Stand up!" Zingle did not understand the words, but he
resented being prodded with the stick, so he sprang up and rushed on the
soldier, kicking the stick from his hands, his own arms being bound by the
rope. The monkeys screamed and rushed in every direction, but the other
soldier came behind the Prince and knocked him down with the butt of his
gun. Then he tied his legs with another rope, and seeing him thus bound
the crowd of monkeys, which had scattered and fallen over one another in
their efforts to escape, came creeping back and looked on him with fear
"We've subdued him at last," remarked the soldier who had been
kicked. "But he's a very fierce animal, and I shall take him to the Zoo
and lock him in one of the strongest cages." So they led poor Zingle
away to where the Royal Zoological Gardens were located, and there they
put him into a big cage with iron bars, the door being fastened with two
great padlocks. Before very long, every monkey in the country learned
that a strange beast had been captured and brought to the Zoo, and soon a
large crowd had gathered before Zingle's cage to examine him.
"Isn't he sweet!" said a lady monkey who held a green parasol
over her head and wore a purple veil on her face.
"Sweet!" grunted a man-monkey standing beside her. "He's the
ugliest-looking brute I ever saw! Scarcely has any hair on him at all,
and no tail, and very little chin. I wonder where on earth the creature
"It may be one of those beings from which our race is descended,"
said another onlooker. "The professors say we evolved from some
primitive creature of this sort."
"Heaven forbid!" cried a dandy-monkey whose collar was so high
that it kept tipping his hat over his eyes. "If I thought such a
creature as that was one of my forefathers, I should commit suicide at
Zingle had been sitting on the floor of his cage and wondering
what was to become of him in this strange country of monkeys, and now, to
show his authority, one of the keepers took a long stick and began to
poke the Prince to make him stand up. "Stop that!" shouted the angry
captive, and catching hold of the stick, he jerked it from the keeper's
hand and struck him a sharp blow on the head with it.
All the lady monkeys screamed at this, and the men-monkeys
exclaimed, "What an ugly disposition the beast has!"
The children-monkeys began to throw peanuts between the bars of
the cage, and Zingle, who had become very hungry, picked them up and ate
them. This act so pleased the little monkeys that they shouted with
laughter. At last two solemn-looking monkeys with gray hair and wearing
long black coats and white neckties came up to the cage, where they were
greeted with much respect by the other monkeys. "So this is the strange
animal," said one of the newcomers, putting on his spectacles and looking
sharply at the captive. "Do you recognize the species, Professor?"
The other aged monkey also regarded the Prince critically before
he answered, "I cannot say I have ever seen a specimen of this genus
before. But one of our textbooks mentions an obscure animal called Homo
Peculiaris, and I have no doubt this is one of that family. I shall
write an article on the creature and claim he is a Homo, and without
doubt the paper will create quite a stir in the scientific world."
"See here," suddenly demanded Prince Zingle, standing up and
shaking the bars of his cage, "are you going to give me anything to eat?
Or do you expect me to live on peanuts forever?"
Not knowing what he said, none of the monkeys paid any attention
to this question. But one of the professor-monkeys appeared to listen
attentively and then remarked to his friend, "There seems to be a
smoothness and variety of sound in his speech that indicates that he
possesses some sort of language. Had I time to study this brute, I might
learn his method of communicating with his fellows. Indeed, there is a
possibility that he may turn out to be the missing link."
However, the professor not yet having learned his language,
Prince Zingle was obliged to remain hungry. The monkeys threw several
cocoanuts into the cage, but the prisoner did not know what kind of fruit
these were, so after several attempts to bite the hard shell, he decided
they were not good to eat. Day after day now passed away, and although
crowds of monkeys came to examine Zingle in his cage, the poor Prince
grew very pale and thin for lack of proper food, while the continuance of
his unhappy imprisonment made him sad and melancholy. "Could I but escape
and find my way back to my father's valley," he moaned wearily, "I should
be willing to fly small kites forever afterward."
Often he begged them to let him go, but the monkeys gruffly
commanded him to "stop his jabbering" and poked him with long sticks
having sharp points, so that the Prince's life became one of great
misery. At the end of about two weeks a happy relief came to Zingle, for
then a baby hippopotamus was captured and brought to the Royal Zoo, and
after this the monkeys left the Prince's cage and crowded around that of
the new arrival.
Finding himself thus deserted, Prince Zingle began to seek a
means of escape from his confinement. His first attempt was to break the
iron bars, but soon he found they were too big and strong. Then he shook
the door with all his strength, but the big padlocks held firm and could
not be broken. Then the prisoner gave way to despair and threw himself
on the floor of the cage, weeping bitterly.
Suddenly he heard a great shout from the direction of the cage
where the baby hippopotamus was confined, and rising to his feet, the
Prince walked to the bars and attempted to look out and discover what was
causing the excitement. To his astonishment, he found he was able to
thrust his head between two of the iron bars, having grown so thin
through hunger and abuse that he was much smaller than when the monkeys
had first captured him. He realized at once that if his head would pass
between the bars, his body could be made to do so likewise. So he
struggled bravely and at last succeeded in squeezing his body between the
bars and leaping safely to the ground.
Finding himself at liberty, the Prince lost no time in running to
the tree where he had left his kite. But on the way some of the
boy-monkeys discovered him and raised a great cry, which soon brought
hundreds of his enemies in pursuit. Zingle had a good start, however,
and soon reached the tree. Quickly he climbed up the trunk and branches
until he had gained the limb where the string of his kite was still
fastened, Untying the cord, he wound it around his waist several times,
and then, finding a strong north wind blowing, he skillfully tossed the
kite into the air. At once it filled and mounted to the sky, lifting
Zingle from the tree and carrying him with perfect ease.
It was fortunate he got away at that moment, for several of the
monkeys had scrambled up the tree after him and were almost near enough
to seize him by the legs when, to their surprise, he shot into the air.
Indeed, so amazed were they by this remarkable escape of their prisoner
that the monkeys remained staring into the air until Prince Zingle had
become a little speck in the sky above them and finally disappeared.
That was the last our Prince ever saw of the strange country of the
monkeys, for the wind carried his kite straight back to the Valley of Mo.
When Zingle found himself above his father's palace, he took out his
pocketknife and cut the string of the kite and immediately fell
head-foremost into a pond of custard that lay in the back yard, where he
dived through a floating island of whipped cream and disappeared from view.
Nuphsed, who was sitting on the bank of the custard lake, was
nearly frightened into fits by the sight, and he ran to tell the King
that a new meteor had fallen and ruined one of his floating islands.
Thereupon the monarch and several of his courtiers rushed out and found
Prince Zingle swimming ashore, and the King was so delighted at seeing
his lost son again that he clasped him joyfully in his arms.
The next moment he regretted this act, for his best ermine robe
was smeared its whole length with custard and would need considerable
cleaning before it would be fit to wear again. The Prince and the King
soon changed their clothes, and then there was much rejoicing throughout
the land. Of course the first thing Zingle asked for was something to
eat, and before long he was sitting before a table heaped with all sorts
of good things, plucked fresh from the trees.
The people crowded around him, demanding the tale of his
adventures, and their surprise was only equaled by their horror when they
learned he had been captured by a band of monkeys and shut up in a cage
because he was thought to be a dangerous wild beast. Experience is said
to be an excellent teacher, although a very cruel one. Prince Zingle had
now seen enough of foreign countries to remain contented with his own
beautiful Valley, and although it was many years before he again
attempted to fly a kite, it was noticed that when he at last did indulge
in that sport, the kite was of a very small size.
THE FATE OF THE WISE MEN The King's plum pudding crop had for some time suffered from the
devastations of a secret enemy. Each day as he examined the vines, he
found more and more of the plum pudding missing, and finally the monarch
called his Wise Men together and asked them what he should do. The Wise
Men immediately shut their eyes and pondered so long over the problem
that they fell fast asleep. While they slept, still more of the plum
pudding was stolen. When they awoke, the King was justly incensed and
told the Wise Men that unless they discovered the thief within three
days, he would give them no cake with their ice cream.
This terrible threat at last aroused them to action, and after
consulting together they declared that in their opinion it was the Fox
that had stolen the pudding. Hearing this, the King ordered out his
soldiers, who soon captured the Fox and brought him to the palace, where
the King sat in state, surrounded by his Wise Men. "So ho, Master Fox!"
exclaimed the King. "We have caught you at last."
"So it seems," returned the Fox calmly. "May I ask your Majesty
why I am thus torn from my home, from my wife and children, and brought
before you like any common criminal?"
"You have stolen the plum pudding," answered the King.
"I beg your Majesty's pardon for contradicting you, but I have
stolen nothing," declared the Fox. "I can easily prove my innocence.
When was the plum pudding taken?"
"A great deal of it was taken this morning while the Wise Men
slept," said the King.
"Then I cannot be the thief," replied the Fox, "as you will admit
when you have heard my story."
"Ah! Have you a story to tell?" inquired the King, who dearly
loved to hear stories.
"It is a short story, your Majesty, but it will prove clearly
that I have not taken your pudding."
"Then tell it," commanded the King. "It is far from my wish to
condemn anyone who is innocent."
The Wise Men then placed themselves in comfortable positions, and
the King crossed his legs and put his hands in his pockets, while the Fox
sat before them on his haunches and spoke as follows.
THE FOX'S STORY "It has been unusually damp in my den of late, so that both my
family and myself have suffered much. First my wife became ill, and then
I was afflicted with a bad cold, and in both cases it settled in our
throats. Then my four children, who are all of an age, began to complain
of sore throats, so that my den became a regular hospital. We tried all
the medicines we knew of, but they did no good at all. My wife finally
begged me to go to consult Doctor Prairiedog, who lives in a hole in the
ground away toward the south. So one morning I said goodbye to my family
and ran swiftly to where the doctor lives.
"Finding no one outside the hole to whom I might apply for
admission, I walked boldly in, and having followed a long, dark tunnel
for some distance, I suddenly came to a door. `Come in!' said a voice, so
in I walked and found myself in a very beautiful room lighted by
forty-eight fireflies, which sat in a row on a rail running all around
the apartment. In the center of the room was a table made of clay and
painted in bright colors, and seated at this table with his spectacles on
his nose was the famous Doctor Prairiedog, engaged in eating a dish of
"`Good morning,' said the Doctor. 'Will you have some breakfast?'
"`No thank you,' I replied, for the snails were not to my liking.
`I wish to procure some medicine for my children, who are suffering from
"`How do you know their throats are sore?' inquired the Doctor.
"`It hurts them to swallow,' I replied.
"`Then tell them not to swallow,' said the Doctor, and went on
"`Sir!' I exclaimed. `If they did not swallow, they would starve
"`That is true,' remarked the Doctor. `We must think of something
else.' After a moment of silence, he cried out, `Ha! I have it! Go
home and cut off their necks, after which you must turn them inside out
and hang them on the bushes in the sun. When the necks are thoroughly
cured in the sun, turn them right-side out again and place them on your
children's shoulders. Then they will find it does not hurt them to
"I thanked the great Doctor and returned home, where I did as he
had told me. For the last three days the necks of not only my children
but of my wife and myself, as well, have been hanging on the bushes to be
cured; so we could not possibly have eaten your plum pudding. Indeed, it
was only an hour ago when I finished putting the neck on the last of my
children, and at that moment your soldiers came and arrested me."
When the Fox ceased speaking, the King was silent for a while.
Then he asked, "Were the necks all cured?"
"Oh yes," replied the Fox. "The sun cured them nicely."
"You see," remarked the King, turning to his Wise Men, "the Fox
has proved his innocence. You were wrong, as usual, in accusing him. I
shall now send him home with six baskets of cherry phosphate as a reward
for his honesty. If you have not discovered the thief by the time I
return, I shall keep my threat and stop your allowance of cake."
Then the Wise Men fell atrembling and put their heads together,
counseling with one another. When the King returned, they said, "Your
Majesty, it must have been the Bullfrog."
So the King sent his soldiers, who captured the Bullfrog and
brought him to the palace. "Why have you stolen the plum pudding?"
demanded the King in a stern voice.
"I! Steal your plum pudding!" exclaimed the Frog indignantly.
"Surely you must be mistaken! I am not at all fond of plum pudding, and
besides, I have been very busy at home during the past week."
"What have you been doing?" asked the King.
"I will tell you, for then you will know I am innocent of this
So the Bullfrog squatted on a footstool and after blinking
solemnly at the King and his Wise Men for a moment, spoke as follows:
THE FROG'S STORY "Some time ago my wife and I hatched out twelve little tadpoles.
They were the sweetest children parents ever looked on. Their heads were
all very large and round, and their tails were long and feathery, while
their skins were as black and shiny as could be. We were proud of them,
my wife and I, and took great pains to train our children properly that
they might become respectable frogs in time and be a credit to us.
"We lived in a snug little hole under the bank of the river, and
in front of our dwelling was a large stone on which we could sit and
watch the baby tadpoles grow. Although they loved best to lie in the mud
at the bottom of the river, we knew that exercise is necessary to the
proper development of a tadpole; so we decided to teach our youngsters to
swim. We divided them into two lots, my wife training six of the
children while I took charge of the other six. We drilled them to swim
in single file, in column of twos and in line of battle, but I must
acknowledge they were quite stupid, being so young, and unless we told
them when to stop, they would keep on swimming until they bumped
themselves into a bank or a stone.
"One day, about a week ago, while teaching our children to swim,
we started them all going in single file, one after the other. They swam
in a straight line that was very pretty to see, and my wife and I sat on
the flat stone and watched them with much pride. Unfortunately, at that
very moment, a large fish swam into our neighborhood and lay on the
bottom of the river to rest. It was one of those fishes that hold their
great mouths wide open, and I was horrified when I saw the advancing line
of tadpoles headed directly toward the gaping mouth of the monster fish.
I croaked as loudly as I could for them to stop, but either they failed
to hear me or they would not obey. The next moment all the line of
swimming tadpoles had entered the fish's mouth and were lost to our view.
Mrs. Frog threw herself into my arms with a cry of anguish, exclaiming
'Oh, what shall we do? Our children are lost to us forever!'
"'Do not despair,' I answered, although I was myself greatly
frightened. 'We must try to prevent the fish from swimming away with our
loved ones. If we can keep him here, some way may yet be found to rescue
the children.' Up to this time the big fish had remained motionless, but
there was an expression of surprise in its round eyes as if it did not
know what to make of the lively inhabitants of its stomach. Mrs. Frog
thought for a moment and then said, 'A short distance away is an old
fishline and hook lying at the bottom of the river where some boys lost
it while fishing one day. If we could only--'
"'Fetch it at once,' I interrupted. 'With its aid we shall
endeavor to capture the fish.' She hastened away, soon returning with
the line, which had a large hook on one end. I tied the other end firmly
about the flat stone, and then, advancing cautiously from behind that the
fish might not see me, I stuck the iron hook through its right gill. The
monster gave a sudden flop that sent me head over heels a yard away.
Then it tried to swim down the stream. But the hook and line held fast,
and soon the fish realized it was firmly caught, after which it wisely
abandoned the struggle.
"Mrs. Frog and I now sat down to watch the result, and the time
of waiting was long and tedious. After several weary days, however, the
great fish lay over on its side and expired, and soon after there hopped
from its mouth the sweetest little green frog you ever laid eyes on.
Another and another followed, until twelve of them stood beside us; and
then my wife exclaimed, 'They are our children, the tadpoles! They have
lost their tails and their legs have grown out, but they are our own
little ones, nevertheless!'
"Indeed, this was true, for tadpoles always become frogs when a
few days old. The children told us they had been quite comfortable
inside the great fish, but they were now hungry, for young frogs always
have wonderful appetites. So Mrs. Frog and I set to work to feed them
and had just finished this pleasant task when your soldiers came to
arrest me. I assure your Majesty this is the first time I have been out
of the water for a week. And now, if you will permit me to depart, I
will hop back home and see how the youngsters are growing."
When the Bullfrog had ceased speaking, the King turned toward the
Wise Men and said angrily, "It seems you are wrong again, for the Frog is
innocent. Your boasted wisdom appears to me very like folly, but I will
give you one more chance. If you fail to discover the culprit next time,
I shall punish you far more severely than I at first promised." The King
now gave the Bullfrog a present of a red silk necktie and also sent a
bottle of perfumery to Mrs. Frog. The soldiers at once released the
prisoner, who joyfully hopped away toward the river.
The Wise Men now rolled their eyes toward the ceiling and twirled
their thumbs and thought as hard as they could. At last they told the
King they had decided the Yellow Hen was undoubtedly responsible for the
theft of the plum pudding. So the King sent his soldiers, who searched
throughout the Valley and at last captured the Yellow Hen and brought her
into the royal presence. "My Wise Men say you have stolen my plum
pudding," said his Majesty. "If this is true, I am going to punish you
"But it is not true," answered the Yellow Hen, "for I have just
returned from a long journey."
"Where have you been?" inquired the King.
"I will tell you," she replied, and after arranging a few of her
feathers that the rough hands of the soldiers had mussed, the Yellow Hen
spoke as follows:
THE YELLOW HEN'S STORY "All my life I have been accustomed to hatching out thirteen eggs,
but the last time there were twelve eggs in the nest when I got ready to
set. Being experienced in these matters, I knew it would never do to set
on twelve eggs, so I asked the Red Rooster for his advice. He considered
the question carefully, and finally told me he had seen a very nice,
large egg lying on the rocks near the sugar mountain. 'If you wish,' said
he, 'I will get it for you.'
"'I am very sorry to trouble you, yet certainly I need thirteen
eggs,' I answered. The Red Rooster is an accommodating fowl, so away he
flew and shortly returned with a large, white egg under his wing. This
egg I put with the other twelve, and then I set faithfully on my nest for
three weeks, at the end of which time I hatched out my chickens. Twelve
of them were as yellow and fluffy as any mother could wish. But the one
that came from the strange egg was black and awkward and had a large bill
and sharp claws. Still thinking he was one of my children, despite his
deformity, I gave him as much care as any of them, and soon he outgrew
the others and became very big and strong.
"The Red Rooster shook his head and said bluntly, 'That chick will
be a great trouble to you, for it looks to me strangely like one of our
enemies, the Hawks.' 'What!' I exclaimed reproachfully. 'Do you think
one of my darling children could possibly be a Hawk? I consider that
remark almost an insult, Mr. Rooster!' The Red Rooster said nothing
more, but he kept away from my big, black chick as if really afraid of
"To my great grief, this chick suddenly developed a very bad
temper, and one day I was obliged to reprove it for grabbing the food
away from its brothers. Suddenly it began screaming with anger, and the
next moment it sprang on me, digging its sharp claws into my back. While
I struggled to free myself, he flew far up into the air, carrying me with
him and uttering loud cries that filled me with misgivings. For I now
realized, when it was too late, that his voice sounded exactly like the
cry of a Hawk!
"Away and away he flew over mountains and valleys and rivers and
lakes, until at last as I looked down I saw a man pointing a gun at us.
A moment later he shot, and the black chick gave a scream of pain, at the
same time releasing his hold of me so that I fell over and over and
finally fluttered to the ground. Then I found I had escaped one danger
only to encounter another, for as I reached the ground, the man seized me
and carried me under his arm to his home. Entering the house, he said to
his wife, `Here is a nice, fat hen for our breakfast.'
"`Put her in the coop,' replied the woman. 'After supper I will
cut off her head and pick the feathers from her body.' This frightened
me greatly, as you may suppose, and when the man placed me in the coop I
nearly gave way to despair. But finding myself alone, I plucked up
courage and began looking for a way to escape. To my great joy, I soon
discovered that one of the slats of the coop was loose, and having pushed
it aside, I was not long in gaining my liberty. Once free, I ran away
from the place as fast as possible, but did not know in which direction
to go, the country being strange to me. So I fluttered on, half running
and half flying, until I reached the place where an army of soldiers was
encamped. If these men saw me, I feared they would also wish to eat me
for breakfast, so I crept into the mouth of a big cannon, thinking I
should escape attention and be safe until morning. Soon I fell asleep,
and so sound was my slumber that the next thing I heard was the
conversation of some soldiers who stood beside the cannon.
"'It's nearly sunrise,' said one. 'You must fire the salute. Is
the cannon loaded?' 'Oh yes,' answered the other. 'What shall I shoot
at?' 'Fire into the air, for then you will not hurt anyone,' said the
first soldier. By this time I was trembling with fear and had decided to
creep out of the cannon and take the chance of being caught, when suddenly
'Bang!' went the big gun, and I shot into the air with a rush like that
of a whirlwind. The noise nearly deafened me, and my nerves were so
shattered that for a time I was helpless. I felt myself go up and up
into the air until soon I was far above the clouds. Then I recovered my
wits, and when I began to come down again, I tried to fly. I knew the
Valley of Mo must be somewhere to the west, so I flew in that direction
until I found myself just over the Valley, when I allowed myself to
flutter to the ground.
"It seems my troubles were not over, for before I had fully
recovered my breath after this long flight, your soldiers seized me and
brought me here. I am accused of stealing your plum pudding, but in
truth, your Majesty, I have been away from your kingdom for some days,
and am therefore wholly innocent." The Yellow Hen had scarce finished
this story when the King flew into a violent rage at the deceptions of
his Wise Men, and turning to his soldiers he ordered them to arrest the
Wise Men and cast them into prison.
Having given the unfortunate Hen a pair of gold earrings that
fitted her ears and matched her complexion, the King sent her home with
many apologies for having accused her wrongfully. Then his Majesty
seated himself in an easy chair and pondered how best to punish the
foolish Wise Men. "I would rather have one really Wise Man," he said to
himself, "than fifty of these, who pretend to be wise and are not."
That gave him an idea, so the next morning he ordered the Wise
Men taken to the royal kitchen, where all were run through the meat
chopper until they were ground as fine as mincemeat. Having thoroughly
mixed them, the King stirred in a handful of salt and then made them into
one man, which the cook baked in the oven until it was well done. "Now,"
said the King, "I have one Wise Man instead of several foolish ones.
Perhaps he can tell me who stole the plum pudding."
"Certainly," replied the Wise Man. "That is quite easy. It was
the Purple Dragon."
"Good," cried the monarch. "I have discovered the truth at
And so he had, as you will find by reading the next surprise.
The Fourteenth Surprise
THE END OF THE PURPLE DRAGON Scarcely had the King spoken when some of his soldiers came
rushing with news that they had seen the Purple Dragon eating plum pudding
in the royal garden. "What did you do about it?" asked the monarch.
"We did nothing," they answered, "for had we interfered with its
repast, the Dragon would probably have eaten us for dessert."
"That's true," remarked the King. "Yet something must be done to
protect us from this monster. For many years it has annoyed us by eating
our choicest crops and nothing we can do seems of any avail to save us
from its ravages."
"If we were able to destroy the Dragon," said Prince Thinkabit,
"we should be doing our country the greatest possible service."
"We have often tried to destroy it," replied the King, "but the
beast always manages to get the best of the fight, having wonderful
strength and great cunning. However, let us hold a council of war and
see what is suggested." So a council of war was called, the Wise Man, all
the Princes and Noblemen, the Dog and the Wise Donkey being assembled to
talk the matter over.
"I advise that you build a high wall around the Dragon," said the
Wise Man. "Then it will be unable to get out and will starve to death."
"It is strong enough to break down the wall," said the King.
"I suggest you dig a great hole in the ground," remarked the
Donkey. "Then the Dragon will fall into it and perish."
"It is too clever to fall into the hole," said the King.
"The best thing to do," declared Timtom, "is to cut off its legs,
for then it could not walk into our garden."
"The scales on its legs are too hard and thick," said the King.
"We have tried this and failed."
"We might take a red-hot iron and put the Dragon's eyes out,"
ventured Prince Jollikin.
"Its eyes are glass," replied the King with a sigh, "and the iron
would have no effect on them."
"Suppose we tie a tin can to its tail," suggested the Dog. "The
rattling of the can would so frighten the Dragon that it would run out of
"Its tail is so long," answered the King gloomily, "that the
Dragon could not hear the can rattle." Then they all remained silent for
a time, thinking so hard that their heads began to ache, but no one
seemed able to think of the right thing to do.
Finally the King himself made a proposition. "One thing we might
attempt with some hope of success," said his Majesty. "Should it fail,
we cannot be worse off than we are at present. My idea is for us to go
in a great body to the castle of the Dragon and pull out its teeth with a
pair of forceps. Having no teeth, the monster will be harmless to annoy
us in any way, and since we seem unable to kill it, I believe this is the
best way out of our difficulty."
The King's plan pleased everyone, and met with shouts of
approval. The council then adjourned, and all the members went to prepare
for the fight with the Purple Dragon. First the blacksmith made a large
pair of forceps to pull the Dragon's teeth with. The handles of the
forceps were so long that fifty men could take hold of them at one time.
Then the people armed themselves with swords and spears and marched in a
great body to the castle of the Purple Dragon.
This remarkable beast, which for so long had kept the Valley of
Mo in constant terror, was standing on the front porch of its castle when
the army arrived. It looked at the crowd of people in surprise and said,
"Are you not weary with your attempts to destroy me? What selfish people
you must be! Whenever I eat anything that belongs to you, there is a
great row and immediately you come here to fight me. These battles are
unpleasant to all of us. The best thing for you to do is to return home
and behave yourselves, for I am not in the least afraid of you."
Neither the King nor his people replied to these taunts. They
simply brought forward the big pair of forceps and reached them toward
the Dragon. This movement astonished the monster, who, never having been
to a dentist in his life, had no idea what the strange instrument was
for. "Surely you cannot think to hurt me with that iron thing," it
called out in derision. And then the Dragon laughed at the idea of
anyone attempting to injure it. But when the Dragon opened its mouth to
laugh, the King opened the jaws of the forceps, quickly closing them
again on one of the monster's front teeth.
"Pull!" cried the King, and fifty men seized the handles of the
forceps and began to pull with all their strength. But pull as they
might, the tooth would not come out, and this was the reason: The teeth
of Dragons are different from ours, for they go through the jaw and are
clinched on the other side. Therefore, no amount of pulling will draw
them out. The King did not know this fact, but thought the tooth must
have a long root, so he called again, "Pull, my brave men, pull!"
And they pulled so hard that the Dragon was nearly pulled from
the porch of its castle. To avoid this danger, the cunning beast wound
the end of its tail around a post of the porch and tied a hard knot in
it. "Pull!" shouted the King for the third time. Then a surprising
thing happened. Anyone who knows anything at all about Dragons is aware
that these beasts stretch as easily as if made of india rubber. Therefore
the strong pulling of the fifty men resulted in the Dragon being pulled
from its foothold, and as its tail was fastened to the post, its body
began to stretch out.
The King and his people, thinking the tooth was being pulled,
started down the hill, the forceps still clinging fast to the monster's
big front tooth. And the farther they went, the more the Dragon's body
stretched out. "Keep going!" cried the King. "We mustn't let go now!"
And away marched the fifty men, and farther and farther stretched the
body of the Dragon.
Still holding fast to the forceps, the King and his army marched
into the Valley and away across it and up the hills on the other side,
not even stopping to take breath. When they came to the mountains and
the forests and could go no farther, they looked back, and behold! the
Dragon had stretched out so far that it was now no bigger around than a
"What shall we do now?" asked the fifty men, who were perspiring
with the long pull and the march across the Valley.
"I'm sure I don't know," replied the panting King. "Let us tie
this end of the beast around a tree. Then we can think what is best to
be done." So they tied that end of the Dragon to a big tree and sat down
to rest, being filled with wonder that the mighty Purple Dragon was now
no larger around than a piece of twine.
"The wicked creature will never bother us again," said the King.
"Yet it was only by accident we found a way to destroy it. The question
now is, what shall we do with this long, thin Dragon? If we leave it
here, it will trip anyone who stumbles against it."
"I shall use it for fiddle strings," said Prince Fiddlecumdoo,
"for the crop failed this year and I have none for my violin. Let us cut
the Dragon up into the proper sizes and store the strings in the royal
warehouse for general use." The King and the people heartily approved
this plan. So the Prince brought a pair of shears and cut the Dragon
into equal lengths to use on his violin. Thus the wicked monster was
made good use of at last, for the strings had an excellent tone.
And that was not only the end of the Purple Dragon, but there
were two other ends of him, one tied to a tree in the mountains and the
other fastened to a post of the castle. That same day the Monarch of Mo
gave a magnificent feast to all his people to celebrate the destruction
of their greatest foe, and ever afterward the gardens of the Beautiful
Valley were free from molestation.