Queen Zixi of Ix
The Story of the Magic Cloak
CHAPTER 1 THE WEAVING OF THE MAGIC CLOAK
The fairies assembled one moonlit night in a pretty clearing of
the ancient forest of Burzee. The clearing was in the form of a circle,
and all around stood giant oak and fir trees, while in the center the
grass grew green and soft as velvet. If any mortal had ever penetrated
so far into the great forest and could have looked upon the fairy circle
by daylight, he might perhaps have seen a tiny path worn in the grass by
the feet of the dancing elves. For here, during the full of the moon,
the famous fairy band ruled by good Queen Lulea loved to dance and make
merry while the silvery rays flooded the clearing and caused their gauzy
wings to sparkle with every color of the rainbow.
On this especial night, however, they were not dancing. For the
queen had seated herself upon a little green mound, and while her band
clustered about her, she began to address the fairies in a tone of
discontent. "I am tired of dancing, my dears," said she. "Every evening
since the moon grew big and round we have come here to frisk about and
laugh and disport ourselves; and although those are good things to keep
the heart light, one may grow weary even of merrymaking. So I ask you to
suggest some new way to divert both me and yourselves during this night."
"That is a hard task," answered one pretty sprite, opening and
folding her wings slowly--as a lady toys with her fan. "We have lived
through so many ages that we long ago exhausted everything that might be
considered a novelty, and of all of recreations nothing gives us such
continued pleasure as dancing."
"But I do not care to dance tonight," replied Lulea with a little
"We might create something by virtue of our fairy powers,"
suggested one who reclined at the foot of the queen.
"Ah, that is just the idea!" exclaimed the dainty Lulea with
brightening countenance. "Let us create something. But what?"
"I have heard," remarked another member of the band, "of a
thinking-cap having been made by some fairies in America. And whatever
mortal wore this thinking-cap was able to conceive the most noble and
"That was indeed a worthy creation," cried the little queen.
"What became of the cap?"
"The man who received it was so afraid someone else would get it
and be able to think the same exquisite thoughts as himself that he hid
it safely away--so safely that he himself never could think afterward
where he had placed it."
"How unfortunate! But we must not make another thinking-cap, lest
it meet a like fate. Cannot you suggest something else?"
"I have heard," said another, "of certain fairies who created a
pair of enchanted boots which would always carry their mortal wearer away
from danger and never into it."
"What a great boon to those blundering mortals!" cried the queen.
"And whatever became of the boots?"
"They came at last into the possession of a great general who did
not know their powers. So he wore them into battle one day, and
immediately ran away, followed by all his men, and the fight was won by
"But did not the general escape danger?"
"Yes, at the expense of his reputation. So he retired to a farm
and wore out the boots tramping up and down a country road and trying to
decide why he had suddenly become such a coward."
"The boots were worn by the wrong man, surely," said the queen,
"and that is why they proved a curse rather than a blessing. But we want
no enchanted boots. Think of something else."
"Suppose we weave a magic cloak," proposed Espa, a sweet little
fairy who had not before spoken.
"A cloak? Indeed, we might easily weave that," returned the
queen. "But what sort of magic powers must it possess?"
"Let its wearer have any wish instantly fulfilled," said Espa
brightly. But at this there arose quite a murmur of protest on all
sides, which the queen immediately silenced with a wave of her royal hand.
"Our sister did not think of the probable consequences of what she
suggested," declared Lulea, smiling into the downcast face of little
Espa, who seemed to feel rebuked by the disapproval of the others. "An
instant's reflection would enable her to see that such power would give
the cloak's mortal wearer as many privileges as we ourselves possess.
And I suppose you intended the magic cloak for a mortal wearer?" she
"Yes," answered Espa shyly, "that was my intention."
"But the idea is good nevertheless," continued the queen, "and I
propose we devote this evening to weaving the magic cloak. Only its
magic shall give to the wearer the fulfillment of but one wish; and I am
quite sure that even that should prove a great boon to the helpless
"Suppose more than one person wears the cloak," one of the band
said. "Which then shall have the one wish fulfilled?"
The queen devoted a moment to thought, and then replied, "Each
possessor of the magic cloak may have one wish granted, provided the
cloak is not stolen from its last wearer. In that case, the magic power
will not be exercised on behalf of the thief."
"But should there not be a limit to the number of the cloak's
wearers?" asked the fairy lying at the queen's feet.
"I think not. If used properly, our gift will prove of great
value to mortals. And if we find it is misused, we can at any time take
back the cloak and revoke the magic power. So now, if we are all agreed
upon this novel amusement, let us set to work."
At these words the fairies sprang up eagerly; and their queen,
smiling upon them, waved her wand toward the center of the clearing. At
once a beautiful fairy loom appeared in the space. It was not such a
loom as mortals use. It consisted of a large and a small ring of gold
supported by a tall pole of jasper. The entire band danced around it
thrice, the fairies carrying in each hand a silver shuttle wound with
glossy filaments finer than the finest silk. And the threads on each
shuttle appeared a different hue from those of all the other shuttles.
At a sign from the queen, they one and all approached the golden
loom and fastened an end of thread in its warp. Next moment they were
gleefully dancing hither and thither, while the silver shuttles flew
swiftly from hand to hand and the gossamer-like web began to grow upon
the loom. Presently the queen herself took part in the sport, and the
thread she wove into the fabric was the magical one which was destined to
give the cloak its wondrous power.
Long and swiftly the fairy band worked beneath the old moon's
rays, while their feet tripped gracefully over the grass and their joyous
laughter tinkled like silver bells and awoke the echoes of the grim
forest surrounding them. And at last they paused and threw themselves
upon the green with little sighs of content. For the shuttles and loom
had vanished; the work was complete, and Queen Lulea stood upon the mound
holding in her hand the magic cloak.
The garment was as beautiful as it was marvelous--each and every
hue of the rainbow glinted and sparkled from the soft folds; and while it
was light in weight as swan's down, its strength was so great that the
fabric was well-nigh indestructible.
The fairy band regarded it with great satisfaction, for everyone
had assisted in its manufacture and could admire with pardonable pride
its glossy folds. "It is very lovely indeed!" cried little Espa. "But
to whom shall we present it?"
The question aroused a dozen suggestions, each fairy seeming to
favor a different mortal. Every member of this band, as you doubtless
know, was the unseen guardian of some man or woman or child in the great
world beyond the forest, and it was but natural that each should wish her
own ward to have the magic cloak.
While they thus disputed, another fairy joined them and pressed
to the side of the queen. "Welcome, Ereol," said Lulea. "You are late."
The newcomer was very lovely in appearance, and with her fluffy
golden hair and clear blue eyes was marvelously fair to look upon. In a
low, grave voice she answered the queen: "Yes, your Majesty, I am late.
But I could not help it. The old King of Noland whose guardian I have
been since his birth has passed away this evening, and I could not bear
to leave him until the end came."
"So the old king is dead at last!" said the queen thoughtfully.
"He was a good man, but woefully uninteresting, and he must have wearied
you greatly at times, my sweet Ereol."
"All mortals are, I think, wearisome," returned the fairy with a
"And who is the new King of Noland?" asked Lulea.
"There is none," answered Ereol. "The old king died without a
single relative to succeed to his throne, and his five high counselors
were in great dilemma when I came away."
"Well, my dear, you may rest and enjoy yourself for a period in
order to regain your old lightsome spirits. By and by I will appoint you
guardian to some newly born babe, that your duties may be less arduous.
But I am sorry you were not with us tonight, for we have had rare sport.
See! We have woven a magic cloak."
Ereol examined the garment with pleasure. "And who is to wear
it?" she asked.
There again arose the good-natured dispute as to which mortal in
all the world should possess the magic cloak. Finally the queen,
laughing at the arguments of her band, said to them, "Come! Let us leave
the decision to the Man in the Moon. He has been watching us with a
great deal of amusement, and once, I am sure, I caught him winking at us
in quite a roguish way."
At this every head was turned toward the moon, and then a man's
face, full-bearded and wrinkled, but with a jolly look upon the rough
features, appeared sharply defined upon the moon's broad surface.
"So I'm to decide another dispute, eh?" said he in a clear voice.
"Well, my dears, what is it this time?"
"We wish you to say what mortal shall wear the magic cloak which
I and the ladies of my court have woven," replied Queen Lulea.
"Give it to the first unhappy person you meet," said the Man in
the Moon. "The happy mortals have no need of magic cloaks." And with
this advice the friendly face of the Man in the Moon faded away until
only the outlines remained visible against the silver disk.
The queen clapped her hands delightedly. "Our Man in the Moon is
very wise," she declared, "and we shall follow his suggestion. Go,
Ereol, since you are free for a time, and carry the magic cloak to
Noland. And the first person you meet who is really unhappy, be it man,
woman or child, shall receive from you the cloak as a gift from our fairy
Ereol bowed and folded the cloak over her arm. "Come, my
children," continued Lulea, "the moon is hiding behind the treetops, and
it is time for us to depart."
A moment later the fairies had disappeared, and the clearing
wherein they had danced and woven the magic cloak lay shrouded in deepest
CHAPTER 2 THE BOOK OF LAWS
On this same night great confusion and excitement prevailed among
the five high counselors of the kingdom of Noland. The old king was
dead, and there was none to succeed him as ruler of the country. He had
outlived every one of his relatives, and since the crown had been in this
one family for generations, it puzzled the high counselors to decide upon
a fitting successor.
These five high counselors were very important men. It was said
that they ruled the kingdom while the king ruled them; which made it
quite easy for the king and rather difficult for the people. The chief
counselor was named Tullydub. He was old and very pompous, and had a
great respect for the laws of the land. The next in rank was Tollydob,
the lord high general of the king's army. The third was Tillydib, the
lord high pursebearer. The fourth was Tallydab, the lord high steward.
And the fifth and last of the high counselors was Tellydeb, the lord high
These five had been careful not to tell the people when the old
king had become ill, for they feared being annoyed by many foolish
questions. They sat in a big room next the bedchamber of the king, in
the royal palace of Nole--which is the capital city of Noland--and kept
everyone out except the king's physician, who was half blind and wholly
dumb and could not gossip with outsiders had he wanted to. And while the
high counselors sat and waited for the king to recover or die, as he
might choose, Jikki waited upon them and brought them their meals.
Jikki was the king's valet and principal servant. He was as old
as any of the five high counselors; but they were all fat, whereas Jikki
was wonderfully lean and thin, and the counselors were solemn and
dignified, whereas Jikki was terribly nervous and very talkative. "Beg
pardon, my masters," he would say every few minutes, "but do you think
his Majesty will get well?" And then, before any of the high counselors
could collect themselves to answer, he continued: "Beg pardon, but do you
think his Majesty will die?" And the next moment he would say: "Beg
pardon, but do you think his Majesty is any better or any worse?"
And all this was so annoying to the high counselors that several
times one of them took up some object in the room with the intention of
hurling it at Jikki's head, but before he could throw it, the old servant
had nervously turned away and left the room.
Tellydeb, the lord high executioner, would often sigh, "I wish
there were some law that would permit me to chop off Jikki's head." But
then Tullydub, the chief counselor, would say gloomily, "There is no law
but the king's will, and he insists that Jikki be allowed to live."
So they were forced to bear with Jikki as best they could, but
after the king breathed his last breath the old servant became more
nervous and annoying than ever. Hearing that the king was dead, Jikki
made a rush for the door of the bell tower, but tripped over the foot of
Tollydob and fell upon the marble floor so violently that his bones
rattled, and he picked himself up half dazed by the fall.
"Where are you going?" asked Tollydob.
"To toll the bell for the king's death," answered Jikki.
"Well, remain here until we give you permission to go," commanded
the lord high general.
"But the bell ought to be tolled!" said Jikki.
"Be silent!" growled the lord high pursebearer. "We know what
ought to be done and what ought not to be done."
But this was not strictly true. In fact, the five high
counselors did not know what ought to be done under these strange
circumstances. If they told the people the king was dead and did not
immediately appoint his successor, then the whole population would lose
faith in them and fall to fighting and quarreling among themselves as to
who should become king, and that would never in the world do.
No, it was evident that a new king must be chosen before they
told the people that the old king was dead. But whom should they choose
for the new king? That was the important question. While they talked of
these matters, the ever-active Jikki kept rushing in and saying, "Hadn't
I better toll the bell?"
"No!" they would shout in a chorus, and then Jikki would rush out
again. So they sat and thought and counseled together during the whole
long night, and by morning they were no nearer a solution of the problem
than before. At daybreak Jikki stuck his head into the room and said,
"Hadn't I better--"
"No!" they all shouted in a breath.
"Very well," returned Jikki. "I was only going to ask if I
hadn't better get you some breakfast."
"Yes!" they cried again in one breath.
"And shall I toll the bell?"
"No!" they screamed, and the lord high steward threw an inkstand
that hit the door several seconds after Jikki had closed it and
disappeared. While they were at breakfast they again discussed their
future action in the choice of a king, and finally the chief counselor
had a thought that caused him to start so suddenly that he nearly choked.
"The book!" he gasped, staring at his brother counselors in a
rather wild manner.
"What book?" asked the lord high general.
"The book of laws," answered the chief counselor.
"I never knew there was such a thing," remarked the lord high
executioner, looking puzzled. "I always thought the king's will was the
"So it was! So it was when we had a king," answered Tullydub
excitedly. "But this book of laws was written years ago and was meant to
be used when the king was absent or ill or asleep."
For a moment there was silence. "Have you ever read the book?"
then asked Tillydib.
"No, but I will fetch it at once, and we shall see if there is
not a law to help us out of our difficulty." So the chief counselor
brought the book--a huge old volume that had a musty smell to it and was
locked together with a silver padlock. Then the key had to be found,
which was no easy task; but finally the great book of laws lay open upon
the table, and all the five periwigs of the five fat counselors were bent
over it at once.
Long and earnestly they searched the pages, but it was not until
after noon that Tullydub suddenly placed his broad thumb upon a passage
and shouted, "I have it! I have it!"
"What is it? Read it! Read it aloud!" cried the others.
Just then Jikki rushed into the room and asked, "Shall I toll the
"No!" they yelled, glaring at him; so Jikki ran out, shaking his
Then Tullydub adjusted his spectacles and leaned over the book,
reading aloud the following words: "In case the king dies and there is no
one to succeed him, the chief counselor of the kingdom shall go at
sunrise to the eastward gate of the city of Nole and count the persons
who enter through such gate as soon as it is opened by the guards. And
the forty-seventh person that so enters, be it man, woman or child, rich
or poor, humble or noble, shall immediately be proclaimed king or queen,
as the case may be, and shall rule all the kingdom of Noland forever
after, so long as he or she may live. And if anyone in all the kingdom
of Nole shall refuse to obey the slightest wish of the new ruler, such
person shall at once be put to death. This is the law."
Then all the five high counselors heaved a deep sigh of relief
and repeated together the words, "This is the law."
"But it's a strange law, nevertheless," remarked the lord high
pursebearer. "I wish I knew who will be the forty-seventh person to
enter the east gate tomorrow at sunrise."
"We must wait and see," answered the lord high general. "And I
will have my army assembled and marshaled at the gateway that the new
ruler of Noland may be welcomed in a truly kingly manner, as well as to
keep the people in order when they hear the strange news."
"Beg pardon!" exclaimed Jikki, looking in at the doorway, "But
shall I toll the bell?"
"No, you numskull!" retorted Tullydub angrily. "If the bell is
tolled, the people will be told, and they must not know that the old king
is dead until the forty-seventh person enters the east gateway tomorrow
CHAPTER 3 THE GIFT OF THE MAGIC CLOAK
Nearly two days journey from the city of Nole, yet still within
the borders of the great kingdom of Noland, was a little village lying at
the edge of a broad river. It consisted of a cluster of houses of the
humblest description, for the people of this village were all poor and
lived in simple fashion. Yet one house appeared to be somewhat better
than the others, for it stood on the riverbank and had been built by the
ferryman whose business it was to carry all travelers across the river.
And as many traveled that way, the ferryman was able in time to erect a
very comfortable cottage and to buy good furniture for it, and to clothe
warmly and neatly his two children.
One of these children was a little girl named Margaret, who was
called "Meg" by the villagers and "Fluff" by the ferryman her father,
because her hair was so soft and fluffy. Her brother, who was two years
younger, was named Timothy, but Margaret had always called him "Bud"
because she could not say "brother" more plainly when first she began to
talk; so nearly everyone who knew Timothy called him Bud as little Meg
These children had lost their mother when very young, and the
ferryman had tried to be both mother and father to them and had reared
them very gently and lovingly. They were good children and were liked by
everyone in the village. But one day a terrible misfortune befell them.
The ferryman tried to cross the river for a passenger one very stormy
night, but he never reached the other shore. When the storm subsided and
morning came, they found his body lying on the riverbank, and the two
children were left alone in the world.
The news was carried by travelers to the city of Nole, where the
ferryman's only sister lived, and a few days afterward the woman came to
the village and took charge of her orphaned niece and nephew. She was
not a bad-hearted woman, this Aunt Rivette, but she had worked hard all
her life and had a stern face and a stern voice. She thought the only
way to make children behave was to box their ears every now and then, so
poor Meg, who had been well-nigh heartbroken at her dear father's loss,
had still more occasion for tears after Aunt Rivette came to the village.
As for Bud, he was so impudent and ill-mannered to the old lady
that she felt obliged to switch him, and afterward the boy became surly
and silent and neither wept nor answered his aunt a single word. It hurt
Margaret dreadfully to see her little brother whipped, and she soon
became so unhappy at the sorrowful circumstances in which she and her
brother found themselves that she sobbed from morning to night and knew
Aunt Rivette, who was a laundress in the city of Nole, decided
she would take Meg and Bud back home with her. "The boy can carry water
for my tubs, and the girl can help me with the ironing," she said. So
she sold all the heavier articles of furniture that the cottage
contained, as well as the cottage itself; and all the remainder of her
dead brother's belongings she loaded upon the back of the little donkey
she had ridden on her journey from Nole. It made such a pile of packages
that the load seemed bigger than the donkey himself; but he was a strong
little animal and made no complaint of his burden.
All this being accomplished, they set out one morning for Nole,
Aunt Rivette leading the donkey by the bridle with one hand and little
Bud with the other, while Margaret followed behind, weeping anew at this
and parting with her old home and all she had so long loved. It was a
hard journey. The old woman soon became cross and fretful and scolded
the little ones at almost every step. When Bud stumbled, as he often
did, for he was unused to walking very far, Aunt Rivette would box his
ears or shake him violently by the arm or tell him he was "a
good-for-nothing little beggar." And Bud would turn upon her with a
revengeful look in his eyes, but say not a word. The woman paid no
attention to Meg, who continued to follow the donkey with tearful eyes
and drooping head.
The first night they obtained shelter at a farmhouse. But in the
morning it was found that the boy's feet were so swollen and sore from
the long walk of the day before that he could not stand upon them. So
Aunt Rivette, scolding fretfully at his weakness, perched Bud among the
bundles atop the donkey's back, and in this way they journeyed the second
day, the woman walking ahead and leading the donkey, and Margaret
The woman had hoped to reach the city of Nole at the close of
this day, but the overburdened donkey would not walk very fast, so
nightfall found them still a two-hours' journey from the city gates, and
they were forced to stop at a small inn. But this inn was already
overflowing with travelers, and the landlord could give them no beds nor
even a room. "You can sleep in the stable if you like," said he. "There
is plenty of hay to lie down upon."
So they were obliged to content themselves with this poor
accommodation. The old woman aroused them at the first streaks of
daybreak the next morning, and while she fastened the packages to the
donkey's back, Margaret stood in the stable yard and shivered in the cold
morning air. The little girl felt that she had never been more unhappy
than at that moment, and when she thought of her kind father and the
happy home she had once known, her sobs broke out afresh and she leaned
against the stable door and wept as if her little heart would break.
Suddenly someone touched her arm, and she looked up to see a tall
and handsome youth standing before her. It was none other than Ereol the
fairy, who had assumed this form for her appearance among mortals, and
over the youth's arm lay folded the magic cloak that had been woven the
evening before in the fairy circle of Burzee. "Are you very unhappy, my
dear?" asked Ereol in kindly tones.
"I am the most unhappy person in all the world!" replied the
girl, beginning to sob afresh.
"Then," said Ereol, "I will present you with this magic cloak,
which has been woven by the fairies. And while you wear it you may have
your first wish granted; and if you give it freely to any other mortal,
that person may also have one wish granted. So use the cloak wisely and
guard it as a great treasure."
Saying this, the fairy messenger spread the folds of the cloak
and threw the brilliant-hued garment over the shoulders of the girl.
Just then Aunt Rivette led the donkey from the stable, and seeing the
beautiful cloak which the child wore, she stopped short and demanded,
"Where did you get that?"
"This stranger gave it to me," answered Meg, pointing to the
"Take it off! Take it off this minute and give it me--or I will
whip you soundly!" cried the woman.
"Stop!" said Ereol sternly. "The cloak belongs to this child
alone, and if you dare take it from her, I will punish you severely."
"What! Punish me! Punish me, you rascally fellow! We'll see
"We will indeed," returned Ereol, more calmly. "The cloak is a
gift from the fairies, and you dare not anger them, for your punishment
would be swift and terrible."
Now no one feared to provoke the mysterious fairies more than
Aunt Rivette, but she suspected the youth was not telling her the truth,
so she rushed upon Ereol and struck at him with her upraised cane. But
to her amazement, the form of the youth vanished quickly into air, and
then indeed she knew it was a fairy that had spoken to her. "You may
keep your cloak," she said to Margaret with a little shiver of fear. "I
would not touch it for the world!"
The girl was very proud of her glittering garment, and when Bud
was perched upon the donkey's back and the old woman began trudging along
the road to the city, Meg followed after with much lighter steps than
before. Presently the sun rose over the horizon, and its splendid rays
shone upon the cloak and made it glitter gorgeously. "Ah me!" sighed the
little girl, half aloud. "I wish I could be happy again!"
Then her childish heart gave a bound of delight, and she laughed
aloud and brushed from her eyes the last tear she was destined to shed
for many a day. For though she spoke thoughtlessly, the magic cloak
quickly granted to its first wearer the fulfillment of her wish.
Aunt Rivette turned upon her in surprise. "What's the matter
with you?" she asked suspiciously, for she had not heard the girl laugh
since her father's death.
"Why, the sun is shining," answered Meg, laughing again. "And
the air is sweet and fresh, and the trees are green and beautiful, and
the whole world is very pleasant and delightful." And then she danced
lightly along the dusty road and broke into a verse of a pretty song she
had learned at her father's knee.
The old woman scowled and trudged on again. Bud looked down at
his merry sister and grinned from pure sympathy with her high spirits,
and the donkey stopped and turned his head to look solemnly at the
laughing girl behind him. "Come along!" cried the laundress, jerking at
the bridle. "Everyone is passing us upon the road, and we must hurry to
get home before noon."
It was true. A good many travelers, some on horseback and some
on foot, had passed them by since the sun rose, and although the east
gate of the city of Nole was now in sight, they were obliged to take
their places in the long line that sought entrance at the gate.
CHAPTER 4 KING BUD OF NOLAND
The five high counselors of the kingdom of Noland were both eager
and anxious upon this important morning. Long before sunrise Tollydob,
the lord high general, had assembled his army at the east gate of the
city; and the soldiers stood in two long lines beside the entrance,
looking very impressive in their uniforms. And all the people, noting
this unusual display, gathered around at the gate to see what was going
Of course no one knew what was going to happen, not even the
chief counselor nor his brother counselors. They could only obey the law
and abide by the results. Finally the sun arose and the east gate of the
city was thrown open. There were a few people waiting outside, and they
promptly entered. "One, two, three, four, five, six!" counted the chief
counselor in a loud voice.
The people were much surprised at hearing this and began to
question one another with perplexed looks. Even the soldiers were
mystified. "Seven, eight, nine!" continued the chief counselor, still
counting those who came in. A breathless hush fell upon the assemblage.
Something very important and mysterious was going on, that was evident.
But what? They could only wait and find out.
"Ten, eleven!" counted Tullydub, and then heaved a deep sigh.
For a famous nobleman had just entered the gate, and the chief counselor
could not help wishing he had been number forty-seven. So the counting
went on, and the people became more and more interested and excited.
When the number had reached thirty-one, a strange thing happened.
A loud "boom!" sounded through the stillness, and then another, and
another. Someone was tolling the great bell in the palace bell tower,
and people began saying to one another in awed whispers that the old king
must be dead. The five high counselors, filled with furious anger but
absolutely helpless, as they could not leave the gate, lifted up their
five chubby fists and shook them violently in the direction of the bell
Poor Jikki, finding himself left alone in the palace, could no
longer resist the temptation to toll the bell, and it continued to peal
out its dull, solemn tones while the chief counselor stood by the gate
and shouted, "Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four!"
Only the mystery of this action could have kept the people quiet
when they learned from the bell that their old king was dead. But now
they began to guess that the scene at the east gate promised more of
interest than anything they might learn at the palace, so they stood very
quiet, and Jikki's disobedience of orders did no great harm to the plans
of the five high counselors.
When Tullydub had counted up to forty, the excitement redoubled,
for everyone could see big drops of perspiration standing upon the chief
counselor's brow, and all the other high counselors, who stood just
behind him, were trembling violently with nervousness.
A ragged, limping peddler entered the gate. "Forty-five!"
Then came Aunt Rivette, dragging at the bridle of the donkey.
"Forty-six!" screamed Tullydub. And now Bud rode through the gates,
perched among the bundles on the donkey's back and looking composedly
upon the throng of anxious faces that greeted him. "FORTY-SEVEN!" cried
the chief counselor; and then in his loudest voice he continued, "Long
live the new King of Noland!"
All the high counselors prostrated themselves in the dusty road
before the donkey. The old woman was thrust back in the crowd by a
soldier, where she stood staring in amazement, and Margaret, clothed in
her beautiful cloak, stepped to the donkey's side and looked first at her
brother and then at the group of periwigged men who bobbed their heads in
the dust before him and shouted, "Long live the king!"
Then, while the crowd still wondered, the lord high counselor
arose and took from a soldier a golden crown set with brilliants, a
jeweled scepter, and a robe of ermine. Advancing to Bud, he placed the
crown upon the boy's head and the scepter in his hand, while over his
shoulders he threw the ermine robe. The crown fell over Bud's ears, but
he pushed it back upon his head so it would stay there, and as the kingly
robe spread over all the bundles on the donkey's back and quite covered
them, the boy really presented a very imposing appearance.
The people quickly rose to the spirit of the occasion. What
mattered if the old king was dead now that a new king was already before
them? They broke into sudden cheer and, joyously waving their hats and
bonnets above their heads, joined eagerly in the cry, "Long live the King
Aunt Rivette was fairly stupified. Such a thing was too
wonderful to be believed. A man in the crowd snatched the bonnet from
the old woman's head and said to her brusquely, "Why don't you greet the
new king? Are you a traitor to your country?"
So she also waved her bonnet and screamed "Long live the king!"
But she hardly knew what she was doing or why she did it. Meantime the
high counselors had risen from their knees and now stood around the
"May it please your Serene Majesty to condescend to tell us who
this young lady is?" asked Tullydub, bowing respectfully.
"That's my sister Fluff," said Bud, who was enjoying his new
position very much. All the counselors, at this, bowed low to Margaret.
"A horse for the Princess Fluff!" cried the lord high general. And the
next moment she was mounted upon a handsome white palfrey, where, with
her fluffy golden hair and smiling face and the magnificent cloak flowing
from her shoulders, she looked every inch a princess. The people cheered
her, too, for it was long since any girl or woman had occupied the palace
of the King of Noland, and she was so pretty and sweet that everyone
loved her immediately.
And now the king's chariot drove up, with its six prancing
steeds, and Bud was lifted from the back of the donkey and placed in the
high seat of the chariot. Again the people shouted joyful greetings; the
band struck up a gay march tune, and then the royal procession started
for the palace.
First came Tollydob and his officers; then the king's chariot,
surrounded by soldiers; then the four high counselors upon black horses,
riding two on each side of Princess Fluff; and finally the band of
musicians and the remainder of the royal army. It was an imposing sight,
and the people followed after with cheers and rejoicings, while the lord
high pursebearer tossed silver coins from his pouch for anyone to catch
A message had been sent to warn Jikki that the new king was
coming, so he stopped tolling the death knell and instead rang out a
glorious chime of welcome. As for old Rivette, finding herself and the
donkey alike deserted, she once more seized the bridle and led the
patient beast to her humble dwelling; and it was just as she reached her
door that King Bud of Noland, amid the cheers and shouts of thousands,
entered for the first time the royal palace of Nole.
CHAPTER 5 PRINCESS FLUFF
Now when the new king had entered the palace with his sister, the
chief counselor stood upon a golden balcony with the great book in his
hand and read aloud to all the people who were gathered below the law in
regard to choosing a new king, and the severe penalty in case any refused
to obey his slightest wish. And the people were glad enough to have a
change of rulers and pleased that so young a king had been given them.
So they accepted both the law and the new king cheerfully, and soon
dispersed to their homes to talk over the wonderful events of the day.
Bud and Meg were ushered into beautifully furnished rooms on the
second floor of the palace, and old Jikki, finding that he had a new
master to serve, flew about in his usual nervous manner and brought the
children the most delicious breakfast they had ever eaten in their lives.
Bud had been so surprised at his reception at the gate and the sudden
change in his condition that as yet he had not been able to collect his
thoughts. His principal idea was that he was in a dream, and he kept
waiting until he should wake up. But the breakfast was very real and
entirely satisfying, and he began to wonder if he could be dreaming after
The old servant, when he carried away the dishes, bowed low to
Bud and said, "Beg pardon, your Majesty! But the lord high counselor
desires to know the king's will."
Bud stared at him a moment thoughtfully. "Tell him I want to be
left alone to talk with my sister Fluff," he replied. Jikki again bowed
low and withdrew, closing the door behind him, and then the children
looked at each other solemnly until Meg burst into a merry laugh.
"Oh Bud!" she cried. "Think of it! I'm the royal Princess Fluff
and you're the King of all Noland! Isn't it funny!" And they she danced
about the room in great delight.
Bud answered her seriously. "What does it all mean, Fluff?" he
said. "We're only poor children, you know, so I can't really be a king.
And I wouldn't be surprised if Aunt Rivette came in any minute and boxed
"Nonsense!" laughed Margaret. "Didn't you hear what that fat,
periwigged man said about the law? The old king is dead, and someone
else had to be king, you know, and the forty-seventh person who entered
the east gate was you, Bud, and so by law you are the king of all this
great country. Don't you see?"
Bud shook his head and looked at his sister. "No I don't see,"
he said. "But if you say it's all right, Fluff, why, it must be all
"Of course it's all right," declared the girl, throwing off her
pretty cloak and placing it on a chair. "You're the rightful king and
can do whatever you please, and I'm the rightful princess because I'm
your sister, so I can do whatever I please. Don't you see, Bud?"
"But look here, Fluff," returned her brother. "If you're a
princess, why do you wear that old gray dress and those patched-up shoes?
Father used to tell us that princesses always wore the loveliest
Meg looked at herself and sighed. "I really ought to have some
new dresses, Bud. And I suppose if you order them, they will be ready in
no time. And you must have some new clothes, too, for your jacket is
ragged and soiled."
"Do you really think it's true, Fluff?" he asked anxiously.
"Of course it's true. Look at your kingly robe, and your golden
crown, and that stick with all those jewels in it!"--meaning the scepter.
"They're true enough, aren't they?"
Bud nodded. "Call in that old man," he said. "I'll order
something and see if he obeys me. If he does, then I'll believe I'm
really a king."
"But now listen, Bud," said Meg gravely. "Don't you let these
folks see you're afraid or that you're not sure whether you're a king or
not. Order them around and make them afraid of YOU. That's what the
kings do in all the stories I ever read."
"I will," replied Bud. "I'll order them around. So you call in
that old donkey with the silver buttons all over him."
"Here's a bell rope," said Meg. "I'll pull it."
Instantly Jikki entered and bowed low to each of the children.
"What's your name?" asked Bud.
"Jikki, your gracious Majesty."
"Who are you?"
"Your Majesty's valet, if you please," answered Jikki.
"Oh!" said Bud. He didn't know what a valet was, but he wasn't
going to tell Jikki so. "I want some new clothes, and so does my
sister," Bud announced as boldly as possible.
"Certainly, your Majesty. I'll send the lord high steward here
at once." With this he bowed and rushed away, and presently Tallydab,
the lord high steward, entered the room and with a low bow presented
himself respectfully before the children.
"I beg your Majesty to command me," said Tallydab gravely.
Bud was a little awed by his appearance, but he resolved to be
brave. "We want some new clothes," he said.
"They are already ordered, your Majesty, and will be here
"Oh!" said Bud, and stopped short.
"I have ordered twenty suits for your Majesty and forty gowns for
the princess," continued Tallydab, "and I hope these will content your
Majesty and the princess until you have time to select a larger
"Oh!" said Bud, greatly amazed.
"I have also selected seven maidens, the most noble in all the
land, to wait upon the princess. They are even now awaiting her Highness
in her own apartments."
Meg clapped her hands delightedly. "I'll go to them at once,"
"Has your Majesty any further commands?" asked Tallydab. "If
not, your five high counselors would like to confer with you in regard to
your new duties and responsibilities."
"Send 'em in," said Bud promptly. And while Margaret went to
meet her new maids, the king held his first conference with his high
counselors. In answer to Tallydab's summons, the other four periwigs,
pompous and solemn, filed into the room and stood in a row before Bud,
who looked upon them with a sensation of awe.
"Your Majesty," began the venerable Tullydub in a grave voice.
"We are here to instruct you, with your gracious consent, in your new and
Bud shifted uneasily in his chair. It all seemed so unreal and
absurd--this kingly title and polite deference bestowed upon a poor boy
by five dignified and periwigged men--that it was hard for Bud to curb
his suspicion that all was not right. "See here, all of you," said he
suddenly. "Is this thing a joke? Tell me, is it a joke?"
"A joke?" echoed all of the five counselors in several degrees of
shocked and horrified tones, and Tellydeb, the lord high executioner,
added reproachfully, "Could we, by any chance, have the temerity to joke
with your mighty and glorious Majesty?"
"That's just it," answered the boy. "I am not a mighty and
glorious Majesty. I'm just Bud, the ferryman's son, and you know it."
"You are Bud, the ferryman's son, to be sure," agreed the chief
counselor, bowing courteously. "But by the decree of fate and the just
and unalterable laws of the land you are now become absolute ruler of the
great kingdom of Noland, therefore all that dwell therein are your loyal
and obedient servants."
Bud thought this over. "Are you sure there's no mistake?" he
asked with hesitation.
"There CAN be no mistake," returned old Tullydub firmly, "for we,
the five high counselors of the kingdom, have ourselves interpreted and
carried out the laws of the land, and the people, your subjects, have
approved our action."
"Then," said Bud, "I suppose I'll have to be king whether I want
to or not."
"Your Majesty speaks but the truth," returned the chief counselor
with a sigh. "With or without your consent, you are the king. It is the
law." And all the others chanted in a chorus, "It is the law."
Bud felt much relieved. He had no notion whatever of refusing to
be a king. If there was no mistake and he was really the powerful
monarch of Noland, then there ought to be no end of fun and freedom for
him during the rest of his life. To be his own master; to have plenty of
money; to live in a palace and order people around as he pleased--all
this seemed to the poor and friendless boy of yesterday to be quite the
most delightful fate that could possibly overtake one.
So lost did he become in thoughts of the marvelous existence
opening before him that he paid scant attention to the droning speeches
of the five aged counselors who were endeavoring to acquaint him with the
condition of affairs in his new kingdom and to instruct him in his many
and difficult duties as its future ruler.
For a full hour he sat quiet and motionless, and they thought he
was listening to these dreary affairs of state, but suddenly he jumped up
and astonished the dignitaries by exclaiming, "See here, you just fix
things to suit yourselves. I'm going to find Fluff." And with no heed
to protests, the new king ran from the room and slammed the door behind
CHAPTER 6 BUD DISPENSES JUSTICE
The next day the funeral of the old king took place, and the new
king rode in the grand procession in a fine chariot, clothed in black
velvet embroidered with silver. Not knowing how to act in his new
position, Bud sat still and did nothing at all, which was just what was
expected of him. But when they returned from the funeral, he was ushered
into the great throne room of the palace and seated on the golden throne.
And then the chief counselor informed him that he must listen to the
grievances of his people and receive the homage of the noblemen of
Fluff sat on a stool beside the king, and the five high
counselors stood back of him in a circle. And then the doors were thrown
open and all the noblemen of the country crowded in. One by one they
kissed first the king's hand and then the princess's hand and vowed they
would always serve them faithfully.
Bud did not like this ceremony. He whispered to Fluff that it
made him tired. "I want to go upstairs and play," he said to the lord
high steward. "I don't see why I can't."
"Very soon your Majesty may go. Just now it is your duty to hear
the grievances of your people," answered Tallydab gently.
"What's the matter with 'em?" asked Bud crossly. "Why don't they
keep out of trouble?"
"I do not know, your Majesty, but there are always disputes among
"But that isn't the king's fault, is it?" said Bud.
"No, your Majesty, but it's the king's place to settle these
disputes, for he has the supreme power."
"Well, tell 'em to hurry up and get it over with," said the boy
Then a venerable old man came in leading a boy by the arm and
holding a switch in his other hand. "Your Majesty," began the man,
having first humbly bowed to the floor before the king. "My son, whom I
have brought here with me, insists upon running away from home, and I
wish you would tell me what to do with him."
"Why do you run away?" Bud asked the boy.
"Because he whips me," was the answer.
Bud turned to the man. "Why do you whip the boy?" he inquired.
"Because he runs away," said the man.
For a minute, Bud looked puzzled. "Well, if anyone whipped me,
I'd run away, too," he said at last. "And if the boy isn't whipped or
abused he ought to stay at home and be good. But it's none of my
"Oh, your Majesty!" cried the chief counselor. "It really must
be your business. You're the king, you know, and everybody's business is
"That isn't fair," said Bud sulkily. "I've got my own business
to attend to, and I want to go upstairs and play."
But now Princess Fluff leaned toward the young king and whispered
something in his ear which made his face brighten. "See here!" exclaimed
Bud. "The first time this man whips the boy again or the first time the
boy runs away, I order my lord high executioner to give them both a good
switching. Now let them go home and try to behave themselves."
Everyone applauded his decision, and Bud also thought with
satisfaction that he had hit upon a good way out of the difficulty.
Next came two old women, one very fat and the other very thin,
and between them they led a cow, the fat woman having a rope around one
horn and the thin woman a rope around the other horn. Each woman claimed
she owned the cow, and they quarreled so loudly and so long that the lord
high executioner had to tie a bandage over their mouths. When peace was
thus restored, the high counselor said, "Now, your Majesty, please decide
which of these two women owns the cow."
"I can't," said Bud helplessly.
"Oh, your Majesty, but you must!" cried all the five high
Then Meg whispered to the king again, and the boy nodded. The
children had always lived in a little village where there were plenty of
cows, and the girl thought she knew a way to decide which of the
claimants owned this animal. "Send one of the women away," said Bud. So
they led the lean woman to a little room nearby and locked her in. "Bring
a pail and a milking stool," ordered the king. When they were brought,
Bud turned to the fat woman and ordered the bandage taken from her mouth.
"The cow's mine! It's my cow! I own it!" she screamed the
moment she could speak.
"Hold!" said the king. "If the cow belongs to you, let me see
you milk her."
"Certainly, your Majesty, certainly!" she cried, and seizing the
pail and the stool, she ran up to the left side of the cow, placed the
stool, and sat down upon it. But before she could touch the cow, the
animal suddenly gave a wild kick that sent the startled woman in a heap
upon the floor, with her head stuck fast in the milk pail. Then the cow
moved forward a few steps and looked blandly around.
Two of the guards picked the woman up and pulled the pail from
her head. "What's the matter?" asked Bud.
"She's frightened, of course," whimpered the woman, "and I'll be
black and blue by tomorrow morning, your Majesty. Any cow would kick in
such a place as this."
"Put this woman in the room and fetch the other woman here,"
commanded the king. So the lean woman was brought out and ordered to
milk the cow. She took the stool in one hand and the pail in the other,
and approaching the cow softly on the RIGHT side, patted the animal gently
and said to it, "So, Boss! So-o-o-o, Bossie my darlin'! Good Bossie!
Nice Bossie!" The cow turned her head to look at the lean woman, and
made no objection when she sat down and began milking.
In a moment the king said, "The cow is yours! Take her and go
home!" Then all the courtiers and people, and even the five high
counselors, applauded the king enthusiastically, and the chief counselor
lifted up his hands and said, "Another Solomon has come to rule us!"
And the people applauded again, till Bud looked very proud and
quite red in the face with satisfaction. "Tell me," he said to the
woman, who was about to lead the cow away, "tell me, where did you get
such a nice faithful Bossie as that?"
"Must I tell you the truth?" asked the woman.
"Of course," said Bud.
"Then, your Majesty," she returned, "I stole her from that fat
woman you have locked up in that room. But no one can take the cow from
me now, for the king has given her to me."
At this a sudden hush fell on the room, and Bud looked redder
than ever. "Then how did it happen that you could milk the cow and she
couldn't?" demanded the king angrily.
"Why, she doesn't understand cows, and I do," answered the woman.
"Good day, your Majesty. Much obliged, I'm sure!" And she walked away
with the cow, leaving the king and Princess Fluff and all the people much
"Have we any cows in the royal stables?" asked Bud, turning to
"Certainly, your Majesty, there are several," answered the chief
"Then," said Bud, "give one of them to the fat woman and send her
home. I've done all the judging I am going to do today, and now I'll
take my sister upstairs to play."
"Hold on! Hold on!" cried a shrill voice. "I demand justice!
Justice of the king! Justice of the law! Justice to the king's aunt."
Bud looked down the room and saw Aunt Rivette struggling with some of the
guards. Then she broke away from them and rushed to the throne, crying
again, "Justice, your Majesty!"
"What's the matter with you?" asked Bud.
"Matter? Everything's the matter with me. Aren't you the new
"Yes," said Bud. "That's what I am."
"Am I not your aunt? Am I not your aunt?"
"Yes," said Bud again.
"Well, why am I left to live in a hut and dress in rags? Doesn't
the law say that every blood relative of the king shall live in a royal
"Does it?" asked Bud, turning to Tullydub.
"The law says so, your Majesty."
"And must I have that old crosspatch around me all the time?"
wailed the new king.
"Crosspatch yourself!" screamed Aunt Rivette, shaking her fist at
Bud. "I'll teach you to crosspatch me when I get you alone!"
Bud shuddered. Then he turned again to Tullydub. "The king can
do what he likes, can't he?" the boy asked.
"Certainly, your Majesty."
"Then let the lord high executioner step forward!"
"Oh Bud! What are you going to do?" said Fluff, seizing him
tightly by the arm.
"You let me alone!" answered Bud. "I'm not going to be a king
for nothing. And Aunt Rivette whipped me once, sixteen hard switches! I
The executioner was now bowing before him. "Get a switch,"
commanded the king.
The executioner brought a long, slender birch bough. "Now," said
Bud, "you give Aunt Rivette sixteen good switches."
"Oh, don't! Don't, Bud!" pleaded Meg.
Aunt Rivette fell on her knees, pale and trembling. In agony she
raised her hands. "I'll never do it again! Let me off, your Majesty!"
she screamed. "Let me off this once! I'll never do it again! Never!
"All right," said Bud with a cheery smile. "I'll let you off
this time. But if you don't behave or if you interfere with me or Fluff,
I'll have the lord high executioner take charge of you. Just remember
I'm the king, and then we'll get along all right. Now you may go
upstairs if you wish to and pick out a room on the top story. Fluff and
I are going to play."
With this, he laid his crown carefully on the seat of the throne
and threw off his ermine robe. "Come on, Fluff! We've had enough
business for today," he said, and dragged the laughing princess from the
room, while Aunt Rivette meekly followed the lord high steward up the
stairs to a comfortable apartment just underneath the roof. She was very
well satisfied at last, and very soon she sent for the lord high
pursebearer and demanded money with which to buy some fine clothes for
herself. This was given her willingly, for the law provided for the
comfort of every relative of the king, and knowing this Aunt Rivette
fully intended to be the most comfortable woman in the kingdom of Noland.
CHAPTER 7 THE WINGS OF AUNT RIVETTE
Bud and Meg had plenty to occupy them in looking over and admiring
their new possessions. First they went to the princess's rooms, where
Fluff ordered her seven maids to spread out all the beautiful gowns she
had received. And forty of them made quite an imposing show, I assure
you. They were all dainty and sweet and of rich material suitable for
all occasions and of all colors and shades. Of course there were none
with trains, for Margaret, although a princess, was only a little girl;
but the gowns were gay with bright ribbons and jeweled buttons and
clasps, and each one had its hat and hosiery and slippers to match.
After admiring the dresses for a time, they looked at Bud's new
clothes--twenty suits of velvets, brocades, and finely woven cloths. Some
had diamonds and precious gems sewn on them for ornaments, while others
were plain; but the poorest suit there was finer than the boy had ever
dreamed of possessing. There were also many articles of apparel to go
with these suits, such as shoes with diamond buckles, silken stockings,
neck laces, and fine linen; and there was a beautiful little sword with a
gold scabbard and a jeweled hilt that the little king could wear on state
However, when the children had examined the gowns and suits to
their satisfaction, they began looking for other amusement. "Do you
know, Fluff," said the boy, "there isn't a single toy or plaything in
this whole palace?"
"I suppose the old king didn't care for playthings," replied
Just then there was a knock at the door, and Aunt Rivette came
hobbling into the room. Her wrinkled old face was full of eagerness, and
in her hands she clasped the purse of golden coins the lord high
pursebearer had given her. "See what I've got!" she cried, holding out
the purse. "And I'm going to buy the finest clothes in all the kingdom!
And ride in the king's carriage. And have a man to wait upon me! And
make Mammy Skib and Mistress Kappleson and all the other neighbors wild
"I don't care," said Bud.
"Why, you owe everything to me!" cried Aunt Rivette. "If I
hadn't brought you to Nole on the donkey's back, you wouldn't have been
the forty-seventh person to enter the gate."
"That's true," said Meg.
But Bud was angry. "I know it's true," he said, "but look here,
you mustn't bother us. Just keep out of our way, please, and let me
alone, and then I won't care how many new dresses you buy."
"I'm going to spend every piece of this gold!" she exclaimed,
clasping the purse with her wrinkled hands. "But I don't like to go
through the streets in this poor dress. Won't you lend me your cloak,
Meg, until I get back?"
"Of course I will," returned the girl, and going to the closet,
she brought out the magic cloak the fairy had given her and threw it over
Aunt Rivette's shoulders. For she was sorry for the old woman, and this
was the prettiest cloak she had.
So old Rivette, feeling very proud and anxious to spend her
money, left the palace and walked as fast as her tottering legs would
carry her down the street in the direction of the shops. "I'll buy a
yellow silk," she mumbled to herself, half aloud, "and a white velvet and
a purple brocade and a sky-blue bonnet with crimson plumes! And won't
the neighbors stare then? Oh dear! If I could only walk faster! And
the shops are so far! I wish I could fly!"
Now she was wearing the magic cloak when she expressed this wish,
and no sooner had she spoken than two great, feathery wings appeared,
fastened to her shoulders. The old woman stopped short, turned her head
and saw the wings; and then she gave a scream and a jump and began waving
her arms frantically. The wings flopped at the same time, raising her
slowly from the ground, and she began to soar gracefully above the heads
of the astonished people, who thronged the streets below.
"Stop! Help! Murder!" shrieked Rivette, kicking her feet in
great agitation, and at the same time flopping nervously her new wings.
"Save me, someone! Save me!"
"Why don't you save yourself?" asked a man below. "Stop flying
if you want to reach the earth again!"
This struck old Rivette as a sensible suggestion. She was quite
a distance in the air by this time, but she tried to hold her wings
steady and not flop them, and the result was that she began to float
slowly downward. Then, with horror, she saw she was sinking directly
upon the branches of a prickly pear tree, so she screamed and began
flying again, and the swift movement of her wings sent her high into the
So great was her terror that she nearly fainted; but she shut her
eyes so that she might not see how high up she was and held her wings
rigid and began gracefully to float downward again. By and by she opened
her eyes and found one of her sleeves was just missing the sharp point of
a lightning rod on a tower of the palace. So she began struggling and
flopping anew, and almost before she knew it, Aunt Rivette had descended
to the roof of the royal stables. Here she sat down and began to weep
and wail, while a great crowd gathered below and watched her.
"Get a ladder! PLEASE get a ladder!" begged old Rivette. "If you
don't, I shall fall and break my neck."
By this time Bud and Fluff had come out to see what caused the
excitement, and to their amazement they found their old aunt perched high
up on the stable roof with two great wings growing out of her back. For
a moment they could not understand what had happened. Then Margaret
cried, "Oh, Bud, I let her wear the magic cloak! She must have made a
"Help! Help! Get a ladder!" wailed the old woman, catching
sight of her nephew and niece.
"Well, you ARE a bird, Aunt Rivette!" shouted Bud gleefully, for
he was in a teasing mood. "You don't need a ladder! I don't see why you
can't fly down the same way you flew up." And all the people shouted,
"Yes, yes! The King is right! Fly down!"
Just then Rivette's feet began to slip on the sloping roof, so
she made a wild struggle to save herself, and the result was that she
fluttered her wings in just exactly the right way to sink down gradually
to the ground. "You'll be all right as soon as you know how to use your
wings," said Bud with a laugh. "But where did you get 'em, anyhow?"
"I don't know," said Aunt Rivette, much relieved to be on earth
again and rather pleased to have attracted so much attention. "Are the
"They are perfectly lovely!" cried Fluff, clapping her hands in
glee. "Why, Aunt Rivette, I do believe you must be the only person in all
the world who can fly!"
"But I think you look like an overgrown buzzard," said Bud.
Now it happened that all this praise and the wondering looks of
the people did a great deal to reconcile Rivette to her new wings.
Indeed, she began to feel a certain pride and distinction in them; and
finding she had through all the excitement retained her grasp on the
purse of gold, she now wrapped the magic cloak around her and walked away
to the shops, followed by a crowd of men, women and children.
CHAPTER 8 THE ROYAL RECEPTION
As for the king and Princess Fluff, they returned to the palace
and dressed themselves in some of their prettiest garments, telling Jikki
to have two ponies saddled and ready for them to ride upon. "We really
MUST have some toys," said Meg with decision, "and now that we are rich,
there is no reason why we can't buy what we want."
"That's true," answered Bud. "The old king hadn't anything to
play with. Poor old man! I wonder what he did to amuse himself."
They mounted their ponies and, followed by the chief counselor
and the lord high pursebearer in one of the state carriages and a guard
of soldiers for escort, they rode down the streets of the city on a
pleasure jaunt amid the shouts of the loyal population.
By and by Bud saw a toy shop in one of the streets, and he and
Fluff slipped down from their ponies and went inside to examine the toys.
It was a well stocked shop, and there were rows upon rows of beautiful
dolls on the shelves, which attracted Margaret's attention at once. "Oh
Bud!" she exclaimed. "I must have one of these dollies!"
"Take your choice," said her brother calmly, although his own
heart was beating with delight at the sight of all the toys arranged
"I don't know which to choose," sighed the little princess,
looking from one doll to another with longing and indecision.
"We'll take 'em all," declared Bud.
"All! What, all these rows of dollies?" she gasped.
"Why not?" asked the king. Then he turned to the men who kept
the shop and said, "Call in that old fellow who carries the money."
When the lord high pursebearer appeared, Bud said to him, "Pay
the man for all these dolls, and for this--and this--and this!" and he
began picking out the prettiest toys in all the shop in the most reckless
way you can imagine. The soldiers loaded the carriage down with Meg's
dolls, and a big cart was filled with Bud's toys. Then the pursebearer
paid the bill, although he sighed deeply several times while counting out
the money. But the new king paid no attention to old Tillydib; and when
the treasures were all secured, the children mounted their ponies and
rode joyfully back to the palace, followed in a procession by the
carriage filled with dolls and the cart loaded with toys, while Tullydub
and Tillydib, being unable to ride in the carriage, trotted along at the
rear on foot.
Bud had the toys and dolls all carried upstairs into a big room,
and then he ordered everybody to keep out while he and Fluff arranged
their playthings around the room and upon the tables and chairs, besides
littering the floor so that they could hardly find a clear place large
enough for some of their romping games. "After all," he said to his
sister, "it's a good thing to be a king!"
"Or even a princess," added Meg, busily dressing and arranging
They made Jikki bring their dinner to them in the "playroom," as
Bud called it, but neither of the children could spare much time to eat,
their treasures being all so new and delightful. Soon after dusk, while
Jikki was lighting the candles, the chief counselor came to the door to
say that the king must be ready to attend the royal reception in five
"I won't," said Bud. "I just won't."
"But you MUST, your Majesty!" declared old Tullydub.
"Am I not the king?" demanded Bud, looking up from where he was
arranging an army of wooden soldiers.
"Certainly, your Majesty," was the reply.
"And isn't the king's will the law?" continued Bud.
"Certainly, your Majesty!"
"Well, if that is so, just understand that I won't come. Go away
and let me alone!"
"But the people expect your Majesty to attend the royal
reception," protested old Tullydub, greatly astonished. "It is the usual
custom, you know, and they would be greatly disappointed if your Majesty
did not appear."
"I don't care," said Bud. "You get out of here and let me
"But your Majesty--"
Bud threw a toy cannon at his chief counselor, and the old man
ducked to escape it, and then quickly closed the door.
"Bud," said the princess softly, "you were just saying it's great
fun to be a king."
"So it is," he answered promptly.
"But father used to tell us," continued the girl, trying a red
hat on a brown-haired doll, "that people in this world always have to pay
for any good thing they get."
"What do you mean?" said Bud with surprise.
"I mean if you're going to be the king and wear fine clothes and
eat lovely dinners and live in a palace and have countless servants and
all the playthings you want and your own way in everything and with
everybody, then you ought to be willing to pay for all these pleasures."
"How? But how CAN I pay for them?" demanded Bud, staring at her.
"By attending the royal reception and doing all the disagreeable
things the king is expected to do," she answered.
Bud thought about it for a minute. Then he got up, walked over
to his sister, and kissed her. "I b'lieve you're right, Fluff," he said
with a sigh. "I'll go to that reception tonight and take it as I would
take a dose of medicine."
"Of course you will!" returned Fluff, looking at him brightly,
"And I'll go with you! The dolls can wait till tomorrow. Have Jikki
brush your hair, and I'll get my maids to dress me!"
Old Tullydub was wondering how he might best explain the king's
absence to the throng of courtiers gathered to attend the royal reception
when to his surprise and relief his Majesty entered the room accompanied
by the Princess Fluff. The king wore a velvet suit trimmed with gold
lace, and at his side hung the beautiful jeweled sword. Meg was dressed
in a soft, white, silken gown and looked as sweet and fair as a lily.
The courtiers and their ladies, who were all wearing their most
handsome and becoming apparel, received their little king with great
respect, and several of the wealthiest and most noble among them came up
to Bud to converse with him. But the king did not know what to say to
these great personages, and so the royal reception began to be a very
Fluff saw that all the people were standing in stiff rows and
looking at one another uneasily, so she went to Bud and whispered to him.
"Is there a band of musicians in the palace?" the king inquired of
Tellydeb, who stood near.
"Yes, your Majesty."
"Send for them, then," commanded Bud. Presently the musicians
appeared, and the king ordered them to play a waltz. But the chief
counselor rushed up and exclaimed, "Oh, your Majesty! This is against
all rule and custom!"
"Silence!" said Bud angrily. "I'LL make the rules and customs in
this kingdom hereafter. We're going to have a dance."
"But it's so dreadful, so unconventional, your Majesty! It's
so--what shall I call it?"
"Here! I've had enough of this," declared Bud. "You go and
stand in that corner with your face to the wall till I tell you to sit
down," he added, remembering a time when his father, the ferryman, had
inflicted a like punishment upon him. Somewhat to his surprise, Tullydub
at once obeyed the command, and then Bud made his first speech to the
"We're going to have a dance," he said, "so pitch in and have a
good time. If there's anything you want, ask for it. You're all welcome
to stay as long as you please and go home when you get ready."
This seemed to please the company, for everyone applauded the
king's speech. Then the musicians began to play, and the people were
soon dancing and enjoying themselves greatly. Princess Fluff had a good
many partners that evening, but Bud did not care to dance; he preferred
to look on, and after a time he brought old Tullydub out of his corner
and made the chief counselor promise to be good and not annoy him again.
"But it is my duty to counsel the king," protested the old man
"When I want your advice, I'll ask for it," said Bud.
While Tullydub stood beside the throne, looking somewhat sulky
and disagreeable, the door opened and Aunt Rivette entered the reception
room. She was clothed in a handsome gown of bright green velvet trimmed
with red and yellow flowers, and her wings stuck out from the folds at
her back in a way that was truly wonderful.
Aunt Rivette seemed in an amiable mood. She smiled and curtsied
to all the people, who stopped dancing to stare at her, and she even
fluttered her wings once or twice to show that she was proud of being
unlike all the others present. Bud had to laugh at her, she looked so
funny, and then a mischievous thought came to him, and he commanded old
Tullydub to dance with her.
"But I don't dance, your Majesty!" exclaimed the horrified chief
"Try it. I'm sure you can dance," returned Bud. "If you don't
know how, it's time you learned."
So the poor man was forced to place his arm about Aunt Rivette's
waist and to whirl her around in a waltz. The old woman knew as little
about dancing as did Tullydub, and they were exceedingly awkward, bumping
into everyone they came near. Presently Aunt Rivette's feet slipped, and
she would have tumbled upon the floor with the chief counselor had she
not begun to flutter her wings wildly.
So instead of falling, she rose gradually into the air, carrying
Tullydub with her, for they clung to each other in terror, and one
screamed, "Murder!" and the other "Help!" in their loudest voices.
Bud laughed until the tears stood in his eyes, but Aunt Rivette,
after bumping both her own head and that of the chief counselor against
the ceiling several times, finally managed to control the action of her
wings and to descend to the floor again. As soon as he was released, old
Tullydub fled from the room, and Aunt Rivette, vowing she would dance no
more, seated herself beside Bud and watched the revel until nearly
midnight, when the courtiers and their ladies dispersed to their own
homes, declaring that they had never enjoyed a more delightful evening.
CHAPTER 9 JIKKI HAS A WISH GRANTED
Next morning Aunt Rivette summoned Jikki to her room and said,
"Take these shoes and clean and polish them; and carry down this tray of
breakfast dishes; and send this hat to the milliner to have the feathers
curled; and return this cloak to the Princess Fluff with my compliments,
and say I'm much obliged for the loan of it."
Poor Jikki hardly knew how to manage so many orders. He took the
shoes in his left hand, and the tray of dishes he balanced upon the other
upraised palm. But the hat and cloak were too many for him. So Aunt
Rivette, calling him "a stupid idiot"--probably because he had no more
hands--set the plumed hat upon Jikki's head and spread the cloak over his
shoulders and ordered him to make haste away.
Jikki was glad enough to go, for the fluttering of Aunt Rivette's
wings made him nervous; but he had to descend the stairs cautiously, for
the hat was tipped nearly over his eyes, and if he stumbled, he would be
sure to spill the tray of dishes. He reached the first landing of the
broad stairs in safety, but at the second landing the hat joggled forward
so that he could see nothing at all, and one of the shoes dropped from
his hand. "Dear me!" sighed the old man. "I wonder what I shall do now?
If I pick up the shoe, I shall drop the dishes; and I can't set down this
tray because I'm blinded by this terrible hat! Dear, dear! If I'm to be
at the beck and call of that old woman and serve the new king at the same
time, I shall have my hands full. My hands, in fact, are full now. I
really wish I had half a dozen servants to wait on ME!"
Jikki knew nothing at all about the magic power of the cloak that
fell from his shoulders, so his astonishment was profound when someone
seized the shoe from his left hand and someone else removed the tray from
his right hand, and still another person snatched the plumed hat from his
head. But then he saw, bowing and smirking before him, six young men who
looked as much alike as peas in the same pod, and all of whom wore very
neat and handsome liveries of wine color with silver buttons on their
Jikki blinked and stared at all these people, and rubbed his eyes
to make sure he was awake. "Who are you?" he managed to ask.
"We are your half a dozen servants, sir," answered the young men,
speaking all together and bowing again. Jikki gasped and raised his
hands with sudden amazement as he gazed in wonder upon the row of six
"But what are you doing here?" he stammered.
"We are here to wait upon you, sir, as is our duty," they
Jikki rubbed his left ear, as was his custom when perplexed, and
then he thought it all over. And the more he thought, the more perplexed
he became. "I don't understand!" he finally said in a weak voice.
"You wished for us, and here we are," declared the six, once more
bowing low before him.
"I know," said Jikki. "But I've often wished for many other
things, and never got a single one of the wishes before!"
The young men did not attempt to explain this curious fact. They
stood in a straight row before their master as if awaiting his orders.
One held the shoe Jikki had dropped, another its mate, still another the
plumed hat, and a fourth the tray of dishes. "You see," remarked Jikki,
shaking his head sadly at the six, "I'm only a servant myself."
"You are our master, sir!" announced the young men, their voices
blended into one.
"I wish," said Jikki solemnly, "you were all back where you came
from." And then he paused to see if this wish also would be fulfilled.
But now the magic cloak conferred the fulfillment of but one wish upon
its wearer, and the half a dozen servants remained standing rigidly
before him. Jikki arose with a sigh.
"Come downstairs to my private room," he said, "and we'll talk
the matter over." So they descended the grand stairway to the main hall
of the grand palace, Jikki going first and his servants following at a
respectful distance. Just off the hall Jikki had a pleasant room where
he could sit when not employed, and into this he led the six. After all,
he considered, it would not be a bad thing to have half a dozen servants.
They would save his old legs from many a tiresome errand. But just as
they reached the hall, a new thought struck him, and he turned suddenly
upon his followers. "See here!" he exclaimed. "How much wages do you
"We expect no wages at all, sir," they answered.
"What? Nothing at all?" Jikki was so startled that he scarcely
had strength remaining to stagger into his private room and sink into a
chair. "No wages! Six servants and no wages to pay!" he muttered. "Why,
it's wonderful, marvelous, astounding!"
Then he thought to himself, "I'll try 'em and see if they'll
really work." And aloud he asked, "How can I tell you apart, one from
Each servant raised his right arm and pointed to a silver badge
upon his left breast; and then Jikki discovered that they were all
numbered, from "one" up to "six." "Ah! Very good!" said Jikki. "Now,
number six, take this shoe into the bedroom and clean and polish it."
Number six bowed and glided from the room as swiftly and silently
as if he were obeying a command of the King of Noland. "Number five,"
continued Jikki, "take this tray to the kitchen." Number five obeyed
instantly, and Jikki chuckled with delight. "Number two, take this to
the milliner in Royal Street and have the feathers curled." Number two
bowed and departed almost before the words had left Jikki's mouth, and
then the king's valet regarded the remaining three in some perplexity.
"Half a dozen servants is almost too many," he thought. "It will
keep me busy to keep them busy. I should have wished for only one--or
two at the most." Just then he remembered something. "Number four,"
said he, "go after number two and tell the milliner that the hat belongs
to Madame Rivette, the king's aunt."
And a few moments later, when the remaining two servants,
standing upright before him, had begun to make him nervous, Jikki cried
out, "Number three, take this other shoe down to the boot room and tell
number six to clean and polish it also." This left but one of the six
unoccupied, and Jikki was wondering what to do with him when a bell rang.
"That's the king's bell," said Jikki.
"I am not the king's servant; I am here only to wait upon you,"
said number one without moving to answer the bell.
"Then I must go myself," sighed the valet, and rushed away to
obey the king's summons.
Scarcely had he disappeared when Tollydob, the lord high general,
entered the room and said in a gruff voice, "Where is Jikki? Where's
that rascal Jikki?"
Number one, standing stiffly at one end of the room, made no
reply. "Answer me, you scoundrel!" roared the old gentleman. "Where's
Still number one stood silent, and this so enraged old Tollydob
that he raised his cane and aimed a furious blow at the young man. The
cane seemed to pass directly through the fellow, and it struck the wall
behind so forcibly that it split into two parts. This amazed Tollydob.
He stared a moment at the silent servant, and then turned his back upon
him and sat down in Jikki's chair. Here his eyes fell upon the magic
cloak, which the king's valet had thrown down. Tollydob, attracted by the
gorgeous coloring and soft texture of the garment, picked up the cloak
and threw it over his shoulders; and then he walked to a mirror and began
admiring his reflection.
While thus engaged, Jikki returned, and the valet was so startled
at seeing the lord high general that he never noticed the cloak at all.
"His Majesty has asked to see your Highness," said Jikki, "and I was
about to go in search of you."
"I'll go to the king at once," answered Tollydob, and as he
walked away Jikki suddenly noticed that he was wearing the cloak. "Oho!"
thought the valet. "He has gone off with the Princess Fluff's pretty
cloak, but when he returns from the king's chamber I'll get it again and
send number one to carry it to its rightful owner."
CHAPTER 10 THE COUNSELORS WEAR THE MAGIC CLOAK
When Tollydob, still wearing the magic cloak, had bowed before the
king, Bud asked, "How many men are there in the royal army, general?"
"Seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven, may it please
your generous Majesty," returned Tollydob. "That is without counting
"And do they obey your orders promptly?" inquired Bud, who felt a
little doubt on this point.
"Yes indeed!" answered the general proudly. "They are terribly
afraid of my anger."
"And yet you're a very small man to command so large an army,"
said the king.
The lord high general flushed with shame, for although he was both
old and fat, he was so short of stature that he stood but a trifle taller
than Bud himself. And, like all short men, he was very sensitive about
his height. "I'm a terrible fighter, your Majesty," declared Tollydob
earnestly, "and when I'm on horseback, my small size is little noticed.
Nevertheless," he added with a sigh, "it is a good thing to be tall. I
wish I were ten feet high."
No sooner were the words spoken than Bud gave a cry of
astonishment, for the general's head shot suddenly upward until his
gorgeous hat struck the ceiling and was jammed down tightly over the
startled man's eyes and nose. The room was just ten feet high, and
Tollydob was now ten feet tall; but for a time the old general could not
think what had happened to him, and Bud, observing for the first time
that Tollydob wore the magic cloak, began to shriek with laughter at the
comical result of the old man's wish.
Hearing the king laugh, the general tore the hat from his head
and looked at himself in mingled terror and admiration. From being a
very small man he had suddenly become a giant, and the change was so
great that Tollydob might well be amazed. "What has happened, your
Majesty?" he asked in a trembling voice.
"Why, don't you see, you were wearing my sister's magic cloak,"
said Bud, still laughing at the big man's woeful face, "and it grants to
every wearer the fulfillment of one wish."
"Only one?" inquired poor Tollydob. "I'd like to be a little
smaller, I confess."
"It can't be helped now," said Bud. "You wished to be ten feet
tall, and there you are! And there you'll have to stay, Tollydob,
whether you like it or not. But I'm very proud of you. You must be the
greatest general in all the world, you know!"
Tollydob brightened up at this and tried to sit down in a chair,
but it crushed to pieces under his weight, so he sighed and remained
standing. Then he threw the magic cloak upon the floor with a little
shudder at its fairy powers, and said, "If I'd only known, I might have
become just six feet tall instead of ten!"
"Never mind," said Bud consolingly. "If we ever have a war, you
will strike terror into the ranks of the enemy, and everyone in Noland
will admire you immensely. Hereafter you will be not only the lord high
general, but the lord VERY high general."
So Tollydob went away to show himself to the chief counselor, and
he had to stoop very low to pass through the doorway. When Jikki saw the
gigantic man coming out of the king's chamber, he gave a scream and fled
in terror, and strange to say, this effect was very agreeable to the lord
high general, who loved to make people fear him.
Bud ran to tell Fluff the curious thing that had happened to the
general, and so it was that when the lord high executioner entered the
palace there was no one around to receive him. He made his way into the
king's chamber, and there he found the magic cloak lying upon the floor.
"I've seen the Princess Fluff wearing this," thought the lord high
executioner, "so it must belong to her. I'll take it to her rooms, for
it is far too pretty to be lying around in this careless way, and Jikki
ought to be scolded for allowing it."
So Tellydeb picked up the cloak and laid it over his arm, then he
admired the bright hues that ran through the fabric, and presently his
curiosity got the better of him; he decided to try it on and see how he
would look in it. While thus employed, the sound of a girl's sweet
laughter fell upon Tellydeb's ears, seeming to come from a far distance.
"The princess must be in the royal gardens," he said to himself. "I'll
go there and find her."
So the lord high executioner walked through the great hall still
wearing the cloak, and finally came to the back of the palace and passed
a doorway leading into the gardens. All was quiet here save for the song
of the birds as they fluttered among the trees, but at the other end of
the garden Tellydeb caught a glimpse of a white gown, which he suspected
might be that of the little princess.
He walked along the paths slowly, enjoying the scent of the
flowers and the peacefulness of the scene, for the lord high executioner
was a gentle-natured man and delighted in beautiful sights. After a time
he reached a fruit orchard and saw hanging far up in a big tree a fine
red apple. Tellydeb paused and looked at this longingly. "I wish I
could reach that apple!" he said with a sigh as he extended his arm
Instantly the arm stretched toward the apple, which was at least
forty feet away from the lord high executioner; and while the astonished
man eyed his elongated arm in surprise, the hand clutched the apple,
plucked it, and drew it back to him; and there he stood, the apple in his
hand and his arm apparently the same as it had been before he
accomplished the wonderful feat.
For a moment the counselor was overcome with fear. The cloak
dropped unnoticed from his shoulders and fell upon the graveled walk,
while Tellydeb sank upon a bench and shivered. "It--it was like magic!"
he murmured. "I but reached out my hand, so. It went nearly to the top
of the tree, and--"
Here he gave a cry of wonder, for again his arm stretched the
distance and touched the topmost branches of the tree. He drew it back
hastily, and turned to see if anyone had observed him. But this part of
the garden was deserted, so the old man eagerly tested his new
accomplishment. He plucked a rose from a bush a dozen yards to the
right, and having smelled its odor, he placed it in a vase that stood
twenty feet to his left. Then he noted a fountain far across a hedge,
and reaching the distance easily dipped his hand in the splashing water.
It was all very amazing, this sudden power to reach a great distance, and
the lord high executioner was so pleased with the faculty that when he
discovered old Jikki standing in the palace doorway, he laughingly
fetched him a box on the ear that sent the valet scampering away to his
room in amazed terror.
Said Tellydeb to himself, "Now I'll go home and show my wife what
a surprising gift I have acquired."
So he left the garden, and not long afterward old Tallydab, the
lord high steward, came walking down the path, followed by his little dog
Ruffles. I am not certain whether it was because his coat was so shaggy
or his temper so uncertain that Tallydab's dog was named Ruffles, but the
name fitted well both the looks and the disposition of the tiny animal.
Nevertheless, the lord high steward was very fond of his dog, which
followed him everywhere except to the king's council chamber; and often
the old man would tell Ruffles his troubles and worries and talk to the
dog just as one would to a person.
Today, as they came slowly down the garden walk, Tallydab noticed
a splendid cloak lying upon the path. "How very beautiful!" he exclaimed
as he stooped to pick it up. "I have never seen anything like this since
the Princess Fluff first rode into Nole beside her brother the king.
Isn't it a lovely cloak, Ruffles?"
The dog gave a subdued yelp and wagged his stubby tail. "How do
I look in it, Ruffles?" continued the lord high steward, wrapping the
folds of the magic cloak about him. "How do I look in such gorgeous
The dog stopped wagging its tail and looked up at its master
earnestly. "How do I look?" again said Tallydab. "I declare, I wish you
"You look perfectly ridiculous," replied the dog in a rather
The lord high steward jumped nearly three feet in the air, so
startled was he at Ruffles' reply. Then he bent down, a hand on each
knee, and regarded the dog curiously. "I thought at first you had
spoken!" said he.
"What caused you to change your mind?" asked Ruffles peevishly.
"I DID speak, I AM speaking. Can't you believe it?"
The lord high steward drew a deep sigh of conviction. "I believe
it!" he made answer. "I have always declared you were a wonderful dog,
and now you prove I am right. Why, you are the only dog I ever heard of
who could talk."
"Except in fairy tales," said Ruffles calmly. "Don't forget the
"I don't forget," replied Tallydab. "But this isn't a fairy
tale, Ruffles. It's real life in the kingdom of Noland."
"To be sure," answered Ruffles. "But see here, my dear master,
now that I am at last able to talk, please allow me to ask you for
something decent to eat. I'd like a good meal for once just to see what
it is like."
"A good meal!" exclaimed the steward. "Why, my friend, don't I
give you a big bone every day?"
"You do," said the dog, "and I nearly break my teeth on it,
trying to crack it to get a little marrow. Whatever induces people to
give their dogs bones instead of meat?"
"Why, I thought you liked bones!" protested Tallydab, sitting on
the bench and looking at his dog in astonishment.
"Well, I don't. I prefer something to eat, something good and
wholesome, such as you eat yourself," growled Ruffles.
The lord high steward gave a laugh. "Why," said he, "don't you
remember that old Mother Hubbard?"
"Ah! That WAS a fairy tale," interrupted Ruffles impatiently.
"And there wasn't even a bone in her cupboard, after all. Don't mention
Mother Hubbard to me if you want to retain my friendship."
"And that reminds me," resumed the lord high steward with a
scowl, "that a few minutes ago you said I looked ridiculous in this
"You do!" said Ruffles with a sniff. "It is a girl's cloak, and
not fit for a wrinkled old man like you."
"I believe you are right," answered Tallydab with a sigh; and he
removed the cloak from his shoulders and hung it over the back of the
garden seat. "In regard to the meat that you so long for," he added, "if
you will follow me to the royal kitchen, I will see that you have all you
"Spoken like a good friend!" exclaimed the dog. "Let us go at
So they passed down the garden to the kitchen door, and the magic
cloak, which had wrought such wonderful things that day, still remained
neglectfully cast aside. It was growing dark when old Tillydib, the lord
high pursebearer, stole into the garden to smoke his pipe in peace. All
the afternoon he had been worried by people with bills for this thing or
that, and the royal purse was very light indeed when Tillydib had at last
managed to escape to the garden. "If this keeps up," he reflected,
"there will be no money left, and then I'm sure I don't know what will
become of us all!"
The air was chilly. The old counselor shivered a little, and
noting the cloak that lay over the back of the seat, drew it about his
shoulders. "It will be five months," he muttered half aloud, "before we
can tax the people for more money, and before five months are up the king
and his counselors may all starve to death, even in this splendid palace!
Heigh-ho! I wish the royal purse would always remain full no matter how
much money I drew from it!"
The big purse, which had lain lightly on his knee, now slid off
and pulled heavily upon the golden chain which the old man wore around
his neck to fasten the purse to him securely. Aroused from his anxious
thoughts, Tillydib lifted the purse to his lap again and was astonished
to feel its weight. He opened the clasp and saw that the huge sack was
actually running over with gold pieces.
"Now, where on earth did all this wealth come from?" he
exclaimed, shaking his head in a puzzled way. "I'll go at once and pay
some of the creditors who are waiting for me." So he ran to the royal
treasury, which was a front room in the palace, and began paying everyone
who presented an account. He expected presently to empty the purse, but
no matter how heavily he drew upon the contents, it remained as full as
in the beginning.
"It must be," thought the old man when the last bill had been
paid, "that my idle wish has in some mysterious way been granted." But
he did not know he owed his good fortune to the magic cloak, which he
As he was leaving the room, he met the king and Princess Fluff,
who were just come from dinner; and the girl exclaimed, "Why, there is my
cloak! Where did you get it, Tillydib?"
"I found it in the garden," answered the lord high pursebearer.
"But take it if it is yours. And here is something to repay you for the
loan of it," and he poured into her hands a heap of glittering gold.
"Oh thank you!" cried Fluff, and taking the precious cloak, she
dropped the gold into it and carried it to her room. "I'll never lend it
again unless it is really necessary," she said to herself. "It was very
careless of Aunt Rivette to leave my fairy cloak in the garden." And then
after carefully folding it and wrapping it up, she locked it in a drawer
and hid the key where no one but herself could find it.
CHAPTER 11 THE WITCH-QUEEN
It is not very far from the kingdom of Noland to the kingdom of
Ix. If you followed the steps of Quavo the minstrel, you would climb the
sides of a steep mountain range and go down on the other side and cross a
broad and swift river and pick your way through a dark forest. You would
then have reached the land of Ix and would find an easy path into the big
city. But even before he came to the city he would see the high marble
towers of Queen Zixi's magnificent palace, and pause to wonder at its
Quavo the minstrel had been playing his harp in the city of Nole,
and his eyes were sharp, so he had seen many things to gossip and sing
about, and therefore he never doubted he would be warmly welcomed by
Queen Zixi. He reached the marble palace about dusk one evening and was
bidden to the feast which was about to be served.
A long table ran down the length of the lofty hall built in the
center of the palace, and this table was covered with gold and silver
platters bearing many kinds of meat and fruits and vegetables, while
tall, ornamented stands contained sweets and delicacies to tickle the
palate. At the head of the table, on a jeweled throne, sat Queen Zixi
herself, a vision of radiant beauty and charming grace.
Her hair was yellow as spun gold and her wondrous eyes raven
black in hue. Her skin was fair as a lily save where her cheek was
faintly tinted with a flush of rose color. There were graybeards at her
side this evening who could remember the queen's rare beauty since they
were boys; ay, and who had been told by their fathers and grandfathers of
Queen Zixi's loveliness when they also were mere children. In fact, no
one in Ix had ever heard of the time when the land was not ruled by this
same queen, or when she was not in appearance as young and fair as she
was today. Which easily proves she was not an ordinary person at all.
And I may as well tell you here that Queen Zixi, despite the fact
that she looked to be no more than sixteen, was in reality six hundred
and eighty-three years of age and had prolonged her life in this
extraordinary way be means of the arts of witchcraft. I do not mean by
this that she was an evil person. She had always ruled her kingdom
wisely and liberally, and the people of Ix made no manner of complaint
against their queen. If there were a war, she led her armies in person,
clad in golden mail and helmet; and in years of peace she taught them to
sow and reap grain, and to fashion many useful articles of metal, and to
build strong and substantial houses. Nor were her taxes ever more than
the people could bear.
Yet for all this, Zixi was more feared than loved; for everyone
remembered she was a witch and also knew she was six hundreds of years
old. So no matter how amiable their queen might be, she was always
treated with extreme respect, and folks weighed well their words when
they conversed with her. Next the queen, on both sides of the table, sat
her most favored nobles and their ladies; farther down were the rich
merchants and officers of the army; and at the lower end were servants
and members of the household. For this was the custom in the land of Ix.
Quavo the harpist sat near the lower end; and when all had been
comfortably fed, the queen called upon him for a song. This was the
moment Quavo had eagerly awaited. He took his harp, seated himself in a
niche of the wall, and according to the manner of ancient minstrels, he
sang of the things he had seen in other lands, thus serving his hearers
with the news of the day as well as pleasing them with his music. This
is the way he began:
"Of Noland now a tale I'll sing,
Where reigns a strangely youthful king--
A boy who has by chance alone
Been called to sit upon a throne.
His sister shares his luck, and she.
The fairies' friend is said to be;
For they did mystic arts invoke.
And weave for her a magic cloak
Which grants its wearer--this I'm told--.
Gifts more precious far than gold.
She's but to wish, and her desire.
Quite instantly she will acquire;
And when she lends it to her friends.
The favor unto them extends.
For one who wears the cloak can fly.
Like any eagle in the sky,
And one did wish, by sudden freak,.
His dog be granted power to speak;
And now the beast can talk as well.
As I, and also read and spell.
"Stop!" cried the queen with sudden excitement. "Do you lie,
minstrel, or are you speaking the truth?"
Secretly glad that his news was received this eagerly, Quavo
continued to twang the harp as he replied in verse:
"Now may I die at break of day.
If false is any word I say."
"And what is this cloak like, and who owns it?" demanded the queen
Sang the minstrel:
"The cloak belongs to Princess Fluff;
'T is woven of some secret stuff
Which makes it gleam with splendor bright.
That fills beholders with delight."
Thereafter the beautiful Zixi remained lost in thought, her dainty
chin resting within the hollow of her hand and her eyes dreamily fixed
upon the minstrel. And Quavo, judging that his news had brought him into
rare favor, told more and more wonderful tales of the magic cloak, some
of which were true, while others were mere inventions of his own; for
newsmongers, as everyone knows, were ever unable to stick to facts since
the world began.
All the courtiers and officers and servants listened with wide
eyes and parted lips to the song, marveling greatly at what they had
heard. And when it was finally ended and the evening far spent, Queen
Zixi threw a golden chain to the minstrel as a reward and left the hall,
attended by her maidens. Throughout the night which followed, she tossed
sleeplessly upon her bed thinking of the magic cloak and longing to
possess it. And when the morning sun rose over the horizon, she made a
solemn vow that she would secure the magic cloak within a year, even if
it cost her the half of her kingdom.
Now the reason for this rash vow, showing Zixi's intense desire
to possess the cloak, was very peculiar. Although she had been an adept
at witchcraft for more than six hundred years and was able to retain her
health and remain in appearance young and beautiful, there was one thing
her art was unable to deceive, and that one thing was a mirror.
To mortal eyes Zixi was charming and attractive, yet her
reflection in a mirror showed to her an ugly old hag, bald of head,
wrinkled, with toothless gums and withered, sunken cheeks. For this
reason the queen had no mirror of any sort about the palace. Even from
her own dressing room the mirror had been banished, and she depended upon
her maids and hairdressers to make her look as lovely as possible. She
knew she was beautiful in appearance to others; her maids declared it
continually, and in all eyes she truly read admiration. But Zixi wanted
to admire herself, and that was impossible so long as the cold mirrors
showed her reflection to be the old hag others would also have seen had
not her arts of witchcraft deceived them.
Everything else a woman and a queen might desire Zixi was able to
obtain by her arts. Yet the one thing she could NOT have made her very
unhappy. As I have already said, she was not a bad queen. She used her
knowledge of sorcery to please her own fancy or to benefit her kingdom,
but never to injure anyone else. So she may be forgiven for wanting to
see a beautiful girl reflected in a mirror instead of a haggard old woman
in her six hundred and eighty-fourth year.
Zixi had given up all hope of ever accomplishing her object until
she heard of the magic cloak. The powers of witches are somewhat
limited; but she knew that the powers of fairies are boundless. So if
the magic cloak could grant any human wish as Quavo's song had told her
was the case, she would manage to secure it and would at once wish for a
reflection in the mirror of the same features all others beheld--and then
she would become happy and content.
CHAPTER 12 ZIXI DISCOVERS HERSELF
Now as might be expected, Queen Zixi lost no time in endeavoring
to secure the magic cloak. The people of Ix were not on friendly terms
with the people of Noland, so she could not visit Princess Fluff openly,
and she knew it was useless to try to borrow so priceless a treasure as a
cloak which had been the gift of the fairies. But one way remained to
her--to steal the precious robe.
So she began her preparations by telling her people she would be
absent from Ix for a month, and then she retired to her own room and
mixed, by the rules of witchcraft, a black mess in a silver kettle and
boiled it until it was as thick as molasses. Of this inky mixture she
swallowed two teaspoonfuls every hour for six hours, muttering an
incantation each time. At the end of the six hours her golden hair had
become brown, and her black eyes had become blue, and this was quite
sufficient to disguise the pretty queen so that no one would recognize
her. Then she took off her richly embroidered queenly robes and hung
them up in a closet, putting on a simple gingham dress, a white apron,
and a plain hat such as common people of her country wore.
When these preparations had been made, Zixi slipped out the back
door of the palace and walked through the city to the forest, and
although she met many people, no one suspected that she was the queen.
It was rough walking in the forest, but she got through at last, and
reached the bank of the river. Here a fisherman was found who consented
to ferry her across in his boat, and afterward Zixi climbed the high
mountain and came down the other side into the kingdom of Noland.
She rented a neat little cottage just at the north gateway of the
city of Nole, and by the next morning there was a sign over the doorway
Then Zixi had printed on green paper a lot of handbills which read
"MISS TRUST, a pupil of the celebrated Professor Hatrack of
Hooktown-on-the-Creek, is now located at Woodbine Villa (North Gateway of
Nole) and is prepared to teach the young ladies of this city the ARTS OF
WITCHCRAFT according to the most modern and approved methods. Terms
moderate. References required."
These handbills she hired a little boy to carry to all the
aristocratic houses in Nole and to leave one on each doorstep. Several
were left on the different doorsteps of the palace, and one of these came
to the notice of Princess Fluff. "How funny!" she exclaimed on reading
it. "I'll go and take all my eight maids with me. It will be no end of
fun to learn to be a witch."
Many other people in Nole applied for instruction in "Miss
Trust's Academy," but Zixi told them all she had no vacancies. When,
however, Fluff and her maids arrived, she welcomed them with the utmost
cordiality and consented to give them their first lesson at once. When
she had seated them in her parlor, Zixi said:
"If you wish to be a witch, You must speak an incantation;
You must with deliberation Say, 'The when of why is which!'"
"What does that mean?" asked Fluff.
"No one knows," answered Zixi, "and therefore it is a fine
incantation. Now, all the class will repeat after me the following
words: 'Erig-a-ma-role, erig-a-ma-ree; Jig-ger-nut, jog-ger-nit,
que-jig-ger-ee. Sim-mer-kin, sam-mer-kin, sem-mer-ga-roo; Zil-li-pop,
They tried to do this, but their tongues stumbled constantly over
the syllables, and one of the maids began to laugh. "Stop laughing,
please!" cried Zixi, rapping her ruler on the table. "This is no
laughing matter, I assure you, young ladies. The science of witchcraft
is a solemn and serious study, and I cannot teach it you unless you
"But what's it all about?" asked Fluff.
"I'll explain what it's about tomorrow," said Zixi with dignity.
"Now, here are two important incantations which you must learn by heart
before you come to tomorrow's lesson. If you can speak them correctly
and rapidly and above all very distinctly, I will then allow you to
perform a wonderful witchery."
She handed each of them a slip of paper on which were written the
incantations, as follows:
Incantation No. 1
(To be spoken only in the presence of a black cat.)
This is that, and that is this; Bliss is blest, and blest is bliss.
Who is that, and what is who; Shed is shod, and shod is shoe!
Incantation No. 2
(To be spoken when the clock strikes twelve.)
What is which, and which is what; Pat is pet, and pit is pat;
Hid is hide, and hod is hid; Did is deed, and done is did!
"Now there is one thing more," continued Zixi, "and this is very
important. You must each wear the handsomest and most splendid cloak you
can secure when you come to me tomorrow morning."
This request made Princess Fluff thoughtful all the way home, for
she at once remembered her magic cloak and wondered if the strange Miss
Trust knew she possessed it. She asked Bud about it that night, and the
young king said, "I'm afraid this witch-woman is someone trying to get
hold of your magic cloak. I would advise you not to wear it when she is
around or more than likely she may steal it."
So Fluff did not wear her magic cloak the next day, but selected
in its place a pretty blue cape edged with gold. When she and her maids
reached the cottage, Zixi cried out angrily, "That is not your handsomest
cloak. Go home at once and get the other one!"
"I won't," said Fluff shortly.
"You must! You must!" insisted the witch-woman. "I can teach
you nothing unless you wear the other cloak."
"How did you know I had another cloak?" asked the princess
"By witchcraft, perhaps," said Zixi mildly. "If you want to be a
witch, you must wear it."
"I don't want to be a witch," declared Fluff. "Come, girls,
come; let's go home at once."
"Wait--wait!" implored Zixi eagerly. "If you'll get the cloak, I
will teach you the most wonderful things in the world! I will make you
the most powerful witch that ever lived!"
"I don't believe you," replied Fluff, and then she marched back
to the palace with all her maids. But Zixi knew her plot had failed, so
she locked up the cottage and went back again to Ix, climbing the
mountain and crossing the river and threading the forest with angry
thoughts and harsh words. Yet the queen was more determined than ever to
secure the magic cloak. As soon as she had reentered her palace and by
more incantations had again transformed her hair to yellow and her eyes
to black and dressed herself in her royal robes, she summoned her
generals and counselors and told them to make ready to war upon the
kingdom of Noland.
Quavo the minstrel, who wandered constantly about, was on his way
to Noland again, and while Queen Zixi's army was cutting a path through
the forest and making a bridge to cross the river, he came speedily by a
little-known path to the city of Nole, where he told Tullydub, the lord
high counselor, what was threatening his king. So, trembling with
terror, Tullydub hastened to the palace and called a meeting of the five
high counselors in the king's antechamber.
When all were assembled, together with Bud and Fluff, the old man
told his news and cried, "We shall all be slaughtered and our kingdom
sacked and destroyed, for the army of Ix is twice as big as our own--yes,
twice as big!"
"Oh, pooh! What of that?" said Tollydob scornfully. "Have they
a general as tall as I am?"
"Certainly not," said the chief counselor. "Who ever saw a man
as tall as you are?"
"Then I'll fight and conquer them!" declared Tollydob, rising and
walking about the room so that all might see where his head just grazed
"But you can't, general; you can't fight an army by yourself!"
remonstrated Tullydub excitedly. "And being so big, you are a better
mark for their arrows and axes."
At this the general sat down rather suddenly and grew pale.
"Perhaps we can buy them off," remarked the lord high pursebearer,
jingling the purse that now never became empty.
"No, I'm afraid not," sighed Tullydub. "Quavo the minstrel said
they were bent upon conquest and were resolved upon a battle."
"And their queen is a witch," added Tallydab nervously. "We must
not forget that."
"A witch!" exclaimed Princess Fluff with sudden interest. "What
does she look like?"
But all shook their heads at the question, and Tullydub
explained, "None of us has ever seen her, for we have never been friendly
with the people of Ix. But from all reports, Queen Zixi is both young
"Maybe it is the one who wanted to teach me witchcraft in order
to steal my magic cloak!" said Fluff with sudden excitement. "And when
she found she couldn't steal it, she went back after her army."
"What magic cloak do you refer to?" asked Tullydub.
"Why, the one the fairies gave me," replied Fluff.
"Is it of gorgeous colors with golden threads running through
it?" asked the lord high general, now thoroughly interested.
"Yes," said the princess, "the very same."
"And what peculiar powers does it possess?"
"Why, it grants the wearer the fulfillment of one wish," she
All the high counselors regarded her earnestly. "Then that was
the cloak I wore when I wished to be ten feet high!" said Tollydob.
"And I wore it when I wished I could reach the apple," said
"And I wore it when I wished that my dog Ruffles could speak,"
"And I wore it when I wished the royal purse would always remain
full," said Tillydib.
"I did not know that," remarked Fluff thoughtfully. "But I'll
never forget that I lent it to Aunt Rivette and that was the time she
wished she could fly!"
"Why, it's wonderful!" cried old Tullydub. "Has it granted you,
also, a wish?"
"Yes," said Fluff brightly. "And I've been happy ever since."
"And has your brother, the king, had a wish?" Tullydub inquired
"No," said Bud. "I can still have mine."
"Then why doesn't your Majesty wear the cloak and wish that your
army shall conquer the Queen of Ix's?" asked the lord high counselor.
"I'm saving my wish," answered Bud, "and it won't be that,
"But unless something is done, we shall all be destroyed,"
"Then wear the cloak yourself," said Bud. "You haven't had a
"Good!" cried the other four counselors, and the lord high
general added, "That will surely save us from any further worry."
"I'll fetch the cloak at once," said Fluff, and she ran quickly
from the room to get it.
"Supposing," Tullydub remarked hesitantly, "the magic power
"Oh, but it will!" answered the general.
"I'm sure it will," said the steward.
"I know it will," declared the pursebearer.
"It cannot fail," affirmed the executioner. "Remember what it
has already done for us!"
Then Fluff arrived with the cloak, and after considering
carefully how he would speak his wish, the lord high counselor drew the
cloak over his shoulders and said solemnly, "I wish that we shall be able
to defeat our enemies and drive them all from the kingdom of Noland."
"Didn't you make two wishes instead of one?" asked the princess
"Never mind," said the general. "If we defeat them, it will be
easy enough to drive them from the kingdom."
The lord high counselor removed the cloak and carefully refolded
it. "If it grants my wish," said he thoughtfully, "it will indeed be
lucky for our country that the Princess Fluff came to live in the palace
of the king."
The queen formed her men into a line of battle facing the army of
Nole, and they were so numerous in comparison with their enemies that
even the more timorous soldiers gained confidence and stood up straight
and threw out their chests as if to show how brave they were. Then Queen
Zixi, clad in her flashing mail and mounted upon her magnificent white
charger, rode slowly along the ranks, her white plume nodding gracefully
with the motion of the horse.
And when she reached the center of the line, she halted and
addressed her army in a voice that sounded clear as the tones of a bell
and reached to every listening ear. "Soldiers of the land of Ix," she
began. "We are about to engage in a great battle for conquest and glory.
Before you lies the rich city of Nole, and when you have defeated yonder
army and gained the gates, you may divide among yourselves all the
plunder of gold and silver and jewels and precious stones that the place
Hearing this, a great shout of joy arose from the soldiers, which
Zixi quickly silenced with a wave of her white hand. "For myself," she
continued, "I desire nothing more than a cloak that is owned by the
Princess Fluff. All else shall be given to my brave army."
"But--suppose we do not win the battle?" asked one of her
generals anxiously. "What then do we gain?"
"Nothing but disgrace," answered the queen haughtily. "But how
can we fail to win when I myself lead the assault? Queen Zixi of Ix has
fought a hundred battles and never yet met with defeat!"
There was much cheering at this, for Zixi's words were quite
true. Nevertheless, her soldiers did not like the look of the silent army
of Nole standing so steadfastly before the gates and facing the invaders
with calm determination. Zixi herself was somewhat disturbed at this
sight, for she could not guess what powers the magic cloak had given to
the Nolanders. But in a loud and undaunted voice she shouted the command
to advance, and while trumpets blared and drums rolled, the great army of
Ix awoke to action and marched steadily upon the men of Nole.
Bud, who could not bear to remain shut up in his palace while all
this excitement was occurring outside the city gates, had slipped away
from Fluff and joined his gigantic general, Tollydob. He was, of course,
unused to war, and when he beheld the vast array of Zixi's army, he grew
fearful that the magic cloak might not be able to save his city from
conquest. Yet the five high counselors, who were all present, seemed not
to worry the least bit.
"They're very pretty soldiers to look at," remarked old Tollydob
complacently. "I'm really sorry to defeat them, they march so
"But do not let your kind-hearted admiration for the enemy
interfere with our plans," said the lord high executioner, who was
standing by with his hands in his pockets.
"Oh, I won't!" answered the big general with a laugh which was
succeeded by a frown. "Yet I can never resist admiring a fine soldier,
whether he fights for or against me. For instance, just look at that
handsome officer riding beside Queen Zixi--her chief general, I think.
Isn't he sweet? He looks just like an apple, he is so round and wears
such a tight-fitting jacket. Can't you pick him for me, friend
"I'll try." And the lord high executioner suddenly stretched out
his long arm and reached the faraway general of Ix and pulled him from
the back of his horse. Then, amid the terrified cries that came from the
opposing army, Tellydeb dragged his victim swiftly over the ground until
he was seized by the men of Nole and firmly bound with cords.
"Thank you, my friend," said the general, again laughing and then
frowning. "Now get for me that pretty queen, if you please."
Once more the long arm of the lord high executioner shot out
toward the army of Ix. But Zixi's keen eyes saw it coming, and instantly
she disappeared, her magical arts giving her power to become invisible.
Tellydeb, puzzled to find the queen gone, seized another officer instead
of her and dragged him quickly over the intervening space to his own
side, where he was bound by the Nolanders and placed beside his fellow
Another cry of horror came from the army of Ix, and with one
accord the soldiers stopped short in their advance. Queen Zixi,
appearing again in their midst, called upon her wavering soldiers to
charge quickly upon the foe. But the men, bewildered and terrified, were
deaf to her appeals. They fled swiftly back over the brow of the hill
and concealed themselves in the wooded valley until the sun set. And it
was far into the night before Queen Zixi succeeded in restoring her line
CHAPTER 13 THE ROUT OF THE ARMY OF IX
The next day was a busy one in the city of Nole. The ten-foot
lord high general marched his seven thousand seven hundred and
seventy-seven men out of the city gates and formed them in line of battle
on the brow of a hill. Then he asked Aunt Rivette to fly over the top of
the mountain and see where the enemy was located. The old woman gladly
undertook the mission. She had by this time become an expert flier, and
being proud to resemble a bird, she dressed herself in flowing robes of
as many colors as a poll-parrot could boast. When she mounted into the
air, streamers of green and yellow silk floated behind her in quite a
beautiful and interesting fashion, and she was admired by all beholders.
Aunt Rivette flew high above the mountaintop, and there she saw
the great army of Queen Zixi climbing up the slope on the other side.
The army also saw her and stopped short in amazement at seeing a woman
fly like a bird. They had before this thought their queen sure of
victory because she was a witch and possessed many wonderful arts; but
now they saw that the people of Noland could also do wonderful things,
and it speedily disheartened them.
Zixi ordered them to shoot a thousand arrows at Aunt Rivette, but
quickly countermanded the order as the old woman was too high to be
injured, and the arrows would have been wasted. When the army of Ix had
climbed the mountain and was marching down again toward Nole, the lord
high steward sent his dog Ruffles to them to make more mischief. Ruffles
trotted soberly among the soldiers of Ix, and once in a while he would
pause and say in a loud voice, "The army of Noland will conquer you."
Then all the soldiers would look around to see who had spoken
these fearful words, but could see nothing but a little dog, and Ruffles
would pretend to be scratching his nose with his left hind foot and would
look so innocent that they never for a moment suspected he could speak.
"We are surrounded by invisible foes!" cried the soldiers, and
they would have fled even then had not Queen Zixi called them cowards and
stubbornly declared they only fancied they had heard the voices speak.
Some of them believed her, and some did not, but they decided to remain
and fight since they had come so far to do so. Then they formed in line
of battle again and marched boldly toward the army of Noland.
While they were still a good way off and the generals were riding
in front of their soldiers, the lord high executioner suddenly stretched
out his long arm and pulled another general of Ix from his horse as he
had done the day before, dragging him swiftly over the ground between the
opposing armies until he was seized by the men of Nole and tightly bound
with cords. The soldiers of Ix uttered murmurs of horror at this sight
and stopped again. Immediately the long arm shot out and pulled another
general from their ranks and made him prisoner.
Queen Zixi raved and stormed with anger, but the lord high
executioner, who was enjoying himself immensely, continued to grab
officer after officer and make them prisoners, and so far there had been
no sign of battle; not an arrow had been fired nor an ax swung. Then, to
complete the amazement of the enemy, the gigantic ten-foot general of the
army of Nole stepped in front of his men and waved around his head a
flashing sword six feet in length while he shouted in a voice like a roar
of thunder that made the army of Ix tremble, "Forward, soldiers of
Noland, forward! Destroy the enemy and let none escape!"
It was more than the army of Ix could bear. Filled with terror,
the soldiers threw down their arms and fled in a great panic, racing over
the mountaintop and down the other side and then scattering in every
direction, each man for himself and as if he feared the entire army of
Noland was at his heels. But it wasn't. Not a soldier of Nole had moved
in pursuit. Every one was delighted at the easy victory, and King Bud
was so amused at the sight of the flying foe that he rolled on the ground
in laughter, and even the fierce-looking General Tollydob grinned in
Then, with bands playing and banners flying, the entire army
marched back into the city, and the war between Noland and Ix was over.
CHAPTER 14 THE THEFT OF THE MAGIC CLOAK
When the soldiers of Queen Zixi ran away, they fled in so many
different directions that the bewildered queen could not keep track of
them. Her horse, taking fright, dashed up the mountainside and tossed
Zixi into a lilac bush, after which he ran off and left her. One would
think such a chain of misfortunes could not fail to daunt the bravest.
But Zixi had lived too many years to allow such trifles as defeat and
flight to ruin her nerves; so she calmly disentangled herself from the
lilac bush and looked around to see where she was.
It was very quiet and peaceful on this part of the mountainside.
Her glittering army had disappeared to the last man. In the far distance
she could see the spires and turreted palaces of the city of Nole, and
behind her was a thick grove of lilac trees bearing flowers in full
bloom. This lilac grove gave Zixi an idea. She pushed aside some of the
branches and entered the cool, shadowy avenues between the trees.
The air was heavy with the scent of the violet flowers, and tiny
hummingbirds were darting here and there to thrust their long bills into
the blossoms and draw out the honey for food. Butterflies there were,
too, and a few chipmunks perched high among the branches. But Zixi
walked on through the trees in deep thought, and presently she had laid
new plans. For since the magic cloak was so hard to get, she wanted it
more than ever.
By and by she gathered some bits of the lilac bush and dug some
roots from the ground. Next she caught six spotted butterflies, from the
wings of which she brushed off all the round, purple spots. Then she
wandered on until she came upon a little spring of water bubbling from
the ground, and filling a cup-shaped leaf of the tatti-plant from the
spring, she mixed her bark and roots and butterfly-spots in the liquid
and boiled it carefully over a fire of twigs; for tatti-leaves will not
burn so long as there is water inside them.
When her magical compound was ready, Zixi muttered an incantation
and drank it in a single draught. A few moments later, the witch-queen
had disappeared, and in her place stood the likeness of a pretty young
girl dressed in a simple white gown with pink ribbons at the shoulders
and a pink sash around her waist. Her light-brown hair was gathered into
two long braids that hung down her back, and she had two big, blue eyes
that looked very innocent and sweet. Besides these changes, both the
nose and the mouth of the girl differed in shape from those of Zixi; so
that no one would have seen the slightest resemblance between the two
people, or between Miss Trust and the girl who stood in the lilac grove.
The transformed witch-queen gave a sweet, rippling laugh and
glanced at her reflection in the still waters of the spring. And then
the girlish face frowned, for the image staring up at her was that of a
wrinkled, toothless, old hag. "I really must have that cloak," sighed
the girl, and then she turned and walked out of the lilac grove and down
the mountainside toward the city of Nole.
The Princess Fluff was playing tennis with her maids in a
courtyard of the royal palace when Jikki came to say that a girl wished
to speak with her Highness. "Send her here," said Fluff.
So the witch-queen came to her in the guise of the fair young
girl, and bowing in a humble manner before the princess she said,
"Please, your Highness, may I be one of your maids?"
"Why, I have eight already!" answered Fluff, laughing.
"But my father and mother are both dead, and I have come all the
way from my castle to beg you to let me wait upon you," said the girl,
looking at the little princess with a pleading expression in her blue
"Who are you?" asked Fluff.
"I am daughter of the Lord Hurrydole, and my name is Adlena,"
replied the girl, which was not altogether falsehood, because one of her
ancestors had borne the name Hurrydole, and Adlena was one of her own
"Then, Adlena," said Fluff brightly, "you shall certainly be one
of my maids, for there is plenty of room in the palace, and the more
girls I have around me, the happier I shall be."
So Queen Zixi, under the name of Adlena, became an inmate of the
king's palace, and it was not many days before she learned where the
magic cloak was kept. But the princess gave her a key to a drawer and
told her to get from it a blue silk scarf she wished to wear, and
directly under the scarf lay the fairy garment. Adlena would have seized
it at that moment had she dared, but Fluff was in the same room, so she
only said, "Please, princess, may I look at that pretty cloak?"
"Of course," answered Fluff, "but handle it carefully, for it was
given me by the fairies."
So Adlena unfolded the cloak and looked at it very carefully,
noting exactly the manner in which it was woven. Then she folded it
again, arranged it in the drawer, and turned the key, which the princess
immediately attached to a chain which she always wore around her neck.
That night, when the witch-queen was safely locked in her own
room and could not be disturbed, she called about her a great many of
those invisible imps that serve the most skillful witches, commanding
them to weave for her a cloak in the exact likeness of the one given
Princess Fluff by the fairies. Of course the imps had never seen the
magic cloak, but Zixi described it to them accurately, and before morning
they had woven a garment so closely resembling the original that the
imitation was likely to deceive anyone.
Only one thing was missing, and that was the golden thread woven
by Queen Lulea herself, and which gave the cloak its magic powers. Of
course the imps of Zixi could not get this golden thread, nor could they
give any magical properties to the garment they had made at the witch's
command, but they managed to give the cloak all of the many brilliant
colors of the original, and Zixi was quite satisfied.
The next day Adlena wore this cloak while she walked in the
garden. Very soon Princess Fluff saw her and ran after the girl, crying
indignantly, "See here! What do you mean by wearing my cloak? Take it
"It isn't your cloak. It is one of my own," replied the girl
"Nonsense! There can't be two such cloaks in the world,"
"But there are," persisted Adlena. "How could I get the one in
your drawer when the key is around your own neck?"
"I'm sure I don't know," admitted the princess, beginning to be
puzzled. "But come with me into my rooms. If my fairy cloak is indeed
in the drawer, then I will believe you."
So they went to the drawer, and of course found the magic cloak,
as the cunning Zixi had planned. Fluff pulled it out and held the two up
together to compare them, and they seemed to be exactly alike. "I think
yours is a little the longer," said Adlena, and threw it over the
shoulders of the princess. "No, I think mine is the longer," she
continued, and removing the magic cloak, put her own upon Fluff. They
seemed to be about the same length, but Adlena kept putting first one and
then the other upon the princess until they were completely mixed, and
the child could not have told one from the other.
"Which is mine?" she finally asked in a startled voice.
"This, of course," answered Adlena, folding up the imitation
cloak which the imps had made and putting it away in the drawer. Fluff
never suspected the trick, so Zixi carried away the magic cloak she had
thus cleverly stolen, and she was so delighted with the success of her
stratagem that she could have screamed aloud for pure joy. As soon as
she was alone and unobserved, the witch-queen slipped out of the palace,
and carrying the magic cloak in a bundle under her arm, ran down the
streets of Nole and out through the gate in the wall and away toward the
mountain where the lilac grove lay.
"At last!" she kept saying to herself. "At last I shall see my
own beautiful reflection in a mirror, instead of that horrid old hag!"
When she was safe in the grove, she succeeded by means of her
witchcraft in transforming the girl Adlena back into the beautiful woman
known throughout the kingdom of Ix as Queen Zixi. And then she lost no
time in throwing the magic cloak over her shoulders. "I wish," she cried
in a loud voice, "that my reflection in every mirror will hereafter show
the same face and form as that in which I appear to exist in the sight of
Then she threw off the cloak and ran to the crystal spring,
saying, "Now, indeed, I shall at last see the lovely Queen Zixi!" But as
she bent over the spring, she gave a sudden shriek of disappointed rage,
for glaring up at her from the glassy surface of the water was the same
fearful hag she had always seen as the reflection of her likeness! The
magic cloak would grant no wish to a person who had stolen it.
Zixi, more wretched than she had ever been before in her life,
threw herself down upon her face in the lilac grove and wept for more
than an hour, which is an exceedingly long time for tears to run from
one's eyes. And when she finally arose, two tiny brooks flowed from the
spot and wound through the lilac trees, one to the right and one to the
left. Then, leaving the magic cloak--to possess which she had struggled
so hard and sinfully--lying unheeded upon the ground, the disappointed
witch-queen walked slowly away and finally reached the bank of the great
Here she found a rugged old alligator who lay upon the bank,
weeping with such bitterness that the sight reminded Zixi of her own
recent outburst of sorrow. "Why do you weep, friend?" she asked, for her
experience as a witch had long since taught her the language of the
beasts and birds and reptiles.
"Because I cannot climb a tree," answered the alligator.
"But why do you wish to climb a tree?" she questioned, surprised.
"Because I can't," returned the alligator, squeezing two more
tears from his eyes.
"But that is very foolish!" exclaimed the witch-queen scornfully.
"Oh, I don't know," said the alligator. "It doesn't strike me
that it's much more foolish than the fancies some other people have."
"Perhaps not," replied Zixi more gently, and walked away in deep
While she followed the river bank to find a ferry across, the
dusk fell, and presently a gray owl came out of a hollow in a tall tree
and sat upon a limb, wailing dismally. Zixi stopped and looked at the
bird. "Why do you wail so loudly?" she asked.
"Because I cannot swim in the river like a fish," answered the
owl, and it screeched so sadly that it made the queen shiver.
"Why do you wish to swim?" she inquired.
"Because I can't," said the owl, and buried its head under its
wing with a groan.
"But that is absurd!" cried Zixi with impatience.
The owl had an ear out and heard her. So it withdrew its head
long enough to retort, "I don't think it's any more absurd than the
longings of some other folks."
"Perhaps you are right," said the queen, and hung her head as she
walked on. By and by she found a ferryman with a boat, and he agreed to
row her across the river. In one end of the boat crouched a little girl,
the ferryman's daughter, and she sobbed continually, so that the sound of
the child's grief finally attracted Zixi's attention. "Why do you sob?"
questioned the queen.
"Because I want to be a man," replied the child, trying to stifle
"Why do you want to be a man?" asked Zixi curiously.
"Because I'm a little girl," was the reply.
This made Zixi angry. "You're a little fool!" she exclaimed
"There are other fools in the world," said the child, and renewed
Zixi did not reply, but she thought to herself, "We are all
alike--the alligator, the owl, the girl, and the powerful Queen of Ix.
We long for what we cannot have, yet desire it not so much because it
would benefit us as because it is beyond our reach. If I call the others
fools, I must also call myself a fool for wishing to see the reflection
of a beautiful girl in my mirror when I know it is impossible. So
hereafter I shall strive to be contented with my lot."
This was a wise resolution, and the witch-queen abided by it for
many years. She was not very bad, this Zixi, for it must be admitted
that few have the courage to acknowledge their faults and strive to
correct them as she did.
CHAPTER 15 THE PLAIN ABOVE THE CLOUDS
I have already mentioned how high the mountains were between
Noland and the land of Ix, but at the north of the city of Nole were
mountains much higher--so high, indeed, that they seemed to pierce the
clouds, and it was said the moon often stopped on the highest peak to
rest. It was not one single slope up from the lowlands, but first there
was a high mountain with a level plain at the top, and then another high
mountain rising from the level and capped with a second plain, and then
another mountain, and so on; which made them somewhat resemble a pair of
stairs. So that the people of Nole, who looked upon the North Mountains
with much pride, used to point them out as "The Giant's Stairway,"
forgetting that no giant was ever big enough to use such an immense flight
Many people had climbed the first mountain, and upon the plain at
its top flocks of sheep were fed; and two or three people boasted they
had climbed the second steep; but beyond that the mountains were all
unknown to the dwellers in the valley of Noland. As a matter of fact, no
one lived upon them; they were inhabited only by a few small animals and
an occasional vulture or eagle which nested in some rugged crag. But at
the top of all was an enormous plain that lay far above the clouds, and
here the Roly-Rogues dwelt in great numbers.
I must describe these Roly-Rogues to you, for they were unlike
any other people in all the world. Their bodies were as round as a
ball--if you can imagine a ball fully four feet in thickness at the
middle. And their muscles were as tough and elastic as india rubber.
They had heads and arms resembling our own, and very short legs, and all
these they could withdraw into their ball-like bodies whenever they
wished, very much as a turtle withdraws its legs and head into its shell.
The Roly-Rogues lived all by themselves in their country among
the clouds, and there were thousands and thousands of them. They were
quarrelsome by nature, but could seldom hurt one another because if they
fought they could withdraw their arms and legs and heads into their
bodies and roll themselves at one another with much fierceness. But when
they collided, they would bounce apart again, and little harm was done.
In spite of their savage disposition, the Roly-Rogues had as yet
done no harm to anyone but themselves, as they lived so high above the
world that other people knew nothing of their existence. Nor did they
themselves know, because of the clouds that floated between, of the
valleys which lay below them.
But as ill luck would have it, a few days after King Bud's army
had defeated the army of Ix, one of the Roly-Rogues, while fighting with
another, rolled too near the edge of the plain whereon they dwelt, and
bounded down the mountainside that faced Noland. Wind had scattered the
clouds, so his fellows immediately rolled themselves to the edge and
watched the luckless Roly-Rogue fly down the mountain, bounce across the
plain and thence speed down the next mountain. By and by he became a dot
to their eyes and then a mere speck, but as the clouds had just rolled
away for a few moments, the Roly-Rogues could see, by straining their
eyes, the city of Nole lying in the valley far below.
It seemed from that distance merely a toy city, but they knew it
must be a big place to show so far away, and since they had no cities of
their own, they became curious to visit the one they had just discovered.
The ruler of the Roly-Rogues, who was more quarrelsome than any of the
rest, had a talk with his chief men about visiting the unknown city. "We
can roll down the mountain just as our brother did," he argued.
"But how in the world could we ever get back again?" said one of
the chiefs, sticking his head up to look with astonishment at the other.
"We don't want to get back," said the other excitedly. "Someone
has built many houses and palaces at the foot of the mountains, and we
can live in those if they are big enough and if there are enough of
"Perhaps the people won't let us," suggested another chief who
was not in favor of the expedition.
"We will fight them and destroy them," retorted the ruler,
scowling at the chief as if he would make him ashamed of his cowardice.
"Then we must all go together," said a third chief, "for if only
a few go, we may find ourselves many times outnumbered and at last be
"Every Roly-Rogue in the country shall go!" declared the ruler,
who brooked no opposition when once he had made up his mind to a thing.
On the plain grew a grove of big thorn trees bearing thorns as
long and sharp as swords, so the ruler commanded each of his people to
cut two of the thorns, one for each hand, with which to attack whatever
foes they might meet when they reached the unknown valley. Then, on a
certain day, all the hundreds and thousands of Roly-Rogues that were in
existence assembled upon the edge of their plain and, at the word of
their ruler, hurled themselves down the mountain with terrible cries and
went bounding away toward the peaceful city of Nole.
CHAPTER 16 THE DESCENT OF THE ROLY-ROGUES
King Bud and Princess Fluff were leading very happy and peaceful
lives in their beautiful palace. All wars and dangers seemed at an end,
and there was nothing to disturb their content. All the gold that was
needed the royal pursebearer was able to supply from his overflowing
purse. The gigantic General Tollydob became famous throughout the world,
and no nation dared attack the army of Noland. The talking dog of old
Tallydab made everyone wonder, and people came many miles to see Ruffles
and hear him speak. It was said that all this good fortune had been
brought to Noland by the pretty Princess Fluff, who was a favorite of the
fairies, and the people loved her on this account as well as for her
bright and sunny disposition.
King Bud caused his subjects some little anxiety, to be sure, for
they never could tell what he was liable to do next, except that he was
sure to do something unexpected. But much is forgiven a king, and if Bud
made some pompous old noble-man stand on his head to amuse a mob of
people, he would give him a good dinner afterward and fill his purse with
gold to make up for the indignity. Fluff often reproved her brother for
such pranks, but Bud's soul was flooded with mischief, and it was hard
for him to resist letting a little of the surplus escape now and then.
After all, the people were fairly content and prosperous, and no
one was at all prepared for the disaster soon to overtake them. One day,
while King Bud was playing at ball with some of his courtiers on a field
outside the city gates, the first warning of trouble reached him. Bud
had batted a ball high into the air, and while looking upward for it to
descend, he saw another ball bound from the plain at the top of the North
Mountains, fly into the air, and then sink gradually toward him. As it
approached, it grew bigger and bigger until it assumed mammoth
proportions, and then, while the courtiers screamed in terror, the great
ball struck the field near them, bounced high into the air, and came down
directly upon the sharp point of one of the palace towers, where it stuck
fast with a yell that sounded almost human.
For some moments Bud and his companions were motionless through
surprise and fear, then they rushed into the city and stood among the
crowd of people which had congregated at the foot of the tower to stare
at the big ball impaled upon its point. Once in a while, two arms, two
short legs and head would dart out from the ball and wiggle frantically,
and then the yell would be repeated and the head and limbs withdrawn
swiftly into the ball.
It was all so curious that the people were justified in staring
at it in amazement, for certainly no one had ever seen or heard of a
Roly-Rogue before, or even known such a creature existed. Finally, as no
one else could reach the steeple-top, Aunt Rivette flew into the air and
circled slowly around the ball. When next its head was thrust out, she
called, "Are you a mud turtle or a man?"
"I'll show you which if I get hold of you," answered the
"Where did you come from?" asked Aunt Rivette, taking care the
wiggling arms did not grab her.
"That is none of your business," said the Roly-Rogue. "But I
didn't intend to come, that you may depend upon."
"Are you hurt?" she inquired, seeing that the struggles of the
creature made him spin around upon the steeple point like a windmill.
"No, I'm not hurt at all," declared the Roly-Rogue, "but I'd like
to know how to get down."
"What would you do if we helped you to get free?" asked Aunt
"I'd fight every one of those idiots who are laughing at me down
there!" said the creature, its eyes flashing wickedly.
"Then you'd best stay where you are," returned old Rivette, who
flew back to earth again to tell Bud what the Roly-Rogue had said.
"I believe that is the best place for him," said Bud, "so we'll
let him stay where he is. He's not very ornamental, I must say, but he's
very safe up there on top of the steeple."
"We might have him gilded," proposed the old woman, "and then
he'd look better."
"I'll think it over," said the king, and he went away to finish
his ball game.
The people talked and wondered about the queer creature on the
steeple, but no one could say where it came from or what it was; they
were naturally much puzzled. The next day was bright with sunshine, so
early in the forenoon Bud and Fluff had the royal cook fill their baskets
with good things to eat and set out to picnic on the bank of the river
that separated Noland from the kingdom of Ix. They rode ponies to reach
the river sooner than by walking, and their only companions were
Tallydab, the lord high steward, and his talking dog Ruffles.
It was after this picnic party had passed over the mountain and
were securely hidden from anyone in the city of Nole that the ruler of
the Roly-Rogues and his thousands of followers hurled themselves down
from their land above the clouds and began bounding toward the plain
The people first heard a roar that sounded like distant thunder,
and when they looked toward the North Mountains they saw the air black
with tiny bouncing balls that seemed to drop from the drifting clouds
which always had obscured the highest peak. But although appearing small
when first seen, these balls grew rapidly larger as they came nearer, and
then, with sharp reports like pistol shots, they began dropping upon the
plain by dozens and hundreds and then thousands.
As soon as they touched the ground, they bounded upward again,
like rubber balls the children throw upon the floor, but each bound was
less violent than the one preceding it, until finally within the streets
of the city and upon all the fields surrounding it lay the thousands of
Roly-Rogues that had fallen from the mountain peak.
At first they lay still, as if stunned by their swift journey and
collision with the hard earth, but after a few seconds they recovered,
thrust out their heads and limbs, and scrambled upon their flat feet.
Then the savage Roly-Rogues uttered hoarse shouts of joy, for they were
safely arrived at the city they had seen from afar, and the audacious
adventure was a success.
CHAPTER 17 THE CONQUEST OF NOLAND
It would be impossible to describe the amazement of the people of
Nole when the Roly-Rogues came upon them. Not only was the descent
wholly unexpected, but the appearance of the invaders was queer enough to
strike terror to the stoutest heart. Their round bodies were supported
by short, strong legs having broad, flattened feet to keep them steady.
Their arms were short, and the fingers of their hands, while not long,
were very powerful.
But the heads were the most startling portions of these strange
creatures. They were flat and thick on the top, with leathery rolls
around their necks; so that, when the head was drawn in, its upper part
rounded out the surface of the ball. In this peculiar head the
Roly-Rogue had two big eyes as shiny as porcelain, a small, stubby nose,
and a huge mouth. Their strange, leather-like clothing fitted their
bodies closely and was of different colors--green, yellow, red and brown.
Taken altogether, the Roly-Rogues were not pretty to look at, and
although their big eyes gave them a startled or astonished expression,
nothing seemed ever to startle or astonish them in the least. When they
arrived in the valley of Nole, they scrambled to their feet, extended
their long arms with the thorns clasped tight in their talon-like
fingers, and rushed in a furious crowd and with loud cries upon the
The soldiers of Tollydob's brave army had not even time to seize
their weapons, for such a foe coming upon them through the air had never
been dreamed of. And the men of Nole, who might have resisted the enemy,
were too much frightened to do more than tremble violently and gasp with
open mouths. As for the women and children, they fled screaming into the
houses and bolted or locked the doors, which was doubtless the wisest
thing they could have done.
General Tollydob was asleep when the calamity of this invasion
occurred, but hearing the shouts, he ran out of his mansion and met
several of the Roly-Rogues face to face. Without hesitation the brave
general rushed upon them, but two of the creatures promptly rolled
themselves against him from opposite directions so that the ten-foot
giant was crushed between them until there was not a particle of breath
left in his body. No sooner did these release him than two other
Roly-Rogues rolled toward him; but Tollydob was not to be caught twice,
so he gave a mighty jump and jumped right over their heads, with the
result that the balls crashed against each other.
This made the two Roly-Rogues so angry that they began to fight
each other savagely, and the general started to run away. But other foes
rolled after him, knocked him down and stuck their thorns into him until
he yelled for mercy and promised to become their slave.
Tullydub, the chief counselor, watched all this from his window,
and it frightened him so greatly that he crawled under his bed and hid,
hoping the creatures would not find him. But their big, round eyes were
sharp at discovering things, so the Roly-Rogues had not been in
Tullydub's room two minutes before he was dragged from beneath his bed
and prodded with thorns until he promised obedience to his conquerors.
The lord high pursebearer at the first alarm dug a hole in the
garden of the royal palace and buried his purse so no one could find it
but himself. But he might have saved himself this trouble, for the
Roly-Rogues knew nothing of money or its uses, being accustomed to
seizing whatever they desired without a thought of rendering payment for
it. Having buried his purse, old Tillydib gave himself up to the
invaders as their prisoner, and this saved him the indignity of being
The lord high executioner may really be credited with making the
only serious fight of the day, for when the Roly-Rogues came upon him,
Tellydeb seized his ax, and before the enemy could come near, he reached
out his long arm and cleverly sliced the heads off several of their round
bodies. The others paused for a moment, being unused to such warfare and
not understanding how an arm could reach so far.
But seeing their heads were in danger, about a hundred of the
creatures formed themselves into balls and rolled upon the executioner in
a straight line, hoping to crush him. They could not see what happened
after they began to roll, their heads being withdrawn, but Tellydeb
watched them speed toward him and stepping aside, he aimed a strong blow
with his ax at the body of the first Roly-Rogue that passed him. Instead
of cutting the rubber-like body, the ax bounded back and flew from
Tellydeb's hand into the air, falling farther away than the long arm of
the executioner could reach. Therefore he was left helpless and was wise
enough to surrender without further resistance.
Finding no one else to resist them, the Roly-Rogues contented
themselves with bounding against the terrorized people, great and humble
alike, and knocking them over, laughing boisterously at the figures
sprawling in the mud of the streets. And then they would prick the
bodies of the men with their sharp thorns, making them spring to their
feet again with shrieks of fear, only to be bowled over again the next
But the monsters soon grew weary of this amusement, for they were
anxious to explore the city they had so successfully invaded. They
flocked into the palace and public buildings and gazed eagerly at the
many beautiful and, to them, novel things that were found. The mirrors
delighted them, and they fought one another for the privilege of standing
before the glasses to admire the reflections of their horrid bodies.
They could not sit in the chairs, for the round bodies would not
fit them; neither could the Roly-Rogues understand the use of beds. For
when they rested or slept, the creatures merely withdrew their limbs and
heads, rolled over upon their backs, and slept soundly no matter where
they might be.
The shops were all entered and robbed of their wares, the
Roly-Rogues wantonly destroying all that they could not use. They were
like ostriches in eating anything that looked attractive to them; one of
the monsters swallowed several pretty glass beads, and some of the more
inquisitive of them invaded the grocery shops and satisfied their
curiosity by tasting of nearly everything in sight. It was funny to see
their wry faces when they sampled the salt and vinegar.
Presently the entire city was under the dominion of the
Roly-Rogues, who forced the unhappy people to wait upon them and amuse
them; and if any hesitated to obey their commands, the monsters would
bump against them, pull their hair, and make them suffer most miserably.
Aunt Rivette was in her room at the top of the palace when the
Roly-Rogues invaded the city of Nole. At first she was as much
frightened as the others, but she soon remembered she could escape the
creatures by flying, so she quietly watched them from the windows. By
and by, as they explored the palace, they came to Aunt Rivette's room and
broke in the door, but the old woman calmly stepped out of her window
upon a little iron balcony, spread her great wings, and flew away before
the Roly-Rogues could catch her.
Then she soared calmly through the air, and having remembered that
Bud and Fluff had gone to the river on a picnic, she flew swiftly in that
direction and before long came to where the children and old Tallydab
were eating their luncheon, while the dog Ruffles, who was in good
spirits, sang a comic song to amuse them.
They were much surprised to see Aunt Rivette flying toward them,
but when she alighted and told Bud that his kingdom had been conquered by
the Roly-Rogues and all his people enslaved, the little party was so
astonished that they stared at one another in speechless amazement. "Oh,
Bud, what shall we do?" finally asked Fluff in distress.
"Don't know," said Bud, struggling to swallow a large piece of
sandwich that in his excitement had stuck fast in his throat.
"One thing is certain," remarked Aunt Rivette, helping herself to
a slice of cake, "our happy lives are now ruined forever. We should be
foolish to remain here, and the sooner we escape to some other country
where the Roly-Rogues cannot find us, the safer we shall be."
"But why run away?" asked Bud. "Can't something else be done?
Here, Tallydab, you're one of my counselors. What do you say about this
Now the lord high steward was a deliberate old fellow, and before
he replied he dusted the crumbs from his lap, filled and lighted his long
pipe, and smoked several whiffs in a thoughtful manner. "It strikes me,"
said he at last, "that by means of the Princess Fluff's magic cloak we
can either destroy or scatter these rascally invaders and restore the
kingdom to peace and prosperity."
"Sure enough!" replied Bud. "Why didn't we think of that
"You will have to make the wish, Bud," said Fluff, "for all the
rest of us have wished, and you have not made yours yet."
"All right," answered the king. "If I must, I must. But I'm
sorry I have to do it now, for I was saving my wish for something else."
"But where's the cloak?" asked the dog, rudely breaking into the
conversation. "You can't wish without the cloak."
"The cloak is locked up in a drawer in my room at the palace,"
"And our enemies have possession of the palace," continued
Tallydab gloomily. "Was there ever such ill luck!"
"Never mind," said Aunt Rivette. "I'll fly back and get it.
That is, if the Roly-Rogues have not already broken open the drawer and
discovered the cloak."
"Please go at once, then!" exclaimed Fluff. "Here is the key."
And she unfastened it from the chain at her neck and handed it to her
aunt. "But be careful, whatever you do, that those horrible creatures do
not catch you."
"I'm not afraid," said Aunt Rivette confidently. And taking the
key, the old lady at once flew away in the direction of the city of Nole,
promising to return very soon.
CHAPTER 18 THE BRAVERY OF AUNT RIVETTE
The Roly-Rogues were so busy rioting that they did not look into
the air and discover Aunt Rivette flying over the city. So she alighted,
all unobserved, upon a balcony of the palace just outside the chamber of
the Princess Fluff and succeeded in entering the room. The creatures had
ransacked this apartment as they had every other part of the royal
palace, and Fluff's pretty dresses and ornaments were strewn about in
dreadful confusion. But the drawer in which rested the magic cloak was
still locked, and in a few moments the old woman had the precious garment
in her hands.
It was, as we know, the imitation cloak Queen Zixi had made and
exchanged for the real one, but so closely did it resemble the fairy
cloak that Aunt Rivette had no idea she was carrying a useless garment
back to her little niece and nephew. On the contrary, she thought to
herself, "Now we can quickly dispose of these monstrous rogues and drive
them back to their own country."
Hearing someone moving about in the next room, she ran to the
window and soon was flying away with the cloak to the place where she had
left Bud and Fluff. "Good!" cried the lord high steward when he saw the
cloak. "Now we have nothing more to fear. Put on your cloak, your
Majesty, and make the wish."
Bud threw the cloak over his shoulders. "What shall I wish?" he
"Let me see," answered Tallydab. "What we want is to get rid of
these invaders. Wish them all in the kingdom of Ix."
"Oh, no!" cried Fluff. "It would be wicked to injure Queen Zixi
and her people. Let us wish the Roly-Rogues back where they came from."
"That would be folly!" said the dog Ruffles with an accent of
scorn. "For they could easily return again to our city of Nole, having
once learned the way there."
"That is true," agreed Aunt Rivette. "The safest thing to do is
to wish them all dead."
"But it would be an awful job to bury so many great balls,"
objected Bud. "It would keep all our people busy for a month at least."
"Why not wish them dead and buried?" asked Ruffles. "Then they
would be out of the way for good and all."
"A capital idea!" responded Tallydab.
"But I haven't seen these curious creatures yet," said Bud, "and
if I now wish them all dead and buried, I shall never get a glimpse of
one of them. So let's walk boldly into the city, and when they appear to
interfere with us, I'll make the wish and the Roly-Rogues will instantly
So the entire party returned to the city of Nole; Bud and Fluff
riding their ponies, Aunt Rivette fluttering along beside them, and the
lord high steward walking behind with his dog. The Roly-Rogues were so
much surprised to see this little party boldly entering the streets of the
city and showing no particle of fear of them that they at first made no
offer to molest them. Even when Bud roared with laughter at their queer
appearance and called them "mud-turtles" and "footballs" they did not
resent the insults, for they had never heard of either a turtle or a
When the party had reached the palace and the children had
dismounted, Bud laughed yet louder, for the gigantic General Tollydob
came to the kitchen door wearing an apron while he polished a big
dishpan, the Roly-Rogues having made him a scullion.
The ruler of the Roly-Rogues was suffering from a tooth-ache, so
he had rolled himself into a ball and made old Tullydub, the lord high
counselor, rock him gently as he lay upon his back, just as one would
rock a baby's cradle. Jikki was scratching the back of another
Roly-Rogue with a sharp garden rake, while Jikki's six servants stood in
a solemn row at his back. They would do anything for Jikki, but they
would not lift a finger to serve anyone else, so the old valet had to do
the scratching unaided.
These six young men had proved a great puzzle to the Roly-Rogues,
for they found it impossible to touch them or injure them in any way; so,
after several vain attempts to conquer them, they decided to leave
Jikki's servants alone. The lord high pursebearer was waving a fan to
keep the flies off two of the slumbering monsters, and the lord high
executioner was feeding another Roly-Rogue with soup from a great ladle,
the creature finding much amusement in being fed in this manner.
King Bud, feeling sure of making all his enemies disappear with a
wish, found rare sport in watching his periwigged counselors thus serving
their captors; so he laughed and made fun of them until the Roly-Rogue
ruler stuck out his head and commanded the boy to run away. "Why, you
ugly rascals, I'm the King of Noland," replied Bud, "so you'd better show
me proper respect."
With that he picked up a good-sized pebble and threw it at the
ruler. It struck him just over his aching tooth, and with a roar of anger
the Roly-Rogue bounded toward Bud and his party. The assault was so
sudden that they had much ado to scramble out of the way, and as soon as
Bud could escape the rush of the huge ball, he turned squarely around and
shouted, "I wish every one of the Roly-Rogues dead and buried!"
Hearing this and seeing that the king wore the magic cloak, all
the high counselors at once raised a joyful shout, and Fluff and Bud
gazed upon the Roly-Rogues expectantly, thinking that of course they
would disappear. But Zixi's cloak had no magic powers whatever; and now
dozens of the Roly-Rogues, aroused to anger, bounded toward Bud's little
I am sure the result would have been terrible had not Aunt
Rivette suddenly come to the children's rescue. She threw one lean arm
around Bud and the other around Fluff, and then, quickly fluttering her
wings, she flew with them to the roof of the palace, which they reached
in safety. The lord high steward and his dog went down before the rush,
and the next moment old Tallydab was crying loudly for mercy, while
Ruffles limped away to a safe spot beneath a bench under an apple tree,
howling at every step and shouting angry epithets at the Roly-Rogues.
"I wonder what's wrong with the cloak," gasped Bud. "The old
thing's a fraud; it didn't work."
"Something went wrong, that's certain," replied Fluff. "You're
sure you hadn't wished before, aren't you?"
"Yes, I'm sure," said Bud.
"Perhaps," said Aunt Rivette, "the fairies have no power over
these horrible creatures."
"That must be it, of course," said the princess. "But what shall
we do now? Our country is entirely conquered by these monsters, so it
isn't a safe place for us to stay in."
"I believe I can carry you anywhere you'd like to go," said Aunt
Rivette. "You're not so very heavy."
"Suppose we go to Queen Zixi and ask her to protect us?" the
"That's all right if she doesn't bear us a grudge. You know we
knocked out her whole army," remarked Bud.
"Quavo the minstrel says she is very beautiful and kind to her
people," said the girl.
"Well, there's no one else we can trust," Bud answered gloomily,
"so we may as well try Zixi. But if you drop either of us on the way,
Aunt Rivette, I'll have to call in the lord high executioner."
"Never fear," said the old woman. "If I drop you, you'll never
know what has happened. So each one of you put an arm around my neck and
cling tight and I'll soon carry you over the mountain and the river into
the kingdom of Ix."
CHAPTER 19 IN THE PALACE OF THE WITCH-QUEEN
Bud and Fluff were surprised at the magnificence of the city of
Ix. The witch-queen had reigned there so many centuries that she found
plenty of time to carry out her ideas; and the gardens, shrubbery and
buildings were beautifully planned and cared for. The splendid palace of
the queen was in the center of a delightful park, with white marble walks
leading up to the front door. Aunt Rivette landed the children at the
entrance to this royal park, and they walked slowly toward the palace,
admiring the gleaming white statues, the fountains and flowers as they
It was beginning to grow dusk, and the lights were gleaming in
the palace windows when they reached it. Dozens of liveried servants
were standing near the entrance, and some of these escorted the strangers
with much courtesy to a reception room. There a gray-haired master of
ceremonies met them and asked in what way he might serve them.
This politeness almost took Bud's breath away, for he had
considered Queen Zixi in the light of an enemy rather than a friend; but
he decided not to sail under false colors, so he drew himself up in royal
fashion and answered, "I am King Bud of Noland, and this is my sister,
Princess Fluff and my Aunt Rivette. My kingdom has been conquered by a
horde of monsters, and I have come to the Queen of Ix to ask her
The master of ceremonies bowed low and said, "I am sure Queen
Zixi will be glad to assist your Majesty. Permit me to escort you to
rooms that you may prepare for an interview with her as soon as she can
receive you." So they were led to luxurious chambers and were supplied
with perfumed baths and clean rainment, which proved very refreshing
after their tedious journey through the air.
It was now evening, and when they were ushered into the queen's
reception room, the palace was brilliantly lighted. Zixi, since her
great disappointment in the lilac grove, had decided that her longing to
behold a beautiful reflection in her mirror was both impossible and
foolish, so she had driven the desire from her heart and devoted herself
to ruling her kingdom wisely as she had ruled before the idea of stealing
the magic cloak had taken possession of her. And when her mind was in
normal condition, the witch-queen was very sweet and agreeable in
So Queen Zixi greeted Bud and his sister and aunt with great
kindness, kissing Fluff affectionately upon her cheek and giving her own
hand to Bud to kiss. It is not strange that the children considered her
the most beautiful person they had ever beheld, and to them she was as
gentle as beautiful, listening with much interest to their tale of the
invasion of the Roly-Rogues and promising to assist them by every means
in her power.
This made Bud somewhat ashamed of his past enmity, so he said
bluntly, "I am sorry we defeated your army and made them run."
"Why, that was the only thing you could do when I had invaded
your dominion," answered Zixi. "I admit that you were in the right, and
that I deserved my defeat."
"But why did you try to conquer us?" asked Fluff.
"Because I wanted to secure the magic cloak, of which I had heard
so much," returned the queen frankly.
"Oh!" said the girl.
"But of course, you understand that if I had known the magic
cloak could not grant any more wishes I would not have been so eager to
secure it," continued Zixi.
"No," said Bud. "The old thing won't work any more, and we
nearly got captured by the Roly-Rogues before we found it out."
"Oh, have you the cloak again?" asked Zixi with a look of
"Yes indeed," returned the prisoner. "It was locked up in my
drawer, and Aunt Rivette managed to get it for me before the Roly-Rogues
could find it."
"Locked in your drawer?" repeated the queen musingly. "Then I am
sorry to say you have not the fairy cloak at all, but the imitation one."
"What do you mean?" asked Fluff, greatly surprised.
"Why, I must make a confession," said Zixi with a laugh. "I
tried many ways to steal your magic cloak. First I came to Nole as 'Miss
Trust.' Do you remember?"
"Oh yes!" cried Fluff. "And I mistrusted you from the first."
"And then I sent my army to capture the cloak. But when both of
these plans failed, I disguised myself as the girl Adlena!"
"Adlena!" exclaimed the princess. "Why, I've often wondered what
became of my maid Adlena and why she left me so suddenly and
"Well, she exchanged an imitation cloak for the one the fairies
had given you," said Zixi with a smile. "And then she ran away with the
precious garment, leaving in your drawer a cloak that resembled the magic
garment but had no magical charms."
"How dreadful!" said Fluff.
"But it did me no good," went on the queen sadly, "for when I
made a wish the cloak could not grant it."
"Because it was stolen!" cried the girl eagerly. "The fairy who
gave it to me said that if the cloak was stolen, it would never grant a
wish to the thief."
"Oh," said Zixi, astonished. "I did not know that."
"Of course not," Fluff replied with a rather triumphant smile.
"But if you had only come to me and told me frankly that you wanted to
use the cloak, I would gladly have lent it to you, and then you could
have had your wish."
"Well, well!" said Zixi, much provoked with herself. "To think I
have been so wicked all for nothing when I might have succeeded without
the least trouble had I frankly asked for what I wanted!"
"But see here!" said Bud, beginning to understand the tangle of
events. "I must have worn the imitation cloak when I made my wish, and
that was the reason that my wish didn't come true."
"To be sure," rejoined Fluff. "And so it is nothing but the
imitation cloak we have brought here."
"No wonder it would not destroy and bury the Roly-Rogues!"
declared the boy sulkily. "But if this is the imitation, where then is
the real magic cloak?"
"Why, I believe I left it in the lilac grove," replied Zixi.
"Then we must find it at once," said Bud, "for only by its aid can
we get rid of those Roly-Rogues."
"And afterward I will gladly lend it to you also; I promise now to
lend it to you," said Fluff, turning to the queen, "and your wish will be
fulfilled after all--whatever it may be."
This expression of kindness and good will brought great joy to
Zixi, and she seized the generous child in her arms and kissed her with
real gratitude. "We will start for the lilac grove tomorrow morning,"
she exclaimed delightedly, "and before night both King Bud and I will
have our wishes fulfilled!"
Then the witch-queen led them to her royal banquet hall, where a
most delightful dinner was served. And all the courtiers and officers of
Zixi bowed low, first before the King of Noland and then before his sweet
little sister, and promised them the friendship of the entire kingdom of
Quavo the wandering minstrel chanced to be present that evening,
and he sang a complimentary song about King Bud, and a wonderful song
about the "Flying Lady," meaning Aunt Rivette, and a beautiful song about
the lovely Princess Fluff.
So everyone was happy and contented as they all looked forward to
the morrow to regain the magic cloak and by its means to bring an end to
all their worries.
CHAPTER 20 THE SEARCH FOR THE MAGIC CLOAK
The sun had scarcely risen next morning when our friends left the
city of Ix in search of the magic cloak. All were mounted on strong
horses with a dozen soldiers riding behind to protect them from harm,
while the royal steward of the witch-queen followed with two donkeys
laden with hampers of provisions from which to feed the travelers on
It was a long journey to the wide river, but they finally reached
it and engaged the ferryman to take them across. The ferryman did not
like to visit the other shore, which was in the kingdom of Noland, for
several of the Roly-Rogues had already been seen upon the mountaintop.
But the guard of soldiers reassured the man, so he rowed his big boat
across with the entire party and set them safely on the shore. The
ferryman's little daughter was in the boat, but she was not sobbing
today. On the contrary, her face was all smiles. "Do you not still wish
to be a man?" asked Zixi, patting the child's head.
"No indeed!" answered the little maid. "For I have discovered
all men must work very hard to support their wives and children and to
buy them food and rainment. So I have changed my mind about becoming a
man, especially as that would be impossible."
It was not far from the ferry to the grove of lilacs, and as they
rode along, Zixi saw the gray old owl sitting contentedly in a tree and
pruning (sic) its feathers. "Are you no longer wailing because you
cannot swim in the river?" asked the witch-queen, speaking in the owl
"No indeed," answered the gray owl. "For, as I watched a fish
swimming in the water, a man caught it on a sharp hook, and the fish was
killed. I believe I'm safer in a tree."
"I believe so, too," said Zixi, and rode along more thoughtfully,
for she remembered her own desire and wondered if it would also prove
foolish. Just as they left the riverbank, she noticed the old alligator
sunning himself happily upon the bank. "Have you ceased weeping because
you cannot climb a tree?" asked the witch-queen.
"Of course," answered the alligator, opening one eye to observe
his questioner. "For a boy climbed a tree near me yesterday and fell out
of it and broke his leg. It is quite foolish to climb trees. I'm sure I
am safer in the water." Zixi made no reply, but she agreed with the
alligator, who called after her sleepily, "Isn't it fortunate we cannot
have everything we are stupid enough to wish for?"
Shortly afterward they left the riverbank and approached the
lilac grove, the witch-queen riding first through the trees to show the
place where she had dropped the magic cloak. She knew it was near the
little spring where she had gazed at her reflection in the water, but
although they searched over every inch of ground, they could discover no
trace of the lost cloak. "It is really too bad!" exclaimed Zixi with
vexation. "Someone must have come through the grove and taken the cloak
"But we must find it," said Bud earnestly, "for otherwise I shall
not be able to rescue my people from the Roly-Rogues."
"Let us inquire of everyone we meet if they have seen the cloak,"
suggested Princess Fluff. "In that way we may discover who has taken
So they made a camp on the edge of the grove, and for two days
they stopped and questioned all who passed that way. But none had ever
seen or heard of a cloak like that described. Finally an old shepherd
came along, hobbling painfully after a flock of sheep, for he suffered
much from rheumatism. "We have lost a beautiful cloak in the lilac
grove," said Zixi to the shepherd.
"When did you lose it?" asked the old man, pausing to lean upon
"Several days ago," returned the queen. "It was bright as the
rainbow and woven with threads finer than--"
"I know, I know!" interrupted the shepherd. "For I myself found
it lying upon the ground beneath the lilac trees."
"Hurrah!" cried Bud gleefully. "At last we have found it!" And
all the others were fully as delighted as he was.
"But where have you put the cloak?" inquired Zixi.
"Why, I gave it to Dame Dingle, who lives under the hill yonder,"
replied the man, pointing far away over the fields, "and she gave me in
exchange some medicine for my rheumatism, which has made the pain
considerably worse. So today I threw the bottle into the river."
They did not pause to listen further to the shepherd's talk, for
all were now intent on reaching the cottage of Dame Dingle. So the
soldiers saddled the horses, and in a few minutes they were galloping
away toward the hill. It was a long ride over rough ground, but finally
they came near the hill and saw a tiny, tumbledown cottage just at its
foot. Hastily dismounting, Bud, Fluff and the queen rushed into the
cottage, where a wrinkled old woman was bent nearly double over a crazy
quilt upon which she was sewing patches.
"Where is the cloak?" cried the three in a breath.
The woman did not raise her head, but counted her stitches in a
slow, monotonous tone. "Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen--"
"Where is the magic cloak?" demanded Zixi, stamping her foot
"Nineteen--" said Dame Dingle slowly. "There! I've broken my
"Answer us at once!" commanded Bud sternly. "Where is the magic
The woman paid no attention to him whatever. She carefully
selected a new needle, threaded it after several attempts, and began anew
to stitch the patch. "Twenty!" she mumbled in a low voice. "Twenty-one--"
But now Zixi snatched the work from her hands and exclaimed, "If
you do not answer at once, I will give you a good beating!"
"That is all right," said the dame, looking up at them through
her spectacles. "The patches take twenty-one stitches on each side, and
if I lose my count I get mixed up. But it's all right now. What do you
"The cloak the old shepherd gave you," replied the queen sharply.
"The pretty cloak with the bright colors?" asked the dame calmly.
"Yes! Yes!" answered the three excitedly.
"Why, that very patch I was sewing was cut from the cloak," said
Dame Dingle. "Isn't it lovely? And it brightens the rest of the crazy
"Do you mean that you have cut up my magic cloak?" asked Fluff in
amazement, while the others were too horrified to speak.
"Certainly," said the woman. "The cloak was too fine for me to
wear, and I needed something bright in my crazy quilt. So I cut up half
of the cloak and made patches of it."
The witch-queen gave a gasp and sat down suddenly upon a rickety
bench. Princess Fluff walked to the door and stood looking out, that the
others might not see the tears of disappointment in her eyes. Bud alone
stood scowling in front of the old dame, and presently he said to her in
a harsh tone, "You ought to be smothered with your own crazy quilt for
daring to cut up the fairy cloak!"
"The fairy cloak!" echoed Dame Dingle. "What do you mean?"
"That cloak was a gift to my sister from the fairies," said Bud,
"and it had a magic charm. Aren't you afraid the fairies will punish you
for what you have done?"
Dame Dingle was greatly dismayed. "How could I know it?" she
asked anxiously. "How could I know it was a magic cloak that old Edi
gave to me?"
"Well, it was, and woven by the fairies themselves," retorted the
boy. "And a whole nation is in danger because you have wickedly cut it
Dame Dingle tried to cry to show that she was sorry and so escape
punishment. She put her apron over her face and rocked back and forth
and made an attempt to squeeze a tear out of her eyes. Suddenly Zixi
jumped up. "Why, it isn't so bad after all!" she exclaimed. "We can sew
the cloak together again!"
"Of course!" said Fluff, coming from the doorway. "Why didn't we
think of that at once?"
"Where is the rest of the cloak?" demanded Zixi. Dame Dingle
went to a chest and drew forth the half of the cloak that had not been
cut up. There was no doubt about its being the magic cloak. The golden
thread Queen Lulea had woven could be seen plainly in the web, and the
brilliant colors were as fresh and lovely as ever. But the flowing skirt
of the cloak had been ruthlessly hacked by Dame Dingle's shears and
presented a sorry plight.
"Get us the patches you have cut!" commanded Zixi, and without a
word the dame drew from her basket five small squares and then ripped
from the crazy quilt the one she had just sewn on.
"But this isn't enough," said Fluff when she had spread the cloak
upon the floor and matched the pieces. "Where is the rest of the cloak?"
"Why, why," stammered Dame Dingle with hesitation. "I gave them
"Gave them away! Who got them?" said Bud.
"Why, some friends of mine were here from the village last
evening, and we traded patches so each of us would have a variety for our
"And I gave each of them one of the patches from the pretty
"Well, you are a ninny!" declared Bud scornfully.
"Yes, your Majesty, I believe I am," answered Dame Dingle meekly.
"We must go to the village and gather up those pieces," said
Zixi. "Can you tell us the names of your friends?" she asked the woman.
"Of course," responded Dame Dingle. "They were Nancy Nink, Betty
Barx, Sally Sog, Molly Mitt, and Lucy Lum."
"Before we go the village, let us make Dame Dingle sew these
portions of the cloak together," suggested Fluff.
The dame was good enough to do this, and she threaded her needle
at once. So deft and fine was her needlework that she mended the cloak
most beautifully so that from a short distance away no one could discover
that the cloak had been darned. But a great square was still missing
from the front, and our friends were now eager to hasten to the village.
"This will cause us some delay," said the witch-queen more
cheerfully, "but the cloak will soon be complete again, and then we can
have our wishes."
Fluff took the precious cloak over her arm, and then they all
mounted their horses and rode away toward the village, which Dame Dingle
pointed out from her doorway. Zixi was sorry for the old creature, who
had been more foolish than wicked; and the witch-queen left a bright gold
piece in the woman's hand when she bade her goodbye, which was worth more
to Dame Dingle than three pretty cloaks.
The ground was boggy and uneven, so they were forced to ride
slowly to the little village, but they arrived there at last and began
hunting for the old women who had received pieces of the magic cloak.
They were easily found, and all seemed willing enough to give up their
patches when the importance of the matter was explained to them. At the
witch-queen's suggestion, each woman fitted her patch to the cloak and
sewed it on very neatly, but Lucy Lum, the last of the five, said to the
them, "This is only half of the patch Dame Dingle gave me. The other
part I gave to the miller's wife down in the valley where the river
bends. But I'm sure she will be glad to let you have it. See--it only
requires that small piece to complete the cloak and make it as good as
It was true--the magic cloak, except for a small square at the
bottom, was now complete, and such skillful needlewomen were these
crazy-quilt makers that it was difficult to tell where it had been cut
and afterward mended. But the miller's wife must now be seen, so they
all remounted the horses again except Aunt Rivette, who grumbled that so
much riding made her bones rattle and that she preferred to fly. Which
she did, frightening the horses to such an extent with her wings that Bud
made her keep well in advance of them.
They were all in good spirits now, for soon the magic cloak,
almost as good as new, would be again in their possession, and Fluff and
Bud had been greatly worried over the fate of their friends who had been
left to the mercy of the terrible Roly-Rogues. The path ran in a zigzag
direction down into the valley, but at length it led the party to the
mill, where old Rivette was found sitting in the doorway awaiting them.
The miller's wife, when summoned, came to them drying her hands
on her apron, for she had been washing the dishes. "We want to get the
bright-colored patch Lucy Lum gave you," explained Fluff, "for it was
part of my magic cloak, which the fairies gave to me, and this is the
place where it must be sewn to complete the garment." And she showed the
woman the cloak with the square missing.
"I see," said the miller's wife, nodding her head, "and I am very
sorry I cannot give you the piece to complete your cloak. But the fact
is, I considered it too pretty for my crazy quilt, so I gave it to my son
for a necktie."
"And where is your son?" demanded Zixi.
"Oh, he is gone to sea, for he is a sailor. By this time he is
far away upon the ocean."
Bud, Fluff and the witch-queen looked at one another in despair.
This seemed, indeed, to destroy all their hopes, for the one portion of
the cloak that they needed was far beyond their reach. Nothing remained
but for them to return to Zixi's palace and await the time when the
miller's son should return from his voyage. But before they went, the
queen said to the woman, "When he returns, you may tell your son that if
he will bring to me the necktie you gave him, I will give him in return
fifty gold pieces."
"And I will give him fifty more," said Bud promptly.
"And I will give him enough ribbon to make fifty neckties," added
The miller's wife was delighted at the prospect. "Thank you!
Thank you!" she exclaimed. "My boy's fortune is made. He can now marry
Imogene Gubb and settle down on a farm and give up the sea forever! And
his neckties will be the envy of all the men in the country. As soon as
he returns, I will send him to you with the bit of the cloak which you
But Zixi was so anxious that nothing might happen to prevent the
miller's son from returning the necktie that she left two of her soldiers
at the mill with instructions to bring the man to her palace the instant
he returned home.
As they rode away, they were all very despondent over the ill
luck of their journey. "He may be drowned at sea," said Bud.
"Or he may lose the necktie on the voyage," said Fluff.
"Oh, a thousand things MIGHT happen," returned the queen, "but we
need not make ourselves unhappy imagining them. Let us hope the miller's
son will soon return and restore to us the missing patch." Which showed
that Zixi had not lived six hundred and eighty-three years without
gaining some wisdom.
CHAPTER 21 RUFFLES CARRIES THE SILVER VIAL
When they were back at the witch-queen's palace in the city of Ix,
the queen insisted that Bud and Fluff with their Aunt Rivette should
remain her guests until the cloak could be restored to its former
complete state. And for fear something else might happen to the precious
garment, a silver chest was placed in Princess Fluff's room and the magic
cloak safely locked therein, the key being carried upon the chain around
the girl's neck.
But their plans to wait patiently were soon interfered with by
the arrival at Zixi's court of the talking dog, Ruffles, which had with
much difficulty escaped from the Roly-Rogues. Ruffles brought to them so
sad and harrowing a tale of the sufferings of the five high counselors
and all the people of Noland at the hands of the fierce Roly-Rogues that
Princess Fluff wept bitterly for her friends, and Bud became so cross and
disagreeable that even Zixi was provoked with him.
"Something really must be done," declared the queen. "I'll brew
a magical mess in my witch kettle tonight and see if I can find a way to
destroy those detestable Roly-Rogues."
Indeed, she feared the creatures would some day find their way
into Ix, so when all the rest of those in the palace were sound asleep,
Zixi worked her magic spell, and from the imps she summoned she obtained
advice how to act in order to get rid of the Roly-Rogues. Next morning
she questioned Ruffles carefully. "What do the Roly-Rogues eat?" she
"Everything," said the dog, "for they have no judgment and
consume buttons and hairpins as eagerly as they do food. But there is
one thing they are really fond of, and that is soup. They oblige old
Tollydob, the lord high general who works in the palace kitchen, to make
them a kettle of soup every morning, and this they all eat as if they
were half starving."
"Very good!" exclaimed the witch-queen with pleasure. "I think I
see a way of ridding all Noland of these monsters. Here is a Silver Vial
filled with a magic liquid. I will tie it around your neck, and you must
return to the city of Nole and carry the vial to Tollydob, the lord high
general. Tell him that on Thursday morning, when he makes the kettle of
soup, he must put the contents of the vial into the compound. But let no
one taste it afterward except the Roly-Rogues."
"And what then?" asked Ruffles curiously.
"Then I will myself take charge of the monsters, and I have
reason to believe the good citizens of Noland will no longer find
"All right," said the dog. "I will do as you bid me, for I long
to free my master and have revenge on the Roly-Rogues."
So Queen Zixi tied the Silver Vial to the dog's neck by means of
a broad ribbon, and he started at once to return to Nole. And when he
had gone, the queen summoned all her generals and bade them assemble the
entire army and prepare to march into Noland again. Only this time,
instead of being at enmity with the people of Noland, the army of Ix was
to march to their relief, and instead of bearing swords and spears, each
man bore a coil of strong rope. "For," said Zixi, "swords and spears are
useless where the Roly-Rogues are concerned, as nothing can pierce their
tough, rubber-like bodies. And more nations have been conquered by
cunning than by force of arms."
Bud and Fluff, not knowing what the witch-queen meant to do, were
much disturbed by these preparations to march upon the Roly-Rogues. The
monsters had terrified them so greatly that they dreaded to meet with
them again, and Bud declared that the safest plan was to remain in Zixi's
kingdom and await the coming of the miller's son with the necktie.
"But," remonstrated Zixi, "in the meantime your people are
"I know," said Bud, "and it nearly drives me frantic to think of
it. But they will be no better off if we try to fight the Roly-Rogues and
are ourselves made slaves."
"Why not try the magic cloak as it is," suggested the little
princess, "and see if it won't grant wishes as before? There's only a
small piece missing, and it may not make any difference with the power
the fairies gave to it."
"Hooray!" shouted Bud. "That's a good idea. It's a magic cloak
just the same, even if there is a chunk cut out of it."
Zixi agreed that it was worth a trial, so the cloak was taken
from the silver casket and brought into the queen's reception room. "Let
us try it on one of your maids of honor first," said Fluff, "and if it
grants her wish, we will know the cloak has lost none of its magic
powers. Then you and Bud may both make your wishes."
"Very well," returned the queen, and she summoned one of her
"I am going to give you my cloak," said the princess to the maid,
"and while you wear it, you must make a wish."
She threw the cloak over the girl's shoulders and after a
moment's thought, the maid said, "I wish for a bushel of candies."
"Fudge!" said Bud scornfully.
"No, all kinds of candies," answered the maid of honor. But
although they watched her intently, the wish failed absolutely, for no
bushel of candies appeared in sight.
"Let us try it again," suggested Fluff while the others wore
disappointed expressions. "It was a foolish wish anyhow, and perhaps the
fairies did not care to grant it."
So another maid was called and given the cloak to wear. "And may
I wish for anything I desire?" she asked eagerly.
"Of course," answered the princess, "but as you can have but one
wish, you must choose something sensible."
"Oh, I will," declared the maid. "I wish I had yellow hair and
"Why did you wish that?" asked Fluff angrily, for the girl had
pretty brown hair and eyes.
"Because the young man I am going to marry says he likes blondes
better than brunettes," answered the maid, blushing.
But her hair did not change its color, for all the wish, and the
maid said, with evident disappointment, "Your magic cloak seems to be a
"It does not grant foolish wishes," returned the princess as she
When the maid had gone, Zixi asked, "Well, are you satisfied?"
"Yes," acknowledged Fluff. "The cloak will not grant wishes
unless it is complete. We must wait for the sailorman's necktie."
"Then my army shall march tomorrow morning," said the queen, and
she went away to give the order to her generals.
CHAPTER 22 THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MONSTERS
It was Tuesday when the army of Ix started upon its second march
into Noland. With it were the witch-queen, King Bud, Princess Fluff, and
Aunt Rivette. At evening they encamped on the bank of the river, and on
Wednesday the army was ferried across and marched up the side of the
mountain that separated them from the valley of Noland. By night they
had reached the summit of the mountain, but they did not mount upon the
ridge for fear they might be seen by the Roly-Rogues.
Zixi commanded them all to remain quietly behind the ridge, and
they lighted no fires and spoke only in whispers. And although so many
thousands of men lay close to the valley of Noland, not a sound came from
them to warn the monsters that an enemy was near. Thursday morning
dawned bright and pleasant, and as soon as the sun was up, the
Roly-Rogues came crowding around the palace kitchen demanding that old
Tollydob hurry the preparation of their soup.
This the general did, trembling in spite of his ten feet of
stature, for if they were kept waiting, the monsters were liable to prod
his flesh with their thorns. But Tollydob did not forget to empty the
contents of the Silver Vial into the soup as the dog Ruffles had told him
to do, and soon it was being ladled out to the Roly-Rogues by Jikki, the
four high counselors, and a dozen other enslaved officers of King Bud.
And the dog Ruffles ran through the city, crying to every Roly-Rogue he
met, "Hurry and get your soup before it is gone. It is especially good
So every Roly-Rogue in the valley hurried to the palace kitchen
for soup, and there were so many that it was noon before the last was
served, while these became so impatient that they abused their slaves in
a sad manner. Yet even while the last were eating, those who had earlier
partaken of the soup lay around the palace asleep and snoring loudly, for
the contents of the Silver Vial had the effect of sending all of them to
sleep within an hour and rendering them wholly unconscious for a period
of ten hours.
All through the city the Roly-Rogues lay asleep, and as they
always withdrew their heads and limbs into their bodies when they
slumbered, they presented a spectacle of thousands of huge balls lying
motionless. When the big kettle was finally empty and the lord high
general paused to wipe the perspiration from his brow, the last of the
Roly-Rogues were rolling over on their backs from the effects of the
potion which the witch-queen brewed and placed in the Silver Vial.
Aunt Rivette had been flying over the city since early morning,
and although the Roly-Rogues had been too intent upon their breakfast to
notice her, the old woman's sharp eyes had watched everything that took
place below. Now when all the monsters had succumbed to the
witch-potion, Aunt Rivette flew back to the mountain where the army of Ix
was hidden and carried the news to the witch-queen.
Zixi at once ordered her generals to advance, and the entire army
quickly mounted the summit of the ridge and ran down the side of the
mountain to the gates of the city. The people, who saw that something
unusual was taking place, greeted Bud and Fluff and the witch-queen with
shouts of gladness, and even Aunt Rivette, when she flew down among them,
was given three hearty cheers.
But there was no time for joyous demonstrations while the streets
and public squares were cluttered with the sleeping bodies of the
terrible Roly-Rogues. The army of Ix lost no time in carrying out their
queen's instructions, and as soon as they entered the city they took the
long ropes they carried and wound them fast about the round bodies of the
monsters, securely fastening their heads and limbs into their forms so
that they could not stick them out again.
Their enemies being thus rendered helpless, the people renewed
their shouts of joy and gratitude and eagerly assisted the soldiers of Ix
in rolling all the Roly-Rogues outside the gates and to a wide ledge of
the mountain. The lord high general and all the other counselors threw
away their aprons and symbols of servitude and dressed themselves in
their official robes. The soldiers of Tollydob's army ran for their
swords and pikes, and the women unlocked their doors and trooped into the
streets of Nole for the first time since the descent of the monsters.
But the task of liberation was not yet accomplished. All the
Roly-Rogues had to be rolled up the side of the mountain to the topmost
ridge, and so great was the bulk of their bodies that it took five or six
men to roll each one to the mountaintop, and even then they were obliged
to stop frequently to rest.
But as soon as they got a Roly-Rogue to the ridge, they gave it a
push and sent it bounding down the other side of the mountain until it
fell into the big river flowing swiftly below. During the afternoon all
the Roly-Rogues were thus dumped into the river, where they bobbed up and
down in the water, spinning around and bumping against one another until
the current carried them out of sight on their journey to the sea. It
was rumored later that they had reached an uninhabited island where they
harm no one except themselves.
"I'm glad they floated," said Zixi as she stood upon the mountain
ridge and watched the last of the monsters float out of sight, "for if
they had sunk, they would have filled up the river, there were so many of
It was evening when Noland at last became free from her terrible
tyrants, and the citizens illuminated the entire city that they might
spend the night in feasting and rejoicing over their freedom. The
soldiers of Ix were embraced and made much of, and at all the feasts they
were the honored guests, while the people of Noland pledged them their
sincere friendship forever.
King Bud took possession of the royal palace again, and Jikki
bustled about and prepared a grand banquet for the king's guests,
although the old valet grumbled a great deal because his six solemn
servants would not assist in waiting upon anyone but himself.
The Roly-Rogues had destroyed many things, but the servants of
the palace managed to quickly clear away the rubbish and to decorate the
banquet hall handsomely. Bud placed the beautiful witch-queen upon his
right hand and showed her great honor, for he was really very grateful
for her assistance in rescuing his country from the invaders. The
feasting and dancing lasted far into the night, but when at last the
people sought their beds, they knew they might rest peacefully and free
from care, for the Roly-Rogues had gone forever.
CHAPTER 23 THE SAILORMAN'S RETURN
Next day the witch-queen returned with her army to the city of Ix
to await the coming of the sailorman with the necktie, and King Bud set
about getting his kingdom into running order again. The lord high
pursebearer dug up his magic purse, and Bud ordered him to pay the
shopkeepers full value for everything the Roly-Rogues had destroyed. The
merchants were thus enabled to make purchases of new stocks of goods, and
although all travelers had for many days kept away from Noland for fear
of the monsters, caravans now flocked in vast numbers to the city of Nole
with rich stores of merchandise to sell, so that soon the entire city
looked like a huge bazaar.
Bud also ordered a gold piece given to the head of every family,
and this did no damage to the ever-filled royal purse, while it meant
riches to the poor people who had suffered so much. Princess Fluff
carried her silver chest back to the palace of her brother, and in it
lay, carefully folded, the magic cloak. Being now fearful of losing it,
she wanted Jikki to allow no one to enter the room in which lay the
silver chest except with her full consent, explaining to him the value of
the cloak. "And was it this cloak I wore when I wished for half a dozen
servants?" asked the old valet.
"Yes," answered Fluff. "Aunt Rivette bade you return it to me,
and you were so careless of it that nearly all the high counselors used
it before I found it again."
"Then," said Jikki, heedless of the reproof, "will your Highness
please use the cloak to rid me of these stupid servants? They are
continually at my heels, waiting to serve me, and I am so busy myself
serving others that those six young men almost drive me distracted. It
wouldn't be so bad if they would serve anyone else, but they claim they
are my servants alone and refuse to wait upon even his Majesty the king."
"Sometime I will try to help you," answered Fluff, "but I shall
not use the cloak again until the miller's son returns from his voyage at
So Jikki was forced to wait as impatiently as the others for the
sailorman, and his servants had now become such a burden upon him that he
grumbled every time he looked around and saw them standing in a stiff
line behind him.
Aunt Rivette again took possession of her rooms at the top of the
palace, and although Bud, grateful for her courage in saving him and his
sister from the Roly-Rogues, would gladly have given her handsomer
apartments, the old woman preferred to be near the roof, where she could
take flight into the air whenever it pleased her to go out. With her big
wings and her power to fly as a bird, she was the envy of all the old
gossips she had known in the days when she worked as a laundress, and now
she would often alight upon the doorstep of some humble friend and tell
of the wonderful adventures she had encountered. This never failed to
surround her with an admiring circle of listeners, and Aunt Rivette
derived far more pleasure from her tattle than from living in a palace
with her nephew the king.
The kingdom of Noland soon took on a semblance to its former
prosperity, and the Roly-Rogues were only remembered with shudders of
repugnance and spoken of in awed whispers. And so the days wore away
until late in the autumn, when one morning a mounted soldier from Queen
Zixi dashed into Nole and rode furiously up to the palace gate. "The
sailorman is found!" he shouted, throwing himself from his horse and
bowing low before little King Bud, who had come out to meet him.
"Good," remarked Bud.
"The Queen of Ix is even now riding to your Majesty's city with a
large escort surrounding the sailorman," continued the soldier.
"And has he the necktie?" asked Bud eagerly.
"He is wearing it, your Majesty," answered the man, "but he
refuses to give it to anyone but the Princess Fluff."
"That's all right," said the king, and reentering the palace, he
ordered Jikki to make preparations to receive the witch-queen and her
retinue. When Zixi came to the city gates, she found General Tollydob in
a gorgeous new uniform waiting to escort her to the palace. The houses
were gay with flags and streamers, bands were playing, and on each side
of the street along which the witch-queen rode were lines of soldiers to
keep the way clear of the crowding populace. Behind the queen came the
sailorman, carefully guarded by Zixi's most trusted soldiers. He looked
uneasy at so great a reception, and rode his horse as awkwardly as a
So the cavalcade came to the palace, which was thronged with
courtiers and ladies in waiting. Zixi and the sailorman were ushered
into the great throne room, where King Bud, wearing his ermine robe and
jeweled crown, sat gravely upon his throne with Princess Fluff beside him.
"Your Majesty," began the witch-queen, bowing prettily, "I have
brought you the sailorman at last. He has just returned from his voyage,
and my soldiers captured him at his mother's cottage by the mill. But he
refuses to give the necktie to anyone except the Princess Fluff."
"I am the Princess Fluff," said Meg to the sailor, "and your
necktie is part of my magic cloak. So please give it back to me."
The sailorman shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. "My
mother told me," he finally said, "that King Bud would give me fifty gold
pieces for it, and the Queen of Ix would give me another fifty gold
pieces, and that your Highness would give me fifty neckties."
"That is all true," returned Fluff, "so here are the fifty
Tillydib, the lord high pursebearer, counted out fifty gold
pieces, and Zixi's treasurer counted out another fifty, and all were
given to the sailorman. Then the miller's son unfastened the necktie
from about his collar and handed it to Fluff. During the murmur of
satisfaction that followed, the girl unlocked her silver chest, which
Jikki had brought, and drew out the magic cloak. Lifting the skirt of
the garment, she attempted to fit the sailor's necktie into the place it
should go. And then, while everyone looked on with breathless interest,
the girl lifted a white face to the sailorman and exclaimed, "This is not
the necktie your mother gave you!"
For a moment there was silence while the assemblage glared
angrily upon the sailor. Then the king, rising from his seat, demanded,
"Are you sure, Fluff? Are you sure of that?"
"Of course I'm sure," said the girl. "It is neither the shape
nor the color of the missing patch."
Bud turned to the now-trembling sailor. "Why have you tried to
deceive us?" he asked sternly.
"Oh, your Majesty!" returned the man, wringing his hands
miserably. "I lost the necktie in a gale at sea, for I knew nothing of
its value. And when I came home, my mother told me of all the gold you
had offered for its return and advised me to deceive you by wearing
another necktie. She said you would never know the difference."
"Your mother is a foolish woman, as well as dishonest," answered
Bud, "and you shall both be severely punished. Tellydeb," he continued,
addressing the lord high executioner, "take this man to prison and see
that he is fed on bread and water until further orders."
"Not so!" exclaimed a sweet voice near the king. And then all
looked up to see the beautiful Lulea, queen of the fairies, standing
beside the throne.
CHAPTER 24 THE FAIRY QUEEN
Every eye was now fixed upon the exquisite form of the fairy
queen, which shed a glorious radiance throughout the room and filled
every heart with an awe and admiration not unmingled with fear. "The
magic cloak was woven by my band," said the fairy, speaking so distinctly
that all could hear the words, "and our object was to bring relief to
suffering mortals, not to add to their worries. Some good the cloak has
accomplished, I am sure, but also has it been used foolishly and to no
serious purpose. Therefore I, who gave the cloak, shall now take it
away. The good that has been done shall remain, but the foolish wishes
granted shall now be canceled." With these words, she turned and lightly
lifted the shimmering magic garment from the lap of the princess.
"One moment, please!" cried Bud eagerly. "Cannot I have my wish?
I waited until I could wish wisely, you know, and then the cloak wouldn't
With a smile, Lulea threw the cloak over the boy's shoulders.
"Wish!" said she.
"I wish," announced Bud gravely, "that I shall become the best
king that Noland has ever had!"
"Your wish is granted," returned the fairy sweetly, "and it shall
be the last wish fulfilled through the magic cloak."
But now Zixi rushed forward and threw herself upon her knees
before the fairy. "Oh, your Majesty--" she began eagerly, but Lulea
instantly silenced her with an abrupt gesture.
"Plead not to me, Queen of Ix!" said the dainty immortal, drawing
back from Zixi's prostrate form. "You know that we fairies do not
approve of witchcraft. However long your arts may permit you to live,
you must always beware a mirror!"
Zixi gave a sob and buried her pretty face in her hands, and it
was Fluff whose tender heart prompted her to raise the witch-queen and
try to comfort her. For a moment all present looked at Zixi. When their
eyes again sought the form of the fairy, Lulea had vanished, and with her
disappeared forever from Noland the magic cloak.
Some important changes had been wrought through the visit of the
fairy. Jikki's six servants were gone, to the old valet's great delight.
The ten-foot general had shrunken to six feet in height, Lulea having
generously refrained from reducing old Tollydob to his former short
stature. Ruffles, to the grief of the lord high steward, could no longer
talk, but Tallydab comforted himself with the knowledge that his dog
could at least understand every word addressed to him. The lord high
executioner found he could no longer reach farther than other men, but
the royal purse of old Tillydib remained ever filled, which assured the
future prosperity of the kingdom of Noland.
As for Zixi, she soon became reconciled to her fate and returned
to Ix to govern her country with her former liberality and justice.
The last wish granted by the magic cloak was doubtless the most
beneficial and far-reaching of all, for King Bud ruled many years with
exceeding wisdom and gentleness and was greatly beloved by each and every
one of his admiring subjects.
The cheerfulness and sweet disposition of Princess Fluff became
renowned throughout the world, and when she grew to womanhood, many brave
and handsome princes from other countries came to Nole to sue for her
heart and hand. One of these she married, and reigned as queen of a
great nation in after years, winning quite as much love and respect from
her people as his loyal subjects bestowed upon her famous brother, King
Bud of Noland.