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