The Field of Feathers

All afternoon the four travelers moved through the Ixian forest,
Planetty exclaiming over the flowers, ferns and bright birds that
flitted from tree to tree, Thun sending up frequent high-flown
sentences, Kabumpo and Randy looking rather anxiously for some landmark
that would prove they were on the road to Ev. As it grew darker the
Elegant Elephant wisely decided to make camp, stopping in a small, tidy
clearing for that purpose. As Kabumpo swung to an impressive halt,
Randy slid to the ground, pulling the net bags with him, and began
to sort out the boxes containing food. Then he quickly gathered some
faggots for a fire, as the night was raw and chilly, and had Planetty
signal Thun to breathe on the wood. Thun, only too happy to be of some
use, quickly lighted the camp fire and he and the little Princess
watched curiously while Randy prepared his own and Kabumpo’s supper,
making coffee in a tin box with some water Kabumpo had fetched in his
collapsible canvas bucket. The Elegant Elephant did rather well with
the contents of seven cake boxes and four bread and cereal containers,
and Randy found so many good things to eat among Chillywalla’s presents
he felt sorry not to be able to share them with Planetty or Thun.

“It would be more fun if you ate too,” he observed, looking down
sideways at the little Princess, who was sitting on a boulder, hands
clasped about her knees, while she gazed contentedly up at the stars.

“Would it?” Planetty smiled faintly, tapping her silver heels against
the rock. “This seems nite enough,” she sighed, stretching up her arms
luxuriantly, “but now it is time to ret.”

Slipping off her long metal cape, the Princess of Anuther Planet tossed
one end against a white birch and the other to a tall pine. To Randy’s
surprise the ends of the cape instantly attached themselves to the
trees, making a soft flexible hammock. Into this Planetty climbed with
utmost ease and satisfaction.

“Good net, Randy and Big Bumpo, dear,” she called softly. “Take care of
Thun. I’ve told him to stay where he is till the earling, and he will,
he will.”

With a smile Planetty closed her bright eyes and the wind swaying her
silver hammock soon rocked her to sleep. It had been a long day and
Randy felt very drowsy himself. Walking over to the Thunder Colt, he
turned his head so that his fiery breath would fall harmlessly on a
cluster of damp rocks. He was pleased to find this steed from another
planet so obedient and gentle. Though formed of some live and lively
black metal, Thun was soft and satiny to the touch and seemed to enjoy
having his ears scratched and his neck rubbed as much as an ordinary
horse.

“Tap me twice on the shoulder if aught occurs, Slandy,” he signaled,
blowing the words out lazily between Randy’s pats. “And good net to
you, my Nozzies! Good net!”

“That language is just full of foolishness,” sniffed Kabumpo, spreading
a blanket on the ground for Randy, and then stretching himself full
length beneath a beech tree. “Put out the fire, Nozzy, my lad, the
creature’s breath makes light enough to frighten off any wild men or
monsters.”

“Oh, I don’t believe there are any wild beasts or savages in this
forest,” Randy said, stamping out the embers of the camp fire. “It’s
too quiet and peaceful. I have an idea we’re almost across Ix and will
reach Ev by morning. What do you think, Kabumpo?”

Kabumpo made no answer, for the Elegant Elephant had stopped thinking
and was already comfortably asnore. So, with a terrific yawn, Randy
wrapped himself in the blanket and, curling up close to his big and
faithful comrade, fell into an instant and pleasant slumber. Morning
came all too soon, and Randy was rudely awakened by Kabumpo, who was
shaking him violently by the shoulders.

“Come on! Come on!” blustered the Elegant Elephant impatiently. “Stir
out of it, my boy, we’ve all been up for hours. Is it proper to lie
abed and let a Princess light the fire?”

“She didn’t!” Sitting bolt upright, Randy saw that Planetty, with
Thun’s help, actually had lighted a fire and set water to boil in the
tin box just as he had done the evening before.

“Oh, my goodness, goodness, Planetty! You mustn’t do that rough work,”
he exclaimed, hurrying over to take the big cake box from Planetty’s
hands.

“Why not?” beamed the little Princess, hugging the box close. “See, I
have found the great choconut cake for Big Bumpo to eat–I mean neat.”

“Ha, ha! Choconut cake!” Kabumpo swayed merrily from side to side.
“Very neat, my dear. If there’s one thing I love for breakfast it’s
choconut cake.” Laughing so he could hardly keep his balance, Kabumpo
held out his trunk for the cake box. “What a splendid little castle
keeper you’ll make for some young King, Netty, my child!”

“Netty? Is that now my name?” Planetty pushed back her flying cloud of
hair with an interested sniff.

“If you like it,” said Randy, his ears turning quite red at Kabumpo’s
teasing remarks. Leading the little Princess to a flat rock, he sat her
down with great ceremony and then began opening up boxes of crackers
and fruit.

“Netty’s a nite name,” decided the Princess, her head thoughtfully on
one side. “I must tell Thun.”

Skipping over to the Thunder Colt, who with drooping head and tail was
enjoying a little colt nap, she tapped out her new nickname in the
strange code she used when talking to him.

“No longer Planetty of Anuther Planet!” flashed Thun, awake in a
twinkling and sending up his message in a shower of sparks. “But
Anetty of Oz!”

“At least he’s left off the N,” mumbled Kabumpo, speaking thickly
through the cocoanut cake which he had tossed whole into his capacious
mouth. “Sounds rather well, don’t you think?”

“Wonderful!” agreed Randy, who could scarcely keep his eyes off the
sparkling little Princess. “It’s too bad she’s not like us, Kabumpo,
then she could go back to Oz and stay there always.”

“If she were like us, she wouldn’t be so interesting,” said Kabumpo,
shaking his head judiciously. “Besides, down here the poor child is
completely out of her element and liable to disintegrate or suffocate
or Ev knows what–” he went on, discarding a box of prunes for a carton
of tea.

“How was the cake?” Randy changed the subject, for he could not bear to
think of Planetty in danger of any sort.

“Stale,” announced Kabumpo, making a wry face as he swallowed some tea
leaves. “I’ll certainly be glad to catch up with some regular elephant
food. This eating bits out of boxes is diabolical–simply diabolical!
Here, give me those crackers and eat some of that other stuff. And look
at little Netty Ann, would you, shaking out that blanket as if she’d
been traveling with us for years. Why, the lass is a born housewife!”

“And isn’t she pretty?” smiled Randy, waving to Planetty as he began
packing the boxes in the net bags again and stamping out the fire. “I
wonder what it’s like up where she lives, Kabumpo?”

“Why not ask her?” Swinging up his saddle sacks, Kabumpo called gaily
to the little Princess, who came running over, the blanket neatly
folded on her arm.

“Thank you, Netty. You are certainly a great help to us!” Taking the
blanket and giving her an approving pat on the shoulder, Randy caught
hold of Kabumpo’s belt strap and pulled himself easily aloft. “All
ready to go?”

Planetty nodded cheerfully as she mounted the Thunder Colt.

“Will this lightling be as nite as the last?” she demanded, tapping
Thun gently with her staff.

“Nicer,” promised Randy as Thun pranced merrily ahead, Planetty’s long
cape billowing like a silver cloud behind them.

“What do you do when you are at home?” called Randy as Kabumpo, giving
two short trumpets, followed close on the heels of the Thunder Colt.

“Home?” Planetty turned a frankly puzzled face.

“I mean, do you have a house or a castle?” persisted Randy, determined
to have the matter settled in his mind once for all. “Do you have
brothers and sisters, and is your father a King?”

“No house, no castle, no those other words,” answered Planetty in even
greater bewilderment. “On Anuther Planet each is to herself or himself
alone. One floats, rides, skips or drifts through the leadling heights
and lowlands, hanging the cape where one happens to be.”

“Regular gypsies,” murmured Kabumpo under his breath. “So nobody
belongs to nobody, and nobody has anybody? Sounds kind of crazy to me.”

“Yes, if you have no families, no fathers or mothers–” Randy was
plainly distressed by such a country and existence–“I don’t see how
you came to be at all.”

“We rise full grown from our Vanadium springs, and naturally I have my
own spring. Is that, then, my father?”

“Tell her ‘yes,'” hissed Kabumpo between his tusks. “Why mix her all
up with our way of doing things? If she wants a spring for a father,
let her have it!” Kabumpo waved his trunk largely. “Ho, ho, kerumph!
I’ve always thought of springs as a cure for rheumatism, but live and
learn–eh, Randy–live and learn.”

Randy paid small attention to the Elegant Elephant’s asides; he was
too busy explaining life as it was lived in Oz to Planetty, making it
all so bright and fascinating, the eyes of the little Princess fairly
sparkled with interest and envy.

“I think I will not go with you to this Wizard of Ev,” she announced in
a small voice as the young King paused for breath. “I do not believe I
shall like that old wizard or his castle.”

Touching Thun with her staff, Planetty turned the Thunder Colt sideways
and went zigzagging so rapidly through the trees they almost lost sight
of her entirely.

“Now what?” stormed the Elegant Elephant, charging recklessly after her
through the forest. “What’s come over the little netwit? Come back!
Come back, you foolish girl!” he trumpeted anxiously. “We’ll take
you to Oz after you’ve been to Ev,” he added with a sudden burst of
comprehension.

At Kabumpo’s promise, Planetty half turned on her charger. “But this
Wizard of Ev will send us back to Anuther Planet. It is yourself that
has said so.”

“No, no! We just said he would help you!” shouted Randy, leaning
forward and waving both arms for Planetty to turn back. “Oh, you really
must see Jinnicky,” he begged earnestly. “Without his magic you cannot
live away from that Vanadium spring. Do you want to be stiff and still
as a statue for the rest of your days?”

“I’d rather be a statue down here with you and Bumpo, where the birds
sing and the flowers grow and the woods are green and wonderful, than
to be a live Princess of Anuther Planet!” sighed the metal maiden,
hiding her face in Thun’s mane.

“You WOULD?” cried Randy, almost falling off the elephant in his
extreme joy and excitement. “Then you just SHALL, and Jinnicky will
change everything so you can live down here always and come back to Oz
with Kabumpo and me! Would you like that, Planetty?”

“Oh, that would be netiful!” Clasping Thun with both arms, the little
Princess laid her soft cheek against his neck. “NETIFUL!”

“Then ride on, Princess! Ride on!” Kabumpo spoke gruffly, for his
feelings had quite overcome him. “Toss me a ‘kerchief, will you,
Randy?” he gulped desperately. “Oh, boo hoo, kerSNIFF! To think she
really likes us that much! Do you think she’d hear if I blew my trunk?”

“No, no, she’s way ahead of us now,” whispered Randy, handing an
enormous handkerchief down to Kabumpo after taking a sly wipe on it
himself. “Oh, isn’t this a gorgeous day, Kabumpo, and isn’t everything
turning out splendidly? And see there–we’ve actually come to the end
of the forest.”

“Good Gapers, everything’s pink!” marveled Randy as Kabumpo, still
muttering and snuffling, pushed his way through the last fringe of the
forest.

“So now we’re in the pink, eh?” With a last convulsive snort, Kabumpo
stuffed the handkerchief into a lower pocket and trumpeted three times
for Thun to halt. “Are those flowers, d’ye ‘spose? May I see one of
them, my dear?”

Catching up with the little Princess who was already on the edge of the
field, Kabumpo took the long spray she had picked and passed it back
to Randy.

“My gooseness, it’s a feather! The largest and finest I’ve ever seen,”
Randy said in surprise. “Hey, I always thought feathers grew on birds,
yet here’s a whole field of feathers, Kabumpo–imagine that! And taller
than I am, too.”

“Well, there’s no harm in feathers,” observed Kabumpo jocularly. “Pick
a plume for your bonnet, my child. The girls in our countries adorn
themselves with these pretty fripperies. I’ve even worn them myself
at court functions,” he admitted self-consciously. “But do you think
you can hold the colt’s head up as we go through? Burnt feathers smell
rather awful, and we don’t wish to anger the owner or spoil his crop.”

A bit confused by the word “owner” and “crop,” Planetty nevertheless
caught the idea and explained it so cleverly to Thun, the Thunder Colt
started through the field, holding his head high and handsome so that
the flames spurted upward and not down.

“It was rather like ploughing through a wheat field,” decided Randy
as Kabumpo, treading lightly as he could, stepped after Thun. It was,
though, more like a sea of waving plumes, endlessly bending, nodding
and rippling in the wind. Planetty gathered armfuls of these bright
and newest treasures, liking them almost as much as the flowers in the
forest. Thun, for his part, found the whole experience irksome in the
extreme.

“These pink feathers give me the big pain in the neck,” he puffed up
indignantly as he trotted along with his head in the air. Planetty,
reading his message with a little smile, was astonished to hear a
series of roars and explosions behind her. Surely Thun’s remarks were
not as funny as all that! Turning round, she was shocked to see Kabumpo
swaying and stumbling in his tracks, coughing and spluttering, and torn
by such gigantic guffaws he had already shaken Randy from his back. The
young King himself rolled and twisted on the ground, fairly gasping for
breath.

“It’s the feathers!” he gasped weakly, as Planetty, leaping off the
Thunder Colt, ran back to investigate. “They’re tickling us to death.
Get away quickly, Netty, dear, before they get you–Oh, ha, ha, HAH!
Oh, ho, ho! Quick! Before it is too late. Oh, hi, hi, hi! I shall die
laughing!” To the startled little Princess he appeared to be dying
already.

“No, no! Please not!” she cried, dropping her armful of feathers.

With surprising strength she jerked Randy upright and, in spite of his
continued roars and wild writhing, managed to fling him across Thun’s
back. Now Kabumpo was down, kicking and rolling hysterically. It seemed
to Planetty that the feathers were wickedly alive and tickling them on
purpose. They tossed, swayed and brushed against her and Thun, too, but
having no effect on the metalic skin of the Nuthers, curled away in
distaste.

“Stop! Stop! I hate you!” screamed Planetty, stamping on the bunch she
had picked a moment before, then struggling in vain to pull Kabumpo up
by his trunk. “Thun! Thun! What shall we do?”

Racing back to the Thunder Colt, Planetty tapped out all that was
happening to their best and only friends, holding the convulsed and
still laughing Randy in place with one hand as she did so. Thun, from
anxious glances over his shoulder, had guessed more than half the
difficulty.

“Search in the Kabumpty’s pocket for something to tie round him so I
may pull him out of the feathers,” flashed the Thunder Colt, swinging
in a circle to prance and stamp on the plumes still curling down to
tickle the helpless boy on his back.

Feeling in Kabumpo’s pockets as he tossed and lashed about was hard
enough, but Planetty, who was quick and clever, soon found a long,
stout, heavily linked gold chain Kabumpo twisted round and round his
neck on important occasions. Slipping the chain through his belt,
the little Princess clasped the other ends round the Thunder Colt’s
chest, making a strong and splendid harness. Then, mounting quickly
and holding desperately to Randy, Planetty gave the signal for Thun to
start. And away through the deadly field charged the night black steed,
burning feathers left and right with his flashing breath and dragging
Kabumpo along as easily as if he had been a sack of potatoes instead of
a two-ton elephant. The feathers bending beneath made the going soft so
that the Elegant Elephant did not suffer so much as a scratch, and Thun
galloped so swiftly that in less than ten minutes they had reached the
other side of the beautiful but treacherous field. Going half a mile
beyond, Thun came to an anxious halt, the golden chain falling slack
around his ankles, while Planetty jumped down to see how Kabumpo was
doing now.

The Elegant Elephant had stopped laughing, but his eyes still rolled
and his muscles still twitched and rippled from the terrible tickling
he had endured. Randy, exhausted and weak, hung like a dummy stuffed
with straw over the Thunder Colt’s back.

“Oh, we were too late, too long!” mourned Planetty, wringing her
hands and running distractedly between the Elegant Elephant and the
insensible King. “Oh, my netness, they will become stiff and still as
Nuthers deprived of their springs,” she tapped out dolefully to Thun.

“Do not be too sure.” The Thunder Colt puffed out his message slowly.
“See, already the big Kabumpty is trying to rise.”

And such, indeed, was the case. Astonished and mortified to find
himself stretched on the ground in broad daylight and still too
confused to realize what had happened, the Elegant Elephant lurched to
his feet and stood blinking uncertainly around. Then, his eyes suddenly
coming into proper focus, he caught sight of Randy lying limply across
the Thunder Colt.

“What in Oz? What in Ix? What in Ev is the matter here?” he panted,
wobbling dizzily over to Thun.

“Feathers!” sighed Planetty, clasping both arms round Kabumpo’s trunk
and beginning to pat and smooth its wrinkled surface. “The feathers
tickled you and you fell down, my poor Bumpo. Randy too was almost
laughed to the death. What does death mean?” Planetty looked up
anxiously into his eyes.

“Great Grump! So that was it! Great Gillikens! I remember now, we were
both nearly tickled to death and it was awful, AWFUL! Not that Ozians
ever do die,” he explained hastily, “but, after all, we are not in Oz
and anything might have happened. And what I’d like to know is how in
Ev we ever got out of those feathers.”

“Thun pulled you out,” Planetty told him proudly. “And look, LOOK,
Bumpo dear, Randy is going to waken, too.”

“Randy! Randy, do you hear that?” Kabumpo lifted the young King down
and shook him gently backward and forward. “This colt of Planetty’s,
this Thunder Colt, all by himself, mind you, pulled us out of that
infernal feather field! You and me, but mostly me. Now tell me how did
he manage to pull an elephant all that way?”

Randy, only half comprehending what Kabumpo was saying, said nothing,
but Thun, guessing Kabumpo’s question, threw back his head and puffed
quickly:

“We Nuthers are strong as iron, Master. Strong for ourselves, strong
for our friends. Thun, the Thunder Colt, will always be strong for
Kabumpty!”

“Strong! Strong? Why, you’re marvelous,” gasped the Elegant Elephant.

Placing Randy on the ground, he fished jewels from his pocket with
a reckless trunk till he found a band of pearls to fit Thun. Then
carelessly risking the sparks from the Thunder Colt’s nostrils, he
fastened the pearls in place.

“Tell him, tell him THANKS!” he blurted out breathlessly. “Tell him
from now on we are friends and equals, friends and warriors, together!”

With a pleased nod Planetty translated for Thun, and the delighted
colt, tossing his flying mane, raced round and round his three
comrades, filling the air with high-flown and flaming sentences.

“Friends and warriors!” he heralded, rearing joyously. “Friends and
warriors!”

By this time Randy had recovered his breath and his memory and felt not
only able but impatient to continue the journey. The field of feathers
could still be seen waving pink and provokingly in the distance, but
without one backward glance the four travelers set their faces to the
north. A few of Chillywalla’s boxes had been crushed while Kabumpo
rolled in the feathers, and he and Randy still felt weak and worn from
their dreadful experience, but these were small matters when they
considered the dreadful fate they had escaped through the quick action
of Planetty and Thun.

“I always thought of Ix as a pleasant country,” sighed Randy as Kabumpo
moved slowly along a shady by-path.

“I don’t believe this is Ix,” stated the Elegant Elephant bluntly.
“The air’s different, smells salty, and this sandy road looks as if we
might be near the sea. I think myself that we’ve come north by east
through Ix into Ev and will reach the Nonestic Ocean by evening.”
Kabumpo paused to peer up at a rough board nailed to a pine.

“So! You got through the feathers, did you?” sneered the notice in
threatening red letters. “Then so much the worse for you! Beware! Watch
out! Gludwig the Glubrious has his eye on you.”

“Glubrious!” sniffed Kabumpo, elevating his trunk scornfully as Randy
read and re-read the impertinent message. “I don’t recall anyone named
Gludwig, do you?”

“Sounds rather awful, doesn’t it?” whispered Randy, sliding to the
ground to examine the billboard from all sides. “Say, look here,
Kabumpo, there’s something on the back. It’s been scratched out with
red chalk, but I can still read it.”

“Then read it,” advised Kabumpo briefly.

“This is the Land of Ev! Everybody welcome! Take this road to the
Castle of the Red Jinn.”

“Oh, that means we’re almost there!” exulted the young King, but his
joy evaporated quickly as he re-read the other side of the board.

“Looks as if someone had switched signs on Jinnicky,” he muttered,
pushing back his crown with a little whistle. “Do you think anything
has happened to him?”

“Probably some mischievous country boy trying out his chalk,” answered
the Elegant Elephant, not believing one of his own words. “Straight on,
my dear,” he called cheerfully to Planetty, who had pulled in the colt
and was looking questioningly back at them. “At last we are in the Land
of Ev, and just ahead lies the castle of our wizard.”

“Oh, Bumpo, how nite!” Planetty hugged herself from pure joy. “I’ve
never seen a castle, I’ve never seen a wizard!”

“But, Kabumpo–” worried Randy as the little Princess of Anuther Planet
galloped gaily ahead of them. “Suppose this Gludwig really has his eye
on us? Suppose he rushes out before we can reach Jinnicky’s castle?”

“Well, that will not be very ‘nite,’ will it?” The Elegant Elephant
spoke ruefully. “But what can we do? Are we going to stop for a mere
sign?”

“No!” declared Randy, feeling about for his sword. “Of course not. But
I’ll wager a Willikin he was the fellow who planted those feathers.”

“Very likely,” agreed Kabumpo, pushing grimly along through the sand.

The further they traveled into Ev, the more interesting the country
became to Planetty and Thun. Now wild orange and lemon trees added
their spicy tang to the salty air; waving palms edged the sandy
roadway, and after traversing a grove of lordly cocoanut trees the four
suddenly found themselves facing the great, green, rolling Nonestic.

“A spring!” caroled Planetty, galloping Thun down to the water’s edge.
“Oh, never have I seen so netiful a spring!”

“Not a spring, Princess, an ocean,” corrected Kabumpo, ambling good
naturedly after Thun. “This is a salt salt sea, full of ships, sailors,
shells, crabs, islands, fish and fishermen.”

“And will I see all of them?” Slipping from Thun’s back Planetty waded
out a little way, hopping gleefully over the edges of the smaller waves.

“Some time,” promised Randy, dismounting hastily to keep her from
venturing too far. “Look over your shoulder, Netty,” he urged, drawing
her back toward shore, “and then tell me what you think!”

Explaining this gay, wide and wonderful world to the little Princess of
Anuther Planet, Randy found more fun than anything he had ever done or
imagined. Tense with expectation, he and Kabumpo watched as Planetty
gazed off to the right.

“Why–’tis a high, high hill of red that glitters! Or what? What is
it?” Planetty whirled Thun round so he could see, too.

“It’s a castle, m’lass.” Kabumpo swaggered down the beach, as if he
alone were responsible for all its splendor and magnificence. “There
you see the imperial palace of the Wizard of Ev, built from turret to
cellar of finest red glass studded with rubies, and there, this night,
we will be suitably entertained by Jinnicky himself.”

“The inside’s even better than the outside,” Randy whispered in
Planetty’s ear, as she tapped out this astonishing news to the Thunder
Colt. “Come on, come on, it’s not more than a mile, and we can go
straight along the edge of the sea shore. Say, weren’t we lucky not to
run into Gludwig?” Pulling himself up on Kabumpo’s back, Randy spoke
the words softly. “It would have been too bad to have the first person
outside of ourselves that Planetty met turn out a villain. I believe
that sign WAS a joke.”

“Well, everything seems all right so far,” admitted the Elegant
Elephant guardedly. “But keep your eyes open, my boy–keep your eyes
open. Is that a welcome committee marching along the beach, or is it an
army?”

“They’re still too far away to tell,” answered Randy. “Looks to me like
all Jinnicky’s blacks; I can see their baggy red trousers and turbans.”

“Yes, but what’s that gleaming in the sunlight?” demanded Kabumpo,
curling up his trunk uneasily.

“Only their scimiters,” Randy said, standing up to have a better
view. “Each man is carrying a scimiter over his shoulder, but that’s
perfectly all right, they’re probably parading for our benefit.”

“Mm-mm! Sometimes things are not what they scim-iter!” sniffed Kabumpo,
snapping his eyes suspiciously. But Randy, paying no attention to
the Elegant Elephant’s remark, was feeling round in the net bags
for Chillywalla’s band box, and next moment the lively strains of a
military march filled the air.

Swinging along in time to the music, Kabumpo peered sharply at the
oncoming host for signs of Alibabble, or Ginger, the slave of the
bell, or some of Jinnicky’s other old and trusted counselors. But in
all that great throng there was no one familiar face, and because he
was beginning to feel more than a bit worried, Kabumpo lifted his feet
higher and higher. “Everything looks black, very black,” he muttered
dubiously.

“Why not?” cried Randy, waving his arms like a bandmaster. “They’re all
as black as the ace of spades. Mind you, Planetty, it takes all these
black men to take care of Jinnicky and his castle.”

“And will they take care of us?” Planetty eyed the marchers with
positive amazement and alarm. “So many,” she murmured in a hushed
voice, “so black. I thought everyone down here would be like you and
Bumpo.”

“My, no,” Randy told her complacently. “Everyone is liable to be
different. I believe I’ll toss out some of Chillywalla’s boxes.
Visitors should come bearing presents, you know!”

Hastily Randy began pulling out boxes of candy, boxes of cigarettes,
beads, cigars and whole suits of clothing to dazzle Jinnicky’s
subjects. But when the leader of the procession came within ten feet of
the travelers he threw back his head and emitted such a blood-curdling
howl, Randy’s hair rose on his head, and as the rest of the blacks,
brandishing scimiters and yelling threats and imprecations, came
leaping toward them, the desperate young King began hurling down boxes
as if they were bombs. He caught the Headman on the chin with the
bandbox, but while it stopped the music it did not stop the gigantic
Evian from slashing at Thun. As his scimiter fell, Kabumpo gave a
trumpet that felled the whole front rank of the enemy, and snatching up
the villain in his trunk, he hurled him back among his men.

“Is this–is this taking care of us?” shuddered Planetty, clasping her
arms round the neck of the plunging Thunder Colt.

“No, no! My goodness, NO! Is Thun hurt? Quick, Kabumpo!” screamed Randy
as a second scimiter slashed down on Thun’s flank. Then he managed
to breathe again, for the razor-sharp weapon glanced harmlessly off
the metal coat of Planetty’s coal black charger. The wielder of the
scimiter, however, did not escape so easily, for a hot blast from
Thun’s nostrils sent him reeling backward.

“That’s it! Give it to them! Give it to them!” shouted Randy,
forgetting in his excitement that Thun could not hear, and he himself
hurled Chillywalla’s boxes hard and viciously and one after the other.
As for Kabumpo, every time he raised his trunk there was a black man in
it, and as fast as they came he slung them over his shoulder.

But it was Planetty who really turned the tide of battle. While Randy,
who had exhausted his supply of boxes, was digging desperately in
Kabumpo’s pockets for some more missiles, he heard a perfect chorus of
terrified screeches. Popping up with an umbrella and an alarm clock,
he saw the Princess of Anuther Planet standing erect on the galloping
colt’s back, calmly and precisely casting her staff at the foe. Each
time the staff struck, the victim, in whatever attitude he happened to
be, was frozen into a motionless metal figure. After each stroke the
staff returned to Planetty’s hand.

“Yah, yah, mah–MASTER!” wailed the frantic blacks who were still able
to move, and tumbling over one another in their effort to escape, they
fled wildly back to the Red Castle, leaving behind sixty of their
vanquished brethren.

“You–you–YOU’LL be sorry for this!” shouted the Headman, tearing off
his turban and waving it as he ran.

“So will you!” bellowed Kabumpo fiercely. “Just wait till Jinnicky
hears about this! How dare you treat his visitors in this violent
wicked fashion?”

“Jinnicky! Jinnicky!” jeered the Headman as Planetty aimed her staff
threateningly at his back. “Jinnicky is at the bottom of the sea!”

“Mm–Mnnn! Mnmph! I knew it, I knew it!” groaned the Elegant Elephant
as the Headman reached the palace and scittered wildly up the glass
steps. “I knew something was wrong the moment I saw those scimiters.”

“Jinnicky gone! Jinnicky at the bottom of the sea? Why, I just can’t
believe it!” Randy, glancing over his shoulder at the tumbling
Nonestic, looked almost ready to cry. Then putting back his shoulders,
he declared fiercely, “Well, I’M not going off and leave this old
pirate in Jinnicky’s castle, are you? It must be Gludwig’s doing–all
this! Let’s go inside and throw him out of there! We have lots of help
now. Thun’s a regular flame thrower and Planetty’s worth a whole army,
and best of all nothing can hurt them. Why didn’t you tell me you had
a magic staff?” Randy looked admiringly down at the resolute little
Princess at his side. “Why, with that staff we can conquer anybody.”

“Is that what you call the magic?” Planetty regarded her staff with new
interest.

“It certainly is!” panted Kabumpo, fanning himself with a handy palm
leaf. “And we’re mighty sorry to have gotten you into all this danger
and trouble, my dear. Looks as if we had a war on our hands instead of
a pleasant vacation.”

“Oh, that! It is nothing, nothing!” Planetty shrugged her shoulders
eloquently. “On our planet we too have the bad beasts and Nuthers, and
when they try to hit or bite us, we just subdue them with our voral
staffs.”

“Mmmn–mn! So I see.” Kabumpo, still fanning himself, looked
thoughtfully at Gludwig’s petrified warriors. “There must be a goodly
bit of statuary on your planet, m’lass?”

“Very many,” answered Planetty soberly, polishing her staff on the end
of her cape. With a slight shudder the Elegant Elephant turned from the
fallen slaves, resolving then and there never to offend this pretty but
powerful little metal maiden.

“Well, have the scoundrels dispersed and gone for good?” inquired Thun,
sending up his question in a cloud of black smoke. Restively pawing
the ground, the Thunder Colt looked from one to the other waiting for
someone to enlighten him.

“Tell him they’ve gone, but for nobody’s good,” wheezed Kabumpo, who
was still out of breath from the violence of the combat. “Tell him
Gludwig the Glubrious has destroyed the Wizard of Ev and that we are
now going into the castle to continue the battle.”

“But where shall we start?” sighed Randy, staring despondently up at
the gay red palace where he and Kabumpo had been so royally entertained
on their last visit.

“We’ll start at the bottom of these steps,” announced Kabumpo grimly,
“and mount on up to the top. Then we’ll burst into the presence of this
wretched wart and fling him out of the window.”

“But that won’t help Jinnicky if he’s at the bottom of the sea,”
mourned Randy, trying to smile at Planetty, who was busily tapping off
instructions to Thun.

“Hah! but don’t forget, Jinnicky’s a wizard,” sniffed Kabumpo, pulling
in his belt a few inches, “and nobody can keep a good wizard down.
Besides,” Kabumpo dragged his robe a bit to the left and straightened
his head-piece, “once inside that castle, we can use some of the Red
Jinn’s own magic to help him.”

“Magic? Why, of course, I’d forgotten about that.” Randy’s face cleared
and brightened and seeing Planetty and Thun so eager and unafraid
beside him, he girded on his sword and standing upright on Kabumpo’s
back, gave the signal to start. As they trod up the hundred red glass
steps they could hear windows and doors slamming, the patter of running
feet and the tinkle of the hundred glass chimes in the tower. But step
by step, and without a pause, Thun and Kabumpo mounted to the top.

“Beware! Beware, Gludwig the Glubrious! Here march Kabumpty and Thun,
Slandy and Planetty, Princess of Anuther Planet. Friends, equals and
warriors!”

The Thunder Colt’s flaming message, floating like a battle emblem in
the air, alarmed the wicked occupant of Jinnicky’s castle even more
than the invaders themselves. But still confident of his power to
vanquish all comers, he waited in evil anticipation for the moment when
they would force their way into his presence. Did they imagine because
they had frightened a company of foolish slaves they could frighten him?

“Ha, ha!” Crouched on the Red Jinn’s throne and laughing mirthlessly,
Gludwig rubbed his long hands up and down his skinny knees.

Continue Reading

The Box Wood

Even so, Kabumpo was not fast enough, and as the immense black charger
with its tail and mane curling like smoke, its fiery nostrils flashing
flames a foot long, came galloping upon them, Randy flung himself face
down on the ground to escape its burning breath. The most terrifying
thing about the black steed was the complete silentness of its coming.
Its metal-shod feet struck the earth without making a sound, giving
Kabumpo such a sense of unreality he could not believe it was true, nor
move another step. In consequence, as the enormous animal swirled to
a halt before him, a dozen darting flames from its nostrils set fire to
the load of hay on his back, enveloping him in a hot and exceedingly
dangerous bonfire.

Now thoroughly aroused, Kabumpo leapt this way and that, and Randy,
unmindful of his own danger, jumped up and tried to beat out the
fire with his cloak. But the hay blazed and crackled and the Elegant
Elephant would certainly have been roasted like a potato, had he not
reared up on his hind legs and let the whole burning burden slide
from his back. Scorched and infuriated, his royal robes burned and
blackened, Kabumpo backed into a handy brook and sat down, from which
position he glared with positive hatred at his prancing adversary. But
a complete change had come over this strange and unbelievable steed;
his nostrils no longer spurted flames and as Randy plumped down beside
Kabumpo, deciding this was the safest spot for both of them, the lordly
creature dropped to its knees and touched its forehead three times to
the earth.

“Away, away! You big meddlesome menace!” panted the Elegant Elephant,
throwing up his trunk. “Begone, you good-for-nothing hay burner!”

“But, Kabumpo,” pleaded Randy, as the horse, paying no attention to the
Elegant Elephant’s angry screeches, began throwing little puffs of red
smoke into the air, “he’s trying to give us a message. LOOK!”

“Hail and salutations!” The words floated out smoothly and ranged
themselves in a neat line. “I hereby acknowledge you as my master! I
can flash fire from the eye, the nose and the mouth; but you–you flash
fire from the whole body! Hail and salutations from Thun, the Thunder
Colt. Yonder rests my Mistress Planetty, Princess of Anuther Planet!
Who are you, great-and-much-to-be-envied spurter of fire?”

“Sky writing!” gasped Randy. “Oh, Kabumpo, how’re we going to
answer? He did not hear your scolding. I don’t believe he can hear
at all. Fire spurter! Ho, ho! And HOW are you going to keep up that
reputation?”

“I’m not!” grunted Kabumpo, but in a much less savage voice, for he was
almost completely won over by the Thunder Colt’s flattery. “Hmmm-hhh,
let me see, now, couldn’t we signal to the silly brute? There he stands
looking up in the air for an answer.”

“Well,” Randy said, “with your trunk and my arms we could form any
number of letters, so–”

“This is Kabumpo, Elegant Elephant of Oz. I am Randy, King of Regalia.”

With infinite pains and patience the two spelled out the message.
Puzzled at first, then seeming to understand, Thun’s clear yellow eyes
snapped and twinkled with interest. Tossing his smoky mane, he puffed a
single word into the air. “Come!” Then away he flashed at his noiseless
gallop.

“Shall we?” cried Randy, jumping out of the creek, for he was curious
to know more about the Thunder Colt and to meet the Princess of Anuther
Planet. “Are you cooled off? Did the water put you out?”

“Oh, I’m put out all right,” grumbled Kabumpo, lurching up the bank.
“Very put out and in splendid shape to meet a Princess, I must say.”

“Come on, you don’t look so bad,” urged Randy, tugging impatiently at
his tusk, while Kabumpo himself endeavored to wring the water out of
his robe with his trunk. “Even without any trappings or jewels at all,
you’d stand out in any company. There’s nobody bigger or handsomer than
you, Kabumpo! Know it?”

“HAH!” The Elegant Elephant let go his robe and gave Randy a quick
embrace. “Then what are we waiting for, little Braggerwagger?”

Tossing the young monarch lightly over his shoulder, the Elegant
Elephant started after the Thunder Colt, moving almost as smoothly and
silently as Thun himself. Without one look behind, Thun had disappeared
into a green forest, and how cool and delicious it seemed to Randy
and Kabumpo after the dry desert lands they had been traversing.
Flashing in and out between the tall trees, the Thunder Colt led them
to an ancient oak, set by itself in a little clearing. Here, leaning
thoughtfully against the bole of the tree, stood the little Princess of
Anuther Planet.

Kabumpo, recognizing royalty at once when he saw it, lifted his trunk
in a grave and dignified salute. Randy bowed, but in such a daze of
surprise and admiration he scarcely knew he was bowing. The small
figure under the oak was strange and beautiful beyond description,
giving an impression both of strength and delicacy. Planetty was
fashioned of tiny meshed links, fine as the chain mail worn by medieval
knights, of a metal that resembled silver, but which at the same time
was iridescent and sparkling as glass. Yet the Princess of Anuther
Planet was live and soft as Randy’s own flesh-and-bone self. Her eyes
were clear and yellow like Thun’s; her hair, a cascade of gossamer
net, sprayed out over her shoulders and fell half-way to her feet.
Planetty’s garments, trim and shaped to her figure, were of some
veil-like net, and, floating from her shoulders, was a cloak of larger
meshed metal thread almost like a fisherman’s net.

“Highnesses, Highness! Oh, very high Highnesses!” Prancing lightly
before her, Thun puffed his announcement importantly into the air.
“Here you see Kabumpty, Nelegant Nelephant of Noz, and Sandy, King of
Segalia.”

“Oh, my goodness! He has us all mixed up,” worried Randy in a whispered
aside to Kabumpo, whose ears had gone straight back at the dreadful
name Thun had fastened upon him.

“Never mind, I too am mixed up. Everything down here is too perfectly
lettling.”

“Oh, you can speak?” Leaning forward, Randy gazed delightedly down at
the little metal maiden. He had been afraid at first she would use the
same sky-writing talk as Thun.

“But surely,” smiled Planetty, each word striking the air with the
distinctness of a silver bell, so that Randy was almost as interested
in the tune as in the sense. “Only the creature folk on Anuther Planet
are without power of speech or sound making. They must go soft and
silently. That is the lenith law.”

“And a good law, too,” observed Kabumpo, looking resentfully up at the
Thunder Colt’s fading message. “Permit me to introduce myself again.
Your Highness, I am Kabumpo, Elegant Elephant of Oz, and this is Randy,
King of Regalia, which is also in Oz.”

“Oz?” marveled Planetty, lifting her spear-like silver staff, whose
tip, ending in three metal links, fascinated Randy. “Is this, then,
the Planet of Oz? And what are those, and these, and this?” In rapid
succession the little Princess touched a cluster of violets growing
round the base of the oak, a moss-covered rock and the tall tree itself.

“Why, flowers, rocks and a tree,” laughed Randy. “Surely you must have
flowers, trees and rocks on Anuther Planet.”

“No, no, nothing like this–all these colors and shapes. Everything on
my planet is flat and greyling.” The metal maiden raised her hands, as
she searched for the right words to explain Anuther Planet. “It is all
so different with us,” she confessed, dropping her arms to her side.
“Yonder, we have zonitors; not trees, but tall shafts of metal to which
we fasten our nets when we sleep or rest. Underfoot we have network of
various sizes and thicknesses with here and there sprays of vanadium.
In our vanadium springs we freshen and renew ourselves, and without
them we stiffen and cease to move.”

With one finger pressed to his forehead, Randy tried to visualize
Planetty’s strange greyling world, but Kabumpo, ever more practical,
inquired sharply:

“And how often must you refresh and renew yourselves, Princess?”

“Every sonestor in the earling,” answered the Princess with a bright
nod.

Thun, tiring of a conversation he could not hear, had cantered off to
investigate a rabbit, and Randy, sliding to the ground, came over to
stand nearer to this strange little Princess.

“Kabumpo and I do not understand all those words,” he told her gently.
“‘Sonestor–earling’–what do they mean?”

“Why, a sonestor,” trilled Planetty, throwing back her head and showing
all of her tiny silver teeth, “is one dark, one light, one dark, one
light, one dark, one light, one dark, one light, one dark, one light,
one dark, one light, one dark, one light, and earling is when you waken
from ret.”

“Help!” shuddered Kabumpo shaking his ears as if he had a bee in them.

“I know what she means,” crowed Randy, snapping his fingers gleefully.
“A sonestor on Anuther Planet is the same as a week here; all those
lights and darks are days, and earling is the morning and ret is rest!”

“Then, do you realize,” worried Kabumpo, as Planetty looked
questioningly from one to the other, “that if this little lady and her
colt are separated from their vanadium springs for a week, they will
become stiff, motionless statues? And that–” the Elegant Elephant
looked the pretty little Princess first up and then down. “That would
be a great pity! We must help them back to Anuther Planet as soon as we
can, my boy.”

“Yes, yes, that is what you must do,” Planetty clapped her small
silvery hands and blew a kiss to the elephant. “If Thun had just not
jumped on that thunderbolt!”

“Jumped on a thunderbolt, did he?” A reluctant admiration crept into
Kabumpo’s voice. The Princess nodded so emphatically her long, lovely
hair danced and shimmered round her face like a cloud shot with
starlight.

“You see,” she went on gravely, “we were on our way to a zorodell.”
Kabumpo and Randy exchanged startled glances, but, realizing there
would be many odd words in Planetty’s language, did not interrupt her.
“And half-way there,” continued Planetty calmly, “a dreadful storm
overtook us. A bright flash of lightning frightened Thun, and though
I signaled for him to stop, he sprang right up on a huge glowing
thunderbolt that had fallen across the netway, and it fell and fell and
fell–bringing us to where we now are.”

“Well, that’s one way of going places,” commented Kabumpo, swinging his
trunk from side to side.

“But how can we find Anuther Planet when none of us fly?” demanded
Randy anxiously. “It must be miles above this country, for think how
fast and far thunderbolts fall when they fall.”

“Now you’ve forgotten the Red Jinn,” boomed Kabumpo, winking meaningly
at the young King, for at Randy’s words the little Princess had covered
her face with her hands and three yellow jewels had trickled through
her fingers. “Jinnicky can help Planetty and Thun go any place they
wish,” insisted Kabumpo in his loud challenging bass. “Come, Princess,
summon your fire-breathing steed, and we will travel on to the most
powerful wizard in Ev.”

“Ev? Wizard? Oh, how gay it all sounds.” Planetty’s voice rang out
merrily as Christmas bells. With a lively skip she tapped her staff
three times on the ground, and Thun, though out of sight, came
instantly bounding back to his little mistress. Vaulting easily upon
his back, the Princess of Anuther Planet lifted her staff, and Kabumpo,
picking up Randy, started away like a whole conquering army.

“Is there any way you can signal to your mount to trot ahead?” inquired
Kabumpo, looking down sideways at the Thunder Colt, whose breath was
blowing hot and uncomfortable against his side. “Let Thun be the
vanguard,” he suggested craftily. “When I trumpet once, turn him left;
at two, turn right; at three, he must halt.”

“Oh, fine,” approved Planetty, tapping out the message with her heel on
the Thunder Colt’s flank. “That will be simply delishicus.”

Thun evidently agreed with her, for, tossing his smoky mane, he
cantered to a position just ahead of the Elegant Elephant, at which
Kabumpo heaved a huge sigh of relief. He did not wish to hurt Thun’s
feelings, neither did he wish to catch fire again.

“Here travel Thun, the Thunder Colt, Planetty, Princess of Anuther
Planet; Kabumpty of Noz; and Slandy, King of Segalia! Give way, all ye
comers and goers, and arouse me not, for I am a seething mass of molten
metal!”

“Is he really?” marveled Randy, gazing up at the fiery message floating
like a banner over their heads. Planetty nodded absently, her interest
so taken up with the wild flowers below, the blue sky above, and the
wide-armed, lacy-leafed trees of this ancient forest she could not bear
to turn her head for fear of missing something. On her own far-away
metal planet, skies were grey and leaden, and the various levels of
slate and silver strata arranged in stiff and net-like patterns. The
gay colors of this bright new world simply delighted her, and Randy and
Kabumpo she considered beings of rare and singular beauty. The word
she used to herself when she thought of them was “netiful,” which is
Anuther way of saying beautiful.

“A wonder that high-talking Thomas couldn’t get a name straight once
in a while!” complained Kabumpo out of one corner of his mouth, as
Thun’s sentence spiraled away in thin pink smoke.

“Oh, what difference does it make?” laughed Randy. “I think ‘Kabumpty’
is real cute.”

“CUTE!” raged the Elegant Elephant with such a fierce blast Planetty
promptly turned Thun to the left.

“Now see what you’ve done,” snickered Randy, giving Kabumpo’s ear a
mischievous tweak. “They think you want them to go left.”

“As a matter of fact, I do,” snapped Kabumpo grumpily. “We must go east
through Ix and then north to Ev.”

“Puzzling and more puzzling,” murmured Planetty, looking round at the
Elegant Elephant. “Where are all these curious places, Bumpo dear? I
thought all the time we were in Noz. Did you not tell us you were the
Big Bumpo of Noz?”

Randy peered rather anxiously over Kabumpo’s ear to see how he was
taking this second nickname, but he need not have worried. The “dear
Bumpo,” spoken in the metal maid’s ringing tones, fell like a charm
on Kabumpo’s ruffled feelings. And, fairly oozing complacency and
importance, he began to explain his own and Randy’s real names and
countries, hoping Planetty would straighten them out in her own head,
if not in Thun’s.

“You are right,” he started off sonorously. “Randy and I both live in
the Land of Oz, a great oblong country entirely surrounded by a desert
of burning sand. But in Oz there are many, many Kingdoms: first of all,
the four large realms, the Gilliken Country of the North, the Quadling
Country of the South, the Empire of the Winkies in the East, and the
Land of the Munchkins in the West. Each of these Kingdoms has its own
sovereign; but all are under the supreme rule of Ozma, a fairy Princess
as lovely as your own small self, and Ozma lives in an Emerald City in
the exact center of Oz.”

Kabumpo paused impressively while Planetty’s eyes twinkled merrily at
his delicate flattery. “Now Randy and I hail from the north Gilliken
Country of Oz,” proceeded the Elegant Elephant, moving along as he
spoke in a grand and leisurely manner. “I come from the Kingdom of
Pumperdink, and Randy from the Regal little realm of Regalia. Only
yesterday I arrived in Regalia to visit Randy, and we are now on our
way to the castle of the Red Jinn, as I think I told you before. If we
were in Oz, my dear–” Kabumpo rather lingered over the “dear”–“Ozma
and her clever assistant, the Wizard of Oz, would quickly transport you
to Anuther Planet with the magic belt. But, you see, we are not in Oz,
for the same storm that overtook you and Thun overtook us, and hurled
us across the Deadly Desert to this Kingdom of Ix, where we all now
find ourselves. Fortunately, too, for otherwise we might never have met
a Princess from Anuther Planet.”

The little Princess nodded in bright agreement.

“So–” continued Kabumpo, picking a huge tiger-lily and holding it out
to her, “as it is too difficult to travel back to the Emerald City of
Oz, we will take you with us to the Wizard of Ev, whose castle is on
the Nonestic Ocean in the country adjoining Ix.”

“And a wizard is what?” Planetty turned almost completely round on her
black charger, smiling teasingly over the tiger-lily at Kabumpo.

“Why, a wizard–er–a wizard–” The Elegant Elephant fumbled a bit
trying to find the right words to explain.

“A wizard is a person who can do by magic what other people cannot do
at all,” finished Randy neatly.

“Magic?” Planetty still looked puzzled.

“Oh, never mind all the words,” comforted Kabumpo, flapping his ears
good naturedly, “you’ll soon see for yourself what they all mean, and
I’m sure Jinnicky will be charmed to do his best tricks for you and
send you back in fine and proper style to your own planet.”

“Yes, Jinnicky can do almost anything,” boasted Randy, taking off his
crown and setting it back very much atilt, “and he’s good fun too.
You’ll like Jinnicky.”

“As much as Big Bumpo?” Planetty rolled her soft eyes fondly back at
the Elegant Elephant, and Randy, feeling an unaccountable twinge of
jealousy, wished she would look at him that way.

“Oh, maybe not so much as Kabumpo; of course, there’s nobody like
HIM–but pretty much as much,” declared the young King loyally.

“But I like everything down here,” decided Planetty, leaning forward to
tickle Thun’s ear with the lily. “It’s all so nite and netiful.”

“So now we know what we are,” whispered Randy under his breath
to Kabumpo. “And wait till Jinnicky sees us traveling with a
fire-breathing Thunder Colt and the Princess of Anuther Planet. Oh,
don’t we meet important people on our journeys, Kabumpo?”

“Well, don’t they meet US?” murmured the Elegant Elephant, increasing
his speed a little to keep up with Thun. “Though I wouldn’t call this
colt important myself. How is he any better than an ordinary horse? His
breath is hot and dangerous, and it’s not much fun traveling with a
deaf and dumb brute who burns everything he breathes on.”

“Oh, he’s not so dumb,” observed Randy. “Look at the way he leaped over
that fallen log just now, and think how useful he’ll be at night to
blaze a trail and light the camp fires.”

“Hadn’t thought of that,” admitted Kabumpo grudgingly. “I guess he
would show up pretty well in the dark, and I suppose that does make him
trail blazer and lighter of the fires for this particular expedition.
Ho, HO! KERUMPH! And between you and me and the desert, this expedition
had better move pretty fast and not stop for sightseeing. Suppose these
two Nuthers had that vanadium shower at the beginning of the week
instead of the middle, that would give them only about two more days to
go? Great Goosefeathers! I’d hate to have ’em stiffen up on us half-way
to Jinnicky’s. I might carry the Princess, but what would we do with
the colt?”

“Let’s not even think of it,” begged Randy with a little shudder.
“Great Goopers! Kabumpo, I hope Jinnicky will be at home and his magic
in good working order and powerful enough to send them back or keep
them here if they decide to stay.”

“If they decide to stay?” Kabumpo looked sharply back at his young
rider. “Why should they?”

“Well, Planetty said she liked it down here, you heard her yourself
a moment ago, and I thought maybe–” Randy’s face grew rosy with
embarrassment.

“Ha, Ha! So that’s the way the wind lies!” Kabumpo chuckled
soundlessly. “Well, I wouldn’t count on it, my lad,” he called up
softly. “She probably has some nite Planetty Prince waiting for her up
yonder, and will fly away without so much as a backward glance. And as
for Jinnicky being at home–why shouldn’t he be at home? And as for his
magic not being powerful enough–why shouldn’t it be powerful enough?
He was in fine shape and form when I saw him in the Emerald City three
years ago. By the way, why weren’t you at that grand celebration? I
understood Ozma invited all the Rulers of the Realm.”

“Uncle Hoochafoo did not want me to leave,” sighed Randy. “He thinks a
King’s place is in his castle.”

“I wonder what he thinks now?” said Kabumpo, trumpeting three times,
for Thun was racing along too far ahead of them.

“Probably has all the wise men and guards running in circles to find
me,” giggled Randy, immediately restored to good humor. “And say, when
I do get back, old Push-the-Foot, I’M going to be KING and everything
will be very different and gay. Yes, there’ll be a lot of changes in
Regalia,” he decided, shaking his head positively. “Why, all those dull
receptions and reviewings would tire a visitor to tears.”

“Ho, Ho! So you’re still expecting her to visit you?” Waving his
trunk, Kabumpo called out in a louder voice. “Not so fast there,
Princess; hold Thun back a bit. We might run into danger and we should
all keep together on a journey. Besides,” Kabumpo cleared his throat
apologetically, “Randy and I must stop for a bite to eat.”

Planetty’s eyes widened, as they always did at strange words and
customs, but she tugged obediently at Thun’s mane and the Thunder
Colt came to an instant halt. Randy himself tried to coax the little
Princess to eat something, but she was so upset and puzzled by the
idea, he finally desisted and tried to share his bread and eggs with
Kabumpo. But the Elegant Elephant generously refused a morsel, knowing
Randy had little enough for himself, and lunched as best he could from
the shoots of young trees and saplings. Thun was so interested when
Kabumpo quenched his thirst at a small spring that he too thrust his
head into the bubbling waters, but withdrew it instantly and with such
an expression of pain and distress Randy concluded that water hurt the
Thunder Colt as much as fire hurt them. He was quite worried till the
flames began to spurt from Thun’s nostrils, for he was afraid the water
might have put out Thun’s fire and hastened the time when he should
lose all power of life and motion.

“Do you do this often?” inquired Planetty, as Randy tucked what was
left into one of Kabumpo’s small pockets.

“Eat?” Randy laughed in spite of himself. “Oh, about three times a
day–or light,” he corrected himself hastily, remembering Planetty had
so designated the daytime. “I suppose that vanadium spray or shower
keeps you and Thun going, the way food does Kabumpo and me?”

Planetty nodded dreamily, then, seeing Kabumpo was ready to start, she
tapped Thun with her silver heels and away streaked the Thunder Colt,
Kabumpo swinging along at a grand gallop behind him.

“Strange we have not passed any woodsmen’s huts, nor seen any wild
animals,” called Randy, jamming his crown down a little tighter to
keep it from sailing off. “Hi! Watch out, there old Push-a-Foot!
There’s a wall ahead stretching away on all sides and going up higher
than higher. What’s a wall doing in a forest? Perhaps it shuts in the
private shooting preserve of Queen Zixie herself. Say–ay–I’d like to
meet the Queen of this country, wouldn’t you?”

“No time, no time,” puffed the Elegant Elephant, giving three short
trumpets to warn Planetty to halt Thun. “Great Grump! whoever built
this wall wanted to shut out everything, even the sky. Can’t even get a
squint of the top, can you?”

“Is this the great Kingdom of Ev?” asked Planetty, who had pulled Thun
up short and was looking at the wooden wall with lively interest.

“No, no, we’re not nearly to Ev.” The Elegant Elephant shook his head
impatiently. “Back of this wall lives someone who dotes on privacy, I
take it, or why should he shut himself in and everyone else out? Now,
then, shall we cruise round or knock a hole in the wood? I don’t see
any door, do you, Randy?”

“No, I don’t.” Standing on the elephant’s back, Randy examined the
wall with great care. “Why, it goes for miles,” he groaned dolefully.
“Miles!”

“Then we’ll just bump through.” Backing off, Kabumpo lowered his head
and was about to lunge forward when Randy gave his ear a sharp tweak.

“Look!” he directed breathlessly. “Look!” While they had been talking,
Thun had been sniffing curiously at the wooden wall and now a whole
round section of it was blazing merrily. “Hurray! He’s burned a hole
big enough for us all to go through,” yelled the young King gleefully.
“Come ON!”

Vexed to think the Thunder Colt had solved the difficulty so easily,
and worried lest the whole wall should catch fire, Kabumpo signaled
for Planetty to precede him. But he need not have worried about Thun’s
firing the wall. The Thunder Colt had burned as neat a hole in the
boards as a cigarette burns in paper, and while the edges glowed a bit,
they soon smouldered out, leaving a huge circular opening. So, without
further delay, Kabumpo stepped through, only to find himself facing the
most curious company he had seen in the whole course of his travels.

“Why! Why, they’re all in boxes!” breathed Randy, as a group with
upraised and boxed fists advanced upon the newcomers.

“Chillywalla! Chillywalla!” yelled the Boxers, their voices coming
muffled and strange through the hat-boxes they wore on their heads.

“Chillywalla, Chillywalla, Chillywalla!” echoed Planetty, waving
cheerfully at the oncoming host.

“Shh-hh, pss-st, Princess, that may be a war cry,” warned Randy,
drawing his sword and swinging it so swiftly round his head it
whistled. Thun, too astonished to move a step, stood with lowered
head, his flaming breath darting harmlessly into the moist floor of the
forest.

“Chillywalla! Chillywalla! Chillywalla!” roared the Boxers, keeping a
safe distance from Kabumpo’s lashing trunk. “Chillywalla! CHILLYWALLA!”
Their voices rose loud and imploring. As Randy slid off the Elegant
Elephant’s back to place himself beside Planetty, a perfectly enormous
Boxer came clumping out of the Box Wood to the left.

“Yes! Yes?” he grunted, holding on his hat-box as he ran. When he
caught sight of the travelers, he stopped short, and, not satisfied
with peering through the eyeholes in his hat-box, took it off
altogether and stood staring at them, his square eyes almost popping
from his square head. “Box their ears, box their ears! Box their heads
and arms and rears! Box their legs, their hands and chests, box that
fire plug ‘fore all the rest! An IRON box!” screamed Chillywalla, as
Thun, with a soundless snort, sent a shower of sparks into a candy
box bush, toasting all the marshmallows in the boxes. “Oh, aren’t you
afraid to go about in this barebacked, barefaced, unboxed condition?”
he panted, “exposed to the awful dangers of the raw outer air?”

Chillywalla hastily clapped on his hat box, but not before Randy
noticed that his ears were nicely boxed, too. Without waiting for an
answer to his question, the Boxer, with one shove of his enormous boxed
fist, pushed Thun under a Box Tree. Planetty had just time to leap
from his back when Chillywalla shook a huge iron box loose and it came
clanking down over the Thunder Colt. It was open at the bottom, and
Thun, kicking and rearing underneath, jerked it east and west.

“He’ll soon grow used to it,” muttered Chillywalla, jabbing a dozen
holes in the metal with a sharp pick he had drawn from a pocket in his
box coat. “Now, then, who’s next? Ah! What a lovely lady!” Chillywalla
gazed rapturously at the Princess from Anuther Planet, then clapping
his hands, called sharply: “Bring the jewel boxes for her ears, flower
boxes for herself, a bonnet box for her head, candy boxes for her
hands, slipper boxes for those tiny silver feet. Bring stocking boxes,
glove boxes, and hurry! HURRY!”

“Oh, PLEASE!” Randy put himself firmly between Planetty and the
determined Chillywalla. “The outer air does not hurt us at all, Mister
Chillywalla; in fact, we like it!”

“Just try to find a box big enough for me!” invited Kabumpo, snatching
up the little Princess and setting her high on his shoulder.

“I think I have a packing box that would just fit,” mused the Chief
Boxer, folding his arms and looking sideways at the Elegant Elephant.

“Pack him up, pack him off, send him packing!” chattered the other
Boxers, who had never seen anything like Kabumpo in their lives and
distrusted him highly. But Chillywalla himself was quite interested in
his singular visitors and inclined to be more than friendly.

“Better try our boxes,” he urged seriously, as he took the pile of
bright cardboard containers an assistant had brought him. “Without
bragging, I can say that they are the best boxes grown–stylish, nicely
fitting and decidedly comfortable to wear.”

“Ha, ha!” rumbled Kabumpo, rocking backward and forward at the very
idea. “Mean to tell me you wear boxes over your other clothes and
everywhere you go?”

“Certainly.” Chillywalla nodded vigorously. “Do you suppose we want to
stand around and disintegrate? What happens to articles after they are
taken out of their boxes?” he demanded argumentatively. “Tell me that.”

“Why,” said Randy, thoughtfully, “they’re worn, or sold, or eaten, or
spoiled–”

“Exactly.” Chillywalla snapped him up quickly. “They are worn out;
they lose their freshness and their newness. Well, we intend to save
ourselves from such a fate, and we do,” he added complacently.

“You’re certainly fresh enough,” chuckled Kabumpo with a wink at Randy.

“But might not these boxes be fun to wear?” inquired Planetty, looking
rather wistfully at the bright heap the Boxer Chief had intended for
her.

“No, No and NO!” rumbled Kabumpo positively. “No boxes!”

“As you wish.” Chillywalla shrugged his shoulders under his cardboard
clothes box. “Shall I unbox the horse?”

“Better not,” decided Randy, looking anxiously at the sparks issuing
from the punctures in Thun’s box. “But perhaps you would show us the
way through this–this–”

“Box Wood,” finished Chillywalla. “Yes, I will be most honored to
conduct you through our forest. And you may pick as many boxes as you
wish, too,” he added generously. “I’d like to do something for people
who are so soon to spoil and wither.”

“Ha, ha! Now, I’m sure that’s very kind of you,” roared Kabumpo, wiping
his eyes on the fringe of his robe. “And I think it best we hurry
along, my good fellow. Ho, whither away? It would never do to have a
spoiled King and Princess and a bad horse and elephant on your hands.”

“Oh, if you’d ONLY wear our boxes!” begged Chillywalla, almost ready
to cry at the prospect of his visitors spoiling on the premises. Then
as Kabumpo shook his head again, the Big Boxer started off at a rapid
shuffle, anxious to have them out of the woods as soon as possible.
Thun, during all this conversation, had been kicking and bucking under
his iron box, but now Planetty tapped out a reassuring message with
her staff and the Thunder Colt quieted down. On the whole, he behaved
rather well, following the signals his little mistress tapped out, and
pushing the iron box along without too much discomfort or complaint,
though occasional indignant and fiery protests came puffing out of his
iron container.

Randy considered the journey through the Box Wood one of their gayest
and most entertaining adventures. The woodmen, in their brightly
decorated boxes, shuffled cheerfully along beside them, stopping now
and then to point with pride to their square box-like dwellings set at
regular intervals under the spreading boxwood trees. The whole forest
was covered by an enormous wooden box that shut out the sky and gave
everything an artificial and unreal look. It was in one side of this
monster box that Thun had burned the hole to admit them. Randy and
Planetty, riding sociably together on Kabumpo’s back, picked boxes
from branches of all the trees they could reach, and it was such fun
and so exciting they paid scarcely any attention to the remarks of
Chillywalla. Even the Elegant Elephant snapped off a box or two and
handed them back to his royal riders.

“Oh, look!” exulted Randy, opening a bright blue cardboard box. “This
is just full of chocolate candy.”

“Oh, throw that trash away,” advised Chillywalla contemptuously.
“We think nothing of the stuff that grows inside, it’s the boxes
themselves we are after.”

“But this candy is good,” objected Randy after sampling several pieces.
“And mind you, Kabumpo, Planetty has just picked a jewel box full of
real chains, rings and bracelets.”

“Oh, they are netiful, netiful,” crooned the Princess of Anuther
Planet, hugging the velvet jewel box to her breast.

“Keep them if you wish,” sniffed Chillywalla, “but they’re just rubbish
to us. When we pick boxes we toss the contents away.”

“Now, that’s plain foolishness,” snorted Kabumpo, aghast at such a
waste, as Randy picked a pencil box full of neatly sharpened pencils
and Planetty a tidy sewing kit fitted out with scissors, needles and
spools of thread. The thimble was not quite ripe, but as Planetty had
never stitched a stitch in her royal life, she did not notice nor care
about that. Indeed, before they came to the other side of the Box
Wood, she and Randy were sitting in the midst of a high heap of their
treasures, and Kabumpo looked as if he were making a lengthy safari,
loaded up and down for the journey.

Randy had stuffed most of the boxes into big net bags Kabumpo always
brought along for emergencies, and these he tied to the Elegant
Elephant’s harness. There were bread boxes packed with tiny loaves
and biscuits, cake boxes stuffed with sugar buns and cookies, stamp
boxes, flower boxes, glove boxes, coat and suit boxes. Last of all,
Randy picked a Band Box and it played such gay tunes when he lifted
the lid, Planetty clapped her silver hands, and even Kabumpo began to
hum under his breath. Traveling through the Box Wood with kind-hearted
Chillywalla was more like a surprise party than anything else. To
Planetty it was all so delightful, she began to wonder how she had ever
been satisfied with her life on Anuther Planet.

“Are all the countries down here as different and happy as this?” she
asked, fingering the necklace she had taken from the jewel box. “All
our countries are greyling and sad. No birds sing, no flowers grow, and
people are all the same.”

“Oh, just wait till you’ve been to OZ,” exclaimed Randy, shutting
the band box so he could talk better. “Oz countries are even more
surprising than this, and wait till you’ve seen Ev and Jinnicky’s Red
Glass Castle!”

“You’ll never reach it,” predicted Chillywalla, shaking his hat box
gloomily. “You’ll spoil in a few hours now, especially the big one,
loaded down with all that stuff and rubbish. Throw it away,” he begged
again, looking so sorrowful Randy was afraid he was going to burst out
crying. “Toss out that rubbish and wear our boxes before it is too
late!”

“Rubbish!” Randy shook his finger reprovingly at the Boxer. “Why, all
these things are terribly nice and useful. If we go through enemy
countries, we can placate the natives with cakes and cigars, and if
we go through friendly countries, we’ll use the suits and flowers
and candy for gifts. Really, you’ve been a great help to us, Mr.
Chillywalla, and if you ever come to Regalia, you may have anything in
my castle you wish!”

“Are there any boxes in your castle?” Chillywalla peered up at Randy
through the slits in his hat box.

“Not many,” admitted Randy truthfully. “You see, in my country we keep
the contents and throw the boxes away.”

“Throw the boxes away!” gasped Chillywalla, jumping three times into
the air. “Oh, you rogues! You rascals! You–YOU BOXIBALS! Lefters!
Righters! Boxers all! Here! Here at once! Have at these Box-destroying
savages!”

“Now see what you’ve done,” mourned Kabumpo, as hundreds of the Boxers,
heeding Chillywalla’s call, darted out of their dwellings and came
leaping from behind the box bushes and trees. “You’ve started a war!
That’s what!”

“Box them! Box them good!” shrieked Chillywalla, raining harmless
blows on Kabumpo’s trunk with his boxed fists. A hundred more boxed
both Thun and the Elegant Elephant from the rear, and so loud and angry
were their cries Planetty covered her ears.

“Too bad we have to leave when everything was so pleasant,” wheezed
Kabumpo. “But never mind, here’s the other side of the Box Wood.
Flatten out, youngsters, and I’ll bump through.”

And bump through he did, with such a splintering of boards it sounded
like an explosion of cannon crackers. Thun, at three taps from
Planetty, bumped after him, and before the Boxers realized what was
happening they were far away from there.

“I’ll soon have that box off you!” panted Kabumpo. And putting his
trunk under Thun’s iron box, he heaved it up in short order, screaming
shrilly as he did, for the Thunder Colt’s breath had made the metal
uncomfortably hot.

“I thank you, great and mighty Master!” Thun sent the words up in a
perfect shower of sparks. “Let us begone from these noxious boxers.”

“Oh, they’re not so bad,” mused Randy, as Planetty signaled for Thun to
go left. “Just peculiar. Imagine keeping the boxes and throwing away
all the lovely things inside. And imagine a country where everything
grows in boxes!” he added, standing up to wave at Chillywalla and his
square-headed comrades, who were looking angrily through the break in
the side of their wall.

“Good-bye!” he called clearly. “Good-bye, Chillywalla, and thanks for
the presents!”

“Boxibals!” hissed the Boxer Chief and his men, shaking their fists
furiously at the departing visitors.

“And that makes us no better than cannibals, I suppose,” grunted
Kabumpo, looking rather wearily at the stretch of forest ahead. He had
rather hoped to find himself in open country.

Continue Reading

Headway

Now the Gapers were not dead, but only sleeping, and soon the dormant
natives of this strange Hibernation lifted up their headstones and
began blinking out indignantly to see what and who had got loose in
their quiet valley.

“Silence! Cease! Desist!” shuddered Sleeperoo the Great and Snorious,
holding up his headstone with one hand and waving his other arm feebly
at Kabumpo. “A bit more of that racket and we’ll be roused for months.
Who are you? And what is the meaning of all this Hah Hoh Humbuggery?”

Gaping ten times in quick succession, Sleeperoo stuck out his lip at
the Elegant Elephant. Kabumpo, startled by the spectacle of a hundred
lifted headstones and the round dirty moonlike faces gaping up at him,
said nothing for a whole minute. Then, stepping over to the Chief
Gaper, he burst out angrily:

“I am a traveler whom your guards stuck full of arrows and then tried
to bury. The young King who was with me has disappeared. I, the Elegant
Elephant of Oz and Pumperdink, DEMAND his release. What have you done
with the King of Regalia? Produce him at once, or I’ll stand here and
trumpet till doomsday!”

To show he meant what he said, Kabumpo let out such a terrific blast
the headstones of his listeners rocked and shivered.

“Oh, my head! My ears! My ears, my dears! Give him what he’s yelling
for,” sobbed Sleeperoo, crouching under his headstone as Kabumpo lifted
his trunk for another trumpet.

“Is this–a–king?” called a fretful voice, and, lurching round,
Kabumpo saw a fat old Gaper now half-way above ground. Balancing his
stone on his fat head, he held Randy out at arm’s length. “Instead of
digging him a proper bed, they stuck him in with me,” he complained.
“Here, take him–he kicks like a mule and I can’t abide a kicker.”
With a relieved grunt, Kabumpo snatched Randy from the Gaper’s damp
clutches, thankful the boy still had strength enough to kick. Randy’s
face was quite pale and covered with dirt, but after a few anxious
shakes he opened his eyes and looked confusedly round him.

“It’s nothing,” sniffed Kabumpo. “It’s quite all right, my boy. You’ve
just been buried to the ears and sleeping with a ground-hog.”

“Buried?” shivered Randy, as Kabumpo set him gently on his back.

“Not buried at all, just lying dormant as a sensible body should,”
corrected the old Gaper, dropping out of sight with a slam of his
headstone.

“Go away! Please go away!” begged Sleeperoo, as Kabumpo began stepping
gingerly between the stones. “You’re ruining our rest, you big bullying
Behemoth!”

“I’ll not stir a step till you send a guide to lead me out of this
gulch,” declared Kabumpo. “Call a guard or I’ll call one myself.”

“No. No! Please NOT! Torpy Snorpy–I say, Torpy,” wheezed Sleeperoo,
stretching up his thin neck. “Come, come all of you at once. At ONCE!”

As quickly as they had vanished, the Wakes slid from behind boulders
and trees and up out of rocky crevices, their buttons twinkling
cheerfully in the dark.

“Conduct these travelers to the head of the valley,” ordered Sleeperoo,
with a weak wave at the Gaper Guards.

“I thought this was a gulch,” yawned Kabumpo, while Randy began to
shake the dirt from his hair and ears.

“A gulch is a valley,” sniffed Sleeperoo, lowering himself crossly.
“Look it up in any pictionary. A gulch is a valley or chasm.”

“And Gaper’s Gulch is a yawning chasm,” mumbled Kabumpo, as the Chief
Gaper and all the others began ducking back into their holes like
rabbits into warrens. “Good night to you,” he added, as the last stone
slammed down. “Now, then, you boys fetch my head-piece and robe from
that pit and let’s start on.”

Kabumpo spoke so sharply ten Wakes sprang to obey, and after they
had brought them and both had been adjusted to Kabumpo’s liking, he
signaled imperiously for Torpy and Snorpy to lead the way, and their
companions took thankfully to their heels. For a while the two little
Wakes marched ahead in a subdued silence as the Elegant Elephant picked
his way around rocks and tree stumps.

“Not mad, I hope?” Torpy, most talkative of the two, looked anxiously
over his shoulder.

“No, no–certainly not. I don’t know when I’ve spent a more delightful
evening,” Kabumpo said. “Being stuck full of arrows and then buried
alive is such splendid entertainment.”

“Oh, I say now, we cannot all be alike,” put in Snorpy, coming to the
rescue of his embarrassed companion. “If those arrows had taken effect,
you’d have been dead asleep before we buried you, and known nothing for
six months. That’s a lot of sleep to miss, Mister–er–Mister?”

“Kabumpo,” chuckled Randy, who was now wide awake and quite recovered
from his harrowing experience. “But you see, Kabumpo and I sleep every
night and not all in one stretch as you do.”

“More trouble that way,” murmured Snorpy, shaking his head
disapprovingly. “Keeps you hopping up and down all the time. In the
Gulch we sleep half the year and then we are done with it.”

“And what do you do when you are not sleeping?” inquired Kabumpo,
stifling a yawn with his trunk.

“We eat,” grinned Snorpy, his eyes twinkling brighter than his buttons.
“Breakfast from July first to August thirty-first; lunch from September
first till October thirty-first; and dinner from November first till
New Year’s.”

“You mean you eat straight through without stopping?” gasped Randy,
raising himself on one elbow. “All the time you’re awake? Don’t you
ever work, play or go on journeys?”

“I do not know what you mean by ‘work, play and going on journeys,’
but whatever they are, we don’t. We eat and sleep, sleep and eat and
everything is perfectly gorgeous,” confided the Wake with a satisfied
skip.

“Gorging is gorgeous to some people, I suppose.” Kabumpo tossed his
head to show it was not his way. “Then how is it you fellows are not
sleeping along with the other Gapers?”

“Oh, we’re trained to sleep in summer and fall and to eat in winter and
spring. The Winks are not so clever at staying awake as we are, but
they’ll learn, and meanwhile the pebbles keep them fairly active.”

“Yes, active enough to shoot at visitors,” grunted Kabumpo, winking
back at Randy. “Do you shoot one another asleep or is that a special
treat you reserve for travelers?”

“We just shoot at travelers,” admitted Snorpy, quite cheerfully.
“Otherwise they would interfere with our customs, interrupt our
sleeping and eating and wake us up out of season.”

“Just as we did,” chuckled Randy. “I suppose we interrupted your
dinner, this being one of the dinner months?” Both Guards nodded,
exchanging pleased little smiles.

“Come on back and have a bite with us,” invited Snorpy generously.
“We’ve weak fish for the first week, chops for the second–”

Randy, tugging at Kabumpo’s collar, begged him to stop, for Randy was
hungry as a brace of bears, but the Elegant Elephant, shaking his
head till all his jewels rattled, declined the invitation with great
firmness.

“No knowing what will come of it,” he whispered to his disappointed
young comrade. “Might put us to sleep for a century and it’s about all
I can do to keep my eyes open now. Wait till we’re out of this goopy
gulch, my lad, and we’ll eat and sleep like gentlemen. After all, we
are gentlemen and not ground-hogs.”

Urging his guides to greater speed, the weary beast pushed doggedly
on through the brush and stubble. Snorpy and Torpy, insulted by the
shortness with which the Elegant Elephant had refused their invitation,
had little more to say, and in less than an hour had brought the
travelers to the end of the rocky little valley. From where they stood,
a crooked path wound crazily upward, and with a silent wave aloft the
two Wakes turned and ran.

“Back to their dinner,” sighed Randy, looking hungrily after them.
But Kabumpo, charmed to see the last of the ghostly gulch and its
inhabitants, began to ascend the path, not even stopping for breath
till he had come to the top. Even after this, he traveled on for about
five miles to make sure no sleepy vapors or Gapers would trouble them
again. The moon had waned and the stars grown faint as he stopped
at last in a small patch of woodland. Here, without removing his
head-piece or robe, Kabumpo braced his back against a mighty oak
and fell asleep on his feet, and Randy, soothed and rocked by his
tremendous snores, soon closed his eyes and slept also.

When Randy wakened, Kabumpo had already started on, grumbling under
his breath, because nowhere in sight was there a green bush, a tree or
anything at all that an elephant or little boy might eat.

“Where are we?” yawned Randy, sitting up and rubbing his eyes with his
knuckles. “Great Gillikens, this is as bad as Gaper’s Gulch!”

“All the countries bordering on the Deadly Desert are queer no-count
little places,” sniffed the Elegant Elephant, angrily jerking his robe
off a cactus. “And from the feel of the air, we must be near the
desert now.”

At mention of the Deadly Desert, Randy lapsed into an uneasy silence,
for how could they ever cross this tract of burning sand, and how could
they reach Ev or Jinnicky’s castles unless they did cross it? While
this vast belt of destroying sand effectively kept enemies out of Oz,
it also kept the Ozians in.

“If we only had some of Jinnicky’s magic or even his silver dinner bell
to bring us a good breakfast!” sighed Randy, glancing round hungrily.
“Pretty stupid of me not to have brought along a lunch, and there’s not
even a brook or stream in this miserable little patch of woods where a
body could quench his thirst. Maybe it will rain, and that would help a
little.”

“Maybe,” admitted Kabumpo, squinting up at the leaden sky. “Anyway,
here we are out of the woods, but take a look at those rocks!”

“And those heads behind the rocks,” whispered Randy, clutching
Kabumpo’s collar.

“There’s something pretty odd about those heads, if you ask me,”
wheezed the Elegant Elephant, curling up his trunk. “Odd or I’m losing
my eye and ear sight.”

“Odd!” hissed Randy, tightening his hold on Kabumpo’s collar. “Good
goats and gravy! They’re flying round loose like birds. Why, they’ve
got no bodies on ’em, no bodies at all!”

“Read the sign,” directed Kabumpo, uncurling his trunk and pointing
to a crude warning scratched on a flat slab at the edge of the road
leading to the rocky promontory above.

“Heads up! This road leads to Headland, nobody’s allowed.”

“Humph! Well, we won’t make much headway without our bodies,” grunted
Kabumpo, as Randy read the message slowly to himself. “Such impudence!
Why should we pay any attention to such stuff? Bodies or not, we’re
going on, and how can fellows minus feet and arms hope to stop us?”

“They might crash down on us with their heads,” worried Randy, as an
angry flock of Headmen circled round and round at the top of the road,
“and those heads look hard.”

“Not any harder than mine. Keep your crown on, Randy,” advised Kabumpo
grimly, “the spikes will dent ’em good, and if you reach down in my
left-hand pocket you’ll find a short club. The club will be better than
your sword; you can’t cut a head off no neck and besides we don’t
really want to injure the pests. All ready? Then here we go!”

Randy did not answer, for hooking his heels through Kabumpo’s harness,
he was already delving into the capacious pocket on the left side of
the Elegant Elephant’s robe, discovering not only a club, but a quiver
full of darts. Jerking himself upright, the club in one hand, the darts
in the other, he peered aloft with growing anxiety as foot over foot
Kabumpo climbed up the granite slope. The faces of the Headmen were
round and deeply wrinkled from the hot winds blowing off the desert;
their ears, huge and fan-shaped, flapped like wings, and like wings
propelled them through the air. Before Kabumpo reached the top, a whole
bevy came whizzing toward them, screaming out indignant threats and
warnings.

“Off, be off!” they shouted hysterically. “Off with their arms, off
with their legs, off with their bodies! Halt! Stop! Begone, you
miserable creepy crawly creatures. You dare not set a foot on our
beautiful Headland.”

“Oh, daren’t we?” Kabumpo shook his trunk belligerently. “And who is to
stop us, pray?”

“I am,” rasped the ugliest of the Headmen. Snatching a coil of wire
from a niche in the rocks with his teeth, the ugly little Mugly came
flapping toward them. Another of the Headmen hastened to seize the
opposite end of the wire in his teeth and, stretching it between them,
they came rushing on.

“Watch out!” warned Randy, dropping flat between Kabumpo’s ears.
“They’re going to trip you up.”

“Wrong, how wrong,” chattered all the Headmen, bobbing up and down like
balloons let off their strings. “They’re going to cut off his body,”
confided one of the long-nosed tribesmen, zooming down to whisper this
information in Randy’s ear. “The creature’s head is welcome enough
and with those enormous ears he’ll have no trouble flying, but his
body–oh, his body is awful and must stay behind. And your body, too,
you little monster, we’ll cut that off too,” promised the Headman
in his oily voice. “What use is a body, anyway? I see you have very
small ears, but they can be stretched. And just wait till you’ve been
debodicated, you’ll feel so right and light and flighty.”

“Help! Stop! Help! Help!” screamed Randy, as the ugly Mugly gave him a
playful nip on the ear. “Back up, Kabumpo, back down. They’re going to
catch you in that wire and choke you.”

“Pah! nonsense,” panted the Elegant Elephant. And heaving himself up
over the last barrier, he stepped confidently out on the rocky plateau.

“Heads up! Heads up!” shrilled the Headmen, while the two with the
wire, deftly encircling Kabumpo’s great neck, began to fly apart in
order to draw the noose tighter. Kabumpo ducked, but much too late,
and though his ferocious trumpeting sent swarms of Headmen fluttering
aloft, the two holding the wire stuck to their task, pulling and
jerking with all their teeth till Kabumpo’s jeweled collar was pressing
uncomfortably into his throat.

“Don’t worry,” he grunted gamely, “their teeth will give way before my
neck does. Calm yourself, my boy, ca–alm your–self.”

But how could Randy feel calm with his best friend in such a
predicament and already beginning to gasp for breath? Jumping up and
down on Kabumpo’s back, he rattled his club valiantly, but the Headmen
were too high up for him to reach, and when at last he flung the
club with all his strength at the one on the left, it seemed to make
no impression at all on the hard head of the enemy. Redoubling his
efforts, he drew the wire tighter and tighter in his yellow teeth. In
desperation, Randy suddenly remembered the darts, and drawing one
from the quiver, sent it speeding upward. The first missed, but as the
Elegant Elephant began to sway and quiver beneath him, the second found
its mark, striking the Headman squarely in the middle of the forehead.
An expression of surprise and dismay overspread his wrinkled features,
and next instant, with a terrific yawn, he dropped the wire and fell
headlong to the rocks, where he rolled over and over and over.

“Great Goopers!” exclaimed Randy, hardly able to believe his luck.
“Why, he’s not hurt at all, but has fallen asleep.”

“Watch the others, the–others!” gulped Kabumpo, shaking his head
in an effort to free it from the wire. Already another had flown to
take his fallen comrade’s place, but before he could snatch the wire,
Randy brought him to earth with one of his sharply pointed darts. The
next who ventured he shot down too, and as the rest of the band came
swarming down to see what was happening, Randy sent arrow after arrow
winging into their midst till the flat, smooth rock was dotted with
sleepy heads, for each one hit promptly fell asleep. Though his arm
ached and his heart thumped uncomfortably, Randy did not even pause
for breath till he had sent the last arrow into the air, and then quite
suddenly he realized he had won this strange and ridiculous battle.
More than half of the ear-men, as he could not help calling them to
himself, lay snoring on the ground; the rest with terrified shrieks and
whistles were flapping off as fast as their ears would carry them. Now
entirely free of the wire, but still trembling and gasping, Kabumpo
stared angrily after them.

“What I cannot understand,” puffed Randy, sliding to the ground to
examine a group of the enemy, “is what put them to sleep? I thought
your darts might hurt or head them off or puncture them like balloons,
but instead–here they are asleep, and How asleep! Shall I pull out
the arrows? I might need them later.”

“They’re not MY arrows,” Kabumpo said, wrinkling his forehead in
a puzzled frown. “I didn’t have any arrows, but Ha, Ha, Kerumph!”
The Elegant Elephant began to shake all over. “They must be Gaper
Arrows–the Wakes must have stuck them in my pocket when they fetched
my robe and head-piece. Pretty cute of the little rascals, at that.
Why, these must be the same arrows the Winks shot at me, Randy, but my
hide was too tough for them and they didn’t work.”

“Well, they certainly made short work of the Headmen,” said Randy,
turning one over gently with his foot. “Goodness! I thought you’d be
choked and done for, old fellow!”

“Who, ME? Nonsense! My neck would have broken their teeth in another
minute or two.”

“Well, then, shall I pull out the arrows?” asked Randy, who had his own
opinion about Kabumpo’s narrow escape. “We could use them again some
time.”

“No, NO! Leave them in! So long as those arrows stick fast the little
villains will sleep fast and that’s the only way I can stand ’em.”

“But suppose the others fly back?” Randy still hesitated.

“Pooh! Don’t you worry about that.” Kabumpo raised his trunk
scornfully. “They’re frightened out of their wits and probably half way
to the Sapphire City by this time. And when they do come back, we won’t
be here.”

“Won’t we?” Dubiously Randy began to pace across the bare and arid
plateau. “I certainly don’t think much of Headland, do you?”

“I wouldn’t have it for a gift, even if they threw in a tusk brush and
diamond earrings besides!” snorted Kabumpo. “Why, it’s nothing but a
humpy bumpy acre of rock without a tree, a house, a bird or even a
blade of grass. I’d give the whole country for a mouthful of hay or a
bucketful of water!”

“We might find a spring among the rocks,” proposed Randy, hurrying
along hopefully.

“More likely a fall,” predicted Kabumpo, trudging gloomily behind him.
But just then, Randy, who had vanished behind a sizable boulder, gave
an excited whoop.

“Hi, yi, Kabumpo! We’re here! We’re here, right on the edge of it!” he
shouted vociferously. “LOOK!” The Elegant Elephant, pushing round the
rock, did look, then, mopping his forehead with the tip of his robe,
sank heavily to his haunches and for a moment neither said a word. For,
truly enough, the jagged point of Headland projected over the desert
as a high cliff hangs over the sea. Below, the seething sand smoked,
churned and tumbled, sending up sulphurous waves of heat that made both
travelers cough and splutter.

“So, all we have to do is cross,” gasped Randy, dashing the tears
brought by the smoke out of his eyes.

“And a simple thing that will be,” grunted the Elegant Elephant
sarcastically, “seeing that one foot on the sand spells instant
destruction. If we could just flap our ears like the Headmen, we could
fly across.”

“But as we can’t,” sighed Randy, seating himself despondently on a
boulder. “What are we to do?”

“Well, that remains to be seen,” muttered Kabumpo, who had not the
faintest notion. “‘Never cross a Deadly Desert on an empty stomach,’ is
my motto, and I’m going to stick to it.”

“Sticking to mottoes won’t get us anywhere,” Randy said, skimming a
stone off the edge and watching with a little shudder as it was sucked
down into the whirling sand. “Doesn’t that desert make you thirsty?
Goopers, if I had a dipperful of water I’d gladly do without the
breakfast.”

“Humph! looks as if you might have that wish.” Feeling hurriedly in the
right pocket of his robe, Kabumpo dragged out a waterproof as large
as a tent. “Just spread this over me, will you?” he puffed anxiously.
“Storm coming. Hear that thunder? Storm coming.”

“Coming?” cried Randy, springing up to help Kabumpo with the buckles.
“Why, it’s here.” He had to raise his voice to a scream to make himself
heard above the gale that, arising apparently from nowhere, struck them
furiously from behind. He had just fastened the last strap of the
waterproof to Kabumpo’s left ankle when the rain swept down in perfect
torrents; rain, accompanied by hailstones as big as Easter eggs. There
was ample room for Randy beneath the Elegant Elephant, and standing
between his front legs the young monarch lifted the waterproof, and
reaching out caught a huge hailstone in his hand. Touching it against
his parched lips, Randy gave a sigh of content, then crunching it up
rapturously, stuck out his head and let the pelting downpour cool his
hot and dusty face.

“Wonder if this will put out the desert?” he mused, ducking back as a
terrible clap of thunder boomed like a cannon shot overhead. “SAY, it’s
a lucky thing you’re so big, Kabumpo,” he called up cheerily, “or we’d
be blown away. Whee–listen to that wind, would you!”

“Have to do more than listen,” howled the Elegant Elephant, bracing
his feet and lowering his head. “Ahoy! below–catch hold of something,
Randy! Help! Hi! Hold on! HOLD ON! For the love of blue–mountains!
Here we GO! Here we blow! Oooomph! Bloomph! Ker–AHHHHH!”

“Oh, no, Kabumpo! NO!” Leaping up, Randy caught the Elegant Elephant’s
broad belt. “Put on–the brakes! Quick!” And Kabumpo did try making a
futile stand against the tearing wind. But the mighty gale, whistling
under his waterproof filled it up and out like a balloon, and with a
regular ferry-boat blast, Kabumpo rose into the air and zoomed like a
Zeppelin over the Deadly Desert, while Randy, hanging grimly to the
strap of his belt, banged to and fro like the clapper on a bell.

Remembering the deadly and destroying nature of the sands below, Randy
did not dare to look down. Besides, holding on took all his strength
and attention, for Kabumpo was borne like a leaf before the howling
gale, faster and faster and faster, till he and Randy were too dazed
and dizzy to know or care how far they had gone or where they were
blowing to. Which was perhaps just as well, for, as suddenly as it had
risen, the gale abated and, coasting down the last high hill of the
wind, saved from a serious crash only by his faithful tarpaulin, which
now acted as a parachute, Kabumpo came jolting to earth. With closed
eyes and trunk held stiffly before him, the Elegant Elephant remained
perfectly motionless awaiting destruction and wondering vaguely how
it would feel. He was convinced that they had come down on the desert
itself. Then, as no fierce blasts of heat assailed him, he ventured
to open one eye. Randy, shaken loose by the force of the landing, had
rolled to the ground a few feet away, and now, jumping to his feet,
cried joyously:

“Why, it’s over, Kabumpo–over, and so are we! Ho! I never knew you
could fly, old Push-the-Foot.”

“Neither did I,” shuddered the Elegant Elephant, and jerking off the
waterproof he flung it as hard and as far as he could.

“Oh, don’t do that!” Randy dashed away to pick it up. “That good old
coat saved our bacon and ballooned us across the desert as light as a
couple of daisies.”

“But we’re no better off on this side than on the other,” grumbled
Kabumpo, surveying the barren countryside with positive hatred. “Not a
house, a field, a farm or a castle in sight.”

“The idea was to get away from castles, wasn’t it?” Randy grinned up
at his huge friend and, folding the waterproof into a neat packet,
tucked it back in its place.

“Well, there’s one thing about castles,” observed the Elegant Elephant,
giving his robe a quick tug here and there. “At least, the food’s
regular. I could eat a royal dinner from soup to napkins.”

“Give me a boost up that tree and I’ll have a look around,” proposed
Randy.

“Need a spy-glass to find anything worth looking at in this country,”
complained Kabumpo, lifting Randy into the fork of a gnarled old tree.
Shinning expertly up the rough trunk, Randy looked carefully in all
directions.

“We certainly cleared the desert by a nice margin,” he called down
gaily. “It’s at least a mile behind us, and toward the east I see a
cluster of white towers that might be a castle.”

“And nothing between,” mourned Kabumpo with a hungry swallow. “No
fields, orchards or melon patches?”

“There are fields, but they’re too far away for me to see what’s
growing, and there’s a forest too. What country is this, Kabumpo? Do
you know?”

“Depends on how we blew,” answered the Elegant Elephant, lifting Randy
out of the tree and tossing him lightly over his shoulder. “If we blew
straight from Headland, which is certainly the northwestern tip of the
Gilliken Country of Oz, we should be in No Land. If we blew slantwise,
this would be Ix.”

“Then I hope we blew slantwise.” Randy spread himself out luxuriantly
behind Kabumpo’s ears. “For if we are in Ix, we have only one country
to cross before we reach Ev and Jinnicky’s castle.”

“And the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll arrive,” agreed Kabumpo,
swinging into motion. “But if I drop in my tracks, boy, don’t be too
surprised. I’m hollow as a drum and weak as a violet.”

“Too bad we’re not like the Headmen,” said Randy, who felt dreadfully
hollow himself. “Without a body, I suppose one does not feel hungry.
Wonder what became of them, anyway?”

“Who cares?” sniffed Kabumpo, picking his way crossly through the rocks
and brambles. “They probably blew about for a while, but with ears like
sails, what’s a gale of wind or weather? Ho! what’s that I see yonder,
a farmer?”

“No, just a hat stuck on a pole to scare away the crows,” Randy told
him after a careful squint. “But nothing grows in the field but rocks,
so why do they bother?”

“Did you say a ‘hat’?” Kabumpo’s small eyes began to burn and twinkle,
and breaking into a run he was across the field like a flash.

“Kabumpo!” gasped Randy, as the Elegant Elephant snatched the hat from
the pole and took a huge bite from the brim. “Surely, surely you’re not
going to eat that old hat?”

“Why not?” demanded the Elegant Elephant, cramming the rest of the hat
into his mouth and crunching it up with great gusto. “It’s straw, isn’t
it? A little old and tough, to be sure, but nourishing, and anyway
better than nothing!” Almost strangling on the crown, Kabumpo glanced
sharply across the field, then looked apologetically back at his young
rider. “Great Gooselberries,” he muttered contritely, “I’m sorry as a
goat. Why, I never saved you even an edge!”

“Oh, never mind,” choked Randy, holding his sides at the very idea of
such a thing. “Even if I were starving, I couldn’t eat a hat. But look,
old Push-the-Foot, isn’t that a barn showing over the top of that hill?”

“Barn!” wheezed Kabumpo, lifting his trunk joyfully. “Why, so it is!
Ho! This is something like!” And hiccoughing excitedly, from the
effects of the hat, no doubt, Kabumpo went galloping over the brow of
the little hill.

A pleasant valley dotted with small farms stretched out below. Randy
was relieved to note that its inhabitants were usual-looking beings
like himself. Children rode gleefully on wagons piled high with
hay. Farmers in wide-brimmed yellow hats, rather like those worn by
the Winkies in Oz, worked placidly in the fields. Everyone seemed
contented, calm and happy; that is, until Kabumpo, delighted to
find himself again in a land of plenty, came charging down the hill
trumpeting like a whole band of music.

“Oh, too bad, you’ve frightened them nearly out of their wits,” mourned
Randy, hanging on to Kabumpo’s collar to keep his balance as the
Elegant Elephant, forgetting his elegance, made a dash for the nearest
hayrick.

“Help Hi–stop! Now see what you’ve done!”

To tell the truth, the havoc ensuing was not all Kabumpo’s fault. No
one in this tranquil valley of Ix had ever seen an elephant before, and
the sight of one rushing down upon them was so unnerving and strange
they fled in every direction, leaping into barns and houses, and
barring and double-barring the doors against this terrifying monster.
Horses hitched to their hay wagons cantered madly east and west,
and the air was filled with loud shrieks, neighs and the bellows of
stampeding cattle.

“Such dummies!” panted Kabumpo, coming to a complete standstill.
“Well,” he gave a tremendous sniff, “if they don’t want to meet a King,
a Prince and the most elegant elephant in Oz, what do we care? I’ve
invited myself to breakfast anyhow, and they can like it or Kabump it.
Just wait till I load away one stack of this hay, my boy, and I’ll find
you a breakfast fit for a King and Traveler.”

And the Elegant Elephant was good as his word. After tossing down
a great mound of new-mown hay, he swaggered over to the nearest
farmhouse. Pushing in the kitchen window with his trunk, he handed
up to Randy everything the little farmer’s wife had on her kitchen
table–a bowl of milk, a pat of butter, a loaf of bread, a cold half
chicken and three hard-boiled eggs.

“Do control yourself, madam,” he advised, as the palpitating little
lady flattened herself against the opposite wall. “These pearls will
more than pay for your provisions.”

Afraid to touch the lovely chain Kabumpo placed on the table, the
little Ixey watched with round eyes as Kabumpo backed away.

“Ho, I guess that will give her something to tell her grandchildren!”
snorted the Elegant Elephant. Randy was too busy taking rapturous
bites, first of bread and then of chicken, to answer.

“Why is it that everything tastes so much better when you are
traveling?” he remarked a bit later, as he finished off the rest of the
chicken and put the bread, butter and eggs away for his lunch.

“‘Cause we’re hungrier, I suppose,” smiled Kabumpo, crossing another
field, “and then, there’s the novelty.”

Recalling the straw hat with a little chuckle, Kabumpo winked back at
his young rider.

“But now that we’ve breakfasted I think we’d better be moving. I see
some of these farmers gathering up their courage and their pitchforks
and I’m too full to fight.”

“Pooh! they couldn’t hurt us,” boasted Randy, stretching out
comfortably. “I rather wish they hadn’t run off, though, I’d like to
ask them something about the country, and you know, Kabumpo–I’ve never
ridden on a hay wagon in all my life and I’d sorta like to try it.”

“That’s the worst of being a King,” observed Kabumpo, walking carefully
around a brown calf. “You miss a lot of the common and ordinary
pleasures. Hmm–mmn, let’s see, now, all the horses have run off, but
there’s still a heap of hay about–so why shouldn’t you have a ride?”

“Without any wagon?” inquired Randy, looking wistfully at the largest
of the haystacks.

“Why not?” puffed Kabumpo, and lifting Randy hurriedly down from his
back, he rushed at the hayrick, burrowing into it with tusk, feet and
trunk till he was in the exact center. Then heaving up with his back
and forward with his trunk, he pushed till his head stuck out the other
side. “Come ON!” he grunted triumphantly. “You’ll not only have your
hay ride, but I’ll have my lunch!”

Throwing Randy to the top of the load, the Elegant Elephant, looking
far from elegant, set off at a lumbersome gallop, carrying the haystack
right along with him. At sight of his prize hayrick apparently running
away by itself, the outraged owner stuck his head out of the window and
screamed. But that did not bother Kabumpo. The load was but a feather’s
weight to him, and with the young King of Regalia dancing and yelling
on the top, he swept merrily through the startled valley.

Those at the lower end who had not seen Kabumpo arrive, now catching
sight of a load of hay moving off by itself, simply fell against fences
and barn doors, blinking and gulping with astonishment, too stunned and
shocked to return the gay greetings of the nonchalant young Gilliken
riding the load. Kabumpo, sampling stray wisps as he ran and peering
out comically from under the hay, enjoyed to the utmost the sensation
he was causing.

“Make a wish, my boy,” he shouted exuberantly. “It’s awfully lucky to
wish on the first load of hay.”

“Then I wish we would reach the Red Jinn’s castle before night,”
decided Randy. “And wouldn’t Jinnicky laugh if he could see us now? Did
you leave a pearl for the hay, Kabumpo?”

“Certainly,” retorted the elephant, speaking rather stuffily through
the haystack. “We’re travelers, not thieves. Hi! what’s ahead, my lad?
This load has shifted a bit over my left eye and I can scarcely see out
of my right.”

“A dry river bed,” called Randy, bouncing up and down with the keenest
enjoyment. “Go slow, old Push-the-Foot, or you’ll lose your lunch.”

“Not on your life!” puffed the Elegant Elephant. “I’ll stop and eat it
first. Ho–”

“Hay foot, straw foot, any foot will do,
Down the bank and up the bank, and now, how is the view?”

“Elegant,” breathed Randy, grinning to himself at Kabumpo’s verses.
“More fields–meadows–forests, everything!”

“But even so, I smell sulphur!” Kabumpo moved his trunk slowly from
side to side. “Something’s burning, my lad, and close at hand, too.”

“Why, it’s a HORSE!” Randy’s voice cracked from the sheer shock of the
thing. “And coming straight for us, too. Wait! Stop! Hold on! No, maybe
you’d better run. Great Gillikens, it’s smoking!”

“A pipe?” inquired Kabumpo, trying to see through the fringe of hay
that was obscuring his vision. “And what if it is? Am I, the Elegant
Elephant of Oz, to run from a mere and miserable equine?”

“But this horse,” squealed Randy, sliding head first off the haystack,
“this horse is different. Oh, really, REALLY, Kabumpo, I think we’d
better run.”

“Never!” Pushing the hay off his forehead with his trunk, Kabumpo
looked fiercely out, then, with a start that dislodged half the load,
he began backing off as rapidly as he could, dragging Randy along by
the tail of his coat.

Continue Reading

Gaper’s Gulch

In a far-away northwestern corner of the Gilliken Country of Oz lies
the rugged little Kingdom of Regalia, and in an airy and elegant
castle, set high on the tallest mountain, lives Randy, its brave
young King. When the Regalians are not busy celebrating one of their
seventy-seven national holidays, they are busy tending their flocks of
goats or looking after the vines that cover every mountain and hill,
producing the largest and most luscious grapes in Oz. These proud and
independent mountain folk have much to recommend them, and if they
consider themselves superior to any and all of the other natives in
Oz, we must not blame them too much. Perhaps the sharp, clear air and
high altitude in which they live is responsible for their top-lofty
attitude. Randy, it must be confessed, found the stiff and unbending
manner of his subjects and their correct and formal behavior on all
occasions stuffy in the extreme; and of all the stuffy occasions he
had to endure the weekly court reception was the stuffiest. Just as I
started this story he was winding up another of these royal and boring
affairs.

“Hail! Hail! Give Majesty its proper due,
Hail Randywell, King Handywell of Brandenburg and Bompadoo!
Boom! BOOM! BOOM!”

At each crash of the drums the young King winced and shuddered, then,
pulling himself together, he nodded resignedly to his richly attired
courtiers and subjects who were retiring backwards from the royal
presence. As the last bowing figure swished through the double doors,
Randy gave a huge sigh and groan. This was his three hundred and tenth
reception since ascending the throne. Ahead stretched hundreds more,
besides the daily courts where he acted as presiding Judge to settle
all disputes of the realm; countless reviewings of troops; inspections
of model goat farms; and attendance at numerous celebrations for
national heroes of Regalia.

“Oh, being a King is awful,” choked the youthful monarch, loosening his
regal cape and letting it fall unheeded to the floor. “AWFUL! Will it
always be like this, Uncle?”

“Like what?” His uncle, the Grand Duke Hoochafoo, who was still
inclining his head mechanically in the direction of the door, caught
himself abruptly in the middle of a bow.

“Oh, all this silly standing round and being bowed at, this ‘Hail!
Hail! and Way for His Majesty!’ stuff. Galloping Gollopers, Uncle,
I’d like to step out by myself occasionally without twenty footmen
springing to open doors and fifty pages tooting on their blasted
trumpets. Why, I cannot even cross the courtyard, that a dozen
guardsmen do not fall in behind me!” Flouncing over to the window,
Randy stared out over the royal terrace. “Even the goats on the
mountain have more fun than I do,” he observed bitterly. “They can
run, jump, climb and even butt one another, while I–” Randy let his
arms fall heavily at his sides. “I have not even anyone to fight with.
If just ONCE somebody would punch me in the nose instead of bowing.”
Randy clenched and unclenched his fists.

“Hm–mm! So that’s what you want!” Looking quizzically at his young
nephew, Uncle Hoochafoo crossed to the bell rope and gave it a savage
tug. As Randy’s personal servant and valet appeared to answer the ring,
he spoke sharply, “Dawkins, kindly hit His Majesty in the nose!”

“The nose? Oh, but Your Lordship, I couldn’t do a thing like that.
‘Tisn’t right, nor fitting–nor–”

“I said hit him in the nose,” commanded Uncle Hoochafoo, advancing
grimly upon the terrified valet.

“Yes, yes, like this!” Bringing up his fist, Randy made such a
splendid connection with the valet’s nose, Dawkins toppled over
backwards. Dancing from one foot to the other as the outraged servant
sprang to his feet, Randy prepared to defend himself. But with his hand
clapped to his nose, Dawkins was retiring rapidly. “Thank you!” he
muttered in a strangled voice, “thank you very much!”

“Did you hear that? He said ‘Thank you,'” screamed Randy as Dawkins
disappeared with an agitated bow. “Oh, this is too much; I wish I were
back with Nandywog in Tripedalia–or anywhere but here, doing anything
but this.”

“Now, now! Don’t take things so hard,” begged his uncle, patting him
kindly on the shoulder.

“Hard?” Randy glared at the old nobleman. “I can take things hard,
Uncle, but I cannot take them soft. I’ll never forgive my father for
getting me into this–NEVER!” Randy’s father, former King of Regalia,
tiring of a royal life and routine, had retired to a distant cave to
live the life of a hermit, and Randy, after traveling all over Oz to
fulfil the seven difficult tests required of a Regalian ruler, had
succeeded to the throne.

“You should not speak like that of your royal parent,” chided Uncle
Hoochafoo, tapping his spectacles absently against his teeth, “for you
are very much like him, my boy, very much like him. Hmm! Hmm! Harumph!”
Uncle Hoochafoo cleared his throat thoughtfully. “What you need is a
change, a new interest. Ah, I have it! You must marry, my lad, you
must marry! Some pretty little Princess or rich young Queen, and then
everything will be punjanoobious!”

“Is being married anything like being a King?” inquired Randy
suspiciously.

“Oh, no. No, indeed, quite the reverse.” The eyes of the old Duke, who
had once been married, grew glazed and pensive. “Once you are married,
you will feel less like a King every day,” he promised solemnly. “And
the arguments alone will keep you occupied for hours.” Uncle Hoochafoo
raised both shoulders and eyebrows. “Wait, I’ll just go consult the
wise men about a proper Princess for you.”

“No! No! I do not wish to be married,” announced Randy, stamping his
foot. “I’ll not marry for years,” he declared stubbornly. Then, as
loud outcries and tremendous thumps interrupted them, he hurried over
to an open window just in time to meet a large rock that came crashing
through the amethyst pane.

“Look out!” blustered Uncle Hoochafoo, jerking Randy to his feet, for
the rock had completely bowled him over. “Well, I see you have your
wish. How’s that for a knock in the nose, my lad? Not only the nose,
but also the beginning of a beautiful black eye!”

“Have I really?” Racing over to a mirror, Randy proudly examined his
injured orb. “Oh, Uncle, isn’t this fun? Who did it? What’s up, d’ye
s’pose–a revolution?” Hurrying back to the window, Randy recklessly
thrust out his head to stare down into the courtyard. Kayub, the
Gatekeeper, had his shoulder braced against the gold-studded doors in
the castle wall, but even so, the doors were bulging and creaking from
the thunderous blows struck from the other side.

“Open in the name of the LAW!” boomed a tremendous voice. “Thump!
Thump! Kerbang! OPEN in the name of a Prince of the Realm! Open this
door, you unmannerly Scuppernong!”

“No, no, stay where you are!” panted Kayub, waving desperately with one
arm for the guards to come help him. “Stay where you are, or go to the
rear entrance! Who do you think you are, hammering on the doors of His
Majesty’s castle?”

“I don’t think, I know!” raged the voice from the other side of the
wall. “I am a Prince of Pumperdink, you unspeakable clod. Open up
this door before I break it down!” And after even more furious thumps
another shower of rocks came flying over the wall.

“Great Gillikens! I think–I believe–why it IS! Kayub, Kayub, open the
door! It is a Prince!” shouted Randy, using both hands as a megaphone.

“‘Tis nothing of the sort,” grunted the Gatekeeper obstinately. “I
looked through me little grill but a moment ago and it’s no Prince at
all, but a parade! A parade of one elephant, if you please, and when I
orders him to the rear entrance he ups with his trunk and flings rocks
over our wall!”

“But this elephant IS a Prince,” insisted Randy, banging on the window
ledge. “Besides, he’s a great friend of mine.”

“Open the door, fool!” directed Uncle Hoochafoo, leaning so far out the
window his crown fell to the paving stones. “The King has spoken. Admit
this elephant at once! At once!”

“And about time,” fumed an indignant voice, as Kayub reluctantly
drew the bolts and, swinging wide the doors, stepped back to let a
magnificently caparisoned elephant swing through. “A fine welcome this
is, I must say, for the Elegant Elephant of Oz! Out of my way, wart!”
Picking Kayub up in his trunk, the visitor jammed him down hard into a
golden trash barrel, trumpeted fiercely at the double line of guards
who had instantly sprung to attention, and went swaying across the
courtyard.

Now nowhere but in Oz could an elephant talk, much less come hammering
on the doors of a royal castle, but in Oz, as we very well know,
animals talk and act as sensibly as people, which makes Oz about ten
times as exciting as any other country on the map. But while I’ve been
explaining all this, Randy had run down the steps and was half-way
across the courtyard.

“Kabumpo, KABUMPO, is it really you? Oh, at last–AT LAST you are
here!” Impatiently waving aside the guards, Randy led his mammoth and
still muttering guest into the palace.

“Kaybumpo, is it?” sniffed Kayub, jerking himself with great
difficulty out of the trash barrel. “Such goings on. Well, all I
say–” The Gatekeeper peered carefully over his shoulder to see that
the elephant was safely inside the castle, then, raising his arm for
the benefit of the staring guards, he cried fiercely. “All I can say
is–just let him show his snoot around here again and I’ll kabump him
down the mountain!”

Fortunately the doors of Randy’s castle were high and wide, and the
rooms so large and spacious, even a guest as large as this elephant
could quite easily be accommodated. Still irritated by the Gatekeeper’s
insolence, Kabumpo followed the young ruler to the throne room where he
sank stiffly to his haunches and waited in outraged silence for Randy
to speak. Randy, however, was so surprised and happy to see his old
friend and comrade, he could not utter a word. But the Elegant Elephant
could not long withstand the honest delight and affection beaming from
the young King’s eyes, and under that kindly glow his wrath melted away
like fog in the sunshine.

“Well! Well!” he rumbled testily, “how do I look?”

“Elegant!” breathed Randy, stepping back to have a better view.
“Elegant as ever. You’ve worn your best robe and jewels, haven’t you?”

“Always wear my best when I call on a King,” said Kabumpo, smoothing
down his embroidered collar complacently with his trunk.

“And I believe you’ve grown a foot,” went on Randy, standing on tiptoe
to pat Kabumpo on the shoulder.

“A foot,” roared the Elegant Elephant, throwing back his head. “Oh,
come now, I couldn’t have grown a foot without noticing it, and I still
have but four–here, count ’em! Say, who in hay bales gave you that
black eye?”

“YOU did.” Randy fairly sputtered with mirth at Kabumpo’s discomfited
expression. “I was just wishing someone would hit me in the nose, when
along came that rock and NOW look at me!”

“Yes,” put in Uncle Hoochafoo, regarding Kabumpo severely through his
monocle. “Now look at him!”

“Well, why didn’t you tell that wart of a doorkeeper I was expected?”
demanded Kabumpo explosively.

“The King of Regalia does not hold conversation with his doorkeeper,”
explained Randy’s uncle, giving the Elegant Elephant a very sour look.

“Oh, he doesn’t!” Kabumpo lurched grandly to his feet. “Well, it’s time
somebody told him about the Elegant Elephant of Oz and how he should be
received and welcomed. Let me tell you, sirrah–trumpets blow when I
come and go in Pumperdink!”

“Then why did you ever leave there?” inquired the Duke coldly.

“Oh, Uncle, don’t you remember, we were to review the Purple Guard at
five? YOU go,” urged Randy, fearful lest the tempery old Duke would
still further insult the even more tempery old elephant. “Honestly, I
feel a cold coming on.” Randy coughed plaintively, at the same time
winking at Kabumpo.

“Very well, I’ll go,” agreed his uncle stiffly. “But do not forget
there is a dinner for the Grape Growers at seven, a concert of the
Goat Herdsmen at eight, maneuvers of our Highland Guards in the Royal
Barracks at nine and–”

“Yes, yes! All right!” Randy fairly pushed his royal relative toward
the door.

“An ancient pest if I ever saw one,” grumbled Kabumpo as the Grand Duke
disappeared with a very grim expression. “Great gooselberries! Do we
have to do all those dumb things? Why, it’s six years since I’ve seen
you, Randy, and I kinda thought we’d have a cozy time all to ourselves.”

“I never have any time to myself,” sighed the young monarch wistfully.
“I do nothing but lay cornerstones and raise flags and stand around at
Royal Courts and Receptions. Everybody bows and bows. Why, it’s got so
I even bow to myself when I look in the glass, and NOW–” Randy raised
his arms indignantly. “Now Uncle Hoochafoo says I must marry.”

“Marry!” trumpeted Kabumpo, twinkling his eyes angrily. “What nonsense!
Why, you are nowhere near old enough to marry. You were only about ten
when I met you and that makes you sixteen now, though I must say you
don’t look it!”

“Oh, no one in Oz looks his age,” grinned Randy, “and you know I’d been
ten for about four years before I knew you, Kabumpo, so that makes me
twenty or so, doesn’t it?”

“I don’t care what it makes you,” rumbled Kabumpo, “it makes me mad.
And to think I actually helped get you into all this boring business.
My ears and trunk, Kingling, it’s up to me to get you out of it.”

“How?” demanded Randy, folding his arms and leaning despondently
against the mantel. “How does one stop being a King, Kabumpo?”

“Why, by stopping,” announced the Elegant Elephant, spreading his ears
to their fullest extent. “By taking a vacation, my fine young sprig. By
departing and going hence for a suitable season. Do you suppose I came
all the way from Pumperdink to hear Goatherds tootling on bells and
Highlanders tramping round a barracks? I came to see you, my boy, and
nobody else.” Kabumpo paused to blow his trunk explosively on a violet
silk handkerchief. “And after that I thought we’d go and visit the Red
Jinn.”

“Oh, Kabumpo, could we?” Randy’s face brightened and then as quickly
fell. “I don’t believe Uncle Hoochafoo will let me go,” he finished
dolefully.

“A King does not ask whether or not he may go, he GOES,” stated the
Elegant Elephant, beginning to sway like a ship under full sail. “But
to avoid all arguments we’ll not start till later. Could you be ready
by midnight, young one?”

“Oh, I’m ready now,” declared Randy, picking up his cloak from the
floor and snatching a sword from its bracket on the wall. “Why ever did
you wait so long, Kabumpo? You promised to visit me six months after I
was crowned.”

“Well, you know how it is at a court.” The Elegant Elephant sighed
and settled back on his haunches again. “If it isn’t one thing
it’s another, but here I am at last. So–order up your dinner and
a few bales of hay and a barrel of cider for me. I crave rest and
refreshment.”

“And what about the Grape Growers, the Goatherds and Highlanders?”
worried Randy.

“Oh, them!” exclaimed Kabumpo inelegantly. “Here!” Seizing a pen from
the royal desk, he scribbled a defiant message on a handy piece of
parchment.

“No admittance under extreme penalty of the Law. Do not disturb! By
special order of His Majesty, King Randywell Handywell of Brandenburg
and Bompadoo.”

“See, I remembered all your names, and I’ve used them all!” Opening
the door with his trunk, Kabumpo impaled the notice on the knob, then
quietly closed the door and turned the key in the lock. And only
once did they open it, and then to admit ten flustered footmen with
Randy’s dinner and Kabumpo’s cider and hay. To imperious raps, taps
and numerous notes thrust under the door by the young King’s agitated
uncle, they paid no attention whatever. They were too busy talking over
old times and the exciting days when they had journeyed all over Oz,
and with the help of Jinnicky, the little Red Jinn, saved the Royal
Family of Pumperdink from the Witch of Follensby Forest.

Pumperdink, as most of you know, is in the north central part of the
Gilliken Country of Oz, and ruled by King Pompus and Queen Posy.
Their son, Prince Pompadore, has much to say about affairs in that
Kingdom, but it is to Kabumpo, his Elegant Elephant, that Pompus turned
oftenest for counsel and comfort. Given to the King by a celebrated
Blue Emperor, Kabumpo has proved himself so wise and sagacious, Pompus
depends on him for almost everything. It is Kabumpo who advises His
Majesty when to have his hair cut and put aside his woolen underwear,
when to go to the dentist, when to turn in his old four-horse chariot
for a twelve-horse model, when to save money–when to spend it, how
to get on with neighboring Kings and how to get on without them. In
fact, so heavy are the duties and responsibilities of this remarkable
elephant, ’tis a wonder, even after six years, he managed this visit to
Randy.

Randy’s first meeting with Kabumpo had been more or less by chance.
Sent out disguised as a poor mountain boy to pass the seven severe
tests of Kingship required of Regalian Rulers, Randy had happened to
come first to the Kingdom of Pumperdink and had been hailed before the
King as a vagrant. The Elegant Elephant, taking an instant fancy to
the boy, had insisted that he be allowed to stay on as his own royal
attendant, and in this comical capacity Randy’s adventures had begun.
For scarcely had he been in the palace of Pumperdink a week, before
Kettywig, the King’s brother, and the Witch of Follensby Forest,
plotting to steal the crown, caused the whole royal family to disappear
by some strange and fiery magic. Barely missing the same fate, Randy
and Kabumpo managed to escape. On their way through the forest they
met a Soothsayer who told them to seek out the Red Jinn. Now no one in
Oz had ever heard of this singular personage, but after many delays
and hair-raising experiences, Randy and Kabumpo finally arrived at his
splendid red glass castle. Jinnicky, it turned out, was the Wizard of
Ev, and a merry and strange person he was. Jinnicky’s whole body is
encased in a shiny red jar into which he can retire like a turtle at
will, and the little Wizard’s disposition is so gay and jolly everyone
around him feels the same way. Not only did he welcome his visitors,
but set off immediately to help the Royal Family of Pumperdink out of
their misfortunes and enchantment. Once in Pumperdink, Randy, with the
help of the Red Jinn’s magic looking-glasses, was able to trace the
lost King and his family and release them from the witch’s spell. But
before that, and while he was traveling here and there with Kabumpo and
Jinnicky, the little Prince was fulfilling all the tests and conditions
required by the ancient laws of Regalia of their Kings. In other words,
he had made three true friends, served a strange King, saved a Queen,
showed bravery in battle, overcome a fabulous monster, disenchanted
a Princess, and received from a Wizard an important magic treasure.
And now, looking back on those brave, bright days, he could not help
thinking that earning his crown had been more fun than wearing it.

“I wish we could do it all over again,” he mused, as Kabumpo, after
recalling their visit to Nandywog, the little giant, tossed off the
last of the cider.

“But think where we’re going now,” gurgled Kabumpo, setting down the
barrel with a resounding thud. “If something strange or exciting does
not happen on the way there or back, or in Jinnicky’s castle itself,
I do not know my Oz and Evistery. Can’t you just see Jinnicky’s face
when we arrive? I wonder if Alibabble is still Grand Advizier and if
the magic dinner bell is still working. Yes! Yes? Who’s there?” Kabumpo
raised his voice irritably as a persistent whistling came through the
keyhole.

“It’s Dawkins,” explained an anxious voice from the other side of the
door. “The Duke says as it’s high time His Highness was in bed, Your
Highness!”

“Oh, be off with you. Go dive in the feathers yourself. His Highness is
going to sleep in here on the floor.” Kabumpo stood so close and spoke
so violently through the keyhole, Dawkins was blown back against the
opposite wall. For a time footsteps pattered up and down the corridor,
then finally deciding the young King was to have his own way at last,
the footmen and courtiers and even Uncle Hoochafoo took themselves off.
But not till everything was absolutely quiet and still and everyone in
the castle asleep did Kabumpo and Randy venture forth. Then, stepping
softly as his own tremendous shadow, the Elegant Elephant with the
young King on his back slipped through the silent halls and deserted
courtyard, past the snoring sentries and keeper of the gate and on out
into the foresty Highlands beyond the palace wall. Here in the bright
white light of a smiling moon they took the highway to the north, for
the castle of the Red Jinn lies to the north by northeast of Regalia
and Oz.

“How’ll we cross the Deadly Desert?” murmured Randy, drowsily clutching
the few belongings he had tied up in an old silver table-cloth. In it
he had his oldest suit, some clean underwear, his tooth brush and his
trusty sword.

“Never cross a desert till you come to it,” advised Kabumpo. “And we’ve
crossed it before, you know.”

“Yes, I know.” Smiling to himself, Randy dropped his head on his
bundle, and lulled by the agreeable motion of his gigantic bearer, soon
fell asleep, to dream pleasantly of Alibabble and of Ginger, slave of
the Red Jinn’s dinner bell.

Kabumpo, as happy to escape from Court life as Randy, moved
rhythmically as a ship through the soft spring night. Humming to
himself and busy with his own thoughts, he scarcely noticed that the
highway was growing steeper and narrower until he was brought up sharp
by an impassable barrier of rock.

“Now, Bosh and Botherskites! I was sure this road ran straight to the
Deadly Desert,” he muttered, reaching back with his trunk to see that
Randy was still safely aboard and asleep. “Beets and butternuts! Do
I have to turn back, or plough through all this rubble?” The Elegant
Elephant’s small eyes twinkled with irritation, and easing himself
to the right off the highway, he peered crossly up at the offending
mass of stone. Finding no way round here, he swung over to the left
and examined it closely from that side, and was just about to start
resignedly through the brush when he discovered that what he had
taken for an especially dark shadow was really a cleft in the rock.
It was barely wide enough for him to squeeze through without scraping
the jewels from his robe. “Now then, shall I risk it or wait till
morning?” mused Kabumpo, swaying undecidedly to and fro. “It might take
us straight through to the other side of the highway. On the other
trunk, it might lead into a robber’s cave or plunge us suddenly over a
precipice!”

Edging closer, the Elegant Elephant thrust his trunk into the crevice.
It seemed smooth and solid, and, resolved to try it even though little
of the moonlight penetrated into the narrow opening, Kabumpo stepped
inside and proceeded to pick his way cautiously along the rocky
corridor. For about the length of a city street it ran straight ahead,
then curved sharply to the right. Here Kabumpo was heartened to see
a lantern hanging from an iron spike, while carved on the smooth rock
below was a blunt message.

“This is the entrance to Gaper’s Gulch. Pause here and give three yawns
and a stretch for Sleeperoo, Great, Grand and Most Snorious Gaper!”

“Snorious Gaper! Ho, Ho! kerumph! Who ever heard of such nonsense?”
snorted Kabumpo, squinting impatiently down at the notice. “Ah, Hah!
HOH, HUM!” At this point, and without seeming able to help it, the
Elegant Elephant yawned so terrifically his head-piece fell over one
ear, and his jaw was almost dislocated. To recover his dignity and
with tears starting from his eyes, he gave himself a quick shake, then
stretched up his trunk to straighten his headgear.

“Splen–did!” drawled a sleepy voice. “You may now proceed as before.”
Blinking angrily about to see who had addressed him, the Elegant
Elephant spied a round-faced and widely gaping guard standing in a
little niche in the rock. Strapped to his shoulders, instead of a
knapsack, was a fat feather pillow, and as Kabumpo came opposite the
guard’s eyes closed, and falling back against his cushion he began
gently to snore. As Kabumpo stopped in some astonishment, the guard’s
nap was rudely interrupted by a pailful of pebbles that cascaded
merrily down over his ears. There were twenty pails operating on a
moving belt above his head and at three-minute intervals they pelted
him awake, as Kabumpo presently discovered. The buttons on the guard’s
uniform were illuminated and spelled out his name, “WINKS.”

“Well, do I surprise you?” inquired Winks, shaking the pebbles from his
shoulders and rubbing his eyes with his yellow-gloved hands. Kabumpo,
too amused to speak, nodded.

“And you surprise me,” admitted the guard, gaping three times just to
prove it, “you big, enormous, impossible whatever you are–you! Why,
you should have been underground months ago! But that’ll all be taken
care of,” he added smoothly. “Just follow the arrows and you cannot
miss–just follow the arrows–just fol–”

As Kabumpo, fuming from what he considered a mortal insult, lunged
forward, the little soldier’s eyes fell shut again. Held more by
curiosity than by a desire to continue the conversation, Kabumpo waited
for the next bucket of pebbles to shower over the guard.

“‘Low the arrows,” went on Winks as calmly as if he had not been
interrupted at all. “There are forty guards to point the way. Forty
Winks,” he repeated, closing one eye. “Ha, Ha! To point the way. Ha,
Ha! HOH, HUM! Do you get the point?”

As Kabumpo started off with a little snort of disgust, he felt a slight
prick in his left hind leg, for Winks, just as he feel asleep, let fly
an arrow from his old-fashioned bow. Before Kabumpo had reached the
end of the passageway he had passed forty of the Gaper Guards. After
his experience with the first, he did not stop for further talk, but
made the best speed possible, resolved to rush through Gaper’s Gulch
when he came to it without even pausing to express his contempt. The
pebble awakeners were so neatly timed, each guard had a chance to speed
an arrow after the flying elephant, and by the time Kabumpo reached
the opening at the other end of the rocky pass, he had forty arrows
pricking through his robe or stuck here and there in his ears and
ankles. With his tough hide, they hurt no more than pin pricks, but
vastly indignant at such treatment, the Elegant Elephant began jerking
them out with his trunk.

“What do they think I am, a pincushion? Hoh!” he snorted, pulling out
the last one, and relieved to note that Randy had escaped the missiles
entirely. Indeed, the young King of Regalia was sleeping as placidly
as if he were home in his own castle. Kabumpo, too, felt unaccountably
drowsy, and as he pushed his way down into the rocky little glen his
steps grew slower and slower. So far as he could see by the light of
the fast waning moon, there were neither houses nor people in Gaper’s
Gulch. In the center of the valley the rough stones and brush had been
cleared away and a series of flat rocks were spaced out almost like
a gigantic checker-board. Pausing beside the largest rock, Kabumpo
spelled out the name of Sleeperoo the Great and Snorious.

“What is this, a cemetery?” gulped the Elegant Elephant. “But that
could not be, for no one in Oz ever dies. Ho, Hum!”

Leaning up against a dead pine and blinking furiously to keep awake,
he pondered the unpleasant situation. Then, deciding that, cemetery
or not, he must have some sleep, he lifted Randy down from his back
and rolled him in a blanket he had thoughtfully brought along. Then,
divesting himself of his jeweled robe and head-piece, Kabumpo stretched
out carefully beside his young comrade and in twenty minutes was fast
asleep.

How long he slumbered Kabumpo never knew, but from a nightmare in which
he was struggling in a bank of treacherous quicksand, he awoke with a
frightful sinking feeling to find he was surrounded by forty more of
the Gaper Guards. Their buttons were also lit up and on each plump
chest he could read the word “Wake.” The Wakes were busily at work
with pick and spade, and, unlike the Winks, did not seem the least bit
drowsy. Half convinced he was still asleep and dreaming, Kabumpo peered
out at them through half-closed lids, then gave a tremendous grunt.
Great Gillikens! He was sinking! The busy little Wakes had dug a trench
at least twenty feet deep all around him and now, careless of their
own safety, were shoveling away at the mound on which he was still
precariously resting.

“Quick, a few more to the right,” directed a crisp little voice. “Watch
yourself there, Torpy. Ah, here he comes! Heads up, lads!”

As the Chief Wake spoke, Kabumpo felt the mound give way and down he
rolled into the pit, while the Wakes scrambled frantically up the sides.

“Did you hear that fierce TOOT?” puffed the little Guard addressed
as Torpy. “It’s awake, fellows! What’s wrong with those sleeping
arrows–don’t they work any more? I myself saw forty sticking in the
big Whatisit when he came pounding out of the pass. Hurry, hurry! let’s
get him under ground!” And, seizing their picks and spades again, the
Gaper Guards began shoveling dirt into the pit, paying no attention
to Kabumpo’s furious blasts and bellows, which grew wilder and more
anguished as he suddenly realized that Randy was no longer beside him.

“What have you done with the boy? Halt! Stop! How dare you cast dirt on
an Imperial Prince of Pumperdink or try to bury the Elegant Elephant of
Oz?”

Shaking the mud from his head and raising his trunk, Kabumpo let out
such an ear-splitting trumpet, twenty Wakes fell to their knees, and
the others dropped pick and shovel and stared at him in positive dismay.

“But, sir, it is quite customary to bury all visitors,” quavered Torpy
as soon as he could make himself heard. “We’ll dig you up in six months
and you’ll be good as new. Our dormitories are so very comfortable,
and all Gapers lie dormant for six months!”

“But I’m not a GAPER,” screamed Kabumpo, interrupting himself with a
yawn both wide and gusty.

“Oh, but you soon will be,” asserted Torpy, squinting down at him
earnestly. “Why, you’re gaping already. Now lie down like a good beast.
Sleeping underground is lovely.”

“LOVELY!” repeated all the rest of the Wakes, beginning to croon as
they shoveled. Kabumpo, opening his mouth to protest again, caught a
bushel of earth between his tusks and, half choked and blind with rage,
the Elegant Elephant hurled himself at the side of the pit. He could
almost reach the top with his trunk and, as the Wakes squealing with
alarm shoveled faster and faster, he wound his trunk round an old tree
stump and by main strength hauled himself up over the edge.

“NOW!” he bellowed, spreading his ears like sails. “Where have you
buried the boy? Quick, speak up or I’ll pound you to splinters.”

Snatching a log in his trunk, Kabumpo surged forward. But the terrified
Wakes, instead of answering, fled for their lives, leaving Kabumpo all
alone in the ghostly little valley.

“Randy! Randy, where are you? Oh, my poor boy, are you suffocated?”

Galloping this way and that, Kabumpo peered desperately about for a
patch of newly turned earth. But only the wind whistling drearily
through the dead branches of the pine trees came to answer him. Frantic
with worry, the Elegant Elephant began pounding with his log on the
headstones of the dormant Gapers, trumpeting at the same time in a way
to wake the dead.

Continue Reading

Domestic Character

Catharine had been the mother of six children, three sons and three
daughters. 1. _John_, born June 7, 1526; studied law, and became a civil
officer in the service of the Elector of Saxony; died October 27, 1575,
aged 50 years. 2. _Elizabeth_; born December 10, 1527, died August 3,
1528. 3. _Magdalena_; born May 4, 1529; died September 20, 1542, aged
14; 4. _Martin_; born November 7, 1531—studied theology; died March 3,
1565, aged 34. 5. _Paul_; born January 28, 1533—studied medicine, and
became court physician to the Elector of Saxony; died March 8, 1593,
aged 61 years. 6. _Margaret_; born December 17, 1534; died 1570, aged 36
years.

Luther was accustomed to say, “The more children we have, the more
happiness we enjoy. They are the loveliest fruits and bonds of the
domestic life.” He was never more happy than in the circle of his
family, and whoever saw him there forgot that he was the man who spoke
without fear or trembling with emperors, kings, and nobles. He was much
averse to noisy entertainments. “I lose too much time at such festal
gatherings with the citizens. I do not know what demon it is that
prevents me from abandoning them, and yet they do me much harm,” said
he. It was in the bosom of his family and in the company of a few select
friends in which he sought the most agreeable relaxation from the
burdensome cares of his life, and gathered fresh vigor for his arduous
labors. Surrounded by his wife and children, and by the side of his
intimate friends, as Spalatin, Bugenhagen, Cruciger, Melanchthon, and a
few others, he took part in the innocent amusements of life with a heart
full of gratitude to God, who favored him with these evening
relaxations. In 1543, he celebrated his 62d birthday, and invited
Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Cruciger, George Major, and Eber; it was the
last time he celebrated that day. Subjects of solemn import came up for
conversation. Luther, in a prophetic spirit, said, “As long as I live,
with God’s help, there will be no danger, and Germany will continue
peaceful; but when I die, then pray! There will be really need of
prayer; our children shall have to grasp their weapons, and there will
be sad times for Germany. Hence, I say, pray diligently after my death.”
He then turned to Eber particularly, and said, “Your name is Paul; hence
be careful, after Paul’s example, to preserve and defend the doctrine of
that Apostle.”

Luther was a man of a sociable disposition, always enjoying conversation
enlivened by wit and edifying anecdote. He excelled in spicy
conversation himself, and was the life of every circle of distinguished
men. But he especially found the sweetest enjoyment in conversation with
his wife and children, and often, too, from the innocent prattle of the
latter he derived no ordinary edification. When his heart was sad, he
would take one of them into his arms and tenderly caress it. Thus, on
more than one occasion, he took the youngest child, and, pressing it to
his bosom, with deep emotion exclaimed, “Ah! what a blessing these
little ones are, of which the vulgar and the obstinate are not worthy.”
On another occasion he said, “I am richer than all papal theologians in
the world, for I am contented with little. I have a wife and six
children, whom God has bestowed on me; such treasures the papistic
divines do not deserve.” Little Martin was once playing with a dog;
“See,” said Luther, who took a religious view of the most ordinary
circumstances, and thus also in social life he became the teacher of
those around him; “See,” said he, “this child preaches God’s word in its
actions; for God says, ‘Have, then, dominion over the fishes of the sea
and the beasts of the earth,’ for the dog suffers himself to be governed
by the child.” On one occasion, this same child was speaking of the
enjoyments of heaven, and said “In heaven, loaves of bread grow on the
trees.” The father replied with a smile, “The life of children is the
happiest and best of all, for they have no worldly cares; they know
nothing about fanatics and errorists in the church, and have only pure
thoughts and pleasant reflections.” He was amusing himself one day with
the child, and said, “We were all once in this same happy state of mind
in Eden; simple, upright, without guile or hypocrisy—we were sincere,
just as this child speaks of God, and in earnest.”

At another time, he remarked that Martin afforded him special delight
because he was his youngest child. “We do not find such natural kindness
in old persons; it does not flow so freely and fully. That which is
colored or feigned loses our favor; it is not so impressive; it does not
afford as much pleasure as that which springs up naturally from the
heart. Hence children are the best playmates; they speak and do
everything sincerely and naturally. How Abraham’s heart must have beat,”
he continued, “when he was called on to sacrifice his son! I do not
think he told Sarah anything about it! I could contend with God if he
demanded anything similar of me.” Here the maternal feeling of Catharine
was roused, and she observed, “I cannot believe that God could demand of
parents the slaughter of their children.” He removed her objections by
reminding her of the greater sacrifice which God the Father made by
offering his own son as a ransom for our sins.

Margaretta was once speaking to her father of Jesus, the angels, and
heaven. Deeply moved, he exclaimed, “Oh! how much better than ours is
the faith and life of children! The word which they hear they accept
with joy and without any doubts, and are happy. But we old fools have
painful anxieties, and dispute long. Well has Christ said, ‘Unless ye be
converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of
heaven.’” Christmas, particularly, was a season of joyful festival in
Luther’s family. No annual fair, such as are to this day held in
Germany, passed by in which he did not purchase presents for his
children. With deep regret he wrote to his wife, when he was in Torgau,
in 1532, that he could find nothing in that town to buy for the little
ones at home.

Vocal and instrumental music was a frequent source of family
entertainment, especially after supper. Luther himself accompanied it
with the flute or the lute, both of which he played skilfully. He often
invited accomplished singers, and thus held family concerts in his
house. When his time and the weather permitted, he repaired to what was
afterwards called _Luther’s Spring_, which he himself discovered, and
over which, after his marriage, he had a neat summer-house erected. He
spent many an hour of pleasant enjoyment in his garden, with his wife
engaged with her needle, and the children playing around him. Here he
often invited his friends to exhibit to them the luxuriant fruit of his
own cultivation. As the children increased in years, especially the
sons, he made them his companions. He took them with him on his numerous
journeys, and they accompanied him on his last and eventful tour to the
place of his birth, and, as it proved, the place of his death. That he
might enjoy the society of his wife as much as possible, he pursued his
labors with her at his side or invited her into his study. She often
copied his manuscripts for the press, and otherwise rendered aid in
writing. He communicated to her everything of special interest relating
to the progress of the Reformation not only orally when at home, but by
letter during his absence. He also frequently read aloud for her
entertainment, and sometimes even extracts from the books of his
opponents, such as Erasmus and others. He often gave her striking
passages of Scripture to commit to memory, such as Psalm 31, which was
particularly applicable to her condition after his death, just as though
he had anticipated it years before. She, on the other hand, often urged
him to the performance of pressing duties, especially answering letters.
Her participation in his affairs was kindly reciprocated by him. He
patiently listened to all her requests, and in his letters executed many
of her commissions. It was only when he desired to complete some work
which allowed no postponement that he dispensed with her presence. At
such times, he locked himself in his study for days, and ate nothing but
bread and salt, that he might, without interruption, pursue the work in
hand. This often occurred, and he would not allow himself to be
disturbed. On one occasion he had been thus locked up for three days;
she sought him everywhere—shed bitter tears—knocked at all the doors and
called him, but no one answered. She had the door opened by a locksmith,
and found her husband profoundly absorbed in the explanation of the 22d
Psalm. She was proceeding to reprimand him for occasioning such painful
anxiety, but he was impatient of the interruption to his studies,
pointed to the Bible, and said, “Do you think, then, that I am doing
anything bad? do you not know that I must work as long as it is day, for
the night cometh in which no man can work?” But his tone and look
sufficiently indicated to her that he was, after all, not unduly
excited. At his social assemblies, his walks for recreation, and short
excursions into the country, she was his inseparable companion as often
as circumstances permitted. When numerous business calls necessarily
compelled him to leave home, he wrote to her the most affectionate and
often the most humorous letters.

The birth of his first child (June 7, 1526,) afforded him peculiar
gratification. He communicated the fact to many of his correspondents in
a strain of pleasant humor, and, of course, received their
congratulations in return. The child was baptized soon after birth by
Dr. Rörer, and named _John_ by the grandfather. Bugenhagen, Jonas, and
the painter, Cranach, senior, were his godfathers. From his earliest
years this boy excited the liveliest hopes in his parents on account of
his uncommon mental qualities, and it was he who gave occasion to the
preparation by the father of several excellent books for children.
Luther possessed the rare faculty of letting himself down to the
capacity of children without himself becoming a child. This son’s name
often occurs in the letters of Luther, and he is always mentioned as a
lad of uncommon promise and an agreeable plaything to his father and
mother. He thus writes to Hausman: “Besides this, there is nothing new,
except that my Lord has blessed my Kate and made her a present of a
healthy son. Thanks and praise for his unspeakable goodness. Mother and
child send their respects to you.” Sometime after he wrote to Spalatin,
“My little Hans salutes you. He is now teething, and begins to scold
everybody about him with the most amiable reproaches. Kate also wishes
you every blessing, and particularly that you also may have a little
Spalatin, who may teach you what she boasts of having learned from her
boy, viz: the joys of matrimonial life, of which the Pope and his
satellites are not worthy.” Luther’s friends were much attached to this
child on account of his amiable disposition, and sent him many presents
suitable to his age. When the boy was yet but four years old, his father
wrote to him the following letter: “Grace and peace in Christ, my
dearest little son. It pleases me much to hear that you love to learn
and to pray. Continue in this good way, my child; when I come home I
will bring you a beautiful present. I know where there is a beautiful
garden into which many children go. They wear gilded garments and gather
all manner of fruit from under the trees; they sing, leap, and are
happy. They also have beautiful little horses with golden bridles and
silver saddles. I asked the man who owns the garden what sort of
children they were. He replied, ‘They are children who love to pray, to
learn and serve God.’ Then I said, ‘My dear sir, I also have a son
called little Hans Luther; may he not also go into the garden, that he,
too, may eat these beautiful apples and pears, and ride these nice
horses and play with these good children?’ He answered, ‘Every little
boy who loves to pray and learn, and is good, may come into the garden,
Lippus and Jost[18] also, and if they all come together they shall also
have all sorts of musical instruments, and dance and shoot with little
crossbows.’ And he pointed out to me a meadow in the garden suited for a
children’s playground, and there were hanging golden instruments of
music and beautiful silver crossbows. But it was yet early, and the
children had not yet eaten their breakfast, hence I could not wait to
see the children dance and play, and I said to the man, ‘Ah, my dear
sir, I will go without delay and write all this to my beloved little
son, Hans, that he may diligently pray, learn well, and be pious, so
that he, too, may come into this garden; but he has a little sister,
Lehna, whom he must bring with him.’ Then the man said, ‘It must be so;
go and write to him.’ For this reason, dear son, learn and pray, and
tell Lippus and Jost also to do the same, and then you shall all go into
the garden. I commend you to God. Kiss Lehna for me. Your dear Father,
M. L., 1530.”

The prudent discipline of the mother, exercised with tender earnestness,
gradually developed the moral and intellectual faculties of this youth
in an eminent degree, and this, combined with his religious and
scientific attainments, as subsequently displayed, afforded the father
unspeakable gratification. In his 15th year this youth received the most
honorable testimonial of his industry in study and general excellence of
character from John William, the second son of the Elector, John
Frederick, promising further encouragement and aid in the prosecution of
his studies. When he was properly qualified by preliminary attainments
to attend a higher school, he was sent to the Gymnasium at Torgau.
Afterwards, he studied law at Wittenberg and Konigsberg, and on his
return from his travels in various countries of Europe he was appointed
Court Councillor by John William, in which office he subsequently served
under the brother of the Elector. He was dismissed at his own request,
and entered the service of Duke Albert in Konigsberg, and died October
28, 1575, aged 49 years.

His second child, Elizabeth, was born during the prevalence of the
contagious disease in Wittenberg before alluded to. She lived only nine
months, and Luther’s grief at her death was excessive. He thus writes to
Hausman: “Never could I have believed a parent’s heart could be so
tender towards children; seldom have I mourned so deeply. My sorrow is
like that of a woman.”

The death of his third child, Magdalena, at the age of 14, was a severe
affliction. She was a girl of unusual promise; amiable, gifted, and
pious. Her complete resignation to the will of God—her vivid conception
of the doctrines of the Bible—her strong faith in the Saviour, and her
filial and religious virtues, distinguished her far above many of her
tender years. She was for a long time confined to bed, and she felt that
her end was rapidly drawing nigh. She ardently desired to see her
brother John, who was a student at the academy at Torgau. The father
gratified her wish, and despatched a messenger to summon the absent son
to the death-bed of his sister. Luther, as far as was possible, watched
by the side of the dying child. Although the trial was severe, his
patient submission to the will of God was characteristic of the man and
the Christian. “Alas!” sighed he, “I love this child most tenderly; but
O, God, as it is thy will to take her to thyself, I cheerfully resign
her into thy hands.” Then he advanced to the bed and spoke to the
suffering child, “Magdalena, my daughter, you would willingly remain
with your father on earth, and yet you also desire to go to your Father
in heaven.” On which she replied, “Yes, dearest father, just as it
pleases God.” He continued, “Dearest child, the spirit is willing, but
the flesh is weak.” Overcome by emotion, he turned away and said: “Oh!
how I love this suffering child! but if the flesh is now so strong, what
will then the spirit be!—well, whether we live or die, we are the
Lord’s.” When she was breathing her last, the mother, overwhelmed with
sorrow, retired from the couch; Luther threw himself on his knees, wept
convulsively, and implored God to release the child from suffering; he
then took her by the hand—and she died. The father at once had recourse
to the Scriptures to seek consolation for his grievous loss. He opened
the book, and the passage, Romans 14; 7, first arrested his attention:
“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” This
expressive passage was as a balsam to his wounded heart. When the body
was deposited in the coffin, he said, “Thou dear Magdalena! how happy
thou art! O, dear Magdalena, thou wilt rise again, and wilt shine like a
star, yea, like the sun.” But the coffin having been made too small, he
said, “This bed is too small for her, now that she is dead. I am indeed
joyful in the spirit, but after the flesh I am very sad; the flesh is
slow to come to the trial; this separation troubles us exceedingly; it
is a marvellous thing to know that she is certainly happy, and yet for
me to be so sad!” When the people came to attend the funeral, and,
according to custom, addressed the Doctor, and said that they sincerely
condoled with him in this affliction, he said, “You should rejoice: I
have sent a saint to heaven, yea, a living saint. O! if only such a
death were ours! such a death I would be willing to die this moment!”
When one said, “That is indeed true; yet we all wish to retain our
relatives,” Luther replied, “Flesh is flesh and blood is blood. I
rejoice that she has passed over; I experience no sadness but that of
the flesh.” Again, he said to others present, “Be not grieved, I have
sent a saint to heaven, yea, I have sent two.” When she was buried, he
said, “It is the resurrection of the flesh,” and when they returned from
the funeral, he said, “Now is my daughter provided for, both as to body
and soul. We Christians have no cause to complain; we know that it must
be thus. We are perfectly assured of eternal life; for God, who, through
his Son and for the sake of his Son, has promised it unto us, cannot
lie.”

Throughout the whole of this trying event Luther showed all the
tenderness of an affectionate father, and all the resignation of a
Christian.

His second son, Martin, was tenderly cherished by the father. He himself
feared that the child would be spoiled by too much affectionate
attention and favoritism. In reference to this, he said, “The love of
parents is always stronger for the younger than the elder children, and
the more they require the care and protection of the parents the more
dear are they to them. Thus, my Martin is now my dearest treasure,
because he demands more of my attention and solicitude. John and
Magdalena can walk and talk and can ask for what they want, and do not
require so much watchful nursing.” But afterwards, Luther’s anxieties
about him were very great. “He is rather a wild bird,” said he, “and he
occasions me much solicitude.” But Martin, who was not without talents,
studied theology, and it was only continued ill-health that prevented
him from publicly assuming the office of a preacher. He spent his life
in private teaching. In an obituary notice of him, it is said that “he
possessed such strong mental faculties and such striking oratorical
powers, as even to have excited the admiration of his father.”

Of the third son, Paul, when yet a child, Luther thus spoke: “He is
destined to fight against the Turks,” alluding to the energy of
character then observed in him, and which was afterwards so strikingly
developed. And truly, this Paul, endowed as he was with unusual decision
and unshaken perseverance, was the most gifted of Luther’s sons, even if
he did not in all respects possess the heroic spirit of his father. He
was not only a zealous promoter of the science of Alchemy, so highly
prized at that day, but he was a distinguished chemist, and succeeded,
by his assiduous labors, in making many useful discoveries in Chemistry
and Medicine. He also possessed a thorough knowledge of ancient
languages. He was devoted with all his heart to the religious doctrines
which his father restored, and defended them with zeal and ability. He
was so strenuously attached to the orthodox system of theology, that he
once refused a very flattering call to the University of Jena on account
of the presumed heresies which the theologian, Victorine Striegel, had
promulgated at that seat of learning, and he soon afterwards received
the appointment of private physician to John Frederick II., at Gotha. In
1568 he served Joachim II., of Brandenburg, in the same capacity, by
whom he was elevated to the rank of Councillor, and richly rewarded.
Afterwards (1571), he was employed by the Elector, August, and his
successor, Christian I., at Dresden. The former not only honored him by
inviting him to be sponsor to his children, but also presented him with
a farm, which, however, never came into the possession of his family,
inasmuch as the subsequent times, during which the Calvinistic
Chancellor, Crell, held the helm of affairs, were not favorable to the
prosperity of the sternly Lutheran Paul Luther. This same Calvinistic
spirit, finally, was the occasion of his retiring into private life in
1590. He moved to Leipzig, where he died in 1593. At the baptism of this
son, Luther said, “I have named him Paul; for St. Paul has taught us
many great and glorious doctrines, and hence I have named my son after
him. God grant that he may have the gifts and grace of the great
Apostle! If it please God, I will send all my sons away from home! If
any one of them has a taste for the military profession, I will send him
to Field-Marshal Löser; if any one wishes to study, him I will send to
Jonas and Philip; if any one is inclined towards labor, him I will send
to a farmer.” But afterwards, when he became better acquainted with
their disposition, he changed his mind. “God forbid,” said he, “that my
sons should ever devote themselves to the study of the law; that would
be my last wish. John will be a theologian; Martin is good for nothing,
and about him I have great fears; Paul must fight against the Turks.”
But history teaches us that his wishes were not gratified. He himself
subsequently advised Paul to study medicine, and the example of John
induced all the educated sons of Luther’s children for several
generations to study law.

The sixth child, Margaret, who entered into a happy matrimonial
alliance, was dangerously attacked with fever after the measles, from
which her brother suffered at the same time. Her father was much alarmed
about her condition, but comforted himself with the thought that she
would be taken out of this present evil world. She married George V.
Kuhlheim, a civil officer in the Prussian service, who was a pious man
and a most ardent admirer of Luther, and especially of his writings, of
which his favorite one was “Luther’s Exposition of the Book of Genesis.”
So profound was his reverence for the Reformer, that the fact was
thought worthy of being mentioned in the sermon preached at his funeral.
His youngest son must have inherited his father’s disposition and
character, for he always esteemed it the highest possible honor to be
“the grandson of the great Luther.”

It is not known to what extent Catharine took part in the education of
her children; but a woman of her mild and amiable temper and strong
decision of character must have contributed much to the proper training
of her offspring. These prominent traits exercised a subduing influence
even on her husband; and Erasmus, who was at this time bitterly opposed
to him, says, “Since Luther’s marriage, he begins to be more mild, and
does not rave so fearfully with his pen as formerly.” Presuming this to
be true, it speaks well for the character of Catharine as a woman and a
wife.

Luther not only employed special teachers for his children, but also
instructed them himself, notwithstanding his numerous other engagements.
He says, “Though I am a Doctor of Divinity, still I have not yet come
out of the school for children, and do not yet rightly understand the
ten commandments, the creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, but study them
daily, and recite the catechism with my little Hans and Magdalena.” For
years he superintended their instruction, diligently watching their
progress, and often giving them tasks to perform. But, above all, he was
solicitous about their religious and moral training, agreeably to his
own sound principle. The father must speak out of the children. The
proper instruction of children is their most direct way to heaven, and
hell is not more easily earned than by neglecting them! They were taught
to pray and to read the Scriptures and other devotional books in the
presence of the family. Particularly during their meals did he address
them in impressive, paternal admonitions. Morning and evening he
assembled his numerous family, house-teachers, guests, and domestics, to
worship. When it is elsewhere said that Luther “daily spent three hours
in private devotion,” it must be restricted to the period of the Diet of
Augsburg, when he was concealed at Coburg.

Luther, during all his life, was a man of prayer. Although he was
opposed to mechanical formality in regard to special times and seasons,
as he had been taught in the church of Rome, yet he maintained a certain
order and regularity in the performance of this Christian duty.
Matthesius, one of his biographers, and a cotemporary, says, “Every
morning and evening, and often during meals, he engaged in prayer.
Besides this, he repeated the smaller catechism and read the Psalter. *
* * In all important undertakings, prayer was the beginning, middle, and
end.”

“I hold,” says Luther, “my prayer to be stronger than Satan himself, and
if that were not the case it would long since have been quite different
with Luther. If I remit prayer a single day, I lose a large portion of
the fire of faith.” His writings contain many sparkling gems on the
subject of prayer.

Fondly as he was attached to his children, yet he never showed a
culpable indifference to their errors, and, least of all, when they were
unruly or displayed anything like ingratitude or deception. On one
occasion when John, at twelve years of age, was guilty of a gross
impropriety, he would not allow him to come into his presence for three
days, and paid no regard to the intercessions of the tender mother and
of his intimate friends, Jonas and Cruciger, but forgave him only after
he had repented of his fault and humbly begged for pardon. He said, “I
would rather have a dead son than a rude and naughty living one. Paul
has not in vain said, ‘A bishop must be one who ruleth well his own
house, having his children in subjection, so that other people may be
edified, witnessing a good example, and not be offended.’ We ministers
are elevated to such a high position in order to set a good example to
others. But our uncivil children give offence to other people. Our boys
wish to take advantage of our position and privileges, and sin openly.
People do not inform me of the faults of mine, but conceal it from me.
The common saying is fulfilled, ‘We do not know the mischief done in our
own families; we only discover it when it has become the town-talk.’
Hence we must chastise them, and not connive at their follies.” Once,
when he saw a youth of fine personal appearance and uncommon abilities,
but of corrupt morals, he exclaimed, “Ah! how much evil an over
indulgence occasions! Children are spoiled by allowing them too much
liberty; hence I shall not overlook the faults of my son John, nor shall
I be as familiar with him hereafter as with his little sister.” But
Luther, though he received from his father a severe training, and was
roughly treated at school, was too well acquainted with human nature not
to know that undue severity in all things created a cowardly, slavish
fear in the minds of some children, and obstinacy and dissimulation in
others. Hence he pursued the golden medium, and tried to accomplish his
purpose by kind and yet earnest admonitions. “I will not chastise Hans
too severely, or he will become shy of me and hate me,” said he. “We
must take care to teach the young, to find pleasure in that which is
good; for that which is forced out of them by stripes will not be
profitable, and, if this is carried to excess, they will only continue
good as long as they feel the lash. But by admonition and judicious
chastisement, they learn to fear God more than the rod. We must often
_stammer_ with children, and in all good things come down to a level
with them, that is, we must be tender, affectionate, and condescending,
and, if that is of no avail, then we may employ severity.”

When he saw his wife or children suffering, his sympathizing heart often
found relief in tears. “I love my Catharine,” he would say, “I love her
more than I do myself. I would rather die myself than she and the
children should die.” It was only when the cause of religion was
concerned that the dearest object on earth was not too dear; for the
honor of religion and truth, he would have sacrificed wife and children.
Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, the magnanimous Reformer, when he
had already become the father of two children, could most cordially say,
in the spirit of Christ’s words, “Let them take my life, property,
reputation, children, and wife—let them all go—the kingdom of God is
still ours.” His heroic hymn, “Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott,”[19]
sufficiently shows his feelings on this subject.

It must be acknowledged that there is nothing remarkably striking in the
history of Catharine de Bora, considered apart from her relation to her
illustrious husband. She was distinguished by no extraordinary talents
or surprising act of heroism after her marriage; she has left no
literary monument to perpetuate her memory, nor any public institution
founded by her munificence. She was nothing more than the “virtuous”
woman so eloquently described by King Solomon in the last chapter of the
Book of Proverbs, but she was that in an eminent degree. A noble dignity
and a temperate self-reliance were the fundamental traits of her
character. Hence, though dependent on others for support, she possessed
sufficient independence of mind to reject several brilliant offers of
marriage, and showed herself worthy of Luther. Her resolution to
exchange the noiseless cloister for a life of honorable and useful
activity in the disturbed world without, displayed not only a noble
courage in the certain anticipation of poverty and persecution, but also
a strong confidence in God. It is more than probable that she read many
of Luther’s writings as soon as they appeared, not actuated by a blind
curiosity, but with a sincere desire to ascertain the truth, and to
derive from them instruction for heart and head. Afterwards, during her
married life, she took every opportunity of correcting and enlarging her
religious views. Although, as the result of the spirit of that age and
of her previous monastic training, she was not profoundly educated, yet
Luther esteemed her as a woman possessing a noble, dignified,
independent spirit, in whose feelings and opinions he found an echo of
his own. Pious, in the proper sense of the word, she found her highest
enjoyment in solitary communion with God, and those hours which she
devoted to the attentive reading of the Scriptures were always the most
happy. To this profitable exercise she was often exhorted by her
husband, and she followed his advice. Said she, “I hear a great deal of
the Scriptures, and read them diligently every day.” In writing to Jonas
on one occasion, Luther says, “She is a diligent reader of the Bible;
she shows deep earnestness in this duty.” She faithfully attended the
public means of grace also, and with her Christian brothers and sisters
worshipped God in the sanctuary. She was devotedly attached to the
doctrines of the Reformation, and one of her dying prayers was for their
preservation in purity to the end of time. She never neglected her
_domestic_ duties. To her husband, in all the relations of his active
life, she was the most affectionate companion; in his sickness, the most
faithful nurse; in his troubles, the most tender comforter: to her
children, she was a most gentle mother; in her household affairs she was
a model to all in regard to cleanliness, order, and neatness; to her
domestics and dependants, a condescending and indulgent mistress. She
was liberal without extravagance, economical without meanness,
hospitable without ostentation. Her questions and opinions, still
preserved in Luther’s writings, show a strong desire for mental
improvement, an enlightened understanding, a clear and dispassionate
penetration. This elevated, intellectual character of Catharine,
connected with her lofty independence and self-confidence, created a
distaste for the company of other less cultivated and less dignified
ladies, for the glory of her husband also encircled her head, and the
house of Luther was the central point of union of the distinguished men
of that day. Hence we need not wonder that, by the envious, she was
accused of pride. It is true, that now, after the lapse of three hundred
years, there may be many more refined and accomplished women than
Catharine was, for she was not distinguished for learning or science;
but none exceed her in that pious, Christian disposition which was so
forcibly expressed in her words and actions. Her lively temperament and
affectionate heart admirably qualified her to feel the warmest sympathy
in the diversified events of her husband’s life, and most kindly to
participate with him in his joys and sorrows. But above all, it was not
less her pious disposition than her persevering faith which identified
her so completely with himself! Whenever the opposition of the enemy
disturbed the quiet of the husband, Catharine never faltered for a
moment, and proceeded to administer consolation to his dejected heart.
During the prevalence of a contagious disease, in 1527, her confidence
in God was not unshaken, so that Luther could in truth write, “Catharine
is yet strong in the faith.” Also, as a widow, when she was subject to
attacks of sickness and adverse circumstances, her equanimity never
entirely failed. She was especially solicitous about her children, and
devoted all the energies of body and mind to their welfare. It cannot be
denied that Catharine partook of the common lot of mortals; she had her
faults and infirmities; but they are all overshadowed by those numerous
exalted virtues which are not always found united in one person of her
sex. She was a pattern of every domestic and Christian virtue; of
righteousness and good works to her generation, and may the daughters
and wives of the present day imitate her example, and profit by the
practical lessons which her life has taught!

If she could make no pretensions to personal beauty, still she possessed
not a little that was attractive. She was of medium size, had an oval
face, a bright, sparkling eye, an expansive, serene forehead, a nose
rather small, lips a little protruding, and cheek-bones somewhat
prominent. Erasmus speaks of her as a woman of magnificent form and
extraordinary beauty; but Seckendorf says this is an extravagant picture
of her. The later opponents of Luther agree with Erasmus in representing
her as very beautiful, and falsely charge the Reformer as being
attracted only by her personal charms. Maimbourg says, “Among the nuns,
there was one named Catharine von Bora, whom Luther found to be very
beautiful, and whom, on that account, he loved.” Varillas and Bossuet
report, “That he married a nun of high rank and uncommon beauty.”
Chardon de la Rochette relates the following fact: “I have found the
likeness of Luther and his wife in a lumber-room in Orleans, where they
are in great danger of going to ruin. I will bet that there is no man
who would not wish to have so beautiful a wife as Catharine von Bora. It
is the first time that I have seen her picture, and it justifies the
opinion which Bossuet has expressed of her appearance. She has a noble,
expressive, and animated face.” But Luther himself says of her, “A wife
is sufficiently adorned and beautiful when she pleases her husband, whom
she ought to please.”

Her likeness was frequently painted, and at various periods of her life,
by the distinguished artists of that age, such as Cranach, senior,
Cranach, junior, and Hans Holbein, junior. Cranach, senior, painted her
likeness in oil colors _sixteen times_, and the other artists mentioned,
several times each. Many of these original portraits are still to be
seen in the various picture galleries of Europe. There are extant more
than _forty_ different copper-plate and wood-engravings of her likeness.
It has also been transferred to porcelain-ware and other articles of
domestic use. A number of medals containing her likeness have been
struck to commemorate her virtues, and plaster casts of the bust of full
life size have also been made. All this shows the high esteem in which
she has ever been held by those who can appreciate exalted virtue and
genuine Christian character.

As a proof of her artistic skill and her proficiency in ornamental
needle-work, even in that distant age, there is, to this day, exhibited
in the vestry-room of the cathedral at Merseburg, a blue satin surplice
which she embroidered for her husband, and which he wore on the occasion
of some great solemnity, and in the former University library at
Wittenberg, they still show a likeness of Luther, neatly and elegantly
worked in silk by Catharine. But these works will perish, whilst the
results of her faith, hope, and charity, will endure forever.

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