Gludwig the Glubrious

“Pss-sst! Wait! Hold on a minute!” As they reached the huge double
doors of the red castle, Randy tugged violently at Kabumpo’s left
ear, for the Elegant Elephant, all humped together, was preparing to
bump through. “Let Thun break down the door,” directed the young King
firmly. “Thun is of metal and the glass will not cut him; then, as soon
as there is an opening we can follow. Will you tell him, Planetty?”
Randy looked fondly down at the earnest little Princess. “And as soon
as we are inside,” he went on hurriedly, “fling your staff at the first
person I point out to you.”

“That I will,” promised Planetty with a brief nod, and giving Thun his
orders, she galloped the Thunder Colt straight at the glass doors. With
a crash like the fall of a hundred trays of dishes, the glass doors
shivered to bits. Rushing through the flying splinters, Kabumpo and
Thun raced together into the palace.

How well Randy remembered this cozy throne room, its transparent,
red glass pillars and floors, its gay, red lacquered furniture, its
tinkling curtains of strung rubies, and the long line of enormous red
vases leading up to the throne. But instead of the jolly little Jinn,
encased in his own shining jar, a long, lank black man in a red wig
lounged on the seat of state. He was smoking a tenuous red pipe, and,
as Kabumpo and Thun came to an abrupt halt before him, he blinked
wickedly out from under his bushy red lashes. Besides the red-wigged
imposter Randy noted with some relief, there was not another soul in

“Well,” demanded Gludwig, insolently, “what do you hope to accomplish
by this unwarranted intrusion?” Taking his pipe out of his mouth, he
blew a cloud of villainous black smoke into the faces of his visitors.
So thick and sulphurous were the fumes, Randy and Kabumpo were
rendered speechless. While they choked and spluttered, Planetty, who
did not seem aware of the smoke at all, gazed in wide-eyed delight
around her. So THIS was a castle!

“How nite, how netiful!” Lost in wonder and admiration, the little
Princess forgot all about the stern purpose of their visit.

“Off that throne! Off that throne, you wart!” rasped Kabumpo, clearing
his throat with an ear-splitting trumpet. “What have you done with
Jinnicky? You’re no more a wizard than I am! You’re as false and
crooked as your wig! Down with him! Down with him, Randy! Let him
repent of his wickedness in uttermost disgrace and debasement!”

“So my downfall is the little plan?” Speaking calmly, but trembling
with fury at Kabumpo’s taunting speech, Gludwig rose. At the same
instant Randy, recovering his breath, called desperately.

“Now, Planetty, your staff! Throw it straight at him. Oh, quickly!”

Thun’s hot breath was already singeing Gludwig’s ankles, and, leaping
over the throne, he crouched down like a great black panther behind it.

“Ha, ha!” he shouted again. “My downfall and debasement is it? Well,
try a bit of downfalling and debasement yourselves.”

Just as Planetty, taking careful aim, hurled her gleaming staff,
Gludwig pulled a tremendous lever in the wall beside him. Instantly the
floor on the other side of the throne dropped down, slanting Kabumpo,
Thun and both riders into the dark, damp and long-unused cellar of the

“A trap door,” raged the Elegant Elephant, coming down like a carload
of bricks.

“A trap floor, you mean,” gasped Randy, picking himself up with a
painful grimace, for the jolt had sent him flying off the elephant.
Thun had retained his balance, and neither he nor Planetty seemed to
mind the force of their landing. As they gazed angrily upward, the
floor of the throne room swung noiselessly back into place, leaving
the four prisoners to contemplate the heavy glass beams and panels of
its under side.

“So that was the downfall, and this is debasement,” grunted Kabumpo,
sitting down furiously on an overturned wash-tub. “Great Grump, I’ve
never been so humiliated in my life. Don’t cry, Planetty,” he begged
gruffly, “we’ll have you out of here in a pig’s whistle.”

“It’s not that, Bumpo, dear.” Planetty buried her face in Thun’s cloudy
mane and sobbed bitterly. “It’s my staff! It did not return after
I flung it at the red-wigged one, and without it I have nothing,

“Good Gollopers!” Randy clapped his hand to his forehead as he realized
the awful significance of Planetty’s disclosure. “The floor tilted
too quickly for it to return, and OH, KABUMPO!” he wailed, almost
forgetting he was a King and Warrior. “If Gludwig has that staff, what
can we do? He can come down here and petrify us any time he wants.”

“We’ll hide!” gulped Kabumpo, bounding off the wash-tub. With furious
concentration his small eyes roved round and round their gloomy prison.

“But you’re so big,” declared Randy, running over to comfort Planetty.

“I’ll hide anyway!” said Kabumpo, who had no intention of spending the
rest of his life as an iron elephant, nor of adorning the palace of
Gludwig the Glubrious as the mere image of himself.

How thankful Randy and Kabumpo were now for the Thunder Colt’s fiery
breath. Otherwise they would have been in almost complete darkness,
as scarcely any light at all trickled down through the dark red glass
of the cellar windows. And there was small danger of his setting
Jinnicky’s castle on fire, for the basement, like the rest of the
palace, was constructed of thick plates of solid glass. But here below,
the glass was not bright and sparkling as it was above stairs. Cobwebs
clung to the glass beams, dust powdered the floors, and round the walls
in boxes and barrels stood the old or worn out magic appliances of
the Red Jinn. There was no furnace in the cellar, for the castle was
warmed in winter by a magic process of Jinnicky’s own invention; and
there were no doors, not even a closet or cupboard where any of them
could hide. With Thun stepping ahead to act as a torch, the others
marched anxiously round the great gloomy vault-like apartment.

“No place to hide, no provisions, nothing to eat or drink. NOTHING!”
exclaimed the Elegant Elephant, sinking down on the wash-tub. “That is,
nothing to do but wait for destruction,” he concluded bitterly.

“Well, we’re not destroyed yet!” declared Randy, sticking out his
chin. “Everything seems quiet above. Maybe Gludwig is not going to use
Planetty’s staff till morning.”

With a discouraged sniff Kabumpo began poking in the boxes behind him.
Finding one full of excelsior, he started to stuff the choking material
into his mouth with his trunk. Randy was sure the excelsior would
disagree with him, but when Kabumpo was in such a mood, it was quite
useless to argue with him; so, beckoning for Thun to light the way, he
and Planetty set out on a second tour of investigation.

Randy paused dubiously before a collection of squat bottles and jugs.
He was convinced they contained liquids or vapors powerful enough
to help them, but the directions on the labels were all in some
strange magician’s code and Randy hesitated to open even one of the
magic bottles. Experience had taught him that a wizard’s wares were
dangerous, and he himself had seen the Red Jinn subdue whole armies
by releasing incense from a blue jug. So, selecting two pocket-size
jars, to use only in case everything else failed, Randy moved on to
the other side of the cellar. Here on top of a chest he discovered a
small red hand-bag. Instead of the usual fastenings, two real hands
formed the clasp, and when Randy opened the bag it quickly jerked out
of his grasp and began springing all over the cellar on its hands,
pouncing gleefully on papers and bottles and stuffing them into its
side pockets. It did look so comical, Planetty burst into a peal of
merriment. Even Randy could not keep back a grin. It was a relief to
see the little Princess more like herself again, for since the loss of
her voral staff she had been unnaturally quiet and sad.

“Wait, I’ll catch it for you,” offered Randy, dismissing for a moment
all thought of the dreadful danger they were in. “It must be one of
Jinnicky’s inventions. Look, Kabumpo, a bag that really packs itself.”

“Watch out it doesn’t pinch you!” warned Kabumpo morosely. He
had already begun to regret the excelsior and was rumbling with
indigestion. “I was never one to hold with hand luggage, myself.”

“Oh, yes you were!” crowed Randy, falling on the bag as if it had been
a football and coming up triumphantly with it clutched to his middle.
“You use your trunk for a hand, Kabumpo, and doesn’t that make it hand
luggage? Hey, hey, hurray! Never thought I’d make a joke in this dismal

“It’s a pretty dismal joke, if you ask me.” The Elegant Elephant heaved
himself stiffly off the wash-tub. “Keep it away from me!” he warned
crossly, as Randy, paying no attention to the thumps of the hand-bag,
managed to get it shut again. As soon as it was closed the bag
subsided and seemed absolutely unalive. “Here!” puffed Randy, holding
it out to Planetty. “This bag will pack itself, madam, and you can use
it every time you go on a journey.”

“Can I? How nite!” Planetty beamed at her young companion.

“Well, who’s going on a journey?” inquired Kabumpo sarcastically,
walking up and down to relieve his indigestion. “We’ll probably spend
the rest of our unnatural lives in this abominable basement. Say
something, can’t you?” he shouted, glaring at poor Thun. “I can hardly
see where I’m going.” As fast as Planetty translated this rude speech,
the Thunder Colt sent up his answer.

“If I said all the words I am thinking,” puffed Thun temperishly,
“this room would be very red bright, Mister Kabumpty, very red bright
indeed.” The Thunder Colt’s speech and his further remarks made Randy
and Planetty laugh again.

“Let’s see what else we can find,” proposed the young King. In spite of
Kabumpo’s gloomy predictions, he was feeling more hopeful. “Maybe this
time we’ll turn up something we can really use.”

“Oh, maybe yes, maybe yes!” trilled Planetty, slipping swiftly as
quicksilver after Randy. Passing by some dusty apparatus and an old
spinning wheel, they discovered a huge red drum behind a pile of old
trunks. The sticks were stuck through a cord in the side and it was so
heavy that the two between them could hardly carry it. But giggling and
puffing they dragged it into the center of the cellar and dropped it
down before Kabumpo.

“See what we have now!” Dusting off his clothes, Randy surveyed it

“Humph! A DRUM!” The Elegant Elephant moved his ears forward and then
back. “Well, what grumpy use is a drum? Am I in a parade? Do you expect
me to beat it?”

“Beat the drum?” Planetty looked surprised and shocked. “Is that for
what a drum is for, Bumpo, dear?”

“Well, yes, in a way.” A bit ashamed of himself, Kabumpo drew out one
of the sticks. “It goes like this,” he said, raising the drumstick high
in his trunk.

“Oh no! Kabumpo, NO! Don’t do that or you’ll have Gludwig down here! It
would make too much noise.”

“What if it does?” Kabumpo shrugged his great shoulders. “We may as
well perish now as tomorrow. I’m perishing of hunger anyway.”

Before Randy could interfere, he brought the drumstick down with a
thump that split the taut surface of the drum from edge to edge.
The loud rip and BONG made the rafters ring, and scarcely had they
recovered from that shock before a small black boy in an enormous
turban sprang out of the drum itself and began sobbing and spluttering
and hugging Kabumpo as if he never would let him go.

“Good Gillikens! It’s Ginger!” panted Randy, as Planetty caught him
anxiously by the sleeve. “It’s the slave of the magic dinner bell. He
can bring us dinners and whatever one wants when Jinnicky rings for
him. Hi–who shut you up in that drum, boy?”

“That big old Red Wig,” sniffed Ginger, drying his tears on Kabumpo’s
robe. “Oh, how can I ever thank you, Mister Elephant so Elegant!
I remember you! I remember him!” The bell boy jerked his thumb
delightedly at Randy. “And many times I thank you–fifty times eleven,
I thank you. You see, if I am shut up in a drum, it is impossible for
me to answer the Master’s ring if he needs me. And he needs me now, I
know it, I know it!”

“But how can he call you unless he has the dinner bell?” asked Randy,
edging closer. “Did Jinnicky take the bell with him when–when–” To
save himself, Randy could not finish the dismal sentence.

“When Gludwig pushed him into the sea, you mean?” Ginger’s brown face
puckered up again, but, controlling his sobs with a great effort, he
sat down on the edge of the drum and told them the whole story of
Jinnicky’s mischance and misfortunes.

“The Master, as you know,” explained Ginger, his eyes rolling sideways
as he caught sight of Planetty and Thun, whose like he had never seen
in his entire magic existence, “the Master is always kind and jolly and
unsuspecting. This Gludwig was the manager of our ruby mines and one of
Jinnicky’s most trusted officers. But all the time, this viper, this
snake, this villainous black snake–” Ginger clenched his fists and
kicked his heels angrily against the drum–“was planning to steal our
Red Jinn’s throne and magic, in addition to his own splendid mansion
and fortune. One evening, seven moons ago, having trained his miners
into an army of rebellion, Gludwig marched upon our castle and drove
everybody out.”

“Everybody?” The Elegant Elephant, picking Ginger up in his trunk,
looked earnestly into his face.

“Every EV body!” repeated the little bell boy, wagging his turban
sorrowfully. “Alibabble, the Grand Advizier, all the members of the
court and household were sent to the mines under the cruel rule of
Glubdo, Gludwig’s brother, and they are there now, working without
rest, hope or reward. He marched the Master to the head of the highest
cliff and pushed him violently into the sea with his OWN hands!”

Ginger began to tremble with grief and anger at the memory of it all.
“He ordered the bandsmen to seal me up in this drum, knowing a drum is
the only place from which I cannot escape, and hoping I would shrivel
up and perish. But I–” asserted the little black triumphantly–“I am
the best part of Jinnicky’s magic, so he couldn’t destroy me.” A quick
grin overspread Ginger’s face. “And he could not destroy my Master
either. Of that I am sure, and now that the elephant so elegant has let
me out–NOW–”

“Now what?” breathed Randy, almost afraid Ginger was not going to
tell him. “You see, Ginger, we came to visit the Red Jinn and were
immediately captured and dumped down here ourselves. So how can we get
out? And what can we do?”

“I will think of something,” promised the bell boy. Wriggling out of
Kabumpo’s trunk, he scurried across the cellar and disappeared beneath
an overturned wheelbarrow.

“So! He will think of something,” sniffed Kabumpo, trying not to make
it sound too sarcastic. “Well, of course, that settles it. And while he
is thinking, I intend to take a nap. I’m completely worn out with all
these vile plots and villainies.”

“I too will ret,” decided Planetty, reaching over to pat the Thunder
Colt. The strange excitements of the day had wearied the little
Princess, and this last story of Ginger’s had still further puzzled and
distressed her.

“I never thought when I brought you here you’d have to sleep in a place
like this,” groaned Randy, glancing ruefully round the dingy basement.

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” smiled the little Princess. Slipping off her
cape, she swung it casually between two grimy pillars, and with the
hand-bag tucked under her arm, climbed contentedly into her silver bed.
“Good net, Randy and Bumpo, dear!” she called softly. “I believe I
shall ret for a long, long time.”

“Now what does she mean by that?” worried the young King, as the
Princess blew them each a wistful kiss. “Something’s wrong, Kabumpo, I
feel it! And look there at Thun! Why is he acting so strangely? Almost
as if he could not see.”

“Look at him! Look at him!” wailed the Elegant Elephant. “Where is he?
How can I? It’s dark as thunder in here now! Great Grump, Randy, I
can’t see you, him or anything at all.”

Stumbling and tripping, he somehow crossed the cellar to the spot where
he remembered Thun had been. Then, as his trunk struck against hard
cold metal, he recoiled in horror.

“He’s OUT!” moaned the Elegant Elephant hoarsely. “He’s not even
breathing. Why, he’s cold and stiff as a stone. Oh, Good Grump, the
colt saved my life and now what can I do for him? What’ll we do,
Randy? I say, what’ll we DO?”

Randy had no answer at all, for, moved by a dreadful foreboding, he
leaned down to touch the face of the little Princess of Anuther Planet,
only to find it still and cold. No sparkling light radiated from
Planetty now as, quiet and motionless as a statue, she lay wrapped in
her silver nets.

“Ginger, where are you? Ginger, come help us!” Randy screamed
desperately. Scrambling out from under the barrow, the startled bell
boy reached Randy’s side in a split second, for Ginger could see as
well in the dark as in the daytime.

“Did–Gludwig–do–this?” he panted, his eyes rolling wildly from
Planetty to the frozen Thunder Colt.

“No, no, they are far from their own country and need the powerful
Vanadium springs,” groaned Kabumpo, putting out his trunk to touch the
little Princess. “They cannot exist down here. And with Jinnicky gone,
who’s to help them?” His tears fell thick and fast on Planetty’s silver

“Then why do we stay here?” shuddered Ginger, tugging at Randy’s cloak
and Kabumpo’s robe. “Why do we stay?”

As if to answer Ginger’s mournful cry, there was a long whistling
rustle in the air, and next moment Randy, Ginger, Kabumpo and the
Princess of Anuther Planet were wafted like feathers through the night,
passing easily as mist through the narrow glass windows, up over the
castle itself and out over the silvery moonlit sea.

The same afternoon the four travelers arrived at the Red Jinn’s castle,
a lonely fisherman in an odd nine-sided dory pulled out from the
Nonagon Isle. This strange small nine-sided island lies about ninety
leagues from the mainland of Ev. Flat, barren and rocky, it affords but
a meager living to the nine fishermen who are its sole inhabitants.
Each keeps strictly to his own side of the island, subsisting frugally
on fish and the few poor vegetables he can grow in his rocky little
garden. Hard and unfriendly as their island itself, the nine Nonagons
go their own ways, exchanging brief nods on the rare occasions when
they meet one another.

The habit of silence had so grown upon Bloff, the fisherman in the
nine-sided dory, he did not even talk to the cat who shared his rough
dwelling and accompanied him on all of his fishing trips. And so
accustomed was poor Nina to her gruff and taciturn master that she
expected nothing from him but an occasional kick or fish head. Never
sure which would be forthcoming, she kept her green eyes watchfully
upon him at all times. This afternoon she was certain it would be a
fish head, and as Bloff reached the spot where he had set his nets her
tail began to wave gently in pleasant anticipation.

Bloff himself seemed a little less grim, for the net seemed quite
heavy, and sure he had made a good haul, he began pulling on the lines.
But when his net came wet and dripping over the side of the boat, he
gave a grunt of anger. In it were only three small fish and an immense
red jug. His first impulse was to toss the jug back into the sea, but
reflecting grumpily that he could use it to salt down fish for the
winter, he rolled it into the bottom of the boat and, kicking the
disappointed cat out of the way, rowed rapidly back to the island.

Stamping into his nine-sided shack with the net over his shoulder,
Bloff banged the jug down on the hearth, cleaned and cut up the fish
and popped them into a pot hung on a crane over the fire. Then,
lighting his one poor lamp, he sat sullenly down to wait for his
supper. The fish heads he flung cruelly into the hot ashes, and
whenever he dozed for a moment Nina tried to pull one out with her paw,
for she knew full well she could get nothing else to eat.

For perhaps an hour there was not a sound in the fisherman’s hut except
the crackling of the drift-wood in the grate and the hoarse breathing
of the fisherman himself. Then suddenly Nina, who had almost succeeded
in dragging her supper from the flames, gave a frightened backward

“Oh, my, mercy me! Mercy, me!” came a muffled but merry voice.
“Where–but where am I now?”

As Nina and her master turned startled eyes toward the red jug, for the
voice was undoubtedly coming from the jug, the lid slowly lifted and a
round jolly face peered out at them. What he saw was so discouraging,
Jinnicky–for of course it was Jinnicky–dropped back out of sight.
The magic fluid with which he had sealed himself in the jug before
Gludwig hurled him into the sea had been melted by the warmth of the
fisherman’s fire, and the same warmth had restored the little Red Jinn
to his usual vigor and liveliness. In a sort of protective stupor he
had managed to survive the long months at the bottom of the ocean. A
quick thinker at all times, Jinnicky rapidly regained his senses and
realized at once what had happened. A fortunate tide had carried him
into this fisherman’s net and at last he was on dry land again; and NOW
to find and face the villain who had usurped his throne and castle.

“But why–why–” groaned the little Jinn dolefully, “with all the
fishermen in the Nonestic Ocean did I have to be pulled out by this
long-jawed fellow?”

Venturing another look, and at the same time thrusting his arms and
legs out of their proper apertures in the jug, he saw that Bloff had
seized an oar and seemed about ready to whack it down on his head.

“Non, non, NON! My good fellow!” puffed Jinnicky, fixing his rescuer
with his bright glassy eye. “Put up your oar. This is no battle, and
I have much to say that will interest you, but first of all I want
to thank you for pulling me out of the ocean. Heartily! Heartily! A
suitable reward will be sent you as soon as I get back–er–get back my

To this polite speech Bloff paid no attention whatsoever, but Nina,
liking the pleasant voice of this curious visitor, began rubbing
herself against his ankles. “I am the Red Jinn of Ev!” announced the
little Wizard, keeping a wary eye on the oar. “At present banished
from my castle by the treachery of a trusted officer. In fact,”
Jinnicky tapped himself smartly on the jug, “this villain actually took
everything I had and tossed me into the sea.”

“What’s wrong with the sea?” inquired the fisherman hoarsely. Never
having seen anyone in his whole life but the eight other Nonagon
Islanders, Bloff did not really believe what he saw now. “I’m
asleep and having a nightmare,” he concluded, grasping the oar more
determinedly still. And we can hardly blame him, for a fellow whose
body is a huge red vase into which he can draw his arms, legs and head,
at will, is pretty hard for anyone to believe. Realizing he was getting
nowhere and that his grim and dour rescuer cared nothing about his
troubles, past or present, Jinnicky decided to try another line.

“Perhaps you could tell me the name of this place and your own name?”
he murmured politely.

“I am Bloff, my cat is Nina, and this is the Nonagon Island,” announced
the fisherman, frowning at the little Wizard.

“Ah, a nine-sided island!” The Red Jinn stretched his arms and hopped
up and down to get the kinks out of his legs. “And I see you have a
nine-sided cottage and a cat with nine lives.”

Picking up poor skinny Nina, who was purring for the first time in her
life, Jinnicky stroked her back thoughtfully as he counted the nine
pieces of furniture in the rude hut, noted that it was nine o’clock and
the ninth of May. “But is NINE my lucky number?” he pondered wearily.
Could this churlish fisherman ever be persuaded to sail him back to the
mainland? Looking at Bloff out of the side of his eye, he very much
doubted it. Though Bloff had put down the oar, his manner was anything
but cordial.

“Are there any other people on the island?” asked Jinnicky, more to
keep up the conversation than because he really wanted to know.

At his question Bloff put back his head and in a long singsong voice
drawled, “Bluff, Bliff, Bleef, Blaff, Bloff, Blaaf, Bleof and Bluof!”

“Oh, my! Mercy me!” At each name Jinnicky gave a little jump, and as
Bloff came to the end of the list he seated himself gingerly on the
edge of the bench and stared into the fire. What could he hope from
such people? Then suddenly in the midst of his worries he became aware
of the fish chowder bubbling cozily on the crane and realized at the
same instant his enormous and devouring hunger. After all, you know he
had not eaten for seven months.

“Ah!” he beamed, extending both arms toward his host, “DINNER!”

“MY dinner.” The two words were spoken so gruffly, Jinnicky’s heart
fell with a loud clunk into his boots. Why, this was unbelievable! He,
Jinnicky, the one and only Wizard of Ev, to be flouted and insulted
by a miserable fisherman. Well, at least he could leave the fellow’s
miserable hut and try his luck with the other Islanders. Reflecting
sadly that a wizard without his magic is no better off than any other
man, the Red Jinn slid off the bench and started for the door, trying
to walk in a calm and dignified manner. But half-way there a sharp
grunt brought him up short.

“Aho, no you don’t,” rasped Bloff, catching up with him in two strides.
“Where do you think you’re going? STOP! I need that jug to salt my
fish. Here, give it to me.”

“Why, you–you miserable mollusk–don’t you dare touch me!” panted the
Red Jinn, trying to beat off the fisherman with his puny hands. “This
jug–is–an–important–part of me. Without my jug I cannot live at

“And do you think I care for that?” sneered Bloff. “You’re just an old
lobster in a pot to me. Here, give me that jug!”

Seizing Jinnicky by both arms, Bloff tried to shake him out of the jug.
Nina, enraged at such barbarous treatment of the only one who had ever
been kind to her, proved an unexpected ally. Flying at the fisherman,
she began to scratch and claw his face and hands so successfully
Bloff had to drop Jinnicky to grab the cat. The force of the drop
sent the Red Jinn rolling over and over, dislodging a small silver
bell from a hidden pocket in his sleeve. As the bell fell tinkling
to the flagstones, Jinnicky gave a bounce of relief. His magic dinner
bell, and up his sleeve all the time! How had he ever forgotten it?
Oh, now–now–if Ginger had not been destroyed by Gludwig, and just
answered the bell, everything would be different. And Ginger DID answer
the bell, and everything WAS different! My, yes. So different, Bloff
threw the cat at Jinnicky and simply raced for the door. No wonder,
in his small nine-sided shack were now an elephant carrying a silvery
Princess in his trunk, a black boy in a tall turban and a white boy in
a sparkling crown. With one more terrified glance, Bloff took to his
heels and never stopped running till he was waist high in the Nonestic

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