...chapter nineteen of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...
We will now relate what happened to Rinkitink and Bilbil
that morning, while Inga was undergoing his trying experience in escaping
the fearful dangers of the three caverns.
The King of Gilgad wakened to find the door of Inga's room fast
shut and locked, but he had no trouble in opening his own door into the
corridor, for it seems that the boy's room, which was the middle one,
whirled around on a pivot, while the adjoining rooms occupied by Bilbil
and Rinkitink remained stationary. The little King also found a breakfast
magically served in his room, and while he was eating it, Klik came to him
and stated that His Majesty, King Kaliko, desired his presence in the royal
So Rinkitink, having first made sure that the Pink Pearl was still in his
vest pocket, willingly followed Klik, who ran on some distance ahead. But no
sooner had Rinkitink set foot in the passage than a great rock, weighing at
least a ton, became dislodged and dropped from the roof directly over his
head. Of course, it could not harm him, protected as he was by the Pink
Pearl, and it bounded aside and crashed upon the floor, where it was
shattered by its own weight.
"How careless!" exclaimed the little King, and waddled after Klik, who
seemed amazed at his escape.
Presently another rock above Rinkitink plunged downward, and then
another, but none touched his body. Klik seemed much perplexed at these
continued escapes and certainly Kaliko was surprised when Rinkitink, safe
and sound, entered the royal cavern.
"Good morning," said the King of Gilgad. "Your rocks are getting loose,
Kaliko, and you'd better have them glued in place before they hurt someone."
Then he began to chuckle: "Hoo, hoo, hoo-hee, hee-heek, keek, eek!" and
Kaliko sat and frowned because he realized that the little fat King was
poking fun at him.
"I asked Your Majesty to come here," said the Nome King, "to show you a
curious skein of golden thread which my workmen have made. If it pleases
you, I will make you a present of it."
With this he held out a small skein of glittering gold twine, which was
really pretty and curious. Rinkitink took it in his hand and at once the
golden thread began to unwind -- so swiftly that the eye could not follow
its motion. And, as it unwound, it coiled itself around Rinkitink's body, at
the same time weaving itself into a net, until it had enveloped the little
King from head to foot and placed him in a prison of gold.
"Aha!" cried Kaliko; "this magic worked all right, it seems.
"Oh, did it?" replied Rinkitink, and stepping forward he walked right
through the golden net, which fell to the floor in a tangled mass
Kaliko rubbed his chin thoughtfully and stared hard at Rinkitink.
"I understand a good bit of magic," said ,he, "but Your Majesty has a
sort of magic that greatly puzzles me, because it is unlike anything of the
sort that I ever met with before."
"Now, see here, Kaliko," said Rinkitink; "if you are trying to harm me or
my companions, give it up, for you will never succeed. We're harm-proof,
so to speak, and you are merely wasting your time trying to injure us.
"You may be right, and I hope I am not so impolite as to argue with a
guest," returned the Nome King. "But you will pardon me if I am not yet
satisfied that you are stronger than my famous magic. However, I beg you to
believe that I bear you no ill will, King Rinkitink; but it is my duty to
destroy you, if possible, because you and that insignificant boy Prince
have openly threatened to take away my captives and have positively refused
to go back to the earth's surface and let me alone. I'm very tender-hearted,
as a matter of fact, and I like you immensely, and would enjoy having you as
a friend, but --" Here he pressed a button on the arm of his throne chair
and the section of the floor where Rinkitink stood suddenly opened and
disclosed a black pit beneath, which was a part of 'the terrible Bottomless
But Rinkitink did not fall into the pit; his body remained suspended in
the air until he put out his foot and stepped to the solid floor, when the
opening suddenly closed again.
"I appreciate Your Majesty's friendship," remarked Rinkitink, as calmly
as if nothing had happened, "but I am getting tired with standing. Will you
kindly send for my goat, Bilbil, that I may sit upon his back to rest?"
"Indeed I will!" promised Kaliko. "I have not yet completed my test of
your magic, and as I owe that goat a slight grudge for bumping my head and
smashing my second-best crown, I will be glad to discover if the beast can
also escape my delightful little sorceries."
So Klik was sent to fetch Bilbil and presently returned with the goat,
which was very cross this morning because it had not slept well in the
Rinkitink lost no time in getting upon the red velvet saddle which the
goat constantly wore, for he feared the Nome King would try to destroy
Bilbil and knew that as long as his body touched that of the goat the Pink
Pearl would protect them both; whereas, if Bilbil stood alone, there was no
magic to save him.
Bilbil glared wickedly at King Kaliko, who moved uneasily in his ivory
throne. Then the Nome King whispered a moment in the ear of Klik, who nodded
and left the room.
"Please make yourselves at home here for a few minutes, while I attend to
an errand," said the Nome King, getting up from the throne. "I shall return
pretty soon, when I hope to find you pieceful -- ha, ha, ha! -- that's a
joke you can't appreciate now but will later. Be pieceful -- that's the
idea. Ho, ho, ho! How funny." Then he waddled from the cavern, closing the
door behind him.
"Well, why didn't you laugh when Kaliko laughed?" demanded the goat, when
they were left alone in the cavern.
"Because he means mischief of some sort," replied Rinkitink, "and we'll
laugh after the danger is over, Bilbil. There's an old adage that says: 'He
laughs best who laughs last,' and the only way to laugh last is to give the
other fellow a chance. Where did that knife come from, I wonder."
For a long, sharp knife suddenly appeared in the air near them, twisting
and turning from side to side and darting here and there in a dangerous
manner, without any support whatever. Then another knife became visible --
and another and another -- until all the space in the royal cavern seemed
filled with them. Their sharp points and edges darted toward Rinkitink and
Bilbil perpetually and nothing could have saved them from being cut to
pieces except the protecting power of the Pink Pearl. As it was, not a knife
touched them and even Bilbil gave a gruff laugh at the failure of Kaliko's
The goat wandered here and there in the cavern, carrying Rinkitink upon
his back, and neither of them paid the slightest heed to the knives,
although the glitter of the hundreds of polished blades was rather trying to
their eyes. Perhaps for ten minutes the knives darted about them in
bewildering fury; then they disappeared as suddenly as they had
Kaliko cautiously stuck his head through the doorway and found the goat
chewing the embroidery of his royal cloak, which he had left lying over
the throne, while Rinkitink was reading his manuscript on "How to be Good"
and chuckling over its advice. The Nome King seemed greatly disappointed as
he came in and resumed his seat on the throne. Said Rinkitink with a
"We've really had a peaceful time, Kaliko, although not the pieceful time
you expected. Forgive me if I indulge in a laugh -- hoo, hoo, hoo-hee,
heek-keek-eek! And now, tell me; aren't you getting tired of trying to
"Eh -- heh," said the Nome King. "I see now that your magic can protect
you from all my arts. But is the boy Inga as, well protected as Your Majesty
and the goat?'
"Why do you ask?" inquired Rinkitink, uneasy at the question because he
remembered he had not seen the little Prince of Pingaree that morning.
"Because," said Kaliko, "the boy has been undergoing trials far greater
and more dangerous than any you have encountered, and it has been hundreds
of years since anyone has been able to escape alive from the perils of my
Three Trick Caverns."
King Rinkitink was much alarmed at hearing this, for although he knew
that Inga possessed the Blue Pearl, that would only give to him marvelous
strength, and perhaps strength alone would not enable him to escape from
danger. But he would not let Kaliko see the fear he felt for Inga's safety,
so he said in a careless way:
"You're a mighty poor magician, Kaliko, and I'll give you my crown if
Inga hasn't escaped any danger you have threatened him with."
"Your whole crown is not worth one of the valuable diamonds in my crown,"
answered the Nome King, "but I'll take it. Let us go at once, therefore, and
see what has become of the boy Prince, for if he is not destroyed by this
time I will admit he cannot be injured by any of the magic arts which I have
at my command."
He left the room, accompanied by Klik, who had now rejoined his master,
and by Rinkitink riding upon Bilbil. After traversing several of the huge
caverns they entered one that was somewhat more bright and cheerful than the
others, where the Nome King paused before a wall of rock. Then Klik pressed
a secret spring and a section of the wall opened and disclosed the corridor
where Prince Inga stood facing them.
"Tarts and tadpoles!" cried Kaliko in surprise. "The boy is still
...chapter nineteen of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...