...chapter fourteen of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...
"Our fault," said Rinkitink, "is that we conquer only one of these
twin islands at a time. When we conquered Regos, our foes all came to
Coregos, and now that we have conquered Coregos, the Queen has fled to
Regos. And each time they removed the bridge of boats, so that we
could not follow them."
"What has become of our own boat, in which we came from Pingaree?" asked
"We left it on the shore of Regos," replied the Prince, "but I wonder if
we could not get it again."
"Why don't you ask the White Pearl?" suggested Rinkitink.
"That is a good idea," returned the boy, and at once he drew the White
Pearl from its silken bag and held it to his ear. Then he asked: "How may I
regain our boat?"
The Voice of the Pearl replied: "Go to the south end of the Island of
Coregos, and clap your hands three times and the boat will come to
"Very good!" cried Inga, and then he turned to his companions and said:
"We shall be able to get our boat whenever we please; but what then shall we
"Take me home in it!" pleaded Zella.
"Come with me to my City of Gilgad," said the King, "where you will be
very welcome to remain forever."
"No," answered Inga, "I must rescue my father and mother, as well as my
people. Already I have the women and children of Pingaree, but the men are
with my father in the mines of Regos, and my dear mother has been taken away
by Queen Cor. Not until all are rescued will I consent to leave these
"Quite right!" exclaimed Bilbil.
"On second thought," said Rinkitink, "I agree with you. If you are
careful to sleep in your shoes, and never take them off again, I believe you
will be able to perform the task you have undertaken."
They counseled together for a long time as to their mode of action and it
was finally considered best to make the attempt to liberate King Kitticut
first of all, and with him the men from Pingaree. This would give them an
army to assist them and afterward they could march to Regos and compel
Queen Cor to give up the Queen of Pingaree. Zella told them that they could
go in their boat along the shore of Regos to a point opposite the mines,
thus avoiding any conflict with the warriors of King Gos.
This being considered the best course to pursue, they resolved to start
on the following morning, as night was even now approaching. The servants
being all busy in caring for the women and children, Zella undertook to get
a dinner for Inga and Rinkitink and herself and soon prepared a fine meal in
the palace kitchen, for she was a good little cook and had often helped
her mother. The dinner was served in a small room overlooking the gardens
and Rinkitink thought the best part of it was the sweet honey, which he
spread upon the biscuits that Zella had made. As for Bilbil, he wandered
through the palace grounds and found some grass that made him a good
During the evening Inga talked with the women and cheered them, promising
soon to reunite them with their husbands who were working in the mines and
to send them back to their own island of Pingaree.
Next morning the boy rose bright and early and found that Zella had
already prepared a nice breakfast. And after the meal they went to the most
southern point of the island, which was not very far away, Rinkitink riding
upon Bilbil's back and Inga and Zella following behind them, hand in
When they reached the water's edge the boy advanced and clapped his hands
together three times, as the White Pearl had told him to do. And in a few
moments they saw in the distance the black boat with the silver lining,
coming swiftly toward them from the sea. Presently it grounded on the beach
and they all got into it.
Zella was delighted with the boat, which was the most beautiful she had
ever seen, and the marvel of its coming to them through the water without
anyone to row it, made her a little afraid of the fairy craft. But Inga
picked up the oars and began to row and at once the boat shot swiftly in the
direction of Regos. They rounded the point of that island where the city was
built and noticed that the shore was lined with warriors who had discovered
their boat but seemed undecided whether to pursue it or not. This was
probably because they had received no commands what to do, or perhaps they
had learned to fear the magic powers of these adventurers from Pingaree and
were unwilling to attack them unless their King ordered them to.
The coast on the western side of the Island of Regos was very uneven and
Zella, who knew fairly well the location of the mines from the inland forest
path, was puzzled to decide which mountain they now viewed from the sea was
the one where the entrance to the underground caverns was located. First she
thought it was this peak, and then she guessed it was that; so considerable
time was lost through her uncertainty.
They finally decided to land and explore the country, to see where they
were, so Inga ran the boat into a little rocky cove where they all
disembarked. For an hour they searched for the path without finding any
trace of it and now Zella believed they had gone too far to the north and
must return to another mountain that was nearer to the city.
Once again they entered the boat and followed the winding coast south
until they thought they had reached the right place. By this time, however,
it was growing dark, for the entire day had been spent in the search for the
entrance to the mines, and Zella warned them that it would be safer to spend
the night in the boat than on the land, where wild beasts were sure to
disturb them. None of them realized at this time how fatal this day of
search had been to their plans and perhaps if Inga had realized what was
going on he would have landed and fought all the wild beasts in the forest
rather than quietly remain in the boat until morning.
However, knowing nothing of the cunning plans of Queen Cor and King Gos,
they anchored their boat in a little bay and cheerfully ate their dinner,
finding plenty of food and drink in the boat's lockers. In the evening the
stars came out in the sky and tipped the waves around their boat with
silver. All around them was delightfully still save for the occasional
snarl of a beast on the neighboring shore.
They talked together quietly of their adventures and their future plans
and Zella told them her simple history and how hard her poor father was
obliged to work, burning charcoal to sell for enough money to support his
wife and child. Nikobob might be the humblest man in all Regos, but Zella
declared he was a good man, and honest, and it was not his fault that his
country was ruled by so wicked a King.
Then Rinkitink, to amuse them, offered to sing a song, and although
Bilbil protested in his gruff way, claiming that his master's voice was
cracked and disagreeable, the little King was encouraged by the others to
sing his song, which he did.
"A red-headed man named Ned was dead;
In battle he had lost his head;
'Alas, poor Ned,' to him I said,
'How did you lose your head so red?'
"Said Ned: 'I for my country bled,'
'Instead of dying safe in bed',
'If I had only fled, instead,
I then had been a head ahead.'
"I said to Ned --"
"Do stop, Your Majesty!" pleaded Bilbil. "You're making my head
"But the song isn't finished," replied Rinkitink, "and as for your head
aching, think of poor Ned, who hadn't any head at all!"
"I can think of nothing but your dismal singing," retorted Bilbil. "Why
didn't you choose a cheerful subject, instead of telling how a man who was
dead lost his red head? Really, Rinkitink, I'm surprised at you.
"I know a splendid song about a live man," said the King.
"Then don't sing it," begged Bilbil.
Zella was both astonished and grieved by the disrespectful words of the
goat, for she had quite enjoyed Rinkitink's singing and had been taught a
proper respect for Kings and those high in authority. But as it was now
getting late they decided to go to sleep, that they might rise early the
following morning, so they all reclined upon the bottom of the big boat and
covered themselves with blankets which they found stored underneath the
seats for just such occasions. They were not long in falling asleep and did
not waken until daybreak.
After a hurried breakfast, for Inga was eager to liberate his father, the
boy rowed the boat ashore and they all landed and began searching for the
path. Zella found it within the next half hour and declared they must be
very close to the entrance to the mines; so they followed the path toward
the north, Inga going first, and then Zella following him, while Rinkitink
brought up the rear riding upon Bilbil's back.
Before long they saw a great wall of rock towering before them, in which
was a low arched entrance, and on either side of this entrance stood a
guard, armed with a sword and a spear. The guards of the mines were not so
fierce as the warriors of King Gos, their duty being to make the slaves work
at their tasks and guard them from escaping; but they were as cruel as their
cruel master wished them to be, and as cowardly as they were cruel.
Inga walked up to the two men at the entrance and said:
"Does this opening lead to the mines of King Gos?"
"It does," replied one of the guards, "but no one is allowed to pass out
who once goes in."
"Nevertheless," said the boy, "we intend to go in and we shall come out
whenever it pleases us to do so. I am the Prince of Pingaree, and I have
come to liberate my people, whom King Gos has enslaved."
Now when the two guards heard this speech they looked at one another and
laughed, and one of them said: "The King was right, for he said the boy was
likely to come here and that he would try to set his people free. Also the
King commanded that we must keep the little Prince in the mines, and set him
to work, together with his companions."
"Then let us obey the King," replied the other man.
Inga was surprised at hearing this, and asked:
"When did King Gos give you this order?"
"His Majesty was here in person last night," replied the man, "and went
away again but an hour ago. He suspected you were coming here and told us to
capture you if we could."
This report made the boy very anxious, not for himself but for his
father, for he feared the King was up to some mischief. So he hastened to
enter the mines and the guards did nothing to oppose him or his companions,
their orders being to allow him to go in but not to come out.
The little group of adventurers passed through a long rocky corridor and
reached a low, wide cavern where they found a dozen guards and a hundred
slaves, the latter being hard at work with picks and shovels digging for
gold, while the guards stood over them with long whips.
Inga found many of the men from Pingaree among these slaves, but King
Kitticut was not in this cavern; so they passed through it and entered
another corridor that led to a second cavern. Here also hundreds of men were
working, but the boy did not find his father amongst them, and so went on to
a third cavern.
The corridors all slanted downward, so that the farther they went the
lower into the earth they descended, and now they found the air hot and
close and difficult to breathe. Flaming torches were stuck into the walls to
give light to the workers, and these added to the oppressive heat.
The third and lowest cavern was the last in the mines, and here were many
scores of slaves and many guards to keep them at work. So far, none of the
guards had paid any attention to Inga's party, but allowed them to proceed
as they would, and while the slaves cast curious glances at the boy and girl
and man and goat, they dared say nothing. But now the boy walked up to some
of the men of Pingaree and asked news of his father, telling them not to
fear the guards as he would protect them from the whips.
Then he learned that King Kitticut had indeed been working in this very
cavern until the evening before, when King Gos had come and taken him away
-- still loaded with chains.
"Seems to me," said King Rinkitink, when he heard this report, "that Gos
has carried your father away to Regos, to prevent us from rescuing him. He
may hide poor Kitticut in a dungeon, where we cannot find him."
"Perhaps you are right," answered the boy, "but I am determined to find
him, wherever he may be."
Inga spoke firmly and with courage, but he was greatly disappointed to
find that King Gos had been before him at the mines and had taken his father
away. However, he tried not to feel disheartened, believing he would succeed
in the end, in spite of all opposition. Turning to the guards, he said:
"Remove the chains from these slaves and set them free."
The guards laughed at this order, and one of them brought forward a
handful of chains, saying: "His Majesty has commanded us to make you, also,
a slave, for you are never to leave these caverns again."
Then he attempted to place the chains on Inga, but the boy indignantly
seized them and broke them apart as easily as if they had been cotton
cords. When a dozen or more of the guards made a dash to capture him, the
Prince swung the end of the chain like a whip and drove them into a corner,
where they cowered and begged for mercy.
Stories of the marvelous strength of the boy Prince had already spread to
the mines of Regos, and although King Gos had told them that Inga had been
deprived of all his magic power, the guards now saw this was not true, so
they deemed it wise not to attempt to oppose him.
The chains of the slaves had all been riveted fast to their ankles and
wrists, but Inga broke the bonds of steel with his hands and set the poor
men free -- not only those from Pingaree but all who had been captured in
the many wars and raids of King Gos. They were very grateful, as you may
suppose, and agreed to support Prince Inga in whatever action he
He led them to the middle cavern, where all the guards and overseers fled
in terror at his approach, and soon he had broken apart the chains of the
slaves who had been working in that part of the mines. Then they approached
the first cavern and liberated all there.
The slaves had been treated so cruelly by the servants of King Gos that
they were eager to pursue and slay them, in revenge; but Inga held them back
and formed them into companies, each company having its own leader. Then he
called the leaders together and instructed them to march in good order along
the path to the City of Regos, where he would meet them and tell them what
to do next.
They readily agreed to obey him, and, arming themselves with iron bars
and pick-axes which they brought from the mines, the slaves began their
march to the city.
Zella at first wished to be left behind, that she might make her way to
her home, but neither Rinkitink nor Inga thought it was safe for her to
wander alone through the forest, so they induced her to return with them to
The boy beached his boat this time at the same place as when he first
landed at Regos, and while many of the warriors stood on the shore and
before the walls of the city, not one of them attempted to interfere with
the boy in any way. Indeed, they seemed uneasy and anxious, and when Inga
met Captain Buzzub the boy asked if anything had happened in his
"A great deal has happened," replied Buzzub. "Our King and Queen have run
away and left us, and we don't know what to do."
"Run away!" exclaimed Inga. "Where did they go to?"
"Who knows?" said the man, shaking his head despondently. "They departed
together a few hours ago, in a boat with forty rowers, and they took with
them the King and Queen of Pingaree!"
...chapter fourteen of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...