...chapter six of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...
Prince Inga was up with the sun and, accompanied by Bilbil, began
walking along the shore in search of the boat which the White Pearl had
promised him. Never for an instant did he doubt that he would find it and
before he had walked any great distance a dark object at the water's edge
caught his eye.
"It is the boat, Bilbil!" he cried joyfully, and running down to it he
found it was, indeed, a large and roomy boat. Although stranded upon the
beach, it was in perfect order and had suffered in no way from the
Inga stood for some moments gazing upon the handsome craft and wondering
where it could have come from. Certainly it was unlike any boat he had ever
seen. On the outside it was painted a lustrous black, without any other
color to relieve it; but all the inside of the boat was lined with pure
silver, polished so highly that the surface resembled a mirror and glinted
brilliantly in the rays of the sun. The seats had white velvet cushions upon
them and the cushions were splendidly embroidered with threads of gold. At
one end, beneath the broad seat, was a small barrel with silver hoops, which
the boy found was filled with fresh, sweet water. A great chest of
sandalwood, bound and ornamented with silver, stood in the other end of the
boat. Inga raised the lid and discovered the chest filled with
sea-biscuits, cakes, tinned meats and ripe, juicy melons; enough good
and wholesome food to last the party a long time.
Lying upon the bottom of the boat were two shining oars, and overhead,
but rolled back now, was a canopy of silver cloth to ward off the heat of
It is no wonder the boy was delighted with the appearance of this
beautiful boat; but on reflection he feared it was too large for him to row
any great distance. Unless, indeed, the Blue Pearl gave him unusual
While he was considering this matter, King Rinkitink came waddling up to
him and said:
"Well, well, well, my Prince, your words have come true! Here is the
boat, for a certainty, yet how it came here -- and how you knew it would
come to us -- are puzzles that mystify me. I do not question our good
fortune, however, and my heart is bubbling with joy, for in this boat I will
return at once to my City of Gilgad, from which I have remained absent
altogether too long a time."
"I do not wish to go to Gilgad," said Inga.
"That is too bad, my friend, for you would be very welcome. But you may
remain upon this island, if you wish," continued Rinkitink, "and when I get
home I will send some of my people to rescue you."
"It is my boat, Your Majesty," said Inga quietly.
"May be, may be," was the careless answer, "but I am King of a great
country, while you are a boy Prince without any kingdom to speak of.
Therefore, being of greater importance than you, it is just and right that I
take, your boat and return to my own country in it."
"I am sorry to differ from Your Majesty's views," said Inga, "but instead
of going to Gilgad I consider it of greater importance that we go to the
islands of Regos and Coregos."
"Hey? What!" cried the astounded King. "To Regos and Coregos! To become
slaves of the barbarians, like the King, your father? No, no, my boy! Your
Uncle Rinki may have an empty noddle, as Bilbil claims, but he is far too
wise to put his head in the lion's mouth. It's no fun to be a slave."
"The people of Regos and Coregos will not enslave us," declared Inga. "On
the contrary, it is my intention to set free my dear parents, as well as all
my people, and to bring them back again to Pingaree."
"Cheek-eek-eek-eek-eek! How funny!" chuckled Rinkitink, winking at the
goat, which scowled in return. "Your audacity takes my breath away, Inga,
but the adventure has its charm, I must, confess. Were I not so fat, I'd
agree to your plan at once, and could probably conquer that horde of fierce
warriors without any assistance at all -- any at all -- eh, Bilbil? But I
grieve to say that I am fat, and not in good fighting trim. As for your
determination to do what I admit I can't do, Inga, I fear you forget that
you are only a boy, and rather small at that."
"No, I do not forget that," was Inga's reply.
"Then please consider that you and I and Bilbil are not strong enough, as
an army, to conquer a powerful nation of skilled warriors. We could attempt
it, of course, but you are too young to die, while I am too old. Come with
me to my City of Gilgad, where you will be greatly honored. I'll have my
professors teach you how to be good. Eh? What do you say?"
Inga was a little embarrassed how to reply to these arguments, which he
knew King Rinkitink considered were wise; so, after a period of thought, he
"I will make a bargain with Your Majesty, for I do not wish to fail in
respect to so worthy a man and so great a King as yourself. This boat is
mine, as I have said, and in my father's absence you have become my guest;
therefore I claim that I am entitled to some consideration, as well as
"No doubt of it," agreed Rinkitink. "What is the bargain you propose,
"Let us both get into the boat, and you shall first try to row us to
Gilgad. If you succeed, I will accompany you right willingly; but should you
fail, I will then row the boat to Regos, and you must come with me without
"A fair and just bargain!" cried the King, highly pleased. "Yet, although
I am a man of mighty deeds, I do not relish the prospect of rowing so big a
boat all the way to Gilgad. But I will do my best and abide by the
The matter being thus peaceably settled, they prepared to embark. A
further supply of fruits was placed in the boat and Inga also raked up a
quantity of the delicious oysters that abounded on the coast of Pingaree but
which he had before been unable to reach for lack of a boat. This was done
at the suggestion of the ever-hungry Rinkitink, and when the oysters had
been stowed in their shells behind the water barrel and a plentiful supply
of grass brought aboard for Bilbil, they decided they were ready to start on
It proved no easy task to get Bilbil into the boat, for he was a
remarkably clumsy goat and once, when Rinkitink gave him a push, he tumbled
into the water and nearly drowned before they could get him out again. But
there was no thought of leaving the quaint animal behind. His power of
speech made him seem almost human in the eyes of the boy, and the fat King
was so accustomed to his surly companion that nothing could have induced him
to part with him. Finally Bilbil fell sprawling into the bottom of the boat,
and Inga helped him to get to the front end, where there was enough space
for him to lie down.
Rinkitink now took his seat in the silver-lined craft and the boy came
last, pushing off the boat as he sprang aboard, so that it floated freely
upon the water.
"Well, here we go for Gilgad!" exclaimed the King, picking up the oars
and placing them in the row-locks. Then he began to row as hard as he could,
singing at the same time an odd sort of a song that ran like this
"The way to Gilgad isn't bad
For a stout old King and a brave young lad,
For a cross old goat with a dripping coat,
And a silver boat in which to float.
So our hearts are merry, light and glad
As we speed away to fair Gilgad!"
"Don't, Rinkitink; please don't! It makes me seasick," growled
Rinkitink stopped rowing, for by this time he was all out of breath and
his round face was covered with big drops of perspiration. And when he
looked over his shoulder he found to his dismay that the boat had scarcely
moved a foot from its former position.
Inga said nothing and appeared not to notice the King's failure. So now
Rinkitink, with a serious look on his fat, red face, took off his purple
robe and rolled up the sleeves of his tunic and tried again.
However, he succeeded no better than before and when he heard Bilbil give
a gruff laugh and saw a smile upon the boy Prince's face, Rinkitink
suddenly dropped the oars and began shouting with laughter at his own
defeat. As he wiped his brow with a yellow silk handkerchief he sang in a
"A sailor bold am I, I hold,
But boldness will not row a boat.
So I confess I'm in distress
And just as useless as the goat."
"Please leave me out of your verses," said Bilbil with a snort of
"When I make a fool of myself, Bilbil, I'm a goat," replied
"Not so," insisted Bilbil. "Nothing could make you a member of my
"Superior? Why, Bilbil, a goat is but a beast, while I am a King!"
"I claim that superiority lies in intelligence," said the goat.
Rinkitink paid no attention to this remark, but turning to Inga he
"We may as well get back to the shore, for the boat is too heavy to row
to Gilgad or anywhere else. Indeed, it will be hard for us to reach land
"Let me take the oars," suggested Inga. "You must not forget our
"No, indeed," answered Rinkitink. "If you can row us to Regos, or to any
other place, I will go with you without protest."
So the King took Inga's place at the stern of the boat and the boy
grasped the oars and commenced to row. And now, to the great wonder of
Rinkitink -- and even to Inga's surprise -- the oars became light as
feathers as soon as the Prince took hold of them. In an instant the boat
began to glide rapidly through the water and, seeing this, the boy turned
its prow toward the north. He did not know exactly where Regos and Coregos
were located, but he did know that the islands lay to the north of Pingaree,
so he decided to trust to luck and the guidance of the pearls to carry him
Gradually the Island of Pingaree became smaller to their view as the boat
sped onward, until at the end of an hour they had lost sight of it
altogether and were wholly surrounded by the purple waters of the Nonestic
Prince Inga did not tire from the labor of rowing; indeed, it seemed to
him no labor at all. Once he stopped long enough to place the poles of the
canopy in the holes that had been made for them, in the edges of the boat,
and to spread the canopy of silver over the poles, for Rinkitink had
complained of the sun's heat. But the canopy shut out the hot rays and
rendered the interior of the boat cool and pleasant.
"This is a glorious ride!" cried Rinkitink, as he lay back in the shade.
"I find it a decided relief to be away from that dismal island of
"It may be a relief for a short time," said Bilbil, "but you are going to
the land of your enemies, who will probably stick your fat body full of
spears and arrows."
"Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Inga, distressed at the thought.
"Never mind," said the King calmly, "a man can die but once, you know,
and when the enemy kills me I shall beg him to kill Bilbil, also, that we
may remain together in death as in life."
"They may be cannibals, in which case they will roast and eat us,"
suggested Bilbil, who wished to terrify his master.
"Who knows?" answered Rinkitink, with a shudder. "But cheer up, Bilbil;
they may not kill us after all, or even capture us; so let us not borrow
trouble. Do not look so cross, my sprightly quadruped, and I will sing to
"Your song would make me more cross than ever," grumbled the goat.
"Quite impossible, dear Bilbil. You couldn't be more surly if you tried.
So here is a famous song for you."
While the boy rowed steadily on and the boat rushed fast over the water,
the jolly King, who never could be sad or serious for many minutes at a
time, lay back on his embroidered cushions and sang as follows:
"A merry maiden went to sea --
She sat upon the Captain's knee
And looked around the sea to see
What she could see, but she couldn't see me --
"How do you like that, Bilbil?"
"I don't like it," complained the goat. "It reminds me of the alligator
that tried to whistle."
"Did he succeed, Bilbil?" asked the King.
"He whistled as well as you sing."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, heek, keek, eek!" chuckled the King. "He must have
whistled most exquisitely, eh, my friend?"
"I am not your friend," returned the goat, wagging his ears in a surly
"I am yours, however," was the King's cheery reply; "and to prove it I'll
sing you another verse."
"Don't, I beg of you!"
But the King sang as follows:
"The wind blew off the maiden's shoe --
And the shoe flew high to the sky so blue
And the maiden knew 'twas a new shoe, too;
But she couldn't pursue the shoe, 'tis true-
"Isn't that sweet, my pretty goat?"
"Sweet, do you ask?" retorted Bilbil. "I consider it as sweet as candy
made from mustard and vinegar."
"But not as sweet as your disposition, I admit. Ah, Bilbil, your temper
would put honey itself to shame."
"Do not quarrel, I beg of you," pleaded Inga. "Are we not sad enough
"But this is a jolly quarrel," said the King, "and it is the way Bilbil
and I often amuse ourselves. Listen, now, to the last verse of all:
"The maid who shied her shoe now cried --
Her tears were fried for the Captain's bride
Who ate with pride her sobs, beside,
And gently sighed 'I'm satisfied' --
"Worse and worse!" grumbled Bilbil, with much scorn. "I am glad that is
the last verse, for another of the same kind might cause me to faint."
"I fear you have no ear for music," said the King.
"I have heard no music, as yet," declared the goat. "You must have a
strong imagination, King Rinkitink, if you consider your songs music. Do
you remember the story of the bear that hired out for a nursemaid?"
"I do not recall it just now," said Rinkitink, with a wink at Inga.
"Well, the bear tried to sing a lullaby to put the baby to sleep."
"And then?" said the King.
"The bear was highly pleased with its own voice, but the baby was nearly
frightened to death."
"Heh, heb, heh, heh, whoo, hoo, hoo! You are a merry rogue, Bilbil,"
laughed the King; "a merry rogue in spite of your gloomy features.
However, if I have not amused you, I have at least pleased myself, for I am
exceedingly fond of a good song. So let us say no more about it."
All this time the boy Prince was rowing the boat. He was not in the least
tired, for the oars he held seemed to move of their own accord. He paid
little heed to the conversation of Rinkitink and the goat, but busied his
thoughts with plans of what he should do when he reached the islands of
Regos and Coregos and confronted his enemies. When the others finally became
silent, Inga inquired.
"Can you fight, King Rinkitink?"
"I have never tried," was the answer. "In time of danger I have found it
much easier to run away than to face the foe."
"But could you fight?" asked the boy.
"I might try, if there was no chance to escape by running. Have you a
proper weapon for me to fight with?"
"I have no weapon at all," confessed Inga.
"Then let us use argument and persuasion instead of fighting. For
instance, if we could persuade the warriors of Regos to lie down, and let me
step on them, they would be crushed with ease.
Prince Inga had expected little support from the King, so he was not
discouraged by this answer. After all, he reflected, a conquest by battle
would be out of the question, yet the White Pearl would not have advised him
to go to Regos and Coregos had the mission been a hopeless one. It seemed to
him, on further reflection, that he must rely upon circumstances to
determine his actions when he reached the islands of the barbarians.
By this time Inga felt perfect confidence in the Magic Pearls. It was the
White Pearl that had given him the boat, and the Blue Pearl that had given
him strength to row it. He believed that the Pink Pearl would protect him
from any danger that might arise; so his anxiety was not for himself, but
for his companions. King Rinkitink and the goat had no magic to protect
them, so Inga resolved to do all in his power to keep them from harm.
For three days and three nights the boat with the silver lining sped
swiftly over the ocean. On the morning of the fourth day, so quickly had
they traveled, Inga saw before him the shores of the two great islands of
Regos and Coregos.
"The pearls have guided me aright!" he whispered to himself. "Now, if I
am wise, and cautious, and brave, I believe I shall be able to rescue my
father and mother and my people."
...chapter six of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...