...chapter seven of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...
The Island of Regos was ten miles wide and forty miles long and
it was ruled by a big and powerful King named Gos. Near to the
shores were green and fertile fields, but farther back from the sea were
rugged hills and mountains, so rocky that nothing would grow there. But in
these mountains were mines of gold and silver, which the slaves of the King
were forced to work, being confined in dark underground passages for that
purpose. In the course of time huge caverns had been hollowed out by the
slaves, in which they lived and slept, never seeing the light of day.
Cruel overseers with whips stood over these poor people, who had been
captured in many countries by the raiding parties of King Cos, and
the overseers were quite willing to lash the slaves with their whips if they
faltered a moment in their work.
Between the green shores and the mountains were forests of thick,
tangled trees, between which narrow paths had been cut to lead up to the
caves of the mines. It was on the level green meadows, not far from the
ocean, that the great City of Regos had been built, wherein was
located the palace of the King. This city was inhabited by thousands of the
fierce warriors of Gos, who frequently took to their boats and spread
over the sea to the neighboring islands to conquer and pillage, as they had
done at Pingaree. When they were not absent on one of these expeditions, the
City of Regos swarmed with them and so became a dangerous place for any
peaceful person to live in, for the warriors were as lawless as their
The Island of Coregos lay close beside the Island of Regos; so
close, indeed, that one might have thrown a stone from one shore to another.
But Coregos was only half the size of Regos and instead of being mountainous
it was a rich and pleasant country, covered with fields of grain. The fields
of Coregos furnished food for the warriors and citizens of both countries,
while the mines of Regos made them all rich.
Coregos was ruled by Queen Cor, who was wedded to King Gos; but so
stern and cruel was the nature of this Queen that the people could not
decide which of their sovereigns they dreaded most.
Queen Cor lived in her own City of Coregos, which lay on that
side of her island facing Regos, and her slaves, who were mostly women, were
made to plow the land and to plant and harvest the grain.
From Regos to Coregos stretched a bridge of boats, set close together,
with planks laid across their edges for people to walk upon. In this way it
was easy to pass from one island to the other and in times of danger the
bridge could be quickly removed.
The native inhabitants of Regos and Coregos consisted of the warriors,
who did nothing but fight and ravage, and the trembling servants who waited
on them. King Gos and Queen Cor were at war with all the rest of the
world. Other islanders hated and feared them, for their slaves were badly
treated and absolutely no mercy was shown to the weak or ill.
When the boats that had gone to Pingaree returned loaded with rich
plunder and a host of captives, there was much rejoicing in Regos and
Coregos and the King and Queen gave a fine feast to the warriors who had
accomplished so great a conquest. This feast was set for the warriors in the
grounds of King Gos's palace, while with them in the great throne room all
the captains and leaders of the fighting men were assembled with King Gos
and Queen Cor, who had come from her island to attend the ceremony. Then all
the goods that had been stolen from the King of Pingaree were divided
according to rank, the King and Queen taking half, the captains a quarter,
and the rest being divided amongst the warriors.
The day following the feast King Gos sent King Kitticut and all the men
of Pingaree to work in his mines under the mountains, having first chained
them together so they could not escape. The gentle Queen of Pingaree and all
her women, together with the captured children, were given to Queen Cor, who
set them to work in her grain fields.
Then the rulers and warriors of these dreadful islands thought they had
done forever with Pingaree. Despoiled of all its wealth, its houses torn
down, its boats captured and all its people enslaved, what likelihood was
there that they might ever again hear of the desolated island? So the people
of Regos and Coregos were surprised and puzzled when one morning they
observed approaching their shores from the direction of the south a black
boat containing a boy, a fat man and a goat. The warriors asked one another
who these could be, and where they had come from? No one ever came to those
islands of their own accord, that was certain.
Prince Inga guided his boat to the south end of the Island of Regos,
which was the landing place nearest to the city, and when the warriors saw
this action they went down to the shore to meet him, being led by a big
captain named Buzzub.
"Those people surely mean us no good," said Rinkitink uneasily to the
boy. "Without doubt they intend to capture us and make us their slaves."
"Do not fear, sir," answered Inga, in a calm voice. "Stay quietly in the
boat with Bilbil until I have spoken with these men."
He stopped the boat a dozen feet from the shore, and standing up in his
place made a grave bow to the multitude confronting him. Said the big
Captain Buzzub in a gruff voice:
"Well, little one, who may you be? And how dare you come, uninvited and
all alone, to the Island of Regos?"
"I am Inga, Prince of Pingaree," returned the boy, "and I have come here
to free my parents and my people, whom you have wrongfully enslaved."
When they heard this bold speech a mighty laugh arose from the band of
warriors, and when it had subsided the captain said:
"You love to jest, my baby Prince, and the joke is fairly good. But
why did you willingly thrust your head into the
lion's mouth? When you were free, why did you not stay free? We did not
know we had left a single person in Pingaree! But since you managed to
escape us then, it is really kind of you to come here of your own free will,
to be our slave. Who is the funny fat person with you?"
"It is His Majesty, King Rinkitink, of the great City of Gilgad. He has
accompanied me to see that you render full restitution for all you have
stolen from Pingaree."
"Better yet!" laughed Buzzub. "He will make a fine slave for
Queen Cor, who loves to tickle fat men, and see them jump."
King Rinkitink was filled with horror when he heard this, but the Prince
answered as boldly as before, saying:
"We are not to be frightened by bluster, believe me; nor are we so weak
as you imagine. We have magic powers so great and terrible that no host of
warriors can possibly withstand us, and therefore I call upon you to
surrender your city and your island to us, before we crush you with our
The boy spoke very gravely and earnestly, but his words only aroused
another shout of laughter. So while the men of Regos were laughing Inga
drove the boat we'll up onto the sandy beach and leaped out. He also helped
Rinkitink out, and when the goat had unaided sprung to the sands, the King
got upon Bilbil's back, trembling a little internally, but striving to look
as brave as possible.
There was a bunch of coarse hair between the goat's ears, and this Inga
clutched firmly in his left hand. The boy knew the Pink Pearl would protect
not only himself, but all whom he touched, from any harm, and as Rinkitink
was astride the goat and Inga had his hand upon the animal, the three could
not be injured by anything the warriors could do. But Captain Buzzub did not
know this, and the little group of three seemed so weak and ridiculous that
he believed their capture would be easy. So he turned to his men and with a
wave of his hand said:
"Seize the intruders!"
Instantly two or three of the warriors stepped forward to obey, but to
their amazement they could not reach any of the three; their hands were
arrested as if by an invisible wall of iron. Without paying
any attention to these attempts at capture, Inga advanced slowly and the
goat kept pace with him. And when Rinkitink saw that he was safe from harm
he gave one of his big, merry laughs, and it startled the warriors and made
them nervous. Captain Buzzub's eyes grew big with surprise as the three
steadily advanced and forced his men backward; nor was he free from terror
himself at the magic that protected these strange visitors. As for the
warriors, they presently became terror-stricken and fled in a panic up the
slope toward the city, and Buzzub was obliged to chase after them and shout
threats of punishment before he could halt them and form them into a line of
All the men of Regos bore spears and bows-and-arrows, and some of the
officers had swords and battle-axes; so Buzzub ordered them to stand their
ground and shoot and slay the strangers as they approached. This they tried
to do. Inga being in advance, the warriors sent a flight of sharp arrows
straight at the boy's breast, while others cast their long spears at
It seemed to Rinkitink that the little Prince must surely perish as he
stood facing this hail of murderous missiles; but the power of the Pink
Pearl did not desert him, and when the arrows and spears had reached to
within an inch of his body they bounded back again and fell harmlessly at
his feet. Nor were Rinkitink or Bilbil injured in the least, although they
stood close beside Inga.
Buzzub stood for a moment looking upon the boy in silent wonder. Then,
recovering himself, he shouted in a loud voice:
"Once again! All together, my men. No one shall ever defy our might and
Again a flight of arrows and spears sped toward the three, and since many
more of the warriors of Regos had by this time joined their fellows, the air
was for a moment darkened by the deadly shafts. But again all fell harmless
before the power of the Pink Pearl, and Bilbil, who had been growing very
angry at the attempts to injure him and his party, suddenly made a bolt
forward, casting off Inga's hold, and butted into the line of warriors, who
were standing amazed at their failure to conquer.
Taken by surprise at the goat's attack, a dozen big warriors tumbled in a
heap, yelling with fear, and their comrades, not knowing what had happened
but imagining that their foes were attacking them, turned about and ran to
the city as hard as they could go. Bilbil, still angry, had just time to
catch the big captain as he turned to follow his men, and Buzzub first
sprawled headlong upon the ground, then rolled over two or three times, and
finally jumped up and ran yelling after his defeated warriors. This butting
on the part of the goat was very hard upon King Rinkitink, who nearly fell
off Bilbil's back at the shock of encounter; but the little fat King wound
his arms around the goat's neck and shut his eyes and clung on with all his
might. It was not until he heard Inga say triumphantly, "We have won the
fight without striking a blow!" that Rinkitink dared open his eyes again.
Then he saw the warriors rushing into the City of Regos and barring the
heavy gates, and he was very much relieved at the sight.
"Without striking a blow!" said Bilbil indignantly. "That is not quite
true, Prince Inga. You did not fight, I admit, but I struck a couple of
times to good purpose, and I claim to have conquered the cowardly warriors
"You and I together, Bilbil," said Rinkitink mildly. "But the next time
you make a charge, please warn me in time, so that I may dismount and give
you all the credit for the attack."
There being no one now to oppose their advance, the three walked to the
gates of the city, which had been closed against them. The gates were of
iron and heavily barred, and upon the top of the high walls of the city a
host of the warriors now appeared armed with arrows and spears and other
weapons. For Buzzub had gone straight to the palace of King Cos and reported
his defeat, relating the powerful magic of the boy, the fat King and the
goat, and had asked what to do next.
The big captain still trembled with fear, but King Gos did not helieve in
magic, and called Buzzub a coward and a weakling. At once the King took
command of his men personally, and he ordered the walls manned with warriors
and instructed them to shoot to kill if any of the three strangers
approached the gates.
Of course, neither Rinkitink nor Bilbil knew how they had been protected
from harm and so at first they were inclined to resent the boy's command
that the three must always keep together and touch one another at all times.
But when Inga explained that his magic would not otherwise save them from
injury, they agreed to obey, for they had now seen enough to convince them
that the Prince was really protected by some invisible power.
As they came before the gates another shower of arrows and spears
descended upon them, and as before not a single missile touched their
bodies. King Gos, who was upon the wall, was greatly amazed and somewhat
worried, but he depended upon the strength of his gates and commanded his
men to continue shooting until all their weapons were gone.
Inga let them shoot as much as they wished, while he stood before the
great gates and examined them carefully.
"Perhaps Bilbil can batter down the gates, suggested Rinkitink.
"No," replied the goat; "my head is hard, but not harder than iron."
"Then," returned the King, "let us stay outside; especially as we can't
But Inga was not at all sure they could not get in. The gates opened
inward, and three heavy bars were held in place by means of stout staples
riveted to the sheets of steel. The boy had been told that the power of the
Blue Pearl would enable him to accomplish any feat of strength, and he
believed that this was true.
The warriors, under the direction of King Gos, continued to hurl arrows
and darts and spears and axes and huge stones upon the invaders, all without
avail. The ground below was thickly covered with weapons, yet not one of the
three before the gates had been injured in the slightest manner. When
everything had been cast that was available and not a single weapon of any
sort remained at hand, the amazed warriors saw the boy put his shoulder
against the gates and burst asunder the huge staples that held the bars in
place. A thousand of their men could not have accomplished this feat, yet
the small, slight boy did it with seeming ease. The gates burst open, and
Inga advanced into the city street and called upon King Gos to
But Gos was now as badly frightened as were his warriors. He and his men
were accustomed to war and pillage and they had carried terror into many
countries, but here was a small boy, a fat man and a goat who could not be
injured by all his skill in warfare, his numerous army and thousands of
death-dealing weapons. Moreover, they not only defied King Gos's entire army
but they had broken in the huge gates of the city -- as easily
as if they had been made of paper -- and such an exhibition of enormous
strength made the wicked King fear for his life. Like all bullies and
marauders, Gos was a coward at heart, and now a panic seized him and he
turned and fled before the calm advance of Prince Inga of Pingaree. The
warriors were like their master, and having thrown all their weapons over
the wall and being helpless to oppose the strangers, they all swarmed after
Gos, who abandoned his city and crossed the bridge of boats to the Island of
Coregos. There was a desperate struggle among these cowardly warriors to get
over the bridge, and many were pushed into the water and obliged to swim;
but finally every fighting man of Regos had gained the shore of Coregos and
then they tore away the bridge of boats and drew them up on their own side,
hoping the stretch of open water would prevent the magic invaders from
The humble citizens and serving people of Regos, who had been terrified
and abused by the rough warriors all their lives, were not only greatly
astonished by this sudden conquest of their masters but greatly delighted.
As the King and his army fled to Coregos, the people embraced one another
and danced for very joy, and then they turned to see what the conquerors of
Regos were like.
...chapter seven of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...