...chapter eight of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...
The fat King rode his goat through the streets of the
conquered city and the boy Prince walked proudly beside him, while all the
people bent their heads humbly to their new masters, whom they were prepared
to serve in the same manner they had King Gos.
Not a warrior remained in all Regos to oppose the
triumphant three; the bridge of boats had been
destroyed; Inga and his companions were free from danger -- for
a time, at least.
The jolly little King appreciated this fact and rejoiced that he had
escaped all injury during the battle. How it had all happened he could not
tell, nor even guess, but he was content in being safe and free to take
possession of the enemy's city. So, as they passed through the lines of
respectful civilians on their way to the palace, the King tipped his crown
back on his bald head and folded his arms and sang in his best voice the
"Oh, here comes the army of King Rinkitink!
It isn't a big one, perhaps you may think,
But it scattered the warriors quicker than wink --
Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!
Our Bilbil's a hero and so is his King;
Our foemen have vanished like birds on the wing;
I guess that as fighters we're quite the real thing --
Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!"
"Why don't you give a little credit
to Inga?" inquired the goat. "If I
remember aright, he did a little of the conquering himself."
"So he did," responded the King, "and that's the reason I'm sounding our
own praise, Bilbil. Those who do the least, often
shout the loudest and so get the most glory. Inga did so much that there is
danger of his becoming more important than we are, and so we'd best say
nothing about him."
When they reached the palace, which was an immense building, furnished
throughout in regal splendor, Inga took formal possession and ordered the
majordomo to show them the finest rooms the building contained. There were
many pleasant apartments, but Rinkitink proposed to Inga that they share one
of the largest bedrooms together.
"For," said he, "we are not sure that old Gos will not return and
try to recapture his city, and you must remember that I have no magic to
protect me. In any danger, were I alone, I might be easily killed or
captured, while if you are by my side you can save me from injury."
The boy realized the wisdom of this plan, and selected a fine big bedroom
on the second floor of the palace, in which he ordered two golden beds
placed and prepared for King Rinkitink and himself. Bilbil was given a suite
of rooms on the other side of the palace, where servants brought the goat
fresh-cut grass to eat and made him a soft bed to lie upon.
That evening the boy Prince and the fat King dined in great state in the
lofty-domed dining hall of the palace, where forty servants waited upon
them. The royal chef, anxious to win the favor of the conquerors of Regos,
prepared his finest and most savory dishes for them, which Rinkitink ate
with much appetite and found so delicious that he ordered the royal chef
brought into the banquet hall and presented him with a gilt button which
the King cut from his own jacket.
"You are welcome to it," said he to the chef, "because I have eaten so
much that I cannot use that lower button at all."
Rinkitink was mightily pleased to live in a comfortable palace again and
to dine at a well spread table. His joy grew every moment, so that he came
in time to be as merry and cheery as before Pingaree was despoiled. And,
although he had been much frightened during Inga's defiance of the army of
King Gos, he now began to turn the matter into a joke.
"Why, my boy," said he, "you whipped the big black-bearded
King exactly as if he were a schoolboy, even though you used no warlike
weapon at all upon him. He was cowed through fear of your magic, and that
reminds me to demand from you an explanation. How
did you do it, Inga? And where did the wonderful magic come from?"
Perhaps it would have been wise for the Prince to have explained about
the magic pearls, but at that moment he was not inclined to do so. Instead,
"Be patient, Your Majesty. The secret is not my own, so please do not
ask me to divulge it. Is it not enough, for the present, that the magic
saved you from death to-day?"
"Do not think me ungrateful," answered the King earnestly. "A million
spears fell on me from the wall, and several stones as big as mountains, yet
none of them hurt me!"
"The stones were not as big as mountains, sire," said the Prince with a
smile. "They were, indeed, no larger than your head."
"Are you sure about that?" asked Rinkitink.
"Quite sure, Your Majesty."
"How deceptive those things are!" sighed the King. "This argument reminds
me of the story of Tom Tick, which my father used to tell."
"I have never heard that story," Inga answered.
"Well, as he told it, it ran like this:
"When Tom walked out, the sky to spy,
A naughty gnat flew in his eye;
But Tom knew not it was a gnat --
He thought, at first, it was a cat.
"And then, it felt so very big,
He thought it surely was a pig
Till, standing still to hear it grunt,
He cried: 'Why, it's an elephunt!'
"But -- when the gnat flew out again
And Tom was free from all his pain,
He said: 'There flew into my eye
A leetle, teenty-tiny fly.'"
"Indeed," said Inga, laughing, "the gnat was much like your stones that
seemed as big as mountains."
After their dinner they inspected the palace, which was filled with
valuable goods stolen by King Gos from many nations. But the day's events
had tired them and they retired early to their big sleeping apartment.
"In the morning," said the boy to Rinkitink, as he was undressing for
bed, "I shall begin the search for my father and mother and the people of
Pingaree. And, when they are found and rescued, we will all go home again,
and be as happy as we were before."
They carefully bolted the door of their room, that no one might enter,
and then got into their beds, where Rinkitink fell asleep in an instant. The
boy lay awake for a while thinking over the day's adventures, but presently
he fell sound asleep also, and so weary was he that nothing disturbed his
slumber until he awakened next morning with a ray of sunshine in his eyes,
which had crept into the room through the open window by King Rinkitink's
Resolving to begin the search for his parents without any unnecessary
delay, Inga at once got out of bed and began to dress himself, while
Rinkitink, in the other bed, was still sleeping peacefully. But when the boy
had put on both his stockings and began looking for his shoes, he could find
but one of them. The left shoe, that containing the Pink Pearl, was
Filled with anxiety at this discovery, Inga searched through the entire
room, looking underneath the beds and divans and chairs and behind the
draperies and in the corners and every other possible place a shoe might be.
He tried the door, and found it still bolted; so, with growing uneasiness,
the boy was forced to admit that the precious shoe was not in the room.
With a throbbing heart he aroused his companion.
"King Rinkitink," said he, "do you know what has become of my left
"Your shoe!" exclaimed the King, giving a wide yawn and rubbing his eyes
to get the sleep out of them. "Have you lost a shoe?"
"Yes," said Inga. "I have searched everywhere in the room, and cannot
"But why bother me about such a small thing?" inquired Rinkitink. "A shoe is only a shoe, and you can easily get another one.
But, stay! Perhaps it was your shoe which I threw at the cat last
"The cat!" cried Inga. "What do you mean?"
"Why, in the night," explained Rinkitink, sitting up and beginning to
dress himself, "I was wakened by the mewing of a cat that sat upon a wall of
the palace, just outside my window. As the noise disturbed me, I reached out
in the dark and caught up something and threw it at the cat, to frighten the
creature away. I did not know what it was that I threw, and I was too sleepy
to care; but probably it was your shoe, since it is now missing."
"Then," said the boy, in a despairing tone of voice, "your carelessness
has ruined me, as well as yourself, King Rinkitink, for in that shoe was
concealed the magic power which protected us from danger."
The King's face became very serious when he heard this and he uttered a
low whistle of surprise and regret.
"Why on earth did you not warn me of this?" he demanded. "And why did you
keep such a precious power in an old shoe? And why didn't you put the shoe
under a pillow? You were very wrong, my lad, in not confiding to me, your
faithful friend, the secret, for in that case the shoe would not now be
To all this Inga had no answer. He sat on the side of his bed, with
hanging head, utterly disconsolate, and seeing this, Rinkitink had pity for
"Come!" cried the King; "let us go out at once and look for the shoe
which I threw at the cat. It must even now be lying in the yard of the
This suggestion roused the boy to action. He at once threw open the door
and in his stocking feet rushed down the staircase, closely followed by
Rinkitink. But although they looked on both sides of the palace wall and in
every possible crack and corner where a shoe might lodge, they failed to
After a half hour's careful search the boy said sorrowfully:
"Someone must have passed by, as we slept, and taken the precious shoe,
not knowing its value. To us, King Rinkitink, this will be a dreadful
misfortune, for we are surrounded by dangers from which we have now no
protection. Luckily I have the other shoe left, within which is the magic
power that gives me strength; so all is not lost."
Then he told Rinkitink, in a few words, the secret of the wonderful
pearls, and how he had recovered them from the ruins and hidden them in his
shoes, and how they had enabled him to drive King Gos and his men from Regos
and to capture the city. The King was much astonished, and when the story
was concluded he said to Inga:
"What did you do with the other shoe?"
"Why, I left it in our bedroom," replied the boy.
"Then I advise you to get it at once," continued Rinkitink, "for we can
ill afford to lose the second shoe, as well as the one I threw at the
"You are right!" cried Inga, and they hastened back to their
On entering the room they found an old woman sweeping and raising a great
deal of dust.
"Where is my shoe?" asked the Prince, anxiously.
The old woman stopped sweeping and looked at him in a stupid way, for she
was not very intelligent.
"Do you mean the one odd shoe that was lying on the floor when I came
in?" she finally asked.
"Yes -- yes!" answered the boy. "Where is it? Tell me where it is!"
"Why, I threw it on the dust-heap, outside the back gate," said she,
"for, it being but a single shoe, with no mate, it can be of no use to
"Show us the way to the dust-heap -- at once!" commanded the boy,
sternly, for he was greatly frightened by this new misfortune which
The old woman hobbled away and they followed her, constantly urging her
to hasten; but when they reached the dust-heap no shoe was to be seen.
"This is terrible!" wailed the young Prince, ready to weep at his loss.
"We are now absolutely ruined, and at the mercy of our enemies. Nor shall I
be able to liberate my dear father and mother."
"Well," replied Rinkitink, leaning against an old barrel and looking
quite solemn, "the thing is certainly unlucky, any way we look at it. I
suppose someone has passed along here and, seeing the shoe upon the
dust-heap, has carried it away. But no one could know the magic power the
shoe contains and so will not use it against us. I believe, Inga, we must
now depend upon our wits to get us out of the scrape we are in.
With saddened hearts they returned to the palace, and entering a small
room where no one could observe them or overhear them, the boy took the
White Pearl from its silken bag and held it to his ear, asking:
"What shall I do now?"
"Tell no one of your loss," answered the Voice of the Pearl. "If your
enemies do not know that you are powerless, they will fear you as much as
ever. Keep your secret, be patient, and fear not!"
Inga heeded this advice and also warned Rinkitink to say nothing to
anyone of the loss of the shoes and the powers they contained. He sent for
the shoemaker of King Gos, who soon brought him a new pair of red leather
shoes that fitted him quite well. When these had been put upon his feet, the
Prince, accompanied by the King, started to walk through the city.
Wherever they went the people bowed low to the conqueror, although a few,
remembering Inga's terrible strength, ran away in fear and trembling. They
had been used to severe masters and did not yet know how they would be
treated by King Gos's successor. There being no occasion for the boy to
exercise the powers he had displayed the previous day, his present
helplessness was not suspected by any of the citizens of Regos, who still
considered him a wonderful magician.
Inga did not dare to fight his way to the mines, at present, nor could he
try to conquer the Island of Coregos, where his mother was enslaved; so he
set about the regulation of the City of Regos, and having established
himself with great state in the royal palace he began to govern the people
by kindness, having consideration for the most humble.
The King of Regos and his followers sent spies across to the island they
had abandoned in their flight, and these spies returned with the news that
the terrible boy conqueror was still occupying the city. Therefore none of
them ventured to go back to Regos but continued to live upon the neighboring
island of Coregos, where they passed the days in fear and trembling and
sought to plot and plan ways how they might overcome the Prince of Pingaree
and the fat King of Gilgad.
...chapter eight of Rinkitink in Oz...previous...next...