American Fairy Tales
L. Frank Baum
Part 1 out of 3
Edited by Charles Aldarondo (email@example.com)
American Fairy Tales
By L. FRANK BAUM
FATHER GOOSE; HIS BOOK,
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, ETC.
The BOX OF ROBBERS
No one intended to leave Martha alone that afternoon, but it
happened that everyone was called away, for one reason or another.
Mrs. McFarland was attending the weekly card party held by the
Women's Anti-Gambling League. Sister Nell's young man had called
quite unexpectedly to take her for a long drive. Papa was at the
office, as usual. It was Mary Ann's day out. As for Emeline, she
certainly should have stayed in the house and looked after the
little girl; but Emeline had a restless nature.
"Would you mind, miss, if I just crossed the alley to speak a word
to Mrs. Carleton's girl?" she asked Martha.
"'Course not," replied the child. "You'd better lock the back door,
though, and take the key, for I shall be upstairs."
"Oh, I'll do that, of course, miss," said the delighted maid, and
ran away to spend the afternoon with her friend, leaving Martha
quite alone in the big house, and locked in, into the bargain.
The little girl read a few pages in her new book, sewed a few
stitches in her embroidery and started to "play visiting" with her
four favorite dolls. Then she remembered that in the attic was a
doll's playhouse that hadn't been used for months, so she decided
she would dust it and put it in order.
Filled with this idea, the girl climbed the winding stairs to the
big room under the roof. It was well lighted by three dormer windows
and was warm and pleasant. Around the walls were rows of boxes and
trunks, piles of old carpeting, pieces of damaged furniture, bundles
of discarded clothing and other odds and ends of more or less value.
Every well-regulated house has an attic of this sort, so I need not
The doll's house had been moved, but after a search Martha found it
away over in a corner near the big chimney.
She drew it out and noticed that behind it was a black wooden chest
which Uncle Walter had sent over from Italy years and years
ago--before Martha was born, in fact. Mamma had told her about it
one day; how there was no key to it, because Uncle Walter wished it
to remain unopened until he returned home; and how this wandering
uncle, who was a mighty hunter, had gone into Africa to hunt
elephants and had never been heard from afterwards.
The little girl looked at the chest curiously, now that it had by
accident attracted her attention.
It was quite big--bigger even than mamma's traveling trunk--and was
studded all over with tarnished brassheaded nails. It was heavy,
too, for when Martha tried to lift one end of it she found she could
not stir it a bit. But there was a place in the side of the cover
for a key. She stooped to examine the lock, and saw that it would
take a rather big key to open it.
Then, as you may suspect, the little girl longed to open Uncle
Walter's big box and see what was in it. For we are all curious, and
little girls are just as curious as the rest of us.
"I don't b'lieve Uncle Walter'll ever come back," she thought. "Papa
said once that some elephant must have killed him. If I only had a
key--" She stopped and clapped her little hands together gayly as
she remembered a big basket of keys on the shelf in the linen
closet. They were of all sorts and sizes; perhaps one of them would
unlock the mysterious chest!
She flew down the stairs, found the basket and returned with it to
the attic. Then she sat down before the brass-studded box and began
trying one key after another in the curious old lock. Some were too
large, but most were too small. One would go into the lock but would
not turn; another stuck so fast that she feared for a time that she
would never get it out again. But at last, when the basket was
almost empty, an oddly-shaped, ancient brass key slipped easily into
the lock. With a cry of joy Martha turned the key with both hands;
then she heard a sharp "click," and the next moment the heavy lid
flew up of its own accord!
The little girl leaned over the edge of the chest an instant, and
the sight that met her eyes caused her to start back in amazement.
Slowly and carefully a man unpacked himself from the chest, stepped
out upon the floor, stretched his limbs and then took off his hat
and bowed politely to the astonished child.
He was tall and thin and his face seemed badly tanned or sunburnt.
Then another man emerged from the chest, yawning and rubbing his
eyes like a sleepy schoolboy. He was of middle size and his skin
seemed as badly tanned as that of the first.
While Martha stared open-mouthed at the remarkable sight a third man
crawled from the chest. He had the same complexion as his fellows,
but was short and fat.
All three were dressed in a curious manner. They wore short jackets
of red velvet braided with gold, and knee breeches of sky-blue satin
with silver buttons. Over their stockings were laced wide ribbons of
red and yellow and blue, while their hats had broad brims with high,
peaked crowns, from which fluttered yards of bright-colored ribbons.
They had big gold rings in their ears and rows of knives and pistols
in their belts. Their eyes were black and glittering and they wore
long, fierce mustaches, curling at the ends like a pig's tail.
"My! but you were heavy," exclaimed the fat one, when he had pulled
down his velvet jacket and brushed the dust from his sky-blue
breeches. "And you squeezed me all out of shape."
"It was unavoidable, Luigi," responded the thin man, lightly; "the
lid of the chest pressed me down upon you. Yet I tender you my
"As for me," said the middle-sized man, carelessly rolling a
cigarette and lighting it, "you must acknowledge I have been your
nearest friend for years; so do not be disagreeable."
"You mustn't smoke in the attic," said Martha, recovering herself at
sight of the cigarette. "You might set the house on fire."
The middle-sized man, who had not noticed her before, at this speech
turned to the girl and bowed.
"Since a lady requests it," said he, "I shall abandon my cigarette,"
and he threw it on the floor and extinguished it with his foot.
"Who are you?" asked Martha, who until now had been too astonished
to be frightened.
"Permit us to introduce ourselves," said the thin man, flourishing
his hat gracefully. "This is Lugui," the fat man nodded; "and this
is Beni," the middle-sized man bowed; "and I am Victor. We are three
"Bandits!" cried Martha, with a look of horror.
"Exactly. Perhaps in all the world there are not three other bandits
so terrible and fierce as ourselves," said Victor, proudly.
"'Tis so," said the fat man, nodding gravely.
"But it's wicked!" exclaimed Martha.
"Yes, indeed," replied Victor. "We are extremely and tremendously
wicked. Perhaps in all the world you could not find three men more
wicked than those who now stand before you."
"'Tis so," said the fat man, approvingly.
"But you shouldn't be so wicked," said the girl;
Victor cast down his eyes and blushed.
"Naughty!" gasped Beni, with a horrified look.
"'Tis a hard word," said Luigi, sadly, and buried his face in his
"I little thought," murmured Victor, in a voice broken by emotion,
"ever to be so reviled--and by a lady! Yet, perhaps you spoke
thoughtlessly. You must consider, miss, that our wickedness has an
excuse. For how are we to be bandits, let me ask, unless we are
Martha was puzzled and shook her head, thoughtfully. Then she
"You can't remain bandits any longer," said she, "because you are
now in America."
"America!" cried the three, together.
"Certainly. You are on Prairie avenue, in Chicago. Uncle Walter sent
you here from Italy in this chest."
The bandits seemed greatly bewildered by this announcement. Lugui
sat down on an old chair with a broken rocker and wiped his forehead
with a yellow silk handkerchief. Beni and Victor fell back upon the
chest and looked at her with pale faces and staring eyes.
When he had somewhat recovered himself Victor spoke.
"Your Uncle Walter has greatly wronged us," he said, reproachfully.
"He has taken us from our beloved Italy, where bandits are highly
respected, and brought us to a strange country where we shall not
know whom to rob or how much to ask for a ransom."
"'Tis so!" said the fat man, slapping his leg sharply.
"And we had won such fine reputations in Italy!" said Beni,
"Perhaps Uncle Walter wanted to reform you," suggested Martha.
"Are there, then, no bandits in Chicago?" asked Victor.
"Well," replied the girl, blushing in her turn, "we do not call them
"Then what shall we do for a living?" inquired Beni, despairingly.
"A great deal can be done in a big American city," said the child.
"My father is a lawyer" (the bandits shuddered), "and my mother's
cousin is a police inspector."
"Ah," said Victor, "that is a good employment. The police need to be
inspected, especially in Italy."
"Everywhere!" added Beni.
"Then you could do other things," continued Martha, encouragingly.
"You could be motor men on trolley cars, or clerks in a department
store. Some people even become aldermen to earn a living."
The bandits shook their heads sadly.
"We are not fitted for such work," said Victor. "Our business is to
Martha tried to think.
"It is rather hard to get positions in the gas office," she said,
"but you might become politicians."
"No!" cried Beni, with sudden fierceness; "we must not abandon our
high calling. Bandits we have always been, and bandits we must
"'Tis so!" agreed the fat man.
"Even in Chicago there must be people to rob," remarked Victor, with
Martha was distressed.
"I think they have all been robbed," she objected.
"Then we can rob the robbers, for we have experience and talent
beyond the ordinary," said Beni.
"Oh, dear; oh, dear!" moaned the girl; "why did Uncle Walter ever
send you here in this chest?"
The bandits became interested.
"That is what we should like to know," declared Victor, eagerly.
"But no one will ever know, for Uncle Walter was lost while hunting
elephants in Africa," she continued, with conviction.
"Then we must accept our fate and rob to the best of our ability,"
said Victor. "So long as we are faithful to our beloved profession
we need not be ashamed."
"'Tis so!" cried the fat man.
"Brothers! we will begin now. Let us rob the house we are in."
"Good!" shouted the others and sprang to their feet.
Beni turned threateningly upon the child.
"Remain here!" he commanded. "If you stir one step your blood will
be on your own head!" Then he added, in a gentler voice: "Don't be
afraid; that's the way all bandits talk to their captives. But of
course we wouldn't hurt a young lady under any circumstances."
"Of course not," said Victor.
The fat man drew a big knife from his belt and flourished it about
"S'blood!" he ejaculated, fiercely.
"S'bananas!" cried Beni, in a terrible voice.
"Confusion to our foes!" hissed Victor.
And then the three bent themselves nearly double and crept
stealthily down the stairway with cocked pistols in their hands and
glittering knives between their teeth, leaving Martha trembling with
fear and too horrified to even cry for help.
How long she remained alone in the attic she never knew, but finally
she heard the catlike tread of the returning bandits and saw them
coming up the stairs in single file.
All bore heavy loads of plunder in their arms, and Lugui was
balancing a mince pie on the top of a pile of her mother's best
evening dresses. Victor came next with an armful of bric-a-brac, a
brass candelabra and the parlor clock. Beni had the family Bible,
the basket of silverware from the sideboard, a copper kettle and
papa's fur overcoat.
"Oh, joy!" said Victor, putting down his load; "it is pleasant to
rob once more."
"Oh, ecstacy!" said Beni; but he let the kettle drop on his toe and
immediately began dancing around in anguish, while he muttered queer
words in the Italian language.
"We have much wealth," continued Victor, holding the mince pie while
Lugui added his spoils to the heap; "and all from one house! This
America must be a rich place."
With a dagger he then cut himself a piece of the pie and handed the
remainder to his comrades. Whereupon all three sat upon the floor
and consumed the pie while Martha looked on sadly.
"We should have a cave," remarked Beni; "for we must store our
plunder in a safe place. Can you tell us of a secret cave?" he asked
"There's a Mammoth cave," she answered, "but it's in Kentucky. You
would be obliged to ride on the cars a long time to get there."
The three bandits looked thoughtful and munched their pie silently,
but the next moment they were startled by the ringing of the
electric doorbell, which was heard plainly even in the remote attic.
"What's that?" demanded Victor, in a hoarse voice, as the three
scrambled to their feet with drawn daggers.
Martha ran to the window and saw it was only the postman, who had
dropped a letter in the box and gone away again. But the incident
gave her an idea of how to get rid of her troublesome bandits, so
she began wringing her hands as if in great distress and cried out:
"It's the police!"
The robbers looked at one another with genuine alarm, and Lugui
"Are there many of them?"
"A hundred and twelve!" exclaimed Martha, after pretending to count
"Then we are lost!" declared Beni; "for we could never fight so many
"Are they armed?" inquired Victor, who was shivering as if cold.
"Oh, yes," said she. "They have guns and swords and pistols and axes
"And what?" demanded Lugui.
The three wicked ones groaned aloud and Beni said, in a hollow
"I hope they will kill us quickly and not put us to the torture. I
have been told these Americans are painted Indians, who are
bloodthirsty and terrible."
"'Tis so!" gasped the fat man, with a shudder.
Suddenly Martha turned from the window.
"You are my friends, are you not?" she asked.
"We are devoted!" answered Victor.
"We adore you!" cried Beni.
"We would die for you!" added Lugui, thinking he was about to die
"Then I will save you," said the girl.
"How?" asked the three, with one voice.
"Get back into the chest," she said. "I will then close the lid, so
they will be unable to find you."
They looked around the room in a dazed and irresolute way, but she
"You must be quick! They will soon be here to arrest you."
Then Lugui sprang into the chest and lay fat upon the bottom. Beni
tumbled in next and packed himself in the back side. Victor followed
after pausing to kiss her hand to the girl in a graceful manner.
Then Martha ran up to press down the lid, but could not make it
"You must squeeze down," she said to them.
"I am doing my best, miss," said Victor, who was nearest the top;
"but although we fitted in very nicely before, the chest now seems
rather small for us."
"'Tis so!" came the muffled voice of the fat man from the bottom.
"I know what takes up the room," said Beni.
"What?" inquired Victor, anxiously.
"The pie," returned Beni.
"'Tis so!" came from the bottom, in faint accents.
Then Martha sat upon the lid and pressed it down with all her
weight. To her great delight the lock caught, and, springing down,
she exerted all her strength and turned the key.
* * * * *
This story should teach us not to interfere in matters that do not
concern us. For had Martha refrained from opening Uncle Walter's
mysterious chest she would not have been obliged to carry downstairs
all the plunder the robbers had brought into the attic.
THE GLASS DOG.
An accomplished wizard once lived on the top floor of a tenement
house and passed his time in thoughtful study and studious thought.
What he didn't know about wizardry was hardly worth knowing, for he
possessed all the books and recipes of all the wizards who had lived
before him; and, moreover, he had invented several wizardments
This admirable person would have been completely happy but for the
numerous interruptions to his studies caused by folk who came to
consult him about their troubles (in which he was not interested),
and by the loud knocks of the iceman, the milkman, the baker's boy,
the laundryman and the peanut woman. He never dealt with any of
these people; but they rapped at his door every day to see him about
this or that or to try to sell him their wares. Just when he was
most deeply interested in his books or engaged in watching the
bubbling of a cauldron there would come a knock at his door. And
after sending the intruder away he always found he had lost his
train of thought or ruined his compound.
At length these interruptions aroused his anger, and he decided he
must have a dog to keep people away from his door. He didn't know
where to find a dog, but in the next room lived a poor glass-blower
with whom he had a slight acquaintance; so he went into the man's
apartment and asked:
"Where can I find a dog?"
"What sort of a dog?" inquired the glass-blower.
"A good dog. One that will bark at people and drive them away. One
that will be no trouble to keep and won't expect to be fed. One that
has no fleas and is neat in his habits. One that will obey me when I
speak to him. In short, a good dog," said the wizard.
"Such a dog is hard to find," returned the glass-blower, who was
busy making a blue glass flower pot with a pink glass rosebush in
it, having green glass leaves and yellow glass roses.
The wizard watched him thoughtfully.
"Why cannot you blow me a dog out of glass?" he asked, presently.
"I can," declared the glass-blower; "but it would not bark at
people, you know."
"Oh, I'll fix that easily enough," replied the other. "If I could
not make a glass dog bark I would be a mighty poor wizard."
"Very well; if you can use a glass dog I'll be pleased to blow one
for you. Only, you must pay for my work."
"Certainly," agreed the wizard. "But I have none of that horrid
stuff you call money. You must take some of my wares in exchange."
The glass-blower considered the matter for a moment.
"Could you give me something to cure my rheumatism?" he asked.
"Oh, yes; easily."
"Then it's a bargain. I'll start the dog at once. What color of
glass shall I use?"
"Pink is a pretty color," said the wizard, "and it's unusual for a
dog, isn't it?"
"Very," answered the glass-blower; "but it shall be pink."
So the wizard went back to his studies and the glass-blower began to
make the dog.
Next morning he entered the wizard's room with the glass dog under
his arm and set it carefully upon the table. It was a beautiful pink
in color, with a fine coat of spun glass, and about its neck was
twisted a blue glass ribbon. Its eyes were specks of black glass and
sparkled intelligently, as do many of the glass eyes worn by men.
The wizard expressed himself pleased with the glass-blower's skill
and at once handed him a small vial.
"This will cure your rheumatism," he said.
"But the vial is empty!" protested the glass-blower.
"Oh, no; there is one drop of liquid in it," was the wizard's reply.
"Will one drop cure my rheumatism?" inquired the glass-blower, in
"Most certainly. That is a marvelous remedy. The one drop contained
in the vial will cure instantly any kind of disease ever known to
humanity. Therefore it is especially good for rheumatism. But guard
it well, for it is the only drop of its kind in the world, and I've
forgotten the recipe."
"Thank you," said the glass-blower, and went back to his room.
Then the wizard cast a wizzy spell and mumbled several very learned
words in the wizardese language over the glass dog. Whereupon the
little animal first wagged its tail from side to side, then winked
his left eye knowingly, and at last began barking in a most
frightful manner--that is, when you stop to consider the noise came
from a pink glass dog. There is something almost astonishing in the
magic arts of wizards; unless, of course, you know how to do the
things yourself, when you are not expected to be surprised at them.
The wizard was as delighted as a school teacher at the success of
his spell, although he was not astonished. Immediately he placed the
dog outside his door, where it would bark at anyone who dared knock
and so disturb the studies of its master.
The glass-blower, on returning to his room, decided not to use the
one drop of wizard cure-all just then.
"My rheumatism is better to-day," he reflected, "and I will be wise
to save the medicine for a time when I am very ill, when it will be
of more service to me."
So he placed the vial in his cupboard and went to work blowing more
roses out of glass. Presently he happened to think the medicine
might not keep, so he started to ask the wizard about it. But when
he reached the door the glass dog barked so fiercely that he dared
not knock, and returned in great haste to his own room. Indeed, the
poor man was quite upset at so unfriendly a reception from the dog
he had himself so carefully and skillfully made.
The next morning, as he read his newspaper, he noticed an article
stating that the beautiful Miss Mydas, the richest young lady in
town, was very ill, and the doctors had given up hope of her
The glass-blower, although miserably poor, hard-working and homely
of feature, was a man of ideas. He suddenly recollected his precious
medicine, and determined to use it to better advantage than
relieving his own ills. He dressed himself in his best clothes,
brushed his hair and combed his whiskers, washed his hands and tied
his necktie, blackened his hoes and sponged his vest, and then put
the vial of magic cure-all in his pocket. Next he locked his door,
went downstairs and walked through the streets to the grand mansion
where the wealthy Miss Mydas resided.
The butler opened the door and said:
"No soap, no chromos, no vegetables, no hair oil, no books, no
baking powder. My young lady is dying and we're well supplied for
The glass-blower was grieved at being taken for a peddler.
"My friend," he began, proudly; but the butler interrupted him,
"No tombstones, either; there's a family graveyard and the
"The graveyard won't be needed if you will permit me to speak," said
"No doctors, sir; they've given up my young lady, and she's given up
the doctors," continued the butler, calmly.
"I'm no doctor," returned the glass-blower.
"Nor are the others. But what is your errand?"
"I called to cure your young lady by means of a magical compound."
"Step in, please, and take a seat in the hall. I'll speak to the
housekeeper," said the butler, more politely.
So he spoke to the housekeeper and the housekeeper mentioned the
matter to the steward and the steward consulted the chef and the
chef kissed the lady's maid and sent her to see the stranger. Thus
are the very wealthy hedged around with ceremony, even when dying.
When the lady's maid heard from the glass-blower that he had a
medicine which would cure her mistress, she said:
"I'm glad you came."
"But," said he, "if I restore your mistress to health she must marry
"I'll make inquiries and see if she's willing," answered the maid,
and went at once to consult Miss Mydas.
The young lady did not hesitate an instant.
"I'd marry any old thing rather than die!" she cried. "Bring him
here at once!"
So the glass-blower came, poured the magic drop into a little water,
gave it to the patient, and the next minute Miss Mydas was as well
as she had ever been in her life.
"Dear me!" she exclaimed; "I've an engagement at the Fritters'
reception to-night. Bring my pearl-colored silk, Marie, and I will
begin my toilet at once. And don't forget to cancel the order for
the funeral flowers and your mourning gown."
"But, Miss Mydas," remonstrated the glass-blower, who stood by, "you
promised to marry me if I cured you."
"I know," said the young lady, "but we must have time to make proper
announcement in the society papers and have the wedding cards
engraved. Call to-morrow and we'll talk it over."
The glass-blower had not impressed her favorably as a husband, and
she was glad to find an excuse for getting rid of him for a time.
And she did not want to miss the Fritters' reception.
Yet the man went home filled with joy; for he thought his stratagem
had succeeded and he was about to marry a rich wife who would keep
him in luxury forever afterward.
The first thing he did on reaching his room was to smash his
glass-blowing tools and throw them out of the window.
He then sat down to figure out ways of spending his wife's money.
The following day he called upon Miss Mydas, who was reading a novel
and eating chocolate creams as happily as if she had never been ill
in her life.
"Where did you get the magic compound that cured me?" she asked.
"From a learned wizard," said he; and then, thinking it would
interest her, he told how he had made the glass dog for the wizard,
and how it barked and kept everybody from bothering him.
"How delightful!" she said. "I've always wanted a glass dog that
"But there is only one in the world," he answered, "and it belongs
to the wizard."
"You must buy it for me," said the lady.
"The wizard cares nothing for money," replied the glass-blower.
"Then you must steal it for me," she retorted. "I can never live
happily another day unless I have a glass dog that can bark."
The glass-blower was much distressed at this, but said he would see
what he could do. For a man should always try to please his wife,
and Miss Mydas has promised to marry him within a week.
On his way home he purchased a heavy sack, and when he passed the
wizard's door and the pink glass dog ran out to bark at him he threw
the sack over the dog, tied the opening with a piece of twine, and
carried him away to his own room.
The next day he sent the sack by a messenger boy to Miss Mydas, with
his compliments, and later in the afternoon he called upon her in
person, feeling quite sure he would be received with gratitude for
stealing the dog she so greatly desired.
But when he came to the door and the butler opened it, what was his
amazement to see the glass dog rush out and begin barking at him
"Call off your dog," he shouted, in terror.
"I can't, sir," answered the butler. "My young lady has ordered the
glass dog to bark whenever you call here. You'd better look out,
sir," he added, "for if it bites you, you may have glassophobia!"
This so frightened the poor glass-blower that he went away
hurriedly. But he stopped at a drug store and put his last dime in
the telephone box so he could talk to Miss Mydas without being
bitten by the dog.
"Give me Pelf 6742!" he called.
"Hello! What is it?" said a voice.
"I want to speak with Miss Mydas," said the glass-blower.
Presently a sweet voice said: "This is Miss Mydas. What is it?"
"Why have you treated me so cruelly and set the glass dog on me?"
asked the poor fellow.
"Well, to tell the truth," said the lady, "I don't like your looks.
Your cheeks are pale and baggy, your hair is coarse and long, your
eyes are small and red, your hands are big and rough, and you are
"But I can't help my looks!" pleaded the glass-blower; "and you
really promised to marry me."
"If you were better looking I'd keep my promise," she returned. "But
under the circumstances you are no fit mate for me, and unless you
keep away from my mansion I shall set my glass dog on you!" Then she
dropped the 'phone and would have nothing more to say.
The miserable glass-blower went home with a heart bursting with
disappointment and began tying a rope to the bedpost by which to
Some one knocked at the door, and, upon opening it, he saw the
"I've lost my dog," he announced.
"Have you, indeed?" replied the glass-blower tying a knot in the
"Yes; some one has stolen him."
"That's too bad," declared the glass-blower, indifferently.
"You must make me another," said the wizard.
"But I cannot; I've thrown away my tools."
"Then what shall I do?" asked the wizard.
"I do not know, unless you offer a reward for the dog."
"But I have no money," said the wizard.
"Offer some of your compounds, then," suggested the glass-blower,
who was making a noose in the rope for his head to go through.
"The only thing I can spare," replied the wizard, thoughtfully, "is
a Beauty Powder."
"What!" cried the glass-blower, throwing down the rope, "have you
really such a thing?"
"Yes, indeed. Whoever takes the powder will become the most
beautiful person in the world."
"If you will offer that as a reward," said the glass-blower,
eagerly, "I'll try to find the dog for you, for above everything
else I long to be beautiful."
"But I warn you the beauty will only be skin deep," said the wizard.
"That's all right," replied the happy glass-blower; "when I lose my
skin I shan't care to remain beautiful."
"Then tell me where to find my dog and you shall have the powder,"
promised the wizard.
So the glass-blower went out and pretended to search, and by-and-by
he returned and said:
"I've discovered the dog. You will find him in the mansion of Miss
The wizard went at once to see if this were true, and, sure enough,
the glass dog ran out and began barking at him. Then the wizard
spread out his hands and chanted a magic spell which sent the dog
fast asleep, when he picked him up and carried him to his own room
on the top floor of the tenement house.
Afterward he carried the Beauty Powder to the glass-blower as a
reward, and the fellow immediately swallowed it and became the most
beautiful man in the world.
The next time he called upon Miss Mydas there was no dog to bark at
him, and when the young lady saw him she fell in love with his
beauty at once.
"If only you were a count or a prince," she sighed, "I'd willingly
"But I am a prince," he answered; "the Prince of Dogblowers."
"Ah!" said she; "then if you are willing to accept an allowance of
four dollars a week I'll order the wedding cards engraved."
The man hesitated, but when he thought of the rope hanging from his
bedpost he consented to the terms.
So they were married, and the bride was very jealous of her
husband's beauty and led him a dog's life. So he managed to get into
debt and made her miserable in turn.
* * * * *
As for the glass dog, the wizard set him barking again by means of
his wizardness and put him outside his door. I suppose he is there
yet, and am rather sorry, for I should like to consult the wizard
about the moral to this story.
THE QUEEN OF QUOK
A king once died, as kings are apt to do, being as liable to
shortness of breath as other mortals.
It was high time this king abandoned his earth life, for he had
lived in a sadly extravagant manner, and his subjects could spare
him without the slightest inconvenience.
His father had left him a full treasury, both money and jewels being
in abundance. But the foolish king just deceased had squandered
every penny in riotous living. He had then taxed his subjects until
most of them became paupers, and this money vanished in more riotous
living. Next he sold all the grand old furniture in the palace; all
the silver and gold plate and bric-a-brac; all the rich carpets and
furnishings and even his own kingly wardrobe, reserving only a
soiled and moth-eaten ermine robe to fold over his threadbare
raiment. And he spent the money in further riotous living.
Don't ask me to explain what riotous living is. I only know, from
hearsay, that it is an excellent way to get rid of money. And so
this spendthrift king found it.
He now picked all the magnificent jewels from this kingly crown and
from the round ball on the top of his scepter, and sold them and
spent the money. Riotous living, of course. But at last he was at
the end of his resources. He couldn't sell the crown itself, because
no one but the king had the right to wear it. Neither could he sell
the royal palace, because only the king had the right to live there.
So, finally, he found himself reduced to a bare palace, containing
only a big mahogany bedstead that he slept in, a small stool on
which he sat to pull off his shoes and the moth-eaten ermine robe.
In this straight he was reduced to the necessity of borrowing an
occasional dime from his chief counselor, with which to buy a ham
sandwich. And the chief counselor hadn't many dimes. One who
counseled his king so foolishly was likely to ruin his own prospects
So the king, having nothing more to live for, died suddenly and left
a ten-year-old son to inherit the dismantled kingdom, the moth-eaten
robe and the jewel-stripped crown.
No one envied the child, who had scarcely been thought of until he
became king himself. Then he was recognized as a personage of some
importance, and the politicians and hangers-on, headed by the chief
counselor of the kingdom, held a meeting to determine what could be
done for him.
These folk had helped the old king to live riotously while his money
lasted, and now they were poor and too proud to work. So they tried
to think of a plan that would bring more money into the little
king's treasury, where it would be handy for them to help
After the meeting was over the chief counselor came to the young
king, who was playing peg-top in the courtyard, and said:
"Your majesty, we have thought of a way to restore your kingdom to
its former power and magnificence."
"All right," replied his majesty, carelessly. "How will you do it?"
"By marrying you to a lady of great wealth," replied the counselor.
"Marrying me!" cried the king. "Why, I am only ten years old!"
"I know; it is to be regretted. But your majesty will grow older,
and the affairs of the kingdom demand that you marry a wife."
"Can't I marry a mother, instead?" asked the poor little king, who
had lost his mother when a baby.
"Certainly not," declared the counselor. "To marry a mother would be
illegal; to marry a wife is right and proper."
"Can't you marry her yourself?" inquired his majesty, aiming his
peg-top at the chief counselor's toe, and laughing to see how he
jumped to escape it.
"Let me explain," said the other. "You haven't a penny in the world,
but you have a kingdom. There are many rich women who would be glad
to give their wealth in exchange for a queen's coronet--even if the
king is but a child. So we have decided to advertise that the one
who bids the highest shall become the queen of Quok."
"If I must marry at all," said the king, after a moment's thought,
"I prefer to marry Nyana, the armorer's daughter."
"She is too poor," replied the counselor.
"Her teeth are pearls, her eyes are amethysts, and her hair is
gold," declared the little king.
"True, your majesty. But consider that your wife's wealth must be
used. How would Nyana look after you have pulled her teeth of
pearls, plucked out her amethyst eyes and shaved her golden head?"
The boy shuddered.
"Have your own way," he said, despairingly. "Only let the lady be as
dainty as possible and a good playfellow."
"We shall do our best," returned the chief counselor, and went away
to advertise throughout the neighboring kingdoms for a wife for the
boy king of Quok.
There were so many applicants for the privilege of marrying the
little king that it was decided to put him up at auction, in order
that the largest possible sum of money should be brought into the
kingdom. So, on the day appointed, the ladies gathered at the palace
from all the surrounding kingdoms--from Bilkon, Mulgravia, Junkum
and even as far away as the republic of Macvelt.
The chief counselor came to the palace early in the morning and had
the king's face washed and his hair combed; and then he padded the
inside of the crown with old newspapers to make it small enough to
fit his majesty's head. It was a sorry looking crown, having many
big and little holes in it where the jewels had once been; and it
had been neglected and knocked around until it was quite battered
and tarnished. Yet, as the counselor said, it was the king's crown,
and it was quite proper he should wear it on the solemn occasion of
Like all boys, be they kings or paupers, his majesty had torn and
soiled his one suit of clothes, so that they were hardly
presentable; and there was no money to buy new ones. Therefore the
counselor wound the old ermine robe around the king and sat him upon
the stool in the middle of the otherwise empty audience chamber.
And around him stood all the courtiers and politicians and
hangers-on of the kingdom, consisting of such people as were too
proud or lazy to work for a living. There was a great number of
them, you may be sure, and they made an imposing appearance.
Then the doors of the audience chamber were thrown open, and the
wealthy ladies who aspired to being queen of Quok came trooping in.
The king looked them over with much anxiety, and decided they were
each and all old enough to be his grandmother, and ugly enough to
scare away the crows from the royal cornfields. After which he lost
interest in them.
But the rich ladies never looked at the poor little king squatting
upon his stool. They gathered at once about the chief counselor, who
acted as auctioneer.
"How much am I offered for the coronet of the queen of Quok?" asked
the counselor, in a loud voice.
"Where is the coronet?" inquired a fussy old lady who had just
buried her ninth husband and was worth several millions.
"There isn't any coronet at present," explained the chief counselor,
"but whoever bids highest will have the right to wear one, and she
can then buy it."
"Oh," said the fussy old lady, "I see." Then she added: "I'll bid
"Fourteen thousand dollars!" cried a sour-looking woman who was thin
and tall and had wrinkles all over her skin--"like a frosted apple,"
the king thought.
The bidding now became fast and furious, and the poverty-stricken
courtiers brightened up as the sum began to mount into the millions.
"He'll bring us a very pretty fortune, after all," whispered one to
his comrade, "and then we shall have the pleasure of helping him
The king began to be anxious. All the women who looked at all
kind-hearted or pleasant had stopped bidding for lack of money, and
the slender old dame with the wrinkles seemed determined to get the
coronet at any price, and with it the boy husband. This ancient
creature finally became so excited that her wig got crosswise of her
head and her false teeth kept slipping out, which horrified the
little king greatly; but she would not give up.
At last the chief counselor ended the auction by crying out:
"Sold to Mary Ann Brodjinsky de la Porkus for three million, nine
hundred thousand, six hundred and twenty-four dollars and sixteen
cents!" And the sour-looking old woman paid the money in cash and on
the spot, which proves this is a fairy story.
The king was so disturbed at the thought that he must marry this
hideous creature that he began to wail and weep; whereupon the woman
boxed his ears soundly. But the counselor reproved her for punishing
her future husband in public, saying:
"You are not married yet. Wait until to-morrow, after the wedding
takes place. Then you can abuse him as much as you wish. But at
present we prefer to have people think this is a love match."
The poor king slept but little that night, so filled was he with
terror of his future wife. Nor could he get the idea out of his head
that he preferred to marry the armorer's daughter, who was about his
own age. He tossed and tumbled around upon his hard bed until the
moonlight came in at the window and lay like a great white sheet
upon the bare floor. Finally, in turning over for the hundredth
time, his hand struck against a secret spring in the headboard of
the big mahogany bedstead, and at once, with a sharp click, a panel
The noise caused the king to look up, and, seeing the open panel, he
stood upon tiptoe, and, reaching within, drew out a folded paper. It
had several leaves fastened together like a book, and upon the first
page was written:
"When the king is in trouble
This leaf he must double
And set it on fire
To obtain his desire."
This was not very good poetry, but when the king had spelled it out
in the moonlight he was filled with joy.
"There's no doubt about my being in trouble," he exclaimed; "so I'll
burn it at once, and see what happens."
He tore off the leaf and put the rest of the book in its secret
hiding place. Then, folding the paper double, he placed it on the
top of his stool, lighted a match and set fire to it.
It made a horrid smudge for so small a paper, and the king sat on
the edge of the bed and watched it eagerly.
When the smoke cleared away he was surprised to see, sitting upon
the stool, a round little man, who, with folded arms and crossed
legs, sat calmly facing the king and smoking a black briarwood pipe.
"Well, here I am," said he.
"So I see," replied the little king. "But how did you get here?"
"Didn't you burn the paper?" demanded the round man, by way of
"Yes, I did," acknowledged the king.
"Then you are in trouble, and I've come to help you out of it. I'm
the Slave of the Royal Bedstead."
"Oh!" said the king. "I didn't know there was one."
"Neither did your father, or he would not have been so foolish as to
sell everything he had for money. By the way, it's lucky for you he
did not sell this bedstead. Now, then, what do you want?"
"I'm not sure what I want," replied the king; "but I know what I
don't want, and that is the old woman who is going to marry me."
"That's easy enough," said the Slave of the Royal Bedstead. "All you
need do is to return her the money she paid the chief counselor and
declare the match off. Don't be afraid. You are the king, and your
word is law."
"To be sure," said the majesty. "But I am in great need of money.
How am I going to live if the chief counselor returns to Mary Ann
Brodjinski her millions?"
"Phoo! that's easy enough," again answered the man, and, putting his
hand in his pocket, he drew out and tossed to the king an
old-fashioned leather purse. "Keep that with you," said he, "and you
will always be rich, for you can take out of the purse as many
twenty-five-cent silver pieces as you wish, one at a time. No matter
how often you take one out, another will instantly appear in its
place within the purse."
"Thank you," said the king, gratefully. "You have rendered me a rare
favor; for now I shall have money for all my needs and will not be
obliged to marry anyone. Thank you a thousand times!"
"Don't mention it," answered the other, puffing his pipe slowly and
watching the smoke curl into the moonlight. "Such things are easy to
me. Is that all you want?"
"All I can think of just now," returned the king.
"Then, please close that secret panel in the bedstead," said the
man; "the other leaves of the book may be of use to you some time."
The boy stood upon the bed as before and, reaching up, closed the
opening so that no one else could discover it. Then he turned to
face his visitor, but the Slave of the Royal Bedstead had
"I expected that," said his majesty; "yet I am sorry he did not wait
to say good-by."
With a lightened heart and a sense of great relief the boy king
placed the leathern purse underneath his pillow, and climbing into
bed again slept soundly until morning.
When the sun rose his majesty rose also, refreshed and comforted,
and the first thing he did was to send for the chief counselor.
That mighty personage arrived looking glum and unhappy, but the boy
was too full of his own good fortune to notice it. Said he:
"I have decided not to marry anyone, for I have just come into a
fortune of my own. Therefore I command you return to that old woman
the money she has paid you for the right to wear the coronet of the
queen of Quok. And make public declaration that the wedding will not
Hearing this the counselor began to tremble, for he saw the young
king had decided to reign in earnest; and he looked so guilty that
his majesty inquired:
"Well! what is the matter now?"
"Sire," replied the wretch, in a shaking voice, "I cannot return the
woman her money, for I have lost it!"
"Lost it!" cried the king, in mingled astonishment and anger.
"Even so, your majesty. On my way home from the auction last night I
stopped at the drug store to get some potash lozenges for my throat,
which was dry and hoarse with so much loud talking; and your majesty
will admit it was through my efforts the woman was induced to pay so
great a price. Well, going into the drug store I carelessly left the
package of money lying on the seat of my carriage, and when I came
out again it was gone. Nor was the thief anywhere to be seen."
"Did you call the police?" asked the king.
"Yes, I called; but they were all on the next block, and although
they have promised to search for the robber I have little hope they
will ever find him."
The king sighed.
"What shall we do now?" he asked.
"I fear you must marry Mary Ann Brodjinski," answered the chief
counselor; "unless, indeed, you order the executioner to cut her
"That would be wrong," declared the king. "The woman must not be
harmed. And it is just that we return her money, for I will not
marry her under any circumstances."
"Is that private fortune you mentioned large enough to repay her?"
asked the counselor.
"Why, yes," said the king, thoughtfully, "but it will take some time
to do it, and that shall be your task. Call the woman here."
The counselor went in search of Mary Ann, who, when she heard she
was not to become a queen, but would receive her money back, flew
into a violent passion and boxed the chief counselor's ears so
viciously that they stung for nearly an hour. But she followed him
into the king's audience chamber, where she demanded her money in a
loud voice, claiming as well the interest due upon it over night.
"The counselor has lost your money," said the boy king, "but he
shall pay you every penny out of my own private purse. I fear,
however, you will be obliged to take it in small change."
"That will not matter," she said, scowling upon the counselor as if
she longed to reach his ears again; "I don't care how small the
change is so long as I get every penny that belongs to me, and the
interest. Where is it?"
"Here," answered the king, handing the counselor the leathern purse.
"It is all in silver quarters, and they must be taken from the purse
one at a time; but there will be plenty to pay your demands, and to
So, there being no chairs, the counselor sat down upon the floor in
one corner and began counting out silver twenty-five-cent pieces
from the purse, one by one. And the old woman sat upon the floor
opposite him and took each piece of money from his hand.
It was a large sum: three million, nine hundred thousand, six
hundred and twenty-four dollars and sixteen cents. And it takes four
times as many twenty-five-cent pieces as it would dollars to make up
The king left them sitting there and went to school, and often
thereafter he came to the counselor and interrupted him long enough
to get from the purse what money he needed to reign in a proper and
dignified manner. This somewhat delayed the counting, but as it was
a long job, anyway, that did not matter much.
The king grew to manhood and married the pretty daughter of the
armorer, and they now have two lovely children of their own. Once in
awhile they go into the big audience chamber of the palace and let
the little ones watch the aged, hoary-headed counselor count out
silver twenty-five-cent pieces to a withered old woman, who watched
his every movement to see that he does not cheat her.
It is a big sum, three million, nine hundred thousand, six hundred
and twenty-four dollars and sixteen cents in twenty-five-cent
But this is how the counselor was punished for being so careless
with the woman's money. And this is how Mary Ann Brodjinski de la
Porkus was also punished for wishing to marry a ten-year-old king in
order that she might wear the coronet of the queen of Quok.
THE GIRL WHO OWNED A BEAR
Mamma had gone down-town to shop. She had asked Nora to look after
Jane Gladys, and Nora promised she would. But it was her afternoon
for polishing the silver, so she stayed in the pantry and left Jane
Gladys to amuse herself alone in the big sitting-room upstairs.
The little girl did not mind being alone, for she was working on her
first piece of embroidery--a sofa pillow for papa's birthday
present. So she crept into the big bay window and curled herself up
on the broad sill while she bent her brown head over her work.
Soon the door opened and closed again, quietly. Jane Gladys thought
it was Nora, so she didn't look up until she had taken a couple more
stitches on a forget-me-not. Then she raised her eyes and was
astonished to find a strange man in the middle of the room, who
regarded her earnestly.
He was short and fat, and seemed to be breathing heavily from his
climb up the stairs. He held a work silk hat in one hand and
underneath his other elbow was tucked a good-sized book. He was
dressed in a black suit that looked old and rather shabby, and his
head was bald upon the top.
"Excuse me," he said, while the child gazed at him in solemn
surprise. "Are you Jane Gladys Brown?"
"Yes, sir," she answered.
"Very good; very good, indeed!" he remarked, with a queer sort of
smile. "I've had quite a hunt to find you, but I've succeeded at
"How did you get in?" inquired Jane Gladys, with a growing distrust
of her visitor.
"That is a secret," he said, mysteriously.
This was enough to put the girl on her guard. She looked at the man
and the man looked at her, and both looks were grave and somewhat
"What do you want?" she asked, straightening herself up with a
"Ah!--now we are coming to business," said the man, briskly. "I'm
going to be quite frank with you. To begin with, your father has
abused me in a most ungentlemanly manner."
Jane Gladys got off the window sill and pointed her small finger at
"Leave this room 'meejitly!" she cried, her voice trembling with
indignation. "My papa is the best man in the world. He never 'bused
"Allow me to explain, please," said the visitor, without paying any
attention to her request to go away. "Your father may be very kind
to you, for you are his little girl, you know. But when he's
down-town in his office he's inclined to be rather severe,
especially on book agents. Now, I called on him the other day and
asked him to buy the 'Complete Works of Peter Smith,' and what do
you suppose he did?"
She said nothing.
"Why," continued the man, with growing excitement, "he ordered me
from his office, and had me put out of the building by the janitor!
What do you think of such treatment as that from the 'best papa in
the world,' eh?"
"I think he was quite right," said Jane Gladys.
"Oh, you do? Well," said the man, "I resolved to be revenged for the
insult. So, as your father is big and strong and a dangerous man, I
have decided to be revenged upon his little girl."
Jane Gladys shivered.
"What are you going to do?" she asked.
"I'm going to present you with this book," he answered, taking it
from under his arm. Then he sat down on the edge of a chair, placed
his hat on the rug and drew a fountain pen from his vest pocket.
"I'll write your name in it," said he. "How do you spell Gladys?"
"G-l-a-d-y-s," she replied.
"Thank you. Now this," he continued, rising and handing her the book
with a bow, "is my revenge for your father's treatment of me.
Perhaps he'll be sorry he didn't buy the 'Complete Works of Peter
Smith.' Good-by, my dear."
He walked to the door, gave her another bow, and left the room, and
Jane Gladys could see that he was laughing to himself as if very
When the door had closed behind the queer little man the child sat
down in the window again and glanced at the book. It had a red and
yellow cover and the word "Thingamajigs" was across the front in big
Then she opened it, curiously, and saw her name written in black
letters upon the first white leaf.
"He was a funny little man," she said to herself, thoughtfully.
She turned the next leaf, and saw a big picture of a clown, dressed
in green and red and yellow, and having a very white face with
three-cornered spots of red on each cheek and over the eyes. While
she looked at this the book trembled in her hands, the leaf crackled
and creaked and suddenly the clown jumped out of it and stood upon
the floor beside her, becoming instantly as big as any ordinary
After stretching his arms and legs and yawning in a rather impolite
manner, he gave a silly chuckle and said:
"This is better! You don't know how cramped one gets, standing so
long upon a page of flat paper."
Perhaps you can imagine how startled Jane Gladys was, and how she
stared at the clown who had just leaped out of the book.
"You didn't expect anything of this sort, did you?" he asked,
leering at her in clown fashion. Then he turned around to take a
look at the room and Jane Gladys laughed in spite of her
"What amuses you?" demanded the clown.
"Why, the back of you is all white!" cried the girl. "You're only a
clown in front of you."
"Quite likely," he returned, in an annoyed tone. "The artist made a
front view of me. He wasn't expected to make the back of me, for
that was against the page of the book."
"But it makes you look so funny!" said Jane Gladys, laughing until
her eyes were moist with tears.
The clown looked sulky and sat down upon a chair so she couldn't see
"I'm not the only thing in the book," he remarked, crossly.
This reminded her to turn another page, and she had scarcely noted
that it contained the picture of a monkey when the animal sprang
from the book with a great crumpling of paper and landed upon the
window seat beside her.
"He-he-he-he-he!" chattered the creature, springing to the girl's
shoulder and then to the center table. "This is great fun! Now I can
be a real monkey instead of a picture of one."
"Real monkeys can't talk," said Jane Gladys, reprovingly.
"How do you know? Have you ever been one yourself?" inquired the
animal; and then he laughed loudly, and the clown laughed, too, as
if he enjoyed the remark.
The girl was quite bewildered by this time. She thoughtlessly turned
another leaf, and before she had time to look twice a gray donkey
leaped from the book and stumbled from the window seat to the floor
with a great clatter.
"You're clumsy enough, I'm sure!" said the child, indignantly, for
the beast had nearly upset her.
"Clumsy! And why not?" demanded the donkey, with angry voice. "If
the fool artist had drawn you out of perspective, as he did me, I
guess you'd be clumsy yourself."
"What's wrong with you?" asked Jane Gladys.
"My front and rear legs on the left side are nearly six inches too
short, that's what's the matter! If that artist didn't know how to
draw properly why did he try to make a donkey at all?"
"I don't know," replied the child, seeing an answer was expected.
"I can hardly stand up," grumbled the donkey; "and the least little
thing will topple me over."
"Don't mind that," said the monkey, making a spring at the
chandelier and swinging from it by his tail until Jane Gladys feared
he would knock all the globes off; "the same artist has made my ears
as big as that clown's and everyone knows a monkey hasn't any ears
to speak of--much less to draw."
"He should be prosecuted," remarked the clown, gloomily. "I haven't
Jane Gladys looked from one to the other with a puzzled expression
upon her sweet face, and turned another page of the book.
Swift as a flash there sprang over her shoulder a tawney, spotted
leopard, which landed upon the back of a big leather armchair and
turned upon the others with a fierce movement.
The monkey climbed to the top of the chandelier and chattered with
fright. The donkey tried to run and straightway tipped over on his
left side. The clown grew paler than ever, but he sat still in his
chair and gave a low whistle of surprise.
The leopard crouched upon the back of the chair, lashed his tail
from side to side and glared at all of them, by turns, including
"Which of us are you going to attack first?" asked the donkey,
trying hard to get upon his feet again.
"I can't attack any of you," snarled the leopard. "The artist made
my mouth shut, so I haven't any teeth; and he forgot to make my
claws. But I'm a frightful looking creature, nevertheless; am I
"Oh, yes;" said the clown, indifferently. "I suppose you're
frightful looking enough. But if you have no teeth nor claws we
don't mind your looks at all."
This so annoyed the leopard that he growled horribly, and the monkey
laughed at him.
Just then the book slipped from the girl's lap, and as she made a
movement to catch it one of the pages near the back opened wide. She
caught a glimpse of a fierce grizzly bear looking at her from the
page, and quickly threw the book from her. It fell with a crash in
the middle of the room, but beside it stood the great grizzly, who
had wrenched himself from the page before the book closed.
"Now," cried the leopard from his perch, "you'd better look out for
yourselves! You can't laugh at him as you did at me. The bear has
both claws and teeth."
"Indeed I have," said the bear, in a low, deep, growling voice. "And
I know how to use them, too. If you read in that book you'll find
I'm described as a horrible, cruel and remorseless grizzly, whose
only business in life is to eat up little girls--shoes, dresses,
ribbons and all! And then, the author says, I smack my lips and
glory in my wickedness."
"That's awful!" said the donkey, sitting upon his haunches and
shaking his head sadly. "What do you suppose possessed the author to
make you so hungry for girls? Do you eat animals, also?"
"The author does not mention my eating anything but little girls,"
replied the bear.
"Very good," remarked the clown, drawing a long breath of relief.
"you may begin eating Jane Gladys as soon as you wish. She laughed
because I had no back."
"And she laughed because my legs are out of perspective," brayed the
"But you also deserve to be eaten," screamed the leopard from the
back of the leather chair; "for you laughed and poked fun at me
because I had no claws nor teeth! Don't you suppose Mr. Grizzly, you
could manage to eat a clown, a donkey and a monkey after you finish
"Perhaps so, and a leopard into the bargain," growled the bear. "It
will depend on how hungry I am. But I must begin on the little girl
first, because the author says I prefer girls to anything."
Jane Gladys was much frightened on hearing this conversation, and
she began to realize what the man meant when he said he gave her the
book to be revenged. Surely papa would be sorry he hadn't bought the
"Complete Works of Peter Smith" when he came home and found his
little girl eaten up by a grizzly bear--shoes, dress, ribbons and
The bear stood up and balanced himself on his rear legs.
"This is the way I look in the book," he said. "Now watch me eat the
He advanced slowly toward Jane Gladys, and the monkey, the leopard,
the donkey and the clown all stood around in a circle and watched
the bear with much interest.
But before the grizzly reached her the child had a sudden thought,
and cried out:
"Stop! You mustn't eat me. It would be wrong."
"Why?" asked the bear, in surprise.
"Because I own you. You're my private property," she answered.
"I don't see how you make that out," said the bear, in a
"Why, the book was given to me; my name's on the front leaf. And you
belong, by rights, in the book. So you mustn't dare to eat your
The Grizzly hesitated.
"Can any of you read?" he asked.
"I can," said the clown.
"Then see if she speaks the truth. Is her name really in the book?"
The clown picked it up and looked at the name.
"It is," said he. "'Jane Gladys Brown;' and written quite plainly in
The bear sighed.
"Then, of course, I can't eat her," he decided. "That author is as
disappointing as most authors are."
"But he's not as bad as the artist," exclaimed the donkey, who was
still trying to stand up straight.
"The fault lies with yourselves," said Jane Gladys, severely. "Why
didn't you stay in the book, where you were put?"
The animals looked at each other in a foolish way, and the clown
blushed under his white paint.
"Really--" began the bear, and then he stopped short.
The door bell rang loudly.
"It's mamma!" cried Jane Gladys, springing to her feet. "She's come
home at last. Now, you stupid creatures--"
But she was interrupted by them all making a rush for the book.
There was a swish and a whirr and a rustling of leaves, and an
instant later the book lay upon the floor looking just like any
other book, while Jane Gladys' strange companions had all
* * * * *
This story should teach us to think quickly and clearly upon all
occasions; for had Jane Gladys not remembered that she owned the
bear he probably would have eaten her before the bell rang.
THE ENCHANTED TYPES
One time a knook became tired of his beautiful life and longed for
something new to do. The knooks have more wonderful powers than any
other immortal folk--except, perhaps, the fairies and ryls. So one
would suppose that a knook who might gain anything he desired by a
simple wish could not be otherwise than happy and contented. But
such was not the case with Popopo, the knook we are speaking of. He
had lived thousands of years, and had enjoyed all the wonders he
could think of. Yet life had become as tedious to him now as it
might be to one who was unable to gratify a single wish.
Finally, by chance, Popopo thought of the earth people who dwell in
cities, and so he resolved to visit them and see how they lived.
This would surely be fine amusement, and serve to pass away many
Therefore one morning, after a breakfast so dainty that you could
scarcely imagine it, Popopo set out for the earth and at once was in
the midst of a big city.
His own dwelling was so quiet and peaceful that the roaring noise of
the town startled him. His nerves were so shocked that before he had
looked around three minutes he decided to give up the adventure, and
instantly returned home.
This satisfied for a time his desire to visit the earth cities, but
soon the monotony of his existence again made him restless and gave
him another thought. At night the people slept and the cities would
be quiet. He would visit them at night.
So at the proper time Popopo transported himself in a jiffy to a
great city, where he began wandering about the streets. Everyone was
in bed. No wagons rattled along the pavements; no throngs of busy
men shouted and halloaed. Even the policemen slumbered slyly and
there happened to be no prowling thieves abroad.
His nerves being soothed by the stillness, Popopo began to enjoy
himself. He entered many of the houses and examined their rooms with
much curiosity. Locks and bolts made no difference to a knook, and
he saw as well in darkness as in daylight.
After a time he strolled into the business portion of the city.
Stores are unknown among the immortals, who have no need of money or
of barter and exchange; so Popopo was greatly interested by the
novel sight of so many collections of goods and merchandise.
During his wanderings he entered a millinery shop, and was surprised
to see within a large glass case a great number of women's hats,
each bearing in one position or another a stuffed bird. Indeed, some
of the most elaborate hats had two or three birds upon them.
Now knooks are the especial guardians of birds, and love them
dearly. To see so many of his little friends shut up in a glass case
annoyed and grieved Popopo, who had no idea they had purposely been
placed upon the hats by the milliner. So he slid back one of the
doors of the case, gave the little chirruping whistle of the knooks
that all birds know well, and called:
"Come, friends; the door is open--fly out!"
Popopo did not know the birds were stuffed; but, stuffed or not,
every bird is bound to obey a knook's whistle and a knook's call. So
they left the hats, flew out of the case and began fluttering about
"Poor dears!" said the kind-hearted knook, "you long to be in the
fields and forests again."
Then he opened the outer door for them and cried: "Off with you! Fly
away, my beauties, and be happy again."
The astonished birds at once obeyed, and when they had soared away
into the night air the knook closed the door and continued his
wandering through the streets.
By dawn he saw many interesting sights, but day broke before he had
finished the city, and he resolved to come the next evening a few
As soon as it was dark the following day he came again to the city
and on passing the millinery shop noticed a light within. Entering
he found two women, one of whom leaned her head upon the table and
sobbed bitterly, while the other strove to comfort her.
Of course Popopo was invisible to mortal eyes, so he stood by and
listened to their conversation.
"Cheer up, sister," said one. "Even though your pretty birds have
all been stolen the hats themselves remain."
"Alas!" cried the other, who was the milliner, "no one will buy my
hats partly trimmed, for the fashion is to wear birds upon them. And
if I cannot sell my goods I shall be utterly ruined."
Then she renewed her sobbing and the knook stole away, feeling a
little ashamed to realized that in his love for the birds he had
unconsciously wronged one of the earth people and made her unhappy.
This thought brought him back to the millinery shop later in the
night, when the two women had gone home. He wanted, in some way, to
replace the birds upon the hats, that the poor woman might be happy
again. So he searched until he came upon a nearby cellar full of
little gray mice, who lived quite undisturbed and gained a
livelihood by gnawing through the walls into neighboring houses and
stealing food from the pantries.
"Here are just the creatures," thought Popopo, "to place upon the
woman's hats. Their fur is almost as soft as the plumage of the
birds, and it strikes me the mice are remarkably pretty and graceful
animals. Moreover, they now pass their lives in stealing, and were
they obliged to remain always upon women's hats their morals would
be much improved."
So he exercised a charm that drew all the mice from the cellar and
placed them upon the hats in the glass case, where they occupied the
places the birds had vacated and looked very becoming--at least, in
the eyes of the unworldly knook. To prevent their running about and
leaving the hats Popopo rendered them motionless, and then he was so
pleased with his work that he decided to remain in the shop and
witness the delight of the milliner when she saw how daintily her
hats were now trimmed.
She came in the early morning, accompanied by her sister, and her
face wore a sad and resigned expression. After sweeping and dusting
the shop and drawing the blinds she opened the glass case and took
out a hat.
But when she saw a tiny gray mouse nestling among the ribbons and
laces she gave a loud shriek, and, dropping the hat, sprang with one
bound to the top of the table. The sister, knowing the shriek to be
one of fear, leaped upon a chair and exclaimed:
"What is it? Oh! what is it?"
"A mouse!" gasped the milliner, trembling with terror.
Popopo, seeing this commotion, now realized that mice are especially
disagreeable to human beings, and that he had made a grave mistake
in placing them upon the hats; so he gave a low whistle of command
that was heard only by the mice.
Instantly they all jumpped from the hats, dashed out the open door
of the glass case and scampered away to their cellar. But this
action so frightened the milliner and her sister that after giving
several loud screams they fell upon their backs on the floor and
Popopo was a kind-hearted knook, but on witnessing all this misery,
caused by his own ignorance of the ways of humans, he straightway
wished himself at home, and so left the poor women to recover as
best they could.
Yet he could not escape a sad feeling of responsibility, and after
thinking upon the matter he decided that since he had caused the
milliner's unhappiness by freeing the birds, he could set the matter
right by restoring them to the glass case. He loved the birds, and
disliked to condemn them to slavery again; but that seemed the only
way to end the trouble.
So he set off to find the birds. They had flown a long distance, but
it was nothing to Popopo to reach them in a second, and he
discovered them sitting upon the branches of a big chestnut tree and
When they saw the knook the birds cried:
"Thank you, Popopo. Thank you for setting us free."
"Do not thank me," returned the knook, "for I have come to send you
back to the millinery shop."
"Why?" demanded a blue jay, angrily, while the others stopped their
"Because I find the woman considers you her property, and your loss
has caused her much unhappiness," answered Popopo.
"But remember how unhappy we were in her glass case," said a robin
redbreast, gravely. "And as for being her property, you are a knook,
and the natural guardian of all birds; so you know that Nature
created us free. To be sure, wicked men shot and stuffed us, and
sold us to the milliner; but the idea of our being her property is
Popopo was puzzled.
"If I leave you free," he said, "wicked men will shoot you again,
and you will be no better off than before."
"Pooh!" exclaimed the blue jay, "we cannot be shot now, for we are
stuffed. Indeed, two men fired several shots at us this morning, but
the bullets only ruffled our feathers and buried themselves in our
stuffing. We do not fear men now."
"Listen!" said Popopo, sternly, for he felt the birds were getting
the best of the argument; "the poor milliner's business will be
ruined if I do not return you to her shop. It seems you are
necessary to trim the hats properly. It is the fashion for women to
wear birds upon their headgear. So the poor milliner's wares,
although beautified by lace and ribbons, are worthless unless you
are perched upon them."
"Fashions," said a black bird, solemnly, "are made by men. What law
is there, among birds or knooks, that requires us to be the slaves
"What have we to do with fashions, anyway?" screamed a linnet. "If
it were the fashion to wear knooks perched upon women's hats would
you be contented to stay there? Answer me, Popopo!"
But Popopo was in despair. He could not wrong the birds by sending
them back to the milliner, nor did he wish the milliner to suffer by
their loss. So he went home to think what could be done.
After much meditation he decided to consult the king of the knooks,
and going at once to his majesty he told him the whole story.
The king frowned.
"This should teach you the folly of interfering with earth people,"
he said. "But since you have caused all this trouble, it is your
duty to remedy it. Our birds cannot be enslaved, that is certain;
therefore you must have the fashions changed, so it will no longer
be stylish for women to wear birds upon their hats."
"How shall I do that?" asked Popopo.
"Easily enough. Fashions often change among the earth people, who
tire quickly of any one thing. When they read in their newspapers
and magazines that the style is so-and-so, they never question the
matter, but at once obey the mandate of fashion. So you must visit
the newspapers and magazines and enchant the types."
"Enchant the types!" echoed Popopo, in wonder.
"Just so. Make them read that it is no longer the fashion to wear
birds upon hats. That will afford relief to your poor milliner and
at the same time set free thousands of our darling birds who have
been so cruelly used."
Popopo thanked the wise king and followed his advice.
The office of every newspaper and magazine in the city was visited by
the knook, and then he went to other cities, until there was not a
publication in the land that had not a "new fashion note" in its
pages. Sometimes Popopo enchanted the types, so that whoever read
the print would see only what the knook wished them to. Sometimes he
called upon the busy editors and befuddled their brains until they
wrote exactly what he wanted them to. Mortals seldom know how
greatly they are influenced by fairies, knooks and ryls, who often
put thoughts into their heads that only the wise little immortals
could have conceived.
The following morning when the poor milliner looked over her
newspaper she was overjoyed to read that "no woman could now wear a
bird upon her hat and be in style, for the newest fashion required
only ribbons and laces."
Popopo after this found much enjoyment in visiting every millinery
shop he could find and giving new life to the stuffed birds which
were carelessly tossed aside as useless. And they flew to the fields
and forests with songs of thanks to the good knook who had rescued
Sometimes a hunter fires his gun at a bird and then wonders why he
did not hit it. But, having read this story, you will understand
that the bird must have been a stuffed one from some millinery shop,
which cannot, of course, be killed by a gun.
THE LAUGHING HIPPOPOTAMUS
On one of the upper branches of the Congo river lived an ancient and
aristocratic family of hippopotamuses, which boasted a pedigree
dating back beyond the days of Noah--beyond the existence of
mankind--far into the dim ages when the world was new.
They had always lived upon the banks of this same river, so that
every curve and sweep of its waters, every pit and shallow of its
bed, every rock and stump and wallow upon its bank was as familiar
to them as their own mothers. And they are living there yet, I
Not long ago the queen of this tribe of hippopotamuses had a child
which she named Keo, because it was so fat and round. Still, that
you may not be misled, I will say that in the hippopotamus language
"Keo," properly translated, means "fat and lazy" instead of fat and
round. However, no one called the queen's attention to this error,
because her tusks were monstrous long and sharp, and she thought Keo
the sweetest baby in the world.
He was, indeed, all right for a hippopotamus. He rolled and played
in the soft mud of the river bank, and waddled inland to nibble the
leaves of the wild cabbage that grew there, and was happy and
contented from morning till night. And he was the jolliest
hippopotamus that ancient family had ever known. His little red eyes
were forever twinkling with fun, and he laughed his merry laugh on
all occasions, whether there was anything to laugh at or not.
Therefore the black people who dwelt in that region called him
"Ippi"--the jolly one, although they dared not come anigh him on
account of his fierce mother, and his equally fierce uncles and
aunts and cousins, who lived in a vast colony upon the river bank.
And while these black people, who lived in little villages scattered
among the trees, dared not openly attack the royal family of
hippopotamuses, they were amazingly fond of eating hippopotamus meat
whenever they could get it. This was no secret to the
hippopotamuses. And, again, when the blacks managed to catch these
animals alive, they had a trick of riding them through the jungles
as if they were horses, thus reducing them to a condition of
Therefore, having these things in mind, whenever the tribe of
hippopotamuses smelled the oily odor of black people they were
accustomed to charge upon them furiously, and if by chance they
overtook one of the enemy they would rip him with their sharp tusks
or stamp him into the earth with their huge feet.
It was continual warfare between the hippopotamuses and the black
Gouie lived in one of the little villages of the blacks. He was the
son of the chief's brother and grandson of the village sorcerer, the
latter being an aged man known as the "the boneless wonder," because
he could twist himself into as many coils as a serpent and had no
bones to hinder his bending his flesh into any position. This made
him walk in a wabbly fashion, but the black people had great respect
Gouie's hut was made of branches of trees stuck together with mud,
and his clothing consisted of a grass mat tied around his middle.
But his relationship to the chief and the sorcerer gave him a
certain dignity, and he was much addicted to solitary thought.
Perhaps it was natural that these thoughts frequently turned upon
his enemies, the hippopotamuses, and that he should consider many
ways of capturing them.
Finally he completed his plans, and set about digging a great pit in
the ground, midway between two sharp curves of the river. When the
pit was finished he covered it over with small branches of trees,
and strewed earth upon them, smoothing the surface so artfully that
no one would suspect there was a big hole underneath. Then Gouie
laughed softly to himself and went home to supper.
That evening the queen said to Keo, who was growing to be a fine
child for his age:
"I wish you'd run across the bend and ask your Uncle Nikki to come
here. I have found a strange plant, and want him to tell me if it is
good to eat."
The jolly one laughed heartily as he started upon his errand, for he
felt as important as a boy does when he is sent for the first time
to the corner grocery to buy a yeast cake.
"Guk-uk-uk-uk! guk-uk-uk-uk!" was the way he laughed; and if you
think a hippopotamus does not laugh this way you have but to listen
to one and you will find I am right.
He crawled out of the mud where he was wallowing and tramped away
through the bushes, and the last his mother heard as she lay half in
and half out of the water was his musical "guk-uk-uk-uk!" dying away
in the distance.
Keo was in such a happy mood that he scarcely noticed where he
stepped, so he was much surprised when, in the middle of a laugh,
the ground gave way beneath him, and he fell to the bottom of
Gouie's deep pit. He was not badly hurt, but had bumped his nose
severely as he went down; so he stopped laughing and began to think
how he should get out again. Then he found the walls were higher
than his head, and that he was a prisoner.
So he laughed a little at his own misfortune, and the laughter
soothed him to sleep, so that he snored all through the night until
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