Rinkitink In Oz
L. Frank Baum

Part 3 out of 4

"I am called Zella, and my father is Nikobob, the

"Zella is a pretty name. I am Inga, Prince of
Pingaree," said he, "and the shoes you are now wearing,
Zella, belong to me. They were not cast away, as your
father supposed, but were lost. Will you let me have
them again?"

Zella's eyes filled with tears.

"Must I give up my pretty shoes, then?" she asked.
"They are the only ones I have ever owned."

Inga was sorry for the poor child, but he knew how
important it was that he regain possession of the Magic
Pearls. So he said, pleadingly:

"Please let me have them, Zella. See! I will exchange
for them the shoes I now have on, which are newer and
prettier than the others."

The girl hesitated. She wanted to please the boy
Prince, yet she hated to exchange the shoes which her
father had brought her as a present.

"If you will give me the shoes," continued the boy,
anxiously, "I will promise to make you and your father
and mother rich and prosperous. Indeed, I will promise
to grant any favors you may ask of me," and he sat down
upon the floor and drew off the shoes he was wearing
and held them toward the girl.

"I'll see if they will fit me," said Zella, taking
off her left shoe -- the one that contained the Pink
Pearl -- and beginning to put on one of Inga's.

Just then Queen Cor, angry at being made to
wait for her whip with the seven lashes, rushed
into the room to find Inga. Seeing the boy sitting
upon the floor beside Zella, the woman sprang
toward him to beat him with her clenched fists;
but Inga had now slipped on the shoe and the
Queen's blows could not reach his body.

Then Cor espied the whip lying beside Inga and
snatching it up she tried to lash him with it -- all to
no avail.

While Zella sat horrified by this scene, the Prince,
who realized he had no time to waste, reached out and
pulled the right shoe from the girl's foot, quickly
placing it upon his own. Then he stood up and, facing
the furious but astonished Queen, said to her in a
quiet voice:

"Madam, please give me that whip."

"I won't!" answered Cor. "I'm going to lash those
Pingaree women with it."

The boy seized hold of the whip and with irresistible
strength drew it from the Queen's hand. But she drew
from her bosom a sharp dagger and with the swiftness of
lightning aimed a blow at Inga's heart. He merely stood
still and smiled, for the blade rebounded and fell
clattering to the floor.

Then, at last, Queen Cor understood the magic power
that had terrified her husband but which she had
ridiculed in her ignorance, not believing in it. She
did not know that Inga's power had been lost, and found
again, but she realized the boy was no common foe and
that unless she could still manage to outwit him her
reign in the Island of Coregos was ended. To gain time,
she went back to the red-domed chamber and seated
herself in her throne, before which were grouped the
weeping slaves from Pingaree.

Inga had taken Zella's hand and assisted her to put
on the shoes he had given her in exchange for his own.
She found them quite comfortable and did not know she
had lost anything by the transfer.

"Come with me," then said the boy Prince, and led her
into the presence of Queen Cor, who was giving
Rinkitink a scolding. To the overseer Inga said.

"Give me the keys which unlock these chains, that I
may set these poor women at liberty."

"Don't you do it!" screamed Queen Cor.

"If you interfere, madam," said the boy, "I will put
you into a dungeon."

By this Rinkitink knew that Inga had recovered his
Magic Pearls and the little fat King was so overjoyed
that he danced and capered all around the room. But the
Queen was alarmed at the threat and the slave driver,
fearing the conqueror of Regos, tremblingly gave up the

Inga quickly removed all the shackles from the women
of his country and comforted them, telling them they
should work no more but would soon be restored to their
homes in Pingaree. Then he commanded the slave driver
to go and get all the children who had been made
slaves, and to bring them to their mothers. The man
obeyed and left at once to perform his errand, while
Queen Cor, growing more and more uneasy, suddenly
sprang from her throne and before Inga could stop her
had rushed through the room and out into the courtyard
of the palace, meaning to make her escape. Rinkitink
followed her, running as fast as he could go.

It was at this moment that Bilbil, in his mad dash
from Regos, turned in at the gates of the courtyard,
and as he was coming one way and Queen Cor was going
the other they bumped into each other with great force.
The woman sailed through the air, over Bilbil's head,
and landed on the ground outside the gates, where her
crown rolled into a ditch and she picked herself up,
half dazed, and continued her flight. Bilbil was also
somewhat dazed by the unexpected encounter, but he
continued his rush rather blindly and so struck poor
Rinkitink, who was chasing after Queen Cor. They rolled
over one another a few times and then Rinkitink sat up
and Bilbil sat up and they looked at each other in

"Bilbil," said the King, "I'm astonished at you!"

"Your Majesty," said Bilbil, "I expected kinder
treatment at your hands."

"You interrupted me," said Rinkitink.

"There was plenty of room without your taking my
path," declared the goat.

And then Inga came running out and said. "Where is
the Queen?"

"Gone," replied Rinkitink, "but she cannot go far, as
this is an island. However, I have found Bilbil, and
our party is again reunited. You have recovered your
magic powers, and again we are masters of the
situation. So let us be thankful."

Saying this, the good little King got upon his feet
and limped back into the throne room to help comfort
the women.

Presently the children of Pingaree, who had been
gathered together by the overseer, were brought in and
restored to their mothers, and there was great
rejoicing among them, you may be sure.

"But where is Queen Garee, my dear mother?"
questioned Inga; but the women did not know and it was
some time before the overseer remembered that one of
the slaves from Pingaree had been placed in the royal
dairy. Perhaps this was the woman the boy was seeking.

Inga at once commanded him to lead the way to the
butter house, but when they arrived there Queen Garee
was nowhere in the place, although the boy found a silk
scarf which he recognized as one that his mother used
to wear. Then they began a search throughout the island
of Coregos, but could not find Inga's mother anywhere.

When they returned to the palace of Queen Cor,
Rinkitink discovered that the bridge of boats had again
been removed, separating them from Regos, and from this
they suspected that Queen Cor had fled to her husband's
island and had taken Queen Garee with her. Inga was
much perplexed what to do and returned with his friends
to the palace to talk the matter over.

Zella was now crying because she had not sold her
honey and was unable to return to her parents on the
island of Regos, but the boy prince comforted her and
promised she should be protected until she could be
restored to her home. Rinkitink found Queen Cor's
purse, which she had had no time to take with her, and
gave Zella several gold pieces for the honey. Then Inga
ordered the palace servants to prepare a feast for all
the women and children of Pingaree and to prepare for
them beds in the great palace, which was large enough
to accommodate them all.

Then the boy and the goat and Rinkitink and Zella
went into a private room to consider what should be
done next.

Chapter Fourteen

The Escape

"Our fault," said Rinkitink, "is that we conquer only
one of these twin islands at a time. When we
conquered Regos, our foes all came to Coregos, and now
that we have conquered Coregos, the Queen has fled to
Regos. And each time they removed the bridge of boats,
so that we could not follow them."

"What has become of our own boat, in which we came
from Pingaree?" asked Bilbil.

"We left it on the shore of Regos," replied the
Prince, "but I wonder if we could not get it again."

"Why don't you ask the White Pearl?" suggested

"That is a good idea," returned the boy, and at once
he drew the White Pearl from its silken bag and held it
to his ear. Then he asked: "How may I regain our boat?"

The Voice of the Pearl replied: "Go to the south end
of the Island of Coregos, and clap your hands three
times and the boat will come to you.

"Very good!" cried Inga, and then he turned to his
companions and said: "We shall be able to get our boat
whenever we please; but what then shall we do?"

"Take me home in it!" pleaded Zella.

"Come with me to my City of Gilgad," said the King,
"where you will be very welcome to remain forever."

"No," answered Inga, "I must rescue my father and
mother, as well as my people. Already I have the women
and children of Pingaree, but the men are with my
father in the mines of Regos, and my dear mother has
been taken away by Queen Cor. Not until all are rescued
will I consent to leave these islands."

"Quite right!" exclaimed Bilbil.

"On second thought," said Rinkitink, "I agree with
you. If you are careful to sleep in your shoes, and
never take them off again, I believe you will be able
to perform the task you have undertaken."

They counseled together for a long time as to their
mode of action and it was finally considered best to
make the attempt to liberate King Kitticut first of
all, and with him the men from Pingaree. This would
give them an army to assist them and afterward they
could march to Regos and compel Queen Cor to give up
the Queen of Pingaree. Zella told them that they could
go in their boat along the shore of Regos to a point
opposite the mines, thus avoiding any conflict with the
warriors of King Gos.

This being considered the best course to pursue, they
resolved to start on the following morning, as night
was even now approaching. The servants being all busy
in caring for the women and children, Zella undertook
to get a dinner for Inga and Rinkitink and herself and
soon prepared a fine meal in the palace kitchen, for
she was a good little cook and had often helped her
mother. The dinner was served in a small room
overlooking the gardens and Rinkitink thought the best
part of it was the sweet honey, which he spread upon
the biscuits that Zella had made. As for Bilbil, he
wandered through the palace grounds and found some
grass that made him a good dinner.

During the evening Inga talked with the women and
cheered them, promising soon to reunite them with their
husbands who were working in the mines and to send them
back to their own island of Pingaree.

Next morning the boy rose bright and early and found
that Zella had already prepared a nice breakfast. And
after the meal they went to the most southern point of
the island, which was not very far away, Rinkitink
riding upon Bilbil's back and Inga and Zella following
behind them, hand in hand.

When they reached the water's edge the boy advanced
and clapped his hands together three times, as the
White Pearl had told him to do. And in a few moments
they saw in the distance the black boat with the silver
lining, coming swiftly toward them from the sea.
Presently it grounded on the beach and they all got
into it.

Zella was delighted with the boat, which was the most
beautiful she had ever seen, and the marvel of its
coming to them through the water without anyone to row
it, made her a little afraid of the fairy craft. But
Inga picked up the oars and began to row and at once
the boat shot swiftly in the direction of Regos. They
rounded the point of that island where the city was
built and noticed that the shore was lined with
warriors who had discovered their boat but seemed
undecided whether to pursue it or not. This was
probably because they had received no commands what to
do, or perhaps they had learned to fear the magic
powers of these adventurers from Pingaree and were
unwilling to attack them unless their King ordered them

The coast on the western side of the Island of Regos
was very uneven and Zella, who knew fairly well the
location of the mines from the inland forest path, was
puzzled to decide which mountain they now viewed from
the sea was the one where the entrance to the
underground caverns was located. First she thought it
was this peak, and then she guessed it was that; so
considerable time was lost through her uncertainty.

They finally decided to land and explore the country,
to see where they were, so Inga ran the boat into a
little rocky cove where they all disembarked. For an
hour they searched for the path without finding any
trace of it and now Zella believed they had gone too
far to the north and must return to another mountain
that was nearer to the city.

Once again they entered the boat and followed the
winding coast south until they thought they had reached
the right place. By this time, however, it was growing
dark, for the entire day had been spent in the search
for the entrance to the mines, and Zella warned them
that it would be safer to spend the night in the boat
than on the land, where wild beasts were sure to
disturb them. None of them realized at this time how
fatal this day of search had been to their plans and
perhaps if Inga had realized what was going on he would
have landed and fought all the wild beasts in the
forest rather than quietly remain in the boat until

However, knowing nothing of the cunning plans of
Queen Cor and King Gos, they anchored their boat in a
little bay and cheerfully ate their dinner, finding
plenty of food and drink in the boat's lockers. In the
evening the stars came out in the sky and tipped the
waves around their boat with silver. All around them
was delightfully still save for the occasional snarl of
a beast on the neighboring shore.

They talked together quietly of their adventures and
their future plans and Zella told them her simple
history and how hard her poor father was obliged to
work, burning charcoal to sell for enough money to
support his wife and child. Nikobob might be the
humblest man in all Regos, but Zella declared he was a
good man, and honest, and it was not his fault that his
country was ruled by so wicked a King.

Then Rinkitink, to amuse them, offered to sing a
song, and although Bilbil protested in his gruff way,
claiming that his master's voice was cracked and
disagreeable, the little King was encouraged by the
others to sing his song, which he did.

"A red-headed man named Ned was dead;

Sing fiddle-cum-faddle-cum-fi-do!
In battle he had lost his head;

Sing fiddle-cum-faddl-cum-fi-do!
'Alas, poor Ned,' to him I said,
'How did you lose your head so red?'

Sing fiddle-cum-faddle-cum-fi-do!

"Said Ned: 'I for my country bled,'

Sing fiddle-cum-faddle-cum-fi-do!
'Instead of dying safe in bed',

Sing fiddle-cum-faddle-cum-fi-do!
'If I had only fled, instead,
I then had been a head ahead.'

Sing fiddle-cum-faddle-cum-fi-do!

"I said to Ned --"

"Do stop, Your Majesty!" pleaded Bilbil. "You're
making my head ache."

"But the song isn't finished," replied Rinkitink,
"and as for your head aching, think of poor Ned, who
hadn't any head at all!"

"I can think of nothing but your dismal singing,"
retorted Bilbil. "Why didn't you choose a cheerful
subject, instead of telling how a man who was dead lost
his red head? Really, Rinkitink, I'm surprised at you.

"I know a splendid song about a live man, said the

"Then don't sing it," begged Bilbil.

Zella was both astonished and grieved by the
disrespectful words of the goat, for she had quite
enjoyed Rinkitink's singing and had been taught a
proper respect for Kings and those high in authority.
But as it was now getting late they decided to go to
sleep, that they might rise early the following
morning, so they all reclined upon the bottom of the
big boat and covered themselves with blankets which
they found stored underneath the seats for just such
occasions. They were not long in falling asleep and did
not waken until daybreak.

After a hurried breakfast, for Inga was eager to
liberate his father, the boy rowed the boat ashore and
they all landed and began searching for the path. Zella
found it within the next half hour and declared they
must be very close to the entrance to the mines; so
they followed the path toward the north, Inga going
first, and then Zella following him, while Rinkitink
brought up the rear riding upon Bilbil's back.

Before long they saw a great wall of rock towering
before them, in which was a low arched entrance, and on
either side of this entrance stood a guard, armed with
a sword and a spear. The guards of the mines were not
so fierce as the warriors of King Gos, their duty being
to make the slaves work at their tasks and guard them
from escaping; but they were as cruel as their cruel
master wished them to be, and as cowardly as they were

Inga walked up to the two men at the entrance and

"Does this opening lead to the mines of King Gos?"

"It does," replied one of the guards, "but no one is
allowed to pass out who once goes in."

"Nevertheless," said the boy, we intend to go in and
we shall come out whenever it pleases us to do so. I am
the Prince of Pingaree, and I have come to liberate my
people, whom King Gos has enslaved."

Now when the two guards heard this speech they looked
at one another and laughed, and one of them said: "The
King was right, for he said the boy was likely to come
here and that he would try to set his people free. Also
the King commanded that we must keep the little Prince
in the mines, and set him to work, together with his

"Then let us obey the King," replied the other man.

Inga was surprised at hearing this, and asked:

"When did King Gos give you this order?"

"His Majesty was here in person last night," replied
the man, "and went away again but an hour ago. He
suspected you were coming here and told us to capture
you if we could."

This report made the boy very anxious, not for
himself but for his father, for he feared the King was
up to some mischief. So he hastened to enter the mines
and the guards did nothing to oppose him or his
companions, their orders being to allow him to go in
but not to come out.

The little group of adventurers passed through a long
rocky corridor and reached a low, wide cavern where
they found a dozen guards and a hundred slaves, the
latter being hard at work with picks and shovels
digging for gold, while the guards stood over them with
long whips.

Inga found many of the men from Pingaree among these
slaves, but King Kitticut was not in this cavern; so
they passed through it and entered another corridor
that led to a second cavern. Here also hundreds of men
were working, but the boy did not find his father
amongst them, and so went on to a third cavern.

The corridors all slanted downward, so that the
farther they went the lower into the earth they
descended, and now they found the air hot and close and
difficult to breathe. Flaming torches were stuck into
the walls to give light to the workers, and these added
to the oppressive heat.

The third and lowest cavern was the last in the
mines, and here were many scores of slaves and many
guards to keep them at work. So far, none of the guards
had paid any attention to Inga's party, but allowed
them to proceed as they would, and while the slaves
cast curious glances at the boy and girl and man and
goat, they dared say nothing. But now the boy walked up
to some of the men of Pingaree and asked news of his
father, telling them not to fear the guards as he would
protect them from the whips.

Then he Teamed that King Kitticut had indeed been
working in this very cavern until the evening before,
when King Gos had come and taken him away -- still
loaded with chains.

"Seems to me," said King Rinkitink, when he heard
this report, "that Gos has carried your father away to
Regos, to prevent us from rescuing him. He may hide
poor Kitticut in a dungeon, where we cannot find him."

"Perhaps you are right," answered the boy, "but I am
determined to find him, wherever he may be."

Inga spoke firmly and with courage, but he was
greatly disappointed to find that King Gos had been
before him at the mines and had taken his father away.
However, he tried not to feel disheartened, believing
he would succeed in the end, in spite of all
opposition. Turning to the guards, he said:

"Remove the chains from these slaves and set them

The guards laughed at this order, and one of them
brought forward a handful of chains, saying: "His
Majesty has commanded us to make you, also, a slave,
for you are never to leave these caverns again."

Then he attempted to place the chains on Inga, but
the boy indignantly seized them and broke them apart as
easily as if they had been cotton cords. When a dozen
or more of the guards made a dash to capture him, the
Prince swung the end of the chain like a whip and drove
them into a corner, where they cowered and begged for

Stories of the marvelous strength of the boy Prince
had already spread to the mines of Regos, and although
King Gos had told them that Inga had been deprived of
all his magic power, the guards now saw this was not
true, so they deemed it wise not to attempt to oppose

The chains of the slaves had all been riveted fast to
their ankles and wrists, but Inga broke the bonds of
steel with his hands and set the poor men free -- not
only those from Pingaree but all who had been captured
in the many wars and raids of King Gos. They were very
grateful, as you may suppose, and agreed to support
Prince Inga in whatever action he commanded.

He led them to the middle cavern, where all the
guards and overseers fled in terror at his approach,
and soon he had broken apart the chains of the slaves
who had been working in that part of the mines. Then
they approached the first cavern and liberated all

The slaves had been treated so cruelly by the
servants of King Gos that they were eager to pursue and
slay them, in revenge; but Inga held them back and
formed them into companies, each company having its own
leader. Then he called the leaders together and
instructed them to march in good order along the path
to the City of Regos, where he would meet them and
tell them what to do next.

They readily agreed to obey him, and, arming
themselves with iron bars and pick-axes which they
brought from the mines, the slaves began their march to
the city.

Zella at first wished to be left behind, that she
might make her way to her home, but neither Rinkitink
nor Inga thought it was safe for her to wander alone
through the forest, so they induced her to return with
them to the city.

The boy beached his boat this time at the same place
as when he first landed at Regos, and while many of the
warriors stood on the shore and before the walls of the
city, not one of them attempted to interfere with the
boy in any way. Indeed, they seemed uneasy and anxious,
and when Inga met Captain Buzzub the boy asked if
anything had happened in his absence.

"A great deal has happened," replied Buzzub. "Our
King and Queen have run away and left us, and we don't
know what to do."

"Run away!" exclaimed Inga. "Where did they go to?"

"Who knows?" said the man, shaking his head
despondently. "They departed together a few hours ago,
in a boat with forty rowers, and they took with them
the King and Queen of Pingaree!"

Chapter Fifteen

The Flight of the Rulers

Now it seems that when Queen Cor fled from her island
to Regos, she had wit enough, although greatly frightened,
to make a stop at the royal dairy, which was near
to the bridge, and to drag poor Queen Garee from the
butter-house and across to Regos with her. The warriors
of King Gos had never before seen the terrible Queen
Cor frightened, and therefore when she came running
across the bridge of boats, dragging the Queen of
Pingaree after her by one arm, the woman's great fright
had the effect of terrifying the waiting warriors.

"Quick!" cried Cor. "Destroy the bridge, or we are

While the men were tearing away the bridge of boats
the Queen ran up to the palace of Gos, where she met
her husband.

"That boy is a wizard!" she gasped. "There is no
standing against him."

"Oh, have you discovered his magic at last?" replied
Gos, laughing in her face. "Who, now, is the coward?"

"Don't laugh!" cried Queen Cor. "It is no laughing
matter. Both our islands are as good as conquered, this
very minute. What shall we do, Gos?"

"Come in," he said, growing serious, "and let us talk
it over."

So they went into a room of the palace and talked
long and earnestly.

"The boy intends to liberate his father and mother,
and all the people of Pingaree, and to take them back
to their island," said Cor. "He may also destroy our
palaces and make us his slaves. I can see but one way,
Gos, to prevent him from doing all this, and whatever
else he pleases to do."

"What way is that?" asked King Gos.

"We must take the boy's parents away from here as
quickly as possible. I have with me the Queen of
Pingaree, and you can run up to the mines and get the
King. Then we will carry them away in a boat and hide
them where the boy cannot find them, with all his
magic. We will use the King and Queen of Pingaree as
hostages, and send word to the boy wizard that if he
does not go away from our islands and allow us to rule
them undisturbed, in our own way, we will put his
father and mother to death. Also we will say that as
long as we are let alone his parents will be safe,
although still safely hidden. I believe, Gos, that in
this way we can compel Prince Ingato obey us, for he
seems very fond of his parents."

"It isn't a bad idea," said Gos, reflectively; "but
where can we hide the King and Queen, so that the boy
cannot find them?"

"In the country of the Nome King, on the mainland
away at the south," she replied. "The nomes are our
friends, and they possess magic powers that will enable
them to protect the prisoners from discovery. If we can
manage to get the King and Queen of Pingaree to the
Nome Kingdom before the boy knows what we are doing, I
am sure our plot will succeed."

Gos gave the plan considerable thought in the next
five minutes, and the more he thought about it the more
clever and reasonable it seemed. So he agreed to do as
Queen Cor suggested and at once hurried away to the
mines, where he arrived before Prince Inga did. The
next morning he carried King Kitticut back to Regos.

While Gos was gone, Queen Cor busied herself in
preparing a large and swift boat for the journey. She
placed in it several bags of gold and jewels with which
to bribe the nomes, and selected forty of the strongest
oarsmen in Regos to row the boat. The instant King Gos
returned with his royal prisoner all was ready for
departure. They quickly entered the boat with their two
important captives and without a word of explanation to
any of their people they commanded the oarsmen to
start, and were soon out of sight upon the broad
expanse of the Nonestic Ocean.

Inga arrived at the city some hours later and was
much distressed when he learned that his father and
mother had been spirited away from the islands.

"I shall follow them, of course," said the boy to
Rinkitink, "and if I cannot overtake them on the ocean
I will search the world over until I find them. But
before I leave here I must arrange to send our people
back to Pingaree."

Chapter Sixteen

Nikobob Refuses a Crown

Almost the first persons that Zella saw when she landed
from the silver-lined boat at Regos were her father and
mother. Nikobob and his wife had been greatly worried
when their little daughter failed to return from
Coregos, so they had set out to discover what had
become of her. When they reached the City of Regos,
that very morning, they were astonished to hear news of
all the strange events that had taken place; still,
they found comfort when told that Zella had been seen
in the boat of Prince Inga, which had gone to the
north. Then, while they wondered what this could mean,
the silver-lined boat appeared again, with their
daughter in it, and they ran down to the shore to give
her a welcome and many joyful kisses.

Inga invited the good people to the palace of King
Gos, where he conferred with them, as well as with
Rinkitink and Bilbil.

"Now that the King and Queen of Regos and Coregos
have run away," he said, "there is no one to rule these
islands. So it is my duty to appoint a new ruler, and
as Nikobob, Zella's father, is an honest and worthy
man, I shall make him the King of the Twin Islands."

"Me?" cried Nikobob, astounded by this speech. "I beg
Your Highness, on my bended knees, not to do so cruel a
thing as to make me King!"

"Why not?" inquired Rinkitink. "I'm a King, and I
know how it feels. I assure you, good Nikobob, that I
quite enjoy my high rank, although a jeweled crown is
rather heavy to wear in hot weather."

"With you, noble sir, it is different," said Nikobob,
"for you are far from your kingdom and its trials and
worries and may do as you please. But to remain in
Regos, as King over these fierce and unruly warriors,
would be to live in constant anxiety and peril, and the
chances are that they would murder me within a month.
As I have done no harm to anyone and have tried to be a
good and upright man, I do not think that I should be
condemned to such a dreadful fate."

"Very well," replied Inga, "we will say no more about
your being King. I merely wanted to make you rich and
prosperous, as I had promised Zella."

"Please forget that promise," pleaded the charcoal-
burner, earnestly; "I have been safe from molestation
for many years, because I was poor and possessed
nothing that anyone else could envy. But if you make me
rich and prosperous I shall at once become the prey of
thieves and marauders and probably will lose my life in
the attempt to protect my fortune."

Inga looked at the man in surprise.

"What, then, can I do to please you?" he inquired.

"Nothing more than to allow me to go home to my poor
cabin," said Nikobob.

"Perhaps," remarked King Rinkitink, "the charcoal-
burner has more wisdom concealed in that hard head of
his than we gave him credit for. But let us use that
wisdom, for the present, to counsel us what to do in
this emergency."

"What you call my wisdom," said Nikobob, "is merely
common sense. I have noticed that some men become rich,
and are scorned by some and robbed by others. Other men
become famous, and are mocked at and derided by their
fellows. But the poor and humble man who lives
unnoticed and unknown escapes all these troubles and is
the only one who can appreciate the joy of living."

"If I had a hand, instead of a cloven hoof, I'd like
to shake hands with you, Nikobob," said Bilbil the
goat. "But the poor man must not have a cruel master,
or he is undone."

During the council they found, indeed, that the
advice of the charcoal-burner was both shrewd and
sensible, and they profited much by his words.

Inga gave Captain Buzzub the command of the warriors
and made him promise to keep his men quiet and orderly
-- if he could. Then the boy allowed all of King Gos's
former slaves, except those who came from Pingaree, to
choose what boats they required and to stock them with
provisions and row away to their own countries. When
these had departed, with grateful thanks and many
blessings showered upon the boy Prince who had set them
free, Inga made preparations to send his own people
home, where they were told to rebuild their houses and
then erect a new royal palace. They were then to await
patiently the coming of King Kitticut or Prince Inga.

"My greatest worry," said the boy to his friends, "is
to know whom to appoint to take charge of this work of
restoring Pingaree to its former condition. My men are
all pearl fishers, and although willing and honest,
have no talent for directing others how to work."

While the preparations for departure were being made,
Nikobob offered to direct the men of Pingaree, and did
so in a very capable manner. As the island had been
despoiled of all its valuable furniture and draperies
and rich cloths and paintings and statuary and the
like, as well as gold and silver and ornaments, Inga
thought it no more than just that they be replaced by
the spoilers. So he directed his people to search
through the storehouses of King Gos and to regain all
their goods and chattels that could be found. Also he
instructed them to take as much else as they required
to make their new homes comfortable, so that many boats
were loaded full of goods that would enable the people
to restore Pingaree to its former state of comfort.

For his father's new palace the boy plundered the
palaces of both Queen Cor and King Gos, sending enough
wares away with his people to make King Kitticut's new
residence as handsomely fitted and furnished as had
been the one which the ruthless invaders from Regos had

It was a great fleet of boats that set out one
bright, sunny morning on the voyage to Pingaree,
carrying all the men, women and children and all the
goods for refitting their homes. As he saw the fleet
depart, Prince Inga felt that he had already
successfully accomplished a part of his mission, but he
vowed he would never return to Pingaree in person until
he could take his father and mother there with him;
unless, indeed, King Gos wickedly destroyed his beloved
parents, in which case Inga would become the King of
Pingaree and it would be his duty to go to his people
and rule over them.

It was while the last of the boats were preparing to
sail for Pingaree that Nikobob, who had been of great
service in getting them ready, came to Inga in a
thoughtful mood and said:

"Your Highness, my wife and my daughter Zella have
been urging me to leave Regos and settle down in your
island, in a new home. From what your people have told
me, Pingaree is a better place to live than Regos, and
there are no cruel warriors or savage beasts there to
keep one in constant fear for the safety of those he
loves. Therefore, I have come to ask to go with my
family in one of the boats."

Inga was much pleased with this proposal and not only
granted Nikobob permission to go to Pingaree to live,
but instructed him to take with him sufficient goods to
furnish his new home in a comfortable manner. In
addition to this, he appointed Nikobob general manager
of the buildings and of the pearl fisheries, until his
father or he himself arrived, and the people approved
this order because they liked Nikobob and knew him to
be just and honest.

Soon as the last boat of the great flotilla had
disappeared from the view of those left at Regos, Inga
and Rinkitink prepared to leave the island themselves.
The boy was anxious to overtake the boat of King Gos,
if possible, and Rinkitink had no desire to remain in

Buzzub and the warriors stood silently on the shore
and watched the black boat with its silver lining
depart, and I am sure they were as glad to be rid of
their unwelcome visitors as Inga and Rinkitink and
Bilbil were to leave.

The boy asked the White Pearl what direction the boat
of King Gos had taken and then he followed after it,
rowing hard and steadily for eight days without
becoming at all weary. But, although the black boat
moved very swiftly, it failed to overtake the barge
which was rowed by Queen Cor's forty picked oarsmen.

Chapter Seventeen

The Nome King

The Kingdom of the Nomes does not border on the
Nonestic Ocean, from which it is separated by the
Kingdom of Rinkitink and the Country of the Wheelers,
which is a part of the Land of Ev. Rinkitink's country
is separated from the country of the Nomes by a row of
high and steep mountains, from which it extends to the
sea. The Country of the Wheelers is a sandy waste that
is open on one side to the Nonestic Ocean and on the
other side has no barrier to separate it from the Nome
Country, therefore it was on the coast of the Wheelers
that King Cos landed -- in a spot quite deserted by any
of the curious inhabitants of that country.

The Nome Country is very large in extent, and is only
separated from the Land of Oz, on its eastern borders,
by a Deadly Desert that can not be crossed by mortals,
unless they are aided by the fairies or by magic.

The nomes are a numerous and mischievous people,
living in underground caverns of wide extent, connected
one with another by arches and passages. The word
"nome" means "one who knows," and these people are so
called because they know where all the gold and silver
and precious stones are hidden in the earth -- a
knowledge that no other living creatures share with
them. The nomes are busy people, constantly digging up
gold in one place and taking it to another place, where
they secretly bury it, and perhaps this is the reason
they alone know where to find it. The nomes were ruled,
at the time of which I write, by a King named Kaliko.

King Gos had expected to be pursued by Inga in his
magic boat, so he made all the haste possible, urging
his forty rowers to their best efforts night and day.
To his joy he was not overtaken but landed on the sandy
beach of the Wheelers on the morning of the eighth day.

The forty rowers were left with the boat, while Queen
Cor and King Cos, with their royal prisoners, who were
still chained, began the journey to the Nome King.

It was not long before they passed the sands and
reached the rocky country belonging to the nomes, but
they were still a long way from the entrance to the
underground caverns in which lived the Nome King. There
was a dim path, winding between stones and boulders,
over which the walking was quite difficult, especially
as the path led up hills that were small mountains, and
then down steep and abrupt slopes where any misstep
might mean a broken leg. Therefore it was the second
day of their journey before they climbed halfway up a
rugged mountain and found themselves at the entrance of
the Nome King's caverns.

On their arrival, the entrance seemed free and
unguarded, but Gos and Cor had been there before, and
they were too wise to attempt to enter without
announcing themselves, for the passage to the caves was
full of traps and pitfalls. So King Gos stood still and
shouted, and in an instant they were surrounded by a
group of crooked nomes, who seemed to have sprung from
the ground.

One of these had very long ears and was called The
Long-Eared Hearer. He said: "I heard you coming early
this morning."

Another had eyes that looked in different directions
at the same time and were curiously bright and
penetrating. He could look over a hill or around a
corner and was called The Lookout. Said he: "I saw you
coming yesterday."

"Then," said King Gos, "perhaps King Kaliko is
expecting us."

"It is true," replied another nome, who wore a gold
collar around his neck and carried a bunch of golden
keys. "The mighty Nome King expects you, and bids you
follow me to his presence."

With this he led the way into the caverns and Gos and
Cor followed, dragging their weary prisoners with them,
for poor King Kitticut and his gentle Queen had been
obliged to carry, all through the tedious journey, the
bags of gold and jewels which were to bribe the Nome
King to accept them as slaves.

Through several long passages the guide led them and
at last they entered a small cavern which was
beautifully decorated and set with rare jewels that
flashed from every part of the wall, floor and ceiling.
This was a waiting-room for visitors, and there their
guide left them while he went to inform King Kaliko of
their arrival.

Before long they were ushered into a great domed
chamber, cut from the solid rock and so magnificent
that all of them -- the King and Queen of Pingaree and
the King and Queen of Regos and Coregos -- drew long
breaths of astonishment and opened their eyes as wide
as they could.

In an ivory throne sat a little round man who had a
pointed beard and hair that rose to a tall curl on top
of his head. He was dressed in silken robes, richly
embroidered, which had large buttons of cut rubies. On
his head was a diamond crown and in his hand he held a
golden sceptre with a big jeweled ball at one end of
it. This was Kaliko, the King and ruler of all the
nomes. He nodded pleasantly enough to his visitors and
said in a cheery voice:

"Well, Your Majesties, what can I do for you?"

"It is my desire," answered King Gos, respectfully,
"to place in your care two prisoners, whom you now see
before you. They must be carefully guarded, to prevent
them from escaping, for they have the cunning of foxes
and are not to be trusted. In return for the favor I am
asking you to grant, I have brought Your Majesty
valuable presents of gold and precious gems.

He then commanded Kitticut and Garee to lay before
the Nome King the bags of gold and jewels, and they
obeyed, being helpless.

"Very good," said King Kaliko, nodding approval, for
like all the nomes he loved treasures of gold and
jewels. "But who are the prisoners you have brought
here, and why do you place them in my charge instead of
guarding them, yourself? They seem gentle enough, I'm

"The prisoners," returned King Gos, "are the King and
Queen of Pingaree, a small island north of here. They
are very evil people and came to our islands of Regos
and Coregos to conquer them and slay our poor people.
Also they intended to plunder us of all our riches, but
by good fortune we were able to defeat and capture
them. However, they have a son who is a terrible wizard
and who by magic art is trying to find this awful King
and Queen of Pingaree, and to set them free, that they
may continue their wicked deeds. Therefore, as we have
no magic to defend ourselves with, we have brought the
prisoners to you for safe keeping."

"Your Majesty," spoke up King Kitticut, addressing
the Nome King with great indignation, "do not believe
this tale, I implore you. It is all a lie!"

"I know it," said Kaliko. "I consider it a clever
lie, though, because it is woven without a thread of
truth. However, that is none of my business. The fact
remains that my good friend King Gos wishes to put you
in my underground caverns, so that you will be unable
to escape. And why should I not please him in this
little matter? Gos is a mighty King and a great
warrior, while your island of Pingaree is desolated and
your people scattered. In my heart, King Kitticut, I
sympathize with you, but as a matter of business policy
we powerful Kings must stand together and trample the
weaker ones under our feet."

King Kitticut was surprised to find the King of the
nomes so candid and so well informed, and he tried to
argue that he and his gentle wife did not deserve their
cruel fate and that it would be wiser for Kaliko to
side with them than with the evil King of Regos. But
Kaliko only shook his head and smiled, saying:

"The fact that you are a prisoner, my poor Kitticut,
is evidence that you are weaker than King Cos, and I
prefer to deal with the strong. By the way," he added,
turning to the King of Regos, "have these prisoners any
connection with the Land of Oz?"

"Why do you ask?" said Gos.

"Because I dare not offend the Oz people," was the
reply. "I am very powerful, as you know, but Ozma of Oz
is far more powerful than I; therefore, if this King
and Queen of Pingaree happened to be under Ozma's
protection, I would have nothing to do with them."

"I assure Your Majesty that the prisoners have
nothing to do with the Oz people," Gos hastened to say.
And Kitticut, being questioned, admitted that this was

"But how about that wizard you mentioned?" asked the
Nome King.

"Oh, he is merely a boy; but he is very ferocious and
obstinate and he is assisted by a little fat sorcerer
called Rinkitink and a talking goat."

"Oho! A talking goat, do you say? That certainly
sounds like magic; and it also sounds like the Land of
Oz, where all the animals talk," said Kaliko, with a
doubtful expression.

But King Gos assured him the talking goat had never
been to Oz.

"As for Rinkitink, whom you call a sorcerer,"
continued the Nome King, "he is a neighbor of mine, you
must know, but as we are cut off from each other by
high mountains beneath which a powerful river runs, I
have never yet met King Rinkitink. But I have heard of
him, and from all reports he is a jolly rogue, and
perfectly harmless. However, in spite of your false
statements and misrepresentations, I will earn the
treasure you have brought me, by keeping your prisoners
safe in my caverns.

"Make them work," advised Queen Cor. "They are rather
delicate, and to make them work will make them suffer

"I'll do as I please about that," said the Nome King
sternly. "Be content that I agree to keep them safe."

The bargain being thus made and concluded, Kaliko
first examined the gold and jewels and then sent it
away to his royal storehouse, which was well filled
with like treasure. Next the captives were sent away in
charge of the nome with the golden collar and keys,
whose name was Klik, and he escorted them to a small
cavern and gave them a good supper.

"I shall lock your door," said Klik, "so there is no
need of your wearing those heavy chains any longer." He
therefore removed the chains and left King Kitticut and
his Queen alone. This was the first time since the
Northmen had carried them away from Pingaree that the
good King and Queen had been alone together and free of
all bonds, and as they embraced lovingly and mingled
their tears over their sad fate they were also grateful
that they had passed from the control of the heartless
King Gos into the more considerate care of King Kaliko.
They were still captives but they believed they would
be happier in the underground caverns of the nomes than
in Regos and Coregos.

Meantime, in the King's royal cavern a great feast
had been spread. King Gos and Queen Cor, having
triumphed in their plot, were so well pleased that they
held high revelry with the jolly Nome King until a late
hour that night. And the next morning, having cautioned
Kaliko not to release the prisoners under any
consideration without their orders, the King and Queen
of Regos and Coregos left the caverns of the nomes to
return to the shore of the ocean where they had left
their boat.

Chapter Eighteen

Inga Parts with his Pink Pearl

The White Pearl guided Inga truly in his pursuit of the
boat of King Gos, but the boy had been so delayed in
sending his people home to Pingaree that it was a full
day after Gos and Cor landed on the shore of the
Wheeler Country that Inga's boat arrived at the same

There he found the forty rowers guarding the barge of
Queen Cor, and although they would not or could not
tell the boy where the King and Queen had taken his
father and mother, the White Pearl advised him to
follow the path to the country and the caverns of the

Rinkitink didn't like to undertake the rocky and
mountainous journey, even with Bilbil to carry him, but
he would not desert Inga, even though his own kingdom
lay just beyond a range of mountains which could be
seen towering southwest of them. So the King bravely
mounted the goat, who always grumbled but always obeyed
his master, and the three set off at once for the
caverns of the nomes.

They traveled just as slowly as Queen Cor and King
Gos had done, so when they were about halfway they
discovered the King and Queen coming back to their
boat. The fact that Gos and Cor were now alone proved
that they had left Inga's father and mother behind
them; so, at the suggestion of Rinkitink, the three hid
behind a high rock until the King of Regos and the
Queen of Coregos, who had not observed them, had passed
them by. Then they continued their journey, glad that
they had not again been forced to fight or quarrel with
their wicked enemies.

"We might have asked them, however, what they had
done with your poor parents," said Rinkitink.

"Never mind," answered Inga. "I am sure the White
Pearl will guide us aright."

For a time they proceeded in silence and then
Rinkitink began to chuckle with laughter in the
pleasant way he was wont to do before his misfortunes
came upon him.

"What amuses Your Majesty?" inquired the boy.

"The thought of how surprised my dear subjects would
be if they realized how near to them I am, and yet how
far away. I have always wanted to visit the Nome
Country, which is full of mystery and magic and all
sorts of adventures, but my devoted subjects forbade me
to think of such a thing, fearing I would get hurt or

"Are you afraid, now that you are here?" asked Inga.

"A little, but not much, for they say the new Nome
King is not as wicked as the old King used to be.
Still, we are undertaking a dangerous journey and I
think you ought to protect me by lending me one of your

Inga thought this over and it seemed a reasonable

"Which pearl would you like to have?" asked the boy.

"Well, let us see," returned Rinkitink; "you may need
strength to liberate your captive parents, so you must
keep the Blue Pearl. And you will need the advice of
the White Pearl, so you had best keep that also. But in
case we should be separated I would have nothing to
protect me from harm, so you ought to lend me the Pink

"Very well," agreed Inga, and sitting down upon a
rock he removed his right shoe and after withdrawing
the cloth from the pointed toe took out the Pink Pearl
-- the one which protected from any harm the person who
carried it.

"Where can you put it, to keep it safely?" he asked.

"In my vest pocket," replied the King. "The pocket
has a flap to it and I can pin it down in such a way
that the pearl cannot get out and become lost. As for
robbery, no one with evil intent can touch my person
while I have the pearl."

So Inga gave Rinkitink the Pink Pearl and the little
King placed it in the pocket of his red-and-green
brocaded velvet vest, pinning the flap of the pocket
down tightly.

They now resumed their journey and finally reached
the entrance to the Nome King's caverns. Placing the
White Pearl to his ear, Inga asked: "What shall I do
now?" and the Voice of the Pearl replied: "Clap your
hands together four times and call aloud the word
'Klik.' Then allow yourselves to be conducted to the
Nome King, who is now holding your father and mother

Inga followed these instructions and when Klik
appeared in answer to his summons the boy requested an
audience of the Nome King. So Klik led them into the
presence of King Kaliko, who was suffering from a
severe headache, due to his revelry the night before,
and therefore was unusually cross and grumpy.

"I know what you've come for," said he, before Inga
could speak. "You want to get the captives from Regos
away from me; but you can't do it, so you'd best go away

"The captives are my father and mother, and I intend
to liberate them," said the boy firmly.

The King stared hard at Inga, wondering at his
audacity. Then he turned to look at King Rinkitink and

"I suppose you are the King of Gilgad, which is in
the Kingdom of Rinkitink."

"You've guessed it the first time," replied

"How round and fat you are!" exclaimed Kaliko.

"I was just thinking how fat and round you are," said
Rinkitink. "Really, King Kaliko, we ought to be
friends, we're so much alike in everything but
disposition and intelligence."

Then he began to chuckle, while Kaliko stared hard at
him, not knowing whether to accept his speech as a
compliment or not. And now the nome's eyes wandered to
Bilbil, and he asked:

"Is that your talking goat?"

Bilbil met the Nome King's glowering look with a gaze
equally surly and defiant, while Rinkitink answered:
"It is, Your Majesty."

"Can he really talk?" asked Kaliko, curiously.

"He can. But the best thing he does is to scold. Talk
to His Majesty, Bilbil."

But Bilbil remained silent and would not speak.

"Do you always ride upon his back?" continued Kaliko,
questioning Rinkitink.

"Yes," was the answer, "because it is difficult for a
fat man to walk far, as perhaps you know from

"That is true," said Kaliko. "Get off the goat's back
and let me ride him a while, to see how I like it.
Perhaps I'll take him away from you, to ride through my

Rinkitink chuckled softly as he heard this, but at
once got off Bilbil's back and let Kaliko get on. The
Nome King was a little awkward, but when he was firmly
astride the saddle he called in a loud voice: "Giddap!"

When Bilbil paid no attention to the command and
refused to stir, Kaliko kicked his heels viciously
against the goat's body, and then Bilbil made a sudden
start. He ran swiftly across the great cavern, until he
had almost reached the opposite wall, when he stopped
so abruptly that King Kaliko sailed over his head and
bumped against the jeweled wall. He bumped so hard that
the points of his crown were all mashed out of shape
and his head was driven far into the diamond-studded
band of the crown, so that it covered one eye and a
part of his nose. Perhaps this saved Kaliko's head from
being cracked against the rock wall, but it was hard on
the crown.

Bilbil was highly pleased at the success of his feat
and Rinkitink laughed merrily at the Nome King's
comical appearance; but Kaliko was muttering and
growling as he picked himself up and struggled to pull
the battered crown from his head, and it was evident
that he was not in the least amused. Indeed, Inga could
see that the King was very angry, and the boy knew that
the incident was likely to turn Kaliko against the
entire party.

The Nome King sent Klik for another crown and ordered
his workmen to repair the one that was damaged. While
he waited for the new crown he sat regarding his
visitors with a scowling face, and this made Inga more
uneasy than ever. Finally, when the new crown was
placed upon his head, King Kaliko said: "Follow me,
strangers!" and led the way to a small door at one end
of the cavern.

Inga and Rinkitink followed him through the doorway
and found themselves standing on a balcony that
overlooked an enormous domed cave -- so extensive that
it seemed miles to the other side of it. All around
this circular cave, which was brilliantly lighted from
an unknown source, were arches connected with other

Kaliko took a gold whistle from his pocket and blew a
shrill note that echoed through every part of the cave.
Instantly nomes began to pour in through the side
arches in great numbers, until the immense space was
packed with them as far as the eye could reach. All
were armed with glittering weapons of polished silver
and gold, and Inga was amazed that any King could
command so great an army.

They began marching and countermarching in very
orderly array until another blast of the gold whistle
sent them scurrying away as quickly as they had
appeared. And as soon as the great cave was again empty
Kaliko returned with his visitors to his own royal
chamber, where he once more seated himself upon his
ivory throne.

"I have shown you," said he to Inga, "a part of my
bodyguard. The royal armies, of which this is only a
part, are as numerous as the sands of the ocean, and
live in many thousands of my underground caverns. You
have come here thinking to force me to give up the
captives of King Gos and Queen Cor, and I wanted to
convince you that my power is too mighty for anyone to
oppose. I am told that you are a wizard, and depend
upon magic to aid you; but you must know that the nomes
are not mortals, and understand magic pretty well
themselves, so if we are obliged to fight magic with
magic the chances are that we are a hundred times more
powerful than you can be. Think this over carefully, my
boy, and try to realize that you are in my power. I do
not believe you can force me to liberate King Kitticut
and Queen Garee, and I know that you cannot coax me to
do so, for I have given my promise to King Gos.
Therefore, as I do not wish to hurt you, I ask you to
go away peaceably and let me alone."

"Forgive me if I do not agree with you, King Kaliko,"
answered the boy. "However difficult and dangerous my
task may be, I cannot leave your dominions until every
effort to release my parents has failed and left me
completely discouraged."

"Very well," said the King, evidently displeased. "I
have warned you, and now if evil overtakes you it is
your own fault. I've a headache to-day, so I cannot
entertain you properly, according to your rank; but
Klik will attend you to my guest chambers and to-morrow
I will talk with you again."

This seemed a fair and courteous way to treat one's
declared enemies, so they politely expressed the wish
that Kaliko's headache would be better, and followed
their guide, Klik, down a well-lighted passage and
through several archways until they finally reached
three nicely furnished bedchambers which were cut from
solid gray rock and well lighted and aired by some
mysterious method known to the nomes.

The first of these rooms was given King Rinkitink,
the second was Inga's and the third was assigned to
Bilbil the goat. There was a swinging rock door
between the third and second rooms and another between
the second and first, which also had a door that opened
upon the passage. Rinkitink's room was the largest, so
it was here that an excellent dinner was spread by some
of the nome servants, who, in spite of their crooked
shapes, proved to be well trained and competent.

"You are not prisoners, you know," said Klik; neither
are you welcome guests, having declared your purpose to
oppose our mighty King and all his hosts. But we bear
you no ill will, and you are to be well fed and cared
for as long as you remain in our caverns. Eat hearty,
sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you."

Saying this, he left them alone and at once Rinkitink
and Inga began to counsel together as to the best means
to liberate King Kitticut and Queen Garee. The White
Pearl's advice was rather unsatisfactory to the boy,
just now, for all that the Voice said in answer to his
questions was: "Be patient, brave and determined."

Rinkitink suggested that they try to discover in what
part of the series of underground caverns Inga's
parents had been confined, as that knowledge was
necessary before they could take any action; so
together they started out, leaving Bilbil asleep in his
room, and made their way unopposed through many
corridors and caverns. In some places were great
furnaces, where gold dust was being melted into bricks.
In other rooms workmen were fashioning the gold into
various articles and ornaments. In one cavern immense
wheels revolved which polished precious gems, and they
found many caverns used as storerooms, where treasure
of every sort was piled high. Also they came to the
barracks of the army and the great kitchens.

There were nomes everywhere -- countless thousands of
them -- but none paid the slightest heed to the
visitors from the earth's surface. Yet, although Inga
and Rinkitink walked until they were weary, they were
unable to locate the place where the boy's father and
mother had been confined, and when they tried to return
to their own rooms they found that they had hopelessly
lost themselves amid the labyrinth of passages.
However, Klik presently came to them, laughing at their
discomfiture, and led them back to their bedchambers.

Before they went to sleep they carefully barred the
door from Rinkitink's room to the corridor, but the
doors that connected the three rooms one with another
were left wide open.

In the night Inga was awakened by a soft grating
sound that filled him with anxiety because he could not
account for it. It was dark in his room, the light
having disappeared as soon as he got into bed, but he
managed to feel his way to the door that led to
Rinkitink's room and found it tightly closed and
immovable. Then he made his way to the opposite door,
leading to Bilbil's room, to discover that also had
been closed and fastened.

The boy had a curious sensation that all of his room
-- the walls, floor and ceiling -- was slowly whirling
as if on a pivot, and it was such an uncomfortable
feeling that he got into bed again, not knowing what
else to do. And as the grating noise had ceased and the
room now seemed stationary, he soon fell asleep again.

When the boy wakened, after many hours, he found the
room again light. So he dressed himself and discovered
that a small table, containing a breakfast that was
smoking hot, had suddenly appeared in the center of
his room. He tried the two doors, but finding that he
could not open them he ate some breakfast, thoughtfully
wondering who had locked him in and why he had been
made a prisoner. Then he again went to the door which
he thought led to Rinkitink's chamber and to his
surprise the latch lifted easily and the door swung

Before him was a rude corridor hewn in the rock and
dimly lighted. It did not look inviting, so Inga closed
the door, puzzled to know what had become of
Rinkitink's room and the King, and went to the opposite
door. Opening this, he found a solid wall of rock
confronting him, which effectually prevented his escape
in that direction.

The boy now realized that King Kaliko had tricked
him, and while professing to receive him as a guest had
plotted to separate him from his comrades. One way had
been left, however, by which he might escape and he
decided to see where it led to.

So, going to the first door, he opened it and
ventured slowly into the dimly lighted corridor. When
he had advanced a few steps he heard the door of his
room slam shut behind him. He ran back at once, but the
door of rock fitted so closely into the wall that he
found it impossible to open it again. That did not
matter so much, however, for the room was a prison and
the only way of escape seemed ahead of him.

Along the corridor he crept until, turning a
corner, he found himself in a large domed cavern that
was empty and deserted. Here also was a dim light that
permitted him to see another corridor at the opposite
side; so he crossed the rocky floor of the cavern and
entered a second corridor. This one twisted and turned
in every direction but was not very long, so soon the
boy reached a second cavern, not so large as the first.
This he found vacant also, but it had another corridor
leading out of it, so Inga entered that. It was
straight and short and beyond was a third cavern, which
differed little from the others except that it had a
strong iron grating at one side of it.

All three of these caverns had been roughly hewn from
the rock and it seemed they had never been put to use,
as had all the other caverns of the nomes he had
visited. Standing in the third cavern, Inga saw what he
thought was still another corridor at its farther side,
so he walked toward it. This opening was dark, and that
fact, and the solemn silence all around him, made him
hesitate for a while to enter it. Upon reflection,
however, he realized that unless he explored the place
to the very end he could not hope to escape from it, so
he boldly entered the dark corridor and felt his way
cautiously as he moved forward.

Scarcely had he taken two paces when a crash
resounded back of him and a heavy sheet of steel closed
the opening into the cavern from which he had just
come. He paused a moment, but it still seemed best to
proceed, and as Inga advanced in the dark, holding his
hands outstretched before him to feel his way,
handcuffs fell upon his wrists and locked themselves
with a sharp click, and an instant later he found he
was chained to a stout iron post set firmly in the rock

The chains were long enough to permit him to move a
yard or so in any direction and by feeling the walls he
found he was in a small circular room that had no
outlet except the passage by which he had entered, and
that was now closed by the door of steel. This was the
end of the series of caverns and corridors.

It was now that the horror of his situation occurred
to the boy with full force. But he resolved not to
submit to his fate without a struggle, and realizing
that he possessed the Blue Pearl, which gave him
marvelous strength, he quickly broke the chains and set
himself free of the handcuffs. Next he twisted the
steel door from its hinges, and creeping along the
short passage, found himself in the third cave.

But now the dim light, which had before guided him,
had vanished; yet on peering into the gloom of the cave
he saw what appeared to be two round disks of flame,
which cast a subdued glow over the floor and walls. By
this dull glow he made out the form of an enormous man,
seated in the center of the cave, and he saw that the
iron grating had been removed, permitting the man to

The giant was unclothed and its limbs were thickly
covered with coarse red hair. The round disks of flame
were its two eyes and when it opened its mouth to yawn
Inga saw that its jaws were wide enough to crush a
dozen men between the great rows of teeth.

Presently the giant looked up and perceived the boy
crouching at the other side of the cavern, so he called
out in a hoarse, rude voice:

"Come hither, my pretty one. We will wrestle
together, you and I, and if you succeed in throwing me
I will let you pass through my cave."

The boy made no reply to the challenge. He realized
he was in dire peril and regretted that he had lent the
Pink Pearl to King Rinkitink. But it was now too late
for vain regrets, although he feared that even his
great strength would avail him little against this
hairy monster. For his arms were not long enough to
span a fourth of the giant's huge body, while the
monster's powerful limbs would be likely to crush out
Inga's life before he could gain the mastery.

Therefore the Prince resolved to employ other means
to combat this foe, who had doubtless been placed there
to bar his return. Retreating through the passage he
reached the room where he had been chained and wrenched
the iron post from its socket. It was a foot thick and
four feet long, and being of solid iron was so heavy
that three ordinary men would have found it hard to

Returning to the cavern, the boy swung the great bar
above his head and dashed it with mighty force full at
the giant. The end of the bar struck the monster upon
its forehead, and with a single groan it fell full
length upon the floor and lay still.

When the giant fell, the glow from its eyes faded
away, and all was dark. Cautiously, for Inga was not
sure the giant was dead, the boy felt his way toward
the opening that led to the middle cavern. The entrance
was narrow and the darkness was intense, but, feeling
braver now, the boy stepped boldly forward. Instantly
the floor began to sink beneath him and in great alarm
he turned and made a leap that enabled him to grasp the
rocky sides of the wall and regain a footing in the
passage through which he had just come.

Scarcely had he obtained this place of refuge when a
mighty crash resounded throughout the cavern and the
sound of a rushing torrent came from far below. Inga
felt in his pocket and found several matches, one of
which he lighted and held before him. While it
flickered he saw that the entire floor of the cavern
had fallen away, and knew that had he not instantly
regained his footing in the passage he would have
plunged into the abyss that lay beneath him.

By the light of another match he saw the opening at
the other side of the cave and the thought came to him
that possibly he might leap across the gulf. Of course,
this could never be accomplished without the marvelous
strength lent him by the Blue Pearl, but Inga had the
feeling that one powerful spring might carry him over
the chasm into safety. He could not stay where he was,
that was certain, so he resolved to make the attempt.

He took a long run through the first cave and the
short corridor; then, exerting all his strength, he
launched himself over the black gulf of the second
cave. Swiftly he flew and, although his heart stood
still with fear, only a few seconds elapsed before his
feet touched the ledge of the opposite passageway and
he knew he had safely accomplished the wonderful feat.

Only pausing to draw one long breath of relief, Inga
quickly traversed the crooked corridor that led to the
last cavern of the three. But when he came in sight of
it he paused abruptly, his eyes nearly blinded by a
glare of strong light which burst upon them. Covering
his face with his hands, Inga retreated behind a
projecting corner of rock and by gradually getting his
eyes used to the light he was finally able to gaze
without blinking upon the strange glare that had so
quickly changed the condition of the cavern. When he
had passed through this vault it had been entirely
empty. Now the flat floor of rock was covered
everywhere with a bed of glowing coals, which shot up
little tongues of red and white flames. Indeed, the
entire cave was one monster furnace and the heat that
came from it was fearful.

Inga's heart sank within him as he realized the
terrible obstacle placed by the cunning Nome King
between him and the safety of the other caverns. There
was no turning back, for it would be impossible for him
again to leap over the gulf of the second cave, the
corridor at this side being so crooked that he could
get no run before he jumped. Neither could he leap over
the glowing coals of the cavern that faced him, for it
was much larger than the middle cavern. In this dilemma
he feared his great strength would avail him nothing
and he bitterly reproached himself for parting with the
Pink Pearl, which would have preserved him from injury.

However, it was not in the nature of Prince Inga to
despair for long, his past adventures having taught him
confidence and courage, sharpened his wits and given
him the genius of invention. He sat down and thought
earnestly on the means of escape from his danger and at
last a clever idea came to his mind. This is the way to
get ideas: never to let adverse circumstances
discourage you, but to believe there is a way out of
every difficulty, which may be found by earnest

There were many points and projections of rock in the
walls of the crooked corridor in which Inga stood and
some of these rocks had become cracked and loosened,
although still clinging to their places. The boy picked
out one large piece, and, exerting all his strength,
tore it away from the wall. He then carried it to the
cavern and tossed it upon the burning coals, about ten
feet away from the end of the passage. Then he returned
for another fragment of rock, and wrenching it free
from its place, he threw it ten feet beyond the first
one, toward the opposite side of the cave. The boy
continued this work until he had made a series of
stepping-stones reaching straight across the cavern to
the dark passageway beyond, which he hoped would lead
him back to safety if not to liberty.

When his work had been completed, Inga did not long
hesitate to take advantage of his stepping-stones, for
he knew his best chance of escape lay in his crossing
the bed of coals before the rocks became so heated that
they would burn his feet. So he leaped to the first
rock and from there began jumping from one to the other
in quick succession. A withering wave of heat at once
enveloped him, and for a time he feared he would
suffocate before he could cross the cavern; but he held
his breath, to keep the hot air from his lungs, and
maintained his leaps with desperate resolve.

Then, before he realized it, his feet were pressing
the cooler rocks of the passage beyond and he rolled
helpless upon the floor, gasping for breath. His skin
was so red that it resembled the shell of a boiled
lobster, but his swift motion had prevented his being
burned, and his shoes had thick soles, which saved his

After resting a few minutes, the boy felt strong
enough to go on. He went to the end of the passage and
found that the rock door by which he had left his room
was still closed, so he returned to about the middle of
the corridor and was thinking what he should do next,
when suddenly the solid rock before him began to move
and an opening appeared through which shone a brilliant
light. Shielding his eyes, which were somewhat dazzled,
Inga sprang through the opening and found himself in
one of the Nome King's inhabited caverns, where before
him stood King Kaliko, with a broad grin upon his
features, and Klik, the King's chamberlain, who looked
surprised, and King Rinkitink seated astride Bilbil the
goat, both of whom seemed pleased that Inga had
rejoined them.

Chapter Nineteen

Rinkitink Chuckles

We will now relate what happened to Rinkitink and
Bilbil that morning, while Inga was undergoing his
trying experience in escaping the fearful dangers of
the three caverns.

The King of Gilgad wakened to find the door of Inga's
room fast shut and locked, but he had no trouble in
opening his own door into the corridor, for it seems
that the boy's room, which was the middle one, whirled
around on a pivot, while the adjoining rooms occupied
by Bilbil and Rinkitink remained stationary. The little
King also found a breakfast magically served in his
room, and while he was eating it, Klik came to him and
stated that His Majesty, King Kaliko, desired his
presence in the royal cavern.

So Rinkitink, having first made sure that the Pink
Pearl was still in his vest pocket, willingly followed
Klik, who ran on some distance ahead. But no sooner had
Rinkitink set foot in the passage than a great rock,
weighing at least a ton, became dislodged and dropped
from the roof directly over his head. Of course, it
could not harm him, protected as he was by the Pink
Pearl, and it bounded aside and crashed upon the floor,
where it was shattered by its own weight.

"How careless!" exclaimed the little King, and
waddled after Klik, who seemed amazed at his escape.

Presently another rock above Rinkitink plunged
downward, and then another, but none touched his body.
Klik seemed much perplexed at these continued escapes
and certainly Kaliko was surprised when Rinkitink, safe
and sound, entered the royal cavern.

"Good morning," said the King of Gilgad. "Your rocks
are getting loose, Kaliko, and you'd better have them
glued in place before they hurt someone." Then he began
to chuckle: "Hoo, hoo, hoo-hee, hee-heek, keek, eek!"
and Kaliko sat and frowned because he realized that the
little fat King was poking fun at him.

"I asked Your Majesty to come here," said the Nome
King, "to show you a curious skein of golden thread
which my workmen have made. If it pleases you, I will
make you a present of it."

With this he held out a small skein of glittering
gold twine, which was really pretty and curious.
Rinkitink took it in his hand and at once the golden
thread began to unwind -- so swiftly that the eye could
not follow its motion. And, as it unwound, it coiled
itself around Rinkitink's body, at the same time
weaving itself into a net, until it had enveloped the
little King from head to foot and placed him in a
prison of gold.

"Aha!" cried Kaliko; "this magic worked all right, it

"Oh, did it?" replied Rinkitink, and stepping forward
he walked right through the golden net, which fell to
the floor in a tangled mass

Kaliko rubbed his chin thoughtfully and stared hard
at Rinkitink.

"I understand a good bit of magic," said ,he, "but
Your Majesty has a sort of magic that greatly puzzles
me, because it is unlike anything of the sort that I
ever met with before."

"Now, see here, Kaliko," said Rinkitink; "if you are
trying to harm me or my companions, give it up, for you
will never succeed. We're harm-proof, so to speak, and
you are merely wasting your time trying to injure us.

"You may be right, and I hope I am not so impolite as
to argue with a guest," returned the Nome King. "But
you will pardon me if I am not yet satisfied that you
are stronger than my famous magic. However, I beg you
to believe that I bear you no ill will, King Rinkitink;
but it is my duty to destroy you, if possible, because
you and that insignificant boy Prince have openly
threatened to take away my captives and have positively
refused to go back to the earth's surface and let me
alone. I'm very tender-hearted, as a matter of fact,
and I like you immensely, and would enjoy having you as
a friend, but --" Here he pressed a button on the arm
of his throne chair and the section of the floor where
Rinkitink stood suddenly opened and disclosed a black
pit beneath, which was a part of 'the terrible
Bottomless Gulf.

But Rinkitink did not fall into the pit; his body
remained suspended in the air until he put out his foot
and stepped to the solid floor, when the opening
suddenly closed again.

"I appreciate Your Majesty's friendship," remarked
Rinkitink, as calmly as if nothing had happened, "but I
am getting tired with standing. Will you kindly send
for my goat, Bilbil, that I may sit upon his back to

"Indeed I will!" promised Kaliko. "I have not yet
completed my test of your magic, and as I owe that goat
a slight grudge for bumping my head and smashing my
second-best crown, I will be glad to discover if the
beast can also escape my delightful little sorceries."

So Klik was sent to fetch Bilbil and presently
returned with the goat, which was very cross this
morning because it had not slept well in the
underground caverns.

Rinkitink lost no time in getting upon the red velvet
saddle which the goat constantly wore, for he feared
the Nome King would try to destroy Bilbil and knew that
as long as his body touched that of the goat the Pink
Pearl would protect them both; whereas, if Bilbil stood
alone, there was no magic to save him.

Bilbil glared wickedly at King Kaliko, who moved
uneasily in his ivory throne. Then the Nome King
whispered a moment in the ear of Klik, who nodded and
left the room.

"Please make yourselves at home here for a few
minutes, while I attend to an errand," said the Nome
King, getting up from the throne. "I shall return
pretty soon, when I hope to find you pieceful -- ha,
ha, ha! -- that's a joke you can't appreciate now but
will later. Be pieceful -- that's the idea. Ho, ho, ho!
How funny." Then he waddled from the cavern, closing
the door behind him.

"Well, why didn't you laugh when Kaliko laughed?"
demanded the goat, when they were left alone in the

"Because he means mischief of some sort," replied
Rinkitink, "and we'll laugh after the danger is over,
Bilbil. There's an old adage that says: 'He laughs best
who laughs last,' and the only way to laugh last is to
give the other fellow a chance. Where did that knife
come from, I wonder."

For a long, sharp knife suddenly appeared in the air
near them, twisting and turning from side to side and
darting here and there in a dangerous manner, without
any support whatever. Then another knife became visible
-- and another and another -- until all the space in
the royal cavern seemed filled with them. Their sharp
points and edges darted toward Rinkitink and Bilbil
perpetually and nothing could have saved them from
being cut to pieces except the protecting power of the
Pink Pearl. As it was, not a knife touched them and
even Bilbil gave a gruff laugh at the failure of
Kaliko's clever magic.

The goat wandered here and there in the cavern,
carrying Rinkitink upon his back, and neither of them
paid the slightest heed to the knives, although the
glitter of the hundreds of polished blades was rather
trying. to their eyes. Perhaps for ten minutes the
knives darted about them in bewildering fury; then they
disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared.

Kaliko cautiously stuck his head through the doorway
and found the goat chewing the embroidery of his royal
cloak, which he had left lying over the throne, while
Rinkitink was reading his manuscript on "How to be
Good" and chuckling over its advice. The Nome King
seemed greatly disappointed as he came in and resumed
his seat on the throne. Said Rinkitink with a chuckle:

"We've really had a peaceful time, Kaliko, although
not the pieceful time you expected. Forgive me if I
indulge in a laugh -- hoo, hoo, hoo-hee, heek-keek-eek!
And now, tell me; aren't you getting tired of trying to
injure us?"

"Eh -- heh," said the Nome King. "I see now that your
magic can protect you from all my arts. But is the boy
Inga as, well protected as Your Majesty and the goat?'

"Why do you ask?" inquired Rinkitink, uneasy at the
question because he remembered he had not seen the
little Prince of Pingaree that morning.

"Because," said Kaliko, "the boy has been undergoing
trials far greater and more dangerous than any you have
encountered, and it has been hundreds of years since
anyone has been able to escape alive from the perils of
my Three Trick Caverns."

King Rinkitink was much alarmed at hearing this, for
although he knew that Inga possessed the Blue Pearl,
that would only give to him marvelous strength, and
perhaps strength alone would not enable him to escape


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