The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales
Frank R. Stockton

Part 3 out of 4

of his way on account of obstacles."

"My dear uncle," replied Hassak, "your words shall not be forgotten."

After a pleasant visit of a few weeks, the Prince and his party (in
new clothes) returned (by sea) to Itoby, whence the Jolly-cum-pop
soon repaired to his home. There he found the miners and
rock-splitters still at work at the tunnel, which had now penetrated
half-way through the hill on which stood his house. "You may go
home," he said, "for the Prince has changed his plans. I will put a
door to this tunnel, and it will make an excellent cellar in which to
keep my wine and provisions."

The day after the Prince's return his map-maker said to him: "Your
Highness, according to your commands I made, each day, a map of your
progress to the city of Yan. Here it is."

The Prince glanced at it and then he cast his eyes upon the floor.
"Leave me," he said. "I would be alone."



* * * * *

There were never many persons who could correctly bound the Autocracy
of Mutjado. The reason for this was that the boundary line was not
stationary. Whenever the Autocrat felt the need of money, he sent his
tax-gatherers far and wide, and people who up to that time had no
idea of such a thing found that they lived in the territory of
Mutjado. But when times were ordinarily prosperous with him, and
people in the outlying districts needed protection or public works,
the dominion of the Autocrat became very much contracted.

In the course of time, the Autocrat of Mutjado fell into bad health
and sent for his doctor. That learned man prescribed some medicine
for him; and as this did him no good, he ordered another kind. He
continued this method of treatment until the Autocrat had swallowed
the contents of fifteen phials and flasks, some large and some small.
As none of these were of the slightest benefit, the learned doctor
produced another kind of medicine which he highly extolled.

"Take a dose of this twice a day," said he, "and you will soon

"A new medicine?" interrupted the Autocrat, in disgust. "I will have
none of it! These others were bad enough, and rather than start with
a new physic, I prefer to die. Take away your bottles, little and
big, and send me my secretary."

When that officer arrived, the Autocrat informed him that he had
determined to write his will, and that he should set about it at

The Autocrat of Mutjado had no son, and his nearest male relatives
were a third cousin on his father's side, and another third cousin on
his mother's side. Of course these persons were in nowise related to
each other; and as they lived in distant countries, he had never seen
either of them. He had made up his mind to leave his throne and
dominions to one of these persons, but he could not determine which
of them should be his heir.

"One has as good a right as the other," he said to himself, "and I
can't bother my brains settling the matter for them. Let them fight
it out, and whoever conquers shall be Autocrat of Mutjado."

Having arranged the affair in this manner in his will, he signed it,
and soon after died.

The Autocrat's third cousin on his father's side was a young man of
about twenty-five, named Alberdin. He was a good horseman, and
trained in the arts of warfare, and when he was informed of the terms
of his distinguished relative's will, he declared himself perfectly
willing to undertake the combat for the throne. He set out for
Mutjado, where he arrived in a reasonable time.

The third cousin on the mother's side was a very different person. He
was a boy of about twelve years of age; and as his father and mother
had died when he was very young, he had been for nearly all his life
under the charge of an elderly and prudent man, who acted as his
guardian and tutor. These two, also, soon arrived in Mutjado,--the
boy, Phedo, being mounted on a little donkey, which was his almost
constant companion. As soon as they reached the territory of the late
Autocrat, old Salim, the tutor, left the boy at an inn, and went
forward by himself to take a look at the other third cousin. When he
saw Alberdin mounted on his fine horse, and looking so strong and
valiant, his heart was much disturbed.

"I had hoped," he said to himself, "that the other one was a small
boy, but such does not appear to be the case. There is but one way to
have a fair fight between these two. They must not now be allowed to
see each other. If they can be kept apart until my boy grows up, he
will then be able, with the military education which I intend he
shall have, to engage in combat with any man. They must not meet for
at least thirteen years. Phedo will then be twenty-five, and able to
do worthy combat. To be sure, I am somewhat old myself to undertake
to superintend so long a delay, but I must do my best to keep well
and strong, and to attain the greatest possible longevity."

Salim had always been in the habit of giving thirty-two chews to
every mouthful of meat, and a proportionate number of chews to other
articles of food; and had, so far, been very healthy. But he now
determined to increase the number of chews to thirty-six, for it
would be highly necessary for him to live until it was time for the
battle between the third cousins to take place.

Having made up his mind on these points, the old tutor introduced
himself to Alberdin, and told him that he had come to arrange the
terms of combat.

"In the first place," said Alberdin, "I should like to know what sort
of a person my opponent is."

"He is not a cavalryman like you," answered Salim; "he belongs to the
heavy infantry."

At this, Alberdin looked grave. He knew very well that a stout and
resolute man on foot had often the advantage of one who is mounted.
He would have preferred meeting a horseman, and fighting on equal

"Has he had much experience in war?" asked the young man.

"It is not long," answered the tutor, "since he was almost constantly
in arms, winter and summer."

"He must be a practised warrior," thought Alberdin. "I must put
myself in good fighting-trim before I meet him."

After some further conversation on the subject, the old man advised
Alberdin to go into camp on a beautiful plain not far from the base
of a low line of mountains.

"Your opponent," said he, "will intrench himself in the valley on the
other side. With the mountains between you, neither of you need fear
a surprise; and when both are ready, a place of meeting can be

"Now, then," said Salim to himself when this had been settled; "if I
can keep them apart for thirteen years, all may be well."

As soon as possible, Alberdin pitched a tent upon the appointed spot,
and began to take daily warlike exercise in the plain, endeavoring in
every way to put himself and his horse into proper condition for the

On the other side of the mountain, old Salim intrenched himself and
the boy, Phedo. He carefully studied several books on military
engineering, and caused a fortified camp to be constructed on the
most approved principles. It was surrounded by high ramparts, and
outside of these was a moat filled with water. In the centre of the
camp was a neat little house which was well provided with books,
provisions, and every thing necessary for a prolonged stay. When the
drawbridge was up, it would be impossible for Alberdin to get inside
of the camp; and, moreover, the ramparts were so high that he could
not look over them to see what sort of antagonist he was to have. Old
Salim did not tell the boy why he brought him here to live. It would
be better to wait until he was older before informing him of the
battle which had been decreed. He told Phedo that it was necessary
for him to have a military education, which could very well be
obtained in a place like this; and he was also very careful to let
him know that there was a terrible soldier in that part of the
country who might at any time, if it were not for the intrenchments,
pounce down upon him, and cut him to pieces. Every fine day, Phedo
was allowed to take a ride on his donkey outside of the
fortifications, but during this time, the old tutor kept a strict
watch on the mountain; and if a horseman had made his appearance,
little Phedo would have been whisked inside, and the drawbridge would
have been up in a twinkling.

After about two weeks of this life Phedo found it dreadfully stupid
to see no one but his old tutor, and never to go outside of these
great ramparts except for donkey-rides, which were generally very
short. He therefore determined, late one moonlight night, to go out
and take a ramble by himself. He was not afraid of the dreadful
soldier of whom the old man had told him, because at that time of
night this personage would, of course, be in bed and asleep.
Considering these things, he quietly dressed himself, took down a
great key from over his sleeping tutor's head, opened the heavy gate,
let down the drawbridge, mounted upon his donkey, and rode forth upon
the moonlit plain.

That night-ride was a very delightful one, and for a long time the
boy and the donkey rambled and ran; first going this way and then
that, they gradually climbed the mountain; and, reaching the brow,
they trotted about for a while, and then went down the other side.
The boy had been so twisted and turned in his course that he did not
notice that he was not descending toward his camp, and the donkey,
whose instinct told it that it was not going the right way, was also
told by its instinct that it did not wish to go the right way, and
that the intrenchments offered it no temptations to return. When the
morning dawned, Phedo perceived that he was really lost, and he began
to be afraid that he might meet the terrible soldier. But, after a
time, he saw riding toward him a very pleasant-looking young man on a
handsome horse, and he immediately took courage.

"Now," said he to himself, "I am no longer in danger. If that
horrible cut-throat should appear, this good gentleman will protect

Alberdin had not seen any one for a long time, and he was very glad
to meet with so nice a little boy. When Phedo told him that he was
lost, he invited him to come to his tent, near by, and have
breakfast. While they were eating their meal, Alberdin asked the boy
if in the course of his rambles he had met with a heavy infantry
soldier, probably armed to the teeth, and very large and strong.

"Oh, I've heard of that dreadful man!" cried Phedo, "and I am very
glad that I did not meet him. If he comes, I hope you'll protect me
from him."

"I will do that," said Alberdin; "but I am afraid I shall not be able
to help you find your way home, for in doing so I should throw myself
off my guard, and might be set upon unexpectedly by this fellow, with
whom I have a regular engagement to fight. There is to be a time
fixed for the combat, for which I feel myself nearly ready, but I
have no doubt that my enemy will be very glad to take me at a
disadvantage if I give him a chance."

Phedo looked about him with an air of content. The tent was large and
well furnished; there seemed to be plenty of good things to eat; the
handsome horseman was certainly a very good-humored and agreeable
gentleman; and, moreover, the tent was not shut in by high and gloomy

"I do not think you need trouble yourself," said he to his host, "to
help me to find my way home. I live with my tutor, and I am sure that
when he knows I am gone he will begin to search for me, and after
awhile he will find me. Until then, I can be very comfortable here."

For several days the two third cousins of the Autocrat lived together
in the tent, and enjoyed each other's society very much. Then
Alberdin began to grow a little impatient.

"If I am to fight this heavy infantry man," he said; "I should like
to do it at once. I am now quite ready, and I think he ought to be. I
expected to hear from him before this time, and I shall start out and
see if I can get any news of his intentions. I don't care about going
over the mountain without giving him notice, but the capital city of
Mutjado is only a day's ride to the west, and there I can cause
inquiries to be made when he would like to meet me, and where."

"I will go with you," said Phedo, greatly delighted at the idea of
visiting the city.

"Yes, I will take you," said Alberdin. "Your tutor don't seem
inclined to come for you, and, of course, I can't leave you here."

The next day, Alberdin on his horse, and Phedo on his donkey, set out
for the city, where they arrived late in the afternoon. After finding
a comfortable lodging, Alberdin sent messengers to the other side of
the mountain, where his opponent was supposed to be encamped, and
gave them power to arrange with him for a meeting. He particularly
urged them to try to see the old man who had come to him at first,
and who had seemed to be a very fair-minded and sensible person. In
two days, however, the messengers returned, stating that they had
found what they supposed to be the intrenched camp of the heavy
infantry man they had been sent in search of, but that it was
entirely deserted, and nobody could be seen anywhere near it.

"It is very likely," said Alberdin, "that he has watched my
manoeuvres and exercises from the top of the mountain, and has
concluded to run away. I shall give him a reasonable time to show
himself, and then, if he does not come forward, I will consider him
beaten, and claim the Autocracy."

"That is a good idea," said Phedo, "but I think, if you can, you
ought to find him and kill him, or drive him out of the country.
That's what I should do, if I were you."

"Of course I shall do that, if I can," said Alberdin; "but I could
not be expected to wait for him forever."

When his intention had been proclaimed, Alberdin was informed of
something which he did not know before, and that was that the late
Autocrat had left an only daughter, a Princess about twenty years
old. But although she was his daughter, she could not inherit his
crown, for the laws of the country forbade that any woman should
become Autocrat. A happy idea now struck Alberdin.

"I will marry the Princess," he said, "and then every one will think
that it is the most suitable thing for me to become Autocrat."

So Alberdin sent to the Princess to ask permission to speak with her,
and was granted an audience. With much courtesy and politeness he
made known his plans to the lady, and hoped that she would consider
it advisable to marry him.

"I am sorry to interfere with any of your arrangements," said the
Princess, "but as soon as I heard the terms of my father's will, I
made up my mind to marry the victor in the contest. As I cannot
inherit the throne myself, the next best thing is to be the wife of
the man who does. Go forth, then, and find your antagonist, and when
you have conquered him, I will marry you."

"And if he conquers me, you will marry him?" said Alberdin.

"Yes, sir," answered the Princess, with a smile, and dismissed him.

It was plain enough that there was nothing for Alberdin to do but to
go and look for the heavy infantry man. Phedo was very anxious to
accompany him, and the two, mounted as before, set out from the city
on their quest.

When old Salim, the tutor of Phedo, awoke in the morning and found
the boy gone, he immediately imagined that the youngster had ran away
to his old home; so he set forth with all possible speed, hoping to
overtake him. But when he reached the distant town where Phedo had
lived, he found that the boy had not been there; and after taking
some needful rest, he retraced his steps, crossed the mountains, and
made his way toward the capital city, hoping to find news of him
there. It was necessary for him to be very careful in his inquiries,
for he wished no one to find out that the little boy he was looking
for was the third cousin of the late Autocrat on the mother's side.
He therefore disguised himself as a migratory medical man, and
determined to use all possible caution. When he reached the camp of
the young horseman, Alberdin, and found that personage gone, his
suspicions became excited.

"If these two have run off together," he said to himself, "my task is
indeed difficult. If the man discovers it is the boy he has to fight,
my poor Phedo will be cut to pieces in a twinkling. I do not believe
there has been any trouble yet, for the boy does not know that he is
to be one of the combatants, and the man would not be likely to
suspect it. Come what may, the fight must not take place for thirteen
years. And in order that I may still better preserve my health and
strength to avert the calamity during that period, I will increase my
number of chews to forty-two to each mouthful of meat."

When old Salim reached the city, he soon found that Alberdin and the
boy had been there, and that they had gone away together.

"Nothing has happened so far," said the old man, with a sigh of
relief; "and things may turn out all right yet. I'll follow them, but
I must first find out what that cavalryman had to say to the
Princess." For he had been told of the interview at the palace.

It was not long before the migratory medical man was brought to the
Princess. There was nothing the matter with her, but she liked to
meet with persons of skill and learning to hear what they had to say.

"Have you any specialty?" she asked of the old man.

"Yes," said he, "I am a germ-doctor."

"What is that?" asked the Princess.

"All diseases," replied the old man, "come from germs; generally very
little ones. My business is to discover these, and find out all about

"Then I suppose," said the Princess, "you know how to cure the

"You must not expect too much," answered the old man. "It ought to be
a great satisfaction to us to know what sort of germ is at the bottom
of our woes."

"I am very well, myself," said the Princess, "and, so far as I know,
none of my household are troubled by germs. But there is something
the matter with my mind which I wish you could relieve." She then
told the old man how she had determined to marry the victor in the
contest for her father's throne, and how she had seen one for the
claimants whom she considered to be a very agreeable and deserving
young man; while the other, she had heard, was a great, strong foot
soldier, who was probably very disagreeable, and even horrid. If this
one should prove the conqueror, she did not know what she should do.
"You see, I am in a great deal of trouble," said she. "Can you do any
thing to help me?"

The pretending migratory medical man looked at her attentively for a
few moments, and then he said:

"The reason why you intend to marry the victor in the coming contest,
is that you wish to remain here in your father's palace, and to
continue to enjoy the comforts and advantages to which you have been

"Yes," said the Princess; "that is it."

"Well, having discovered the germ of your disorder," said the old
man, "the great point is gained. I will see what I can do."

And with a respectful bow he left her presence.

"Well," said old Salim to himself, as he went away, "she can never
marry my boy, for that is certainly out of the question; but now that
I have found out her motive, I think I can arrange matters
satisfactorily, so far as she is concerned. But to settle the affair
between that young man and Phedo is immensely more difficult. The
first thing is to find them."

Having learned the way they had gone, the old tutor travelled
diligently, and in two days came up with Alberdin and Phedo. When he
first caught sight of them, he was very much surprised to see that
they were resting upon the ground quite a long distance apart, with a
little stream between them. Noticing that Alberdin's back was toward
him, he threw off his disguise and hastened to Phedo. The boy
received him with the greatest delight, and, after many embraces,
they sat down to talk. Phedo told the old man all that had happened,
and finished by relating that, as they had that day stopped by this
stream to rest, Alberdin had taken it into his head to inquire into
the parentage of his young companion; and after many questions about
his family, it had been made clear to both of them that they were the
two third cousins who were to fight for the Autocracy of Mutjado.

"He is very angry," said the boy, "at the tricks that have been
played upon him, and went off and left me. Is it true that I am to
fight him? I don't want to do it, for I like him very much."

"It will be a long time before you are old enough to fight," said
Salim; "so we need not consider that. You stay here, and I'll go over
and talk to him."

Salim then crossed the stream, and approached Alberdin. When the
young man saw him, and recognized him as the person who had arranged
the two encampments, he turned upon him with fury.

"Wretched old man, who came to me as the emissary of my antagonist,
you are but the tutor of that boy! If I had known the truth at first,
I would have met him instantly; would have conquered him without
hurting a hair on his head; and carrying him bound to the capital
city, would have claimed the Autocracy, and would now have been
sitting upon the throne. Instead of that, look at the delay and
annoyance to which I have been subjected. I have also taken such a
fancy to the boy that rather than hurt him or injure his prospects, I
would willingly resign my pretensions to the throne, and go back
contentedly to my own city. But this cannot now be done. I have
fallen in love with the daughter of the late Autocrat, and she will
marry none but the victorious claimant. Behold to what a condition
you have brought me!"

The old man regarded him with attention.

"I wish very much," said he, "to defer the settlement of this matter
for thirteen years. Are you willing to wait so long?"

"No, I am not," said Alberdin.

"Very well, then," said the old man, "each third cousin must retire
to his camp, and as soon as matters can be arranged the battle must
take place."

"There is nothing else to be done," said Alberdin in a troubled
voice; "but I shall take care that the boy receives no injury if it
can possibly be avoided."

The three now retraced their steps, and in a few days were settled
down, Alberdin in his tent in the plain, and Salim and Phedo in their
intrenchments on the other side of the low mountain. The old man now
gave himself up to deep thought. He had discovered the germ of
Alberdin's trouble; and in a few days he had arranged his plans, and
went over to see the young man.

"It has been determined," said he, "that a syndicate is to be formed
to attend to this business for Phedo."

"A syndicate!" cried Alberdin. "What is that?"

"A syndic," answered Salim, "is a person who attends to business for
others; and a syndicate is a body of men who are able to conduct
certain affairs better than any individual can do it. In a week from
to-day, Phedo's syndicate will meet you in the large plain outside of
the capital city. There the contest will take place. Shall you be

"I don't exactly understand it," said Alberdin, "but I shall be

General notice was given of the coming battle of the contestants for
the throne, and thousands of the inhabitants of the Autocracy
assembled on the plain on the appointed day. The Princess with her
ladies was there; and as everybody was interested, everybody was
anxious to see what would happen.

Alberdin rode into the open space in the centre of the plain, and
demanded that his antagonist should appear. Thereupon old Salim came
forward, leading Phedo by the hand.

"This is the opposing heir," he said; "but as every one can see that
he is too young to fight a battle, a syndicate has been appointed to
attend to the matter for him; and there is nothing in the will of the
late Autocrat which forbids this arrangement. The syndicate will now

At this command there came into the arena a horseman heavily armed, a
tall foot soldier completely equipped for action, an artilleryman
with a small cannon on wheels, a sailor with a boarding-pike and a
drawn cutlass, and a soldier with a revolving gun which discharged
one hundred and twenty balls a minute.

"All being ready," exclaimed Salim, "the combat for the Autocracy
will begin!"

Alberdin took a good long look at the syndicate ranged before him.
Then he dismounted from his horse, drew his sword, and stuck it,
point downward, into the sand.

"I surrender!" he said.

"So do I!" cried the Princess, running toward him, and throwing
herself into his arms.

The eyes of Alberdin sparkled with joy.

"Let the Autocracy go!" he cried. "Now that I have my Princess, the
throne and the crown are nothing to me."

"So long as I have you," returned the Princess, "I am content to
resign all the comforts and advantages to which I have been

Phedo, who had been earnestly talking with his tutor, now looked up.

"You shall not resign any thing!" he cried. "We are all of the same
blood, and we will join together and form a royal family, and we will
all live at the palace. Alberdin and my tutor shall manage the
government for me until I am grown up; and if I have to go to school
for a few years, I suppose I must. And that is all there is about

The syndicate was now ordered to retire and disband; the heralds
proclaimed Phedo the conquering heir, and the people cheered and
shouted with delight. All the virtues of the late Autocrat had come
to him from his mother, and the citizens of Mutjado much preferred to
have a new ruler from the mother's family.

"I hope you bear no grudge against me," said Salim to Alberdin; "but
if you had been willing to wait for thirteen years, you and Phedo
might have fought on equal terms. As it is now, it would have been as
hard for him to conquer you, as for you to conquer the syndicate. The
odds would have been quite as great."

"Don't mention it," said Alberdin. "I prefer things as they are. I
should have hated to drive the boy away, and deprive him of a
position which the people wish him to have. Now we are all

Phedo soon began to show signs that he would probably make a very
good Autocrat. He declared that if he was to be assisted by ministers
and cabinet officers when he came to the throne, he would like them
to be persons who had been educated for their positions, just as he
was to be educated for his own. Consequently he chose for the head of
his cabinet a bright and sensible boy, and had him educated as a
Minister of State. For Minister of Finance, he chose another boy with
a very honest countenance, and for the other members of his cabinet,
suitable youths were selected. He also said, that he thought there
ought to be another officer, one who would be a sort of Minister of
General Comfort, who would keep an eye on the health and happiness of
the subjects, and would also see that every thing went all right in
the palace, not only in regard to meals, but lots of other things.
For this office he chose a bright young girl, and had her educated
for the position of Queen.


* * * * *

There was once a kingdom in which every thing seemed to go wrong.
Everybody knew this, and everybody talked about it, especially the
King. The bad state of affairs troubled him more than it did any one
else, but he could think of no way to make them better.

"I cannot bear to see things going on so badly," he said to the Queen
and his chief councillors. "I wish I knew how other kingdoms were

One of his councillors offered to go to some other countries, and see
how they were governed, and come back and tell him all about it, but
this did not suit his majesty.

"You would simply return," he said, "and give me your ideas about
things. I want my own ideas."

The Queen then suggested that he should take a vacation, and visit
other kingdoms, and see for himself how things were managed in them.

This did not suit the king. "A vacation would not answer," he said.
"I should not be gone a week before something would happen here which
would make it necessary for me to come back."

The Queen then suggested that he be banished for a certain time, say
a year. In that case he could not come back, and would be at full
liberty to visit foreign kingdoms, and find out how they were

This plan pleased the King. "If it were made impossible for me to
come back," he said, "of course I could not do it. The scheme is a
good one. Let me be banished." And he gave orders that his council
should pass a law banishing him for one year.

Preparations were immediately begun to carry out this plan, and in
day or two the King bade farewell to the Queen, and left his kingdom,
a banished man. He went away on foot, entirely unattended. But, as he
did not wish to cut off all communication between himself and his
kingdom, he made an arrangement which he thought a very good one. At
easy shouting distance behind him walked one of the officers of the
court, and at shouting distance behind him walked another, and so on
at distances of about a hundred yards from each other. In this way
there would always be a line of men extending from the King to his
palace. Whenever the King had walked a hundred yards the line moved
on after him, and another officer was put in the gap between the last
man and the palace door. Thus, as the King walked on, his line of
followers lengthened, and was never broken. Whenever he had any
message to send to the Queen, or any other person in the palace, he
shouted it to the officer next him, who shouted it to the one next to
him, and it was so passed on until it reached the palace. If he
needed food, clothes, or any other necessary thing, the order for it
was shouted along the line, and the article was passed to him from
man to man, each one carrying it forward to his neighbor, and then
retiring to his proper place.

In this way the King walked on day by day until he had passed
entirely out of his own kingdom. At night he stopped at some
convenient house on the road, and if any of his followers did not
find himself near a house or cottage when the King shouted back the
order to halt, he laid himself down to sleep wherever he might be. By
this time the increasing line of followers had used up all the
officers of the court, and it became necessary to draw upon some of
the under government officers in order to keep the line perfect.

The King had not gone very far outside the limits of his dominions
when he met a Sphinx. He had often heard of these creatures, although
he had never seen one before. But when he saw the winged body of a
lion with a woman's head, he knew instantly what it was. He knew,
also, that the chief business of a Sphinx was that of asking people
questions, and then getting them into trouble if the right answers
were not given. He therefore determined that he would not be caught
by any such tricks as these, and that he would be on his guard if the
Sphinx spoke to him. The creature was lying down when the King first
saw it, but when he approached nearer it rose to its feet. There was
nothing savage about its look, and the King was not at all afraid.

"Where are you going?" said the Sphinx to him, in a pleasant voice.

"Give it up," replied the King.

"What do you mean by that?" said the other, with an air of surprise.

"I give that up, too," said the King.

The Sphinx then looked at him quite astonished.

"I don't mind telling you," said the King, "of my own free will, and
not in answer to any questions, that I do not know where I am going.
I am a King, as you may have noticed, and I have been banished from
my kingdom for a year. I am now going to look into the government of
other countries in order that I may find out what it is that is wrong
in my own kingdom. Every thing goes badly, and there is something
very faulty at the bottom of it all. What this is I want to

"I am much interested in puzzles and matters of that kind," said the
Sphinx, "and if you like I will go with you and help to find out what
is wrong in your kingdom."

"All right," said the King. "I shall be glad of your company."

"What is the meaning of this long line of people following you at
regular distances?" asked the Sphinx.

"Give it up," said the King.

The Sphinx laughed.

"I don't mind telling you," said the King, "of my own free will, and
not in answer to any question, that these men form a line of
communication between me and my kingdom, where matters, I fear, must
be going on worse than ever, in my absence."

The two now travelled on together until they came to a high hill,
from which they could see, not very far away, a large city.

"That city," said the Sphinx, "is the capital of an extensive
country. It is governed by a king of mingled sentiments. Suppose we
go there. I think you will find a government that is rather

The King consented, and they walked down the hill toward the city.

"How did the King get his sentiments mingled?" asked the King.

"I really don't know how it began," said the Sphinx, "but the King,
when a young man, had so many sentiments of different kinds, and he
mingled them up so much, that no one could ever tell exactly what he
thought on any particular subject. Of course, his people gradually
got into the same frame of mind, and you never can know in this
kingdom exactly what people think or what they are going to do. You
will find all sorts of people here: giants, dwarfs, fairies, gnomes,
and personages of that kind, who have been drawn here by the mingled
sentiments of the people. I, myself, came into these parts because
the people every now and then take a great fancy to puzzles and

On entering the city, the King was cordially welcomed by his brother
sovereign, to whom he told his story; and he was lodged in a room in
the palace. Such of his followers as came within the limits of the
city were entertained by the persons near to whose houses they found
themselves when the line halted.

Every day the Sphinx went with him to see the sights of this strange
city. They took long walks through the streets, and sometimes into
the surrounding country--always going one way and returning another,
the Sphinx being very careful never to bring the King back by the
same road or street by which they went. In this way the King's line
of followers, which, of course, lengthened out every time he took a
walk, came to be arranged in long loops through many parts of the
city and suburbs.

Many of the things the King saw showed plainly the mingled sentiments
of the people. For instance, he would one day visit a great smith's
shop, where heavy masses of iron were being forged, the whole place
resounding with tremendous blows from heavy hammers, and the clank
and din of iron on the anvils; while the next day he would find the
place transformed into a studio, where the former blacksmith was
painting dainty little pictures on the delicate surface of
egg-shells. The king of the country, in his treatment of his visitor,
showed his peculiar nature very plainly. Sometimes he would receive
him with enthusiastic delight, while at others he would upbraid him
with having left his dominions to go wandering around the earth in
this senseless way. One day his host invited him to attend a royal
dinner, but, when he went to the grand dining-hall, pleased with
anticipations of a splendid feast, he found that the sentiments of
his majesty had become mingled, and that he had determined, instead
of having a dinner, to conduct the funeral services of one of his
servants who had died the day before. All the guests were obliged by
politeness to remain during the ceremonies, which our King, not
having been acquainted with the deceased servant, had not found at
all interesting.

"Now," said the King to the Sphinx, "I am in favor of moving on. I am
tired of this place, where every sentiment is so mingled with others
that you can never tell what anybody really thinks or feels. I don't
believe any one in this country was ever truly glad or sorry. They
mix one sentiment so quickly with another that they never can
discover the actual ingredients of any of their impulses."

"When this King first began to mingle his sentiments," said the
Sphinx, "it was because he always desired to think and feel exactly
right. He did not wish his feelings to run too much one way or the

"And so he is never either right or wrong," said the King. "I don't
like that, at all. I want to be one thing or the other."

"I have wasted a good deal of time at this place," remarked the King,
as they walked on, "and I have seen and heard nothing which I wish to
teach my people. But I must find out some way to prevent every thing
going wrong in my kingdom. I have tried plan after plan, and
sometimes two or three together, and have kept this up year after
year, and yet nothing seems to do my kingdom any good."

"Have you heard how things are going on there now?" asked the Sphinx.

"Give it up," said the King. "But I don't mind saying of my own
accord, and not as answer to any question, that I have sent a good
many communications to my Queen, but have never received any from
her. So I do not know how things are going on in my kingdom."

They then travelled on, the long line of followers coming after,
keeping their relative positions a hundred yards apart, and passing
over all the ground the King had traversed in his circuitous walks
about the city. Thus the line crept along like an enormous snake in
straight lines, loops, and coils; and every time the King walked a
hundred yards a fresh man from his capital city was obliged to take
his place at the tail of the procession.

"By the way," said the Sphinx, after they had walked an hour or more,
"if you want to see a kingdom where there really is something to
learn, you ought to go to the country of the Gaumers, which we are
now approaching."

"All right," said the King. "Let us go there."

In the course of the afternoon they reached the edge of a high bluff.
"On the level ground, beneath this precipice," said the Sphinx, "is
the country of the dwarfs called Gaumers. You can sit on the edge of
the bluff and look down upon it."

The King and the Sphinx then sat down, and looked out from the edge
over the country of the little people. The officer of the court who
had formed the head of the line wished very much to see what they
were looking at, but, when the line halted, he was not near enough.

"You will notice," said the Sphinx, "that the little houses and huts
are gathered together in clusters. Each one of these clusters is
under a separate king."

"Why don't they all live under one ruler?" asked the King. "That is
the proper way."

"They do not think so," said the Sphinx. "In each of these clusters
live the Gaumers who are best suited to each other; and, if any
Gaumer finds he cannot get along in one cluster, he goes to another.
The kings are chosen from among the very best of them, and each one
is always very anxious to please his subjects. He knows that every
thing that he, and his queen, and his children eat, or drink, or
wear, or have must be given to him by his subjects, and if it were
not for them he could not be their ruler. And so he does every thing
that he can to make them happy and contented, for he knows if he does
not please them and govern them well, they will gradually drop off
from him and go to other clusters, and he will be left without any
people or any kingdom."

"That is a very queer way of ruling," said the King. "I think the
people ought to try to please their sovereign."

"He is only one, and they are a great many," said the Sphinx.
"Consequently they are much more important. No subject is ever
allowed to look down upon a king, simply because he helps to feed and
clothe him, and send his children to school. If any one does a thing
of this kind, he is banished until he learns better."

"All that may be very well for Gaumers," said the King, "but I can
learn nothing from a government like that, where every thing seems to
be working in an opposite direction from what everybody knows is
right and proper. A king anxious to deserve the good opinion of his
subjects! What nonsense! It ought to be just the other way. The ideas
of this people are as dwarfish as their bodies."

The King now arose and took up the line of march, turning away from
the country of the Gaumers. But he had not gone more than two or
three hundred yards before he received a message from the Queen. It
came to him very rapidly, every man in the line seeming anxious to
shout it to the man ahead of him as quickly as possible. The message
was to the effect that he must either stop where he was or come home:
his constantly lengthening line of communication had used up all the
chief officers of the government, all the clerks in the departments,
and all the officials of every grade, excepting the few who were
actually needed to carry on the government, and if any more men went
into the line it would be necessary to call upon the laborers and
other persons who could not be spared.

"I think," said the Sphinx, "that you have made your line long

"And I think," said the King. "that you made it a great deal longer
than it need to have been, by taking me about in such winding ways."

"It may be so," said the Sphinx, with its mystic smile.

"Well, I am not going to stop here," said the King, "and so I might
as well go back as soon as I can." And he shouted to the head man of
the line to pass on the order that his edict of banishment be

In a very short time the news came that the edict was revoked. The
King then commanded that the procession return home, tail-end
foremost. The march was at once begun, each man, as he reached the
city, going immediately to his home and family.

The King and the greater part of the line had a long and weary
journey, as they followed each other through the country and over the
devious ways in which the Sphinx had led them in the City of Mingled
Sentiments. The King was obliged to pursue all these complicated
turnings, or be separated from his officers, and so break up his
communication with his palace. The Sphinx accompanied him.

When at last, he reached his palace, his line of former followers
having apparently melted entirely away, he hurried up-stairs to the
Queen, leaving the Sphinx in the court-yard.

The King found, when he had time to look into the affairs of his
dominions, that every thing was in the most admirable condition. The
Queen had retained a few of the best officials to carry on the
government, and had ordered the rest to fall, one by one, into the
line of communication. The King set himself to work to think about
the matter. It was not long before he came to the conclusion that the
main thing which had been wrong in his kingdom was himself. He was so
greatly impressed with this idea that he went down to the court-yard
to speak to the Sphinx about it.

"I dare say you are right," said the Sphinx, "and I don't wonder that
what you learned when you were away, and what you have seen since you
came back, have made you feel certain that you were the cause of
every thing going wrong in this kingdom. And now, what do you intend
to do about your government?"

"Give it up," promptly replied the King.

"That is exactly what I should advise," said the Sphinx.

The King did give up his kingdom. He was convinced that being a King
was exactly the thing he was not suited for, and that he would get on
much better in some other business or profession. He determined to be
a traveller and explorer, and to go abroad into other countries to
find out things that might be useful to his own nation. His Queen had
shown that she could govern the country most excellently, and it was
not at all necessary for him to stay at home. She had ordered all the
men who had made up his line to follow the King's example and to go
into some good business; in order that not being bothered with so
many officers, she would be able to get along quite easily.

The King was very successful in his new pursuit, and although he did
not this time have a line of followers connecting him with the
palace, he frequently sent home messages which were of use and value
to his nation.

"I may as well retire," said the Sphinx to itself. "As the King has
found his vocation and every thing is going all right it is not
necessary I should remain where I may be looked upon as a
questionable personage."


* * * * *

There were once a Prince and a Princess who, when quite young, ate a
philopena together. They agreed that the one who, at any hour after
sunrise the next day, should accept any thing from the other--the
giver at the same time saying "Philopena!"--should be the loser, and
that the loser should marry the other.

They did not meet as soon as they had expected the next day; and at
the time our story begins, many years had elapsed since they had seen
each other, and the Prince and the Princess were nearly grown up.
They often thought of the philopena they had eaten together, and
wondered if they should know each other when they met. He remembered
her as a pretty little girl dressed in green silk and playing with a
snow-white cat; while she remembered him as a handsome boy, wearing a
little sword, the handle of which was covered with jewels. But they
knew that each must have changed a great deal in all this time.

Neither of these young people had any parents; the Prince lived with
guardians and the Princess with uncles.

The guardians of the Prince were very enterprising and energetic men,
and were allowed to govern the country until the Prince came of age.
The capital city was a very fine city when the old king died; but the
guardians thought it might be much finer, so they set to work with
all their might and main to improve it. They tore down old houses and
made a great many new streets; they built grand and splendid bridges
over the river on which the city stood; they constructed aqueducts to
bring water from streams many miles away; and they were at work all
the time upon some extensive building enterprise.

The Prince did not take much interest in the works which were going
on under direction of his guardians; and when he rode out, he
preferred to go into the country or to ride through some of the
quaint old streets, where nothing had been changed for hundreds of

The uncles of the Princess were very different people from the
guardians of the Prince. There were three of them, and they were very
quiet and cosey old men, who disliked any kind of bustle or
disturbance, and wished that every thing might remain as they had
always known it. It even worried them a little to find that the
Princess was growing up. They would have much preferred that she
should remain exactly as she was when they first took charge of her.
Then they never would have been obliged to trouble their minds about
any changes in the manner of taking care of her. But they did not
worry their minds very much, after all. They wished to make her
guardianship as little laborious or exhausting as possible, and so,
divided the work; one of them took charge of her education, another
of her food and lodging, and the third of her dress. The first sent
for teachers, and told them to teach her; the second had handsome
apartments prepared for her use, and gave orders that she should have
every thing she needed to eat and drink; while the third commanded
that she should have a complete outfit of new clothes four times a
year. Thus every thing went on very quietly and smoothly; and the
three uncles were not obliged to exhaust themselves by hard work.
There were never any new houses built in that city, and if any thing
had to be repaired, it was done with as little noise and dirt as
possible. The city and the whole kingdom were quiet and serene, and
the three uncles dozed away most of the day in three great
comfortable thrones.

Everybody seemed satisfied with this state of things except the
Princess. She often thought to herself that nothing would be more
delightful than a little noise and motion, and she wondered if the
whole world were as quiet as the city in which she lived. At last,
she became unable to bear the dreadful stillness of the place any
longer; but she could think of nothing to do but to go and try to
find the Prince with whom she had eaten a philopena. If she should
win, he must marry her; and then, perhaps, they could settle down in
some place where things would be bright and lively. So, early one
morning, she put on her white dress, and mounting her prancing black
horse, she rode away from the city. Only one person saw her go, for
nearly all the people were asleep.

About this time, the Prince made up his mind that he could no longer
stand the din and confusion, the everlasting up-setting and
setting-up in his native city. He would go away, and see if he could
find the Princess with whom he had eaten a philopena. If he should
win, she would be obliged to marry him; and then, perhaps, they could
settle down in some place where it was quiet and peaceful. So, on the
same morning in which the Princess rode away, he put on a handsome
suit of black clothes, and mounting a gentle white horse, he rode out
of the city. Only one person saw him go; for, even at that early
hour, the people were so busy that little attention was paid to his

About half way between these two cities, in a tall tower which stood
upon a hill, there lived an Inquisitive Dwarf, whose whole object in
life was to find out what people were doing and why they did it. From
the top of this tower he generally managed to see all that was going
on in the surrounding country; and in each of the two cities that
have been mentioned he had an agent, whose duty it was to send him
word, by means of carrier pigeons, whenever a new thing happened.
Before breakfast, on the morning when the Prince and Princess rode
away, a pigeon from the city of the Prince came flying to the tower
of the Inquisitive Dwarf.

"Some new building started, I suppose," said the Dwarf, as he took
the little roll of paper from under the pigeon's wing. "But no; it is
very different! 'The Prince has ridden away from the city alone, and
is travelling to the north.'"

But before he could begin to puzzle his brains about the meaning of
this departure, another pigeon came flying in from the city of the

"Well!" cried the Dwarf, "this is amazing! It is a long time since I
have had a message from that city, and my agent has been drawing his
salary without doing any work. What possibly can have happened

When he read that the Princess had ridden alone from the city that
morning, and was travelling to the south, he was truly amazed.

"What on earth can it mean?" he exclaimed. "If the city of the Prince
were to the south of that of the Princess, then I might understand
it; for they would be going to see each other, and that would be
natural enough. But as his city is to the north of her city, they are
travelling in opposite directions. And what is the meaning of this? I
most certainly must find out."

The Inquisitive Dwarf had three servants whom he employed to attend
to his most important business. These were a Gryphoness, a Water
Sprite, and an Absolute Fool. This last one was very valuable; for
there were some things he would do which no one else would think of
attempting. The Dwarf called to him the Gryphoness, the oldest and
most discreet of the three, and told her of the departure of the

"Hasten southward," he said, "as fast as you can, and follow her, and
do not return to me until you have found out why she left her city,
where she is going, and what she expects to do when she gets there.
Your appearance may frighten her; and, therefore, you must take with
you the Absolute Fool, to whom she will probably be willing to talk;
but you must see that every thing is managed properly."

Having despatched these two, the Inquisitive Dwarf then called the
Water Sprite, who was singing to herself at the edge of a fountain,
and telling her of the departure of the Prince, ordered her to follow
him, and not to return until she had found out why he left his city,
where he was going, and what he intended to do when he got there.

"The road to the north," he said, "lies along the river bank;
therefore, you can easily keep him company."

The Water Sprite bowed, and dancing over the dewy grass to the river,
threw herself into it. Sometimes she swam beneath the clear water;
sometimes she rose partly in the air, where she seemed like a little
cloud of sparkling mist borne onward by the wind; and sometimes she
floated upon the surface, her pale blue robes undulating with the
gentle waves, while her white hands and feet shone in the sun like
tiny crests of foam. Thus, singing to herself, she went joyously and
rapidly on, aided by a full, strong wind from the south. She did not
forget to glance every now and then upon the road which ran along the
river bank; and, in the course of the morning, she perceived the
Prince. He was sitting in the shade of a tree near the water's edge,
while his white horse was grazing near by.

The Water Sprite came very gently out of the river, and seating
herself upon the edge of the grassy bank, she spoke to him. The
Prince looked up in astonishment, but there was nothing in her
appearance to frighten him.

"I came," said the Water Sprite, "at the command of my master, to ask
you why you left your city, where you are going, and what you intend
to do when you get there."

The Prince then told her why he had left his city, and what he
intended to do when he had found the Princess.

"But where I am going," he said, "I do not know, myself. I must
travel and travel until I succeed in the object of my search."

The Water Sprite reflected for a moment, and then she said:

"If I were you, I would not travel to the north. It is cold and
dreary there, and your Princess would not dwell in such a region. A
little above us, on the other side of this river, there is a stream
which runs sometimes to the east and sometimes to the south, and
which leads to the Land of the Lovely Lakes. This is the most
beautiful country in the world, and you will be much more likely to
find your Princess there than among the desolate mountains of the

"I dare say you are right," said the Prince; "and I will go there, if
you will show me the way."

"The road runs along the bank of the river," said the Water Sprite;
"and we shall soon reach the Land of the Lovely Lakes."

The Prince then mounted his horse, forded the river, and was soon
riding along the bank of the stream, while the Water Sprite gayly
floated upon its dancing ripples.

* * * * *

When the Gryphoness started southward, in pursuit of the Princess,
she kept out of sight among the bushes by the roadside; but sped
swiftly along. The Absolute Fool, however, mounted upon a fine horse,
rode boldly along upon the open road. He was a good-looking youth,
with rosy cheeks, bright eyes, and a handsome figure. As he cantered
gayly along, he felt himself capable of every noble action which the
human mind has ever conceived. The Gryphoness kept near him, and in
the course of the morning they overtook the Princess, who was
allowing her horse to walk in the shade by the roadside. The Absolute
Fool dashed up to her, and, taking off his hat, asked her why she had
left her city, where she was going, and what she intended to do when
she got there.

The Princess looked at him in surprise. "I left my city because I
wanted to," she said. "I am going about my business, and when I get
to the proper place, I shall attend to it."

"Oh," said the Absolute Fool, "you refuse me your confidence, do you?
But allow me to remark that I have a Gryphoness with me who is very
frightful to look at, and whom it was my intention to keep in the
bushes; but if you will not give fair answers to my questions, she
must come out and talk to you, and that is all there is about it."

"If there is a Gryphoness in the bushes," said the Princess, "let her
come out. No matter how frightful she is, I would rather she should
come where I can see her, than to have her hiding near me."

The Gryphoness, who had heard these words, now came out into the
road. The horse of the Princess reared in affright, but his young
rider patted him on the neck, and quieted his fears.

"What do you and this young man want?" said the Princess to the
Gryphoness, "and why do you question me?"

"It is not of our own will that we do it," said the Gryphoness, very
respectfully; "but our master, the Inquisitive Dwarf, has sent us to
obtain information about the points on which the young man questioned
you; and until we have found out these things, it is impossible for
us to return."

"I am opposed to answering impertinent questions," replied the
Princess; "but in order to rid myself of you, I will tell you the
reason of my journey." And she then stated briefly the facts of the

"Ah, me!" said the Gryphoness. "I am very sorry; but you cannot tell
us where you are going, and we cannot return until we know that. But
you need not desire to be rid of us, for it may be that we can assist
you in the object of your journey. This young man is sometimes very
useful, and I shall be glad to do any thing that I can to help you.
If you should think that I would injure you, or willingly annoy you
by my presence, it would grieve me to the heart." And as she spoke, a
tear bedimmed her eye.

The Princess was touched by the emotion of the Gryphoness.

"You may accompany me," she said, "and I will trust you both. You
must know this country better than I do. Have you any advice to give
me in regard to my journey?"

"One thing I would strongly advise," said the Gryphoness, "and that
is, that you do not travel any farther until we know in what
direction it will be best to go. There is an inn close by, kept by a
worthy woman. If you will stop there until to-morrow, this young man
and I will scour the country round about, and try to find some news
of your Prince. The young man will return and report to you to-morrow
morning. And if you should need help, or escort, he will aid and obey
you as your servant. As for me, unless we have found the Prince, I
shall continue searching for him. There is a prince in the city to
the north of my master's tower, and it is not unlikely that it is he
whom you seek."

"You can find out if it is he," answered the Princess, "by asking
about the philopena."

"That will I do," said the Gryphoness, "and I will return hither as
speedily as possible." And, with a respectful salutation, the
Gryphoness and the Absolute Fool departed by different ways.

The Princess then repaired to the inn, where she took lodgings.

The next morning, the Absolute Fool came back to the inn, and seeing
the Princess, said: "I rode until after night-fall, searching for the
Prince, before it occurred to me that, even if I should find him, I
would not know him in the dark. As soon as I thought of that, I rode
straight to the nearest house, and slept until daybreak, when I
remembered that I was to report to you this morning. But as I have
heard no news of the Prince, and as this is a beautiful, clear day, I
think it would be extremely foolish to remain idly here, where there
is nothing of interest going on, and when a single hour's delay may
cause you to miss the object of your search. The Prince may be in one
place this morning, and there is no knowing where he will be in the
afternoon. While the Gryphoness is searching, we should search also.
We can return before sunset, and we will leave word here as to the
direction we have taken, so that when she returns, she can quickly
overtake us. It is my opinion that not a moment should be lost. I
will be your guide. I know this country well."

The Princess thought this sounded like good reasoning, and consented
to set out. There were some beautiful mountains to the south-east;
and among these, the Absolute Fool declared, a prince of good taste
would be very apt to dwell. They, therefore, took this direction. But
when they had travelled an hour or more, the mountains began to look
bare and bleak, and the Absolute Fool declared that he did not
believe any prince would live there. He therefore advised that they
turn into a road that led to the north-east. It was a good road; and
therefore he thought it led to a good place, where a person of good
sense would be likely to reside. Along this road they therefore
travelled. They had ridden but a few miles when they met three men,
well armed and mounted. These men drew up their horses, and
respectfully saluted the Princess.

"High-born Lady," they said, "for by your aspect we know you to be
such, we would inform you that we are the soldiers of the King, the
outskirts of whose dominions you have reached. It is our duty to
question all travellers, and, if their object in coming to our
country is a good one, to give them whatever assistance and
information they may require. Will you tell us why you are come?"

"Impertinent vassals!" cried the Absolute Fool, riding up in a great
passion. "How dare you interfere with a princess who has left her
city because it was so dull and stupid, and is endeavoring to find a
prince, with whom she has eaten a philopena, in order that she may
marry him. Out of my way, or I will draw my sword and cleave you to
the earth, and thus punish your unwarrantable curiosity!"

The soldiers could not repress a smile.

"In order to prevent mischief," they said to the Absolute Fool, "we
shall be obliged to take you into custody."

This they immediately did, and then requested the Princess to
accompany them to the palace of their King, where she would receive
hospitality and aid.

The King welcomed the Princess with great cordiality. He had no son,
and he much wished he had one; for in that case it might be his
Prince for whom the young lady was looking. But there was a prince,
he said, who lived in a city to the north, who was probably the very
man; and he would send and make inquiries. In the mean time, the
Princess would be entertained by himself and his Queen; and, if her
servant would make a suitable apology, his violent language would be
pardoned. But the Absolute Fool positively refused to do this.

"I never apologize," he cried. "No man of spirit would do such a
thing. What I say, I stand by."

"Very well," said the King; "then you shall fight a wild beast." And
he gave orders that the affair should be arranged for the following

In a short time, however, some of his officers came to him and told
him that there were no wild beasts; those on hand having been kept so
long that they had become tame.

"To be sure, there's the old lion, Sardon," they said; "but he is so
dreadfully cross and has had so much experience in these fights, that
for a long time it has not been considered fair to allow any one to
enter the ring with him."

"It is a pity," said the King, "to make the young man fight a tame
beast; but, under the circumstances, the best thing to do will be to
represent the case to him, just as it is. Tell him we are sorry we
have not an ordinary wild beast; but that he can take his choice
between a tame one and the lion Sardon, whose disposition and
experience you will explain to him."

When the matter was stated to the Absolute Fool, he refused with
great scorn to fight a tame beast.

"I will not be degraded in the eyes of the public," he said; "I will
take the old lion."

The next day, the court and the public assembled to see the fight;
but the Queen and our Princess took a ride into the country, not
wishing to witness a combat of this kind, especially one which was so
unequal. The King ordered that every advantage should be given to the
young man, in order that he might have every possible chance of
success in fighting an animal which had been a victor on so many
similar occasions. A large iron cage, furnished with a turnstile,
into which the Absolute Fool could retire for rest and refreshment,
but where the lion could not follow him, was placed in the middle of
the arena, and the youth was supplied with all the weapons he
desired. When every thing was ready, the Absolute Fool took his stand
in the centre of the arena, and the door of the lion's den was
opened. The great beast came out, he looked about for an instant, and
then, with majestic step, advanced toward the young man. When he was
within a few paces of him, he crouched for a spring.

The Absolute Fool had never seen so magnificent a creature, and he
could not restrain his admiration. With folded arms and sparkling
eyes, he gazed with delight upon the lion's massive head, his long
and flowing mane, his magnificent muscles, and his powerful feet and
legs. There was an air of grandeur and strength about him which
completely enraptured the youth. Approaching the lion, he knelt
before him, and gazed with wondering ecstasy into his great, glowing
eyes. "What glorious orbs!" he inwardly exclaimed. "What unfathomable
expression! What possibilities! What reminiscences! And everywhere,
what majesty of curve!"

The lion was a good deal astonished at the conduct of the young man;
and he soon began to suppose that this was not the person he was to
fight, but probably a keeper, who was examining into his condition.
After submitting to this scrutiny a few minutes, he gave a mighty
yawn, which startled the spectators, but which delighted the Absolute
Fool; for never before had he beheld such a depth of potentiality. He
knelt in silent delight at this exhibition of the beauty of strength.

Old Sardon soon became tired of all this, however, and he turned and
walked back to his den. "When their man is ready," he thought to
himself, "I will come out and fight him."

One tremendous shout now arose from the multitude. "The youth has
conquered!" they cried. "He has actually frightened the lion back
into his den!" Rushing into the arena, they raised the Absolute Fool
upon their shoulders and carried him in triumph to the open square in
front of the palace, that he might be rewarded for his bravery. Here
the King, followed by his court, quickly appeared; for he was as much
delighted as any one at the victory of the young man.

"Noble youth," he exclaimed, "you are the bravest of the brave. You
are the only man I know who is worthy of our royal daughter, and you
shall marry her forthwith. Long since, I vowed that only with the
bravest should she wed."

At this moment, the Queen and the Princess, returning from their
ride, heard with joy the result of the combat; and riding up to the
victor, the Queen declared that she would gladly join with her royal
husband in giving their daughter to so brave a man.

The Absolute Fool stood for a moment in silent thought; then,
addressing the King, he said:

"Was Your Majesty's father a king?"

"He was," was the answer.

"Was his father of royal blood?"

"No; he was not," replied the King. "My grandfather was a man of the
people; but his pre-eminent virtue, his great ability as a statesman,
and the dignity and nobility of his character made him the unanimous
choice of the nation as its sovereign."

"I am sorry to hear that," said the Absolute Fool; "for it makes it
necessary for me to decline the kind offer of your daughter in
marriage. If I marry a princess at all, she must be one who can trace
back her lineage through a long line of royal ancestors." And as he
spoke, his breast swelled with manly pride.

For a moment, the King was dumb with rage. Then loudly he shouted:
"Ho, guards! Annihilate him! Avenge this insult!"

At these words, the sword of every by-stander leaped from its
scabbard; but, before any one could take a step forward, the Princess
seized the Absolute Fool by his long and flowing locks, and put spurs
to her horse. The young man yelled with pain, and shouted to
her to let go; but she held firmly to his hair, and as he was
extraordinarily active and fleet of foot, he kept pace with the
galloping horse. A great crowd of people started in pursuit, but as
none of them were mounted, they were soon left behind.

"Let go my hair! Let go my hair!" shouted the Absolute Fool, as he
bounded along. "You don't know how it hurts. Let go! Let go!"

But the Princess never relinquished her hold until they were out of
the King's domain.

"A little more," cried the indignant youth, when she let him go, "and
you would have pulled out a handful of my hair."

"A little less," said the Princess, contemptuously, "and you would
have been cut to pieces; for you have not sense enough to take care
of yourself. I am sorry I listened to you, and left the inn to which
the Gryphoness took me. It would have been far better to wait there
for her as she told me to do."

"Yes," said the Absolute Fool; "it would have been much better."

"Now," said the Princess, "we will go back there, and see if she has

"If we can find it," said the other, "which I very much doubt."

There were several roads at this point and, of course, they took the
wrong one. As they went on, the Absolute Fool complained bitterly
that he had left his horse behind him, and was obliged to walk.
Sometimes he stopped, and said he would go back after it; but this
the Princess sternly forbade.

* * * * *

When the Gryphoness reached the city of the Prince, it was night; but
she was not sorry for this. She did not like to show herself much in
the daytime, because so many people were frightened by her. After a
good deal of trouble, she discovered that the Prince had certainly
left the city, although his guardians did not seem to be aware of it.
They were so busy with a new palace, in part of which they were
living, that they could not be expected to keep a constant eye upon
him. In the morning, she met an old man who knew her, and was not
afraid of her, and who told her that the day before, when he was up
the river, he had seen the Prince on his white horse, riding on the
bank of the stream; and that near him, in the water, was something
which now looked like a woman, and again like a puff of mist. The
Gryphoness reflected.

"If this Prince has gone off in that way," she said to herself, "I
believe that he is the very one whom the Princess is looking for, and
that he has set out in search of her; and that creature in the water
must be our Water Sprite, whom our master has probably sent out to
discover where the Prince is going. If he had told me about this, it
would have saved much trouble. From the direction in which they were
going, I feel sure that the Water Sprite was taking the Prince to the
Land of the Lovely Lakes. She never fails to go there, if she can
possibly get an excuse. I will follow them. I suppose the Princess
will be tired, waiting at the inn; but I must know where the Prince
is, and if he is really her Prince, before I go back to her."

When the Gryphoness reached the Land of the Lovely Lakes, she
wandered all that day and the next night; but she saw nothing of
those for whom she was looking.

The Princess and the Absolute Fool journeyed on until near the close
of the afternoon, when the sky began to be overcast, and it looked
like rain. They were then not far from a large piece of water; and at
a little distance, they saw a ship moored near the shore.

"I shall seek shelter on board that ship," said the Princess.

"It is going to storm," remarked the Absolute Fool. "I should prefer
to be on dry land."

"As the land is not likely to be very dry when it rains," said the
Princess, "I prefer a shelter, even if it is upon wet water."

"Women will always have their own way," muttered the Absolute Fool.

The ship belonged to a crew of Amazon sailors, who gave the Princess
a hearty welcome.

"You may go on board if you choose," said the Absolute Fool to the
Princess, "but I shall not risk my life in a ship manned by women."

"It is well that you are of that opinion," said the Captain of the
Amazons, who had heard this remark; "for you would not be allowed to
come on board if you wished to. But we will give you a tent to
protect you and the horse in case it should rain, and will send you
something to eat."

"While the Princess was taking tea with the Amazon Captain, she told
her about the Prince, and how she was trying to find him.

"Good!" cried the Captain. "I will join in the search, and take you
in my ship. Some of my crew told me that yesterday they saw a young
man, who looked like a prince, riding along the shore of a lake which
adjoins the one we are on. In the morning we will sail after him. We
shall keep near the shore, and your servant can mount your horse and
ride along the edge of the lake. From what I know of the speed of
this vessel, I think he can easily keep up with us."

Early in the morning, the Amazon Captain called her crew together.
"Hurrah, my brave girls!" she said. "We have an object. I never sail
without an object, and it lights me to get one. The purpose of our
present cruise is to find the Prince of whom this Princess is in
search; and we must spare no pains to bring him to her, dead or

Luckily for her peace of mind, the Princess did not hear this speech.
The day was a fine one, and before long the sun became very hot. The
ship was sailing quite near the land, when the Absolute Fool rode
down to the water's edge, and called out that he had something very
important to communicate to the Princess. As he was not allowed to
come on board, she was obliged to go on shore, to which she was rowed
in a small boat.

"I have been thinking," said the Absolute Fool, "that it is perfectly
ridiculous, and very uncomfortable, to continue this search any
longer. I would go back, but my master would not suffer me to return
without knowing where you are going. I have, therefore, a plan to
propose. Give up your useless search for this Prince, who is probably
not nearly so handsome and intellectual as I am, and marry me. We
will then return, and I will assume the reins of government in your

"Follow the vessel," said the Princess, "as you have been doing; for
I wish some one to take care of my horse." And without another word,
she returned to the ship.

"I should like to sail as far as possible from shore during the rest
of the trip," said she to the Captain.

"Put the helm bias!" shouted the Amazon Captain to the steers-woman;
"and keep him well out from land."

When they had sailed through a small stream into the lake adjoining,
the out-look, who was swinging in a hammock hung between the tops of
the two masts, sang out, "Prince ahead!" Instantly all was activity
on board the vessel. Story books were tucked under coils of rope,
hem-stitching and embroidery were laid aside, and every woman was at
her post.

"The Princess is taking a nap," said the Captain, "and we will not
awaken her. It will be so nice to surprise her by bringing the Prince
to her. We will run our vessel ashore, and then steal quietly upon
him. But do not let him get away. Cut him down, if he resists!"

The Prince, who was plainly visible only a short distance ahead, was
so pleasantly employed that he had not noticed the approach of the
ship. He was sitting upon a low, moss-covered rock, close to the
water's edge; and with a small hand-net, which he had found on the
shore, he was scooping the most beautiful fishes from the lake,
holding them up in the sunlight to admire their brilliant colors and
graceful forms, and then returning them uninjured to the water. The
Water Sprite was swimming near him, and calling to the fish to come
up and be caught; for the gentle Prince would not hurt them. It was
very delightful and rare sport, and it is not surprising that it
entirely engrossed the attention of the Prince. The Amazons silently
landed, and softly stole along the shore, a little back from the
water. Then, at their Captain's command, they rushed upon the Prince.

It was just about this time that the Gryphoness, who had been
searching for the Prince, caught her first sight of him. Perceiving
that he was about to be attacked, she rushed to his aid. The Amazon
sailors reached him before she did, and seizing upon him they began
to pull him away. The Prince resisted stoutly; but seeing that his
assailants were women, he would not draw his sword. The Amazon
Captain and mate, who were armed with broad knives, now raised their
weapons, and called upon the Prince to surrender or die. But at this
moment, the Gryphoness reached the spot, and catching the Captain and
mate, each by an arm, she dragged them back from the Prince. The
other Amazons, however, continued the combat; and the Prince defended
himself by pushing them into the shallow water, where the Water
Sprite nearly stifled them by throwing over them showers of spray.
And now came riding up the Absolute Fool. Seeing a youth engaged in
combat with the Amazon sailors, his blood boiled with indignation.

"A man fighting women!" he exclaimed. "What a coward! My arm shall
ever assist the weaker sex."

Jumping from the horse, he drew his sword, and rushed upon the
Prince. The Gryphoness saw the danger of the latter, and she would
have gone to his assistance, but she was afraid to loosen her hold of
the Amazon Captain and mate.

Spreading her wings she flew to the top of a tree where she deposited
the two warlike women upon a lofty branch, from which she knew it
would take them a long time to get down to the ground. When she
descended she found that the Absolute Fool had reached the Prince.
The latter, being a brave fellow, although of so gentle a
disposition, had been glad to find a man among his assailants, and
had drawn his sword to defend himself. The two had just begun to
fight when the Gryphoness seized the Absolute Fool by the waist and
hurled him backward into some bushes.

"You must not fight him!" she cried to the Prince. "He is beneath
your rank! And as you will not draw your sword against these Amazons
you must fly from them. If you run fast they cannot overtake you."

The Prince followed her advice, and sheathing his sword he rapidly
ran along the bank, followed by some of the Amazons who had succeeded
in getting the water out of their eyes and mouths.

"Run from women!" contemptuously remarked the Absolute Fool. "If you
had not interfered with me," he said to the Gryphoness, "I should
soon have put an end to such a coward."

The Prince had nearly reached the place opposite to which the ship
was moored, when the Princess, who had been awakened by the noise of
the combat, appeared upon the deck of the vessel. The moment she saw
the Prince, she felt convinced that he was certainly the one for whom
she was looking. Fearing that the pursuing Amazons might kill him,
she sprang from the vessel to his assistance; but her foot caught in
a rope, and instead of reaching the shore, she fell into the water,
which was here quite deep, and immediately sank out of sight. The
Prince, who had noticed her just as she sprang, and who felt equally
convinced that she was the one for whom he was searching, stopped his
flight and rushed to the edge of the bank. Just as the Princess rose
to the surface, he reached out his hand to her, and she took it.

"Philopena!" cried the Prince.

"You have won," said the Princess, gayly shaking the water from her
curls, as he drew her ashore.

At the request of the Princess, the pursuing Amazons forbore to
assail the Prince, and when the Captain and the Mate had descended
from the tree, every thing was explained.

Within an hour, the Prince and Princess, after taking kind leave of
the Gryphoness, and Water Sprite, and of the Amazon sailors, who
cheered them loudly, rode away to the city of the Princess; while the
three servants of the Inquisitive Dwarf returned to their master to
report what had happened.

The Absolute Fool was in a very bad humor; for he was obliged to go
back on foot, having left his horse in the kingdom where he had so
narrowly escaped being killed; and, besides this, he had had his hair
pulled; and had not been treated with proper respect by either the
Princess or the Gryphoness. He felt himself deeply injured. When he
reached home, he determined that he would not remain in a position
where his great abilities were so little appreciated. "I will do
something," he said, "which shall prove to the world that I deserve
to stand among the truly great. I will reform my fellow beings, and I
will begin by reforming the Inquisitive Dwarf." Thereupon he went to
his master, and said:

"Sir, it is foolish and absurd for you to be meddling thus with the
affairs of your neighbors. Give up your inquisitive habits, and learn
some useful business. While you are doing this, I will consent to
manage your affairs."

The Inquisitive Dwarf turned to him, and said: "I have a great desire
to know the exact appearance of the North Pole. Go and discover it
for me."

The Absolute Fool departed on this mission, and has not yet returned.

When the Princess, with her Prince, reached her city, her uncles were
very much amazed; for they had not known she had gone away. "If you
are going to get married," they said, "we are very glad; for then you
will not need our care, and we shall be free from the great
responsibility which is bearing us down."

In a short time the wedding took place, and then the question arose
in which city should the young couple dwell. The Princess decided it.

"In the winter," she said to the Prince, "We will live in your city,
where all is life and activity; and where the houses are so well
built with all the latest improvements. In the summer, we will come
to my city, where everything is old, and shady, and serene." This
they did, and were very happy.

The Gryphoness would have been glad to go and live with the Princess,
for she had taken a great fancy to her; but she did not think it
worth her while to ask permission to do this.

"My impulses, I know, are good," she said; "but my appearance is
against me."

As for the Water Sprite, she was in a truly disconsolate mood,
because she had left so soon the Land of the Lovely Lakes, where she
had been so happy. The more she thought about it, the more she
grieved; and one morning, unable to bear her sorrow longer, she
sprang into the great jet of the fountain. High into the bright air
the fountain threw her, scattering her into a thousand drops of
glittering water; but not one drop fell back into the basin. The
great, warm sun drew them up; and, in a little white cloud, they
floated away across the bright blue sky.



"In 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' we gain another charming child to add to
our gallery of juvenile heroes and heroines; one who teaches a great
lesson with such truth and sweetness that we part with him with real
regret when the episode is over."--Louisa M. Alcott.

* * * * *



Beautifully illustrated by R. B. Birch. One volume, square 8vo,
handsomely bound. $2.00.

In "Little Lord Fauntleroy" the author of "That Lass o' Lowrie's" has
given us a book which is absolutely certain to become one of the few
real classics in the literature for children. She has presented a
picture of child-life such as we have never had before; she has not
only taken a subject quite new but she has written with such
exquisite delicacy and sweetness the story of the little American
boy's career that even were the situations old the story would be a
notable one.

"Little Lord Fauntleroy," though a book for children, is certainly
not a "juvenile" in the common use of the word, paradoxical as the
statement may seem. The hero is a manly little fellow, a child, but
with all the elements of a man. Mrs. Burnett has made Lord Fauntleroy
a thoughtful boy, and she is right in believing that the stories
children like best are those best worth thinking about when they are
being read.


* * * * *

HANS BRINKER; or, The Silver Skates.



One volume, 12mo, with sixty beautiful illustrations. $1.50.

The cordial appreciation with which "Hans Brinker" was first received
has increased from year to year, until the original plates have
become badly worn from constant use. The publishers have therefore
reissued at half its original price their beautiful Holiday Edition,
of which on its first appearance the Nation said: "We some time ago
expressed our opinion that Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge's delightful
children's story called 'Hans Brinker; or, The Silver Skates'
deserved an entirely new dress, with illustrations made in Holland
instead of America. The publishers have just issued an edition in
accordance with this suggestion. The pictures are admirable, and the
whole volume, in appearance and contents, need not fear comparison
with any juvenile publication of the year or of many years."



With many illustrations of the Government Buildings, Halls of
Congress, etc., etc.

One volume, square 8vo. $2.50.

The author of this book was for four years connected with the
legislative branch of our Government, in the capacity of a Senatorial
page. His record of the memorable scenes and events which came under
his observation is enlivened by anecdotes of public men, humorous and
exciting episodes at the national capitol, and a great variety of
stirring incidents.




With many illustrations and maps. One volume, 12mo. $1.50.

In his preface the author says: "To enhance the interest of this
story, emphasis has been given to everything that went to make up the
home-life of the pioneer settlers, or that relates to their various
avocations." In all history no better examples of manliness, energy,
and conscientiousness could be found, to be read about and studied by
a child whose character is just forming. The story is told in such a
vivid way that it is as interesting and absorbing as a romance.



With many quaint illustrations by MISS ROSINA EMMET.

One volume, square 16mo. $1.00.

"The little ones, who so willingly go back with us to 'Jack the
Giant-Killer,' 'Blue-beard,' and the kindred stories of our
childhood, will gladly welcome Mrs. Burton Harrison's 'Old-Fashioned
Fairy Tales,' where the giant, the dwarf, the fairy, the wicked
princess, the ogre, the metamorphosed prince, and all the heroes of
that line come into play and action. ...The graceful pencil of Miss
Rosina Emmet has given a pictorial interest to the book, and the many
pictures scattered through its pages accord well with the good
old-fashioned character of the tales."--Frank R. Stockton.



Illustrated and Cover designed by WALTER CRANE. One volume, 12mo.

"Upon the whole it is to be wished that every boy and girl in
America, or anywhere else, might become intimately acquainted with
the contents of this book. There is more virtue in one of
these stories than in the entire library of modern juvenile
literature."--Julian Hawthorne.

Of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire.

Written and Illustrated by HOWARD PYLE.

One volume, quarto, $3.00.

"The Prince of Story-Tellers."--London Times.

* * * * *


Uniform illustrated edition. Nine vols., 8vo, extra cloth, with over
750 full-page illustrations. Price, per set, in a box, $17.50. Sold
also in separate volumes.

The most impossible stories of this imaginative writer are told in
such a realistic manner and with so much scientific knowledge
ingeniously wrought into them that they possess a fascination that is
all their own. Their great and continued popularity, among both old
and young, has led to the publication of this new edition in which
all the numerous illustrations of the French edition are retained,
and the volumes are issued in a uniform and attractive binding.

Michael Strogoff; or, The Courier of the Czar..................$2 00
A Floating City and the Blockade Runners....................... 2 00
Hector Servadac................................................ 2 00
Dick Sands..................................................... 2 00
A Journey to the Center of the Earth........................... 2 00
From the Earth to the Moon Direct in Ninety-seven Hours, Twenty
Minutes; and a Journey Around It............................ 2 00
The Steam House. Part I.--The Demon of Cawnpore.
Part II.--Tigers and Traitors. Complete in one volume....... 2 00
The Giant Raft. Part I.--Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon.
Part II.--The Cryptogram. Complete in one volume............ 2 00
The Mysterious Island. Part I.--Dropped from the Clouds.
Part II.--Abandoned. Part III.--The Secret of the Island.
The complete work in one volume, with 150 illustrations..... 2 50


* * * * *


Intelligence of Animals--Mountain Adventures--Bodily Strength and
Skill--Wonderful Escapes--Thunder and Lightning--Adventures on the
Great Hunting Grounds--Wonders of the Human Body--The Sublime in


Wonders of Heat--Wonders of the Heavens--Wonders of Optics--The
Sun--Wonders of Acoustics--Wonders of Water--Wonders of the
Moon--Meteors, Aerolites, Storms, and Atmospheric Phenomena.


Egypt 3,300 Years Ago--Wonders of Sculpture--Wonders of Glass
Making--Wonders of European Art--Wonders of Pompeii--Wonders of
Architecture--The Wonders of Italian Art--The Wonders of Engraving.

Twenty-four volumes, containing aver a thousand valuable

Each set, 8 volumes, in a box, $8.00.

Each volume, 12mo, complete in itself. Sold separately at $1.00 per



With twelve full-page illustrations from drawings by J. STEEPLE
DAVIS. One volume, 12mo. $1.50.

"The 'Stories of American Progress' contain a series of pictures of
events of the first half of the present century, and the scope of the
book comprehends all the prominent steps by which we have reached our
present position both as regards extent of country and industrial
prosperity. They include an account of the first Steamboat, the
Railroad, and the Telegraph, as well as of the Purchase of Florida,
the War of 1812, and the Discovery of Gold. It will be found that no
event of importance has been omitted, and any child fond of
story-telling will gain from this book an amount of knowledge which
may far exceed that which is usually acquired from the rigid
instruction of the school-room."



With twelve full-page illustrations from drawings by J. STEEPLE
DAVIS. One volume, 12mo. $1.50.

* * * * *


A Popular History of the Elephant and Its Allies.


Square 8vo, with twenty-four full-page illustrations. $2.00.

The wonderfully interesting array of facts which Mr. Holder brought
together in his "Marvels of Animal Life" was the fruit very largely
of his personal observations. It forms one of the most stimulating
and delightful contributions to the class of Natural History books
for the young that has ever been made, and was a fitting forerunner
to "The Ivory King," which is devoted entirely to the Elephant, and
has even a more vivid fascination than the first named volume. The
summary of its contents includes the Natural History of the Elephant,
its habits and ways and its intelligence, the Mammoth Three and Four
Tusked Elephants, Hunting and Capturing Wild Elephants, the Elephant
in Captivity, Rogue Elephants, the White Elephant, Trained Elephants,
Show Elephants, Ivory, War Elephants, etc., etc. The numerous
illustrations are especially excellent, being drawn from a great
variety of sources.

It would be hard to name a book which would be a more welcome and
valued addition to the library of the average boy or girl just
beginning to cultivate a love of reading and an interest in the world
around them.



Square 8vo, with thirty-two full-page illustrations. $2.00.

* * * * *



Library of Legend and Chivalry.


And richly illustrated by FREDERICKS, BENSELL, and KAPPES.

* * * * *


Four volumes, cloth, uniform binding. Price per set $7.00. Sold
separately. Price per volume $2.00.

* * * * *

"Amid all the strange and fanciful scenery of these stories,
character and the ideals of character remain at the simplest and the
purest. The romantic history transpires in the healthy atmosphere of
the open air, on the green earth beneath the open sky.... The figures
of Right, Truth, Justice, Honor, Purity, Courage, Reverence for Law,
are always in the background; and the grand passion inspired by the
book is for strength to do well and nobly in the world."--The

* * * * *

Library of Pluck and Action.

A JOLLY FELLOWSHIP, By Frank R. Stockton.
HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES. A story of life in Holland. By
Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge.
PHAETON ROGERS, By Rossiter Johnson.

Four volumes, 12mo, in a box, illustrated, $5.00. Sold separately,
price per volume $1.50.

In the "Boy's Library of Pluck and Action," the design was to bring
together the representative and most popular books of four of the
best known writers for young people. The names of Mary Mapes Dodge,
Frank R. Stockton, Noah Brooks, and Rossiter Johnson are familiar
ones in every household, and a set of books, to which each has
contributed one, forms a present that will delight the heart of every
boy who likes manly, spirited, and amusing tales. The volumes are
beautifully illustrated and uniformly bound in a most attractive


* * * * *
The great legend of the Nibelungen told to boys and girls.
* * * * *



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