The Scarecrow of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Part 1 out of 4
THE SCARECROW of OZ
"The uplifters" of Los Angeles, California, in
grateful appreciation of the pleasure I have derived
from association with them, and in recognition of
their sincere endeavor to uplift humanity through
kindness, consideration and good-fellowship. They are
big men--all of them--and all with the generous
hearts of little children.
L. Frank Baum
THE SCARECROW of OZ
by L. Frank Baum
"TWIXT YOU AND ME
The Army of Children which besieged the Postoffice,
conquered the Postmen and delivered to me its imperious
Commands, insisted that Trot and Cap'n Bill be admitted
to the Land of Oz, where Trot could enjoy the society
of Dorothy, Betsy Bobbin and Ozma, while the one-
legged sailor-man might become a comrade of the Tin
Woodman, the Shaggy Man, Tik-Tok and all the other
quaint people who inhabit this wonderful fairyland.
It was no easy task to obey this order and land Trot
and Cap'n Bill safely in Oz, as you will discover by
reading this book. Indeed, it required the best efforts
of our dear old friend, the Scarecrow, to save them
from a dreadful fate on the journey; but the story
leaves them happily located in Ozma's splendid palace
and Dorothy has promised me that Button-Bright and the
three girls are sure to encounter, in the near future,
some marvelous adventures in the Land of Oz, which I
hope to be permitted to relate to you in the next Oz
Meantime, I am deeply grateful to my little readers
for their continued enthusiasm over the Oz stories, as
evinced in the many letters they send me, all of which
are lovingly cherished. It takes more and more Oz Books
every year to satisfy the demands of old and new
readers, and there have been formed many "Oz Reading
Societies," where the Oz Books owned by different
members are read aloud. All this is very gratifying to
me and encourages me to write more stories. When the
children have had enough of them, I hope they will let
me know, and then I'll try to write something
L. Frank Baum
"Royal Historian of Oz."
in CALIFORNIA, 1915.
LIST OF CHAPTERS
1 - The Great Whirlpool
2 - The Cavern Under the Sea
3 - Daylight at Last:
4 - The Little Old Man of the Island
5 - The Flight of the Midgets
6 - The Dumpy Man
7 - Button-Bright is Lost, and Found Again
8 - The Kingdom of Jinxland
9 - Pan, the Gardener's Boy
10 - The Wicked King and Googly-Goo
11 - The Wooden-Legged Grasshopper
12 - Glinda the Good and the Scarecrow of Oz
13 - The Frozen Heart
14 - Trot Meets the Scarecrow
15 - Pon Summons the King to Surrender
16 - The Ork Rescues Button-Bright
17 - The Scarecrow Meets an Enemy
18 - The Conquest of the Witch
19 - Queen Gloria
20 - Dorothy, Betsy and Ozma
21 - The Waterfall
22 - The Land of Oz
23 - The Royal Reception
The Great Whirlpool
"Seems to me," said Cap'n Bill, as he sat beside Trot
under the big acacia tree, looking out over the blue
ocean, "seems to me, Trot, as how the more we know, the
more we find we don't know."
"I can't quite make that out, Cap'n Bill," answered
the little girl in a serious voice, after a moment's
thought, during which her eyes followed those of the
old sailor-man across the glassy surface of the sea.
"Seems to me that all we learn is jus' so much gained."
"I know; it looks that way at first sight," said the
sailor, nodding his head; "but those as knows the least
have a habit of thinkin' they know all there is to
know, while them as knows the most admits what a
turr'ble big world this is. It's the knowing ones that
realize one lifetime ain't long enough to git more'n a
few dips o' the oars of knowledge."
Trot didn't answer. She was a very little girl, with
big, solemn eyes and an earnest, simple manner.
Cap'n Bill had been her faithful companion for years
and had taught her almost everything she knew.
He was a wonderful man, this Cap'n Bill. Not so
very old, although his hair was grizzled -- what there
was of it. Most of his head was bald as an egg and
as shiny as oilcloth, and this made his big ears stick
out in a funny way. His eyes had a gentle look and
were pale blue in color, and his round face was rugged
and bronzed. Cap'n Bill's left leg was missing, from
the knee down, and that was why the sailor no longer
sailed the seas. The wooden leg he wore was good
enough to stump around with on land, or even to take
Trot out for a row or a sail on the ocean, but when it
came to "runnin' up aloft" or performing active
duties on shipboard, the old sailor was not equal to
the task. The loss of his leg had ruined his career
and the old sailor found comfort in devoting himself
to the education and companionship of the little girl.
The accident to Cap'n Bill's leg bad happened at
about the time Trot was born, and ever since that he
had lived with Trot's mother as "a star boarder,"
having enough money saved up to pay for his weekly
"keep." He loved the baby and often held her on
his lap; her first ride was on Cap'n Bill's shoulders,
for she had no baby-carriage; and when she began
to toddle around, the child and the sailor became
close comrades and enjoyed many strange adventures
together. It is said the fairies had been present at
Trot's birth and had marked her forehead with their
invisible mystic signs, so that she was able to see and
do many wonderful things.
The acacia tree was on top of a high bluff, but a
path ran down the bank in a zigzag way to the water's
edge, where Cap'n Bill's boat was moored to a rock
by means of a stout cable. It had been a hot, sultry
afternoon, with scarcely a breath of air stirring, so
Cap'n Bill and Trot had been quietly sitting beneath
the shade of the tree, waiting for the sun to get low
enough for them to take a row.
They had decided to visit one of the great caves
which the waves had washed out of the rocky coast
during many years of steady effort. The caves were
a source of continual delight to both the girl and the
sailor, who loved to explore their awesome depths.
"I b'lieve, Cap'n," remarked Trot, at last, "that
it's time for us to start."
The old man cast a shrewd glance at the sky, the
sea and the motionless boat. Then he shook his head.
"Mebbe it's time, Trot," he answered, "but I don't
jes' like the looks o' things this afternoon."
"What's wrong?" she asked wonderingly.
"Can't say as to that. Things is too quiet to suit
me, that's all. No breeze, not a ripple a-top the water,
nary a gull a-flyin' anywhere, an' the end o' the hottest
day o' the year. I ain't no weather-prophet, Trot, but
any sailor would know the signs is ominous."
"There's nothing wrong that I can see," said Trot.
"If there was a cloud in the sky even as big as my
thumb, we might worry about it; but -- look, Cap'n! --
the sky is as clear as can be."
He looked again and nodded.
"P'r'aps we can make the cave, all right," he agreed,
not wishing to disappoint her. "It's only a little way
out, an' we'll be on the watch; so come along, Trot."
Together they descended the winding path to the
beach. It was no trouble for the girl to keep her
footing on the steep way, but Cap'n Bill, because of
his wooden leg, had to hold on to rocks and roots now
and then to save himself from tumbling. On a level path
he was as spry as anyone, but to climb up hill or down
required some care.
They reached the boat safely and while Trot was
untying the rope Cap'n Bill reached into a crevice of
the rock and drew out several tallow candles and a box
of wax matches, which he thrust into the capacious
pockets of his "sou'wester." This sou'wester was a
short coat of oilskin which the old sailor wore on all
occasions -- when he wore a coat at all -- and the
pockets always contained a variety of objects, useful
and ornamental, which made even Trot wonder where they
all came from and why Cap'n Bill should treasure them.
The jackknives -- a big one and a little one -- the bits
of cord, the fishhooks, the nails: these were handy to
have on certain occasions. But bits of shell, and tin
boxes with unknown contents, buttons, pincers, bottles
of curious stones and the like, seemed quite
unnecessary to carry around. That was Cap'n Bill's
business, however, and now that he added the candles
and the matches to his collection Trot made no comment,
for she knew these last were to light their way through
the caves. The sailor always rowed the boat, for he
handled the oars with strength and skill. Trot sat in
the stern and steered. The place where they embarked
was a little bight or circular bay, and the boat cut
across a much larger bay toward a distant headland
where the caves were located, right at the water's
edge. They were nearly a mile from shore and about
halfway across the bay when Trot suddenly sat up
straight and exclaimed: "What's that, Cap'n?"
He stopped rowing and turned half around to look.
"That, Trot," he slowly replied, "looks to me mighty
like a whirlpool."
"What makes it, Cap'n?"
"A whirl in the air makes the whirl in the water. I
was afraid as we'd meet with trouble, Trot. Things
didn't look right. The air was too still."
"It's coming closer," said the girl.
The old man grabbed the oars and began rowing with
all his strength.
"'Tain't comin' closer to us, Trot," he gasped; "it's
we that are comin' closer to the whirlpool. The thing
is drawin' us to it like a magnet!"
Trot's sun-bronzed face was a little paler as she
grasped the tiller firmly and tried to steer the boat
away; but she said not a word to indicate fear.
The swirl of the water as they came nearer made a
roaring sound that was fearful to listen to. So fierce
and powerful was the whirlpool that it drew the surface
of the sea into the form of a great basin, slanting
downward toward the center, where a big hole had been
made in the ocean -- a hole with walls of water that
were kept in place by the rapid whirling of the air.
The boat in which Trot and Cap'n Bill were riding was
just on the outer edge of this saucer-like slant, and
the old sailor knew very well that unless he could
quickly force the little craft away from the rushing
current they would soon be drawn into the great black
hole that yawned in the middle. So he exerted all his
might and pulled as he had never pulled before. He
pulled so hard that the left oar snapped in two and
sent Cap'n Bill sprawling upon the bottom of the boat.
He scrambled up quickly enough and glanced over the
side. Then he looked at Trot, who sat quite still, with
a serious, far-away look in her sweet eyes. The boat
was now speeding swiftly of its own accord, following
the line of the circular basin round and round and
gradually drawing nearer to the great hole in the
center. Any further effort to escape the whirlpool was
useless, and realizing this fact Cap'n Bill turned
toward Trot and put an arm around her, as if to shield
her from the awful fate before them. He did not try to
speak, because the roar of the waters would have
drowned the sound of his voice.
These two faithful comrades had faced dangers before,
but nothing to equal that which now faced them. Yet
Cap'n Bill, noting the look in Trot's eyes and
remembering how often she had been protected by unseen
powers, did not quite give way to despair.
The great hole in the dark water -- now growing
nearer and nearer -- looked very terrifying; but they
were both brave enough to face it and await the result
of the adventure.
The Cavern Under the Sea
The circles were so much smaller at the bottom of the
basin, and the boat moved so much more swiftly, that
Trot was beginning to get dizzy with the motion, when
suddenly the boat made a leap and dived headlong into
the murky depths of the hole. Whirling like tops, but
still clinging together, the sailor and the girl were
separated from their boat and plunged down -- down --
down -- into the farthermost recesses of the great
At first their fall was swift as an arrow, but
presently they seemed to be going more moderately and
Trot was almost sure that unseen arms were about her,
supporting her and protecting her. She could see
nothing, because the water filled her eyes and blurred
her vision, but she clung fast to Cap'n Bill's
sou'wester, while other arms clung fast to her, and so
they gradually sank down and down until a full stop was
made, when they began to ascend again.
But it seemed to Trot that they were not rising
straight to the surface from where they had come. The
water was no longer whirling them and they seemed to be
drawn in a slanting direction through still, cool ocean
depths. And then -- in much quicker time than I have
told it -- up they popped to the surface and were cast
at full length upon a sandy beach, where they lay
choking and gasping for breath and wondering what had
happened to them.
Trot was the first to recover. Disengaging herself
from Cap'n Bill's wet embrace and sitting up, she
rubbed the water from her eyes and then looked around
her. A soft, bluish-green glow lighted the place,
which seemed to be a sort of cavern, for above and on
either side of her were rugged rocks. They had been
cast upon a beach of clear sand, which slanted upward
from the pool of water at their feet -- a pool which
doubtless led into the big ocean that fed it. Above the
reach of the waves of the pool were more rocks, and
still more and more, into the dim windings and recesses
of which the glowing light from the water did not
The place looked grim and lonely, but Trot was
thankful that she was still alive and had suffered no
severe injury during her trying adventure under water.
At her side Cap'n Bill was sputtering and coughing,
trying to get rid of the water he had swallowed. Both
of them were soaked through, yet the cavern was warm
and comfortable and a wetting did not dismay the little
girl in the least.
She crawled up the slant of sand and gathered in her
hand a bunch of dried seaweed, with which she mopped
the face of Cap'n Bill and cleared the water from his
eyes and ears. Presently the old man sat up and stared
at her intently. Then he nodded his bald head three
times and said in a gurgling voice:
"Mighty good, Trot; mighty good! We didn't reach Davy
Jones's locker that time, did we? Though why we didn't,
an' why we're here, is more'n I kin make out."
"Take it easy, Cap'n," she replied. "We're safe
enough, I guess, at least for the time being."
He squeezed the water out of the bottoms of his loose
trousers and felt of his wooden leg and arms and head,
and finding he had brought all of his person with him
he gathered courage to examine closely their
"Where d'ye think we are, Trot?." he presently asked.
"Can't say, Cap'n. P'r'aps in one of our caves."
He shook his head. "No," said he, "I don't think
that, at all. The distance we came up didn't seem half
as far as the distance we went down; an' you'll notice
there ain't any outside entrance to this cavern
whatever. It's a reg'lar dome over this pool o' water,
and unless there's some passage at the back, up yonder,
we're fast pris'ners."
Trot looked thoughtfully over her shoulder.
"When we're rested," she said, "we will crawl up
there and see if there's a way to get out."
Cap'n Bill reached in the pocket of his oilskin coat
and took out his pipe. It was still dry, for he kept it
in an oilskin pouch with his tobacco. His matches were
in a tight tin box, so in a few moments the old sailor
was smoking contentedly. Trot knew it helped him to
think when he was in any difficulty. Also, the pipe did
much to restore the old sailor's composure, after his
long ducking and his terrible fright -- a fright that
was more on Trot's account than his own.
The sand was dry where they sat, and soaked up the
water that dripped from their clothing. When Trot had
squeezed the wet out of her hair she began to feel much
like her old self again. By and by they got upon their
feet and crept up the incline to the scattered boulders
above. Some of these were of huge size, but by passing
between some and around others, they were able to reach
the extreme rear of the cavern.
"Yes," said Trot, with interest, "here's a round
"And it's black as night inside it," remarked Cap'n
Just the same," answered the girl, "we ought to
explore it, and see where it goes, 'cause it's the only
poss'ble way we can get out of this place."
Cap'n Bill eyed the hole doubtfully
"It may be a way out o' here, Trot," he said, "but it
may be a way into a far worse place than this. I'm not
sure but our best plan is to stay right here."
Trot wasn't sure, either, when she thought of it in
that light. After awhile she made her way back to the
sands again, and Cap'n Bill followed her. As they sat
down, the child looked thoughtfully at the sailor's
"How much food have we got, Cap'n?" she asked.
"Half a dozen ship's biscuits an' a hunk o' cheese,"
he replied. "Want some now, Trot?"
She shook her head, saying:
"That ought to keep us alive 'bout three days if
we're careful of it."
"Longer'n that, Trot," said Cap'n Bill, but his voice
was a little troubled and unsteady.
"But if we stay here we're bound to starve in time,"
continued the girl, "while if we go into the dark hole
"Some things are more hard to face than starvation,"
said the sailor-man, gravely. "We don't know what's
inside that dark hole: Trot, nor where it might lead us
"There's a way to find that out," she persisted.
Instead of replying, Cap'n Bill began searching in
his pockets. He soon drew out a little package of fish-
hooks and a long line. Trot watched him join them
together. Then he crept a little way up the slope and
turned over a big rock. Two or three small crabs began
scurrying away over the sands and the old sailor caught
them and put one on his hook and the others in his
pocket. Coming back to the pool he swung the hook over
his shoulder and circled it around his head and cast it
nearly into the center of the water, where he allowed
it to sink gradually, paying out the line as far as it
would go. When the end was reached, he began drawing it
in again, until the crab bait was floating on the
Trot watched him cast the line a second time, and a
third. She decided that either there were no fishes in
the pool or they would not bite the crab bait. But
Cap'n Bill was an old fisherman and not easily
discouraged. When the crab got away he put another on
the hook. When the crabs were all gone he climbed up
the rocks and found some more.
Meantime Trot tired of watching him and lay down upon
the sands, where she fell fast asleep. During the next
two hours her clothing dried completely, as did that of
the old sailor. They were both so used to salt water
that there was no danger of taking cold.
Finally the little girl was wakened by a splash
beside her and a grunt of satisfaction from Cap'n Bill.
She opened her eyes to find that the Cap'n had landed a
silver-scaled fish weighing about two pounds. This
cheered her considerably and she hurried to scrape
together a heap of seaweed, while Cap'n Bill cut up the
fish with his jackknife and got it ready for cooking.
They had cooked fish with seaweed before. Cap'n Bill
wrapped his fish in some of the weed and dipped it in
the water to dampen it. Then he lighted a match and set
fire to Trot's heap, which speedily burned down to a
glowing bed of ashes. Then they laid the wrapped fish
on the ashes, covered it with more seaweed, and allowed
this to catch fire and burn to embers. After feeding
the fire with seaweed for some time, the sailor finally
decided that their supper was ready, so he scattered
the ashes and drew out the bits of fish, still encased
in their smoking wrappings.
When these wrappings were removed, the fish was found
thoroughly cooked and both Trot and Cap'n Bill ate of
it freely. It had a slight flavor of seaweed and would
have been better with a sprinkling of salt.
The soft glow which until now had lighted the cavern,
began to grow dim, but there was a great quantity of
seaweed in the place, so after they had eaten their
fish they kept the fire alive for a time by giving it a
handful of fuel now and then.
From an inner pocket the sailor drew a small flask of
battered metal and unscrewing the cap handed it to
Trot. She took but one swallow of the water although
she wanted more, and she noticed that Cap'n Bill merely
wet his lips with it.
"S'pose," said she, staring at the glowing seaweed
fire and speaking slowly, "that we can catch all the
fish we need; how 'bout the drinking-water, Cap'n?"
He moved uneasily but did not reply. Both of them
were thinking about the dark hole, but while Trot had
little fear of it the old man could not overcome his
dislike to enter the place. He knew that Trot was
right, though. To remain in the cavern, where they now
were, could only result in slow but sure death.
It was nighttime up on the earth's surface, so the
little girl became drowsy and soon fell asleep. After a
time the old sailor slumbered on the sands beside her.
It was very still and nothing disturbed them for hours.
When at last they awoke the cavern was light again.
They had divided one of the biscuits and were
munching it for breakfast when they were startled by a
sudden splash in the pool. Looking toward it they saw
emerging from the water the most curious creature
either of them had ever beheld. It wasn't a fish, Trot
decided, nor was it a beast. It had wings, though, and
queer wings they were: shaped like an inverted
chopping-bowl and covered with tough skin instead of
feathers. It had four legs -- much like the legs of a
stork, only double the number -- and its head was
shaped a good deal like that of a poll parrot, with a
beak that curved downward in front and upward at the
edges, and was half bill and half mouth. But to call it
a bird was out of the question, because it had no
feathers whatever except a crest of wavy plumes of a
scarlet color on the very top of its head. The strange
creature must have weighed as much as Cap'n Bill, and
as it floundered and struggled to get out of the water
to the sandy beach it was so big and unusual that both
Trot and her companion stared at it in wonder -- in
wonder that was not unmixed with fear.
The eyes that regarded them, as the creature stood
dripping before them, were bright and mild in
expression, and the queer addition to their party made
no attempt to attack them and seemed quite as surprised
by the meeting as they were.
"I wonder," whispered Trot, "what it is."
"Who, me?" exclaimed the creature in a shrill, high-
pitched voice. "Why, I'm an Ork."
"Oh!" said the girl. "But what is an Ork?"
"I am," he repeated, a little proudly, as he shook
the water from his funny wings; "and if ever an Ork was
glad to be out of the water and on dry land again, you
can be mighty sure that I'm that especial, individual
"Have you been in the water long?" inquired Cap'n
Bill, thinking it only polite to show an interest in
the strange creature.
"why, this last ducking was about ten minutes, I
believe, and that's about nine minutes and sixty
seconds too long for comfort," was the reply. "But last
night I was in an awful pickle, I assure you. The
whirlpool caught me, and --"
"Oh, were you in the whirlpool, too?" asked Trot
He gave her a glance that was somewhat reproachful.
"I believe I was mentioning the fact, young lady,
when your desire to talk interrupted me," said the Ork.
"I am not usually careless in my actions, but that
whirlpool was so busy yesterday that I thought I'd see
what mischief it was up to. So I flew a little too near
it and the suction of the air drew me down into the
depths of the ocean. Water and I are natural enemies,
and it would have conquered me this time had not a bevy
of pretty mermaids come to my assistance and dragged me
away from the whirling water and far up into a cavern,
where they deserted me."
"Why, that's about the same thing that happened to
us," cried Trot. "Was your cavern like this one?"
"I haven't examined this one yet," answered the Ork;
"but if they happen to be alike I shudder at our fate,
for the other one was a prison, with no outlet except
by means of the water. I stayed there all night,
however, and this morning I plunged into the pool, as
far down as I could go, and then swam as hard and as
far as I could. The rocks scraped my back, now and
then, and I barely escaped the clutches of an ugly sea-
monster; but by and by I came to the surface to catch
my breath, and found myself here. That's the whole
story, and as I see you have something to eat I entreat
you to give me a share of it. The truth is, I'm half
With these words the Ork squatted down beside them.
Very reluctantly Cap'n Bill drew another biscuit from
his pocket and held it out. The Ork promptly seized it
in one of its front claws and began to nibble the
biscuit in much the same manner a parrot might have
"We haven't much grub," said the sailor-man, "but
we're willin' to share it with a comrade in distress."
"That's right," returned the Ork, cocking its head
sidewise in a cheerful manner, and then for a few
minutes there was silence while they all ate of the
biscuits. After a while Trot said:
"I've never seen or heard of an Ork before. Are there
many of you?"
"We are rather few and exclusive, I believe," was the
reply. "In the country where I was born we are the
absolute rulers of all living things, from ants to
"What country is that?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Where does it lie?"
"I don't know, exactly. You see, I have a restless
nature, for some reason, while all the rest of my race
are quiet and contented Orks and seldom stray far from
home. From childhood days I loved to fly long distances
away, although father often warned me that I would get
into trouble by so doing.
"'It's a big world, Flipper, my son,' he would say,
'and I've heard that in parts of it live queer two-
legged creatures called Men, who war upon all other
living things and would have little respect for even an
"This naturally aroused my curiosity and after I had
completed my education and left school I decided to fly
out into the world and try to get a glimpse of the
creatures called Men. So I left home without saying
good-bye, an act I shall always regret. Adventures were
many, I found. I sighted men several times, but have
never before been so close to them as now. Also I had
to fight my way through the air, for I met gigantic
birds, with fluffy feathers all over them, which
attacked me fiercely. Besides, it kept me busy escaping
from floating airships. In my rambling I had lost all
track of distance or direction, so that when I wanted
to go home I had no idea where my country was located.
I've now been trying to find it for several months and
it was during one of my flights over the ocean that I
met the whirlpool and became its victim."
Trot and Cap'n Bill listened to this recital with
much interest, and from the friendly tone and harmless
appearance of the Ork they judged he was not likely to
prove so disagreeable a companion as at first they had
feared he might be.
The Ork sat upon its haunches much as a cat does, but
used the finger-like claws of its front legs almost as
cleverly as if they were hands. Perhaps the most
curious thing about the creature was its tail, or what
ought to have been its tail. This queer arrangement of
skin, bones and muscle was shaped like the propellers
used on boats and airships, having fan-like surfaces
and being pivoted to its body. Cap'n Bill knew
something of mechanics, and observing the propeller-
like tail of the Ork he said:
"I s'pose you're a pretty swift flyer?"
"Yes, indeed; the Orks are admitted to be Kings of
"Your wings don't seem to amount to much," remarked
"Well, they are not very big," admitted the Ork,
waving the four hollow skins gently to and fro, "but
they serve to support my body in the air while I speed
along by means of my tail. Still, taken altogether, I'm
very handsomely formed, don't you think?"
Trot did not like to reply, but Cap'n Bill nodded
gravely. "For an Ork," said he, "you're a wonder.
I've never seen one afore, but I can imagine you're
as good as any."
That seemed to please the creature and it began
walking around the cavern, making its way easily
up the slope. while it was gone, Trot and Cap'n Bill
each took another sip from the water-flask, to wash
down their breakfast.
"Why, here's a hole -- an exit -- an outlet!"
exclaimed the Ork from above.
"We know," said Trot. "We found it last night."
"Well, then, let's be off," continued the Ork, after
sticking its head into the black hole and sniffing once
or twice. "The air seems fresh and sweet, and it can't
lead us to any worse place than this."
The girl and the sailor-man got up and climbed to the
side of the Ork.
"We'd about decided to explore this hole before you
came," explained Cap'n Bill; "but it's a dangerous
place to navigate in the dark, so wait till I light a
"What is a candle?" inquired the Ork.
"You'll see in a minute," said Trot.
The old sailor drew one of the candles from his
right-side pocket and the tin matchbox from his left-
side pocket. When he lighted the match the Ork gave a
startled jump and eyed the flame suspiciously; but
Cap'n Bill proceeded to light the candle and the action
interested the Ork very much.
"Light," it said, somewhat nervously, "is valuable in
a hole of this sort. The candle is not dangerous, I
"Sometimes it burns your fingers," answered Trot,
"but that's about the worst it can do -- 'cept to blow
out when you don't want it to."
Cap'n Bill shielded the flame with his hand and
crept into the hole. It wasn't any too big for a grown
man, but after he had crawled a few feet it grew
larger. Trot came close behind him and then the
"Seems like a reg'lar tunnel," muttered the sailor-
man, who was creeping along awkwardly because of his
wooden leg. The rocks, too, hurt his knees.
For nearly half an hour the three moved slowly along
the tunnel, which made many twists and turns and
sometimes slanted downward and sometimes upward.
Finally Cap'n Bill stopped short, with an exclamation
of disappointment, and held the flickering candle far
ahead to light the scene.
"What's wrong?" demanded Trot, who could see nothing
because the sailor's form completely filled the hole.
"Why, we've come to the end of our travels, I guess,"
"Is the hole blocked?" inquired the Ork.
"No; it's wuss nor that," replied Cap'n Bill sadly.
"I'm on the edge of a precipice. Wait a minute an' I'll
move along and let you see for yourselves. Be careful,
Trot, not to fall."
Then he crept forward a little and moved to one side,
holding the candle so that the girl could see to follow
him. The Ork came next and now all three knelt on a
narrow ledge of rock which dropped straight away and
left a huge black space which the tiny flame of the
candle could not illuminate.
"H-m!" said the Ork, peering over the edge; "this
doesn't look very promising, I'll admit. But let me
take your candle, and I'll fly down and see what's
"Aren't you afraid?" asked Trot.
"Certainly I'm afraid," responded the Ork. "But
if we intend to escape we can't stay on this shelf
forever. So, as I notice you poor creatures cannot fly,
it is my duty to explore the place for you."
Cap'n Bill handed the Ork the candle, which had now
burned to about half its length. The Ork took it in one
claw rather cautiously and then tipped its body forward
and slipped over the edge. They heard a queer buzzing
sound, as the tail revolved, and a brisk flapping of
the peculiar wings, but they were more interested just
then in following with their eyes the tiny speck of
light which marked the location of the candle. This
light first made a great circle, then dropped slowly
downward and suddenly was extinguished, leaving
everything before them black as ink.
"Hi, there! How did that happen?" cried the Ork.
"It blew out, I guess," shouted Cap'n Bill. "Fetch it
"I can't see where you are," said the Ork.
So Cap'n Bill got out another candle and lighted it,
and its flame enabled the Ork to fly back to them.
It alighted on the edge and held out the bit of candle.
"What made it stop burning?" asked the creature.
The wind," said Trot. "You must be more careful, this
"What's the place like?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"I don't know, yet; but there must be a bottom to it,
so I'll try to find it."
With this the Ork started out again and this time
sank downward more slowly. Down, down, down it went,
till the candle was a mere spark, and then it headed
away to the left and Trot and Cap'n Bill lost all sight
In a few minutes, however, they saw the spark of
light again, and as the sailor still held the second
lighted candle the Ork made straight toward them. It
was only a few yards distant when suddenly it dropped
the candle with a cry of pain and next moment alighted,
fluttering wildly, upon the rocky ledge.
"What's the matter?" asked Trot.
It bit me!" wailed the Ork. "I don't like your
candles. The thing began to disappear slowly as soon as
I took it in my claw, and it grew smaller and smaller
until just now it turned and bit me -- a most
unfriendly thing to do. Oh -- oh! Ouch, what a bite!"
"That's the nature of candles, I'm sorry to say,"
explained Cap'n Bill, with a grin. "You have to handle
'em mighty keerful. But tell us, what did you find down
"I found a way to continue our journey," said the
Ork, nursing tenderly the claw which had been burned.
"Just below us is a great lake of black water, which
looked so cold and wicked that it made me shudder;
but away at the left there's a big tunnel, which we
can easily walk through. I don't know where it leads
to, of course, but we must follow it and find out."
"why, we can't get to it," protested the little girl.
"We can't fly, as you do, you must remember."
"No, that's true," replied the Ork musingly. "Your
bodies are built very poorly, it seems to me, since all
you can do is crawl upon the earth's surface. But you
may ride upon my back, and in that way I can promise
you a safe journey to the tunnel."
"Are you strong enough to carry us?" asked Cap'n
"Yes, indeed; I'm strong enough to carry a dozen of
you, if you could find a place to sit," was the reply;
"but there's only room between my wings for one at a
time, so I'll have to make two trips."
"All right; I'll go first," decided Cap'n Bill.
He lit another candle for Trot to hold while they
were gone and to light the Ork on his return to her,
and then the old sailor got upon the Ork's back, where
he sat with his wooden leg sticking straight out
"If you start to fall, clasp your arms around my
neck," advised the creature.
"If I start to fall, it's good night an' pleasant
dreams," said Cap'n Bill.
"All ready?" asked the Ork.
"Start the buzz-tail," said Cap'n Bill, with a
tremble in his voice. But the Ork flew away so gently
that the old man never even tottered in his seat. Trot
watched the light of Cap'n Bill's candle till it
disappeared in the far distance. She didn't like to be
left alone on this dangerous ledge, with a lake of
black water hundreds of feet below her; but she was a
brave little girl and waited patiently for the return
of the Ork. It came even sooner than she had expected
and the creature said to her:
"Your friend is safe in the tunnel. Now, then, get
aboard and I'll carry you to him in a jiffy."
I'm sure not many little girls would have cared to
take that awful ride through the huge black cavern on
the back of a skinny Ork. Trot didn't care for it,
herself, but it just had to be done and so she did it
as courageously as possible. Her heart beat fast and
she was so nervous she could scarcely hold the candle
in her fingers as the Ork sped swiftly through the
It seemed like a long ride to her, yet in reality the
Ork covered the distance in a wonderfully brief period
of time and soon Trot stood safely beside Cap'n Bill on
the level floor of a big arched tunnel. The sailor-man
was very glad to greet his little comrade again and
both were grateful to the Ork for his assistance.
"I dunno where this tunnel leads to," remarked Cap'n
Bill, "but it surely looks more promisin' than that
other hole we crept through."
"When the Ork is rested," said Trot, "we'll travel on
and see what happens."
"Rested!" cried the Ork, as scornfully as his shrill
voice would allow. "That bit of flying didn't tire me
at all. I'm used to flying days at a time, without ever
"Then let's move on," proposed Cap'n Bill. He still
held in his hand one lighted candle, so Trot blew out
the other flame and placed her candle in the sailor's
big pocket. She knew it was not wise to burn two
candles at once.
The tunnel was straight and smooth and very easy to
walk through, so they made good progress. Trot thought
that the tunnel began about two miles from the cavern
where they had been cast by the whirlpool, but now it
was impossible to guess the miles traveled, for they
walked steadily for hours and hours without any change
in their surroundings.
Finally Cap'n Bill stopped to rest.
"There's somethin' queer about this 'ere tunnel, I'm
certain," he declared, wagging his head dolefully.
"Here's three candles gone a'ready, an' only three more
left us, yet the tunnel's the same as it was when we
started. An' how long it's goin' to keep up, no one
"Couldn't we walk without a light?" asked Trot. "The
way seems safe enough."
"It does right now," was the reply, "but we can't
tell when we are likely to come to another gulf, or
somethin' jes' as dangerous. In that case we'd be
killed afore we knew it."
"Suppose I go ahead?" suggested the Ork. "I don't
fear a fall, you know, and if anything happens I'll
call out and warn you."
"That's a good idea," declared Trot, and Cap'n Bill
thought so, too. So the Ork started off ahead, quite in
the dark, and hand in band the two followed him.
When they had walked in this way for a good long time
the Ork halted and demanded food. Cap'n Bill had not
mentioned food because there was so little left -- only
three biscuits and a lump of cheese about as big as his
two fingers -- but he gave the Ork half of a biscuit,
sighing as he did so. The creature didn't care for the
cheese, so the sailor divided it between himself and
Trot. They lighted a candle and sat down in the tunnel
while they ate.
"My feet hurt me," grumbled the Ork. "I'm not used
to walking and this rocky passage is so uneven and
lumpy that it hurts me to walk upon it."
"Can't you fly along?" asked Trot.
"No; the roof is too low," said the Ork.
After the meal they resumed their journey, which Trot
began to fear would never end. When Cap'n Bill noticed
how tired the little girl was, he paused and lighted a
match and looked at his big silver watch.
"Why, it's night!" he exclaimed. "We've tramped all
day, an' still we're in this awful passage, which mebbe
goes straight through the middle of the world, an'
mebbe is a circle -- in which case we can keep walkin'
till doomsday. Not knowin' what's before us so well as
we know what's behind us, I propose we make a stop,
now, an' try to sleep till mornin'."
"That will suit me," asserted the Ork, with a groan.
"My feet are hurting me dreadfully and for the last few
miles I've been limping with pain."
"My foot hurts, too," said the sailor, looking for a
smooth place on the rocky floor to sit down.
"Your foot!" cried the Ork. "why, you've only one to
hurt you, while I have four. So I suffer four times as
much as you possibly can. Here; hold the candle while I
look at the bottoms of my claws. I declare," he said,
examining them by the flickering light, "there are
bunches of pain all over them!"
"P'r'aps," said Trot, who was very glad to sit down
beside her companions, "you've got corns."
"Corns? Nonsense! Orks never have corns," protested
the creature, rubbing its sore feet tenderly.
"Then mebbe they're - they're - What do you call 'em,
Cap'n Bill? Something 'bout the Pilgrim's Progress, you
"Bunions," said Cap'n Bill.
"Oh, yes; mebbe you've got bunions."
"It is possible," moaned the Ork. "But whatever they
are, another day of such walking on them would drive me
"I'm sure they'll feel better by mornin'," said Cap'n
Bill, encouragingly. "Go to sleep an' try to forget
your sore feet."
The Ork cast a reproachful look at the sailor-man,
who didn't see it. Then the creature asked plaintively:
"Do we eat now, or do we starve?"
"There's only half a biscuit left for you," answered
Cap'n Bill. "No one knows how long we'll have to stay
in this dark tunnel, where there's nothing whatever to
eat; so I advise you to save that morsel o' food till
"Give it me now!" demanded the Ork. "If I'm going to
starve, I'll do it all at once -- not by degrees."
Cap'n Bill produced the biscuit and the creature ate
it in a trice. Trot was rather hungry and whispered to
Cap'n Bill that she'd take part of her share; but the
old man secretly broke his own half-biscuit in two,
saving Trot's share for a time of greater need.
He was beginning to be worried over the little girl's
plight and long after she was asleep and the Ork was
snoring in a rather disagreeable manner, Cap'n Bill sat
with his back to a rock and smoked his pipe and tried
to think of some way to escape from this seemingly
endless tunnel. But after a time he also slept, for
hobbling on a wooden leg all day was tiresome, and
there in the dark slumbered the three adventurers for
many hours, until the Ork roused itself and kicked the
old sailor with one foot.
"It must be another day," said he.
Daylight at Last
Cap'n Bill rubbed his eyes, lit a match and consulted
"Nine o'clock. Yes, I guess it's another day, sure
enough. Shall we go on?" he asked.
"Of course," replied the Ork. "Unless this tunnel
is different from everything else in the world, and
has no end, we'll find a way out of it sooner or later."
The sailor gently wakened Trot. She felt much rested
by her long sleep and sprang to her feet eagerly.
"Let's start, Cap'n," was all she said.
They resumed the journey and had only taken a
few steps when the Ork cried "Wow!" and made a
great fluttering of its wings and whirling of its tail.
The others, who were following a short distance
behind, stopped abruptly.
"What's the matter?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Give us a light," was the reply. "I think we've come
to the end of the tunnel." Then, while Cap'n Bill
lighted a candle, the creature added: "If that is true,
we needn't have wakened so soon, for we were almost at
the end of this place when we went to sleep."
The sailor-man and Trot came forward with a light. A
wall of rock really faced the tunnel, but now they saw
that the opening made a sharp turn to the left. So they
followed on, by a narrower passage, and then made
another sharp turn this time to the right.
"Blow out the light, Cap'n," said the Ork, in a
pleased voice. "We've struck daylight."
Daylight at last! A shaft of mellow light fell almost
at their feet as Trot and the sailor turned the corner
of the passage, but it came from above, and raising
their eyes they found they were at the bottom of a
deep, rocky well, with the top far, far above their
heads. And here the passage ended.
For a while they gazed in silence, at least two of
them being filled with dismay at the sight. But the Ork
merely whistled softly and said cheerfully:
"That was the toughest journey I ever had the
misfortune to undertake, and I'm glad it's over. Yet,
unless I can manage to fly to the top of this pit, we
are entombed here forever."
"Do you think there is room enough for you to fly
in?" asked the little girl anxiously; and Cap'n Bill
"It's a straight-up shaft, so I don't see how you'll
ever manage it."
"Were I an ordinary bird -- one of those horrid
feathered things -- I wouldn't even make the attempt to
fly out," said the Ork. "But my mechanical propeller
tail can accomplish wonders, and whenever you're ready
I'll show you a trick that is worth while."
"Oh!" exclaimed Trot; "do you intend to take us up,
"I thought," said Cap'n Bill, "as you'd go first, an'
then send somebody to help us by lettin' down a rope."
"Ropes are dangerous," replied the Ork, "and I might
not be able to find one to reach all this distance.
Besides, it stands to reason that if I can get out
myself I can also carry you two with me."
"Well, I'm not afraid," said Trot, who longed to be
on the earth's surface again.
"S'pose we fall?" suggested Cap'n Bill, doubtfully.
"Why, in that case we would all fall together,"
returned the Ork. "Get aboard, little girl; sit across
my shoulders and put both your arms around my neck."
Trot obeyed and when she was seated on the Ork,
Cap'n Bill inquired:
"How 'bout me, Mr. Ork?"
"Why, I think you'd best grab hold of my rear
legs and let me carry you up in that manner," was
Cap'n Bill looked way up at the top of the well, and
then he looked at the Ork's slender, skinny legs and
heaved a deep sigh.
"It's goin' to be some dangle, I guess; but if you
don't waste too much time on the way up, I may be able
to hang on," said he.
"All ready, then!" cried the Ork, and at once his
whirling tail began to revolve. Trot felt herself
rising into the air; when the creature's legs left the
ground Cap'n Bill grasped two of them firmly and held
on for dear life. The Ork's body was tipped straight
upward, and Trot had to embrace the neck very tightly
to keep from sliding off. Even in this position the Ork
had trouble in escaping the rough sides of the well.
Several times it exclaimed "Wow!" as it bumped its
back, or a wing hit against some jagged projection; but
the tail kept whirling with remarkable swiftness and
the daylight grew brighter and brighter. It was,
indeed, a long journey from the bottom to the top, yet
almost before Trot realized they had come so far, they
popped out of the hole into the clear air and sunshine
and a moment later the Ork alighted gently upon the
The release was so sudden that even with the
creature's care for its passengers Cap'n Bill struck
the earth with a shock that sent him rolling heel over
head; but by the time Trot had slid down from her seat
the old sailor-man was sitting up and looking around
him with much satisfaction.
"It's sort o' pretty here," said he.
"Earth is a beautiful place!" cried Trot.
"I wonder where on earth we are?" pondered the Ork,
turning first one bright eye and then the other to this
side and that. Trees there were, in plenty, and shrubs
and flowers and green turf. But there were no houses;
there were no paths; there was no sign of civilization
"Just before I settled down on the ground I thought I
caught a view of the ocean," said the Ork. "Let's see
if I was right." Then he flew to a little hill, near
by, and Trot and Cap'n Bill followed him more slowly.
When they stood on the top of the hill they could see
the blue waves of the ocean in front of them, to the
right of them, and at the left of them. Behind the
hill was a forest that shut out the view.
"I hope it ain't an island, Trot," said Cap'n Bill
"If it is, I s'pose we're prisoners," she replied.
"Ezzackly so, Trot."
"But, 'even so, it's better than those terr'ble
underground tunnels and caverns," declared the girl.
"You are right, little one," agreed the Ork.
"Anything above ground is better than the best that
lies under ground. So let's not quarrel with our fate
but be thankful we've escaped."
"We are, indeed!" she replied. "But I wonder if
we can find something to eat in this place?"
"Let's explore an' find out," proposed Cap'n Bill.
"Those trees over at the left look like cherry-trees."
On the way to them the explorers had to walk
through a tangle of vines and Cap'n Bill, who went
first, stumbled and pitched forward on his face.
"Why, it's a melon!" cried Trot delightedly, as
she saw what had caused the sailor to fall.
Cap'n Bill rose to his foot, for he was not at all
hurt, and examined the melon. Then he took his big
jackknife from his pocket and cut the melon open. It
was quite ripe and looked delicious; but the old man
tasted it before he permitted Trot to eat any. Deciding
it was good he gave her a big slice and then offered
the Ork some. The creature looked at the fruit somewhat
disdainfully, at first, but once he had tasted its
flavor he ate of it as heartily as did the others.
Among the vines they discovered many other melons, and
Trot said gratefully: "Well, there's no danger of our
starving, even if this is an island."
"Melons," remarked Cap'n Bill, "are both food an'
water. We couldn't have struck anything better."
Farther on they came to the cherry trees, where they
obtained some of the fruit, and at the edge of the
little forest were wild plums. The forest itself
consisted entirely of nut trees -- walnuts, filberts,
almonds and chestnuts -- so there would be plenty of
wholesome food for them while they remained there.
Cap'n Bill and Trot decided to walk through the
forest, to discover what was on the other side of it,
but the Ork's feet were still so sore and "lumpy" from
walking on the rocks that the creature said he
preferred to fly over the tree-tops and meet them on
the other side. The forest was not large, so by walking
briskly for fifteen minutes they reached its farthest
edge and saw before them the shore of the ocean.
"It's an island, all right," said Trot, with a sigh.
"Yes, and a pretty island, too," said Cap'n Bill,
trying to conceal his disappointment on Trot's account.
"I guess, partner, if the wuss comes to the wuss, I
could build a raft -- or even a boat -- from those
trees, so's we could sail away in it."
The little girl brightened at this suggestion.
"I don't see the Ork anywhere," she remarked, looking
around. Then her eyes lighted upon something and she
exclaimed: "Oh, Cap'n Bill! Isn't that a house, over
there to the left?"
Cap'n Bill, looking closely, saw a shed-like structure
built at one edge of the forest.
"Seems like it, Trot. Not that I'd call it much of a
house, but it's a buildin', all right. Let's go over
an' see if it's occypied."
The Little Old Man of the Island
A few steps brought them to the shed, which was merely
a roof of boughs built over a square space, with some
branches of trees fastened to the sides to keep off the
wind. The front was quite open and faced the sea, and as
our friends came nearer they observed a little man, with
a long pointed beard, sitting motionless on a stool and
staring thoughtfully out over the water.
"Get out of the way, please," he called in a fretful
voice. "Can't you see you are obstructing my view?"
"Good morning," said Cap'n Bill, politely.
"It isn't a good morning!" snapped the little man.
"I've seen plenty of mornings better than this. Do
you call it a good morning when I'm pestered with
such a crowd as you?"
Trot was astonished to hear such words from a
stranger whom they had greeted quite properly, and
Cap'n Bill grew red at the little man's rudeness. But
the sailor said, in a quiet tone of voice:
"Are you the only one as lives on this 'ere island?"
"Your grammar's bad," was the reply. "But this is my
own exclusive island, and I'll thank you to get off it as
soon as possible."
"We'd like to do that," said Trot, and then she and
Cap'n Bill turned away and walked down to the shore, to
see if any other land was in sight.
The little man rose and followed them, although both
were now too provoked to pay any attention to him.
Nothin' in sight, partner," reported Cap'n Bill,
shading his eyes with his hand; "so we'll have to
stay here for a time, anyhow. It isn't a bad place,
Trot, by any means."
"That's all you know about it!" broke in the little
man. "The trees are altogether too green and the rocks
are harder than they ought to be. I find the sand very
grainy and the water dreadfully wet. Every breeze makes a
draught and the sun shines in the daytime, when there's
no need of it, and disappears just as soon as it begins
to get dark. If you remain here you'll find the island
Trot turned to look at him, and her sweet face was
grave and curious.
"I wonder who you are," she said.
"My name is Pessim," said he, with an air of pride.
"I'm called the Observer,"
"Oh. What do you observe?" asked the little girl.
"Everything I see," was the reply, in a more surly
tone. Then Pessim drew back with a startled exclamation
and looked at some footprints in the sand. "Why, good
gracious me!" he cried in distress.
"What's the matter now?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Someone has pushed the earth in! Don't you see it?
"It isn't pushed in far enough to hurt anything," said
Trot, examining the footprints.
"Everything hurts that isn't right," insisted the man.
"If the earth were pushed in a mile, it would be a great
calamity, wouldn't it?"
"I s'pose so," admitted the little girl.
"Well, here it is pushed in a full inch! That's a
twelfth of a foot, or a little more than a millionth part
of a mile. Therefore it is one-millionth part of a
calamity -- Oh, dear! How dreadful!" said Pessim in a
"Try to forget it, sir," advised Cap'n Bill,
soothingly. "It's beginning to rain. Let's get under your
shed and keep dry."
"Raining! Is it really raining?" asked Pessim,
beginning to weep.
"It is," answered Cap'n Bill, as the drops began to
descend, "and I don't see any way to stop it -- although
I'm some observer myself."
"No; we can't stop it, I fear," said the man. "Are you
very busy just now?"
"I won't be after I get to the shed," replied the
"Then do me a favor, please," begged Pessim, walking
briskly along behind them, for they were hastening to the
"Depends on what it is," said Cap'n Bill.
"I wish you would take my umbrella down to the shore
and hold it over the poor fishes till it stops raining.
I'm afraid they'll get wet," said Pessim.
Trot laughed, but Cap'n Bill thought the little man was
poking fun at him and so he scowled upon Pessim in a way
that showed he was angry.
They reached the shed before getting very wet, although
the rain was now coming down in big drops. The roof of
the shed protected them and while they stood watching the
rainstorm something buzzed in and circled around Pessim's
head. At once the Observer began beating it away with
his hands, crying out:
"A bumblebee! A bumblebee! The queerest bumblebee I
Cap'n Bill and Trot both looked at it and the little
girl said in surprise:
"Dear me! It's a wee little Ork!"
"That's what it is, sure enough," exclaimed Cap'n Bill.
Really, it wasn't much bigger than a big bumblebee, and
when it came toward Trot she allowed it to alight on her
"It's me, all right," said a very small voice in her
ear; "but I'm in an awful pickle, just the same!"
"What, are you our Ork, then?" demanded the girl, much
"No, I'm my own Ork. But I'm the only Ork you know,"
replied the tiny creature.
"What's happened to you?" asked the sailor, putting his
head close to Trot's shoulder in order to hear the reply
better. Pessim also put his head close, and the Ork said:
"You will remember that when I left you I started to
fly over the trees, and just as I got to this side of the
forest I saw a bush that was loaded down with the most
luscious fruit you can imagine. The fruit was about the
size of a gooseberry and of a lovely lavender color. So I
swooped down and picked off one in my bill and ate it.
At once I began to grow small. I could feel myself
shrinking, shrinking away, and it frightened me terribly,
so that I lighted on the ground to think over what was
happening. In a few seconds I had shrunk to the size you
now see me; but there I remained, getting no smaller,
indeed, but no larger. It is certainly a dreadful
affliction! After I had recovered somewhat from the shock
I began to search for you. It is not so easy to find
one's way when a creature is so small, but fortunately I
spied you here in this shed and came to you at once."
Cap'n Bill and Trot were much astonished at this story
and felt grieved for the poor Ork, but the little man
Pessim seemed to think it a good joke. He began laughing
when he heard the story and laughed until he choked,
after which he lay down on the ground and rolled and
laughed again, while the tears of merriment coursed down
his wrinkled cheeks.
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" he finally gasped, sitting up and
wiping his eyes. "This is too rich! It's almost too
joyful to be true."
"I don't see anything funny about it," remarked Trot
"You would if you'd had my experience," said Pessim,
getting upon his feet and gradually resuming his solemn
and dissatisfied expression of countenance.
The same thing happened to me."
"Oh, did it? And how did you happen to come to this
island?" asked the girl.
"I didn't come; the neighbors brought me," replied the
little man, with a frown at the recollection. "They said
I was quarrelsome and fault-finding and blamed me because
I told them all the things that went wrong, or never were
right, and because I told them how things ought to be. So
they brought me here and left me all alone, saying that
if I quarreled with myself, no one else would be made
unhappy. Absurd, wasn't it?"
"Seems to me," said Cap'n Bill, "those neighbors did
the proper thing."
"Well," resumed Pessim, "when I found myself King of
this island I was obliged to live upon fruits, and I
found many fruits growing here that I had never seen
before. I tasted several and found them good and
wholesome. But one day I ate a lavender berry -- as the
Ork did -- and immediately I grew so small that I was
scarcely two inches high. It was a very unpleasant
condition and like the Ork I became frightened. I could
not walk very well nor very far, for every lump of earth
in my way seemed a mountain, every blade of grass a tree
and every grain of sand a rocky boulder. For several days
I stumbled around in an agony of fear. Once a tree toad
nearly gobbled me up, and if I ran out from the shelter
of the bushes the gulls and cormorants swooped down upon
me. Finally I decided to eat another berry and become
nothing at all, since life, to one as small as I was, had
become a dreary nightmare.
"At last I found a small tree that I thought bore the
same fruit as that I had eaten. The berry was dark purple
instead of light lavender, but otherwise it was quite
similar. Being unable to climb the tree, I was obliged to
wait underneath it until a sharp breeze arose and shook
the limbs so that a berry fell. Instantly I seized it and
taking a last view of the world -- as I then thought -- I
ate the berry in a twinkling. Then, to my surprise, I
began to grow big again, until I became of my former
stature, and so I have since remained. Needless to say, I
have never eaten again of the lavender fruit, nor do any
of the beasts or birds that live upon this island eat
They had all three listened eagerly to this amazing
tale, and when it was finished the Ork exclaimed:
"Do you think, then, that the deep purple berry is the
antidote for the lavender one?"
"I'm sure of it," answered Pessim.
"Then lead me to the tree at once!" begged the Ork,
"for this tiny form I now have terrifies me greatly."
Pessim examined the Ork closely
"You are ugly enough as you are," said he. "Were you
any larger you might be dangerous."
"Oh, no," Trot assured him; "the Ork has been our good
friend. Please take us to the tree."
Then Pessim consented, although rather reluctantly. He
led them to the right, which was the east side of the
island, and in a few minutes brought them near to the
edge of the grove which faced the shore of the ocean.
Here stood a small tree bearing berries of a deep purple
color. The fruit looked very enticing and Cap'n Bill
reached up and selected one that seemed especially plump
The Ork had remained perched upon Trot's shoulder but
now it flew down to the ground. It was so difficult for
Cap'n Bill to kneel down, with his wooden leg, that the
little girl took the berry from him and held it close to
the Ork's head.
"It's too big to go into my mouth," said the little
creature, looking at the fruit sidewise.
"You'll have to make sev'ral mouthfuls of it, I guess,"
said Trot; and that is what the Ork did. He pecked at the
soft, ripe fruit with his bill and ate it up very
quickly, because it was good.
Even before he had finished the berry they could see
the Ork begin to grow. In a few minutes he had regained
his natural size and was strutting before them, quite
delighted with his transformation.
"Well, well! What do you think of me now?" he asked
"You are very skinny and remarkably ugly," declared
"You are a poor judge of Orks," was the reply. "Anyone
can see that I'm much handsomer than those dreadful
things called birds, which are all fluff and feathers."
"Their feathers make soft beds," asserted Pessim.
"And my skin would make excellent drumheads," retorted
the Ork. "Nevertheless, a plucked bird or a skinned Ork
would be of no value to himself, so we needn't brag of
our usefulness after we are dead. But for the sake of
argument, friend Pessim, I'd like to know what good you
would be, were you not alive?"
"Never mind that," said Cap'n Bill. "He isn't much good
as he is."
"I am King of this Island, allow me to say, and you're
intruding on my property," declared the little man,
scowling upon them. "If you don't like me --and I'm sure
you don't, for no one else does -- why don't you go away
and leave me to myself?"
"Well, the Ork can fly, but we can't," explained Trot,
in answer. "We don't want to stay here a bit, but I don't
see how we can get away."
"You can go back into the hole you came from."
Cap'n Bill shook his head; Trot shuddered at the
thought; the Ork laughed aloud.
"You may be King here," the creature said to Pessim,
"but we intend to run this island to suit ourselves, for
we are three and you are one, and the balance of power
lies with us."
The little man made no reply to this, although as they
walked back to the shed his face wore its fiercest scowl.
Cap'n Bill gathered a lot of leaves and, assisted by
Trot, prepared two nice beds in opposite corners of the
shed. Pessim slept in a hammock which he swung between
They required no dishes, as all their food consisted of
fruits and nuts picked from the trees; they made no fire,
for the weather was warm and there was nothing to cook;
the shed had no furniture other than the rude stool which
the little man was accustomed to sit upon. He called it
his "throne" and they let him keep it.
So they lived upon the island for three days, and
rested and ate to their hearts' content. Still, they were
not at all happy in this life because of Pessim. He
continually found fault with them, and all that they did,
and all their surroundings. He could see nothing good or
admirable in all the world and Trot soon came to
understand why the little man's former neighbors had
brought him to this island and left him there, all alone,
so he could not annoy anyone. It was their misfortune
that they had been led to this place by their adventures,
for often they would have preferred the company of a wild
beast to that of Pessim.
On the fourth day a happy thought came to the Ork. They
had all been racking their brains for a possible way to
leave the island, and discussing this or that method,
without finding a plan that was practical. Cap'n Bill had
said he could make a raft of the trees, big enough to
float them all, but he had no tools except those two
pocketknives and it was not possible to chop down tree
with such small blades.
"And s'pose we got afloat on the ocean," said Trot,
"where would we drift to, and how long would it take us
to get there?"
Cap'n Bill was forced to admit he didn't know. The Ork
could fly away from the island any time it wished to, but
the queer creature was loyal to his new friends and
refused to leave them in such a lonely, forsaken place.
It was when Trot urged him to go, on this fourth
morning, that the Ork had his happy thought.
"I will go," said he, "if you two will agree to ride
upon my back."
"We are too heavy; you might drop us," objected
"Yes, you are rather heavy for a long journey,"
acknowledged the Ork, "but you might eat of those
lavender berries and become so small that I could carry
you with ease."
This quaint suggestion startled Trot and she looked
gravely at the speaker while she considered it, but Cap'n
Bill gave a scornful snort and asked:
"What would become of us afterward? We wouldn't be much
good if we were some two or three inches high. No, Mr.
Ork, I'd rather stay here, as I am, than be a hop-o'-my-
thumb somewhere else."
"Why couldn't you take some of the dark purple berries
along with you, to eat after we had reached our
destination?" inquired the Ork. "Then you could grow big
again whenever you pleased."
Trot clapped her hands with delight.
"That's it!" she exclaimed. "Let's do it, Cap'n Bill."
The old sailor did not like the idea at first, but he
thought it over carefully and the more he thought the
better it seemed.
"How could you manage to carry us, if we were so
small?" he asked.
"I could put you in a paper bag, and tie the bag around
"But we haven't a paper bag," objected Trot.
The Ork looked at her.
"There's your sunbonnet," it said presently, "which is
hollow in the middle and has two strings that you could
tie around my neck."
Trot took off her sunbonnet and regarded it critically.
Yes, it might easily hold both her and Cap'n Bill, after
they had eaten the lavender berries and been reduced in
size. She tied the strings around the Ork's neck and the
sunbonnet made a bag in which two tiny people might ride
without danger of falling out. So she said:
"I b'lieve we'll do it that way, Cap'n."
Cap'n Bill groaned but could make no logical
objection except that the plan seemed to him quite
dangerous -- and dangerous in more ways than one.
"I think so, myself," said Trot soberly. "But nobody
can stay alive without getting into danger sometimes, and
danger doesn't mean getting hurt, Cap'n; it only means we
might get hurt. So I guess we'll have to take the risk."
"Let's go and find the berries," said the Ork.
They said nothing to Pessim, who was sitting on his
stool and scowling dismally as he stared at the ocean,
but started at once to seek the trees that bore the magic
fruits. The Ork remembered very well where the lavender
berries grew and led his companions quickly to the spot.
Cap'n Bill gathered two berries and placed them
carefully in his pocket. Then they went around to the
east side of the island and found the tree that bore the
dark purple berries.
"I guess I'll take four of these," said the sailor-man,
so in case one doesn't make us grow big we can eat
"Better take six," advised the Ork. "It's well to
be on the safe side, and I'm sure these trees grow
nowhere else in all the world."
So Cap'n Bill gathered six of the purple berries and
with their precious fruit they returned to the shed to
big good-bye to Pessim. Perhaps they would not have
granted the surly little man this courtesy had they not
wished to use him to tie the sunbonnet around the Ork's
When Pessim learned they were about to leave him he at
first looked greatly pleased, but he suddenly recollected
that nothing ought to please him and so began to grumble
about being left alone.
"We knew it wouldn't suit you," remarked Cap'n Bill.
"It didn't suit you to have us here, and it won't suit
you to have us go away."
"That is quite true," admitted Pessim. "I haven't been
suited since I can remember; so it doesn't matter to me
in the least whether you go or stay."
He was interested in their experiment, however, and
willingly agreed to assist, although he prophesied
they would fall out of the sunbonnet on their way and
be either drowned in the ocean or crushed upon some
rocky shore. This uncheerful prospect did not daunt
Trot, but it made Cap'n Bill quite nervous.
"I will eat my berry first," said Trot, as she placed
her sunbonnet on the ground, in such manner that they
could get into it.
Then she ate the lavender berry and in a few seconds
became so small that Cap'n Bill picked her up gently with
his thumb and one finger and placed her in the middle of
the sunbonnet. Then he placed beside her the six purple
berries -- each one being about as big as the tiny Trot's
head -- and all preparations being now made the old
sailor ate his lavender berry and became very small --
wooden leg and all!
Cap'n Bill stumbled sadly in trying to climb over the
edge of the sunbonnet and pitched in beside Trot
headfirst, which caused the unhappy Pessim to laugh with
glee. Then the King of the Island picked up the sunbonnet
-- so rudely that he shook its occupants like peas in a
pod -- and tied it, by means of its strings, securely
around the Ork's neck.
"I hope, Trot, you sewed those strings on tight," said
Cap'n Bill anxiously.
"Why, we are not very heavy, you know," she replied,
"so I think the stitches will hold. But be careful and
not crush the berries, Cap'n."
"One is jammed already," he said, looking at them.
"All ready?" asked the Ork.
"Yes!" they cried together, and Pessim came close to
the sunbonnet and called out to them: "You'll be smashed
or drowned, I'm sure you will! But farewell, and good
riddance to you."
The Ork was provoked by this unkind speech, so he
turned his tail toward the little man and made it revolve
so fast that the rush of air tumbled Pessim over backward
and he rolled several times upon the ground before he
could stop himself and sit up. By that time the Ork was
high in the air and speeding swiftly over the ocean.
The Flight of the Midgets
Cap'n Bill and Trot rode very comfortably in the
sunbonnet. The motion was quite steady, for they
weighed so little that the Ork flew without effort. Yet
they were both somewhat nervous about their future
fate and could not help wishing they were safe on
land and their natural size again.
"You're terr'ble small, Trot," remarked Cap'n Bill,
looking at his companion.
"Same to you, Cap'n," she said with a laugh; "but
as long as we have the purple berries we needn't
worry about our size."
"In a circus," mused the old man, "we'd be curiosities.
But in a sunbonnet -- high up in the air -- sailin' over a
big, unknown ocean -- they ain't no word in any
booktionary to describe us."
"Why, we're midgets, that's all," said the little girl.
The Ork flew silently for a long time. The slight swaying
of the sunbonnet made Cap'n Bill drowsy, and he began to
doze. Trot, however, was wide awake, and after enduring
the monotonous journey as long as she was able she called
"Don't you see land anywhere, Mr. Ork?"
"Not yet," he answered. "This is a big ocean and I've
no idea in which direction the nearest land to that
island lies; but if I keep flying in a straight line I'm
sure to reach some place some time."
That seemed reasonable, so the little people in the
sunbonnet remained as patient as possible; that is, Cap'n
Bill dozed and Trot tried to remember her geography
lessons so she could figure out what land they were
likely to arrive at.
For hours and hours the Ork flew steadily, keeping to
the straight line and searching with his eyes the horizon
of the ocean for land. Cap'n Bill was fast asleep and
snoring and Trot had laid her head on his shoulder to
rest it when suddenly the Ork exclaimed:
"There! I've caught a glimpse of land, at last."
At this announcement they roused themselves. Cap'n Bill
stood up and tried to peek over the edge of the
"What does it look like?" he inquired.
"Looks like another island," said the Ork; "but I can
judge it better in a minute or two."
"I don't care much for islands, since we visited that
other one," declared Trot.
Soon the Ork made another announcement.
"It is surely an island, and a little one, too," said
he. "But I won't stop, because I see a much bigger land
straight ahead of it."
"That's right," approved Cap'n Bill. "The bigger the
land, the better it will suit us."
"It's almost a continent," continued the Ork after a
brief silence, during which he did not decrease the speed
of his flight. "I wonder if it can be Orkland, the place
I have been seeking so long?"
"I hope not," whispered Trot to Cap'n Bill -- so softly
that the Ork could not hear her -- "for I shouldn't like
to be in a country where only Orks live. This one Ork
isn't a bad companion, but a lot of him wouldn't be much
After a few more minutes of flying the Ork called out
in a sad voice:
"No! this is not my country. It's a place I have never
seen before, although I have wandered far and wide. It
seems to be all mountains and deserts and green valleys
and queer cities and lakes and rivers --mixed up in a
very puzzling way."
"Most countries are like that," commented Cap'n Bill.
"Are you going to land?"
"Pretty soon," was the reply. "There is a mountain
peak just ahead of me. What do you say to our landing on
"All right," agreed the sailor-man, for both he and
Trot were getting tired of riding in the sunbonnet and
longed to set foot on solid ground again.
So in a few minutes the Ork slowed down his speed and
then came to a stop so easily that they were scarcely
jarred at all. Then the creature squatted down until the
sunbonnet rested on the ground, and began trying to
unfasten with its claws the knotted strings.
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