The Story of Doctor Dolittle
Part 2 out of 3
and scrape to pay the butcher's bill in
Puddleby? And how are you going to get the
sailor the new boat you spoke of--unless we
have the money to buy it?"
"I was going to make him one," said the Doctor.
"Oh, do be sensible!" cried Dab-Dab.
"Where would you get all the wood and the
nails to make one with?--And besides, what are
we going to live on? We shall be poorer than
ever when we get back. Chee-Chee's perfectly
right: take the funny-looking thing along, do!"
"Well, perhaps there is something in what you say,"
murmured the Doctor. "It certainly would make
a nice new kind of pet. But does the er--
what-do-you-call-it really want to go abroad?"
"Yes, I'll go," said the pushmi-pullyu who
saw at once, from the Doctor's face, that he was
a man to be trusted. "You have been so kind
to the animals here--and the monkeys tell me
that I am the only one who will do. But you
must promise me that if I do not like it in the
Land of the White Men you will send me
"Why, certainly--of course, of course," said
the Doctor. "Excuse me, surely you are
related to the Deer Family, are you not?"
"Yes," said the pushmi-pullyu--"to the
Abyssinian Gazelles and the Asiatic Chamois
--on my mother's side. My father's great-
grandfather was the last of the Unicorns."
"Most interesting!" murmured the Doctor;
and he took a book out of the trunk which Dab-
Dab was packing and began turning the pages.
"Let us see if Buffon says anything--"
"I notice," said the duck, "that you only talk
with one of your mouths. Can't the other head
talk as well?"
"Oh, yes," said the pushmi-pullyu. "But I
keep the other mouth for eating--mostly. In
that way I can talk while I am eating without
being rude. Our people have always been very
When the packing was finished and everything
was ready to start, the monkeys gave a
grand party for the Doctor, and all the animals
of the jungle came. And they had pineapples
and mangoes and honey and all sorts of good
things to eat and drink.
After they had all finished eating, the Doctor
got up and said,
"My friends: I am not clever at speaking
long words after dinner, like some men; and I
have just eaten many fruits and much honey.
But I wish to tell you that I am very sad at
leaving your beautiful country. Because I have
things to do in the Land of the White Men, I
must go. After I have gone, remember never
to let the flies settle on your food before you
eat it; and do not sleep on the ground when the
rains are coming. I--er--er--I hope you will
all live happily ever after."
When the Doctor stopped speaking and sat
down, all the monkeys clapped their hands a
long time and said to one another, "Let it be
remembered always among our people that he
sat and ate with us, here, under the trees.
For surely he is the Greatest of Men!"
And the Grand Gorilla, who had the strength
of seven horses in his hairy arms, rolled a great
rock up to the head of the table and said,
"This stone for all time shall mark the spot."
And even to this day, in the heart of the
Jungle, that stone still is there. And monkey-
mothers, passing through the forest with their
families, still point down at it from the branches
and whisper to their children, "Sh! There it is--
look--where the Good White Man sat and ate food
with us in the Year of the Great Sickness!"
Then, when the party was over, the Doctor
and his pets started out to go back to the seashore.
And all the monkeys went with him as
far as the edge of their country, carrying his
trunk and bags, to see him off.
THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER
THE BLACK PRINCE
BY the edge of the river they stopped and said farewell.
This took a long time, because all those thousands
of monkeys wanted to shake John Dolittle by the hand.
Afterwards, when the Doctor and his pets
were going on alone, Polynesia said,
"We must tread softly and talk low as we
go through the land of the Jolliginki. If the
King should hear us, he will send his soldiers
to catch us again; for I am sure he is still very
angry over the trick I played on him."
"What I am wondering," said the Doctor,
"is where we are going to get another boat to
go home in.... Oh well, perhaps we'll find
one lying about on the beach that nobody is
using. `Never lift your foot till you come to
One day, while they were passing through
a very thick part of the forest, Chee-Chee went
ahead of them to look for cocoanuts. And
while he was away, the Doctor and the rest of
the animals, who did not know the jungle-paths
so well, got lost in the deep woods. They wandered
around and around but could not find
their way down to the seashore.
Chee-Chee, when he could not see them
anywhere, was terribly upset. He climbed high
trees and looked out from the top branches to
try and see the Doctor's high hat; he waved and
shouted; he called to all the animals by name.
But it was no use. They seemed to have
Indeed they had lost their way very badly.
They had strayed a long way off the path, and
the jungle was so thick with bushes and
creepers and vines that sometimes they could hardly
move at all, and the Doctor had to take out
his pocket-knife and cut his way along. They
stumbled into wet, boggy places; they got all
tangled up in thick convolvulus-runners; they
scratched themselves on thorns, and twice they
nearly lost the medicine-bag in the under-brush.
There seemed no end to their troubles; and
nowhere could they come upon a path.
At last, after blundering about like this for
many days, getting their clothes torn and their
faces covered with mud, they walked right into
the King's back-garden by mistake. The King's
men came running up at once and caught them.
But Polynesia flew into a tree in the garden,
without anybody seeing her, and hid herself.
The Doctor and the rest were taken before the King.
"Ha, ha!" cried the King. "So you are
caught again! This time you shall not escape.
Take them all back to prison and put double
locks on the door. This White Man shall scrub
my kitchen-floor for the rest of his life!"
So the Doctor and his pets were led back to
prison and locked up. And the Doctor was told
that in the morning he must begin scrubbing the
They were all very unhappy.
"This is a great nuisance," said the Doctor.
"I really must get back to Puddleby. That
poor sailor will think I've stolen his ship if I
don't get home soon.... I wonder if those
hinges are loose."
But the door was very strong and firmly
locked. There seemed no chance of getting out.
Then Gub-Gub began to cry again.
All this time Polynesia was still sitting in the
tree in the palace-garden. She was saying nothing
and blinking her eyes.
This was always a very bad sign with
Polynesia. Whenever she said nothing and blinked
her eyes, it meant that somebody had been making
trouble, and she was thinking out some way
to put things right. People who made trouble
for Polynesia or her friends were nearly always
sorry for it afterwards.
Presently she spied Chee-Chee swinging
through the trees still looking for the Doctor.
When Chee-Chee saw her, he came into her
tree and asked her what had become of him.
"The Doctor and all the animals have been
caught by the King's men and locked up again,"
whispered Polynesia. "We lost our way in the
jungle and blundered into the palace-garden by
"But couldn't you guide them?" asked Chee-
Chee; and he began to scold the parrot for
letting them get lost while he was away looking
for the cocoanuts.
"It was all that stupid pig's fault," said
Polynesia. "He would keep running off the
path hunting for ginger-roots. And I was kept
so busy catching him and bringing him back,
that I turned to the left, instead of the right,
when we reached the swamp.--Sh!--Look!
There's Prince Bumpo coming into the garden!
He must not see us.--Don't move, whatever you do!"
And there, sure enough, was Prince Bumpo,
the King's son, opening the garden-gate. He
carried a book of fairy-tales under his arm. He
came strolling down the gravel-walk, humming
a sad song, till he reached a stone seat right
under the tree where the parrot and the monkey
were hiding. Then he lay down on the seat
and began reading the fairy-stories to himself.
Chee-Chee and Polynesia watched him,
keeping very quiet and still.
After a while the King's son laid the book
down and sighed a weary sigh.
"If I were only a WHITE prince!" said he, with
a dreamy, far-away look in his eyes.
Then the parrot, talking in a small, high
voice like a little girl, said aloud,
"Bumpo, some one might turn thee into a
white prince perchance."
The King's son started up off the seat and
looked all around.
"What is this I hear?" he cried. "Methought
the sweet music of a fairy's silver voice rang
from yonder bower! Strange!"
"Worthy Prince," said Polynesia, keeping
very still so Bumpo couldn't see her, "thou sayest
winged words of truth. For 'tis I, Tripsitinka,
the Queen of the Fairies, that speak to
thee. I am hiding in a rose-bud."
"Oh tell me, Fairy-Queen," cried Bumpo,
clasping his hands in joy, "who is it can turn
"In thy father's prison," said the parrot,
"there lies a famous wizard, John Dolittle by
name. Many things he knows of medicine and
magic, and mighty deeds has he performed.
Yet thy kingly father leaves him languishing
long and lingering hours. Go to him, brave
Bumpo, secretly, when the sun has set; and
behold, thou shalt be made the whitest prince that
ever won fair lady! I have said enough. I
must now go back to Fairyland. Farewell!"
"Farewell!" cried the Prince. "A thousand thanks,
And he sat down on the seat again with a
smile upon his face, waiting for the sun to set.
THE TWELFTH CHAPTER
MEDICINE AND MAGIC
VERY, very quietly, making sure that no one should see
her, Polynesia then slipped out at the back of the tree
and flew across to the prison.
She found Gub-Gub poking his nose through
the bars of the window, trying to sniff the
cooking-smells that came from the palace-
kitchen. She told the pig to bring the Doctor
to the window because she wanted to speak to
him. So Gub-Gub went and woke the Doctor
who was taking a nap.
"Listen," whispered the parrot, when John
Dolittle's face appeared: "Prince Bumpo is
coming here to-night to see you. And you've
got to find some way to turn him white. But
be sure to make him promise you first that he
will open the prison-door and find a ship for
you to cross the sea in."
"This is all very well," said the Doctor.
"But it isn't so easy to turn a black man white.
You speak as though he were a dress to be re-
dyed. It's not so simple. `Shall the leopard
change his spots, or the Ethiopian his skin,' you
"I don't know anything about that," said
Polynesia impatiently. "But you MUST turn this
man white. Think of a way--think hard.
You've got plenty of medicines left in the bag.
He'll do anything for you if you change his
color. It is your only chance to get out of
"Well, I suppose it MIGHT be possible," said
the Doctor. "Let me see--," and he went over
to his medicine-bag, murmuring something
about "liberated chlorine on animal-pigment--
perhaps zinc-ointment, as a temporary measure,
Well, that night Prince Bumpo came secretly
to the Doctor in prison and said to him,
"White Man, I am an unhappy prince.
Years ago I went in search of The Sleeping
Beauty, whom I had read of in a book. And
having traveled through the world many days,
I at last found her and kissed the lady very
gently to awaken her--as the book said I should.
'Tis true indeed that she awoke. But when
she saw my face she cried out, `Oh, he's black!'
And she ran away and wouldn't marry me--but
went to sleep again somewhere else. So I came
back, full of sadness, to my father's kingdom.
Now I hear that you are a wonderful magician
and have many powerful potions. So I come to
you for help. If you will turn me white, so
that I may go back to The Sleeping Beauty, I
will give you half my kingdom and anything
besides you ask."
"Prince Bumpo," said the Doctor, looking
thoughtfully at the bottles in his medicine-bag,
"supposing I made your hair a nice blonde
color--would not that do instead to make you
"No," said Bumpo. "Nothing else will
satisfy me. I must be a white prince."
"You know it is very hard to change the color
of a prince," said the Doctor--"one of the hardest
things a magician can do. You only want
your face white, do you not?"
"Yes, that is all," said Bumpo. "Because I
shall wear shining armor and gauntlets of steel,
like the other white princes, and ride on a
"Must your face be white all over?" asked the Doctor.
"Yes, all over," said Bumpo--"and I would
like my eyes blue too, but I suppose that would
be very hard to do."
"Yes, it would," said the Doctor quickly.
"Well, I will do what I can for you. You will
have to be very patient though--you know with
some medicines you can never be very sure. I
might have to try two or three times. You have
a strong skin--yes? Well that's all right.
Now come over here by the light--Oh, but before
I do anything, you must first go down to
the beach and get a ship ready, with food in it,
to take me across the sea. Do not speak a word
of this to any one. And when I have done as
you ask, you must let me and all my animals
out of prison. Promise--by the crown of Jolliginki!"
So the Prince promised and went away to get
a ship ready at the seashore.
When he came back and said that it was done,
the Doctor asked Dab-Dab to bring a basin.
Then he mixed a lot of medicines in the basin
and told Bumpo to dip his face in it.
The Prince leaned down and put his face in
--right up to the ears.
He held it there a long time--so long that
the Doctor seemed to get dreadfully anxious
and fidgety, standing first on one leg and then
on the other, looking at all the bottles he had
used for the mixture, and reading the labels on
them again and again. A strong smell filled
the prison, like the smell of brown paper
At last the Prince lifted his face up out of the
basin, breathing very hard. And all the animals
cried out in surprise.
For the Prince's face had turned as white as
snow, and his eyes, which had been mud-colored,
were a manly gray!
When John Dolittle lent him a little looking-
glass to see himself in, he sang for joy and
began dancing around the prison. But the
Doctor asked him not to make so much noise
about it; and when he had closed his medicine-bag
in a hurry he told him to open the prison-door.
Bumpo begged that he might keep the looking-
glass, as it was the only one in the Kingdom
of Jolliginki, and he wanted to look at himself
all day long. But the Doctor said he needed
it to shave with.
Then the Prince, taking a bunch of copper
keys from his pocket, undid the great double
locks. And the Doctor with all his animals ran
as fast as they could down to the seashore; while
Bumpo leaned against the wall of the empty
dungeon, smiling after them happily, his big
face shining like polished ivory in the light of
When they came to the beach they saw
Polynesia and Chee-Chee waiting for them on the
rocks near the ship.
"I feel sorry about Bumpo," said the Doctor.
"I am afraid that medicine I used will never
last. Most likely he will be as black as ever
when he wakes up in the morning--that's one
reason why I didn't like to leave the mirror with
him. But then again, he MIGHT stay white--I
had never used that mixture before. To tell the
truth, I was surprised, myself, that it worked
so well. But I had to do something, didn't I?
--I couldn't possibly scrub the King's kitchen
for the rest of my life. It was such a dirty
kitchen!--I could see it from the prison-
window.--Well, well!--Poor Bumpo!"
"Oh, of course he will know we were just
joking with him," said the parrot.
"They had no business to lock us up," said Dab-Dab,
waggling her tail angrily. "We never did them any harm.
Serve him right, if he does turn black again! I hope it's
a dark black."
"But HE didn't have anything to do with it,"
said the Doctor. "It was the King, his father,
who had us locked up--it wasn't Bumpo's fault.
...I wonder if I ought to go back and apologize--
Oh, well--I'll send him some candy
when I get to Puddleby. And who knows?--
he may stay white after all."
"The Sleeping Beauty would never have him,
even if he did," said Dab-Dab. "He looked
better the way he was, I thought. But he'd
never be anything but ugly, no matter what
color he was made."
"Still, he had a good heart," said the Doctor
--"romantic, of course--but a good heart.
After all, `handsome is as handsome does.'"
"I don't believe the poor booby found The
Sleeping Beauty at all," said Jip, the dog.
"Most likely he kissed some farmer's fat wife
who was taking a snooze under an apple-tree.
Can't blame her for getting scared! I wonder
who he'll go and kiss this time. Silly business!"
Then the pushmi-pullyu, the white mouse,
Gub-Gub, Dab-Dab, Jip and the owl, Too-Too,
went on to the ship with the Doctor. But Chee-
Chee, Polynesia and the crocodile stayed behind,
because Africa was their proper home, the land
where they were born.
And when the Doctor stood upon the boat, he
looked over the side across the water. And then
he remembered that they had no one with them
to guide them back to Puddleby.
The wide, wide sea looked terribly big and
lonesome in the moonlight; and he began to
wonder if they would lose their way when they
passed out of sight of land.
But even while he was wondering, they heard
a strange whispering noise, high in the air,
coming through the night. And the animals all
stopped saying Good-by and listened.
The noise grew louder and bigger. It seemed
to be coming nearer to them--a sound like the
Autumn wind blowing through the leaves of a
poplar-tree, or a great, great rain beating down
upon a roof.
And Jip, with his nose pointing and his tail
quite straight, said,
"Birds!--millions of them--flying fast--that's it!"
And then they all looked up. And there,
streaming across the face of the moon, like a
huge swarm of tiny ants, they could see thousands
and thousands of little birds. Soon the
whole sky seemed full of them, and still more
kept coming--more and more. There were so
many that for a little they covered the whole
moon so it could not shine, and the sea grew
dark and black--like when a storm-cloud passes
over the sun.
And presently all these birds came down close,
skimming over the water and the land; and the
night-sky was left clear above, and the moon
shone as before. Still never a call nor a cry
nor a song they made--no sound but this great
rustling of feathers which grew greater now
than ever. When they began to settle on the
sands, along the ropes of the ship--anywhere
and everywhere except the trees--the Doctor
could see that they had blue wings and white
breasts and very short, feathered legs. As soon
as they had all found a place to sit, suddenly,
there was no noise left anywhere--all was quiet;
all was still.
And in the silent moonlight John Dolittle
"I had no idea that we had been in Africa
so long. It will be nearly Summer when we
get home. For these are the swallows going
back. Swallows, I thank you for waiting for
us. It is very thoughtful of you. Now we need
not be afraid that we will lose our way upon the
sea.... Pull up the anchor and set the sail!"
When the ship moved out upon the water,
those who stayed behind, Chee-Chee, Polynesia
and the crocodile, grew terribly sad. For never
in their lives had they known any one they liked
so well as Doctor John Dolittle of Puddleby-on-
And after they had called Good-by to him
again and again and again, they still stood there
upon the rocks, crying bitterly and waving till
the ship was out of sight.
THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER
RED SAILS AND BLUE WINGS
SAILING homeward, the Doctor's ship had to pass the coast
of Barbary. This coast is the seashore of the Great Desert.
It is a wild, lonely place--all sand and stones. And it was
here that the Barbary pirates lived.
These pirates, a bad lot of men, used to wait
for sailors to be shipwrecked on their shores.
And often, if they saw a boat passing, they would
come out in their fast sailing-ships and chase it.
When they caught a boat like this at sea, they
would steal everything on it; and after they had
taken the people off they would sink the ship
and sail back to Barbary singing songs and feeling
proud of the mischief they had done. Then
they used to make the people they had caught
write home to their friends for money. And if
the friends sent no money, the pirates often
threw the people into the sea.
Now one sunshiny day the Doctor and Dab-
Dab were walking up and down on the ship
for exercise; a nice fresh wind was blowing the
boat along, and everybody was happy. Presently
Dab-Dab saw the sail of another ship a
long way behind them on the edge of the sea.
It was a red sail.
"I don't like the look of that sail," said Dab-
Dab. "I have a feeling it isn't a friendly ship.
I am afraid there is more trouble coming to us."
Jip, who was lying near taking a nap in the
sun, began to growl and talk in his sleep.
"I smell roast beef cooking," he mumbled--
"underdone roast beef--with brown gravy over it."
"Good gracious!" cried the Doctor. "What's
the matter with the dog? Is he SMELLING in his
sleep--as well as talking?"
"I suppose he is," said Dab-Dab. "All dogs
can smell in their sleep."
"But what is he smelling?" asked the Doctor.
"There is no roast beef cooking on our ship."
"No," said Dab-Dab. "The roast beef must
be on that other ship over there."
"But that's ten miles away," said the Doctor.
"He couldn't smell that far surely!"
"Oh, yes, he could," said Dab-Dab. "You ask him."
Then Jip, still fast asleep, began to growl
again and his lip curled up angrily, showing
his clean, white teeth.
"I smell bad men," he growled--"the worst
men I ever smelt. I smell trouble. I smell a
fight--six bad scoundrels fighting against one
brave man. I want to help him. Woof--oo--WOOF!"
Then he barked, loud, and woke himself up with
a surprised look on his face.
"See!" cried Dab-Dab. "That boat is nearer now.
You can count its three big sails--all red.
Whoever it is, they are coming after us....
I wonder who they are."
"They are bad sailors," said Jip; "and their
ship is very swift. They are surely the pirates
"Well, we must put up more sails on our
boat," said the Doctor, "so we can go faster and
get away from them. Run downstairs, Jip, and
fetch me all the sails you see."
The dog hurried downstairs and dragged up
every sail he could find.
But even when all these were put up on the
masts to catch the wind, the boat did not go
nearly as fast as the pirates'--which kept coming
on behind, closer and closer.
"This is a poor ship the Prince gave us," said
Gub-Gub, the pig--"the slowest he could find,
I should think. Might as well try to win a race
in a soup-tureen as hope to get away from them
in this old barge. Look how near they are now!
--You can see the mustaches on the faces of the
men--six of them. What are we going to do?"
Then the Doctor asked Dab-Dab to fly up and
tell the swallows that pirates were coming after
them in a swift ship, and what should he do
When the swallows heard this, they all came
down on to the Doctor's ship; and they told him
to unravel some pieces of long rope and make
them into a lot of thin strings as quickly as he
could. Then the ends of these strings were tied
on to the front of the ship; and the swallows
took hold of the strings with their feet and flew
off, pulling the boat along.
And although swallows are not very strong
when only one or two are by themselves, it is
different when there are a great lot of them
together. And there, tied to the Doctor's ship,
were a thousand strings; and two thousand
swallows were pulling on each string--all terribly
And in a moment the Doctor found himself
traveling so fast he had to hold his hat on with
both hands; for he felt as though the ship itself
were flying through waves that frothed and
boiled with speed.
And all the animals on the ship began to
laugh and dance about in the rushing air, for
when they looked back at the pirates' ship, they
could see that it was growing smaller now,
instead of bigger. The red sails were being left
far, far behind.
THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER
THE RATS' WARNING
DRAGGING a ship through the sea is hard work. And after
two or three hours the swallows began to get tired in the
wings and short of breath. Then they sent a message
down to the Doctor to say that they would have
to take a rest soon; and that they would pull the
boat over to an island not far off, and hide it in
a deep bay till they had got breath enough to go on.
And presently the Doctor saw the island they
had spoken of. It had a very beautiful, high,
green mountain in the middle of it.
When the ship had sailed safely into the bay
where it could not be seen from the open sea,
the Doctor said he would get off on to the island
to look for water--because there was none left
to drink on his ship. And he told all the animals
to get out too and romp on the grass to
stretch their legs.
Now as they were getting off, the Doctor
noticed that a whole lot of rats were coming up
from downstairs and leaving the ship as well.
Jip started to run after them, because chasing
rats had always been his favorite game. But
the Doctor told him to stop.
And one big black rat, who seemed to want
to say something to the Doctor, now crept forward
timidly along the rail, watching the dog
out of the corner of his eye. And after he had
coughed nervously two or three times, and
cleaned his whiskers and wiped his mouth, he
"Ahem--er--you know of course that all
ships have rats in them, Doctor, do you not?"
And the Doctor said, "Yes."
"And you have heard that rats always leave
a sinking ship?"
"Yes," said the Doctor--"so I've been told."
"People," said the rat, "always speak of it
with a sneer--as though it were something dis-
graceful. But you can't blame us, can you?
After all, who WOULD stay on a sinking ship, if
he could get off it?"
"It's very natural," said the Doctor--"very
natural. I quite understand.... Was there--
Was there anything else you wished to say?"
"Yes," said the rat. "I've come to tell you
that we are leaving this one. But we wanted to
warn you before we go. This is a bad ship
you have here. It isn't safe. The sides aren't
strong enough. Its boards are rotten. Before
to-morrow night it will sink to the bottom of
"But how do you know?" asked the Doctor.
"We always know," answered the rat. "The
tips of our tails get that tingly feeling--like
when your foot's asleep. This morning, at six
o'clock, while I was getting breakfast, my tail
suddenly began to tingle. At first I thought it
was my rheumatism coming back. So I went
and asked my aunt how she felt--you remember
her?--the long, piebald rat, rather skinny, who
came to see you in Puddleby last Spring with
jaundice? Well--and she said HER tail was
tingling like everything! Then we knew, for
sure, that this boat was going to sink in less than
two days; and we all made up our minds to
leave it as soon as we got near enough to any
land. It's a bad ship, Doctor. Don't sail in
it any more, or you'll be surely drowned....
Good-by! We are now going to look for a good
place to live on this island."
"Good-by!" said the Doctor. "And thank
you very much for coming to tell me. Very
considerate of you--very! Give my regards to
your aunt. I remember her perfectly....
Leave that rat alone, Jip! Come here! Lie down!"
So then the Doctor and all his animals went
off, carrying pails and saucepans, to look for
water on the island, while the swallows took
"I wonder what is the name of this island,"
said the Doctor, as he was climbing up the
mountainside. "It seems a pleasant place.
What a lot of birds there are!"
"Why, these are the Canary Islands," said
Dab-Dab. "Don't you hear the canaries singing?"
The Doctor stopped and listened.
"Why, to be sure--of course!" he said.
"How stupid of me! I wonder if they can tell
us where to find water."
And presently the canaries, who had heard all
about Doctor Dolittle from birds of passage,
came and led him to a beautiful spring of cool,
clear water where the canaries used to take their
bath; and they showed him lovely meadows
where the bird-seed grew and all the other
sights of their island.
And the pushmi-pullyu was glad they had
come; because he liked the green grass so much
better than the dried apples he had been eating
on the ship. And Gub-Gub squeaked for joy
when he found a whole valley full of wild
A little later, when they had all had plenty
to eat and drink, and were lying on their backs
while the canaries sang for them, two of the swallows
came hurrying up, very flustered and excited.
"Doctor!" they cried, "the pirates have come
into the bay; and they've all got on to your ship.
They are downstairs looking for things to steal.
They have left their own ship with nobody on
it. If you hurry and come down to the shore,
you can get on to their ship--which is very fast
--and escape. But you'll have to hurry."
"That's a good idea," said the Doctor--"splendid!"
And he called his animals together at once,
said Good-by to the canaries and ran down to the beach.
When they reached the shore they saw the
pirate-ship, with the three red sails, standing in
the water; and--just as the swallows had said
--there was nobody on it; all the pirates were
downstairs in the Doctor's ship, looking for
things to steal.
So John Dolittle told his animals to walk very
softly and they all crept on to the pirate-ship.
THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER
THE BARBARY DRAGON
EVERYTHING would have gone all right if the pig had not caught
a cold in his head while eating the damp sugar-cane on the
island. This is what happened:
After they had pulled up the anchor without a sound,
and were moving the ship very, very carefully out of the bay,
Gub-Gub suddenly sneezed so loud that the pirates
on the other ship came rushing upstairs to see
what the noise was.
As soon as they saw that the Doctor was
escaping, they sailed the other boat right across
the entrance to the bay so that the Doctor could
not get out into the open sea.
Then the leader of these bad men (who called
himself "Ben Ali, The Dragon") shook his fist
at the Doctor and shouted across the water,
"Ha! Ha! You are caught, my fine friend!
You were going to run off in my ship, eh? But
you are not a good enough sailor to beat Ben
Ali, the Barbary Dragon. I want that duck
you've got--and the pig too. We'll have pork-
chops and roast duck for supper to-night. And
before I let you go home, you must make your
friends send me a trunk-full of gold."
Poor Gub-Gub began to weep; and Dab-Dab
made ready to fly to save her life. But the owl,
Too-Too, whispered to the Doctor,
"Keep him talking, Doctor. Be pleasant to
him. Our old ship is bound to sink soon--the
rats said it would be at the bottom of the sea
before to-morrow night--and the rats are never
wrong. Be pleasant, till the ship sinks under
him. Keep him talking."
"What, until to-morrow night!" said the Doctor.
"Well, I'll do my best.... Let me see--
What shall I talk about?"
"Oh, let them come on," said Jip. "We can
fight the dirty rascals. There are only six of
them. Let them come on. I'd love to tell that
collie next door, when we get home, that I had bitten
a real pirate. Let 'em come. We can fight them."
"But they have pistols and swords," said the
Doctor. "No, that would never do. I must
talk to him.... Look here, Ben Ali--"
But before the Doctor could say any more,
the pirates began to sail the ship nearer, laughing
with glee, and saying one to another, "Who
shall be the first to catch the pig?"
Poor Gub-Gub was dreadfully frightened;
and the pushmi-pullyu began to sharpen his
horns for a fight by rubbing them on the mast
of the ship; while Jip kept springing into the
air and barking and calling Ben Ali bad names
But presently something seemed to go wrong
with the pirates; they stopped laughing and
cracking jokes; they looked puzzled; something
was making them uneasy.
Then Ben Ali, staring down at his feet,
suddenly bellowed out,
"Thunder and Lightning!--Men, THE BOAT'S LEAKING!"
And then the other pirates peered over the
side and they saw that the boat was indeed getting
lower and lower in the water. And one
of them said to Ben Ali,
"But surely if this old boat were sinking we
should see the rats leaving it."
And Jip shouted across from the other ship,
"You great duffers, there are no rats there
to leave! They left two hours ago! `Ha, ha,'
to you, `my fine friends!'"
But of course the men did not understand him.
Soon the front end of the ship began to go
down and down, faster and faster--till the boat
looked almost as though it were standing on its
head; and the pirates had to cling to the rails
and the masts and the ropes and anything to
keep from sliding off. Then the sea rushed
roaring in and through all the windows and the
doors. And at last the ship plunged right down
to the bottom of the sea, making a dreadful
gurgling sound; and the six bad men were left
bobbing about in the deep water of the bay.
Some of them started to swim for the shores
of the island; while others came and tried to get
on to the boat where the Doctor was. But Jip
kept snapping at their noses, so they were afraid
to climb up the side of the ship.
Then suddenly they all cried out in great fear,
"THE SHARKS! The sharks are coming! Let us
get on to the ship before they eat us! Help,
help!--The sharks! The sharks!"
And now the Doctor could see, all over the
bay, the backs of big fishes swimming swiftly
through the water.
And one great shark came near to the ship,
and poking his nose out of the water he said to
"Are you John Dolittle, the famous animal- doctor?"
"Yes," said Doctor Dolittle. "That is my
"Well," said the shark, "we know these
pirates to be a bad lot--especially Ben Ali. If they
are annoying you, we will gladly eat them up
for you--and then you won't be troubled any
"Thank you," said the Doctor. "This is
really most attentive. But I don't think it will
be necessary to eat them. Don't let any of them
reach the shore until I tell you--just keep them
swimming about, will you? And please make
Ben Ali swim over here that I may talk to
So the shark went off and chased Ben Ali over
to the Doctor.
"Listen, Ben Ali," said John Dolittle,
leaning over the side. "You have been a very bad
man; and I understand that you have killed
many people. These good sharks here have just
offered to eat you up for me--and 'twould
indeed be a good thing if the seas were rid of you.
But if you will promise to do as I tell you, I
well let you go in safety."
"What must I do?" asked the pirate, looking
down sideways at the big shark who was smelling
his leg under the water.
"You must kill no more people," said the
Doctor; "you must stop stealing; you must
never sink another ship; you must give up being
a pirate altogether."
"But what shall I do then?" asked Ben Ali.
"How shall I live?"
"You and all your men must go on to this
island and be bird-seed-farmers," the Doctor
answered. "You must grow bird-seed for the
The Barbary Dragon turned pale with anger.
"GROW BIRD-SEED!" he groaned in disgust.
"Can't I be a sailor?"
"No," said the Doctor, "you cannot. You
have been a sailor long enough--and sent many
stout ships and good men to the bottom of the
sea. For the rest of your life you must be la
peaceful farmer. The shark is waiting. Do
not waste any more of his time. Make up your
"Thunder and Lightning!" Ben Ali
muttered--"BIRD-SEED!" Then he looked down
into the water again and saw the great fish
smelling his other leg.
"Very well," he said sadly. "We'll be
"And remember," said the Doctor, "that if
you do not keep your promise--if you start
killing and stealing again, I shall hear of it,
because the canaries will come and tell me.
And be very sure that I will find a way to punish
you. For though I may not be able to sail
a ship as well as you, so long as the birds and
the beasts and the fishes are my friends, I do not
have to be afraid of a pirate chief--even though
he call himself `The Dragon of Barbary.' Now
go and be a good farmer and live in peace."
Then the Doctor turned to the big shark, and
waving his hand he said,
"All right. Let them swim safely to the land."
THE SIXTEENTH CHAPTER
TOO-TOO, THE LISTENER
HAVING thanked the sharks again for their kindness,
the Doctor and his pets set off once more on their
journey home in the swift ship with the three red sails.
As they moved out into the open sea, the
animals all went downstairs to see what their new
boat was like inside; while the Doctor leant on
the rail at the back of the ship with a pipe in his
mouth, watching the Canary Islands fade away
in the blue dusk of the evening.
While he was standing there, wondering how
the monkeys were getting on--and what his
garden would look like when he got back to
Puddleby, Dab-Dab came tumbling up the
stairs, all smiles and full of news.
"Doctor!" she cried. "This ship of the pi-
rates is simply beautiful--absolutely. The beds
downstairs are made of primrose silk--with
hundreds of big pillows and cushions; there are
thick, soft carpets on the floors; the dishes are
made of silver; and there are all sorts of good
things to eat and drink--special things; the
larder--well, it's just like a shop, that's all.
You never saw anything like it in your life--
Just think--they kept five different kinds of
sardines, those men! Come and look.... Oh,
and we found a little room down there with the
door locked; and we are all crazy to get in and
see what's inside. Jip says it must be where the
pirates kept their treasure. But we can't open
the door. Come down and see if you can let
So the Doctor went downstairs and he saw
that it was indeed a beautiful ship. He found
the animals gathered round a little door, all
talking at once, trying to guess what was inside.
The Doctor turned the handle but it wouldn't
open. Then they all started to hunt for the key.
They looked under the mat; they looked under
all the carpets; they looked in all the cupboards
and drawers and lockers--in the big chests in the
ship's dining-room; they looked everywhere.
While they were doing this they discovered
a lot of new and wonderful things that the
pirates must have stolen from other ships: Kashmir
shawls as thin as a cobweb, embroidered
with flowers of gold; jars of fine tobacco from
Jamaica; carved ivory boxes full of Russian
tea; an old violin with a string broken and a
picture on the back; a set of big chess-men,
carved out of coral and amber; a walking-stick
which had a sword inside it when you pulled
the handle; six wine-glasses with turquoise
and silver round the rims; and a lovely great
sugar-bowl, made of mother o' pearl. But
nowhere in the whole boat could they find a key to
fit that lock.
So they all came back to the door, and Jip
peered through the key-hole. But something
had been stood against the wall on the inside
and he could see nothing.
While they were standing around, wondering
what they should do, the owl, Too-Too,
"Sh!--Listen!--I do believe there's some
one in there!"
They all kept still a moment. Then the
"You must be mistaken, Too-Too. I don't
"I'm sure of it," said the owl. "Sh!--There
it is again--Don't you hear that?"
"No, I do not," said the Doctor. "What
kind of a sound is it?"
"I hear the noise of some one putting his
hand in his pocket," said the owl.
"But that makes hardly any sound at all," said
the Doctor. "You couldn't hear that out here."
"Pardon me, but I can," said Too-Too. "I
tell you there is some one on the other side of
that door putting his hand in his pocket. Almost
everything makes SOME noise--if your ears
are only sharp enough to catch it. Bats can hear
a mole walking in his tunnel under the earth
--and they think they're good hearers. But we
owls can tell you, using only one ear, the color
of a kitten from the way it winks in the dark."
"Well, well!" said the Doctor. "You
surprise me. That's very interesting.... Listen
again and tell me what he's doing now."
"I'm not sure yet," said Too-Too, "if it's a
man at all. Maybe it's a woman. Lift me up
and let me listen at the key-hole and I'll soon
So the Doctor lifted the owl up and held him
close to the lock of the door.
After a moment Too-Too said,
"Now he's rubbing his face with his left
hand. It is a small hand and a small face.
It MIGHT be a woman--No. Now he pushes his
hair back off his forehead--It's a man all right."
"Women sometimes do that," said the Doctor.
"True," said the owl. "But when they do,
their long hair makes quite a different sound.
... Sh! Make that fidgety pig keep still.
Now all hold your breath a moment so I can
listen well. This is very difficult, what I'm
doing now--and the pesky door is so thick! Sh!
Everybody quite still--shut your eyes and don't breathe."
Too-Too leaned down and listened again
very hard and long.
At last he looked up into the Doctor's face
"The man in there is unhappy. He weeps.
He has taken care not to blubber or sniffle, lest
we should find out that he is crying. But I
heard--quite distinctly--the sound of a tear
falling on his sleeve."
"How do you know it wasn't a drop of water
falling off the ceiling on him?" asked Gub-Gub.
"Pshaw!--Such ignorance!" sniffed Too-
Too. "A drop of water falling off the ceiling
would have made ten times as much noise!"
"Well," said the Doctor, "if the poor
fellow's unhappy, we've got to get in and see
what's the matter with him. Find me an axe,
and I'll chop the door down."
THE SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER
THE OCEAN GOSSIPS
RIGHT away an axe was found. And the Doctor soon chopped a
hole in the door big enough to clamber through.
At first he could see nothing at all, it was so dark inside.
So he struck a match.
The room was quite small; no window; the
ceiling, low. For furniture there was only one
little stool. All round the room big barrels
stood against the walls, fastened at the bottom
so they wouldn't tumble with the rolling of the
ship; and above the barrels, pewter jugs of all
sizes hung from wooden pegs. There was a
strong, winey smell. And in the middle of the
floor sat a little boy, about eight years old,
"I declare, it is the pirates' rum-room!"
said Jip in a whisper.
"Yes. Very rum!" said Gub-Gub.
"The smell makes me giddy."
The little boy seemed rather frightened to
find a man standing there before him and all
those animals staring in through the hole in the
broken door. But as soon as he saw John
Dolittle's face by the light of the match, he stopped
crying and got up.
"You aren't one of the pirates, are you?" he asked.
And when the Doctor threw back his head
and laughed long and loud, the little boy smiled
too and came and took his hand.
"You laugh like a friend," he said--"not
like a pirate. Could you tell me where my
"I am afraid I can't," said the Doctor.
"When did you see him last?"
"It was the day before yesterday," said the
boy. "I and my uncle were out fishing in our
little boat, when the pirates came and caught
us. They sunk our fishing-boat and brought us
both on to this ship. They told my uncle that
they wanted him to be a pirate like them--for
he was clever at sailing a ship in all weathers.
But he said he didn't want to be a pirate,
because killing people and stealing was no work
for a good fisherman to do. Then the leader,
Ben Ali, got very angry and gnashed his teeth,
and said they would throw my uncle into the
sea if he didn't do as they said. They sent me
downstairs; and I heard the noise of a fight
going on above. And when they let me come up
again next day, my uncle was nowhere to be
seen. I asked the pirates where he was; but
they wouldn't tell me. I am very much afraid
they threw him into the sea and drowned him."
And the little boy began to cry again.
"Well now--wait a minute," said the Doctor.
"Don't cry. Let's go and have tea in the dining-
room, and we'll talk it over. Maybe your
uncle is quite safe all the time. You don't KNOW
that he was drowned, do you? And that's
something. Perhaps we can find him for you. First
we'll go and have tea--with strawberry-jam;
and then we will see what can be done."
All the animals had been standing around
listening with great curiosity. And when they
had gone into the ship's dining-room and were
having tea, Dab-Dab came up behind the
Doctor's chair and whispered.
"Ask the porpoises if the boy's uncle was
"All right," said the Doctor, taking a second
piece of bread-and-jam.
"What are those funny, clicking noises you
are making with your tongue?" asked the boy.
"Oh, I just said a couple of words in duck-
language," the Doctor answered. "This is
Dab-Dab, one of my pets."
"I didn't even know that ducks had a
language," said the boy. "Are all these other
animals your pets, too? What is that strange-
looking thing with two heads?"
"Sh!" the Doctor whispered. "That is the
pushmi-pullyu. Don't let him see we're talking
about him--he gets so dreadfully embarrassed....
Tell me, how did you come to be
locked up in that little room?"
"The pirates shut me in there when they
were going off to steal things from another ship.
When I heard some one chopping on the door,
I didn't know who it could be. I was very
glad to find it was you. Do you think you will
be able to find my uncle for me?"
"Well, we are going to try very hard," said
the Doctor. "Now what was your uncle like to
"He had red hair," the boy answered--"very
red hair, and the picture of an anchor tattooed
on his arm. He was a strong man, a kind uncle
and the best sailor in the South Atlantic. His
fishing-boat was called The Saucy Sally--a
"What's `cutterigsloop'?" whispered Gub-
Gub, turning to Jip.
"Sh!--That's the kind of a ship the man had,"
said Jip. "Keep still, can't you?"
"Oh," said the pig, "is that all? I thought
it was something to drink."
So the Doctor left the boy to play with the
animals in the dining-room, and went upstairs
to look for passing porpoises.
And soon a whole school came dancing and
jumping through the water, on their way to
When they saw the Doctor leaning on the
rail of his ship, they came over to see how he
was getting on.
And the Doctor asked them if they had seen
anything of a man with red hair and an anchor
tattooed on his arm.
"Do you mean the master of The Saucy Sally?"
asked the porpoises.
"Yes," said the Doctor. "That's the man.
Has he been drowned?"
"His fishing-sloop was sunk," said the
porpoises--"for we saw it lying on the bottom of
the sea. But there was nobody inside it, because
we went and looked."
"His little nephew is on the ship with me
here," said the Doctor. "And he is terribly
afraid that the pirates threw his uncle into the
sea. Would you be so good as to find out for
me, for sure, whether he has been drowned or
"Oh, he isn't drowned," said the porpoises.
"If he were, we would be sure to have heard of
it from the deep-sea Decapods. We hear all
the salt-water news. The shell-fish call us `The
Ocean Gossips.' No--tell the little boy we are
sorry we do not know where his uncle is; but
we are quite certain he hasn't been drowned in
So the Doctor ran downstairs with the news
and told the nephew, who clapped his hands
with happiness. And the pushmi-pullyu took the
little boy on his back and gave him a ride round
the dining-room table; while all the other animals
followed behind, beating the dish-covers
with spoons, pretending it was a parade.
THE EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER
YOUR uncle must now be FOUND," said the Doctor--"that is the
next thing--now that we know he wasn't thrown into the sea."
Then Dab-Dab came up to him again and whispered,
"Ask the eagles to look for the man. No living
creature can see better than an eagle. When they
are miles high in the air they can count the ants
crawling on the ground. Ask the eagles."
So the Doctor sent one of the swallows off
to get some eagles.
And in about an hour the little bird came
back with six different kinds of eagles: a Black
Eagle, a Bald Eagle, a Fish Eagle, a Golden
Eagle, an Eagle-Vulture, and a White-tailed
Sea Eagle. Twice as high as the boy they were,
each one of them. And they stood on the rail
of the ship, like round-shouldered soldiers all
in a row, stern and still and stiff; while their
great, gleaming, black eyes shot darting glances
here and there and everywhere.
Gub-Gub was scared of them and got
behind a barrel. He said he felt as though those
terrible eyes were looking right inside of him
to see what he had stolen for lunch.
And the Doctor said to the eagles,
"A man has been lost--a fisherman with red
hair and an anchor marked on his arm. Would
you be so kind as to see if you can find him for
us? This boy is the man's nephew."
Eagles do not talk very much. And all they
answered in their husky voices was,
"You may be sure that we will do our best
--for John Dolittle."
Then they flew off--and Gub-Gub came out
from behind his barrel to see them go. Up and
up and up they went--higher and higher and
higher still. Then, when the Doctor could only
just see them, they parted company and started
going off all different ways--North, East,
South and West, looking like tiny grains of
black sand creeping across the wide, blue sky.
"My gracious!" said Gub-Gub in a hushed
voice. "What a height! I wonder they don't
scorch their feathers--so near the sun!"
They were gone a long time. And when
they came back it was almost night.
And the eagles said to the Doctor,
"We have searched all the seas and all the
countries and all the islands and all the cities
and all the villages in this half of the world.
But we have failed. In the main street of
Gibraltar we saw three red hairs lying on a wheel-
barrow before a baker's door. But they were
not the hairs of a man--they were the hairs out
of a fur-coat. Nowhere, on land or water, could
we see any sign of this boy's uncle. And if WE
could not see him, then he is not to be seen....
For John Dolittle--we have done our best."
Then the six great birds flapped their big
wings and flew back to their homes in the
mountains and the rocks.
"Well," said Dab-Dab, after they had gone,
"what are we going to do now? The boy's
uncle MUST be found--there's no two ways about
that. The lad isn't old enough to be knocking
around the world by himself. Boys aren't like
ducklings--they have to be taken care of till
they're quite old.... I wish Chee-Chee were
here. He would soon find the man. Good old
Chee-Chee! I wonder how he's getting on!"
"If we only had Polynesia with us," said the
white mouse. "SHE would soon think of some
way. Do you remember how she got us all
out of prison--the second time? My, but she
was a clever one!"
"I don't think so much of those eagle-
fellows,"said Jip. "They're just conceited. They
may have very good eyesight and all that; but
when you ask them to find a man for you, they
can't do it--and they have the cheek to come
back and say that nobody else could do it.
They're just conceited--like that collie in
Puddleby. And I don't think a whole lot of those
gossipy old porpoises either. All they could tell
us was that the man isn't in the sea. We don't
want to know where he ISN'T--we want to know
where he IS."
"Oh, don't talk so much," said Gub-Gub.
"It's easy to talk; but it isn't so easy to find a
man when you have got the whole world to hunt
him in. Maybe the fisherman's hair has turned
white, worrying about the boy; and that was
why the eagles didn't find him. You don't
know everything. You're just talking. You
are not doing anything to help. You couldn't
find the boy's uncle any more than the eagles
could--you couldn't do as well."
"Couldn't I?" said the dog. "That's all you
know, you stupid piece of warm bacon! I haven't
begun to try yet, have I? You wait and see!"
Then Jip went to the Doctor and said,
"Ask the boy if he has anything in his pockets
that belonged to his uncle, will you, please?"
So the Doctor asked him. And the boy
showed them a gold ring which he wore on a
piece of string around his neck because it was
too big for his finger. He said his uncle gave
it to him when they saw the pirates coming.
Jip smelt the ring and said,
"That's no good. Ask him if he has
anything else that belonged to his uncle."
Then the boy took from his pocket a great,
big red handkerchief and said, "This was my
As soon as the boy pulled it out, Jip shouted,
"SNUFF, by Jingo!--Black Rappee snuff.
Don't you smell it? His uncle took snuff--
Ask him, Doctor."
The Doctor questioned the boy again;
and he said, "Yes. My uncle took a lot of
"Fine!" said Jip. "The man's as good as
found. 'Twill be as easy as stealing milk from
a kitten. Tell the boy I'll find his uncle for
him in less than a week. Let us go upstairs
and see which way the wind is blowing."
"But it is dark now," said the Doctor. "You
can't find him in the dark!"
"I don't need any light to look for a man who
smells of Black Rappee snuff," said Jip as he
climbed the stairs. "If the man had a hard
smell, like string, now--or hot water, it would
be different. But SNUFF!--Tut, tut!"
"Does hot water have a smell?" asked the Doctor.
"Certainly it has," said Jip. "Hot water
smells quite different from cold water. It is
warm water--or ice--that has the really difficult
smell. Why, I once followed a man for
ten miles on a dark night by the smell of the
hot water he had used to shave with--for the
poor fellow had no soap.... Now then, let
us see which way the wind is blowing. Wind is
very important in long-distance smelling. It
mustn't be too fierce a wind--and of course it
must blow the right way. A nice, steady, damp
breeze is the best of all.... Ha!--This wind
is from the North."
Then Jip went up to the front of the ship
and smelt the wind; and he started muttering
"Tar; Spanish onions; kerosene oil; wet
raincoats; crushed laurel-leaves; rubber burning;
lace-curtains being washed--No, my mistake,
lace-curtains hanging out to dry; and foxes--
hundreds of 'em--cubs; and--"
"Can you really smell all those different
things in this one wind?" asked the Doctor.
"Why, of course!" said Jip. "And those are
only a few of the easy smells--the strong ones.
Any mongrel could smell those with a cold in
the head. Wait now, and I'll tell you some of
the harder scents that are coming on this wind
--a few of the dainty ones."
Then the dog shut his eyes tight, poked his
nose straight up in the air and sniffed hard with
his mouth half-open.
For a long time he said nothing. He kept as
still as a stone. He hardly seemed to be breathing
at all. When at last he began to speak, it
sounded almost as though he were singing, sadly,
in a dream.
"Bricks," he whispered, very low--"old
yellow bricks, crumbling with age in a garden-
wall; the sweet breath of young cows standing
in a mountain-stream; the lead roof of a dove-
cote--or perhaps a granary--with the mid-day
sun on it; black kid gloves lying in a bureau-
drawer of walnut-wood; a dusty road with a
horses' drinking-trough beneath the sycamores;
little mushrooms bursting through the rotting
"Any parsnips?" asked Gub-Gub.
"No," said Jip. "You always think of things
to eat. No parsnips whatever. And no snuff--
plenty of pipes and cigarettes, and a few cigars.
But no snuff. We must wait till the wind
changes to the South."
"Yes, it's a poor wind, that," said Gub-Gub.
"I think you're a fake, Jip. Who ever heard of
finding a man in the middle of the ocean just by
smell! I told you you couldn't do it."
"Look here," said Jip, getting really angry.
"You're going to get a bite on the nose in a min-
ute! You needn't think that just because the
Doctor won't let us give you what you deserve,
that you can be as cheeky as you like!"
"Stop quarreling!" said the Doctor--"Stop
it! Life's too short. Tell me, Jip, where do
you think those smells are coming from?"
"From Devon and Wales--most of them,"
said Jip--"The wind is coming that way."
"Well, well!" said the Doctor. "You know
that's really quite remarkable--quite. I must
make a note of that for my new book. I wonder
if you could train me to smell as well as that....
But no--perhaps I'm better off the way I am.
`Enough is as good as a feast,' they say.
Let's go down to supper. I'm quite hungry."
"So am I," said Gub-Gub.
THE NINETEENTH CHAPTER
UP they got, early next morning, out of the silken beds;
and they saw that the sun was shining brightly and that
the wind was blowing from the South.
Jip smelt the South wind for half an hour. Then he came
to the Doctor, shaking his head.
"I smell no snuff as yet," he said. "We must wait
till the wind changes to the East."
But even when the East wind came, at three o'clock
that afternoon, the dog could not catch the smell of snuff.
The little boy was terribly disappointed and
began to cry again, saying that no one seemed
to be able to find his uncle for him. But all Jip
said to the Doctor was,
"Tell him that when the wind changes to
the West, I'll find his uncle even though he be
in China--so long as he is still taking Black
Three days they had to wait before the West
wind came. This was on a Friday morning,
early--just as it was getting light. A fine rainy
mist lay on the sea like a thin fog. And the
wind was soft and warm and wet.
As soon as Jip awoke he ran upstairs and
poked his nose in the air. Then he got most
frightfully excited and rushed down again to
wake the Doctor up.
"Doctor!" he cried. "I've got it! Doctor!
Doctor! Wake up! Listen! I've got it!
The wind's from the West and it smells of nothing
but snuff. Come upstairs and start the ship--quick!"
So the Doctor tumbled out of bed and went
to the rudder to steer the ship.
"Now I'll go up to the front," said Jip; "and
you watch my nose--whichever way I point it,
you turn the ship the same way. The man cannot
be far off--with the smell as strong as
this. And the wind's all lovely and wet. Now
So all that morning Jip stood in the front
part of the ship, sniffing the wind and pointing
the way for the Doctor to steer; while all the
animals and the little boy stood round with their
eyes wide open, watching the dog in wonder.
About lunch-time Jip asked Dab-Dab to tell
the Doctor that he was getting worried and
wanted to speak to him. So Dab-Dab went and
fetched the Doctor from the other end of the
ship and Jip said to him,
"The boy's uncle is starving. We must make
the ship go as fast as we can."
"How do you know he is starving?" asked the Doctor.
"Because there is no other smell in the West
wind but snuff," said Jip. "If the man were
cooking or eating food of any kind, I would
be bound to smell it too. But he hasn't even
fresh water to drink. All he is taking is snuff
--in large pinches. We are getting nearer to
him all the time, because the smell grows
stronger every minute. But make the ship go
as fast as you can, for I am certain that the
man is starving."
"All right," said the Doctor; and he sent
Dab-Dab to ask the swallows to pull the ship,
the same as they had done when the pirates were
So the stout little birds came down and once
more harnessed themselves to the ship.
And now the boat went bounding through the
waves at a terrible speed. It went so fast that
the fishes in the sea had to jump for their lives
to get out of the way and not be run over.
And all the animals got tremendously excited;
and they gave up looking at Jip and turned to
watch the sea in front, to spy out any land or
islands where the starving man might be.
But hour after hour went by and still the ship
went rushing on, over the same flat, flat sea; and
no land anywhere came in sight.
And now the animals gave up chattering and
sat around silent, anxious and miserable. The
little boy again grew sad. And on Jip's face
there was a worried look.
At last, late in the afternoon, just as the sun
was going down, the owl, Too-Too, who
was perched on the tip of the mast, suddenly
startled them all by crying out at the top of his
"Jip! Jip! I see a great, great rock in front
of us--look--way out there where the sky and
the water meet. See the sun shine on it--like
gold! Is the smell coming from there?"
And Jip called back,
"Yes. That's it. That is where the man is.
--At last, at last!"
And when they got nearer they could see that
the rock was very large--as large as a big field.
No trees grew on it, no grass--nothing. The
great rock was as smooth and as bare as the back
of a tortoise.
Then the Doctor sailed the ship right round
the rock. But nowhere on it could a man be
seen. All the animals screwed up their eyes
and looked as hard as they could; and John
Dolittle got a telescope from downstairs.
But not one living thing could they spy--
not even a gull, nor a star-fish, nor a shred of
They all stood still and listened, straining
their ears for any sound. But the only noise
they heard was the gentle lapping of the little
waves against the sides of their ship.
Then they all started calling, "Hulloa, there!
--HULLOA!" till their voices were hoarse.
But only the echo came back from the rock.
And the little boy burst into tears and said,
"I am afraid I shall never see my uncle any
more! What shall I tell them when I get home!"
But Jip called to the Doctor,
"He must be there--he must--HE MUST!
The smell goes on no further. He must be
there, I tell you! Sail the ship close to the rock
and let me jump out on it."
So the Doctor brought the ship as close as
he could and let down the anchor. Then he
and Jip got out of the ship on to the rock.
Jip at once put his nose down close to the
ground and began to run all over the place. Up
and down he went, back and forth--zig-zagging,
twisting, doubling and turning. And
everywhere he went, the Doctor ran behind him,
close at his heels--till he was terribly out of
At last Jip let out a great bark and sat down.
And when the Doctor came running up to him,
he found the dog staring into a big, deep hole in
the middle of the rock.
"The boy's uncle is down there," said Jip
quietly. "No wonder those silly eagles couldn't
see him!--It takes a dog to find a man."
So the Doctor got down into the hole, which
seemed to be a kind of cave, or tunnel, running
a long way under the ground. Then he struck
a match and started to make his way along the
dark passage with Jip following behind.
The Doctor's match soon went out; and he
had to strike another and another and another.
At last the passage came to an end; and the
Doctor found himself in a kind of tiny room
with walls of rock.
And there, in the middle of the room, his
head resting on his arms, lay a man with very
red hair--fast asleep!
Jip went up and sniffed at something lying
on the ground beside him. The Doctor stooped
and picked it up. It was an enormous snuff-
box. And it was full of Black Rappee!
THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER
THE FISHERMAN'S TOWN
GENTLY then--very gently, the Doctor woke the man up.
But just at that moment the match went out again.
And the man thought it was Ben Ali coming back,
and he began to punch the Doctor in the dark.
But when John Dolittle told him who it was,
and that he had his little nephew safe on his
ship, the man was tremendously glad, and said
he was sorry he had fought the Doctor. He
had not hurt him much though--because it was
too dark to punch properly. Then he gave the
Doctor a pinch of snuff.
And the man told how the Barbary Dragon
had put him on to this rock and left him there,
when he wouldn't promise to become a pirate;
and how he used to sleep down in this hole
because there was no house on the rock to keep
And then he said,
"For four days I have had nothing to eat or
drink. I have lived on snuff."
"There you are!" said Jip. "What did I tell you?"
So they struck some more matches and made
their way out through the passage into the daylight;
and the Doctor hurried the man down to
the boat to get some soup.
When the animals and the little boy saw the
Doctor and Jip coming back to the ship with
a red-headed man, they began to cheer and yell
and dance about the boat. And the swallows
up above started whistling at the top of their
voices--thousands and millions of them--to
show that they too were glad that the boy's brave
uncle had been found. The noise they made
was so great that sailors far out at sea thought
that a terrible storm was coming. "Hark to
that gale howling in the East!" they said.
And Jip was awfully proud of himself--
though he tried hard not to look conceited.
When Dab-Dab came to him and said, "Jip, I
had no idea you were so clever!" he just tossed
his head and answered,
"Oh, that's nothing special. But it takes a
dog to find a man, you know. Birds are no good
for a game like that."
Then the Doctor asked the red-haired fisherman
where his home was. And when he had
told him, the Doctor asked the swallows to guide
the ship there first.
And when they had come to the land which
the man had spoken of, they saw a little fishing-
town at the foot of a rocky mountain; and the
man pointed out the house where he lived.
And while they were letting down the anchor,
the little boy's mother (who was also the man's
sister) came running down to the shore to meet
them, laughing and crying at the same time.
She had been sitting on a hill for twenty days,
watching the sea and waiting for them to
And she kissed the Doctor many times, so that
he giggled and blushed like a school-girl. And
she tried to kiss Jip too; but he ran away and
hid inside the ship.
"It's a silly business, this kissing," he said.
"I don't hold by it. Let her go and kiss Gub-
Gub--if she MUST kiss something."
The fisherman and his sister didn't want the
Doctor to go away again in a hurry. They
begged him to spend a few days with them. So
John Dolittle and his animals had to stay at
their house a whole Saturday and Sunday and
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