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´╗┐Title: Prince Ricardo of Pantouflia - being the adventures of Prince Prigio's son
Author: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Prince Ricardo of Pantouflia - being the adventures of Prince Prigio's son" ***

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Transcribed from the 1893 J. W. Arrowsmith edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

{Book cover: p0.jpg}



PRINCE RICARDO OF PANTOUFLIA


BEING THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE
PRIGIO'S SON, BY ANDREW LANG
AUTHOR OF PRINCE PRIGIO

ILLUSTRATED BY
GORDON BROWNE

PUBLISHED AT BRISTOL BY J. W. ARROWSMITH,
QUAY STREET, AND AT LONDON BY SIMPKIN,
MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & COMPANY LIMITED



DEDICATION.
To Guy Campbell.


_My dear Guy_,

_You wanted to know more about Prince Prigio_, _who won the Lady
Rosalind_, _and killed the Firedrake and the Remora by aid of his Fairy
gifts_.  _Here you have some of his later adventures_, _and you will
learn from this story the advantages of minding your book_.

_Yours always_,
_A. Lang_.

{Andrew Lang's signature: p0v.jpg}



Introductory.
Explaining Matters.


{Decorative letter T: p0ix.jpg}

There may be children whose education has been so neglected that they
have not read _Prince Prigio_.  As this new story is about Prince
Prigio's son, Ricardo, you are to learn that Prigio was the child and
heir of Grognio, King of Pantouflia.  The fairies gave the little Prince
cleverness, beauty, courage; but one wicked fairy added, "You shall be
_too_ clever."  His mother, the queen, hid away in a cupboard all the
fairy presents,--the Sword of Sharpness, the Seven-League Boots, the
Wishing Cap, and many other useful and delightful gifts, in which her
Majesty did not believe!  But after Prince Prigio had become universally
disliked and deserted, because he was so very clever and conceited, he
happened to find all the fairy presents in the old turret chamber where
they had been thrown.  By means of these he delivered his country from a
dreadful Red-Hot Beast, called the Firedrake, and, in addition to many
other triumphs, he married the good and beautiful Lady Rosalind.  His
love for her taught him not to be conceited, though he did not cease to
be extremely clever and fond of reading.

When this new story begins the Prince has succeeded to the crown, on the
death of King Grognio, and is unhappy about his own son, Prince Ricardo,
who is not clever, and who hates books!  The story tells of Ricardo's
adventures: how he tried to bring back Prince Charlie to England, how he
failed; how he dealt with the odious old Yellow Dwarf; how he was aided
by the fair magician, the Princess Jaqueline; how they both fell into a
dreadful trouble; how King Prigio saved them; and how Jaqueline's dear
and royal papa was discovered; with the end of all these adventures.  The
moral of the story will easily be discovered by the youngest reader, or,
if not, it does not much matter.



CHAPTER I.
The Troubles of King Prigio.


{Prince Ricardo and lady tied up: p13.jpg}

"I'm sure I don't know what to do with that boy!" said King Prigio of
Pantouflia.

"If _you_ don't know, my dear," said Queen Rosalind, his illustrious
consort, "I can't see what is to be done.  You are so clever."

The king and queen were sitting in the royal library, of which the
shelves were full of the most delightful fairy books in all languages,
all equally familiar to King Prigio.  The queen could not read most of
them herself, but the king used to read them aloud to her.  A good many
years had passed--seventeen, in fact--since Queen Rosalind was married,
but you would not think it to look at her.  Her grey eyes were as kind
and soft and beautiful, her dark hair as dark, and her pretty colour as
like a white rose blushing, as on the day when she was a bride.  And she
was as fond of the king as when he was only Prince Prigio, and he was as
fond of her as on the night when he first met her at the ball.

"No, I don't know what to do with Dick," said the king.

He meant his son, Prince Ricardo, but he called him Dick in private.

"I believe it's the fault of his education," his Majesty went on.  "We
have not brought him up rightly.  These fairy books are at the bottom of
his provoking behaviour," and he glanced round the shelves.  "Now, when
_I_ was a boy, my dear mother tried to prevent me from reading fairy
books, because she did not believe in fairies."

"But she was wrong, you know," said the queen.  "Why, if it had not been
for all these fairy presents, the Cap of Darkness and all the rest of
them, you never could have killed the Fire-beast and the Ice-beast,
and--you never could have married me," the queen added, in a happy
whisper, blushing beautifully, for that was a foolish habit of hers.

"It is quite true," said the king, "and therefore I thought it best to
bring Dick up on fairy books, that he might know what is right, and have
no nonsense about him.  But perhaps the thing has been overdone; at all
events, it is not a success.  I wonder if fathers and sons will ever
understand each other, and get on well together?  There was my poor
father, King Grognio, he wanted me to take to adventures, like other
princes, fighting Firedrakes, and so forth; and I did not care for it,
till _you_ set me on," and he looked very kindly at her Majesty.  "And
now, here's Dick," the monarch continued, "I can't hold him back.  He is
always after a giant, or a dragon, or a magician, as the case may be; he
will certainly be ploughed for his examination at College.  Never opens a
book.  What does he care, off after every adventure he can hear about?  An
idle, restless youth!  Ah, my poor country, when I am gone, what may not
be your misfortunes under Ricardo!"

Here his Majesty sighed, and seemed plunged in thought.

"But you are not going yet, my dear," said the queen.  "Why you are not
forty!  And young people will be young people.  You were quite proud when
poor Dick came home with his first brace of gigantic fierce birds, killed
off his own sword, and with such a pretty princess he had rescued--dear
Jaqueline?  I'm sure she is like a daughter to me.  I cannot do without
her."

"I wish she were a daughter-in-law; I wish Dick would take a fancy to
marry her," said the king.  "A nicer girl I never saw."

"And so accomplished," added Queen Rosalind.  "That girl can turn herself
into anything--a mouse, a fly, a lion, a wheelbarrow, a church!  I never
knew such talent for magic.  Of course she had the _best_ of teachers,
the Fairy Paribanou herself; but very few girls, in our time, devote so
many hours to _practice_ as dear Jaqueline.  Even now, when she is out of
the schoolroom, she still practises her scales.  I saw her turning little
Dollie into a fish and back again in the bath-room last night.  The child
was delighted."

In these times, you must know, princesses learned magic, just as they
learn the piano nowadays; but they had their music lessons too, dancing,
calisthenics, and the use of the globes.

"Yes, she's a dear, good girl," said the king; "yet she looks melancholy.
I believe, myself, that if Ricardo asked her to marry him, she would not
say 'No.' But that's just one of the things I object to most in Dick.
Round the world he goes, rescuing ladies from every kind of horror--from
dragons, giants, cannibals, magicians; and then, when a girl naturally
expects to be married to him, as is usual, off he rides!  He has no more
heart than a flounder.  Why, at his age I--"

"At his age, my dear, you were so hard-hearted that you were quite a
proverb.  Why, I have been told that you used to ask girls dreadful
puzzling questions, like 'Who was Caesar Borgia?'  'What do you know of
Edwin and Morcar?' and so on."

"I had not seen _you_ then," said the king.

"And Ricardo has not seen _her_, whoever she may be.  Besides, he can't
possibly marry all of them.  And I think a girl should consider herself
lucky if she is saved from a dragon or a giant, without expecting to be
married next day."

"Perhaps; but it is usual," said the king, "and their families expect it,
and keep sending ambassadors to know what Dick's intentions are.  I would
not mind it all so very much if he killed the monsters off his own sword,
as he did that first brace, in fair fight.  But ever since he found his
way into that closet where the fairy presents lie, everything has been
made too easy for him.  It is a royal road to glory, or giant-slaying
made easy.  In his Cap of Darkness a poor brute of a dragon can't see
him.  In his Shoes of Swiftness the giants can't catch him.  His Sword of
Sharpness would cut any oak asunder at a blow!"

"But you were very glad of them when you made the Ice-beast and the Fire-
beast fight and kill each other," said the queen.

"Yes, my dear; but it wanted some wit, if I may say so, to do _that_, and
Dick just goes at it hammer and tongs: anybody could do it.  It's
_intellect_ I miss in Ricardo.  How am I to know whether he could make a
good fight for it without all these fairy things?  I wonder what the
young rogue is about to-day?  He'll be late for dinner, as usual, I
daresay.  I can't stand want of punctuality at meals," remarked his
Majesty, which is a sign that he was growing old after all; for where is
the fun of being expected always to come home in time for dinner when,
perhaps, you are fishing, and the trout are rising splendidly?

"Young people will be young people," said the queen.  "If you are anxious
about him, why don't you look for him in the magic crystal?"

Now the magic crystal was a fairy present, a great ball of glass in
which, if you looked, you saw the person you wanted to see, and what he
was doing, however far away he might be, if he was on the earth at all.
{21}

"I'll just take a look at it," said the king; "it only wants
three-quarters of an hour to dinner-time."

His Majesty rose, and walked to the crystal globe, which was in a stand,
like other globes.  He stared into it, he turned it round and round, and
Queen Rosalind saw him grow quite pale as he gazed.

"I don't see him anywhere," said the king, "and I have looked everywhere.
I do hope nothing has happened to the boy.  He is so careless.  If he
dropped his Cap of Darkness in a fight with a giant, why who knows what
might occur?"

"Oh, 'Gio, how you frighten me!" said the queen.

King Prigio was still turning the crystal globe.

"Stop!" he cried; "I see a beautiful princess, fastened by iron chains to
a rock beside the sea, in a lonely place.  They must have fixed her up as
a sacrifice to a sea-monster, like what's-her-name."

This proves how anxious he was, or, being so clever and learned, he would
have remembered that her name was Andromeda.

"I bet Dick is not far off, where there is an adventure on hand.  But
where on earth can he be? . . .  My word!" suddenly exclaimed the
monarch, in obvious excitement.

"What is it, dear?" cried the queen, with all the anxiety of a mother.

"Why, the sea where the girl is, has turned all red as blood!" exclaimed
the king.  "Now it is all being churned up by the tail of a tremendous
monster.  He is a whopper!  He's coming on shore; the girl is fainting.
He's out on shore!  He is extremely poorly, blood rushing from his open
jaws.  He's dying!  And, hooray! here's Dick coming out of his enormous
mouth, all in armour set with sharp spikes, and a sword in his hand.  He's
covered with blood, but he's well and hearty.  He must have been
swallowed by the brute, and cut him up inside.  Now he's cutting the
beast's head off.  Now he's gone to the princess; a very neat bow he has
made her.  Dick's manners are positively improving!  Now he's cutting her
iron chains off with the Sword of Sharpness.  And now he's made her
another bow, and he's actually taking leave of her.  Poor thing!  How
disappointed she is looking.  And she's so pretty, too.  I say, Rosalind,
shall I shout to him through the magic horn, and tell him to bring her
home here, on the magic carpet?"

"I think not, dear; the palace is quite full," said the queen.  But the
real reason was that she wanted Ricardo to marry her favourite Princess
Jaqueline, and she did not wish the new princess to come in the way.

"As you like," said the king, who knew what was in her mind very well.
"Besides, I see her own people coming for her.  I'm sorry for her, but it
can't be helped, and Dick is half-way home by now on the Shoes of
Swiftness.  I daresay he will not keep dinner waiting after all.  But
what a fright the boy has given me!"

At this moment a whirring in the air and a joyous shout were heard.  It
was Prince Ricardo flying home on his Seven-league Boots.

"Hi, Ross!" he shouted, "just weigh this beast's head.  I've had a
splendid day with a sea-monster.  Get the head stuffed, will you?  We'll
have it set up in the billiard-room."

"Yes, Master Dick--I mean your Royal Highness," said Ross, a Highland
keeper, who had not previously been employed by a Reigning Family.  "It's
a fine head, whatever," he added, meditatively.

{Ross weighing the beast's head: p28.jpg}

Prince Ricardo now came beneath the library window, and gave his parents
a brief account of his adventure.

"I picked the monster up early in the morning," he said, "through the
magic telescope, father."

"What country was he in?" said the king.

"The country people whom I met called it Ethiopia.  They were niggers."

"And in what part of the globe is Ethiopia, Ricardo?"

"Oh! I don't know.  Asia, perhaps," answered the prince.

The king groaned.

"That boy will _never_ understand our foreign relations.  Ethiopia in
Asia!" he said to himself, but he did not choose to make any remark at
the moment.

The prince ran upstairs to dress.  On the stairs he met the Princess
Jaqueline.

"Oh, Dick! are you hurt?" she said, turning very pale.

"No, not I; but the monster is.  I had a capital day, Jack; rescued a
princess, too."

"Was she--was she very pretty, Dick?"

"Oh!  I don't know.  Pretty enough, I daresay.  Much like other girls.
Why, you look quite white!  What's the matter?  Now you look all right
again;" for, indeed, the Princess Jaqueline was blushing.

"I must dress.  I'm ever so late," he said, hurrying upstairs; and the
princess, with a little sigh, went down to the royal drawing-room.



CHAPTER II.
Princess Jaqueline Drinks the Moon.


{The King and the Prince: p30.jpg}

When dinner was over and the ladies had left the room, the king tried to
speak _seriously_ to Prince Ricardo.  This was a thing which he disliked
doing very much.

"There's very little use in preaching," his Majesty used to say, "to a
man, or rather a boy, of another generation.  My taste was for books; I
only took to adventures because I was obliged to do it.  Dick's taste is
for adventures; I only wish some accident would make him take to books.
But everyone must get his experience for himself; and when he has got it,
he is lucky if it is not too late.  I wish I could see him in love with
some nice girl, who would keep him at home."

The king did not expect much from talking seriously to Dick.  However, he
began by asking questions about the day's sport, which Ricardo answered
with modesty.  Then his Majesty observed that, from all he had ever read
or heard, he believed Ethiopia, where the fight was, to be in Africa, not
in Asia.

"I really wish, Ricardo, that you would attend to your geography a little
more.  It is most necessary to a soldier that he should know where his
enemy is, and if he has to fight the Dutch, for instance, not to start
with his army for Central Asia."

"I could always spot them through the magic glass, father," said Dick;
"it saves such a lot of trouble.  I hate geography."

"But the glass might be lost or broken, or the Fairies might take it
away, and then where are you?"

"Oh, _you_ would know where to go, or Mr. Belsham."

Now Mr. Belsham was his tutor, from Oxford.

"But I shall not always be here, and when I die--"

"Don't talk of dying, sire," said Dick.  "Why, you are not so very old;
you may live for years yet.  Besides, I can't stand the notion.  You must
live for ever!"

"That sentiment is unusual in a Crown Prince," thought the king; but he
was pleased for all that.

"Well, to oblige you, I'll try to struggle against old age," he said;
"but there are always accidents.  Now, Dick, like a good fellow, and to
please me, work hard all to-morrow till the afternoon.  I'll come in and
help you.  And there's always a splendid evening rise of trout in the
lake just now, so you can have your play after your work.  You'll enjoy
it more, and I daresay you are tired after a long day with the big game.
It used to tire me, I remember."

"I _am_ rather tired," said Dick; and indeed he looked a little pale, for
a day in the inside of a gigantic sea-monster is fatiguing, from the heat
and want of fresh air which are usually found in such places.  "I think
I'll turn in; goodnight, my dear old governor," he said, in an
affectionate manner, though he was not usually given to many words.

Then he went and kissed his mother and the Princess Jaqueline, whom he
engaged to row him on the lake next evening, while he fished.

"And don't you go muffing them with the landing-net, Jack, as you
generally do," said his Royal Highness, as he lit his bedroom candle.

"I wish he would not call me Jack," said the princess to the queen.

"It's better than Lina, my dear," said her Majesty, who in late life had
become fond of her little joke; "that always sounds as if someone else
was fatter,--and I hope there is not someone else."

The princess was silent, and fixed her eyes on her book.

Presently the king came in, and played a game with Lina at picquet.  When
they were all going to bed, he said:

"Just come into the study, Lina.  I want you to write a few letters for
me."

The princess followed him and took her seat at the writing table.  The
letters were very short.  One was to Herr Schnipp, tailor to the king and
royal family; another was to the royal swordmaker, another to the
bootmaker, another to the optician, another to the tradesman who supplied
the august family with carpets and rugs, another to his Majesty's hatter.
They were all summoned to be at the palace early next morning.  Then his
Majesty yawned, apologised, and went to bed.  The princess also went to
her room, or bower as it was then called, but not to sleep.

She was unhappy that Dick did not satisfy his father, and that he was so
careless, and also about other things.

"And why does the king want all these tailors and hatters so suddenly,
telescope-makers and swordmakers and shoemakers, too?" she asked herself,
as she stood at the window watching the moon.

"I _could_ find out.  I could turn myself into a dog or a cat, and go
into the room where he is giving his orders.  But that is awkward, for
when the servants see Rip" (that was the dog) "in two places at once,
they begin to think the palace is haunted, and it makes people talk.
Besides, I know it is wrong to listen to what one is not meant to hear.
It is often difficult to be a magician and a good girl.  The temptations
are so strong, stronger than most people allow for."  So she remained,
with the moon shining on her pretty yellow hair and her white dress,
wondering what the king intended to do, and whether it was something that
Dick would not like.

"How stupid of me," she said at length, "after all the lessons I have
had.  Why, I can _drink the moon_!"

Now, this is a way of knowing what anyone else is thinking of and intends
to do, for the moon sees and knows everything.  Whether it is _quite
fair_ is another matter; but, at all events, it is not _listening_.  And
anyone may see that, if you are a magician, like the Princess Jaqueline,
a great many difficult questions as to what is right and wrong at once
occur which do not trouble other people.  King Prigio's secret, why he
sent for the tailor and the other people, was his own secret.  The
princess decided that she would not find it out by turning herself into
Rip or the cat (whose name was Semiramis), and, so far, she was quite
right.  But she was very young, and it never occurred to her that it was
just as wrong to find out what the king meant by _drinking the moon_ as
by listening in disguise.  As she grew older she learned to know better;
but this is just the danger of teaching young girls magic, and for that
very reason it has been given up in most countries.

However, the princess did not think about right and wrong, unluckily.  She
went to the bookcase and took down her _Cornelius Agrippa_, in one great
tall black volume, with silver clasps which nobody else could open; for,
as the princess said, there are books which it would never do to leave
lying about where the servants or anybody could read them.  Nobody could
undo the clasps, however strong or clever he might be; but the princess
just breathed on them and made a sign, and the book flew open at the
right place--Book IV., chapter vi., about the middle of page 576.

The magic spell was in Latin, of course; but the princess knew Latin very
well, and soon she had the magic song by heart.  Then she closed the book
and put it back on the shelf.  Then she threw open the window and drew
back the curtains, and put out all the lights except two scented candles
that burned with a white fire under a round mirror with a silver frame,
opposite the window.  And into that mirror the moon shone white and full,
filling all the space of it, so that the room was steeped in a strange
silver light.  Now the whole room seemed to sway gently, waving and
trembling; and as it trembled it sounded and rang with a low silver
music, as if it were filled with the waves of the sea.

Then the princess took a great silver basin, covered with strange black
signs and figures raised in the silver.  She poured water into the basin,
and as she poured it she sang the magic spell from the Latin book.  It
was something like this, in English:

   "Oh Lady Moon, on the waters riding,
      On shining waters, in silver sheen,
   Show me the secret the heart is hiding,
      Show me the truth of the thought, oh Queen!

   "Oh waters white, where the moon is riding,
      That knows what shall be and what has been,
   Tell me the secret the heart is hiding,
      Wash me the truth of it, clear and clean!"

As she sang the water in the silver basin foamed and bubbled, and then
fell still again; and the princess knelt in the middle of the room, and
the moon and the white light from the mirror of the moon fell in the
water.

Then the princess raised the basin, and stooped her mouth to it and drank
the water, spilling a few drops, and so she _drank the moon_ and the
knowledge of the moon.  Then the moon was darkened without a cloud, and
there was darkness in the sky for a time, and all the dogs in the world
began to howl.  When the moon shone again, the princess rose and put out
the two white lights, and drew the curtains; and presently she went to
bed.

{The Princess drinks the Moon: p41.jpg}

"Now I know all about it," she said.  "It is clever; everything the king
does is clever, and he is so kind that I daresay he does not mean any
harm.  But it seems a cruel trick to play on poor Ricardo.  However,
Jaqueline is on the watch, and I'll show them a girl can do more than
people think,"--as, indeed, she could.

After meditating in this way, the princess fell sleep, and did not waken
till her maid came to call her.

"Oh! your Royal Highness, what's this on the floor?" said the faithful
Rosina, as she was arranging the princess's things for her to get up.

"Why, what is it?" asked the princess.

"Ever so many--four, five, six, seven--little shining drops of silver
lying on the carpet, as if they had melted and fallen there!"

"They have not hurt the carpet?" said the princess.  "Oh dear! the queen
won't be pleased at all.  It was a little chemical experiment I was
trying last night."

But she knew very well that she must have dropped seven drops of the
enchanted water.

"No, your Royal Highness, the carpet is not harmed," said Rosina; "only
your Royal Highness should do these things in the laboratory.  Her
Majesty has often spoke about it."

"You are quite right," said the princess; "but as there is no harm done,
we'll say nothing about it this time.  And, Rosina, you may keep the
silver drops for yourself."

"Your Royal Highness is always very kind," said Rosina, which was true;
but how much better and wiser it is not to _begin_ to deceive!  We never
know how far we may be carried, and so Jaqueline found out.

For when she went down to breakfast, there was the king in a great state
of excitement, for him.

"It's _most_ extraordinary," said his Majesty.

"What is?" asked the queen.

"Why, didn't you notice it?  No, you had gone to bed before it happened.
But I was taking a walk in the moonlight, on the balcony, and I observed
it carefully."

"Observed what, my dear?" asked the queen, who was pouring out the tea.

"Didn't you see it, Dick?  Late as usual, you young dog!" the king
remarked as Ricardo entered the room.

"See what, sir?" said Dick.

"Oh, you were asleep hours before, now I think of it!  But it was _the_
most extraordinary thing, an unpredicted eclipse of the moon!  You must
have noticed it, Jaqueline; you sat up later.  How the dogs howled!"

"No; I mean yes," murmured poor Jaqueline, who of course had caused the
whole affair by her magic arts, but who had forgotten, in the excitement
of the moment, that an eclipse of the moon, especially if entirely
unexpected, is likely to attract very general attention.  Jaqueline could
not bear to tell a fib, especially to a king who had been so kind to her;
besides, fibbing would not alter the facts.

"Yes, I did see it," she admitted, blushing.  "Had it not been
predicted?"

"Not a word about it whispered anywhere," said his Majesty.  "I looked up
the almanack at once.  It is the most extraordinary thing I ever saw, and
I've seen a good many."

"The astronomers must be duffers," said Prince Ricardo.  "I never thought
there was much in physical science of any sort; most dreary stuff.  Why,
they say the earth goes round the sun, whereas any fool can see it is
just the other way on."

King Prigio was struck aghast by these sentiments in the mouth of his son
and heir, the hope of Pantouflia.  But what was the king to say in reply?
The astronomers of Pantouflia, who conceived that they knew a great deal,
had certainly been taken by surprise this time.  Indeed, they have not
yet satisfactorily explained this eclipse of the moon, though they have
written volumes about it.

"Why, it may be the sun next!" exclaimed his Majesty.  "Anything may
happen.  The very laws of gravitation themselves may go askew!"

At this moment the butler, William, who had been in the queen's family
when she was a girl, entered, and announced:

"Some of the royal tradesmen, by appointment, to see your Majesty."

So the king, who had scarcely eaten any breakfast, much to the annoyance
of the queen, who was not agitated by eclipses, went out and joined the
tailors and the rest of them.



CHAPTER III.
The Adventure of the Shopkeepers.


{Man with sword: p48.jpg}

Dick went on with his breakfast.  He ate cold pastry, and poached eggs,
and ham, and rolls, and raspberry jam, and hot cakes; and he drank two
cups of coffee.  Meanwhile the king had joined the tradesmen who attended
by his orders.  They were all met in the royal study, where the king made
them a most splendid bow, and requested them to be seated.  But they
declined to sit in his sacred presence, and the king observed that, in
that case he must stand up.

"I have invited you here, gentlemen," he said, "on a matter of merely
private importance, but I must request that you will be entirely silent
as to the nature of your duties.  It is difficult, I know, not to talk
about one's work, but in this instance I am sure you will oblige me."

"Your Majesty has only to command," said Herr Schnipp.  "There have been
monarchs, in neighbouring kingdoms, who would have cut off all our heads
after we had done a bit of secret business; but the merest word of your
Majesty is law to your loving subjects."

The other merchants murmured assent, for King Prigio was really liked by
his people.  He was always good-tempered and polite.  He never went to
war with anybody.  He spent most of the royal income on public objects,
and of course there were scarcely any taxes to speak of.  Moreover, he
had abolished what is called compulsory education, or making everybody go
to school whether he likes it or not; a most mischievous and tyrannical
measure!  "A fellow who can't teach himself to read," said the king, "is
not worth teaching."

For all these reasons, and because they were so fond of the queen, his
subjects were ready to do anything in reason for King Prigio.

Only one tradesman, bowing very deep and blushing very much, said:

"Your Majesty, will you hear me for one moment?"

"For an hour, with pleasure, Herr Schmidt," said the monarch.

"It is an untradesman-like and an unusual thing to decline an order; and
if your Majesty asked for my heart's blood, I am ready to shed it, not to
speak of anything in the line of my business--namely, boot and shoe
making.  But keep a secret from my wife, I fairly own to your Majesty
that I can _not_."

Herr Schmidt went down on his knees and wept.

{Herr Schmidt went down on his knees: p52.jpg}

"Rise, Herr Schmidt," said the king, taking him by the hand.  "A more
honourable and chivalrous confession of an amiable weakness, if it is to
be called a weakness, I never heard.  Sir, you have been true to your
honour and your prince, in face of what few men can bear, the chance of
ridicule.  There is no one here, I hope, but respects and will keep the
secret of Herr Schmidt's confession?"

The assembled shopkeepers could scarcely refrain from tears.

"Long live King Prigio the Good!" they exclaimed, and vowed that
everything should be kept dark.

"Indeed, sire," said the swordmaker, "all the rest of us are bachelors."

"That is none the worse for my purpose gentlemen," said his Majesty; "but
I trust that you will not long deprive me of sons and subjects worthy to
succeed to such fathers.  And now, if Herr Schmidt will kindly find his
way to the buttery, where refreshments are ready, I shall have the
pleasure of conducting you to the scene of your labours."

Thus speaking, the king, with another magnificent bow, led the way
upstairs to a little turret-room, in a deserted part of the palace.
Bidding the tradesmen enter, he showed them a large collection of
miscellaneous things: an old cap or two, a pair of boots of a sort long
out of fashion, an old broadsword, a shabby old Persian rug, an ivory spy-
glass, and other articles.  These were, in fact, the fairy presents,
which had been given to the king at his christening, and by aid of which
(and his natural acuteness) he had, in his youth, succeeded in many
remarkable adventures.

The caps were the Wishing Cap and the Cap of Darkness.  The rug was the
famous carpet which carried its owner through the air wherever he wished
to go.  The sword was the Sword of Sharpness.  The ivory glass showed you
anyone you wanted to see, however far off.  The boots were the
Seven-league Boots, which Hop-o'-my-Thumb stole from the Ogre about 1697.
There were other valuable objects, but these were the most useful and
celebrated.  Of course the king did not tell the tradesmen what they
were.

"Now, gentlemen," said his Majesty, "you see these old things.  For
reasons which I must ask you to excuse me for keeping to myself, I wish
you to provide me with objects exactly and precisely similar to these,
with all the look of age."

The tradesmen examined the objects, each choosing that in his own line of
business.

"As to the sword, sire," said the cutler, "it is an Andrea Ferrara, a
fine old blade.  By a lucky accident, I happen to have one at home in a
small collection of ancient weapons, exactly like it.  This evening it
shall be at your Majesty's disposal."

"Perhaps, Herr Schnitzler, you will kindly write an order for it, as I
wish no one of you to leave the palace, if you can conveniently stay,
till your business is finished."

"With pleasure, your Majesty," says the cutler.

"As to the old rug," said the upholsterer, "I have a Persian one quite
identical with it at home, at your Majesty's service."

"Then you can do like Herr Schnitzler," who was the cutler.

"And I," said the hatter, "have two old caps just like these, part of a
bankrupt theatrical stock."

"We are most fortunate," said the king.

"The boots, now I come to think of it, are unimportant, at least for the
present.  Perhaps we can borrow a pair from the theatre."

"As for the glass," said the optician, "if your Majesty will allow me to
take it home with me--"

"I am afraid I cannot part with it," said the king; "but that, too, is
unimportant, or not very pressing."

Then he called for a servant, to order luncheon for the shopkeepers, and
paper for them to write their orders on.  But no one was within hearing,
and in that very old part of the palace there were no bells.

"Just pardon me for an instant, while I run downstairs," said his
Majesty; "and, it seems a strange thing to ask, but may I advise you not
to sit down on that carpet?  I have a reason for it."

In fact, he was afraid that someone might sit down on it, and wish he was
somewhere else, and be carried away, as was the nature of the carpet.

King Prigio was not absent a minute, for he met William on the stairs;
but when he came back, there was not one single person in the
turret-room!

"Where on earth are they?" cried the king, rushing through all the rooms
in that part of the castle.  He shouted for them, and looked everywhere;
but there was not a trace of tailor, hatter, optician, swordmaker,
upholsterer.

The king hastened to a window over the gate, and saw the sentinels on
duty.

"Hi!" he called.

And the sentinels turned round, looked up, and saluted.

"Have you seen anyone go out?" he cried.

"No one, sire," answered the soldiers.

The king, who began to guess what had happened, hurried back to the
turret-room.

There were all the tradesmen with parcels under their arms.

"What means this, gentlemen?" said his Majesty, severely.  "For what
reason did you leave the room without my permission?"

They all knelt down, humbly imploring his compassion.

"Get up, you donkeys!" said the king, forgetting his politeness.  "Get
up, and tell me where you have been hiding yourselves."

The hatter came forward, and said:

"Sire, you will not believe me; indeed, I can scarcely believe it
myself!"

"Nor none of us can't," said the swordmaker.  "We have been home, and
brought the articles.  All orders executed with punctuality and
dispatch," he added, quoting his own advertisement without thinking of
it.

On this the swordmaker took out and exhibited the Andrea Ferrara blade,
which was exactly like the Sword of Sharpness.

The upholsterer undid his parcel, and there was a Persian rug, which no
one could tell from the magical carpet.

The hatter was fumbling with the string of his parcel, when he suddenly
remembered, what the king in his astonishment had not noticed, that he
had a cap on himself.  He pulled it off in a hurry, and the king at once
saw that it was his Wishing Cap, and understood all about the affair.  The
hatter, in his absence, had tried on the Wishing Cap, and had wished that
he himself and his friends were all at home and back again with their
wares at the palace.  And what he wished happened, of course, as was
natural.  In a moment the king saw how much talk this business would
produce in the country, and he decided on the best way to stop it.

Seizing the Wishing Cap, he put it on, wished all the tradesmen,
including the shoemaker, back in the town at their shops, and also wished
that none of them should remember anything about the whole affair.

In a moment he was alone in the turret-room.  As for the shopkeepers,
they had a kind of idea that they had dreamed something odd; but, as it
went no further, of course they did not talk about it, and nobody was any
the wiser.

"Owl that I am!" said King Prigio to himself.  "I might have better
wished for a complete set of sham fairy things which would not work.  It
would have saved a great deal of trouble; but I am so much out of the
habit of using the cap, that I never thought of it.  However, what I have
got will do very well."

Then, putting on the Cap of Darkness, that nobody might see him, he
carried all the _real_ fairy articles away, except the Seven-league
Boots, to his own room, where he locked them up, leaving in their place
the sham Wishing Cap, the sham Cap of Darkness, the sham Sword of
Sharpness, and the carpet which was not a magic carpet at all.

His idea was, of course, that Ricardo would start on an expedition
confiding in his fairy things, and he would find that they did not act.
Then he would be left to his own cleverness and courage to get him out of
the scrape.  That would teach him, thought the king, to depend on
himself, and to set a proper value on cleverness and learning, and
minding his book.

Of course he might have locked the things up, and forbidden Ricardo to
touch them, but that might have seemed harsh.  And, as you may easily
imagine, with all the powers at his command, the king fancied he could
easily rescue Ricardo from any very serious danger at the hands of giants
or magicians or monsters.  He only wanted to give him a fright or two,
and make him respect the judgment of older and wiser people than himself.



CHAPTER IV.
Two Lectures.


{The Prince with the telescope: p64.jpg}

For several days Prince Ricardo minded his books, and, according to his
tutors, made considerable progress in polite learning.  Perhaps he ought
not to be praised too highly for this, because, in fact, he saw no means
of distinguishing himself by adventures just at that time.  Every morning
he would climb the turret and sweep the horizon, and even _much_ beyond
the horizon, with the ivory spy-glass.  But look as he would, he saw no
monsters preying on human-kind anywhere, nor princesses in distress.  To
be sure he saw plenty of poor people in distress, and, being a
good-hearted, though careless, lad, Dick would occasionally fly off with
the Purse of Fortunatus in his pocket, and give them as much money as
they needed--it cost him nothing.  But this was not the kind of adventure
which he enjoyed.  Dragons for his money!

One day the Princess Jaqueline took a curious plan of showing Ricardo how
little interest, after all, there is in performing the most wonderful
exploits without any real difficulty or danger.  They were drifting
before a light breeze on a hill lake; Ricardo was fishing, and Jaqueline
was sculling a stroke now and then, just to keep the boat right with the
wind.  Ricardo had very bad sport, when suddenly the trout began to rise
all over the lake.  Dick got excited, and stumbled about the boat from
stern to bow, tripping over Jaqueline's feet, and nearly upsetting the
vessel in his hurry to throw his flies over every trout he saw feeding.

{Drifting in a light breeze: p66.jpg}

But, as too often occurs, they were taking one particular fly which was
on the water, and would look at nothing else.

"Oh, bother them!" cried Ricardo.  "I can't find a fly in my book in the
least like that little black one they are feeding on!"

He tried half-a-dozen different fly-hooks, but all to no purpose; he lost
his temper, got his tackle entangled in Jaqueline's hair and then in the
landing-net; and, though such a big boy, he was nearly crying with
vexation.

The Princess Jaqueline, with great pains and patience, disentangled the
casting line, first from her hair, which Ricardo was anxious to cut (the
great stupid oaf,--her pretty hair!) then from the landing-net; but Dick
had grown sulky.

"It's no use," he said; "I have not a fly that will suit.  Let's go
home," and he threw a tin can at a rising trout.

"Now, Dick," said Jaqueline, "you know I can help you.  I did not learn
magic for nothing.  Just you look the other way for a minute or two, and
you will find the right fly at the end of your line."

Dick turned his head away (it is not proper to look on at magical arts),
and then in a moment, saw the right hook on his cast; but Jaqueline was
not in the boat.  She had turned herself into an artificial fly (a small
black gnat), and Dick might set to his sport again.

"What a trump that girl is," he said aloud.  "Clever, too!" and he began
casting.  He got a trout every cast, great big ones, over a pound, and
soon he had a basketful.  But he began to feel rather bored.

"There's not much fun taking them," he said, "when they are so silly."

At that very moment he noticed that the fly was off his cast, and
Jaqueline was sitting at the oars.

"You see, Ricardo," she said, "I was right after all.  There is not much
pleasure in sport that is easy and certain.  Now, apply this moral to
dragon-killing with magic instruments.  It may be useful when one is
obliged to defend oneself, but surely a prince ought not to give his
whole time to nothing else!"

Dick had no answer ready, so he only grumbled:

"You're always preaching at me, Jack; everybody always is.  I seem to
have been born just to be preached at."

Some people are; and it does grow rather tedious in the long run.  But
perhaps what Jaqueline said may have made some impression on Ricardo, for
he stuck to his books for weeks, and was got into decimal fractions and
Euclid.

All this, of course, pleased the king very much, and he began to
entertain hopes of Ricardo's becoming a wise and learned prince, and a
credit to his illustrious family.

Things were not always to go smoothly, far from it; and it was poor
Jaqueline who fell into trouble next.  She had been very ready to lecture
Dick, as we saw, and took a good deal of credit to herself for his
steadiness.  But one day King Prigio happened to meet Jaqueline's maid,
Rosina, on the stairs; and as Rosina was a pretty girl, and the king was
always kind to his dependents, he stopped to have a chat with her.

"Why, Rosina, what a pretty little silver cross you are wearing," he
said, and he lifted a curious ornament which hung from a chain on
Rosina's neck.  It consisted of seven drops of silver, set like this:

{The drops: p72.jpg}

 "May I look at it?" his Majesty asked, and Rosina, all in a flutter,
took it off and gave if to him.  "H'm!" said the king.  "Very curious and
pretty!  May I ask you where you got this, Rosina?"

{"H'm!" said the king.  "Very curious and pretty!": p73.jpg}

Now Rosina generally had her answer ready, and I am very sorry to say
that she did not always speak the truth when she could think of anything
better.  On this occasion she was anxious to think of something better,
for fear of getting Jaqueline into a scrape about the chemical experiment
in her bedroom.  But Rosina was fluttered, as we said, by the royal
kindness, and she could think of nothing but to curtsy, and say:

"Please, your Majesty, the princess gave me the drops."

"Very interesting," said the king.  "There is a little white moon shining
in each of them!  I wonder if they shine in the dark?"

He opened the door of a cupboard which had no windows, where the
housemaid kept her mops and brooms, and shut himself in.  Yes, there was
no mistake; the darkness was quite lighted up with the sheen of the seven
little moons in the silver.  The king looked rather grave.

"If you can trust me with this cross till to-morrow, Rosina, I should
like to have it examined and analysed.  This is no common silver."

Of course Rosina could only curtsy, but she was very much alarmed about
the consequences to her mistress.

After luncheon, the king asked Jaqueline to come into his study, as he
often did, to help him with his letters.  When they had sat down his
Majesty said:

"My dear Jaqueline, I never interfere with your pursuits, but I almost
doubt whether _Cornelius Agrippa_ is a good book for a very young lady to
read.  The Fairy Paribanou, I am sure, taught you nothing beyond the
ordinary magical accomplishments suited to your rank; but there are a
great many things in the _Cornelius_ which I think you should not study
till you are older and wiser."

"What does your Majesty mean?" said poor Jaqueline, feeling very
uncomfortable; for the king had never lectured her before.

"Why," said his Majesty, taking the silver cross out of his pocket, "did
you not give this to Rosina?"

"Yes, sire, I did give her the drops.  She had them made up herself."

"Then give it back to her when you see her next.  I am glad you are
frank, Jaqueline.  And you know, of course, that the drops are not
ordinary silver?  They are moon silver, and that can only be got in one
way, so far as I know, at least--when one spills the water when he, or
she, is drinking the moon.  Now, there is only one book which tells how
that can be done, and there is only one reason for doing it; namely, to
find out what is some other person's secret.  I shall not ask you _whose_
secret you wanted to find out, but I must request you never to do such a
thing again without consulting me.  You can have no reason for it, such
as a great king might have whose enemies are plotting against his
country."

"Oh, sire, I will tell you everything!" cried Jaqueline.

"No, don't; I don't want to know.  I am sure you will make no use of your
information which you think I should not approve of.  But there is
another thing--that eclipse of the moon!  Oh, Jaqueline, was it
honourable, or fair to the astronomers and men of science, to say nothing
about it?  Their European reputations are seriously injured."

Poor Jaqueline could only cry.

"Never mind," said his Majesty, comforting her.  "There is no great harm
done yet, and perhaps they would not believe you if you did explain; but
just think, if some people ceased to believe in Science, what would they
have left to believe in?  But you are young, of course, and cannot be
expected to think of everything."

"I never thought about it at all," wept Jaqueline.

"'Evil is wrought by want of thought,'" said the king, quoting the poet.
"Now run away, dry your tears, and I think you had better bring me that
book, and I'll put it back in one of the locked-up shelves.  Later, when
you are older, we shall see about it."

The princess flew to her room, and returned with her book.  And the king
kissed her, and told her to go and see if her Majesty meant to take a
drive.

"I'll never deceive him again, never . . . unless it is _quite_
necessary," said the princess to herself.  "Indeed, it is not so easy to
deceive the king.  What a lot he has read!"

In fact, King Prigio had been very studious when a young man, before he
came to the throne.

"Poor child!" thought the king.  "No doubt she was trying her fortune,
wondering if Ricardo cares for her a little.  Of course I could not let
her tell me _that_, poor child!"

In this guess, as we know, his Majesty was mistaken, which seldom
happened to him.

"I wonder who she is?" the king went on speaking to himself.  "That great
booby, Ricardo, saved her from wild birds, which were just going to eat
her.  She was fastened to a mountain top, but _where_? that's the
question.  Ricardo never has any notion of geography.  It was across the
sea, he noticed _that_; but which sea,--Atlantic, Pacific, the Black Sea,
the Caspian, the Sea of Marmora, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the
German Ocean, the Mediterranean?  Her ornaments were very peculiar; there
was a broad gold sun on her breast.  I must look at them again some day.
She said she was being sacrificed to wild birds (which her people
worshipped), because there was some famine, or war, or trouble in the
country.  She said she was a Daughter of the Sun; but that, of course, is
absurd, unless--By Jove!  I believe I have it," said the king, and he
went into the royal library and was looking for some old Spanish book,
when his secretary came and said that the Russian Ambassador was waiting
for an interview with his Majesty.

"Dismal old Muscovite!" sighed the king.  "A monarch has not a moment to
himself for his private studies.  Ah, Prigio! why wert thou not born to a
private station?  But Duty before everything," and wreathing his royal
countenance in smiles, his Majesty prepared to give Count Snoreonski an
audience.

It was all about the attitude of Pantouflia in the event of a Polish
invasion of Russia.  The king reassured Count Snoreonski, affirming that
Pantouflia, while deeply regretting the disturbed relations between two
States in whose welfare she was deeply interested, would ever preserve an
attitude of benevolent neutrality, unless her own interests were
threatened.

"I may give your message to my august mistress, the Czarina?" said the
ambassador.

"By all means, adding an expression of my tender interest in her
Majesty's health and welfare," said the king, presenting the count at the
same time with a magnificent diamond snuffbox containing his portrait.

The old count was affected to tears, and withdrew, while King Prigio
said:

"I have not lost a day; I have made an amiable but very stupid man
happy."

Such are, or rather such were, the toils of monarchs!



CHAPTER V.
Prince Ricardo Crosses the Path of History.


{Hand reaching for a crown with wings: p83.jpg}

"I say, Jack," said Prince Ricardo one morning, "here's a queer letter
for me!"

King Prigio had gone to a distant part of his dominions, on business of
importance, and the young people were sitting in the royal study.  The
letter, which Ricardo handed to Jaqueline, was written on a great broad
sheet of paper, folded up without any envelope, as was the custom then,
and was sealed with a huge seal in red wax.

"I don't know the arms," Ricardo said.

"Oh, Ricardo, how you _do_ neglect your Heraldry!  Old Green Stocking is
in despair over your ignorance."

Now Green Stocking was the chief herald of Pantouflia, just like Blue
Mantle in England.

"Why, these are the Royal Arms of England, you great ignorant Dick!"

"But Rome isn't in England, is it?--and the post-mark is 'Roma': that's
Rome in some lingo, I expect.  It is in Latin, anyhow, I know.  _Mortuus
est Romae_--'He died at Rome.'  It's in the Latin Grammar.  Let's see
what the fellow says, anyhow," added Ricardo, breaking the seal.

"He begins, 'Prins and dear Cousin!'  I say, Jaqueline, he spells it
'Prins;' now it is P-R-I-N-C-E.  He _must_ be an ignorant fellow!"

"People in glass houses should not throw stones, Dick," said Jaqueline.

"He signs himself 'Charles, P. W.,'" said Ricardo, looking at the end.
"Who on earth can he be?  Why does he not put 'P. W. Charles,' if these
are his initials?  Look here, it's rather a long letter; you might read
it to us, Jack!"

The princess took the epistle and began:

"How nice it smells, all scented!  The paper is gilt-edged, too."

"Luxurious beggar, whoever he is," said Ricardo.

"Well, he says: 'Prins and dear Cousin,--You and me' (oh, what grammar!)
'are much the same age, I being fifteen next birthday, and we should be
better _ackwainted_.  All the wurld has herd of the fame of Prins
Ricardo, whose name is _feerd_, and his _sord_ dreded, wherever there are
Monsters and Tirants.  Prins, you may be less well informed about my
situation.  I have not killed any Dragguns, there being nun of them here;
but I have been _under fiar_, at Gaeta.'  Where's Gaeta, Dick?"

"Never heard of it," said Ricardo.

"Well, it is in Italy, and it was besieged lately.  He goes on: 'and I am
told that I did not misbehave myself, nor disgrace _the blud of Bruce_.'"

"I've heard of Robert Bruce," said Dick; "he was the man who did not kill
the spider, but he cracked the head of Sir Harry Bohun with one whack of
his axe.  I remember _him_ well enough."

"Well, your correspondent seems to be a descendant of his."

"That's getting more interesting," said Dick.  "I wish my father would go
to war with somebody.  With the Sword of Sharpness I'd make the enemy
whistle!  Drive on, Jack."

"'As a prins in distress, I apeal to your valler, so renouned in Europe.
I am kept out of my own; my royal father, King Gems,'--well, this is the
worst spelling I ever saw in my life!  He means King _James_,--'my royal
father, King Gems, being druv into exile by a crewl Usurper, the Elector
of Hannover.  King Gems is _old_, and likes a quiat life; but I am
determined to make an effort, if I go alone, and Europe shall here of
Prince Charles.  Having heard--as who has not?--of your royal Highness's
courage and sordsmanship, I throw myself at your feet, and implore you to
asist a prins in distres.  Let our sords be drawn together in the caus of
freedom and an outraged country, my own.

"'I remain,
"'Prins and dear Cuzen,
"'CHARLES, P. W.'

"P. W. means Prince of Wales," added Jaqueline.  "He is turned out of
England you know, and lives at Rome with his father."

"I like that chap," said Prince Ricardo.  "He does not spell very well,
as you say, but I sometimes make mistakes myself; and I like his spirit.
I've been looking out for an adventure; but the big game is getting shy,
and my sword rusts in his scabbard.  I'll tell you what, Jack--I've an
idea!  I'll put him on the throne of his fathers; it's as easy as
shelling peas: and as for that other fellow, the Elector, I'll send him
back to Hanover, wherever that may be, and he can go on electing, and
polling his vote in peace and quietness, at home.  Just wait till I spot
the places."

The prince ran up to the turret, fetched the magic spy-glass, and looked
up London, Rome, and Hanover, as you would in a map.

"Well, Dick, but how do you mean to do it?"

"Do it?--nothing simpler!  I just take my Seven-league Boots, run over to
Rome, pick up Prince Charles, put him on the magic carpet, fly to London,
clap the Cap of Darkness on him so that nobody can see him, set him down
on the throne of his fathers; pick up the Elector, carry him over to his
beloved Hanover, and the trick is done--what they call a bloodless
revolution in the history books."

"But if the English don't like Prince Charles when they get him?"

"Like him? they're sure to like him, a young fellow like that!  Besides,
I'll take the sword with me in case of accidents."

"But, Dick, it is your father's rule that you are never to meddle in the
affairs of other countries, and never to start on an expedition when he
is not at home."

"Oh, he won't mind this time!  There's no kind of danger; and I'm sure he
will approve of the _principle_ of the thing.  Kings must stick up for
each other.  Why, some electing characters might come here and kick _us_
out!"

"Your father is not the sort of king who is kicked out," said Jaqueline.

But there was no use in talking to Dick.  He made his simple
preparations, and announced that he would be back in time for luncheon.

What was poor Jaqueline to do?  She was extremely anxious.  She knew, as
we saw, what King Prigio had intended about changing the fairy things for
others that would not work.  She was certain Dick would get himself into
a scrape; how was she to help him?  She made up her mind quickly, while
Dick was putting his things together.  She told the queen (it was the
nearest to the truth she could think of) that she "was going for a turn
with Dick."  Then she changed herself into a mosquito--a kind of gnat
that bites--and hid herself under a fold of Dick's coat.  Of course he
knew nothing about her being there.  Then he started off in his Seven-
league Boots, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" he was in Rome, in
the grounds of a splendid palace called the Villa Borghese.

There he saw an elderly gentleman, in a great curled wig, sound asleep on
a seat beneath a tree.  The old gentleman had a long, pale, melancholy
face, and across his breast was a broad blue ribbon with a star.  Ah! how
changed was King James from the handsome Prince who had loved fair
Beatrix Esmond, thirty years ago!  Near him were two boys, not quite so
old as Prince Ricardo.  The younger was a pretty dark boy, with a funny
little roundabout white wig.  He was splendidly dressed in a light-blue
silk coat; a delicate little lace scarf was tied round his neck; he had
lace ruffles falling about his little ringed hands; he had a pretty
sword, with a gold handle set with diamonds--in fact, he was the picture
of a little dandy.  The other lad had a broad Scotch bonnet on, and no
wig; beautiful silky yellow locks fell about his shoulders.  He had laid
his sword on the grass.  He was dressed in tartan, which Ricardo had
never seen before; and he wore a kilt, which was also new to Ricardo, who
wondered at his bare legs--for he was wearing shoes with no stockings.  In
his hand he held a curious club, with a long, slim handle, and a head
made heavy with lead, and defended with horn.  With this he was aiming at
a little white ball; and suddenly he swung up the club and sent the ball
out of sight in the air, over several trees.

Prince Ricardo stepped up to this boy, took off his cap, and said:

"I think I have the honour of addressing the Prince of Wales?"

Prince Charles started at the sight of a gentleman in long riding-boots,
girt with a broadsword, which was not then generally worn, and carrying a
Persian rug under his arm.

"That is what I am called, sir," he said, "by those who give me the title
which is mine by right.  May I inquire the reason which offers me the
pleasure of this unexpected interview?"

"Oh, I'm Ricardo of Pantouflia!" says Dick.  "I had a letter from you
this morning, and I believe you wanted to see me."

"From Pantouflia, sir," said Prince Charles; "why, that is hundreds of
leagues away!"

"It is a good distance," said Dick; "but a mere step when you wear Seven-
league Boots like mine."

"My dear prince," said Charles, throwing himself into his arms with
rapture, and kissing him in the Italian fashion, which Dick did not half
like, "you are, indeed, worthy of your reputation; and these are the
celebrated Seven-league Boots?  Harry," he cried to his brother, "come
here at once and let me present you to his Royal Highness, our
illustrious ally, Prince Ricardo of Pantouflia.  The Duke of York--Prince
Ricardo of Pantouflia.  Gentlemen, know each other!"

The prince bowed in the most stately manner.

"I say," said Dick, who was seldom at all up to the standard of royal
conversation, "what's that game you were playing?  It's new to me.  You
sent the ball a tremendous long shot."

"The game is called golf, and is the favourite pastime of my loyal
Scottish subjects," said Prince Charles.  "For that reason, that I may be
able to share the amusements of my people, whom I soon hope to lead to a
glorious victory, followed by a peaceful and prosperous reign, I am
acquiring a difficult art.  I'm practising walking without stockings,
too, to harden my feet," he said, in a more familiar tone of voice.  "I
fancy there are plenty of long marches before me, and I would not be a
spear's length behind the hardiest Highlander."

"By Jove!  I respect you," said Dick, with the greatest sincerity; "but I
don't think, with me on your side, you will need to make many marches.  It
will all be plain sailing."

"Pray explain your plan," said Prince Charles.  "The task of conquering
back the throne of my fathers is not so simple as you seem to suppose."

"I've done a good many difficult things," said Dick, modestly.

"The conqueror of the magician, Gorgonzola, and the Giant Who never Knew
when he had Enough, need not tell me that," said Prince Charles, with a
courteous allusion to two of Ricardo's most prodigious adventures.

"Oh!  I've very little to be proud of, really," said Dick, blushing;
"anyone could do as much with my fairy things, of which, no doubt, you
have heard.  With a Sword of Sharpness and a Cap of Darkness, and so
forth, you have a great pull over almost anything."

"And you really possess those talismans?" said the prince.

"Certainly I do.  You see how short a time I took in coming to your call
from Pantouflia."

"And has Holy Church," asked the Duke of York, with anxiety, "given her
sanction and her blessing to those instruments of an art, usually, in her
wisdom, forbidden?"

"Oh, never mind Holy Church, Harry!" said Prince Charles.  "This is
_business_.  Besides, the English are Protestants."

"I pray for their conversion daily," said the Duke of York.

"The end justifies the means, you know," answered Prince Charles.  "All's
fair in love and war."

"I should think so," said Ricardo, "especially against those brutes of
Electors; they give trouble at home sometimes."

"You, too, are plagued with an Elector?" asked Prince Charles.

"_An_ Elector? thousands of them!" answered Dick, who never could
understand anything about politics.

Prince Charles looked puzzled, but requested Dick to explain his great
plan.

They sat down on the grass, and Ricardo showed them how he meant to
manage it, just as he had told Jaqueline.  As he said, nothing could be
simpler.

"Let's start at once," he said, and, inducing Prince Charles to sit down
on the magic carpet, he cried:

"England!  St. James's Palace!"

But nothing happened!

The carpet was not the right magic carpet, but the one which King Prigio
had put in its place.

"Get on!  England, I said!" cried Dick.

But there they remained, under the chestnut tree, sitting on the carpet
above the flowery grass.

{But there they remained: p99.jpg}

Prince Charles leaped to his feet; his face like fire, his eyes glowing.

"Enough of this fooling, sir!" he said.  "It is easy, but cowardly, to
mock at an unfortunate prince.  Take your carpet and be off with you, out
of the gardens, or your shoulders shall taste my club."

"There has been some mistake," Ricardo said; "the wrong carpet has been
brought by accident, or the carpet has lost its power."

"In this sacred city, blessed by the presence of his Holiness the Pope,
and the relics of so many martyrs and saints, magic may well cease to be
potent," said the Duke of York.

"Nonsense!  You are an impostor, sir!  Leave my presence!" cried Prince
Charles, lifting his golf-club.

Dick caught it out of his hand, and broke across his knee as fine a
driver as ever came from Robertson's shop at St. Andrew's.

"The quarrels of princes are not settled with clubs, sir!  Draw and
defend yourself!" he said, kicking off his boots and standing in his
socks on the grass.

Think of the horror of poor Jaqueline, who witnessed this terrible scene
of passion from a fold in Prince Ricardo's dress!  What could the girl do
to save the life of two princes, the hopes of one nation, and of a
respectable minority in another?

In a moment Prince Charles's rapier was shining in the sunlight, and he
fell on guard in the most elegant attitude, his left hand gracefully
raised and curved.

Dick drew his sword, but, as suddenly, threw it down again.

"Hang it!" he exclaimed, "I can't hit you with _this_!  This is the Sword
of Sharpness; it would cut through your steel and your neck at a touch."

He paused, and thought.

"Let me beseech your Royal Highness," he said to the Duke of York, who
was in a terrible taking, "to lend your blade to a hand not less royal
than your own."

"Give him it, Hal!" said Prince Charles, who was standing with the point
of his sword on the ground, and the blade bent.  "He seems to believe in
his own nonsense."

The duke yielded his sword; Dick took it, made a nourish, and rushed at
Prince Charles.

Now Ricardo had always neglected his fencing lessons.  "Where's the good
of it," he used to ask, "all that stamping, and posture-making, and ha-
haing?  The Sword of Sharpness is enough for _me_."

But now he could not, in honour, use the Sword of Sharpness; so on he
came, waving the rapier like a claymore, and made a slice at Prince
Charles's head.

The prince, very much surprised, parried in prime, riposted, and touched
Dick on the hand.

At this moment the Princess Jaqueline did what she should have thought of
sooner.  She flew out of Dick's coat, and stung old King James on his
royal nose.  The king wakened, nearly crushed the princess (so dangerous
is the practice of magic to the artist), and then leaped up, and saw
Dick's blade flying through the air, glittering in the sun.  The prince
had disarmed him.

"Hullo! what's all this?  _A moi_, _mes gardes_!" cried the old king, in
French and English; and then he ran up, just in time to hear Prince
Charles say:

"Sir, take your life!  I cannot strike an unarmed man.  A prince you may
be, but you have not learned the exercises of gentlemen."

"What is all this, Carluccio?" asked the old king.  "Swords out! brawling
in my very presence! blood drawn!" for Dick's hand was bleeding a good
deal.

Prince Charles, as briefly as possible, explained the unusual nature of
the circumstances.

"A king must hear both sides," said King James.  "What reply have you,
sir, to make to his Royal Highness's statements?"

"The carpet would not work, sir," said Dick.  "It never happened before.
Had I used my own sword," and he explained its properties, "the Prince of
Wales would not be alive to tell his story.  I can say no more, beyond
offering my apology for a disappointment which I could not have foreseen.
A gentleman can only say that he is sorry.  But wait!" he added; "I can
at least prove that my confidence in some of my resources is not
misplaced.  Bid me bring you something--anything--from the ends of the
earth, and it shall be in your hands.  I can't say fairer."

King James reflected, while Prince Ricardo was pulling on the
Seven-league Boots, which he had kicked off to fight more freely, and
while the Duke of York bandaged Dick's hand with a kerchief.

"Bring me," said his Majesty, "Lord Lovat's snuff-mull."

"Where does he live?" said Dick.

"At Gortuleg, in Scotland," answered King James.

Dick was out of sight before the words were fairly spoken, and in ten
minutes was back, bearing a large ram's-horn snuff-box, with a big
cairngorm set in the top, and the Frazer arms.

"Most astonishing!" said King James.

"A miracle!" said the Duke of York.

"You have entirely cleared your character," said the king.  "Your honour
is without a stain, though it is a pity about the carpet.  Your nobility
in not using your magical sword, under the greatest provocation,
reconciles me to this fresh blighting of my hopes.  All my allies fail
me," said the poor king with a sigh; "you alone have failed with honour.
Carluccio, embrace the prince!"

They fell into each other's arms.

"Prince," said Dick, "you have taught me a lesson for which I shall not
be ungrateful.  With any blade a gentleman should be able to hold his own
in fair fight.  I shall no longer neglect my fencing lessons."

"With any blade," said Prince Charles, "I shall be happy to find Prince
Ricardo by my side in a stricken field.  We shall not part till I have
induced you to accept a sword which I can never hope to draw against
another adversary so noble.  In war, my weapon is the claymore."

Here the prince offered to Ricardo the ruby-studded hilt of his rapier,
which had a beautiful white shark-skin sheath.

"You must accept it, sir," said King James; "the hilt holds the rubies of
John Sobieski."

"Thank you, prince," said Ricardo, "for the weapon, which I shall learn
to wield; and I entreat you to honour me by receiving this fairy
gift--which _you_ do not need--a ring which makes all men faithful to the
wearer."

The Prince of Wales bowed, and placed the talisman on his finger.

Ricardo then, after a few words of courtesy on both parts, picked up his
useless carpet, took his farewell of the royal party, and, with Jaqueline
still hidden under his collar, returned at full speed, but with a heavy
heart, to Pantouflia, where the palace gong was just sounding for
luncheon.

Ricardo never interfered in foreign affairs again, but his ring proved
very useful to Prince Charles, as you may have read in history.



CHAPTER VI.
Ricardo's Repentance.


{Bottle of weapon salve: p109.jpg}

The queen, as it happened fortunately, was lunching with one of the
ladies of her Court.  Ricardo did not come down to luncheon, and
Jaqueline ate hers alone; and very mournful she felt.  The prince had
certainly not come well out of the adventure.  He had failed (as all
attempts to restore the Stuarts always did); he had been wounded, though
he had never received a scratch in any of his earlier exploits; and if
his honour was safe, and his good intentions fully understood, that was
chiefly due to Jaqueline, and to the generosity of King James and Prince
Charles.

"I wonder what he's doing?" she said to herself, and at last she went up
and knocked at Ricardo's door.

"Go away," he said; "I don't want to see anybody.  Who is it?"

"It's only me--Jaqueline."

{"It's only me": p111.jpg}

"Go away!  I want nobody."

"Do let me in, dear Dick; I have good news for you," said the princess.

"What is it?" said Ricardo, unlocking the door.  "Why do you bother a
fellow so?"

He had been crying--his hand obviously hurt him badly; he looked, and
indeed he was, very sulky.

"How did you get on in England, Dick?" asked the princess, taking no
notice of his bandaged hand.

"Oh, don't ask me!" said Ricardo.  "I've not been to England at all."

"Why, what happened?"

"Everything that is horrid happened," said Dick; and then, unable to keep
it any longer to himself, he said: "I've failed to keep my promise; I've
been insulted, I've been beaten by a fellow younger than myself; and, oh!
how my hand does hurt, and I've got such a headache!  And what am I to
say to my mother when she asks why my arm is in a sling? and what will my
father say?  I'm quite broken down and desperate.  I think I'll run away
to sea;" and indeed he looked very wild and miserable.

"Tell me how it all happened, Dick," said the princess; "I'm sure it's
not so bad as you make out.  Perhaps I can help you."

"How can a girl help a man?" cried Dick, angrily; and poor Jaqueline,
remembering how she _had_ helped him, at the risk of her own life, when
King James nearly crushed her in the shape of a mosquito, turned her head
away, and cried silently.

"I'm a beast," said Dick.  "I beg your pardon, Jack dear.  You are always
a trump, I will say; but I don't see what you can do."

Then he told her all the story (which, of course, she knew perfectly well
already), except the part played by the mosquito, of which he could not
be aware.

"I was sure it was not so bad as you made it out, Dick," she said.  "You
see, the old king, who is not very wise, but is a perfectly honourable
gentleman, gave you the highest praise."  She thought of lecturing him a
little about disobeying his father, but it did not seem a good
opportunity.  Besides, Jaqueline had been lectured herself lately, and
had not enjoyed it.

"What am I to say to my mother?" Dick repeated.

"We must think of something to say," said Jaqueline.

"I can't tell my mother anything but the truth," Ricardo went on.  "Here's
my hand, how it does sting! and she must find out."

"I think I can cure it," said Jaqueline.  "Didn't you say Prince Charles
gave you his own sword?"

"Yes, there it is; but what has that to do with it?"

"Everything in the world to do with it, my dear Dick.  How lucky it is
that he gave it to you!"

And she ran to her own room, and brought a beautiful golden casket, which
contained her medicines.

Taking out a small phial, marked (in letters of emerald):

"WEAPON SALVE,"

the princess drew the bright sword, extracted a little of the ointment
from the phial, and spread it on a soft silk handkerchief.

"What are you going to do with the sword?" asked Ricardo.

"Polish it a little," said Jaqueline, smiling, and she began gently to
rub, with the salve, the point of the rapier.

As she did so, Ricardo's arm ceased to hurt, and the look of pain passed
from his mouth.

"Why, I feel quite better!" he said.  "I can use my hand as well as
ever."

Then he took off the stained handkerchief, and, lo, there was not even a
mark where the wound had been!  For this was the famous Weapon Salve
which you may read about in Sir Kenelm Digby, and which the Lady of
Branxholme used, in _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_.  But the secret of
making it has long been lost, except in Pantouflia.

"You are the best girl in the world, Jaqueline," said Ricardo.  "You may
give me a kiss if you like; and I won't call you 'Jack,' or laugh at you
for reading books, any more.  There's something in books after all."

The princess did not take advantage of Dick's permission, but advised him
to lie down and try to sleep.

"I say, though," he said, "what about my father?"

"The king need never be told anything about it," said Jaqueline, "need
he?"

"Oh, that won't do!  I tell my father everything; but then, I never had
anything like this to tell him before.  Don't you think, Jaqueline, you
might break it to him?  He's very fond of you.  Just tell him what I told
you; it's every word of it true, and he ought to know.  He might see
something about it in the _Mercure de France_."

This was the newspaper of the period.

"I don't think it will get into the papers," said Jaqueline, smiling.
"Nobody could tell, except the king and the princes, and they have
reasons for keeping it to themselves."

"I don't trust that younger one," said Dick, moodily; "I don't care for
that young man.  Anyway, my father _must_ be told; and, if you won't, I
must."

"Well, I'll tell him," said Jaqueline.  "And now lie down till evening."

After dinner, in the conservatory, Jaqueline told King Prigio all about
it.

His Majesty was very much moved.

"What extraordinary bad luck that family has!" he thought.  "If I had not
changed the rug, the merest accident, Prince Charles would have dined at
St. James's to-night, and King George in Hanover.  It was the very
nearest thing!"

"This meddling with practical affairs will never do," he said aloud.

"Dick has had a lesson, sire," said the princess.  "He says he'll never
mix himself up with politics again, whatever happens.  And he says he
means to study all about them, for he feels frightfully ignorant, and,
above all, he means to practise his fencing."

These remarks were not part of the conversation between Ricardo and
Jaqueline, but she considered that Dick _meant_ all this, and, really, he
did.

"That is well, as far as it goes," said the king.  "But, Jaqueline, about
that mosquito?" for she had told him this part of the adventure.  "That
was a very convenient mosquito, though I don't know how Dick was able to
observe it from any distance.  I see _your_ hand in that, my dear, and I
am glad you can make such kind and wise use of the lessons of the good
Fairy Paribanou.  Jaqueline," he added solemnly, laying his hand on her
head, "You have saved the honour of Pantouflia, which is dearer to me
than life.  Without your help, I tremble to think what might have
occurred."

The princess blushed very much, and felt very happy.

"Now run away to the queen, my dear," said his Majesty, "I want to think
things over."

He did think them over, and the more he thought the more he felt the
inconvenience attending the possession of fairy things.

"An eclipse one day, as nearly as possible a revolution soon after!" he
said to himself.  "But for Jaqueline, Ricardo's conduct would have been
blazed abroad, England would have been irritated.  It is true she cannot
get at Pantouflia very easily; we have no sea-coast, and we are
surrounded by friendly countries.  But it would have been a ticklish and
discreditable position.  I must really speak to Dick," which he did next
morning after breakfast.

"You have broken my rules, Ricardo," he said.  "True, there is no great
harm done, and you have confessed frankly; but how am I to trust you any
longer?"

"I'll give you my sacred word of honour, father, that I'll never meddle
with politics again, or start on an expedition, without telling you.  I
have had enough of it.  And I'll turn over a new leaf.  I've learned to
be ashamed of my ignorance; and I've sent for Francalanza, and I'll fence
every day, and read like anything."

"Very good," said the king.  "I believe you mean what you say.  Now go to
your fencing lesson."

"But, I say, father," cried Ricardo, "was it not strange about the magic
carpet?"

"I told you not to trust to these things," said the king.  "Some
enchanter may have deprived it of its power, it may be worn out, someone
may have substituted a common Persian rug; anything may happen.  You
_must_ learn to depend on yourself.  Now, be off with you, I'm busy.  And
remember, you don't stir without my permission."

The prince ran off, and presently the sounds of stamping feet and "_un_,
_deux_; _doublez_, _degagez_, _vite_; _contre de carte_," and so forth,
might be heard over a great part of the royal establishment.



CHAPTER VII.
Prince Ricardo and an Old Enemy.


{The Yellow Dwarf: p123.jpg}

"There is one brute I wish I could get upsides with," said Ricardo, at
breakfast one morning, his mouth full of sardine.

"Really, Ricardo, your language is most unprincely," said his august
father; "I am always noticing it.  You mean, I suppose, that there is one
enemy of the human race whom you wish to abolish.  What is the name of
the doomed foe?"

"Well, he is the greatest villain in history," said Ricardo.  "You must
have read about him, sir, the Yellow Dwarf."

"Yes, I have certainly studied what is told us about him," said the king.
"He is no favourite of mine."

"He is the only one, if you notice, sir, of all the scoundrels about whom
our ancestors inform us, who escaped the doom which he richly merited at
the sword of a good knight."

You may here remark that, since Dick took to his studies, he could speak,
when he chose, like a printed book, which was by no means the case
before.

"If you remember, sir, he polished off--I mean, he slew--the King of the
Golden Mines and the beautiful, though frivolous, Princess Frutilla.  All
that the friendly Mermaid could do for them was to turn them into a pair
of beautiful trees which intertwine their branches.  Not much use in
_that_, sir!  And nothing was done to the scoundrel.  He may be going on
still; and, with your leave, I'll go and try a sword-thrust with him.
Francalanza says I'm improving uncommon."

"You'll take the usual Sword of Sharpness," said his Majesty.

"What, sir, to a dwarf?  Not I, indeed: a common small sword is good
enough to settle _him_."

"They say he is very cunning of fence," said the king; "and besides, I
have heard something of a diamond sword that he stole from the King of
the Golden Mines."

"Very likely he has lost it or sold it, the shabby little miscreant;
however, I'll risk it.  And now I must make my preparations."

The king did not ask what they were; as a rule, they were simple.  But,
being in the shop of the optician that day, standing with his back to the
door, he heard Dick come in and order a pair of rose-coloured spectacles,
with which he was at once provided.  The people of Pantouflia were
accustomed to wear them, saying that they improved the complexions of
ladies whom they met, and added cheerfulness to things in general.

"Just plain rose-coloured glass, Herr Spex," said Dick, "I'm not short-
sighted."

"The boy is beginning to show some sense," said the king to himself,
knowing the nature and the difficulties of the expedition.

Ricardo did not disguise his intention of taking with him a Dandie
Dinmont terrier, named Pepper, and the king, who understood the motive of
this precaution, silently approved.

"The lad has come to some purpose and forethought," the king said, and he
gladly advanced a considerable sum for the purchase of crocodiles' eggs,
which can rarely be got quite fresh.  When Jaqueline had made the
crocodiles' eggs, with millet-seed and sugar-candy, into a cake for the
Dwarf's lions, Ricardo announced that his preparations were complete.

Not to be the mere slave of custom, he made this expedition on horseback,
and the only magical thing he took with him was the Cap of Darkness (the
one which would not work, but he did not know that), and this he put in
his pocket for future use.  With plenty of egg sandwiches and marmalade
sandwiches, and cold minced-collop sandwiches, he _pricked forth_ into
the wilderness, making for the country inhabited by the Yellow Dwarf.  The
princess was glad he was riding, for she privately accompanied him in the
disguise of a wasp; and a wasp, of course, could not have kept up with
him in his Seven-league Boots.

"Hang that wops!" said Prince Ricardo several times, buffeting it with
his pocket-handkerchief when it buzzed in his ear and round his horse's
head.

{"Hang that wops!" said Prince Ricardo: p129.jpg}

Meanwhile, King Prigio had taken his precautions, which were perfectly
simple.  When he thought Ricardo was getting near the place, the king put
on his Wishing Cap, sat down before the magic crystal ball, and kept his
eye on the proceedings, being ready to wish the right thing to help
Ricardo at the right moment.  He left the window wide open, smoked his
cigar, and seemed the pattern of a good and wise father watching the
conduct of a promising son.

The prince rode and rode, sometimes taking up Pepper on his saddle;
passing through forests, sleeping at lonely inns, fording rivers, till
one day he saw that the air was becoming Yellow.  He knew that this
showed the neighbourhood of Jaunia, or Daunia, the country of the Yellow
Dwarf.  He therefore drew bridle, placed his rose-coloured spectacles on
his nose and put spurs to his horse, for the yellow light of Jaunia makes
people melancholy and cowardly.  As he pricked on, his horse stumbled and
nearly came on its nose.  The prince noticed that a steel chain had been
drawn across the road.

"What caitiff has dared!" he exclaimed, when his hat was knocked off by a
well-aimed orange from a neighbouring orange-tree, and a vulgar voice
squeaked:

"Hi, Blinkers!"

There was the Yellow Dwarf, an odious little figure, sitting sucking an
orange in the tree, swinging his wooden shoes, and grinning all over his
wrinkled face.

"Well, young Blinkers!" said the Dwarf, "what are you doing on my
grounds?  You're a prince, by your look.  Yah! down with kings!  I'm a
man of the people!"

"You're a dwarf of the worst description, that's what _you_ are," said
Ricardo; "and let me catch you, and I'll flog the life out of you with my
riding-whip!"

The very face of the Dwarf, even seen through rose-coloured spectacles,
made him nearly ill.

"Yes, when you can catch me," said the Dwarf; "but that's not to-day, nor
yet to-morrow.  What are you doing here?  Are you an ambassador, maybe
come to propose a match for me?  I'm not proud, I'll hear you.  They say
there's a rather well-looking wench in your parts, the Princess
Jaqueline--"

"Mention that lady's name, you villain," cried Dick, "and I'll cut down
your orange-tree!" and he wished he had brought the Sword of Sharpness,
for you cannot prod down a tree with the point of a rapier.

"Fancy her yourself?" said the Dwarf, showing his yellow teeth with a
detestable grin; while Ricardo turned quite white with anger, and not
knowing how to deal with this insufferable little monster.

"I'm a widower, I am," said the Dwarf, "though I'm out of mourning," for
he wore a dirty clay-coloured Yellow jacket.  "My illustrious consort,
the Princess Frutilla, did not behave very nice, and I had to avenge my
honour; in fact, I'm open to any offers, however humble.  Going at an
alarming sacrifice!  Come to my box" (and he pointed to a filthy clay
cottage, all surrounded by thistles, nettles, and black boggy water),
"and I'll talk over your proposals."

"Hold your impudent tongue!" said Dick.  "The Princess Frutilla was an
injured saint; and as for the lady whom I shall not name in your
polluting presence, I am her knight, and I defy you to deadly combat!"

We may imagine how glad the princess was when (disguised as a wasp) she
heard Dick say he was her knight; not that, in fact, he had thought of it
before.

"Oh! you're for a fight, are you?" sneered the Dwarf.  "I might tell you
to hit one of your own weight, but I'm not afraid of six of you.  Yah!
mammy's brat!  Look here, young Blinkers, I don't want to hurt you.  Just
turn old Dobbin's head, and trot back to your mammy, Queen Rosalind, at
Pantouflia.  Does she know you're out?"

"I'll be into _you_, pretty quick," said Ricardo.  "But why do I bandy
words with a miserable peasant?"

"And don't get much the best of them either," said the Dwarf,
provokingly.  "But I'll fight, if you will have it."

The prince leaped from his horse, leaving Pepper on the saddle-bow.

No sooner had he touched the ground than the Dwarf shouted:

"Hi! to him, Billy! to him, Daniel! at him, good lions, at him!" and,
with an awful roar, two lions rushed from a neighbouring potato-patch and
made for Ricardo.  These were not ordinary lions, history avers, each
having two heads, each being eight feet high, with four rows of teeth;
their skins as hard as nails, and bright red, like morocco. {135}

The prince did not lose his presence of mind; hastily he threw the cake
of crocodiles' eggs, millet-seed, and sugar-candy to the lions.  This is
a dainty which lions can never resist, and running greedily at it, with
four tremendous snaps, they got hold of each other by their jaws, and
their eight rows of teeth were locked fast in a grim and deadly _struggle
for existence_!

The Dwarf took in the affair at a glance.

"Cursed be he who taught you this!" he cried, and then whistled in a
shrill and vulgar manner on his very dirty fingers.  At his call rushed
up an enormous Spanish cat, ready saddled and bridled, and darting fire
from its eyes.  To leap on its back, while Ricardo sprang on his own
steed, was to the active Dwarf the work of a moment.  Then clapping spurs
to its sides (his spurs grew naturally on his bare heels, horrible to
relate, like a cock's spurs) and taking his cat by the head, the Dwarf
forced it to leap on to Ricardo's saddle.  The diamond sword which slew
the king of the Golden Mines--that invincible sword which hews iron like
a reed--was up and flashing in the air!

At this very moment King Prigio, seeing, in the magic globe, all that
passed, and despairing of Ricardo's life, was just about to wish the
dwarf at Jericho, when through the open window, with a tremendous whirr,
came a huge vulture, and knocked the king's wishing cap off!  Wishing was
now of no use.

This odious fowl was the Fairy of the Desert, the Dwarf's trusted ally in
every sort of mischief.  The vulture flew instantly out of the window;
and ah! with what awful anxiety the king again turned his eyes on the
crystal ball only a parent's heart can know.  Should he see Ricardo
bleeding at the feet of the abominable dwarf?  The king scarcely dared to
look; never before had he known the nature of fear.  However, look he
did, and saw the dwarf un-catted, and Pepper, the gallant Dandie Dinmont,
with his teeth in the throat of the monstrous Spanish cat.

No sooner had he seen the cat leap on his master's saddle-bow than
Pepper, true to the instinct of his race, sprang at its neck, just behind
the head--the usual place,--and, with an awful and despairing mew, the
cat (Peter was its name) gave up its life.

The dwarf was on his feet in a moment, waving the diamond sword, which
lighted up the whole scene, and yelling taunts.  Pepper was flying at his
heels, and, with great agility, was keeping out of the way of the
invincible blade.

"Ah!" screamed the Dwarf as Pepper got him by the ankle.  "Call off your
dog, you coward, and come down off your horse, and fight fair!"

At this moment, _bleeding yellow blood_, dusty, mad with pain, the dwarf
was a sight to strike terror into the boldest.

Dick sprang from his saddle, but so terrific was the appearance of his
adversary, and so dazzling was the sheen of the diamond sword, that he
put his hand in his pocket, drew out, as he supposed, the sham Cap of
Darkness, and placed it on his head.

"Yah! who's your hatter?" screamed the infuriated dwarf.  "_I_ see you!"
and he disengaged, feinted in carte, and made a lunge in seconde at Dick
which no mortal blade could have parried.  The prince (thanks to his
excellent training) just succeeded in stepping aside, but the dwarf
recovered with astonishing quickness.

"Coward, _lache_, poltroon, runaway!" he hissed through his clenched
teeth, and was about to make a thrust in tierce which must infallibly
have been fatal, when the Princess Jaqueline, in her shape as a wasp,
stung him fiercely on the wrist.

With an oath so awful that we dare not set it down, the dwarf dropped the
diamond sword, sucked his injured limb, and began hopping about with
pain.

In a moment Prince Ricardo's foot was on the blade of the diamond sword,
which he passed thrice through the body of the Yellow Dwarf.  Squirming
fearfully, the little monster expired, his last look a defiance, his
latest word an insult:

"Yah!  Gig-lamps!"

Prince Ricardo wiped the diamond blade clean from its yellow stains.

{The fight with the Yellow Dwarf: p141.jpg}

"Princess Frutilla is avenged!" he cried.  Then pensively looking at his
fallen foe, "Peace to his ashes," he said; "he died in harness!"

Turning at the word, he observed that the two lions were stiff and dead,
locked in each other's gory jaws!

At that moment King Prigio, looking in the crystal ball, gave a great
sigh of relief.

"All's well that ends well," he said, lighting a fresh cigar, for he had
allowed the other to go out in his excitement, "but it was a fight!  I am
not satisfied," his Majesty went on reflecting, "with this plan of
changing the magical articles.  The first time was of no great
importance, and I could not know that the boy would start on an
expedition without giving me warning.  But, in to-day's affair he owes
his safety entirely to himself and Pepper," for he had not seen the wasp.
"The Fairy of the Desert quite baffled me: it was terrible.  I shall
restore the right fairy things to-night.  As to the Fairy of the Desert,"
he said, forgetting that his Wishing Cap was on, "I wish she were dead!"

A hollow groan and the sound of a heavy body falling interrupted the
king.  He looked all about the room, but saw nothing.  He was alone!

"She must have been in the room, invisible," said the king; and, of
course, she has died in that condition.  "But I must find her body!"

The king groped about everywhere, like a blind man, and at last
discovered the dead body of the wicked fairy lying on the sofa.  He could
not see it, of course, but he felt it with his hands.

"This is very awkward," he remarked.  "I cannot ring for the servants and
make them take her away.  There is only one plan."

So he wished she were in her family pyramid, in the Egyptian desert, and
in a second the sofa was unoccupied.

"A very dangerous and revengeful enemy is now removed from Ricardo's path
in life," said his Majesty, and went to dress for dinner.

Meanwhile Ricardo was riding gaily home.  The yellow light of Jaunia had
vanished, and pure blue sky broke overhead as soon as the dauntless Dwarf
had drawn his latest breath.  The poor, trembling people of the country
came out of their huts and accompanied Dick, cheering, and throwing roses
which had been yellow roses, but blushed red as soon as the Dwarf
expired.  They attended him to the frontiers of Pantouflia, singing his
praises, which Ricardo had the new and inestimable pleasure of knowing to
be deserved.

"It was sharp work," he said to himself, "but much more exciting and
glorious than the usual business."

On his return Dick did not fail to mention the wasp, and again the king
felt how great was his debt to Jaqueline.  But they did not think it well
to trouble the good queen with the dangers Dick had encountered.



CHAPTER VIII.
The Giant who does not know when he has had Enough. {146}


{The enormous letter: p146.jpg}

One morning the post brought a truly enormous letter for Dick.  It was as
broad as a table-cloth, and the address was written in letters as long as
a hoop-stick.  "I seem to know that hand," said Ricardo; "but I thought
the fingers which held the pen had long been cold in death."

He opened, with his sword, the enormous letter, which was couched in the
following terms:

   "The Giant as does not know when he has had _enuf_, presents his
   compliments to Prince Ricardo; and I, having recovered from the
   effects of our little recent _rally_, will be happy to meet you in the
   old place for a return-match.  I not being handy with the pen, the
   Giant hopes you will excuse mistakes and bad writing."

Dick simply gazed with amazement.

"If ever I thought an enemy was killed and done for, it was that Giant,"
said he.  "Why, I made mere mince-collops of him!"

However, he could not refuse a challenge, not to speak of his duty to rid
the world of so greedy and odious a tyrant.  Dick, therefore, took the
usual things (which the king had secretly restored), but first he tried
them--putting on the Cap of Darkness before the glass, in which he could
not see himself.  On second thoughts, he considered it unfair to take the
cap.  All the other articles were in working order.  Jaqueline on this
occasion followed him in the disguise of a crow, flying overhead.

On reaching the cavern--a huge tunnel in the rock--where the Giant lived,
Ricardo blew a blast on the horn which hung outside, and in obedience to
a written notice, knocked also with a mace provided by the Giant for that
purpose.  Presently he heard heavy footsteps sounding along the cavern,
and the Giant came out.  He was above the common height for giants, and
his whole face and body were seamed over with little red lines, crossing
each other like tartan.  These were marks of encounters, in which he had
been cut to bits and come together again; for this was his peculiarity,
which made him so dangerous.  If you cut off his head, he went on just as
before, only without it; and so about everything else.  By dint of magic,
he could put his head on again, just as if it had been his hat, if you
gave him time enough.  On the last occasion of their meeting, Ricardo had
left him in a painfully scattered condition, and thought he was done for.
But now, except that a bird had flown away with the little finger of his
left hand and one of his ears, the Giant was as comfortable as anyone
could be in his situation.

"Mornin' sir," he said to Dick, touching his forehead with his hand.
"Glad to see you looking so well.  No bad feeling, I hope, on either
side?"

"None on mine, certainly," said Ricardo, holding out his hand, which the
Giant took and shook; "but Duty is Duty, and giants must go.  The modern
world has no room for them."

"That's hearty," said the Giant; "I like a fellow of your kind.  Now,
shall we toss for corners?"

"All right!" said Dick, calling "Heads" and winning.  He took the corner
with the sun on his back and in the Giant's face.  To it they went, the
Giant aiming a blow with his club that would have felled an elephant.

Dick dodged, and cut off the Giant's feet at the ankles.

"First blood for the prince!" said the Giant, coming up smiling.  "Half-
minute time!"

He occupied the half-minute in placing the feet neatly beside each other,
as if they had been a pair of boots.

_Round II._--The Giant sparring for wind, Ricardo cuts him in two at the
waist.

The Giant folded his legs up neatly, like a pair of trousers, and laid
them down on a rock.  He had now some difficulty in getting rapidly over
the ground, and stood mainly on the defensive, and on his waist.

_Round III._--Dick bisects the Giant.  Both sides now attack him on
either hand, and the feet kick him severely.

"No kicking!" said Dick.

"Nonsense; all fair in war!" said the Giant.

But do not let us pursue this sanguinary encounter in all its _horrible
details_.

Let us also remember--otherwise the scene would be too painful for an
elegant mind to contemplate with entertainment--that the Giant was in
excellent training, and thought no more of a few wounds than you do of a
crack on the leg from a cricket-ball.  He well deserved the title given
him by the Fancy, of "The Giant who does not Know when he has had
Enough."

* * * * *

The contest was over; Dick was resting on a rock.  The lists were strewn
with interesting but imperfect fragments of the Giant, when a set of
double teeth of enormous size flew up out of the ground and caught
Ricardo by the throat!  In vain he strove to separate the teeth, when the
crow, stooping from the heavens, became the Princess Jaqueline, and
changed Dick into a wren--a tiny bird, so small that he easily flew out
of the jaws of the Giant and winged his way to a tree, whence he watched
the scene.

But the poor Princess Jaqueline!

To perform the feat of changing Dick into a bird she had, of course,
according to all the laws of magic, to resume her own natural form!

There she stood, a beautiful, trembling maiden, her hands crossed on her
bosom, entirely at the mercy of the Giant!

No sooner had Dick escaped than the monster began to _collect himself_;
and before Jaqueline could muster strength to run away or summon to her
aid the lessons of the Fairy Paribanou, the Giant who never Knew when he
had Enough was himself again.  A boy might have climbed up a tree (for
giants are no tree-climbers, any more than the grizzly bear), but
Jaqueline could not climb.  She merely stood, pale and trembling.  She
had saved Dick, but at an enormous sacrifice, for the sword and the Seven-
league Boots were lying on the trampled grass.  He had not brought the
Cap of Darkness, and, in the shape of a wren, of course he could not
carry away the other articles.  Dick was rescued, that was all, and the
Princess Jaqueline had sacrificed herself to her love for him.

The Giant picked himself up and pulled himself together, as we said, and
then approached Jaqueline in a very civil way, for a person of his
breeding, head in hand.

"Let me introduce myself," he said, and mentioned his name and titles.
"May I ask what _you_ are doing here, and how you came?"

{"Let me introduce myself," he said: p154.jpg}

Poor Jaqueline threw herself at his feet, and murmured a short and not
very intelligible account of herself.

"I don't understand," said the Giant, replacing his head on his
shoulders.  "What to do with you, I'm sure I don't know.  '_Please don't
eat me_,' did you say?  Why, what do you take me for?  I'm not in that
line at all; low, _I_ call it!"

Jaqueline was somewhat comforted at these words, dropped out of the
Giant's lips from a considerable height.

"But they call you 'The Giant who does not Know when he has had Enough,'"
said Jaqueline.

"And proud of the title: not enough of fighting.  Of _punishment_ I am a
glutton, or so my friends are pleased to say.  A brace of oxen, a drove
of sheep or two, are enough for me," the Giant went on complacently, but
forgetting to mention that the sheep and the oxen were the property of
other people.  "Where am I to put you till your friends come and pay your
ransom?" the Giant asked again, and stared at Jaqueline in a perplexed
way.  "I can't take you home with me, that is out of the question.  I
have a little woman of my own, and she's not very fond of other ladies;
especially, she would like to poison them that have good looks."

Now Jaqueline saw that the Giant, big as he was, courageous too, was
afraid of his wife!

"I'll tell you what I'll do; I'll hand you over to a neighbour of mine,
who is a bachelor."

"A bachelor giant; would that be quite proper?" said Jaqueline, trying to
humour him.

"He's not a giant, bless you; he's a queer fellow, it is not easy to say
what he is.  He's the Earthquaker, him as shakes the earth now and then,
and brings the houses about people's ears."

Jaqueline fairly screamed at hearing this awful news.

"Hush! be quiet, do!" said the Giant.  "You'll bring out my little woman,
and she is not easy to satisfy with explanations when she finds me
conversing with a lady unbeknown to her.  The Earthquaker won't do you
any harm; it's only for safe keeping I'll put you with him.  Why, he
don't waken, not once in fifty years.  He's quite the dormouse.  Turns on
his bed now and then, and things upstairs get upset, more or less; but,
as a rule, a child could play with him.  Come on!"

Then, taking Jaqueline up on one hand, on which she sat as if on a chair,
he crossed a few ranges of mountains in as many strides.  In front was
one tall blue hill, with a flattened peak, and as they drew near the
princess felt a curious kind of wind coming round her and round her.  You
have heard of whirlpools in water; well, this was just like a whirlpool
of air.  Even the Giant himself could hardly keep his legs against it;
then he tossed Jaqueline up, and the airy whirlpool seized her and
carried her, as if on a tide of water, always round and round in
narrowing circles, till she was sucked down into the hollow hill.  Even
as she went, she seemed to remember the hill, as if she had dreamed about
it, and the shape and colour of the country.  But presently she sank
softly on to a couch, in a beautifully-lighted rocky hall.  All around
her the floor was of white and red marble, but on one side it seemed to
end in black nothing.

Jaqueline, after a few moments, recovered her senses fully, and changing
herself into an eagle, tried to fly up and out.  But as soon as she was
in the funnel, the whirlpool of air always sucking down and down, was too
strong for her wings.  She was a prisoner in this great gleaming hall,
ending in black nothingness.  So she resumed her usual form, and walking
to the edge of the darkness, found that it was not empty air, but
something black, soft, and strong--something living.  It had no form or
shape, or none that she could make out; but it pulsed with a heart.
Jaqueline placed her foot on this curious thing, when a voice came, like
thunder heard through a feather-bed:

"Not near time to get up yet!" and then there was a snore, and the great
hall rocked like a ship at sea.

It was the Earthquaker!

The habits of this monstrous animal are very little known, as, of course,
he never comes above ground, or at least very seldom, when he makes
tracks like a dry river-bed across country.  We are certain that there
_are_ Earthquakers, otherwise how can we account for earthquakes?  But
how to tackle an Earthquaker, how to get at him, and what to do with him
when you have got at him, are questions which might puzzle even King
Prigio.

It was not easy to have the better of an enchantress like Jaqueline and a
prince like Ricardo.  In no ordinary circumstances could they have been
baffled and defeated; but now it must be admitted that they were in a
very trying and alarming situation, especially the princess.  The worst
of it was, that as Jaqueline sat and thought and thought, she began to
remember that she was back in her own country.  The hills were those she
used to see from her father's palace windows when she was a child.  And
she remembered with horror that once a year her people used to send a
beautiful girl to the Earthquaker, by way of keeping him quiet, as you
shall hear presently.  And now she heard light footsteps and a sound of
weeping, and lo! a great troop of pretty girls passed, sweeping in and
out of the halls in a kind of procession, and looking unhappy and lost.

Jaqueline ran to them.

"Where am I? who are you?" she cried, in the language of her own country,
which came back to her on a sudden.

"We are nurses of the Earthquaker," they said.  "Our duty is to sing him
asleep, and every year he must have a new song; and every year a new
maiden must be sent down from earth, with a new sleepy song she has
learned from the priests of Manoa, the City of the Sun.  Are you the new
singer?"

"No, I'm _not_," said Jaqueline.  "I don't know the priests of Manoa; I
don't know any new sleepy song.  I only want to find the way out."

"There is no way, or we should have found it," said one of the maidens;
"and, if you are the wrong girl, by the day after to-morrow they must
send the right one, otherwise the Earthquaker will waken, and shake the
world, and destroy Manoa, the City of the Sun."  Then they all wept
softly in the stillness.  "Can we get anything to eat here?" asked poor
Jaqueline, at last.

She was beginning to be very hungry, and however alarmed she might be,
she felt that dinner would not be unwelcome.  The tallest of the maidens
clapped her hands, and immediately a long table was spread by unseen
sprites with meringues and cold chicken, and several sorts of delicious
ices.

We shall desert Jaqueline, who was rather less alarmed when she found
that she was not to be starved, at all events, and return to Prince
Ricardo, whom we left fluttering about as a little golden-crested wren.
He followed the Giant and Jaqueline into the whirlpool of air as far as
he dared, and when he saw her vanish down the cone of the hill, he flew
straight back to Pantouflia.



CHAPTER IX.
Prigio has an Idea.


{Ricardo and Semiramis: p165.jpg}

A weary and way-worn little bird was Prince Ricardo when he fluttered
into the royal study window, in the palace of Pantouflia.  The king was
out at a council meeting; knowing that Ricardo had the right things, all
in good order, he was not in the least anxious about him.  The king was
out, but Semiramis was in--Semiramis, the great grey cat, sitting on a
big book on the top of the library steps.  Now Semiramis was very fond of
birds, and no sooner did Ricardo enter and flutter on to a table than
Semiramis gathered herself together and made one fell spring at him.  She
just caught his tail feather.  In all his adventures the prince had never
been in greater danger.  He escaped, but no more, and went flying round
the ceiling, looking for a safe place.  Finally he perched on a
chandelier that hung from the roof.  Here he was safe; and so weary was
he, that he put his head under his wing and fell fast asleep.  He was
awakened by the return of the king, who threw himself on a sofa and
exclaimed:

"Oh, that Prime Minister! his dulness is as heavy as lead; much heavier,
in fact!"

Then his Majesty lit a cigar and took up a volume; he certainly was a sad
bookworm.

Dick now began to fly about the room, brushing the king's face and trying
to attract his notice.

"Poor little thing!" said his Majesty.

And Dick alighted, and nestled in his breast.

On seeing this, Semiramis began to growl, as cats do when they are angry,
and slowly approached his Majesty.

"Get out, Semiramis!" said the king; and lifting her by the neck, he put
her out of the room and shut the door, at which she remained scratching
and mewing.

Dick now crept out of the royal waistcoat, flew to the king's ear,
twittered, pointed out of the window with one claw, and, lying down on
his back, pretended to be dead.  Then he got up again, twittered afresh,
pointed to the Wishing Cap, and, finally, convinced the king that this
was no common fowl.

"An enchanted prince or princess," said Prigio, "such as I have often
read of.  Who can it be?  Not Jaqueline; she could change herself back in
a moment.  By the way, where _is_ Jaqueline?"

He rang the bell, and asked the servant to look for the princess.

Semiramis tried to come in, but was caught and shut up downstairs.

After doing this, the man replied that her Royal Highness had not been in
the palace all day.

The king rushed to the crystal ball, looked all the world over; but no
princess!  He became very nervous, and at that moment Dick lighted on the
crystal ball, and put his claw on the very hill where Jaqueline had
disappeared.  Then he cocked his little eye at the king.

"Nay, she is somewhere in the unknown centre of South America," said his
Majesty; "somewhere behind Mount Roraima, where nobody has ever been.  I
must look into this."

Then he put on the Wishing Cap, and wished that the bird would assume his
natural shape if he was under enchantment, as there seemed too good
reason to believe.

Instantly Dick stood before him.

{Instantly Dick stood before him: p170.jpg}

"Ricardo!" cried the king in horror; "and in this disguise!  Where have
you been?  What have you done with Jaqueline?  Where are the Seven-league
Boots?  Where is the Sword of Sharpness?  Speak!  Get up!" for Dick was
kneeling and weeping bitterly at the royal feet.

"All lost!" said Dick.  "Poor Jaqueline! she was the best girl, and the
prettiest, and the kindest.  And the Earthquaker's got her, and the
Giant's got the other things," Dick ended, crying bitterly.

"Calm yourself, Ricardo," said his Majesty, very pale, but calm and
determined.  "Here, take a glass of port, and explain how all this
happened."

Dick drank the wine, and then he told his miserable story.

"You may well sob!  Why didn't you use the Cap of Darkness?  Mere
conceit!  But there is no use in crying over spilt milk.  The thing is,
to rescue Jaqueline.  And what are we to say to your mother?"

"That's the worst of it all," said Dick.  "Mother will break her heart."

"I must see her at once," said the king, "and break it to her."

This was a terrible task; but the queen had such just confidence in her
Prigio that she soon dried her tears, remarking that Heaven would not
desert Jaqueline, and that the king would find a way out of the trouble.

His Majesty retired to his study, put his head in his hands, and thought
and thought.

"The thing is, of course," he said, "to destroy the Earthquaker before he
wakens; but how?  What can kill such a monster?  Prodding him with the
sword would only stir him up and make him more vicious.  And I know of no
other beast we can set against him, as I did with the Fire-beast and the
Ice-beast, when I was young.  Oh, for an idea!"

Then his mind, somehow, went back to the Council and the ponderous
stupidity of the Prime Minister.

"Heavier than lead," said the king.  "By George!  I have a plan.  If I
could get to the place where they keep the Stupidity, I could carry away
enough of it to flatten out the Earthquaker."

Then he remembered how, in an old Italian poem, he had read about all the
strange lumber-room of odd things which is kept in the moon.  That is the
advantage of reading: _Knowledge is Power_; and you mostly get knowledge
that is really worth having out of good old books which people do not
usually read.

"If the Stupidity is kept in stock, up in the moon, and comes from there,
falling naturally down on the earth in small quantities, I might obtain
enough for my purpose," thought King Prigio.  "But--how to get to the
moon?  There are difficulties about that."

But difficulties only sharpened the ingenuity of this admirable king.

"The other fellow had a Flying Horse," said he.

By "the other fellow" King Prigio meant an Italian knight, Astolfo, who,
in old times, visited the moon, and there found and brought back the
common sense of his friend, Orlando, as you may read in the poem of
Ariosto.

"Now," reasoned King Prigio, "if there is a Flying Horse at all, he is in
the stables of the King of Delhi.  I must look into this."

Taking the magic spy-glass, the king surveyed the world from China to
Peru, and, sure enough, there was the famous Flying Horse in the king's
stable at Delhi.  Hastily the king thrust his feet into the Shoes of
Swiftness--so hastily, indeed, that, as the poet says, he "madly crammed
a left-hand foot into a right-hand shoe."  But this, many people think,
is a sign of good luck; so he put the shoes on the proper feet, and in a
few minutes was in the presence of the Great Mogul.

The monarch received him with some surprise, but with stately kindness,
and listened to Prigio while he explained what he wanted.

"I am only too happy to assist so adventurous a prince," remarked the
Great Mogul.  "This is like old times!  Every horse in my stable is at
your service, but, as you say, only the Flying Horse is of any use to you
in this expedition."

He clapped his hands, the Grand Vizier appeared, and the king gave orders
to have the Flying Horse saddled at once.  He then presented King Prigio
with a large diamond, and came down into the courtyard to see him mount.

"He's very fresh," said the groom who held the bridle; "has not been out
of the stable for three hundred years!"

Prigio sprang into the saddle among the salaams of the dusky multitude,
and all the ladies of the seraglio waved their scented handkerchiefs out
of the windows.

The king, as he had been instructed, turned a knob of gold in the saddle
of the Flying Horse, then kissed his hand to the ladies, and, giving the
steed his head, cried, in excellent Persian:

"To the moon!"

Up flew the horse with an easy action, and the king's head nearly swam
with the swiftness of the flight.  Soon the earth below him was no bigger
than a top, spinning on its own axis (see Geography books for this), and,
as night fell, earth was only a great red moon.

{King Prigio on the Flying Horse: p178.jpg}

Through the dark rode King Prigio, into the silver dawn of the moon.  All
now became clear and silvery; the coasts of the moon came into sight,
with white seas breaking on them; and at last the king reached the silver
walls, and the gate of opal.  Before the gate stood two beautiful ladies.
One was fair, with yellow locks, the colour of the harvest moon.  She had
a crown of a golden snake and white water-lilies, and her dress now shone
white, now red, now golden; and in her hand was the golden pitcher that
sheds the dew, and a golden wand.  The other lady was as dark as
night--dark eyes, dark hair; her crown was of poppies.  She held the
ebony Wand of Sleep.  Her dress was of the deepest blue, sown with stars.
The king knew that they were the maidens of the bright and the dark side
of the moon--of the side you see, and of the side that no one has ever
seen, except King Prigio.  He stopped the Flying Horse by turning the
other knob in the saddle, alighted, and bowed very low to each of the
ladies.

"Daring mortal! what make you here?" they asked.

And then the king told them about Jaqueline and the Earthquaker, and how
he needed a great weight of Stupidity to flatten him out with.

The ladies heard him in silence, and then they said:

"Follow us," and they flew lightly beside the Flying Horse till they had
crossed all the bright side of the moon, above the silver palaces and
silver seas, and reached the summit of the Mountains of the Moon which
separate the bright from the dark side.

"Here I may go no further," said the bright lady; "and beyond, as you
see, all is darkness and heavy sleep."

Then she touched Prigio with her golden wand with twisted serpents, and
he became luminous, light raying out from him; and the dark lady, too,
shone like silver in the night: and on they flew, over black rocks and
black rivers, till they reached a huge mountain, like a mountain of coal,
many thousand feet high, for its head was lost in the blackness of
darkness.  The dark Moon-Lady struck the rock with her ebony wand, and
said, "Open!" and the cliffs opened like a door, and they were within the
mountain.

"Here," said the dark lady, "is the storehouse of all the Stupidity;
hence it descends in showers like Stardust on the earth whenever this
mountain, which is a volcano, is in eruption.  Only a little of the
Stupidity reaches the earth, and that only in invisible dust; yet you
know how weighty it is, even in that form."

"Indeed, madam," said the king, "no one knows it better than I do."

"Then make your choice of the best sort of Stupidity for your purpose,"
said the dark lady.

And in the light which flowed from their bodies King Prigio looked round
at the various kinds of Solid Stupidity.  There it all lay in masses--the
Stupidity of bad Sermons, of ignorant reviewers, of bad poems, of bad
speeches, of dreary novels, of foolish statesmen, of ignorant mobs, of
fine ladies, of idle, naughty boys and girls; and the king examined them
all, and all were very, very heavy.  But when he came to the Stupidity of
the Learned--of dull, blind writers on Shakspeare, and Homer, and the
Bible--then King Prigio saw that he had found the sort he wanted, and
that a very little of it would go a long way.  He never could have got it
on the saddle of the Flying Horse if the dark lady had not touched it
with her ebony wand, and made it light to carry till it was wanted for
his purpose.  When he needed it for use, he was to utter a certain spell,
which she taught him, and then the lump would recover its natural weight.
So he easily put a great block on his saddle-bow, and he and the dark
lady flew back till they reached the crest of the Mountains of the Moon.
There she touched him with her ebony wand, and the silver light which the
bright lady had shed on him died from his face and his body, and he
became like other men.

"You see your way?" said the dark lady, pointing to the bright moon of
earth, shining far off in the heavens.

Then he knelt down and thanked her, and she murmured strange words of
blessing which he did not understand; but her face was grave and kind,
and he thought of Queen Rosalind, his wife.

Then he jumped on the Flying Horse, galloped down and down, till he
reached his palace gate; called for Ricardo, set him behind him on the
saddle, and away they rode, above land and wide seas, till they saw the
crest of the hollow hill, where Jaqueline was with the Earthquaker.
Beyond it they marked the glittering spires and towers of Manoa, the City
of the Sun; and "Thither," said King Prigio, who had been explaining how
matters stood, to Ricardo, "we must ride, for I believe they stand in
great need of our assistance."

"Had we not better go to Jaqueline first, sir?" said Ricardo.

"No," said the king; "I think mine is the best plan.  Manoa, whose golden
spires and pinnacles are shining below us, is the City of the Sun, which
Sir Walter Raleigh and the Spaniards could never find, so that men have
doubted of its existence.  We are needed there, to judge by that angry
crowd in the marketplace.  How they howl!"



CHAPTER X.
The End.


{Man with rock: p186.jpg}

It was on a strange sight that the king and Ricardo looked down from the
Flying Horse.  Beneath them lay the City of Manoa, filling with its
golden battlements and temples a hollow of the mountains.  Here were
palaces all carved over with faces of men and beasts, and with twisted
patterns of serpents.

The city walls were built of huge square stones, and among the groves
towered pyramids, on which the people did service to their gods.  From
every temple top came the roar of beaten drums, great drums of
serpentskin.

But, in the centre of the chief square of the town, was gathered a wild
crowd of men in shining copper armour and helmets of gold and glittering
dresses of feathers.  Among them ran about priests with hideous masks,
crying them on to besiege and break down the royal palace.  From the
battlements of the palace the king's guardsmen were firing arrows and
throwing spears.  The mob shot arrows back, some of them tipped with
lighted straw, to burn the palace down.

But, in the very centre of the square, was a clear space of ground, on
which fell the shadow of a tall column of red stone, all carved with
serpents and faces of gods.  Beside it stood a figure horrible to see: a
man clothed in serpent skins, whose face was the grinning face of a
skull; but the skull was shining black and red in patches, and a long
white beard flowed from beneath it.  This man, mounted on a kind of altar
of red stone, waved his hand and yelled, and seemed to point to the
shadow of the column which fell across the square.

The people were so furious and so eager that they did not, at first,
notice King Prigio as he slowly descended.  But at last the eyes within
the skull looked up and saw him, and then the man gave a great cry, rent
his glittering dress of serpentskin, and held up his hands.

Then all the multitude looked up, and seeing the Flying Horse, let their
weapons fall; and the man of the skull tore it from his face, and knelt
before King Prigio, with his head in the dust.

"Thou hast come, oh, Pachacamac, as is foretold in the prophecy of the
Cord of the Venerable Knots!  Thou hast come, but behold the shadow of
the stone!  Thou art too late, oh Lord of the Earth and the Sea!"

Then he pointed to the shadow, which, naturally, was growing shorter, as
the sun drew near mid-day.

He spoke in the language of the ancient Incas of Peru, which of course
Prigio knew very well; and he also knew that Pachacamac was the god of
that people.

"I have come," Prigio said, with presence of mind, "as it has been
prophesied of old."

"Riding on a beast that flies," said the old priest, "even as the oracle
declared.  Glory to Pachacamac, even though we die to-day!"

"In what can I help my people?" said Prigio.

"Thou knowest; why should we instruct thee?  Thou knowest that on
midsummer-day, every year, before the shadow shrinks back to the base of
the _huaca_ {190} of Manoa, we must offer a maiden to lull the
Earthquaker with a new song.  Lo, now the shadow shrinks to the foot of
the _huaca_, and the maid is not offered!  For the lot fell on the
daughter of thy servant the Inca, and he refuses to give her up.  One
daughter of his, he says, has been sacrificed to the sacred birds, the
_Cunturs_: the birds were found slain on the hill-top, no man knows how;
but the maiden vanished."

"Why, it must have been Jaqueline.  I killed the birds," said Ricardo, in
Pantouflian.

"Silence, not a word!" said the king, sternly.

"And what makes you bear arms against the Inca?" he asked the old man.

"We would slay him and her," answered the priest; "for, when the shadow
shrinks to the foot of the stone, the sun will shine straight down into
the hollow hill of the Earthquaker, and he will waken and destroy Manoa
and the Temples of the Sun."

"Then wherefore would you slay them, when you must all perish?"

"The people, oh Pachacamac, would have revenge before they die."

"Oh, folly of men!" said the king, solemnly; then he cried: "Lead me to
the Inca; this day you shall not perish.  Is it not predicted in the Cord
of the Venerable Knots that I shall slay this monster?"

"Hasten, oh Pachacamac, for the shadow shortens!" said the priest.

"Lead me to the Inca," answered Prigio.

At this the people arose with a great shout, for they, too, had been
kneeling; and, sending a flag of truce before King Prigio, the priest led
him into the palace.  The ground was strewn with bodies of the slain, and
through them Prigio rode slowly into the courtyard, where the Inca was
sitting in the dust, weeping and throwing ashes on his long hair and his
golden raiment.  The king bade the priest remain without the palace
gates; then dismounted, and, advancing to the Inca, raised him and
embraced him.

"I come, a king to a king," he said.  "My cousin, take courage; your
sorrows are ended.  If I do not slay the Earthquaker, sacrifice me to
your gods."

"The Prophecy is fulfilled," said the Inca, and wept for joy.  "Yet thou
must hasten, for it draws near to noon."

Then Prigio went up to the golden battlements, and saying no word, waved
his hand.  In a moment the square was empty, for the people rushed to
give thanks in the temples.

"Wait my coming, my cousin," said Prigio to the Inca; "I shall bring you
back the daughter that was lost, when I have slain your enemy."

The Inca would have knelt at his feet; but the king raised him, and bade
him prepare such a feast as had never been seen in Manoa.

"The lost are found to-day," he said; "be you ready to welcome them."

Then, mounting the Flying Horse, with Dick beside him, he rose towards
the peak of the hill where the Earthquaker had his home.  Already the
ground was beginning to tremble; the Earthquaker was stirring in his
sleep, for the maiden of the new song had not been sent to him, and the
year ended at noon, and then he would rise and ruin Manoa.

The sun was approaching mid-day, and Prigio put spurs to the Flying
Horse.  Ten minutes more, and the sun would look straight down the crater
of the hollow hill, and the Earthquaker would arouse himself when the
light and the heat fell on his body.

Already the light of the sun shone slanting half-way down the hollow cone
as the whirlpool of air caught the Flying Horse, and drew him swiftly
down and down to the shadowy halls.  There knelt and wept the nurses of
the Earthquaker on the marble floor; but Jaqueline stood a little apart,
very pale, but not weeping.

Ricardo had leaped off before the horse touched the ground, and rushed to
Jaqueline, and embraced her in his arms; and, oh! how glad she was to see
him, so that she quite forgot her danger and laughed for joy.

"Oh! you have come, you have come; I knew you would come!" she cried.

Then King Prigio advanced, the mighty weight in his hand, to the verge of
the dreadful gulf of the Earthquaker.  The dim walls grew radiant; a long
slant arm of yellow light touched the black body of the Earthquaker, and
a thrill went through him, and shook the world, so that, far away, the
bells rang in Pantouflia.  A moment more, and he would waken in his
strength; and once awake, he would shatter the city walls and ruin Manoa.
Even now a great mass of rock fell from the roof deep down in the secret
caves, and broke into flying fragments, and all the echoes roared and
rang.

King Prigio stood with the mighty mass poised in his hands.

"Die!" he cried; and he uttered the words of power, the magic spell that
the dark Moon Lady had taught him.

Then all its invincible natural weight came into the mass which the king
held, and down it shot full on the body of the Earthquaker; and where
that had been was nothing but a vast abyss, silent, empty, and blank, and
bottomless.

Far, far below, thousands of miles below, in the very centre of the
earth, lay the dead Earthquaker, crushed flat as a sheet of paper, and
the sun of midsummer-day shone straight down on the dreadful chasm, and
could not waken him any more for ever.

The king drew a long breath.

"Stupidity has saved the world," he said; and, with only strength to draw
back one step from the abyss, he fell down, hiding his face in his hands.

But Jaqueline's arms were round his neck, and the maidens brought him
water from an ice-cold spring; and soon King Prigio was himself again,
and ready for anything.  But afterwards he used to say that the moment
when the Earthquaker stirred was the most dreadful in his life.

Now, in Manoa, where all the firm foundations of the city had trembled
once, when the sun just touched the Earthquaker, the people, seeing that
the shadow of the sacred column had crept to its foot, and yet Manoa
stood firm again, and the Temple of the Sun was not overthrown, raised
such a cry that it echoed even through the halls within the hollow hill.

Who shall describe the joy of the maidens, and how often Jaqueline and
Ricardo kissed each other?

"You have saved me!" she cried to the king, throwing her arms round him
again.  "You have saved Manoa!"

"And _you_ have saved the Hope of Pantouflia, not once or twice," said
his Majesty, grandly.

And he told Dick how much he had owed to Jaqueline, in the fight with the
Yellow Dwarf, and the fight with the Giant, for he did not think it
necessary to mention the affair at Rome.

Then Dick kissed Jaqueline again, and all the maidens kissed each other,
and they quite cried for gladness.

"But we keep his Majesty the Inca waiting," said Prigio.  "Punctuality is
the courtesy of kings.  You ladies will excuse me, I am sure, if I remove
first from the dungeon her whom we call the Princess Jaqueline.  The
Inca, her father, has a claim on us to this preference."

Then placing Jaqueline on the saddle, and leaving Dick to comfort the
other young ladies, who were still rather nervous, the king flew off to
Manoa, for the wind, of course, died with the death of the Earthquaker.

I cannot tell you the delight of all Manoa, and of the Inca, when they
saw the Flying Horse returning, and recognised their long-lost princess,
who rushed into the arms of her father.  They beat the serpent drums, for
they had no bells, on the tops of the temples.  They went quite mad with
delight: enemies kissed in the streets; and all the parents, without
exception, allowed all the young people who happened to be in love to be
married that very day.  Then Prigio brought back all the maidens, one
after the other, and Dick last; and he fell at the Inca's feet, and
requested leave to marry Jaqueline.

But, before that could be done, King Prigio, mounted on the palace
balcony, made a long but very lucid speech to the assembled people.  He
began by explaining that he was not their God, Pachacamac, but king of a
powerful country of which they had never heard before, as they lived very
much withdrawn in an unknown region of the world.  Then he pointed out,
in the most considerate manner, that their religion was not all he could
wish, otherwise they would never sacrifice young ladies to wild birds and
Earthquakers.  He next sketched out the merits of his own creed, that of
the Lutheran Church; and the Inca straightway observed that he proposed
to establish it in Manoa at once.

Some objection was raised by the old priest in the skull mask; but when
the Inca promised to make him an archbishop, and to continue all his
revenues, the priest admitted that he was perfectly satisfied; and the
general public cheered and waved their hats with emotion.  It was
arranged that the Inca, with his other daughters, should visit Pantouflia
immediately, both because he could not bear to leave Jaqueline, and also
because there were a few points on which he felt that he still needed
information.  The Government was left in the hands of the archbishop, who
began at once by burning his skull mask (you may see one like it in the
British Museum, in the Mexican room), and by letting loose all the birds
and beasts which the Manoans used to worship.

So all the young people were married in the Golden Temple of the Sun, and
all the Earthquaker's nurses who were under thirty were wedded to the
young men who had been fond of them before they were sent into the hollow
hill.  These young men had never cared for any one else.  Everybody wore
bridal favours, all the unengaged young ladies acted as bridesmaids, and
such a throwing of rice and old shoes has very seldom been witnessed.  As
for the happy royal pair, with their fathers, and the other princess (who
did not happen to be engaged), back they flew to Pantouflia.

And there was Queen Rosalind waiting at the palace gates, and crying and
laughing with pleasure when she heard that the wish of her heart was
fulfilled, and Jaqueline was to be her daughter.

"And, as for the Earthquaker," said her Majesty, "I never was really
anxious in the least, for I knew no beast in the world was a match for
_you_, my dear."

So, just to make everything orderly and correct, Ricardo and Jaqueline
were married over again, in the Cathedral of Pantouflia.  The marriage
presents came in afterwards, of course, and among them, what do you
think?  Why, the Seven-League Boots and the Sword of Sharpness, with a
very polite note of extraordinary size:

   "The Giant who does not Know when he has had Enough presents his
   hearty congratulations to the royal pair, and begs to lay at their
   feet the Seven-league Boots (they not fitting me) and the Sword which
   Prince Ricardo left in the Giant's keeping recently.  The Giant hopes
   _no bad blood_; and I am,

   "Yours very faithfully,
   "THE G., &c.

"P.S.--His little woman sends her congratulations."

So you see the Giant was not such a bad sort of fellow after all, and
Prince Ricardo always admitted that he never met a foe more gallant and
good-humoured.

With such a clever wife, Ricardo easily passed all his examinations; and
his little son, Prince Prigio (named after his august grandfather), never
had to cry, "Mamma, mamma, father's plucked again."

So they lived happily in a happy country, occasionally visiting Manoa;
and as they possessed the magical Water o Life from the Fountain of
Lions, I do not believe that any of them ever died at all, but that
Prigio is still King of Pantouflia.

"No need such kings should ever die!"

{The coach: p204.jpg}

PRINTING OFFICE OF THE PUBLISHER.



Footnotes:


{21}  You can buy these glasses now from the Psychical Society, at half-a-
crown and upwards.

{135}  See the works of D'Aulnoy.

{146}  This Giant is mentioned, and his picture is drawn, in an old
manuscript of about 1875.

{190}  _Huaca_, sacred stone.





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