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Title: In Camp With A Tin Soldier
Author: Bangs, John Kendrick, 1862-1922
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 "In Camp With A Tin Soldier" ***

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    E. M. ASHE



    COPYRIGHT, 1892.




"Br-r-r-rub-a-dub-dub! Br-r-r-rub-a-dub-a-dub-dub!

"What's that?" cried Jimmieboy, rising from his pillow on the nursery
couch, and looking about him, his eyes wide open with astonishment.

"What's what?" asked mamma, who was sitting near at hand, knitting a
pair of socks for a small boy she knew who would shortly want them to
keep his feet warm when he went off coasting with his papa.

"I thought I heard soldiers going by," returned Jimmieboy, climbing up
on the window-sill and gazing anxiously up and down the street. "There
were drums playing."

"I didn't hear them," said mamma. "I guess you imagined it. Better lie
down again, Jimmieboy, and rest. You will be very tired when papa gets
home, and you know if you are tired you'll have to go to bed instead of
taking supper with him, and that would be too bad on his birthday."

"Is papa really going to have a birthday to-day?" queried the little
fellow. "And a cake with candles in it?"

"Yes," answered mamma. "Two cakes with candles on them, I think," she

"What's he to have two cakes for? I had only one," said Jimmieboy.

"One cake wouldn't be big enough to hold all the candles," mamma
answered. "You see, papa is a few years older than you are--almost six
times as old to-day, and if he has a candle for every year, he'll have
to have two cakes to hold them all."

"Is papa six years old to-day?" asked Jimmieboy, resuming his recumbent
position on the pillow.

"Oh, indeed, yes, he's thirty," said mamma.

"How many is thirty?" asked Jimmieboy.

"Never mind, dearest," returned mamma, giving Jimmieboy a kiss. "Don't
you bother about that. Just close those little peepers and go to

So Jimmieboy closed his eyes and lay very still for a few minutes. He
was not sorry to do it, either, because he really was quite sleepy. He
ought to have had his nap before luncheon, but his mamma had been so
busy all the morning, making ready for his papa's birthday dinner, that
she had forgotten to call him in from the playground, where he was so
absorbed in the glorious sport of seesawing with his little friend from
across the way that he never even thought of his nap. As many as five
minutes must have slipped by before Jimmieboy opened his eyes again, and
I doubt if he would have done so even then had he not heard repeated the
unmistakable sounds of drums.

"I did hear 'em that time, mamma," he cried, starting up again and
winking very hard, for the sand-man had left nearly a pint of sand in
Jimmieboy's eyes. "I heard 'em plain as could be."

To this second statement of Jimmieboy's that he heard soldiers going by
somewhere, there was no answer, for there was no one in the room to give
him one. His mamma, supposing that he had finally fallen asleep, had
tiptoed out of the room and was now down stairs, so that the little
fellow found himself alone. As a rule he did not like to be alone,
although he knew of no greater delight than that of conversing with
himself, and he was on the point of running to the door to call to his
mother to return, when his attention was arrested by some very curious
goings-on in a favorite picture of his that hung directly over the

This picture was not, under ordinary circumstances, what any one would
call a lively picture--in fact, it was usually a very quiet one,
representing a country lane shaded on either side by great oak-trees
that towered up into the sky, their branches overhanging the road so as
to form a leafy arch, through which only an occasional ray of the sun
ever found its way. From one end to the other of this beautiful avenue
there were no signs of life, save those which were presented by the
green leaves of the trees themselves, and the purling brook, bordered by
grasses and mosses, that was visible a short distance in; no houses or
cows or men or children were there in sight. Indeed, had it not been for
a faint glimmering of sunlight at the far end of the road, some persons
might have thought it a rather gloomy scene, and I am not sure but that
even Jimmieboy, had he not wondered what there could be beyond the
forest, and around the turn which the road took at that other end,
would have found the picture a little depressing. It was his interest in
what might possibly lie beyond the point at which the picture seemed to
stop that had made it so great a favorite with him, and he had
frequently expressed a desire to take a stroll along that road, to fish
in the little stream, and to explore the hidden country around the turn.

So great was his interest in it at one time, that Jimmieboy's papa, who
was a great person for finding out things, promised to write to the man
who had painted the picture and ask him all about the unseen land, so
that his little son's curiosity might be satisfied, a promise which he
must have kept, for some days later, on his return from business, he
took a piece of paper from his pocket and gave it to Jimmieboy, saying
that there was the artist's answer. Jimmieboy couldn't read it, of
course, because at that time he had not even learned his letters, so he
got his papa to do it for him, and they made the pleasing discovery that
the artist was a poet as well as a painter, for the answer was all in
rhyme. If I remember rightly, this is the way it read:


    Around the turn are kings and queens;
      Around the turn are dogs and cats;
    Around the turn are pease and beans,
      And handsome light blue derby hats.

    Around the turn are grizzly bears;
      Around the turn are hills and dales;
    Around the turn are mice and hares,
      And cream and milk in wooden pails.

    Indeed, you'll find there horses, pigs,
      Great seas and cities you'll discern;
    All things, in fact, including figs,
      For all the world lies round the turn.

This explanation was quite satisfactory to Jimmieboy, although he was a
little fearful as to what might happen if the grizzly bears should take
it into their heads to come down into the nursery and hug him, which was
certainly not an unlikely thing for them to do, for the mice had
come--he had seen them himself--and his mamma had often said that he was
a most huggable little fellow.

Now there was undoubtedly some sign of life down the road, for Jimmieboy
could see it with his own eyes. There was something moving there, and
that something was dressed in gay colors, and in front of it was
something else that shone brightly as an occasional ray of the sun
shimmered through the trees and glistened upon it. In an instant all
thought of his mamma had flown from his mind, so absorbed was he by the
startling discovery he had made up there in the picture. To turn back
from the door and walk over to the fire-place was the work of a moment,
and to climb up on the fender and gaze into the picture occupied hardly
more than another moment, and then Jimmieboy saw what it was that was
moving down the road, and with delighted ears heard also what that other
thing was that preceded the moving thing.

The first thing was a company of tin soldiers marching in perfect time,
their colors flying and the captain on horseback; and the other thing in
front was a full brass band, discoursing a most inspiring military march
in a fashion that set Jimmieboy strutting about the nursery like a

As the little fellow strode around the room his step was suddenly
arrested by a voice immediately at his feet.

"Hi, there, Jimmieboy!" it said. "Please be careful where you are
walking. You nearly stepped on me that time."

Jimmieboy stopped short and looked down upon the floor.

"Hello!" he said. "What are you doing there, colonel?"--for it was none
other than the colonel of the tin soldiers himself who had thus
requested him to look out where he stepped.

"There's trouble on hand," said the colonel, climbing up on to a
footstool so as to be nearer Jimmieboy's ear, for he did not wish to
alarm everybody by shouting out the dreadful news he had to impart.
Jimmieboy's mamma, for instance, was a timid little woman, and she would
have been very much frightened if she had known what had happened.
"There's a great deal of trouble on hand," the colonel repeated. "The
Noah in your ark fell asleep last night before the animals had gone to
bed, and while he was napping, the Parallelopipedon got loose, ate up
the gingerbread monkey and four peppermint elephants, and escaped out of
the back window to the woods. Noah didn't find it out until an hour ago,
when he went to feed the elephants, and immediately he made the
discovery word came from the Pannikins, who live around the turn there
in the woods, that the Parallelopipedon had eaten the roof off their
house, and was at the time the letter was written engaged in whittling
down the fences with a jackknife, and rolling all the pumpkins down the
mountainside into Tiddledywinkland, and ruining the whole country. We
have got to capture that animal before breakfast. If we don't, there's
no telling what may happen. He might even go so far as to come back, and
that would be horrible."

"I don't think I remember the Parawelopipedon," said Jimmieboy,
pronouncing the animal's name with some difficulty. "What kind of an
animal was that?"

"Oh, he's an awful animal," returned the colonel. "I don't blame you for
not remembering him, though, because he is a hard animal to remember. He
is the only animal they had like him in the ark. They couldn't find two
of his sort, and I rather guess they are glad they couldn't, because his
appetite is simply dreadful, and the things he eats are most
embarrassing. He's the one your papa was telling you about last night
before you went to bed. Don't you remember the rhyme he told
you--beginning this way:

    'The Parallelopipedon
       I do not like, because
     He has so many, many sides,
       And ninety-seven claws'?"

"Oh, yes," replied Jimmieboy. "He is the same animal that----

    'Hasn't got a bit of sense,
       Or feather to his name;
     No eye, no ear with which to hear,
       But gets there just the same.'"

"That's it! that's it!" cried the colonel. "And don't you remember,

    'There's not a thing he will not eat,
      From pie to sealing-wax,
    Although he shows a preference for
      Red bricks and carpet tacks'?"

"Yes, I remember that very well now," said Jimmieboy. "Wasn't there a
verse about his color, too? Didn't it say:

    'His color is a fearful one--
       A combination hue
     Of yellow, green, and purple, mixed
       With solferino blue'?"

"No; that was the Parallelogram," replied the colonel. "A
Parallelopipedon is six times as bad as a Parallelogram. His color has a
verse about it, though, that says:

    'His hue is the most terrible
       That ever man has seen;
     'Tis pink and saffron, blue and red,
       Mixed up with apple green'."

"Dear me!" cried Jimmieboy. "And do you mean to say he's really got

"I do, indeed," returned the colonel. "Got away, and Noah is glad of it,
because he doesn't have to feed him any more. But it'll never do to let
him stay loose; he will do too much damage. Why, Jimmieboy, suppose he
should overeat himself and die? He's the only one in the world, and we
can't afford to lose an animal like that; besides, after he has ruined
all the country around the turn, it's just as like as not he'll begin on
the rest of the picture, and eat it all up, frame and all."

"My!" cried the little boy. "That would be terrible, wouldn't it! You
are right--he must be captured. I have half a mind to go along with you
and help."

"Half a mind isn't enough," retorted the colonel, shaking his head. "You
can't go into the soldier business unless you have a whole mind--so
good-by, Jimmieboy. I must be running along; and should I not return, as
the poet says,

    'Pray do not weep for me, my boy,
       But, as the years slip by,
     Drop all your pennies in a bank--
       Brave soldiers never die;
     And some day I'll turn up again,
       Exalted, high in rank,
     And possibly I'll find some use
       For that small sum in bank.'"

"I'm not going to stay here while you are fighting," said Jimmieboy,
with a determined shake of his head. "I've got a whole mind to go with
you, and a uniform to wear as well. But tell me, can I get up there on
the road?"

"Certainly," said the colonel. "I'll show you how, only put on your
uniform first. They won't let you go unless you are suitably dressed.
Little boys, with striped trousers like yours, would be out of place,
but with a uniform such as yours is, with real gold on the cap and brass
buttons on the coat--well, I'm not sure but what they'll elect you
water-carrier, or general, or something equally important."

So Jimmieboy hurried to his clothes-closet and quickly donned his
military suit, and grasping his sword firmly by the hilt, cried out:


"All right," said the colonel. "They are waiting for us. Close your

Jimmieboy did as he was told.

"One--two--three--eyes open!" cried the colonel.

Again Jimmieboy did as he was ordered, although he couldn't see why he
should obey the colonel, who up to this afternoon had been entirely
subject to his orders. He opened his eyes at the command, and, much to
his surprise, found himself standing in the middle of that wooded road
in the picture, beneath the arching trees, the leaves of which rustled
softly as a sweet perfumed breeze blew through the branches. About him
on every side were groups of tin soldiers talking excitedly about the
escape of the devastating Parallelopipedon, every man of them armed to
the teeth and eager for the colonel's command to start off on the search
expedition. The band was playing merrily under the trees up the road
near the little brook, and back in the direction from which he had come,
through the heavy gilt frame, Jimmieboy could see the nursery just as he
had left it, while before him lay the turn at the end of the wood and
the unknown country now soon to be explored.



For a few moments Jimmieboy was so overcome by the extreme novelty of
his position that he could do nothing but wander in and out among the
trees, wondering if he really was himself, and whether the soldiers by
whom he was surrounded were tin or creatures of flesh and blood. They
certainly looked and acted like human beings, and they talked in a
manner entirely different from what Jimmieboy was accustomed to expect
from the little pieces of painted tin he had so often played with on the
nursery floor, but he very soon learned that they were tin, and not made
up, like himself, of bone and sinew.

The manner of his discovery was this: One of the soldiers, in a very
rash and fool-hardy fashion, tried to pick up a stone from the road to
throw at a poor little zinc robin that was whistling in the trees above
his head, and in bending over after the stone and then straightening
himself up to take aim, he snapped himself into two distinct pieces--as
indeed would any other tin soldier, however strong and well made, and of
course Jimmieboy was then able to see that the band with whom he had for
the moment cast his fortunes were nothing more nor less than bits of
brittle tin, to whom in some mysterious way had come life. The boy was
pained to note the destruction of the little man who had tried to throw
the stone at the robin, because he was always sorry for everybody upon
whom trouble had come, but he was not, on the whole, surprised at the
soldier's plight, for the simple reason that he had been taught that
boys who threw stones at the harmless little birds in the trees were
naughty and worthy of punishment, and he could not see why a tin soldier
should not be punished for doing what a small boy of right feelings
would disdain to do.

After he had made up his mind that his companions were really of tin, he
became a bit fearful as to his own make-up, and the question that he now
asked himself was, "Am I tin, too, or what?" He was not long in
answering this question to his own satisfaction, for after bending his
little fingers to and fro a dozen or more times, he was relieved to
discover that he had not changed. The fingers did not snap off, as he
had feared they might, and he was glad.

Barely had Jimmieboy satisfied himself on this point when a handsomely
dressed soldier, on a blue lead horse, came galloping up, and cried out
so loud that his voice echoed through the tall trees of the forest:

"Is General Jimmieboy here?"

"Jimmieboy is here," answered the little fellow. "I'm Jimmieboy, but I
am no general."

"But you have on a general's uniform," said the soldier.

"Have I?" queried Jimmieboy, with a glance at his clothes. "Well, if I
have, it's because they are the only soldier clothes I own."

"Well, I am very sorry," said the soldier on horseback, "but if you wear
those clothes you've got to be general. It's a hard position to occupy,
and of course you'd rather be a high-private or a member of the band,
but as it is, there is no way out of it. If the clothes would fit any
one else here, you might exchange with him; but they won't, I can tell
that by looking at the yellow stripes on your trousers. The stripes
alone are wider than any of our legs."

"Oh!" responded Jimmieboy, "I don't mind being general. I'd just as lief
be a general as not; I know how to wave a sword and march ahead of the

At this there was a roar of laughter from the soldiers.

"How queer!" said one.

"What an absurd idea!" cried another.

"Where did he ever get such notions as that?" said a third.

And then they all laughed again.

"I am afraid," said the soldier on horseback, with a kindly smile which
won Jimmieboy's heart, "that you do not understand what the duties of a
general are in this country. We aren't bound down by the notions of you
nursery people, who seem to think that all a general is good for is to
be stood up in front of a cannon loaded with beans, and knocked over
half a dozen times in the course of a battle. Have you ever read those
lines of High-private Tinsel in his little book, 'Poems in Pewter,' in
which he tells of the trials of a general of the tin soldiers?"

"Of course I haven't," said Jimmieboy. "I can't read."

"Just the man for a general, if he can't read," said one of the
soldiers. "He'll never know what the newspapers say of him."

"Well, I'll tell you the story," said the horseman, dismounting, and
standing on a stump by the road-side to give better effect to the poem,
which he recited as follows:


         I walked one day
         Along the way
     That leads from camp to city;
         And I espied
         At the road-side
     The hero of my ditty.

         His massive feet,
         In slippers neat,
     Were crossed in desperation;
         And from his eyes
         Salt tears did rise
     In awful exudation."

"In what?" asked Jimmieboy, who was not quite used to grown-up words
like exudation.

"Quarts," replied the soldier, with a frown. "Don't interrupt. This poem
isn't good for much unless it goes right through without a stop--like an
express train."

And then he resumed:

        "It filled my soul
         With horrid dole
     To see this wailing creature;
         How tears did sweep,
         And furrow deep,
     Along his nasal feature!

         My eyes grew dim
         To look at him,
     To see his tear-drops soiling
         His necktie bold,
         His trimmings gold,
     And all his rich clothes spoiling;

         And so I stopped,
         Beside him dropped,
     And quoth, 'Wilt tell me, mortal,
         Wherefore you sighed?'
         And he replied:
     'Wilt I? Well, I shouldst chortle.'"

"I don't know what chortle means," said Jimmieboy.

"Neither do I," said the soldier. "But I guess the man who wrote the
poem did, so it's all right, and we may safely go on to the next verse,
which isn't very different in its verbiology--"

"Its wha-a-at?" cried a dozen tin soldiers at once.

"Gentlemen," said the declaiming soldier, severely, "there are some
words in our language which no creature should be asked to utter more
than once in a life-time, and that is one of them. I shall not endanger
my oratorical welfare by speaking it again. Suffice it for me to say
that if you want to use that word yourselves, you will find it in the
dictionary somewhere under F, or Z, or Ph, or some other letter which I
cannot at this moment recall. But the poem goes on to say:

        "Then as we sat
         The road-side at--
     His tears a moment quelling--
         In accents pale
         He told the tale
     Which I am also telling."

"Dear me!" said a little green corporal at Jimmieboy's side. "Hasn't he
begun the story yet?"

"Yes, stupid," said a high-private. "Of course he has; but it's one of
those stories that take a long time to begin, and never finish until the
very end."

"Oh yes, I know," said another. "It's a story like one I heard of the
other day. You can lay it down whenever you want to, and be glad to have
the chance."

"That's it," said the high-private.

"I wish you fellows would keep still," said the soldier who was
reciting. "I ought to have been a quarter of the way through the first
half of that poem by this time, and instead of that I'm only a sixteenth
of the way through the first eighth."

"You can't expect to go more than eight miles an hour," said the
corporal, "even in poetry like that. It can't be done."

"But what happened?" asked Jimmieboy, who was quite interested to hear
the rest of the poem.

"I'll have to tell you some other time, general," replied the soldier.
"These tin warriors here haven't any manners. Some day, when you have
time to spare, I'll tell you the rest of it, because I know you'll be
glad to hear it."

"Yes, general," put in the corporal, with a laugh. "Some day when you
have a year to spare get him to tell you the first twenty-seventh of the
next ninety-sixth of it. It won't take him more than eleven months and
thirty-two days to do it."

"Bah!" said the poetic soldier, mounting his horse and riding off with
an angry flush on his cheek. "Some day, when I get promoted to the
ranks, I'll get even with you."

"Who is he, anyhow?" asked Jimmieboy, as the soldier rode off.

"He's Major Blueface, and he has to look after the luggage," replied the
corporal. "And as for that poem of his, Jimmieboy, I want to warn you.
He has a printed copy of it that takes seven trunks to carry. He says it
was written by High-private Tinsel, but that's all nonsense. He wrote it

"Then I like it all the better," said Jimmieboy. "I always like what
people I like write."

"There's no accounting for tastes," returned the corporal. "We don't any
of us like the major. That's why we made him major. Looking after
luggage is such awfully hard work, we didn't want to make any one else
do it, and so we elected him."

"Why don't you like him?" asked Jimmieboy. "He seems to me to be a very
nice soldier."

"That's just it," returned the corporal. "He's just the kind of soldier
to please little boys like you, and he'd look perfectly splendid in a
white and gold parlor like your mamma's, but in camp he's a terror.
Keeps his boots shined up like a looking-glass; wears his Sunday uniform
all the time; in fact, he has seven Sunday uniforms--one for each day of
the week; and altogether he makes the rest of us feel so mean and cheap
that we can't like him. He offered a prize once to the soldier who'd
like him the best, and who do you think won it?"

"I don't know," said Jimmieboy. "Who?"

"He won it himself," retorted the corporal. "Nobody else tried. But
you'd better go over to the colonel's quarters right away, Jimmieboy.
You know he wants you."

"He hasn't sent for me, has he?" asked the boy.

"Of course he has. That's what the major came to tell you," answered the

"But he didn't say so," returned Jimmieboy.

"No, he never does what he is sent to do," explained the corporal.
"That's how we know. If he had told you the colonel wanted you, we'd all
know the colonel didn't want you. He's a queer bird, that major. He's so
anxious to read his poem to somebody that he always forgets his orders,
and when he does half remember what he is sent to do, we can tell what
the orders are by what he doesn't say."

"I shouldn't think he'd be a good man to look after the luggage if he
forgets everything that way," said Jimmieboy.

"That's just where he's great," returned the corporal. "For, don't you
see, every man in the regiment wants to carry about three times as much
luggage as he ought to, and the major makes it all right by forgetting
two-thirds of it. Oh, there's no denying that he's one of the greatest
luggage men there ever was; but you run along now, or the colonel may
lose his temper, and that always delays things."

"I'm not afraid of the colonel," said Jimmieboy, bravely.

"Neither are we," said the corporal, in reply to this, "but we don't
like to have our campaign delayed, and when the colonel loses his temper
we have to wait and wait until he finds it again. Sometimes it takes him
a whole week."

So Jimmieboy, wondering more and more at the singular habits of the tin
soldiers, ran off in search of the colonel, whom he found sitting by the
brook-side fishing, and surrounded by his staff.

"Hello!" said Jimmieboy, as he caught sight of the colonel. "Having any

"Lots," said the colonel. "Been here only five minutes, and I've caught
three hickory twigs, a piece of wire, and one of the finest colds in my
head I ever had."

"Good," said Jimmieboy, with a laugh. "But aren't there any fish there?"

"Plenty of 'em," answered the colonel. "But they're all so small I'd
have to throw 'em back if I caught 'em. They know that well enough, and
so save me trouble by not biting. But I say, I suppose you know we can't
start this expedition without ammunition?"

"What's that?" queried Jimmieboy, to whom the word ammunition was
entirely new.

"Ammunition? Why, that's stuff to load our guns with," returned the
colonel. "You must be a great general not to know that."

"You must excuse me," said Jimmieboy, with a blush. "There is a great
deal that I don't know. I'm only five years old, and papa hasn't had
time to tell me everything yet."

"Well, it's all right, anyhow," replied the colonel. "You'll learn a
great deal in the next hundred years, so we won't criticise; but of
course, you know, we can't go off without ammunition any more than a gun
can. Now, as general of the forces, it is your duty to look about you
and lay in the necessary supplies. For the guns we shall need about
fourteen thousand rounds of preserved cherries, seventeen thousand
rounds of pickled peaches for the cannon, and a hundred and sixty-two
dozen cans of strawberry jam for me."

Jimmieboy's eyes grew so round and large as he listened to these words
that the major turned pale.

"Then," continued the colonel, "we have to have powder and shell, of
course. Perhaps four hundred and sixteen pounds of powdered sugar and
ninety-seven barrels of shells with almonds in 'em would do for our

"But--but what are we to do with all these things, and where am I to
get them?" gasped Jimmieboy, beginning to be very sorry that he had
accepted so important a position as that of general.

"Do with 'em?" cried the colonel. "What'll we do with 'em? Why, capture
the Parallelopipedon, of course. What did you suppose we'd do with
'em--throw them at canary-birds?"

"You don't load guns with preserved cherries, do you?" asked the boy.

"We don't, eh? Well, I just guess we do," returned the colonel. "And we
load the cannon with pickled peaches, and to keep me from deserting and
going over to the enemy, they keep me loaded to the muzzle with
strawberry jam from the time I start until we get back."

"You can't kill a Parawelopipedon with cherries and peaches, can you?"
asked Jimmieboy.

"Not quite, but nearly," said the colonel. "We never hit him with enough
of them to kill him, but just try to coax him with 'em, don't you see?
We don't do as you do in your country. We don't shoot the enemy with
lead bullets, and try to kill him and make him unhappy. We try to coax
him back by shooting sweetmeats at him, and if he won't be coaxed, we
bombard him with pickled peaches until they make him sick, and then he
has to surrender."

"It must be pretty fine to be an enemy," said Jimmieboy, smacking his
lips as he thought of being bombarded with sweetmeats.

"It is," exclaimed the colonel, with enthusiasm. "It's so nice, that
they have to do the right thing by me in the matter of jam to keep me
from being an enemy myself."

"But what do I get?" returned Jimmieboy, who couldn't see why it would
not be pleasant for him to be an enemy, and get all these delightful

"You? Why, you get the almonds and the powdered sugar and all the
mince-pie you can eat--what more do you want?" said the colonel.

"Nothing," gasped Jimmieboy, overcome by the prospect. "I wouldn't mind
being a general for a million years at that rate."

With which noble sentiment the little fellow touched his cap to the
colonel, and set off, accompanied by a dozen soldiers, to find the
cherries, the peaches, the almonds, and the powdered sugar.



The expedition under Jimmieboy's command had hardly been under way a
quarter of an hour when the youthful general realized that the colonel
had not told him where the cherries and peaches and other necessary
supplies were to be found.

"Dear me," he said, stopping short in the road. "I don't know anything
about this country, and I am sure I sha'n't be able to find all those
good things--except in my mamma's pantry, and it would never do for me
to take 'em from there. I might have to fight cook to get 'em, and that
would be dreadful."

"Yes, it would," said Major Blueface, riding up as Jimmieboy spoke these
words. "It would be terribly awful, for if you should fight with her
now, she wouldn't make you a single pancake or pie or custard or
anything after you got back."

"I'm glad you've come," said Jimmieboy, with a sigh of relief. "Perhaps
you can tell me what I've got to do to get that ammu--that ammu--oh,
that ammuknow, don't you?"

"Ammunition?" suggested the major.

"Yes, that's it," said Jimmieboy. "Could you tell me where to get it?"

"I could; but, really," returned the major, "I'm very much afraid I'd
better not, unless you'll promise not to pay any attention to what I

"I don't see what good that would do," said Jimmieboy, a little
surprised at the major's words. "What's the use of your saying anything,
if I am not to pay any attention to you?"

"I'll tell you if you'll sit down a moment," was the major's reply, upon
which he and Jimmieboy sat down on a log at the road-side.

The major then recited his story as follows:


     When I was born, some years ago,
       The world was standing upside down;
     Pekin was off in Mexico,
       And Paris stood near Germantown.

     The moon likewise was out of gear.
       And shone most brilliantly by day;
     The while the sun did not appear
       Until the moon had gone away.

     Which was, you see, a very strange,
       Unhappy way of doing things,
     And people did not like the change,
       Save clods who took the rank of kings.

     For kings as well were going wrong,
       And 'stead of crowns wore beaver hats,
     While those once mean and poor grew strong;
       The dogs e'en ran from mice and rats.

     The Frenchman spoke the Spanish tongue,
       The Russian's words were Turkestan;
     And England's nerves were all unstrung
       By cockneys speaking Aryan.

     Schools went to boys, and billie-goats
       Drove children harnessed up to carts.
     The rivers flowed up hill, and oats
       Were fed to babies 'stead of tarts.

     With things in this shape was I born.
       The stars were topsy-turvy all,
     And hence it is my fate forlorn
       When things are short to call them tall;

     When thing are black to call them white;
       And if they're good to call them bad;
     To say 'tis day when it is night;
       To call an elephant a shad.

     And when I say that this is this,
       That it is that you'll surely know;
     For truth's a thing I always miss,
       And what I say is never so."

"Poor fellow!" cried Jimmieboy. "How very unpleasant! Is that really a
true story?"

"No," returned the major, sadly. "It is not true."

And then Jimmieboy knew that it was true, and he felt very sorry for the

"Never mind, major," he said, tapping his companion affectionately on
the shoulder. "I'll believe what you say if nobody else does."

"Oh, don't, don't! I beg of you, don't!" cried the major, anxiously. "I
wouldn't have you do that for all the world. If you did, it would get us
into all sorts of trouble. If I had thought you'd do that, I'd never
have told you the story."

"Very well," said Jimmieboy, "then I won't. Only I should think you'd
want to have somebody believe in you."

"Oh, you can believe in me all you want," returned the major. "I'm one
of the finest fellows in the world, and worthy of anybody's
friendship--and if anybody ought to know, Jimmieboy, I'm the one, for I
know myself intimately. I've known myself ever since I was a little bit
of a boy, and I can tell you if there's any man in the world who has a
noble character and a good conscience and a heart in the right place,
I'm him. It's only what I say you mustn't believe in. Remember that, and
we shall be all right."

"All right," said Jimmieboy. "We'll do it that way. Now tell me what you
don't know about finding preserved cherries and pickled peaches. We've
got to lay in a very large supply of them, and I haven't the first idea
how to get 'em."

"H'm! What I don't know about 'em would take a long time to tell,"
returned the major, with a shake of his head, "because there's so much
of it. In the first place,

        "I do not know
         If cherries grow
     On trees, or roofs, or rocks;
         Or if they come
         In cans--ho-hum!--
     Or packed up in a box.

         Mayhap you'll find
         The proper kind
     Down where they sell red paint;
         And then, you see,
         Oh, dear! Ah, me!
     And then again you mayn't."

"That appears to settle the cherries," said Jimmieboy, somewhat
impatiently, for it did seem to him that the major was wasting a great
deal of valuable time.

"Oh, dear me, no!" ejaculated the major. "I could go on like that
forever about cherries. For instance:

        "You might perchance
         Get some in France,
     And some in Germany;
         A crate or two
         In far Barboo,
     And some in Labradee."

"Where's Labradee?" asked Jimmieboy.

"It's Labrador," said the major, with a smile; "but Labradee rhymes
better with Germany, and as long as you know I'm not telling the truth,
and are not likely to go there, it doesn't make any difference if I
change it a little."

"That's so," said Jimmieboy, with a snicker. "But how about those
peaches? Do you know anything that isn't so about them?"

"Oh, yes, lots," said the major.

    "I know that when the peach is green,
       And growing on the tree,
     It's harder than a common bean,
       And yellow as can be.

     I know that if you eat a peach
       That's just a bit too young,
     A lesson strong the act will teach,
       And leave your nerves unstrung.

     And, furthermore, I know this fact:
       The crop, however hale
     In every year before 'tis packed,
       Doth never fail to fail."

"That's very interesting," said Jimmieboy, when the major had recited
these lines, "but it doesn't help me a bit. What I want to know is how
the pickled peaches are to be found, and where."

"Oh, that's it, is it?" said the major. "Well, it's easy enough to tell
you that. First as to how you are to find them--this applies to
huckleberries and daisies and fire-engines and everything else, just as
well as it does to peaches, so you'd better listen. It's a very valuable
thing to know.

    "The way to find a pickled peach,
       A cow, or piece of pumpkin pie,
     A simple lesson is to teach,
       As can be seen with half an eye.

     Look up the road and down the road,
       Look North and South and East and West.
     Let not a single episode
       Come in betwixt you and your quest.

     Search morning, night, and afternoon,
       From Monday until Saturday;
     By light of sun and that of moon,
       Nor mind the troubles in your way.

     And keep this up until you get
       The thing that you are looking for,
     And then, of course, you need not fret
       About the matter any more."

"You are a great help," said Jimmieboy.

"Don't mention it, my dear boy," replied the major, so pleased that he
smiled and cracked some of the red enamel on his lips. "I like to be
useful. It's almost as good as being youthful. In fact, to people who
lisp and pronounce their esses as though they were teeaitches, it's
quite the same. It was very easy to tell you how to find a pickled
peach, but it's much harder to tell you where. In fact, I don't know
that I can tell you where, but if I were not compelled to ignore the
truth I should inform you at once that I haven't the slightest idea.
But, of course, I can tell you where you might find them if they were
there--which, of course, they aren't. For instance:

    "Pickled peaches might be found
     In the gold mines underground;

     Pickled peaches might be seen
     Rolling down the Bowling Green;

     Pickled peaches might spring up
     In a bed of custard cup;

     Pickled peaches might sprout forth
     From an ice-cake in the North;

     I have seen them in the South
     In a pickaninny's mouth;

     I have seen them in the West
     Hid inside a cowboy's vest;

     I have seen them in the East
     At a small boy's birthday feast;

     Maybe, too, a few you'd see
     In the land of the Chinee;

     And this statement broad I'll dare:
     You might find them anywhere."

"Thank you," said Jimmieboy. "I feel easier now that I know all this. I
don't know what I should have done if I hadn't met you, major."

"It's very unkind of you to say so," said the major, very much pleased
by Jimmieboy's appreciation. "Of course you know what I mean."

"Yes," answered Jimmieboy, "I do. Now I'll tell you what I think. I
think pickled peaches come in cans and bottles."

        "Bottles and cans,
         Bottles and cans,
     When a man marries it ruins his plans,"

quoted the major. "I got married once," he added, "but I became a
bachelor again right off. My wife wrote better poetry than I could, and
I couldn't stand that, you know. That's how I came to be a soldier."

"That hasn't anything to do with the pickled peaches," said Jimmieboy,
impatiently. "Now, unless I am very much mistaken, we can go to the
grocery store and buy a few bottles."

"Ho!" jeered the major. "What's the use of buying bottles when you're
after pickled peaches?

    'Of all the futile, futile things--
       Remarked the Apogee--
     That is as truly futilest
       As futilest can be.'

You never heard my poem on the Apogee, did you, Jimmieboy?"

"No. I never even heard of an Apogee. What is an Apogee, anyhow?" asked
the boy.

"To give definitions isn't a part of my bargain," answered the major. "I
haven't the slightest idea what an Apogee is. He may be a bird with a
whole file of unpaid bills, for all I know, but I wrote a poem about him
once that made another poet so jealous that he purposely caught a bad
cold and sneezed his head off; and I don't blame him either, because it
was a magnificent thing in its way. I'll tell it to you. Listen:


     The Apogee wept saline tears
       Into the saline sea,
     To overhear two mutineers
       Discuss their pedigree.
                       Said he:
     Of all the futile, futile things
       That ever I did see.
     That is as truly futilest
       As futilest can be.

     He hied him thence to his hotel,
       And there it made him ill
     To hear a pretty damosel
       A bass song try to trill.
                       Said he:
     Of all the futile, futile things--
       To say it I am free--
     That is about the futilest
       That ever I did see.

     He went from sea to mountain height,
       And there he heard a lad
     Of sixty-eight compare the sight
       To other views he'd had;
                       And he
     Remarked: Of all the futile things
       That ever came to me,
     This is as futily futile
       As futile well can be.

     Then in disgust he went back home,
       His door-bell rang all day,
     But no one to the door did come:
       The butler'd gone away.
                      Said he:
     This is the strangest, queerest world
       That ever I did see.
     It's two per cent. of earth, and nine-
       Ty-eight futility."

"Isn't that elegant?" added the major, when he had finished.

"It sounds well," said Jimmieboy. "But what does it mean? What's

"Futile? What does futile mean?" said the major, slowly. "Why,
it's--it's a word, you know, and sort of stands for 'what's the use.'"

"Oh," replied Jimmieboy. "I see. To be futile means that you are wasting
time, eh?"

"That's it," said the major. "I'm glad you said it and not I, because
that makes it true. If I'd said it, it wouldn't have been so."

"Well, all I've got to say," said Jimmieboy, "is that if anybody ever
came to me and asked me where he could find a futile person, I'd send
him over to you. Here we've wasted nearly the whole afternoon and we
haven't got a single thing. We haven't even talked of anything but
peaches and cherries, and we've got to get jam and sugar and almonds

Here the major smiled.

"It isn't any laughing matter," said Jimmieboy. "It's a very serious
piece of business, in fact. Here's this Parawelopipedon going around
ruining everything he can lay his claws on, and instead of helping me
out of the fix I'm in, and starting the expedition off, you sit here and
tell me about Apogees and other things I haven't time to hear about."

"I was only smiling to show how sorry I was," said the major,

    "I always smile when I am sad,
       And when I'm filled with glee
     A solitary tear-drop trick-
       Les down the cheek of me."

"Oh, that's it," said Jimmieboy. "Well, let's stop fooling now and get
those supplies."

"All right," assented the major. "Where are the soldiers who accompanied
you? We'll give 'em their orders, and you'll have the supplies in no

"How's that?" queried Jimmieboy.

"Why, don't you see," said the major, "that's the nice thing about being
a general. If you have to do something you don't know how to do, you
command your men to go and do it. That lifts the responsibility from
your shoulders to theirs. They don't dare disobey, and there you are."

"Good enough!" cried Jimmieboy, delighted to find so easy a way out of
his troubles. "I'll give them their orders at once. I'll tell them to
get the supplies. Will they surely do it?"

"They'll have to, or be put in the guard-house," returned the major.
"And they don't like that, you know, because the guard-house hasn't any
walls, and it's awfully draughty. But, as I said before, where are the

"Why!" said Jimmieboy, starting up and looking anxiously about him.
"They've gone, haven't they?"

"They seem to have," said the major, putting his hand over his eyes and
gazing up and down the road, upon which no sign of Jimmieboy's command
was visible. "You ordered them to halt when you sat down here, didn't

"No," said Jimmieboy, "I didn't."

"Then that accounts for it," returned the major, with a scornful glance
at Jimmieboy. "They've gone on. They couldn't halt without orders, and
they must be eight miles from here by this time."

"What'll happen?" asked the boy, anxiously.

"What'll happen?" echoed the major. "Why, they'll march on forever
unless you get word to them to halt. You are a gay general, you are."

"But what's to be done?" asked Jimmieboy, growing tearful.

"There are only two things you can do. The earth is round, and in a few
years they'll pass this way again, and then you can tell them to stop.
That's one thing you can do. The second is to despatch me on horseback
to overtake and tell them to keep right on. They'll know what you mean,
and they'll halt and wait until you come up."

"That's the best plan," cried Jimmieboy, with a sigh of relief. "You
hurry ahead and make them wait for me, and I'll come along as fast as I

So the major mounted his horse and galloped away, leaving Jimmieboy
alone in the road, trudging manfully ahead as fast as his small legs
could carry him.




As the noise made by the clattering hoofs of Major Blueface's horse grew
fainter and fainter, and finally died away entirely in the distance,
Jimmieboy was a little startled to hear something that sounded very like
a hiss in the trees behind him. At first he thought it was the light
breeze blowing through the branches, making the leaves rustle, but when
it was repeated he stopped short in the road and glanced backward,
grasping his sword as he did so.

"Hello there!" he cried. "Who are you, and what do you want?"

"Sh-sh-sh!" answered the mysterious something. "Don't talk so loud,
general, the major may come back."

"What if he does?" said Jimmieboy. "I rather think I wish he would. I
don't know whether or not I'm big enough not to be afraid of you. Can't
you come out of the bushes and let me see you?"

"Not unless the major is out of sight," was the answer. "I can't stand
the major; but you needn't be afraid of me. I wouldn't hurt you for all
the world. I'm the enemy."

"The what?" cried Jimmieboy, aghast.

"I'm the enemy," replied the invisible object. "That's what I call
myself when I'm with sensible people. Other people have a long name for
me that I never could pronounce or spell. I'm the animal that got away."

"Not the Parallelopipedon?" said Jimmieboy.

"That's it! That's the name I can't pronounce," said the invisible
animal. "I'm the Parallelandsoforth, and I've been trying to have an
interview with you ever since I heard they'd made you general. The fact
is, Jimmieboy, I am very anxious that you should succeed in capturing
me, because I don't like it out here very much. The fences are the
toughest eating I ever had, and I actually sprained my wisdom-tooth at
breakfast this morning trying to bite a brown stone ball off the top of
a gate post."

"But if you feel that way," said Jimmieboy, somewhat surprised at this
unusual occurrence, "why don't you surrender?"

"Me?" cried the Parallelopipedon. "A Parallelandsoforth of my standing
surrender right on the eve of a battle that means all the sweetmeats I
can eat, and more too? I guess not."

"I wish I could see you," said Jimmieboy, earnestly. "I don't like
standing here talking to a wee little voice with nothing to him. Why
don't you come out here where I can see you?"

"It's for your good, Jimmieboy; that's why I stay in here. I am an awful
spectacle. Why, it puts me all in a tremble just to look at myself; and
if it affects me that way, just think how it would be with you."

"I wouldn't be afraid," said Jimmieboy, bravely.

"Yes, you would too," answered the Parallelopipedon. "You'd be so scared
you couldn't run, I am so ugly. Didn't the major tell you that story
about my reflection in the looking-glass?"

"No," answered Jimmieboy. "He didn't say anything about it."

"That's queer. The story is in rhyme, and the major always tells
everybody all the poetry he knows," said the invisible enemy. "That's
why I never go near him. He has only enough to last one year, and the
second year he tells it all over again. I'm surprised he never told you
about my reflection in the mirror, because it is one of his worst, and
he always likes them better than the others."

"I'll ask him to tell it to me next time I see him," said Jimmieboy,
"unless you'll tell it to me now."

"I'd just as lief tell you," said the Parallelopipedon. "Only you
mustn't laugh or cry, because you haven't time to laugh, and generals
never cry. This is the way it goes:


     The Parallelopipedon so very ugly is,
     His own heart fills with terror when he looks upon his phiz.
     That's why he wears blue goggles--twenty pairs upon his nose,
     And never dares to show himself, no matter where he goes.

     One day when he was walking down a crowded village street,
     He looked into a little shop where stood a mirror neat.
     He saw his own reflection there as plain as plain could be;
     And said, 'I'd give four dollars if that really wasn't me.'

     And, strange to say, the figure in the mirror's silver face
     Was also filled with terror at the other's lack of grace;
     And this reflection trembled till it strangely came to pass
    The handsome mirror shivered to ten thousand bits of glass.

     To this tale there's a moral, and that moral briefly is:
     If you perchance are burdened with a terrifying phiz,
     Don't look into your mirror--'tis a fearful risk to take--
     'Tis certain sure to happen that the mirror it will break."

"Well, if that's so, I guess I don't want to see you," said Jimmieboy.
"I only like pretty things. But tell me; if all this is true, how did
the major come to say it? I thought he couldn't tell the truth."

"That's only as a rule. Rules have exceptions. For instance," explained
the Parallelopipedon, "as a rule I can't pronounce my name, but in
reciting that poem to you I did speak my name in the very first
line--but if you only knew how it hurt me to do it! Oh dear me, how it
hurt! Did you ever have a tooth pulled?"

"Once," said Jimmieboy, wincing at the remembrance of his painful

"Well, pronouncing my name is to me worse than having all my teeth
pulled and then put back again, and except when I get hold of a fine
general like you I never make the sacrifice," said the Parallelopipedon.
"But tell me, Jimmieboy, you are out after preserved cherries and
pickled peaches, I understand?"

"Yes," said Jimmieboy. "And powdered sugar, almonds, jam, and several
other things that are large and elegant."

"Well, just let me tell you one thing," said the Parallelopipedon,
confidentially. "I'm so sick of cherries and peaches that I run every
time I see them, and when I run there is no tin soldier or general of
your size in the world that can catch me. Now what are we here for? I am
here to be captured; you are here to capture me. To accomplish our
various purposes we've got to begin right, and you might as well
understand now as at any other time that you are beginning wrong."

"I don't know what else to do," said Jimmieboy. "I'm obeying orders. The
colonel told me to get those things, and I supposed I ought to get 'em."

"It doesn't pay to suppose," said the Parallelopipedon. "Many a victory
has been lost by a supposition. As that old idiot Major Blueface said
once, when he tried to tell an untruth, and so hit the truth by mistake:

    'Success always comes to
       The mortal who knows,
     And never to him who
       Does naught but suppose.

     For knowledge is certain,
       While hypothesees
     Oft drop defeat's curtain
       On great victories.'"

"What are hypothesees?" asked Jimmieboy.

"They are ifs in words of four syllables," said the Parallelopipedon,
"and you want to steer clear of them as much as you can."

"I'll try to," said Jimmieboy. "But how am I to get knowledge instead of
hypotheseeses? I have to take what people tell me. I don't know

"Well, that's only natural," said the Parallelopipedon, kindly. "There
are only two creatures about here that do know everything. They--between
you and me--are me and myself. The others you meet here don't even begin
to know everything, though they'll try to make you believe they do. Now
I dare say that tin colonel of yours would try to make you believe that
water is wet, and that fire is hot, and other things like that. Well,
they are, but he doesn't know it. He only thinks it. He has put his hand
into a pail of water and found out that it was wet, but he doesn't know
why it is wet any more than he knows why fire is hot."

"Do you?" queried Jimmieboy.

"Certainly," returned the Parallelopipedon. "Water is wet because it is
water, and fire is hot because it wouldn't be fire if it wasn't hot. Oh,
it takes brains to know everything, Jimmieboy, and if there's one thing
old Colonel Zinc hasn't got, it's brains. If you don't believe it, cut
his head off some day and see for yourself. You won't find a whole brain
in his head."

"It must be nice to know everything," said Jimmieboy.

"It's pretty nice," said the Parallelopipedon, cautiously. "But it's not
always the nicest thing in the world. If you are off on a long journey,
for instance, it's awfully hard work to carry all you know along with
you. It has given me a headache many a time, I can tell you. Sometimes I
wish I did like your papa, and kept all I know in books instead of in my
head. It's a great deal better to do things that way; then, when you go
travelling, and have to take what you know along with you, you can just
pack it up in a trunk and make the railroad people carry it."

"Do you know what's going to happen to-morrow and the next day?" asked
Jimmieboy, gazing in rapt admiration at the spot whence the voice

"Yes, indeed. That's just where the great trouble comes in," answered
the Parallelopipedon. "It isn't so much bother to know what has
been--what everybody knows--but when you have to store up in your mind
thousands and millions of things that aren't so now, but have got to be
so some day, it's positively awful. Why, Jimmieboy," he said,
impressively, "you'd be terrified if I told you what is going to be
known by the time you go to school; it's awful to think of all the
things you will have to learn then that aren't things yet, but are going
to be within a year or two. I'm real sorry for the little boys who will
live a hundred years from now, when I think of all the history they will
have to learn when they go to school--history that isn't made yet. Just
take the Presidents of the United States, for instance. In George
Washington's time it didn't take a boy five seconds to learn the list of
Presidents; but think of that list to-day! Why, there are twenty-five
names on it now, and more to come. It gets harder every year. Now I--I
know the names of all the Presidents there's ever going to be, and it
would take me just eighteen million nine hundred and sixty-seven years,
eleven months and twenty-six days, four hours and twenty-eight minutes
to tell you all of them, and even then I wouldn't be half through."

"Why, it's terrible," said Jimmieboy.

"Yes, indeed it is," returned the Parallelopipedon. "You ought to be
glad you are a little boy now instead of having to wait until then. The
boys of the year 19,605,726,422 are going to have the hardest time in
the world learning things, and I don't believe they'll get through
going to school much before they're ninety years old."

"I guess the colonel is glad he doesn't know all that," said Jimmieboy,
"if it's so hard to carry it around with you."

"Indeed he ought to be, if he isn't," ejaculated the Parallelopipedon.
"There's no two ways about it; if he had the weight of one half of what
I know on his shoulders, it would bend him in two and squash him into a
piece of tin-foil."

"Say," said Jimmieboy, after a moment's pause. "I heard my papa say he
thought I might be President of the United States some day. If you know
all the names of the Presidents that are to come, tell me, will I be?"

"I don't remember any name like Jimmieboy on the list," said the
Parallelopipedon; "but that doesn't prove anything. You might get
elected on your last name. But don't let's talk about that--that's
politics, and I don't like politics. What I want to know is, do you
really want to capture me?"

"Yes, I do," said Jimmieboy.

"Then you'd better give up trying to get the peaches and cherries," said
the Parallelopipedon, firmly. "I won't have 'em. You can shoot 'em at me
at the rate of a can a minute for ninety-seven years, and I'll never
surrender. I hate 'em."

"But what am I to do, then?" queried the little general. "What must I do
to capture you?"

"Get something in the place of the cherries and peaches that I like,
that's all. Very simple matter, that."

"But I don't know what you like," said Jimmieboy. "I never took lunch
with you."

"No--and you never will," answered the Parallelopipedon. "And for a very
good reason. I never eat lunch, breakfast, tea, or supper. I never eat
anything but dinner, and I eat that four times a day."

Jimmieboy laughed, half with mirth at the oddity of the
Parallelopipedon's habit of eating, and half with the pleasure it gave
him to think of what a delectable habit it was. Four dinners a day
seemed to him to be the height of bliss, and he almost wished he too
were a Parallelopipedon, that he might enjoy the same privilege.

"Don't you ever eat between meals?" he asked, after a minute of silence.

"Never," said the Parallelopipedon. "Never. There isn't time for it in
the first place, and in the second there's never anything left between
meals for me to eat. But if you had ever dined with me you'd know
mighty well what I like, for I always have the same thing at every
single dinner--two platefuls of each thing. It's a fine plan, that of
having the same dishes at every dinner, day after day. Your stomach
always knows what to expect, and is ready for it, so you don't get
cholera morbus. If you want me to, I'll tell you what I always have, and
what you must get me before you can coax me back."

"Thank you," said Jimmieboy. "I'll be very much obliged."

And then the Parallelopipedon recited the following delicious bill of
fare for the young general.


     First bring on a spring mock-turtle
       Stuffed with chestnuts roasted through,
     Served in gravy; then a fertile
       Steaming bowl of oyster stew.

     Then about six dozen tartlets
       Full of huckleberry jam,
     Edges trimmed with juicy Bartletts--
       Pears, these latter--then some ham.

     Follow these with cauliflower,
       Soaked in maple syrup sweet;
     Then an apple large and sour,
       And a rich red rosy beet.

     Then eight quarts of cream--vanilla
       Is the flavor I like best--
     Acts sublimely as a chiller,
       Gives your fevered system rest.

     After this a pint of coffee,
       Forty jars of marmalade,
     And a pound of peanut toffee,
       Then a pumpkin pie--home-made.

     Top this off with pickled salmon,
       Cold roast beef, and eat it four
     Times each day, and ghastly famine
       Ne'er will enter at your door."

"H'm! h'm! h'm!" cried Jimmieboy, dancing up and down, and clapping his
hands with delight at the very thought of such a meal. "Do you mean to
say that you eat that four times a day?"

"Yes," said the Parallelopipedon, "I do. In fact, general, it is that
that has made me what I am. I was originally a Parallelogram, and I ate
that four times a day, and it kept doubling me up until I became six
Parallelograms as I am to-day. Get me those things--enough of them to
enable me to have 'em five times a day, and I surrender. Without them, I
go on and stay escaped forever, and the longer I stay escaped, the worse
it will be for these people who live about here, for I shall devastate
the country. I shall chew up all the mowing-machines in Pictureland.
I'll bite the smoke-stack off every railway engine I encounter, and
throw it into the smoking car, where it really belongs. I'll drink all
the water in the wells. I'll pull up all the cellars by the roots; I may
even go so far as to run down into your nursery, and gnaw into the wire
that holds this picture country upon the wall, and let it drop into the
water pitcher. But, oh dear, there's the major coming down the road!" he
added, in a tone of alarm. "I must go, or he'll insist on telling me a
poem. But remember what I say, my boy, and beware! I'll do all I
threaten to do if you don't do what I tell you. Good-by!"

There was a slight rustling among the leaves, and the Parallelopipedon's
voice died away as Major Blueface came galloping up astride of his
panting, lather-covered steed.



"Well," said Jimmieboy, as the major dismounted, "did you catch up with

"No, I didn't," returned the major, evidently much excited. "I should
have caught them but for a dreadful encounter I had up the road, for
between you and me, Jimmieboy, I have had a terrible adventure since I
saw you last, and the soldiers I went to order back have been destroyed
to the very last man."

"Dear me!" cried Jimmieboy. "I am glad I didn't go with you. What

"I was attacked about four miles up the road by a tremendous sixty-pound
Quandary, and I was nearly killed," said the major. "The soldiers had
only got four and a half miles on their way, and hearing the disturbance
and my cries for help they hastened to the rescue, and were simply
an-ni-hi-lated, which is old English for all mashed to pieces."

"But how did you escape?" said the boy.

"Oh, I had a way, and it worked, that's all. I'm the safest soldier in
the world, I am. You can capture me eight times a day, but I am always
sure to escape," said the major, proudly. "But, my dear general, how is
it that you do not tremble? Are you not aware that under the
circumstances you ought to be a badly frightened warrior?"

"I don't tremble, because I don't know whether you are telling the truth
or not," said Jimmieboy. "Besides, I never saw a Quandary, and so I
can't tell how terrible he is. Is he dreadful?"

"He's more than dreadful," returned the major. "No word of two syllables
expresses his dreadfulness. He is simply calamitous; and if there was a
longer word in the dictionary applying to his case I'd use it, if it
took all my front teeth out to say it."

"That's all very well," said Jimmieboy, "but you can't make me shiver
with fear by saying he's calamitous. What does he do? Bite?"

"Bite? Well, I guess not," answered the major, scornfully. "He doesn't
need to bite. Would you bite an apple if you could swallow it whole?"

"I think I would," said Jimmieboy. "How would I get the juice of it if I

"You'd get just as much juice whether you bit it or not," snapped the
major, who did not at all like Jimmieboy's coolness under the
circumstances. "The Quandary doesn't bite anything, because his mouth is
so large there isn't anything he can bite. He just takes you as you
stand, gives a great gulp, and there you are."

"Where?" queried Jimmieboy, who could not quite follow the major.

"Wherever you happen to be, of course," said the major, gruffly. "You
aren't a very sharp general, it seems to me. You don't seem to be able
to see through a hole with a millstone in it. I have to explain
everything to you just as if you were a baby or a school-teacher, but I
can just tell you that if you ever were attacked by a Quandary you
wouldn't like it much, and if he ever swallowed you you'd be a mighty
lonesome general for a little while. You'd be a regular land Jonah."

"Don't get mad at me, major," said Jimmieboy, clapping his companion on
the back. "I'll be frightened if you want me to. Br-rr-rrr-rrr-rrrrr!
There, is that the kind of a tremble you want me to have?"

"Thank you, yes," the major replied, his face clearing and his smile
returning. "I am very much obliged; and now to show you that you haven't
made any mistake in getting frightened, I'll tell you what a Quandary
is, and what he has done, and how I managed to escape; and as poetry is
the easiest method for me to express my thoughts with, I'll put it all
in rhyme.


     He is a fearful animal,
       That quaint old Quandary--
     A cousin of the tragical
     And whimsically magical
       Dilemma-bird is he.

     He has an eye that's wonderful--
       'Tis like a public school:
     It has a thousand dutiful,
     Though scarcely any beautiful,
       Small pupils 'neath its rule.

     And every pupil--marvelous
       Indeed, sir, to relate--
     When man becomes contiguous,
     Makes certainty ambiguous--
       Which is unfortunate.

     For when this ambiguity
       Has seized upon his prize,
     Whate'er man tries, to do it he
     Will find when he is through it, he
       Had best done otherwise.

     And hence it is this animal,
       Of which I sing my song,
     This creature reprehensible,
     Is held by persons sensible
       Responsible for wrong.

     So if a friend or foe you see
       Departing from his aim,
     Be full, I pray, of charity--
     He may have met the Quandary,
       And so is not to blame."

"That is very pretty," said Jimmieboy, as the major finished; "but, do
you know, major, I don't understand one word of it."

Much to Jimmieboy's surprise the major was pleased at this remark.

"Thank you, Jimmieboy," he said. "That proves that I am a true poet. I
think there's some meaning in those lines, but it's so long since I
wrote them that I have forgotten exactly what I did mean, and it's that
very thing that makes a poem out of the verses. Poetry is nothing but
riddles in rhyme. You have to guess what is meant by the lines, and the
harder that is, the greater the poem."

"But I don't see much use of it," said Jimmieboy. "Riddles are fun
sometimes, but poetry isn't."

"That's very true," said the major. "But poetry has its uses. If it
wasn't for poetry, the poets couldn't make a living, or if they did,
they'd have to go into some other business, and most other businesses
are crowded as it is."

"Do people ever make a living writing poetry?" Jimmieboy asked.

"Once in a while. I knew a man once who did. He called himself the
Grocer-Poet, because he was a grocer in the day-time and a poet at
night. He sold every poem he wrote, too," said the major.

"To a newspaper?" asked Jimmieboy.

"Oh, no," said the major. "He bought 'em from himself. When he'd wake up
in the morning as a grocer he'd read what he had written the night
before as a poet, and then he'd buy the verses from himself and throw
them into the fire. But to return to the Quandary. He has awfully bad
manners. He stares you right in the face whenever he meets you, and no
matter what you want to do he tries to force you to do the other thing.
The only way to escape him is not to do anything, but go back where you
started from, and begin all over again."

"Where did you meet him?" asked Jimmieboy.

"Where? Why, where he's always met, of course, at a fork in the road.
That's where he gets in his fine work," said the major. "Suppose, for
instance, you were out for a stroll, and you thought you'd like to
go--well, say to Calcutta. You stroll along, and you stroll along, and
you stroll along. Then you come to a place where the road splits, one
half going to the right and one to the left, or, if you don't like right
and left, we'll say one going to Calcutta by way of Cape Horn, and the
other going to Calcutta by way of Greenland's icy mountains."

"It's a long walk either way," said Jimmieboy.

"Yes. It's a walk that isn't often taken," assented the major, with a
knowing shake of the head. "But at the fork of this road the Quandary
attacks you. He stops you and says, 'Which way are you going to
Calcutta?' and you say, 'Well, as it is a warm day, I think I'll go by
way of Greenland's icy mountains.' 'No,' says the Quandary, 'you won't
do any such thing, because it may snow. You'd better go the other way.'
'Very well,' say you, 'I'll go the other way, then.' 'Why do you do
that?' queries the Quandary. 'If it should grow very warm you'd be
roasted to death.' 'Then I don't know what to do,' say you. 'What is the
matter with going both ways?' says the Quandary, to which you reply,
'How can I do that?' 'Try it and see,' he answers. Then," continued the
major, his voice sinking to a whisper--"then you do try it and you do
see, unless you are a wise, sagacious, sapient, perspicacious, astute,
canny, penetrating, needle-witted, learned man of wisdom like myself who
knows a thing or two. In that case you don't try, for you can see
without trying that any man with two legs who tries to walk along two
roads leading in different directions at once is just going to split
into at least two halves before he has gone twenty miles, and that is
just what the Quandary wants you to do, for it's over such horrible
spectacles as a man divided against himself that he gloats, and when he
is through gloating he swallows what's left."

"And what does the wise, sagacious, sappy, perspiring man of wisdom like
yourself who knows a thing or two do?" asked Jimmieboy.

"I didn't say sappy or perspiring," retorted the major. "I said sapient
and perspicacious."

"Well, anyhow, what does he do?" asked Jimmieboy.

"He gives up going to Calcutta," observed the major.

"Oh, I see. To gain a victory over the Quandary you turn and run away?"
asked Jimmieboy.

"Yes, that's it. That's what saved me. I cried for help, turned about,
and ran back here, and I can tell you it takes a brave man to turn his
back on an enemy," said the major.

"And why didn't the soldiers do it too?" queried Jimmieboy.

"There wasn't anybody to order a retreat, so when the Quandary attacked
them they marched right on, single file, and every one of 'em split in
two, fell in a heap, and died."

"But I should think you would have ordered them to halt," insisted

"I had no power to do so," the major replied. "If I had only had the
power, I might have saved their lives by ordering them to march two by
two instead of single file, and then when they met the Quandary they
could have gone right ahead, the left-hand men taking the left-hand
road, the right-hand men the right, but of course I only had orders to
tell them to come back here, and a soldier can only obey his orders. It
was awful the way those noble lives were sacrifi--"

Here Jimmieboy started to his feet with a cry of alarm. There were
unmistakable sounds of approaching footsteps.

"Somebody or something is coming," he cried.

"Oh, no, I guess not," said the major, getting red in the face, for he
recognized, as Jimmieboy did not, the firm, steady tread of the
returning soldiers whom he had told Jimmieboy the Quandary had
annihilated. "It's only the drum of your ear you hear," he added. "You
know you have a drum in your ear, and every once in a while it begins
its rub-a-dub-dub just like any other drum. Oh, no, you don't hear
anybody coming. Let's take a walk into the forest here and see if we
can't find a few pipe plants. I think I'd like to have a smoke."

"Why, you naughty major!" cried Jimmieboy, shaking his arm, which his
companion had taken, free from the major's grasp. "You've been telling
me a great big fib, because there are the soldiers coming back again."

"What!" ejaculated the major, in well-affected surprise. "Well, I
declare! So they are. Dear me! Why, do you know, general, that is the
most marvelous cure I ever saw in my life. To think that all those men
whom I saw not an hour ago lying dead on the field of battle, all ready
for the Quandary's luncheon, should have been resusitated in so short a
time, as--"

"Halt!" roared Jimmieboy, interrupting the major in a most
unceremonious fashion, for the soldiers by this time had reached a point
in the road directly opposite where he was sitting.

The soldiers halted.

"Break ranks!" cried Jimmieboy, after the corporal had told him the
proper order to give next.

The soldiers broke ranks, and in sheer weariness threw themselves down
on the soft turf at the side of the road--all except the corporal, who
at Jimmieboy's request came and sat down at the general's side to make
his report.

"This is fine weather we are having, corporal," said the major, winking
at the subordinate officer, and trying to make him understand that the
less he said about the major the better it would be for all concerned.

"Yes," returned the corporal. "Better for sleeping than for military
duty, eh, major?"

Here the major grew pale, but had the presence of mind to remark that he
thought it might rain in time for tea.

"There's something behind all this," thought Jimmieboy; "and I'm going
to know what it all means."

Then he said aloud, "You have had a very speedy recovery, corporal."

Here the major cleared his throat more loudly than usual, blushed rosy
red, and winked twice as violently at the corporal as before.

"Did you ever hear my poem on the 'Cold Tea River in China'?" he asked.

"No," said the corporal, "I never did, and I never want to."

"Then I will recite it for you," said the major.

"After the corporal has made his report, major," said Jimmieboy.

"It goes this way," continued the major, pretending not to hear.

    "Some years ago--'way back in '69--a
     Friend and I went for a trip through China,
     That pleasant land where rules King Tommy Chang,
     Where flows the silver river Yangtse-Wang--
       Through fertile fields, through sweetest-scented bowers
       Of creeping vinous vines and floral flowers."

"My dear major," interrupted Jimmieboy, "I do not want to hurt your
feelings, but much as I like to hear your poetry I must listen to the
report of the corporal first."

"Oh, very well," returned the major, observing that the corporal had
taken to his heels as soon as he had begun to recite. "Very well. Let
the corporal proceed."

Jimmieboy then saw for the first time that the corporal had fled.

"Why, where is he?" he asked.

"I do not know," returned the major, coldly. "I fancy he has gone to the
kitchen to cook his report. He always goes off when I recite."

"Oh, well, never mind," said Jimmieboy, noticing that the major was
evidently very much hurt. "Go on with the poem about 'Cold Tea River.'"

"No, I shall not," replied the major. "I shall not do it for two
reasons, general, unless you as my superior officer command me to do it,
and I hope you will not. In the first place, you have publicly
humiliated me in the presence of a tin corporal, an inferior in rank,
and consequently have hurt my feelings more deeply than you imagine. I
am not tall, sir, but my feelings are deep enough to be injured most
deeply, and in view of that fact I prefer to say nothing more about that
poem. The other reason is that there is really no such poem, because
there is really no such a stream as Cold Tea River in China, though
there might have been had Nature been as poetic and fanciful as I, for
it is as easy to conceive of a river having its source in the land of
the tea-trees, and having its waters so full of the essence of tea
gained from contact with the roots of those trees, that to all intents
and purposes it is a river of tea. Had you permitted me to go on
uninterrupted I should have made up a poem on that subject, and might
possibly by this time have had it done, but as it is, it never will be
composed. If you will permit me I will take a horseback ride and see if
I cannot forget the trials of this memorable day. If I return I shall be
back, but otherwise you may never see me again. I feel so badly over
your treatment of me that I may be rash enough to commit suicide by
jumping into a smelting-pot and being moulded over again into a piece of
shot, and if I do, general, if I do, and if I ever get into battle and
am fired out of a gun, I shall seek out that corporal, and use my best
efforts to amputate his head off so quickly that he won't know what has
happened till he tries to think, and finds he hasn't anything to do it

Breathing which horrible threat, the major mounted his horse and
galloped madly down the road, and Jimmieboy, not knowing whether to be
sorry or amused, started on a search for the corporal in order that he
might hear his report, and gain, if possible, some solution of the
major's strange conduct.



Jimmieboy had not long to search for the corporal. He found that worthy
in a very few minutes, lying fast asleep under a tree some twenty or
thirty rods down the road, snoring away as if his life depended upon it.
It was quite evident that the poor fellow was worn out with his
exertions, and Jimmieboy respected his weariness, and restrained his
strong impulse to awaken him.

His consideration for the tired soldier was not without its reward, for
as Jimmieboy listened the corporal's snores took semblance to words,
which, as he remembered them, the snores of his papa in the early
morning had never done. Indeed, Jimmieboy and his small brother Russ
were agreed on the one point that their father's snores were about the
most uninteresting, uncalled for, unmeaning sounds in the world, which,
no doubt, was why they made it a point to interrupt them on every
possible occasion. The novelty of the present situation was delightful
to the little general. To be able to stand there and comprehend what it
was the corporal was snoring so vociferously, was most pleasing, and he
was still further entertained to note that it was nothing less than a
rollicking song that was having its sweetness wasted upon the desert air
by the sleeping officer before him.

This is the song that Jimmieboy heard:

    "I would not be a man of peace,
         Oh, no-ho-ho--not I;
     But give me battles without cease;
     Give me grim war with no release,
         Or let me die-hi-hi.

     I love the frightful things we eat
         In times of war-or-or;
     The biscuit tough, the granite meat,
     And hard green apples are a treat
         Which I adore-dor-dor.

     I love the sound of roaring guns
         Upon my e-e-ears,
     I love in routs the lengthy runs,
     I do not mind the stupid puns
         Of dull-ull grenadiers.

     I should not weep to lose a limb,
         An arm, or thumb-bum-bum.
     I laugh with glee to hear the zim
     Of shells that make my chance seem slim
         Of getting safe back hum.

     Just let me sniff gunpowder in
         My nasal fee-a-ture,
     And I will ever sing and grin.
     To me sweet music is the din
         Of war, you may be sure."

"Well, I declare!" cried Jimmieboy. "If my dear old papa could snore
songs like that, wouldn't I let him sleep mornings!"

"He does," snored the corporal. "The only trouble is he doesn't snore as
clearly as I do. It takes long practice to become a fluent snorer like
myself--that is to say, a snorer who can be understood by any one
whatever his age, nation, or position in life. That song I have just
snored for you could be understood by a Zulu just as well as you
understood it, because a snore is exactly the same in Zuluese as it is
in your language or any other--in which respect it resembles a cup of
coffee or a canary-bird."

"Are you still snoring, or is this English you are speaking?" asked

"Snoring; and that proves just what I said, for you understood me just
as plainly as though I had spoken in English," returned the corporal,
his eyes still tightly closed in sleep.

"Snore me another poem," said Jimmieboy.

"No, I won't do that; but if you wish me to I'll snore you a fairy
tale," answered the corporal.

"That will be lovely," said Jimmieboy. "I love fairy tales."

"Very well," observed the corporal, turning over on his back and
throwing his head back into an uncomfortable position so that he could
snore more loudly. "Here goes. Once upon a time there was a small boy
named Tom whose parents were so poor and so honest that they could not
afford to give him money enough to go to the circus when it came to
town, which made him very wretched and unhappy, because all the other
little boys who lived thereabouts were more fortunately situated, and
had bought tickets for the very first performance. Tom cried all night
and went about the town moaning all day, for he did want to see the
elephant whose picture was on the fences that could hold itself up on
its hind tail; the man who could toss five-hundred-pound cannon balls in
the air and catch them on top of his head as they came down; the trick
horse that could jump over a fence forty feet high without disturbing
the two-year-old wonder Pattycake who sat in a rocking-chair on his
back. As Tom very well said, these were things one had to see to
believe, and now they were coming, and just because he could not get
fifty cents he could not see them.

"Then he thought, 'Here! why can't I go out into the world, and by hard
work earn the fifty cents I so much need to take me through the doors of
the circus tent into the presence of these marvelous creatures?'

"And he went out and called upon a great lawyer and asked him if he did
not want a partner in his business for a day, but the lawyer only
laughed and told him to go to the doctor and ask him. So Tom went to the
doctor, and the doctor said he did not want a partner, but he did want a
boy to take medicines for him and tell him what they tasted like, and he
promised Tom fifty cents if he would be that boy for a day, and Tom said
he would try.

"Then the doctor got out his medicine-chest and gave Tom twelve bottles
of medicine, and told him to taste each one of them, and Tom tasted two
of them, and decided that he would rather do without the circus than
taste the rest, so the doctor bade him farewell, and Tom went to look
for something else to do. As he walked disconsolately down the street
and saw by the clock that it was nearly eleven o'clock, he made up his
mind that he would think no more about the circus, but would go home and
study arithmetic instead, the chance of his being able to earn the
fifty cents seemed so very slight. So he turned back, and was about to
go to his home, when he caught sight of another circus poster, which
showed how the fiery, untamed giraffe caught cocoanuts in his mouth--the
cocoanuts being fired out of a cannon set off by a clown who looked as
if he could make a joke that would make an owl laugh. This was too much
for Tom. He couldn't miss that without at least making one further
effort to earn the money that would pay for his ticket.

"So off he started again in search of profitable employment. He had not
gone far when he came to a crockery shop, and on stopping to look in the
large shop window at the beautiful dishes and graceful soup tureens that
were to be seen there, he saw a sign on which was written in great
golden letters 'BOY WANTED.' Now Tom could not read, but something told
him that that sign was a good omen for him, so he went into the shop and
asked if they had any work that a boy of his size could do.

"'Yes,' said the owner of the shop. 'We want an errand-boy. Are you an

"Tom answered bravely that he thought he was, and the man said he would
give him a trial anyhow, and sent him off on a sample errand, telling
him that if he did that one properly, he would pay him fifty cents a
day for as many days as he kept him, giving him a half holiday on all
circus-days. Tom was delighted, and started off gleefully to perform
the sample errand, which was to take a basketful of china plates to the
house of a rich merchant who lived four miles back in the country.
Bravely the little fellow plodded along until he came to the gate-way
of the rich man's place, when so overcome was he with happiness at
getting something to do that he could not wait to get the gate open,
but leaped like a deer clear over the topmost pickets. But, alas! his
very happiness was his ruin, for as he landed on the other side the
china plates flew out of the basket in every direction, and falling on
the hard gravel path were broken every one."

"Dear me!" cried Jimmieboy, sympathetically. "Poor little Tom."

         "Whereat the cow
        Remarked, 'Pray how--
     If what you say is true--
         How should the child,
         However mild,
     Become so wildly blue?'"

snored the corporal.

"What's the matter with you?" asked Jimmieboy, very much surprised at
the rhyme, which, so far as he could see, had nothing to do with the
fairy story.

"What's the matter with me?" returned the corporal. "Nothing. Why?"

"There wasn't anything about a cow in the fairy story you were telling
about Tom," said Jimmieboy.

"Was I telling that story about Tom?" asked the sleeping soldier.

"Certainly," replied Jimmieboy.

"Then you must have interrupted me," snored the corporal. "You must
never interrupt a person who is snoring until he gets through, because
the chances are nine out of ten that, being asleep, he won't remember
what he has been snoring about, and will go off on something else
entirely. Where was I when you interrupted?"

"You had got to where Tom jumped over the gate and broke all the china
plates," answered Jimmieboy.

"Very well, then. I'll go on, but don't you say another thing until I
have finished," said the corporal. Then resuming his story, he snored
away as follows: "And falling on the hard gravel path the plates were
broken every one, which was awfully sad, as any one could understand
who could see how the poor little fellow threw himself down on the grass
and wept. Dear me, how he wept! He wept so long and such great tears,
that the grass about him for yards and yards looked as fresh and green
as though there had been a rain-storm.

"'Oh, dear! what shall I do?' cried Tom, ruefully regarding the
shattered plates. 'They'll beat me if I go back to the shop, and I'll
never get to see the circus after all.'

"'No,' said a voice. 'They will not beat you, and I will see that you
get to the circus.'

"'Who are you?' asked Tom, looking up and seeing before him a beautiful
lady, who looked as if she might be a part of the circus herself. 'Are
you the lady with the iron jaw or the horseback lady that jumps through
hoops of fire?'

"'Neither,' replied the lady. 'I am your Fairy Godmother, and I have
come to tell you that if you will gather up the broken plates and take
them up to the great house yonder, I will fix it so that you can go to
the circus.'

"'Won't they scold me for breaking the plates?' asked Tom, his eyes
brightening and his tears drying.

"'Take them and see,' said the Fairy Godmother, and Tom, who was always
an obedient lad, did as he was told. He gathered up the broken plates,
put them in his basket, and went up to the house.

"'Here are your plates,' he said, all of a tremble as he entered.

"'Let's see if any of them are broken,' said the merchant in a voice so
gruff that Tom trembled all the harder. Surely he was now in worse
trouble than ever.

"'H'm!' said the rich man taking one out and looking at it. 'That seems
to be all right.'

"'Yes,' said Tom, meekly, surprised to note that the plate was as good
as ever. 'It has been very neatly mended.'

"'Very what?' roared the rich man, who didn't want mended plates. 'Did
you say mended?'

"'Oh, no, sir!' stammered Tom, who saw that he had made a bad mistake.
'That is, I didn't mean to say mended. I meant to say that they'd been
very highly recommended.'

"'Oh! Recommended, eh?' returned the rich man more calmly. 'That's
different. The rest of them seem to be all right, too. Here, take your
basket and go along with you. Good-by!'

"And so Tom left the merchant's house very much pleased to have got out
of his scrape so easily, and feeling very grateful to his Fairy
Godmother for having helped him.

"'Well,' said she, when he got back to the gate where she was awaiting
him, 'was everything all right?'

"'Yes,' said Tom, happily. 'The plates were all right, and now they are
all left.'

"The Fairy Godmother laughed and said he was a bright boy, and then she
asked him which he would rather do: pay fifty cents to go to the circus
once, or wear the coat of invisibility and walk in and out as many times
as he wanted to. To this Tom, who was a real boy, and preferred going to
the circus six times to going only once, replied that as he was afraid
he might lose the fifty cents he thought he would take the coat, though
he also thought, he said, if his dear Fairy Godmother could find it in
her heart to let him have both the coat and the fifty cents he could
find use for them.

"At this the Fairy Godmother laughed again, and said she guessed he
could, and, giving him two shining silver quarters and the coat of
invisibility, she made a mysterious remark, which he could not
understand, and disappeared. Tom kissed his hand toward the spot where
she had stood, now vacant, and ran gleefully homeward, happy as a bird,
for he had at last succeeded in obtaining the means for his visit to the
circus. That night, so excited was he, he hardly slept a wink, and even
when he did sleep, he dreamed of such unpleasant things as the bitter
medicines of the doctor and the broken plates, so that it was just as
well he should spend the greater part of the night awake.

"His excitement continued until the hour for going to the circus
arrived, when he put on his coat of invisibility and started. To test
the effect of the coat he approached one of his chums, who was standing
in the middle of the long line of boys waiting for the doors to open,
and tweaked his nose, deciding from the expression on his friend's
face--one of astonishment, alarm, and mystification--that he really was
invisible, and so, proceeding to the gates, he passed by the
ticket-taker into the tent without interference from any one. It was
simply lovely; all the seats in the place were unoccupied, and he could
have his choice of them. Surely nobody could ask for anything better.

"You may be sure he chose one well down in front, so that he should miss
no part of the performance, and then he waited for the beginning of the
very wonderful series of things that were to come.

"Alas! poor Tom was again doomed to a very mortifying disappointment. He
forgot that his invisibility made his lovely front seat appear to be
unoccupied, and while he was looking off in another direction a great,
heavy, fat man entered and sat down upon him, squeezing him so hard that
he could scarcely breathe, and as for howling, that was altogether out
of the question, and there through the whole performance the fat man
sat, and the invisible Tom saw not one of the marvelous acts or the
wonderful animals, and, what was worse, when a joke was got off he
couldn't see whether it was by the clown or the ring-master, and so
didn't know when to laugh even if he had wanted to. It was the most
dreadful disappointment Tom ever had, and he went home crying, and spent
the night groaning and moaning with sorrow.

"It was not until he began to dress for breakfast next morning, and his
two beautiful quarters rolled out of his pocket on the floor, that he
remembered he still had the means to go again. When he had made this
discovery he became happy once more, and started off with his invisible
coat hanging over his arm, and paid his way in for the second and last
performance like all the other boys. This time he saw all there was to
be seen, and was full of happiness, until the lions' cage was brought
in, when he thought it would be a fine thing to put on his invisible
coat, and enter the cage with the lion-tamer, which he did, having so
exciting a time looking at the lions and keeping out of their way that
he forgot to watch the tamer when he went out, so that finally when the
circus was all over Tom found himself locked in the cage with the lions
with nothing but raw meat to eat. This was bad enough, but what was
worse, the next city in which the circus was to exhibit was hundreds of
miles away from the town in which Tom lived, and no one was expected to
open the cage doors again for four weeks.

"When Tom heard this he was frightened to death almost, and rather than
spend all that time shut up in a small cage with the kings of the
beasts, he threw off the coat of invisibility and shrieked, and then--"

"Yes--then what?" cried Jimmieboy, breathlessly, so excited that he
could not help interrupting the corporal, despite the story-teller's

    "The bull-dog said he thought it might,
       But pussy she said 'Nay,'
     At which the unicorn took fright,
       And stole a bale of hay,"

snored the corporal with a yawn.

"That can't be it! that can't be it!" cried Jimmieboy, so excited to
hear what happened to little Tom in the lions' cage that he began to
shake the corporal almost fiercely.

"What can't be what?" asked the corporal, sitting up and opening his
eyes. "What are you trying to talk about, general?"

"Tom--and the circus--what happened to him in the lions' cage when he
took off his coat?" cried Jimmieboy.

"Tom? And the circus? I don't know anything about any Tom or any
circus," replied the corporal, with a sleepy nod.

"But you've just been snoring to me about it," remonstrated Jimmieboy.

"Don't remember it at all," said the corporal. "I must have been asleep
and dreamed it, or else you did, or maybe both of us did; but tell me,
general, in confidence now, and don't ever tell anybody I
asked you, have you such a thing as a--as a gum-drop in your pocket?"

And Jimmieboy was so put out with the corporal for waking up just at
the wrong time that he wouldn't answer him, but turned on his heel, and
walked away very much concerned in his mind as to the possible fate of
poor little Tom.



It cannot be said that Jimmieboy was entirely happy after his falling
out with the corporal. Of course it was very inconsiderate of the
corporal to wake up at the most exciting period of his fairy story, and
leave his commanding officer in a state of uncertainty as to the fate of
little Tom; but as he walked along the road, and thought the matter all
over, Jimmieboy reflected that after all he was himself as much to blame
as the corporal. In the first place, he had interrupted him in his story
at the point where it became most interesting, though warned in advance
not to do so, and in the second, he had not fallen back upon his
undoubted right as a general to command the corporal to go to sleep
again, and to stay so until his little romance was finished to the
satisfaction of his superior officer. The latter was without question
the thing he should have done, and at first he thought he would go back
and tell the corporal he was very sorry he hadn't done so. Indeed, he
would have gone back had he not met, as he rounded the turn, a
singular-looking little fellow, who, sitting high in an oak-tree at the
side of the road, attracted his attention by winking at him. Ordinarily
Jimmieboy would not have noticed anybody who winked at him, because his
papa had told him that people who would wink would smoke a pipe, which
was very wrong, particularly in people who were as small as this droll
person in the tree. But the singular-looking little fellow winked aloud,
and Jimmieboy could not help noticing him. Like most small boys
Jimmieboy delighted in noises, especially noises that went off like
pop-guns, which was just the kind of noise the tree dwarf made when he

"Hello, you!" said Jimmieboy, as the sounds first attracted his
attention. "What are you doing up there?"

"Sitting on a limb and counting the stars in the sky," answered the

Jimmieboy laughed. This seemed such a curious thing to do.

"How many are there?" he asked.

"Seventeen," replied the dwarf.

"Ho!" jeered Jimmieboy.

"There are, really," said the dwarf. "I counted 'em myself."

"There's more than that," said Jimmieboy. "I've had stories told me of
twenty-seven or twenty-eight."

"That doesn't prove anything," returned the dwarf, "that is, nothing but
what I said. If there are twenty-eight there must be seventeen, so you
can't catch me up on that."

"Come down," said Jimmieboy. "I want to see you."

"I can't come now," returned the dwarf. "I'm too busy counting the
eighteenth star, but I'll drop my telescope and let you see me through

"I'll help you count the stars if you come," put in Jimmieboy. "How many
stars can you count a day?"

"Oh, about one and a half," said the dwarf. "I could count more than
that, only I'm cross-eyed and see double, so that after I've got through
counting, I have to divide the whole number by two to get the proper
figures, and I never was good at dividing. I've always hated
division--particularly division of apples and peaches. There is no
meaner sum in any arithmetic in the world than that I used to have to
do every time I got an apple when I was your age."

"What was the sum?" asked Jimmieboy.

"It was to divide one apple by three boys," returned the queer little
man. "Most generally that would be regarded as a case of three into one,
but in this instance it was one into three; and, worse than all, while
it pretended to be division, and was as hard as division, as far as I
was concerned it was subtraction too, and I was always the leftest part
of the remainder."

"But I don't see why you had to divide your apples every time you got
any," said Jimmieboy.

"That's easy enough to explain," said the dwarf. "If I didn't divide,
and did eat the whole apple, I'd have a fearful pain in my heart;
whereas if I gave my little brothers each a third, it would often happen
that they would get the pain and not I. After one or two experiments I
fixed it so that I never got the pain part any more--for you know every
apple has an ache in it--and they did, so, you see, I kept myself well
as could be, and at the same time built up quite a reputation for

"How did you fix it so as to give them the pain part always?" queried

"Why, I located the part of the apple that held the pain. I did not
divide one apple I got, but ate the whole thing myself, part by part. I
studied each part carefully, and discovered that apples are divided by
Nature into three parts, anyhow. Pleasure was one part, pain was another
part, and the third part was just nothing--neither pleasure nor pain.
The core is where the ache is, the crisp is where the pleasure is, and
the skin represents the part which isn't anything. When I found that out
I said, 'Here! What is a good enough plan for Nature is a good enough
plan for me. I'll divide my apples on Nature's plan.' Which I did. To
one brother I gave the core; to the other the skin; the rest I ate

"It was very mean of you to make your brothers suffer the pain," said

"Well, they had their days off. One time one brother'd have the core;
another time the other brother'd have it. They took turns," said the

"It was mean, anyhow!" cried Jimmieboy, who was so fond of his own
little brother that he would gladly have borne all his pains for him if
it could have been arranged.

"Well, meanness is my business," said the dwarf.

"Your business?" echoed Jimmieboy, opening his eyes wide with
astonishment, meanness seemed such a strange business.

"Certainly," returned the dwarf. "Don't you know what I am? I am an

"What's that?" asked Jimmieboy.

"You know what a fairy is, don't you?" said the dwarf.

"Yes. It's a dear lovely creature with wings, that goes about doing

"That's right. An unfairy is just the opposite," explained the dwarf. "I
go about doing unfair things. I am the fairy that makes things go wrong.
When your hat blows off in the street the chances are that I have paid
the bellows man, who works up all these big winds we have, to do it. If
I see people having a good time on a picnic, I fly up to the sky and
push a rain cloud over where they are and drench them, having first of
course either hidden or punched great holes in their umbrellas. Oh, I
can tell you, I am the meanest creature that ever was. Why, do you know
what I did once in a country school?"

"No, I don't," said Jimmieboy, in tones of disgust. "I don't know
anything about mean things."

"Well, you ought to know about this," returned the dwarf, "because it
was just the meanest thing anybody ever did. There was a boy who'd
studied awfully hard in hopes that he would lead his class when the
holidays came, and there was another boy in the school who was equal to
him in everything but arithmetic, and who would have been beaten on that
one point, so that the other boy would have stood where he wanted to,
only I helped the second boy by rubbing out all the correct answers of
the first boy and putting others on the slate instead, so that the first
boy lost first place and had to take second. Wasn't that mean?"

"It was horrid," said Jimmieboy, "and it's a good thing you didn't come
down here when I asked you to, for if you had, I think I should now be
slapping you just as hard as I could."

"Another time," said the unfairy, ignoring Jimmieboy's remark, "I turned
myself into a horse-fly and bothered a lame horse; then I changed into a
bull-dog and barked all night under the window of a man who wanted to go
to sleep, but my regular trick is going around to hat stores and taking
the brushes and brushing all the beaver hats the wrong way. Sometimes
when people get lost here in the woods and want to go to
Tiddledywinkland, I give them the wrong directions, so that they bring
up on the other side of the country, where they don't want to be; and
once last winter I put rust on the runners of a little boy's sled so
that he couldn't use it, and then when he'd spent three days getting
them polished up, I pushed a warm rain cloud over the hill where the
snow was and melted it all away. I hide toys I know children will be
sure to want; I tear the most exciting pages out of books; I spill salt
in the sugar-bowls and plant weeds in the gardens; I upset the ink on
love-letters; when I find a man with only one collar I fray it at the
edges; I roll collar buttons under bureaus; I--"

"Don't you dare tell me another thing!" cried Jimmieboy, angrily. "I
don't like you, and I won't listen to you any more."

"Oh, yes, you will," replied the unfairy. "I am just mean enough to make
you, and I'll tell you why. I am very tired of my business, and I think
if I tell you all the horrid things I do, maybe you'll tell me how I can
keep from doing them. I have known you for a long time, only you didn't
know it."

"I don't believe it," said Jimmieboy.

"Well, I have, just the same," returned the dwarf. "And I can prove it.
Do you remember, one day you went out walking, how you walked two miles
and only met one mud-puddle, and fell into that?"

"Yes, I do," said Jimmieboy, sadly. "I spoiled my new suit when I fell,
and I never knew how I came to do it."

"I made you do that!" said the unfairy, triumphantly. "I grabbed hold of
your foot, and upset you right into it. I waited two hours to do it,

"You did, eh?" said Jimmieboy. "Well, I wish I had an axe. I'd chop that
tree down, and catch you and make you sorry for it."

"I am sorry for it," said the dwarf. "Real sorry. I've never ceased to
regret it."

"Oh, well, I forgive you," said Jimmieboy, "if you are really sorry."

"Yes, I am," said the dwarf; "I'm awfully sorry, because I didn't do it
right. You only ruined your suit and not that beautiful red necktie you
had on. Next time I'll be more careful and spoil everything. But let me
give you more proof that I've known you. Who do you suppose it was bent
your railway tracks at Christmas so they wouldn't work?"

"You!" ejaculated Jimmieboy.

"Yes, sirree!" roared the dwarf. "I did, and, what is more, it was I
who chewed up your best shoes and bit your plush dog's head off; it was
I who ate up your luncheon one day last March; it was I who pawed up all
the geraniums in your flower-bed; and it was I who nipped your friend
the postman in the leg on St. Valentine's day so that he lost your

"I've caught you there," said Jimmieboy. "It wasn't you that did those
things at all. It was a horrid little brown dog that used to play around
our house did all that."

"You think you are smart," laughed the dwarf. "But you aren't. I was the
little brown dog."

"I don't see how you can have any friends if that is the way you
behave," said Jimmieboy, after a minute or two of silence. "You don't
deserve any."

"No," said the dwarf, his voice trembling a little--for as Jimmieboy
peered up into the tree at him he could see that he was crying just a
bit--"I haven't any, and I never had. I never had anybody to set me a
good example. My father and my mother were unfairies before me, and I
just grew to be one like them. I didn't want to be one, but I had to be;
and really it wasn't until I saw you pat a hand-organ monkey on the
head, instead of giving him a piece of cake with red pepper on it, as I
would have done, that I ever even dreamed that there were kind people in
the world. After I'd watched you for a while and had seen how happy you
were, and how many friends you had, I began to see how it was that I was
so miserable. I was miserable because I was mean, but nobody has ever
told me how not to be mean, and I'm just real upset over it."

"Poor fellow!" said Jimmieboy, sympathetically. "I am really very, very
sorry for you."

"So am I," sobbed the dwarf. "I wish you could help me."

"Perhaps I can," said Jimmieboy.

"Well, wait a minute," said the dwarf, drying his eyes and peering
intently down the road. "Wait a minute. There is a sheep down the road
there tangled up in the brambles. Wait until I change myself into a big
black dog and scare her half to death."

"But that will be mean," returned Jimmieboy; "and if you want to change,
and be good, and kind, why don't you begin now and help the sheep out?"

"H'm!" said the dwarf. "Now that is an idea, isn't it! Do you know, I'd
never have thought of that if you hadn't suggested it to me. I think I
will. I'll change myself into a good-hearted shepherd's boy, and free
that poor animal at once!"

The dwarf was as good as his word, and in a moment he came back, smiling
as happily as though he had made a great fortune.

"Why, it's lovely to do a thing like that. Beautiful!" he said. "Do you
know, Jimmieboy, I've half a mind to turn mean again for just a minute,
and go back and frighten that sheep back into the bushes just for the
bliss of helping her out once more."

"I wouldn't do that," said Jimmieboy, with a shake of his head. "I'd
just change myself into a good fairy if I were you, and go about doing
kind things. When you see people having a picnic, push the rain cloud
away from them instead of over them. Do just the opposite from what
you've been doing all along, and pretty soon you'll have heaps and heaps
of friends."

"You are a wonderful boy," said the dwarf. "Why, you've hit without
thinking a minute the plan I've been searching for for years and years
and years, and I'll do just what you say. Watch!"

The dwarf pronounced one or two queer words the like of which Jimmieboy
had never heard before, and, presto change! quick as a wink the unfairy
had disappeared, and there stood at the small general's side the
handsomest, sweetest little sprite he had ever even dreamed or read
about. The sprite threw his arms about Jimmieboy's neck and kissed him
affectionately, wiped a tear of joy from his eye, and then said:

"I am so glad I met you. You have taught me how to be happy, and I am
sure I have lost eighteen hundred and seven tons in weight, I feel so
light and gay; and--joy! oh, joy! I no longer see double! My eyes must
be straight."

"They are," said Jimmieboy. "Straight as--straight as--well, as straight
as your hair is curly."

And that was as good an illustration as he could have found, for the
sprite's hair was just as curly as it could be.



"Where are you going, Jimmieboy?" asked the sprite, after they had
walked along in silence for a few minutes.

"I haven't the slightest idea," said Jimmieboy, with a short laugh. "I
started out to provision the forces before pursuing the Parawelopipedon,
but I seem to have fallen out with everybody who could show me where to
go, and I am all at sea."

"Well, you haven't fallen out with me," said the sprite. "In fact,
you've fallen in with me, so that you are on dry land again. I'll show
you where to go, if you want me to."

"Then you know where I can find the candied cherries and other things
that soldiers eat?" asked Jimmieboy.

"No, I don't know where you can find anything of the sort," returned the
sprite. "But I do know that all things come to him who waits, so I'd
advise you to wait until the candied cherries and so forth come to you."

"But what'll I do while I am waiting?" asked Jimmieboy, who had no wish
to be idle in this new and strange country.

"Follow me, of course," said the sprite, "and I'll show you the most
wonderful things you ever saw. I'll take you up to see old
Fortyforefoot, the biggest giant in all the world; after that we'll stop
in at Alltart's bakery and have lunch. It's a great bakery, Alltart's
is. You just wish for any kind of cake in the world, and you have it in
your mouth."

"Let's go there first, I'm afraid of giants," said Jimmieboy. "They eat
little boys like me."

"Well, I don't blame them for that," said the sprite. "A little boy as
sweet as you are is almost too good not to eat; but I'll take care of
you. Fortyforefoot I haven't a doubt would like to eat both of us, but I
have a way of getting the best of fellows of that sort, so if you'll
come along you needn't have the slightest fear for your safety."

"All right," said Jimmieboy, after thinking it all over. "Go ahead. I'll
follow you."

At this moment the galloping step of a horse was heard approaching, and
in a minute Major Blueface rode up.

"Why, how do you do, general?" he cried, his face beaming with pleasure
as he reined in his steed and dismounted. "I haven't seen you
in--my!--why, not in years, sir. How have you been?"

"Quite well," said Jimmieboy, with a smile, for the major amused him
very much. "It doesn't seem more than five minutes since I saw you
last," he added, with a sly wink at the sprite.

"Oh, it must be longer than that," said the major, gravely. "It must be
at least ten, but they have seemed years to me--a seeming, sir, that is
well summed up in that lovely poem a friend of mine wrote some time ago:

    "'When I have quarreled with a dear
     Old friend, a minute seems a year;
     And you'll remember without doubt
     That when we parted we fell out.'"

"Very pretty," said the sprite. "Very pretty, indeed. Reminds me of the
poems of Major Blueface. You've heard of him, I suppose?"

"Yes," said the major, frowning at the sprite, whom he had never met
before. "I have heard of Major Blueface, and not only have I heard of
him, but I am also one of his warmest friends and admirers."

"Really?" said the sprite, not noticing apparently that Jimmieboy was
nearly exploding with mirth. "How charming! What sort of a person is the
major, sir?"

"Superb!" returned the major, his chest swelling with pride. "Brave as a
lobster, witty as a porcupine, and handsome as a full-blown rose. In
short, he is a wonder. Many a time have I been with him on the field of
battle, where a man most truly shows what he is, and there it was, sir,
that I learned to love and admire Major Blueface. Why, once I saw that
man hit square in the back by the full charge of a brass cannon loaded
to the muzzle with dried pease. The force of the blow was
tremendous--forcible enough, sir, in fact, to knock the major off his
feet, but he never quailed. He rose with dignity, and walked back to
where the enemy was standing, and dared him to do it again, and when the
enemy did it again, the major did not forget, as some soldiers would
have done under the circumstances, that he was a gentleman, but he rose
up a second time and thanked the enemy for his courtesy, which so won
the enemy's heart that he surrendered at once."

"What a hero!" said the sprite.

"Hero is no name for it, sir. He is a whole history full of heroes. On
another occasion which I recall," cried the major, with enthusiasm, "on
another occasion he was pursued by a lion around a circular path--he is
a magnificent runner, the major is--and he ran so much faster than the
lion that he soon caught up with his pursuer from the rear, and with one
blow of his sword severed the raging beast's tail from his body. Then he
sat down and waited until the lion got around to him again, his appetite
increased so by the exercise he had taken that he would have eaten
anything, and then what do you suppose that brave soldier did?"

"What?" asked Jimmieboy, who had stopped laughing to listen.

"He gave the hungry creature his own tail to eat, and then went home,"
returned the major.

"Is that a true story?" asked the sprite.

"Do you think I would tell an untrue story?" asked the major, angrily.

"Not at all," said the sprite; "but if the major told it to you, it may
have grown just a little bit every time you told it."

"No, sir. That could not be, for I am Major Blueface himself,"
interrupted the major.

"Then you are a brave man," said the sprite, "and I am proud to meet

"Thank you," said the major, his frown disappearing and his pleasant
smile returning. "I have heard that remark before; but it is always
pleasant to hear. But what are you doing now, general?" he added,
turning and addressing Jimmieboy.

"I am still searching for the provisions, major," returned Jimmieboy.
"The soldiers were so tired I hadn't the heart to command them to get
them for me, as you said, so I am as badly off as ever."

"I think you need a rest," said the major, gravely; "and while it is
extremely important that the forces should be provided with all the
canned goods necessary to prolong their lives, the health of the
commanding officer is also a most precious consideration. As
commander-in-chief why don't you grant yourself a ten years' vacation on
full pay, and at the end of that time return to the laborious work you
have undertaken, refreshed?"

"But what becomes of the war?" asked Jimmieboy. "If I go off, there
won't be any war."

"No, but what of it?" replied the major. "That'll spite the enemy just
as much as it will our side; and maybe he'll get so tired waiting for
us to begin that he'll lie down and die or else give himself up."

"Well, I don't know what to do," said Jimmieboy, very much perplexed.
"What would you do?" he continued, addressing the sprite.

"I'd hire some one else to take my place if I were you, and let him do
the fighting and provisioning until you are all ready," said the sprite.

"Yes, but whom can I hire?" asked the boy.

"The Giant Fortyforefoot," returned the sprite. "He'd be just the man.
He's a great warrior in the first place and a great magician in the
second. He can do the most wonderful tricks you ever saw in all your
life. For instance,

    "He'll take two ordinary balls,
       He'll toss 'em to the sky,
     And each when to the earth it falls
       Will be a satin tie.

     He'll take a tricycle in hand,
       He'll give the thing a heave,
     He'll mutter some queer sentence, and
       'Twill go right up his sleeve.

     He'll ask you what your name may be,
       And if you answer 'Jim!'
     He'll turn a handspring--one, two, three!
       Your name will then be Tim.

     He'll take a fifty-dollar bill,
       He'll tie it to a chain,
     He'll cry out 'Presto!' and you will
       Not see your bill again."

"I'd like to see him," said Jimmieboy. "But I can't say I want to be
eaten up, you know, and I'd like to have you tell me before we go how
you are going to prevent his eating me."

"Very proper," said Major Blueface. "You suffer under the great
disadvantage of being a very toothsome, tender morsel, and in all
probability Fortyforefoot would order you stewed in cream or made over
into a tart. My!" added the major, smacking his lips so suggestively
that Jimmieboy drew away from him, slightly alarmed. "Why, it makes my
mouth water to think of a pudding made of you, with a touch of cinnamon
and a dash of maple syrup, and a shake of sawdust and a hard sauce.

This last word of the major's was a sort of ecstatic cluck such as boys
often make after having tasted something they are particularly fond of.

"What's the use of scaring the boy, Blueface?" said the sprite, angrily,
as he noted Jimmieboy's alarm. "I won't have anymore of that. You can be
as brave and terrible as you please in the presence of your enemies, but
in the presence of my friends you've got to behave yourself."

The major laughed heartily.

"Jimmieboy afraid of me?" he said. "Nonsense! Why, he could rout me
with a frown. His little finger could, unaided, put me to flight if it
felt so disposed. I was complimenting him--not trying to frighten him.

    "When I went into ecstasies
       O'er pudding made of him,
     'Twas just because I wished to please
       The honorable Jim;
     And now, in spite of your rebuff,
       The statement I repeat:
     I think he's really good enough
       For any one to eat."

"Well, that's different," said the sprite, accepting the major's
statement. "I quite agree with you there; but when you go clucking
around here like a hen who has just tasted the sweetest grain of corn
she ever had, or like a boy after eating a plate of ice-cream, you're
just a bit terrifying--particularly to the appetizing morsel that has
given rise to those clucks. It's enough to make the stoutest heart

"Nonsense!" retorted the major, with a wink at Jimmieboy. "Neither my
manner nor the manner of any other being could make a stout hart quail,
because stout harts are deer and quails are birds!"

This more or less feeble joke served to put the three travelers in good
humor again. Jimmieboy smiled over it; the sprite snickered, and the
major threw himself down on the grass in a perfect paroxysm of laughter.
When he had finished he got up again and said:

"Well, what are we going to do about it? I propose we attack
Fortyforefoot unawares and tie his hands behind his back. Then Jimmieboy
will be safe."

"You are a wonderfully wise person," retorted the sprite. "How on earth
is Fortyforefoot to show his tricks if we tie his hands?"

"By means of his tricks," returned the major. "If he is any kind of a
magician he'll get his hands free in less than a minute."

"Then why tie them at all?" asked the sprite. "I'm not good at
conundrums," said the major. "Why?"

"I'm sure I don't know," returned the sprite, impatiently.

"Then why waste time asking riddles to which you don't know the answer?"
roared the major. "You'll have me mad in a minute, and when I'm mad woe
be unto him which I'm angry at."

"Don't quarrel," said Jimmieboy, stepping between his two friends, with
whom it seemed to be impossible to keep peace for any length of time.
"If you quarrel I shall leave you both and go back to my company."

"Very well," returned the major. "I accept the sprite's apology. But he
mustn't do it again. Now as you have chosen to reject my plan of
attacking Fortyforefoot and tying his hands, suppose you suggest
something better, Mr. Sprite."

"I think the safe thing would be for Jimmieboy to wear this invisible
coat of mine when in the giant's presence. If Fortyforefoot can't see
him he is safe," said the sprite.

"I don't see any invisible coat anywhere," said the major. "Where is

"Nobody can see it, of course," said the sprite, scornfully. "Do you
know what invisible means?"

"Yes, I do," retorted the major. "I only pretended I didn't so that I
could make you ask the question, which enables me to say that something
invisible is something you can't see, like your jokes."

"I can make a better joke than you can with my hands tied behind my
back," snapped the sprite.

"I can't make jokes with your hands tied behind your back, but I can
make one with my own hands tied behind my back that Jimmieboy here can
see with his eyes shut," said the major, scornfully.

"What is it? I like jokes," said Jimmieboy.

"Why--er--let me see; why--er--when is a sunbeam sharp?" asked the
major, who did not expect to be taken up so quickly.

"I don't know; when?" asked Jimmieboy.

"When it's a ray, sir. See? Ray, sir--razor. Ha! ha! Pretty good, eh?"
laughed the major.

"Bad as can be," said the sprite, his nose turned up until it interfered
with his eyesight. "Now hear mine, Jimmieboy. When is a joke not a

"Haven't the slightest idea," observed Jimmieboy, after scratching his
head and trying to think for a minute or two.

"When it's one of the major's," roared the sprite, whereat the woods
rang with his laughter.

The major first turned pale and then grew red in the face.

"That settles it," he said, throwing off his coat. "That is a deadly
insult, and there is now no possible way to avoid a duel."

"I am ready for you at any time," said the sprite, calmly. "Only as the
challenged party I have the choice of weapons, and inasmuch as this is a
hot day, I choose the jawbone."

"Not a talking match, I hope?" said the major, with a gesture of

"Not at all," replied the sprite. "A story-telling contest. We will
withdraw to that moss-covered rock underneath the trees in there, gather
enough huckleberries and birch bark for our luncheon, and catch a mess
of trout from the brook to go with them, and then we can fight our duel
all the rest of the afternoon."

"But how's that going to satisfy my wounded honor?" asked the major.

"I'll tell one story," said the sprite, "and you'll tell another, and
when we are through, the one that Jimmieboy says has told the best story
will be the victor. That is better than trying to hurt each other, I

"I think so too," put in Jimmieboy. "I'm ready for it."

"Well, it isn't a bad scheme," agreed the major. "Particularly the
luncheon part of it; so you may count on me. I've got a story that will
lift your hair right off your head."

So Jimmieboy and his two strange friends retired into the wood, gathered
the huckleberries and birch bark, caught, cooked, and ate the trout, and
then sat down together on the moss-covered rock to fight the duel. The
two fighters drew lots to find out which should tell the first story,
and as the sprite was the winner, he began.

And the story he told was as follows.



"When I was not more than a thousand years old--" said the sprite.

"Excuse me," interrupted the major. "But what was the figure?"

"One thousand," returned the sprite. "That was nine thousand years
ago--before this world was made. I celebrated my
ten-thousand-and-sixteenth birthday last Friday--but that has nothing to
do with my story. When I was not more than a thousand years of age, my
parents, who occupied a small star about forty million miles from here,
finding that my father could earn a better living if he were located
nearer the moon, moved away from my birthplace and rented a good-sized,
four-pronged star in the suburbs of the great orb of night. In the old
star we were too far away from the markets for my father to sell the
products of his farm for anything like what they cost him; freight
charges were very heavy, and often the stage-coach that ran between
Twinkleville and the moon would not stop at Twinkleville at all, and
then all the stuff that we had raised that week would get stale, lose
its fizz, and have to be thrown away."

"Let me beg your pardon again," put in the major. "But what did you
raise on your farm? I never heard of farm products having fizz to lose."

"We raised soda-water chiefly," returned the sprite, amiably.
"Soda-water and suspender buttons. The soda-water was cultivated and the
suspender buttons seemed to grow wild. We never knew exactly how; though
from what I have learned since about them, I think I begin to understand
the science of it; and I wish now that I could find a way to return to
Twinkleville, because I am certain it must be a perfect treasure-house
of suspender buttons by this time. Even in my day they used to lie about
by the million--metallic buttons every one of them. They must be worth
to-day at least a dollar a thousand."

"What is your idea about the way they happened to come there, based on
what you have learned since?" asked the major.

"Well, it is a very simple idea," returned the sprite. "You know when a
suspender button comes off it always disappears. Of course it must go
somewhere, but the question is, where? No one has ever yet been known to
recover the suspender button he has once really lost; and my notion of
it is simply that the minute a metal suspender button comes off the
clothes of anybody in all the whole universe, it immediately flies up
through the air and space to Twinkleville, which is nothing more than a
huge magnet, and lies there until somebody picks it up and tries to sell
it. I remember as a boy sweeping our back yard clear of them one
evening, and waking the next morning to find the whole place covered
with them again; but we never could make money on them, because the moon
was our sole market, and only the best people of the moon ever used
suspenders, and as these were unfortunately relatives of ours, we had to
give them all the buttons they wanted for nothing, so that the button
crops became rather an expense to us than otherwise. But with soda-water
it was different. Everybody, it doesn't make any difference where he
lives, likes soda-water, and it was an especially popular thing in the
moon, where the plain water is always so full of fish that nobody can
drink it. But as I said before, often the stage-coach wouldn't or
couldn't stop, and we found ourselves getting poorer every day. Finally
my father made up his mind to lease, and move into this new star, sink a
half-dozen soda-water wells there, and by means of a patent he owned,
which enabled him to give each well a separate and distinct flavor,
drive everybody else out of the business."

"You don't happen to remember how that patent your father owned worked,
do you?" asked the major, noticing that Jimmieboy seemed particularly
interested when the sprite mentioned this. "If you do, I'd like to buy
the plan of it from you and give it to Jimmieboy for a Christmas
present, so that he can have soda-water wells in his own back yard at

"No, I can't remember anything about it," said the sprite. "Nine
thousand years is a long time to remember things of that kind, though I
don't think the scheme was a very hard one to work. For vanilla cream,
it only required a well with plain soda-water in it with a quart of
vanilla beans and three pints of cream poured into it four times a week;
same way with other flavors--a quart of strawberries for strawberry,
sarsaparilla for sarsaparilla, and so forth; but the secret was in the
pouring; there was something in the way papa did the pouring; I never
knew just what it was. He always insisted on doing the pouring himself.
But if you don't stop asking questions I'll never finish my story."

"You shouldn't make it so interesting if you don't want us to have our
curiosity excited by it," said Jimmieboy. "I'd have asked those
questions if the major hadn't. But go ahead. What happened?"

"Well, we moved, and in a very short time were comfortably settled in
the suburban star I have mentioned," continued the sprite. "As we
expected, my father grew very, very rich. He was referred to in the moon
newspapers as 'The Soda-water King,' and once an article about him said
that he owned the finest suspender-button mine in the universe, which
was more or less true, but which, as it turned out, was unfortunate in
its results. Some moon people hearing of his ownership of the
Twinkleville Button Mines came to him and tried to persuade him that
they ought to be worked. Father said he didn't see any use of it,
because the common people didn't wear suspenders, and so didn't need the

"'True,' said they, 'but we can compel them to need them, by making a
law requiring that everybody over sixteen shall wear suspenders.'

"'That's a good idea,' said my father, and he tried to have it made a
law that every one should wear suspenders, high or low, and as a result
he got everybody mad at him. The best people were angry, because up to
that time the wearing of suspenders had been regarded as a sign of noble
birth, and if everybody, including the common people, were to have them
they would cease to be so. The common people themselves were angry,
because to have to buy suspenders would simply be an addition to the
cost of living, and they hadn't any money to spare. In consequence we
were cut off by the best people of the moon. Nobody ever came to see us
except the very commonest kind of common people, and they came at night,
and then only to drop pailfuls of cod-liver oil, squills, ipecac, and
other unpopular things into our soda-water wells, so that in a very
short time my poor father's soda-water business was utterly ruined.
People don't like to order ten quarts of vanilla cream soda-water for
Sunday dinner, and find it flavored with cod-liver oil, you know."

"Yes, I do know," said Jimmieboy, screwing his face up in an endeavor to
give the major and the sprite some idea of how little he liked the taste
of cod-liver oil. "I think cod-liver oil is worse than measles or
mumps, because you can't have measles or mumps more than once, and there
isn't any end to the times you can have cod-liver oil."

"I'm with you there," said the major, emphasizing his remark by slapping
Jimmieboy on the back. "In fact, sir, on page 29 of my book called
'Musings on Medicines' you will find--if it is ever published--these

          "The oils of cod!
           The oils of cod!
     They make me feel tremendous odd,
           Nor hesitate
           I here to state
     I wildly hate the oils of cod."

"Bravo!" cried the sprite. "When I start my autograph album I want you
to write those lines on the first page."

"With pleasure," returned the major. "When shall you start the album?"

"Never, I hope," replied the sprite, with a chuckle. "And now suppose
you don't interrupt my story again."

Clouds began to gather on the major's face again. The sprite's rebuke
had evidently made him very angry.

"Sir," said he, as soon as his feelings permitted him to speak. "If you
make any more such remarks as that, another duel may be necessary after
this one is fought--which I should very much regret, for duels of this
sort consume a great deal of time, and unless I am much mistaken it will
shortly rain cats and dogs."

"It looks that way," said the sprite, "and it is for that very reason
that I do not wish to be interrupted again. Of course ruin stared father
in the face."

"How rude of ruin!" whispered the major to Jimmieboy, who immediately
silenced him.

"Trade having fallen away," continued the sprite, "we had to draw upon
our savings for our bread and butter, and finally, when the last penny
was spent, we made up our minds to leave the moon district entirely and
try life on the dog-star, where, we were informed, people only had one
eye apiece, and every man had so much to do that it took all of his one
eye's time looking after his own business so that there wasn't any left
for him to spend on other people's business. It seemed to my father that
in a place like this there was a splendid opening for him."

"In what line?" queried the major.

"Renting out his extra eye to blind men," roared the sprite.

Jimmieboy fell off the rock with laughter, and the major, angry at being
so neatly caught, rose up and walked away but immediately returned.

"If this wasn't a duel I wouldn't stay here another minute," he said.
"But you can't put me to flight that way. Go on and finish."

"The question now came up as to how we should get to the dog-star,"
resumed the sprite. "Our money was all gone. Nobody would lend us any.
Nobody would help us at all."

"I should think they'd have been so glad you were leaving they'd have
paid your fare," said the major, but the sprite paid no attention.

"There was no regular stage line between the moon and the dog-star,"
said he, "and we had only two chances of really getting there, and they
were both so slim you could count their ribs. One was by getting aboard
the first comet that was going that way, and the other was by jumping.
The trouble with the first chance was that as far as any one knew there
wasn't a comet expected to go in the direction of the dog-star for eight
million years--which was rather a long time for a starving family to
wait, and besides we had read of so many accidents in the moon papers
about people being injured while trying to board comets in motion that
we were a little timid about it. My father and I could have managed
very well; but mother might not have--ladies can't even get on horse
cars in motion without getting hurt, you know.

"Then the other scheme was equally dangerous. It's a pretty big jump
from the moon to the dog-star, and if you don't aim yourself right you
are apt to miss it, and either fall into space or land somewhere else
where you don't want to go. For instance, a cousin of mine
who lived on Mars wanted to visit us when we lived at Twinkleville, but
he was too mean to pay his fare, thinking he could jump it cheaper.
Well, he jumped and where do you suppose he landed?"

"In the sun!" cried the major, in horror.

"No. Nowhere!" returned the sprite. "He's jumping yet. He didn't come
anywhere near Twinkleville, although he supposed that he was aimed in
the right direction."

"Will you tell me how you know he's falling yet?" asked the major, who
didn't seem to believe this part of the sprite's story.

"Certainly. I saw him yesterday through a telescope," replied the

The major began to whistle.

"And he looked very tired, too," said the sprite. "Though as a matter of
fact he doesn't have to exert himself any. All he has to do is fall,
and, once you get started, falling is the easiest thing in the world.
But of course with the remembrance of my cousin's mistake in our minds,
we didn't care so much about making the jump, and we kept putting it off
and putting it off until finally some wretched people had a law made
abolishing us from the moon entirely, which meant that we had to leave
inside of twenty-four hours; so we packed up our trunks with the few
possessions we had left and threw them off toward the dog-star; then
mother and father took hold of hands and jumped and I was to come along
after them with some of the baggage that we hadn't got ready in time.

"According to my father's instructions I watched him carefully as he
sped through space to see whether he had started right, and to my great
joy I observed that he had--that very shortly both he and mother would
arrive safely on the dog-star--but alas! My joy was soon turned to
grief, for a terrible thing happened. Our great heavy family trunk that
had been dispatched first, and with truest aim, landed on the head of
the King of the dog-star, stove his crown in and nearly killed him.
Hardly had the king risen up from the ground when he was again knocked
down by my poor father, who, utterly powerless to slow up or switch
himself to one side, landed precisely as the trunk had landed on the
monarch's head, doing quite as much more damage as the trunk had done in
the beginning. When added to these mishaps a shower of hat-boxes and
hand-bags, marked with our family name, fell upon the Lord Chief
Justice, the Prime Minister and the Heir Apparent, my parents were
arrested and thrown into prison and I decided that the dog-star was no
place for me. Wild with grief, and without looking to see where I was
going, nor in fact caring much, I gave a running leap out into space and
finally through some good fortune landed here on this earth which I have
found quite good enough for me ever since."

Here the sprite paused and looked at Jimmieboy as much as to say, "How
is that for a tale of adventure?"

"Is that all?" queried Jimmieboy.

"Mercy!" cried the major, "Isn't it enough?"

"No," said Jimmieboy. "Not quite. I don't see how he could have jumped
so many years before the world was made and yet land on the world."

"I was five thousand years on the jump," explained the sprite.

"It was leap-year when you started, wasn't it?" asked the major, with a
sarcastic smile.

"And your parents? What finally became of them?" asked Jimmieboy,
signaling the major to be quiet.

"I hadn't the heart to inquire. I am afraid they got into serious
trouble. It's a very serious thing to knock a king down with a trunk and
land on his head yourself the minute he gets up again," sighed the

"But didn't you tell me your parents were unfairies?" put in Jimmieboy,
eying the sprite distrustfully.

"Yes; but they were only my adopted parents," explained the sprite.
"They were a very rich old couple with lots of money and no children, so
I adopted them not knowing that they were unfairies. When they died they
left me all their bad habits, and their money went to found a storeroom
for worn out lawn-mowers. That was a sample of their meanness."

"Well that's a pretty good story," said Jimmieboy.

"Yes," said the sprite, with a pleased smile. "And the best part of it
is it's all true."

"Tut!" ejaculated the major, scornfully. "Wait until you hear mine."



"A great many years ago when I was a souvenir spoon," said the major, "I
belonged to a very handsome and very powerful potentate."

"I didn't quite understand what it was you said you were," said the
sprite, bending forward as if to hear better.

"At the beginning of my story I was a souvenir spoon," returned the

"Did you begin your career as a spoon?" asked the sprite.

"I did not, sir," replied the major. "I began my career as a nugget in a
lead mine where I was found by the king of whom I have just spoken, and
on his return home with me he gave me to his wife who sent me out to a
lead smith's and had me made over into a souvenir spoon--and a mighty
handsome spoon I was too. I had a poem engraved on me that said:

    'Aka majo te roo li sah,
     Pe mink y rali mis tebah.'

Rather pretty thought, don't you think so?" added the major as he
completed the couplet.

"Very!" said the sprite, with a knowing shake of his head.

"Well, I don't understand it at all," said Jimmieboy.

"Ask this native of Twinkleville what it means," observed the major with
a snicker. "He says it's a pretty thought, so of course he understands
it--though I assure you I don't, for it doesn't mean anything. I made it
up, this very minute."

The sprite colored deeply. It was quite evident that he had fallen into
the trap the major had set for him.

"I was only fooling," he said, with a sickly attempt at a smile. "Go on
with your story."

"I think perhaps the happiest time of my life was during the hundreds of
years that I existed in the royal museum as a spoon," resumed the major.
"I was brought into use only on state occasions. When the King of
Mangapore gave a state banquet to other kings in the neighborhood I was
the spoon that was used to ladle out the royal broth."

Here the major paused to smack his lips, and then a small tear appeared
in one corner of his eye and trickled slowly down the side of his nose.

"I always weep," he said, as soon as he could speak, "when I think of
that broth. Here is what it was made of:

    'Seven pies of sweetest mince,
     Then a ripe and mellow quince,
         Then a quart of tea.
     Then a pint of cinnamon,
     Next a roasted apple, done
         Brown as brown can be.

     Add of orange juice, a gill,
     And a sugared daffodil,
         Then a yellow yam.
     Sixty-seven strawberries
     Should be added then to these,
         And a pot of jam.

     Mix with maple syrup and
     Let it in the ice-box stand
         Till it's good and cold--
     Throw a box of raisins in,
     Stir it well--just make it spin--
         Till it looks like gold.'

Oh, my!" cried the major. "What a dish it was, and I, I used to be
dipped into a tureen full of it sixteen times at every royal feast,
and before the war we had royal feasts on an average of three times
a day."

"Three royal banquets a day?" cried Jimmieboy, his mouth watering to
think of it.

"Yes," returned the major. "Three a day until the unhappy war broke out
which destroyed all my happiness, and resulted in the downfall of
sixty-four kings."

"How on earth did such a war as that ever happen to be fought?" asked
the sprite.

"I am sorry to say," replied the major, sadly, "that I was the innocent
cause of it all. It was on the king's birthday that war was declared. He
used to have magnificent birthday parties, quite like those that boys
like Jimmieboy here have, only instead of having a cake with a candle in
it for each year, King Fuzzywuz used to have one guest for each year,
and one whole cake for each guest. On his twenty-first birthday he had
twenty-one guests; on his thirtieth, thirty, and so on; and at every one
of these parties I used to be passed around to be admired, I was so very
handsome and valuable."

"Absurd!" said the sprite, with a sneering laugh. "The idea of a lead
spoon being valuable!"

"If you had ever been able to get into the society of kings," the major
answered, with a great deal of dignity, "you would know that on the
table of a monarch lead is much more rare than silver and gold. It was
this fact that made me so overpoweringly valuable, and it is not
surprising that a great many of the kings who used to come to these
birthday parties should become envious of Fuzzywuz and wish they owned a
treasure like myself. One very old king died of envy because of me, and
his heir-apparent inherited his father's desire to possess me to such a
degree that he too pined away and finally disappeared entirely. Just
regularly faded out of sight. Didn't die, you know, as you would, but

"So it went on for years, and finally on his sixty-fourth birthday King
Fuzzywuz gave his usual party, and sixty-four of the choicest kings in
the world were invited. They every one came, the feast was made ready,
and just as the guests took their places around the table, the broth
with me lying at the side of the tureen was brought in. The kings all
took their crowns off in honor of my arrival, when suddenly pouf! a gust
of wind came along and blew out every light in the hall. All was
darkness, and in the midst of it I felt myself grabbed by the handle and
shoved hastily into an entirely strange pocket.

"'What, ho, without there!' cried Fuzzywuz. 'Turn off the wind and bring
a light.'

"The slaves hastened to do as they were told, and in less time than it
takes to tell it, light and order were restored. And then a terrible
scene ensued. I could see it very plainly through a button-hole in the
cloak of the potentate who had seized me and hidden me in his pocket.
Fuzzywuz immediately discovered that I was missing.

"'What has become of our royal spoon?' he roared to the head-waiter,
who, though he was an African of the blackest hue, turned white as a
sheet with fear.

"'It was in the broth, oh, Nepotic Fuzzywuz, King of the Desert and most
noble Potentate of the Sand Dunes, when I, thy miserable servant,
brought it into the gorgeous banqueting hall and set it here before
thee, who art ever my most Serene and Egotistic Master,' returned the
slave, trembling with fear and throwing himself flat upon the
dining-hall floor.

"'Caitiff!' cried the king. 'I believe thou hast played me false. Do
spoons take wings unto themselves and fly away? Are they tadpoles that
they develop legs and hop as frogs from our royal presence? Do spoons

"'Evaporate, my dear,' suggested the queen in a whisper.

"'Thanks,' returned the king. 'Do spoons evaporate like water in the
sun? Do they raise sails like sloops of war and thunder noiselessly out
of sight? No, no. Thou hast stolen it and thou must bear the penalty of
thy predilection----'

"'Dereliction,' whispered the queen, impatiently.

"'He knows what I mean,' roared the king, 'or if he doesn't he will when
his head is cut off.'"

"Is that what all those big words meant?" asked Jimmieboy.

"As I remember the occurrence, it is," returned the major. "What the
king really meant was always uncertain; he always used such big words
and rarely got them right. Reprehensibility and tremulousness were great
favorites of his, though I don't believe he ever knew what they meant.
But, to continue my story, at this point the king rose and sharpening
the carving knife was about to behead the slave's head off when the
potentate who had me in his pocket cried out:

"'Hold, oh Fuzzywuz! The slave is right. I saw the spoon myself at the
side of yon tureen when it was brought hither.'

"'Then,' returned the king, 'it has been percolated----'

"'Peculated,' whispered the queen.

"'That's what I said,' retorted Fuzzywuz, angrily. 'The spoon has been
speculated by some one of our royal brethren at this board. The point to
be liquidated now is, who has done this deed. What, ho, without there! A
guard about the palace gates--and lock the doors and bar the windows. We
shall have a search. I am sorry to say, that every king in this room
save only myself and my friend Prince Bigaroo, who at the risk of his
kingly dignity deigned to come to the rescue of my slave, must repeal--I
should say reveal--the contents of his pockets. Prince Bigaroo must be
innocent or he would not have ejaculated as he hath.'

"You see," said the major, in explanation, "Bigaroo having stolen me was
smart enough to see how it would be if he spoke. A guilty person in nine
cases out of ten would have kept silent and let the slave suffer. So
Bigaroo escaped; but all the others were searched and of course I was
not found. Fuzzywuz was wild with sorrow and anger, and declared that
unless I was returned within ten minutes he would wage war upon, and
utterly destroy, every king in the place. The kings all turned
pale--even Bigaroo's cheek grew white, but having me he was determined
to keep me and so the war began."

"Why didn't you speak and save the innocent kings?" asked the sprite.

"How could I?" retorted the major. "Did you ever see a spoon with a

The sprite made no answer. He evidently had never seen a spoon with a

"The war was a terrible one," said the major, resuming his story. "One
by one the kings were destroyed, and finally only Bigaroo remained, and
Fuzzywuz not having found me in the treasures of the others, finally
came to see that it was Bigaroo who had stolen me. So he turned his
forces toward the wicked monarch, defeated his army, and set fire to his
palace. In that fire I was destroyed as a souvenir spoon and became a
lump of lead once more, lying in the ruins for nearly a thousand years,
when I was sold along with a lot of iron and other things to a junk
dealer. He in turn sold me to a ship-maker, who worked me over into a
sounding lead for a steamer he had built. On my first trip out I was
sent overboard to see how deep the ocean was. I fell in between two
huge rocks down on the ocean's bed and was caught, the rope connecting
me with the ship snapped, and there I was, twenty thousand fathoms under
the sea, lost, as I supposed, forever. The effect of the salt water upon
me was very much like that of hair restorer on some people's heads. I
began to grow a head of green hair--seaweed some people call it--and to
this fact, strangely enough, I owed my escape from the water. A sea-cow
who used to graze about where I lay, thinking that I was only a tuft of
grass gathered me in one afternoon and swallowed me without blinking,
and some time after, the cow having been caught and killed by some giant
fishermen, I was found by the wife of one of the men when the great cow
was about to be cooked. These giants were very strange people who
inhabited an island out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which was
gradually sinking into the water with the weight of the people on it,
and which has now entirely disappeared. There wasn't one of the
inhabitants that was less than one hundred feet tall, and in those days
they used to act as light-houses for each other at night. They had but
one eye apiece, and when that was open it used to flash just like a
great electric light, and they'd take turns at standing up in the
middle of the island all night long and turning round and round and
round until you'd think they'd drop with dizziness. I staid with these
people, I should say, about forty years, when one morning two of the
giants got disputing as to which of them could throw a stone the
farthest. One of them said he could throw a pebble two thousand miles,
and the other said he could throw one all the way round the world. At
this the first one laughed and jeered, and to prove that he had told the
truth the second grabbed up what he thought was a pebble, but which
happened to be me and threw me from him with all his force."

"Did you go all the way around?" queried Jimmieboy.

"Did I? Well, rather. I went around once and a half. And sad to say I
killed the giant who threw me," returned the major. "I went around the
world so swiftly that when I got back to the island the poor fellow
hadn't had time to get out of my way, and as I came whizzing along I
struck him in the back, went right through him, and leaving him dead on
the island went on again and finally fell into a great gun manufactory
in Massachusetts where I was smelted over into a bullet, and sent to the
war. I did lots of work for George Washington. I think I must have
killed off half a dozen regiments of his enemies, and between you and
me, General Washington said I was his favorite bullet, and added that as
long as he had me with him he wasn't afraid of anybody."

Here the major paused a minute to smile at the sprite who was beginning
to look a little blue. It was rather plain, the sprite thought, that the
major was getting the best of the duel.

"Go on," said Jimmieboy. "What next? How long did you stay with George

"Six months," said the major. "I'd never have left him if he hadn't
ordered me to do work that I wasn't made for. When a bullet goes to war
he doesn't want to waste himself on ducks. I wanted to go after hostile
generals and majors and cornet players, and if Mr. Washington had used
me for them I'd have hit home every time, but instead of that he took me
off duck shooting one day and actually asked me to knock over a
miserable wild bird he happened to want. I rebelled at this. He
insisted, and I said, 'very well, General, fire away.' He fired, the
duck laughed, and I simply flew off into the woods on the border of the
bay and rested there for nearly a hundred years. The rest of my story
is soon told. I lay where I had fallen until six years ago when I was
picked up by a small boy who used me for a sinker to go fishing with,
after which I found my way into the smelting pot once more, and on the
Fifteenth of November, 1892, I became what I am, Major Blueface, the
handsomest soldier, the bravest warrior, the most talented tin poet that
ever breathed."

A long silence followed the completion of the major's story. Which of
the two he liked the better Jimmieboy could not make up his mind, and he
hoped his two companions would be considerate enough not to ask him to
decide between them.

"I thought they had to be true stories," said the sprite, gloomily. "I
don't think it's fair to tell stories like yours--the idea of your being
thrown one and a half times around the world!"

"It's just as true as yours, anyhow," retorted the major, "but if you
want to begin all over again and tell another I'm ready for you."

"No," said the sprite. "We'll leave it to Jimmieboy as it is."

"Then I win," said the major.

"I don't know about that, major," said Jimmieboy. "I think you are just
about even."

"Do you really think so?" asked the sprite, his face beaming with

"Yes," said Jimmieboy. "We'll settle it this way: we'll give five points
to the one who told the best, five points to the one who told the
longest, and five points to the one who told the shortest story. As the
stories are equally good you both get five points for that. The major's
was the longest, I think, so he gets five more, but so does the sprite
because his was the shortest. That makes you both ten, so you both win."

"Hurrah!" cried the major. "Then I do win."

"Yes," said the sprite, squeezing Jimmieboy's hand affectionately, "and
so do I."

Which after all, I think, was the best way to decide a duel of that



"Well, now that that is settled," said the major with a sigh of relief,
"I suppose we had better start off and see whether Fortyforefoot will
attend to this business of getting the provisions for us."

"Yes," said the sprite. "The major is right there, Jimmieboy. You have
delayed so long on the way that it is about time you did something, and
the only way I know of for you to do it is by getting hold of
Fortyforefoot. If you wanted an apple pie and there was nothing in sight
but a cart-wheel he would change it into an apple pie for you."

"That's all very well," replied Jimmieboy, "but I'm not going to call on
any giant who'd want to eat me. You might just as well understand that
right off. I'll try on your invisible coat and if that makes me
invisible I'll go. If it doesn't we'll have to try some other plan."

"That is the prudent thing to do," said the major, nodding his approval
to the little general. "As my poem tries to teach, it is always wise to
use your eyes--or look before you leap. The way it goes is this:

    'If you are asked to make a jump,
     Be careful lest you prove a gump--
         Awake or e'en in sleep--
     Don't hesitate the slightest bit
     To show that you've at least the wit
         To look before you leap.

     Why, in a dream one night, I thought
     A fellow told me that I ought
         To jump to Labrador.
     I did not look but blindly hopped,
     And where do you suppose I stopped?
         Bang! On my bedroom floor!

     I do not say, had I been wise
     Enough that time to use my eyes--
         As I've already said--
     To Labrador I would have got:
     But this _is_ certain, I would not
         Have tumbled out of bed.'

"The moral of which is, be careful how you go into things, and if you
are not certain that you are coming out all right don't go into them,"
added the major. "Why, when I was a mouse----"

"Oh, come, major--you couldn't have been a mouse," interrupted the
sprite. "You've just told us all about what you've been in the past, and
you couldn't have been all that and a mouse too."

"So I have," said the major, with a smile. "I'd forgotten that, and you
are right, too. I couldn't have been a mouse. I should have put what I
was going to say differently. If I had ever been a mouse--that's the way
it should be--if I had ever been a mouse and had been foolish enough to
stick my head into a mouse-trap after a piece of cheese without knowing
that I should get it out again, I should not have been here to-day, in
all likelihood. Therefore the general is right. Try on the invisible
coat, Jimmieboy, and let's see how it works before you risk calling on

"Here it is," said the sprite, holding out his hands with apparently
nothing in them.

Jimmieboy laughed a little, it seemed so odd to have a person say "here
it is" and yet not be able to see the object referred to. He reached out
his hand, however, to take the coat, relying upon the sprite's statement
that it was there, and was very much surprised to find that his hand did
actually touch something that felt like a coat, and in fact was a coat,
though entirely invisible.

"Shall I help you on with it?" asked the major.

"Perhaps you'd better," said Jimmieboy. "It feels a little small for

"That's what I was afraid of," said the sprite. "You see it covers me
all over from head to foot--that is the coat covers all but my head and
the hood covers that--but you are very much taller than I am."

Here Jimmieboy, having at last got into the coat and buttoned it about
him, had the strange sensation of seeing all of himself disappear
excepting his head and legs. These remaining uncovered were of course
still in sight.

"Ha-ha-ha!" laughed the major, merrily, as Jimmieboy walked around.
"That is the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. You're nothing but a head
and pair of legs."

Jimmieboy smiled and placed the hood over his head and the major roared
louder than ever.

"Ha-ha-ha-ha!" he cried. "Oh, my--oh, dear! That's funnier still--now
you're nothing but a pair of legs. Hee-hee-hee! Take it off quick or
I'll die with laughter."

Jimmieboy took off the hood.

"I'm afraid it won't do, Spritey," he said. "Fortyforefoot would see my
legs and if he caught them I'd be lost."

"That's a fact," said the sprite, thoughtfully. "The coat is almost two
feet too short for you."

"It's more than two feet too short," laughed the major. "It's two whole
legs too short."

"This is no time for joking," said the sprite. "We've too much to talk
about to use our mouths for laughing."

"All right," said the major. "I won't get off any more, or if I do they
won't be the kind to make you laugh. They will be sad jokes--like yours.
But I say, boys," he added, "I have a scheme. It is of course the scheme
of a soldier and may be attended by danger, but if it is successful all
the more credit to the one who succeeds. We three people can attack
Fortyforefoot openly, capture him, and not let him go until he provides
us with the provisions."

"That sounds lovely," sneered the sprite. "But I'd like to know some of
the details of this scheme. It is easy enough to say attack him, capture
him and not let him go, but the question is, how shall we do all this?"

"It ought to be easy," returned the major. "There are only three things
to be done. The first is to attack him. That certainly ought to be easy.
A kitten can attack an elephant if it wants to. The second is to capture
him, which, while it seems hard, is not really so if the attack is
properly made. The third is not to let him go."

"Clear as a fog," put in the sprite. "But go on."

"Now there are three of us--Jimmieboy, Spriteyboy and Yourstrulyboy,"
continued the major, "so what could be more natural than that we should
divide up these three operations among us? Nothing! Therefore I propose
that Jimmieboy here shall attack Fortyforefoot; the sprite shall capture
him and throw him into a dungeon cell and I will crown the work by not
letting him go."

"Magnificent!" said the sprite. "Jimmieboy and I take all the danger I

"Yes," returned the major. "I am utterly unselfish about
it. I am willing to put myself in the background and let you have all
the danger and most of the glory. I only come in at the very end--but I
don't mind that. I have had glory enough for ten life-times, so why
should I grudge you this one little bit of it? My feelings in regard to
glory will be found on the fortieth page of Leaden Lyrics or the Ballads
of Ben Bullet--otherwise myself. The verses read as follows:

    'Though glory, it must be confessed,
       Is satisfying stuff,
     Upon my laurels let me rest
       For I have had enough.

     Ne'er was a glorier man than I,
       Ne'er shall a glorier be,
     Than, trembling reader, you'll espy--
       When haply you spy me.

     So bring no more--for while 'tis good
       To have, 'tis also plain
     A bit of added glory would
       Be apt to make me vain.'

And I don't want to be vain," concluded the major.

"Well, I don't want any of your glory," said the sprite, "and if I know
Jimmieboy I don't think he does either. If you want to reverse your
order of things and do the dangerous part of the work yourself, we will
do all in our power to make your last hours comfortable, and I will see
to it that the newspapers tell how bravely you died, but we can't go
into the scheme any other way."

"You talk as if you were the general's prime minister, or his nurse,"
retorted the major, "whereas in reality I, being his chief of staff, am
they if anybody are."

Here the major blushed a little because he was not quite sure of his
grammar. Neither of his companions seemed to notice the mixture,
however, and so he continued:

"General, it is for you to say. Shall my plan go or shall she stay?"

"Well, I think myself, major, that it is a little too dangerous for me,
and if any other plan could be made I'd like it better," answered
Jimmieboy, anxious to soothe the major's feelings which were evidently
getting hurt again. "Suppose I go back and order the soldiers to attack
Fortyforefoot and bring him in chains to me?"

"Couldn't be done," said the sprite. "The minute the chains were clapped
on him he would change them into doughnuts and eat them all up."

"Yes," put in the major, "and the chances are he would turn the soldiers
into a lot of toy balloons on a string and then cut the string."

"He couldn't do that," said the sprite, "because he can't turn people or
animals into anything. His power only applies to things."

"Then what shall we do?" said Jimmieboy, in despair.

"Well, I think the best thing to do would be for me to change myself
into a giant bigger than he is," said the sprite. "Then I could put you
and the major in my pockets and call upon Fortyforefoot and ask him, in
a polite way, to turn some pebbles and sticks and other articles into
the things we want, and, if he won't do it except he is paid, we'll pay
him if we can."

"What do you propose to pay him with?" asked the major. "I suppose
you'll hand him half a dozen checkerberries and tell him if he'll turn
them into ten one dollar bills he'll have ten dollars. Fine way to do
business that."

"No," said the sprite, mildly. "You can't tempt Fortyforefoot with
money. It is only by offering him something to eat that we can hope to
get his assistance."

"Ah? And you'll request him to turn a handful of pine cones into a dozen
turkeys on toast, I presume?" asked the major.

"I shall do nothing of the sort. I shall simply offer to let him have
you for dinner--you will serve up well in croquettes--Blueface
croquettes--eh, Jimmieboy?" laughed the sprite.

The poor major turned white with fear and rage. At first he felt
inclined to slay the sprite on the spot, and then it suddenly flashed
across his mind that before he could do it the sprite might really turn
himself into a giant and do with him as he had said. So he contented
himself with turning pale and giving a sickly smile.

"That would be a good joke on me," he said. "But really, my dear Mr.
Sprite, I don't think I would enjoy it, and after all I have a sort of
notion that I would disagree with Fortyforefoot--which would be
extremely unfortunate. I know I should rest like lead on his
digestion--and that would make him angry with you and I should be
sacrificed for nothing."

"Well, I wouldn't consent to that anyhow," said Jimmieboy. "I love the
major too much to----"

"So do we all," interrupted the sprite. "Why even I love the major and I
wouldn't let anybody eat him for anything--no, sir!--not if I were
offered a whole vanilla éclaire would I permit the major to be eaten.
But my scheme is the only one possible. I will turn myself into a giant
twice as big as Fortyforefoot; I will place you and the major in my
pockets and then I will call upon him. He will be so afraid of me that
he will do almost anything I ask him to, but to make him give us the
very best things he can make I would rather deal gently with him, and
instead of forcing him to make the peaches and cherries I'll offer to
trade you two fellows off for the things we need. He will be pleased
enough at the chance to get anything so good to eat as you look, and
he'll prepare everything for us, and he will put you down stairs in the
pantry. Then I will tell him stories, and some of the major's jokes, to
make him sleepy, and when finally he dozes off I will steal the pantry
key and set you free. How does that strike you, general?"

"It's a very good plan unless Fortyforefoot should find us so toothsome
looking that he would want to eat us raw. We may be nothing more than
fruit for him, you know, and truly I don't want to be anybody's apple,"
said Jimmieboy.

"You are quite correct there, general," said the major, with a chuckle.
"In fact, I'm quite sure he'd think you and I were fruit because being
two we are necessarily a pear."

"It won't happen," said the sprite. "He isn't likely to think you are
fruit and even if he does I won't let him eat you. I'll keep him from
doing it if I have to eat you myself."

"Oh, of course, then, with a kind promise like that there is nothing
left for us to do but accept your proposition," said the
major. "As Ben Bullet says:

    'When only one thing can be done--
       If people only knew it--
     The wisest course beneath the sun
       Is just to go and do it.'"

"I'm willing to take my chances," said Jimmieboy, "if after I see what
kind of a giant you can turn yourself into I think you are terrible
enough to frighten another giant."

"Well, just watch me," said the sprite, taking off his coat. "And mind,
however terrifying I may become, don't you get frightened, because I
won't hurt you."

"Go ahead," said the major, valiantly. "Wait until we get scared before
talking like that to us."

"One, two, three!" cried the sprite. "Presto! Change!

    'Bazam, bazam,
     A sprite I am,
     Bazoo, bazee,
     A giant I'd be.'"

Then there came a terrific noise; the trees about the little group shook
to the very last end of their roots, all grew dark as night, and as
quickly grew light again. In the returning light Jimmieboy saw looming
up before him a fearful creature, eighty feet high, clad in a
magnificent suit embroidered with gold and silver, a fierce mustache
upon his lip, and dangling at his side was a heavy sword.

It was the sprite now transformed into a giant--a terrible-looking
fellow, though to Jimmieboy he was not terrible because the boy knew
that the dreadful creature was only his little friend in disguise.

"How do I look?" came a bellowing voice from above the trees.

"First rate. Horribly frightful. I'm sure you'll do, and I am ready,"
said Jimmieboy, with a laugh. "What do you think, major?"

But there came no answer, and Jimmieboy, looking about him to see why
the major made no reply, was just in time to see that worthy soldier's
coat-tails disappearing down the road.

The major was running away as fast as he could go.



"You've frightened him pretty well, Spritey," said Jimmieboy, with a
laugh, as the major passed out of sight.

"Yes," returned the sprite. "But you don't seem a bit afraid."

"I'm not--though I think I should be if I didn't know who you are,"
returned Jimmieboy. "You are really a pretty hideous affair."

"Well, I need to be if I am to get the best of Fortyforefoot, but, I
say, you mustn't call me Spritey now that I am a giant. It won't do to
call me by any name that would show Fortyforefoot who I really am," said
the sprite, with a warning shake of his head.

"But what shall I call you?" asked Jimmieboy.

"Bludgeonhead is my name now," replied the sprite. "Benjamin B.
Bludgeonhead is my full name, but you know me well enough to call me
plain Bludgeonhead."

"All right, plain Bludgeonhead," said Jimmieboy, "I'll do as you
say--and now don't you think we'd better be starting along?"

"Yes," said Bludgeonhead, reaching down and grabbing hold of Jimmieboy
with his huge hand. "We'll start right away, and until we come in sight
of Fortyforefoot's house I think perhaps you'll be more comfortable if
you ride on my shoulder instead of in my coat-pocket."

"Thank you very much," said Jimmieboy, as Bludgeonhead lifted him up
from the ground and set him lightly as a feather on his shoulder. "My,
what a view!" he added, as he gazed about him. "I think I'd like to be
as tall as this all the time, Bludgeonhead. What a great thing it would
be on parade days to be as tall as this. Why I can see miles and miles
of country from here."

"Yes, it's pretty fine--but I don't think I'd care to be so tall
always," returned Bludgeonhead, as he stepped over a great broad river
that lay in his path. "It makes one very uppish to be as high in the air
as this; and you'd be all the time looking down on your friends, too,
which would be so unpleasant for your friends that they wouldn't have
anything to do with you after a while. Hang on tight now. I'm going to
jump over this mountain in front of us."

Here Bludgeonhead drew back a little and then took a short run, after
which he leaped high in the air, and he and Jimmieboy sailed easily over
the great hills before them, and then alighted safe and sound on the
other side.

"That was just elegant!" cried Jimmieboy, clapping his hands with glee.
"I hope there are lots more hills like that to be jumped over."

"No, there aren't," said Bludgeonhead, "but if you like it so much I'll
go back and do it again."

"Let's," said Jimmieboy.

Bludgeonhead turned back and jumped over the mountain half a dozen times
until Jimmieboy was satisfied and then he resumed his journey.

"This," he said, after trudging along in silence for some time, "this is
Fortyforefoot Valley, and in a short time we shall come to the giant's
castle; but meanwhile I want you to see what a wonderful place this is.
The valley itself will give you a better idea of Fortyforefoot's great
power as a magician than anything else that I know of. Do you know what
this place was before he came here?"

"No," said Jimmieboy. "What was it?"

"It was a great big hole in the ground," returned Bludgeonhead. "A
regular sand pit. Fortyforefoot liked the situation because it was
surrounded by mountains and nobody ever wanted to come here because sand
pits aren't worth visiting. There wasn't a tree or a speck of a green
thing anywhere in sight--nothing but yellow sand glaring in the sun all
day and sulking in the moon all night."

"Why how could that be? It's all covered with beautiful trees and
gardens and brooks now," said Jimmieboy, which was quite true, for the
Fortyforefoot Valley was a perfect paradise to look at, filled with
everything that was beautiful in the way of birds and trees and flowers
and water courses. "How could he make the trees and flowers grow in dry
hot sand like that?"

"By his magic power, of course," answered Bludgeonhead. "He filled up a
good part of the sand pit with stones that he found about here, and then
he changed one part of the desert into a pond so that he could get all
the water he wanted. Then he took a square mile of sand and changed
every grain of it into blades of grass. Other portions he transformed
into forests until finally simply by the wonderful power he has to
change one thing into another he got the place into its present shape."

"But the birds, how did he make them?" asked the little general.

"He didn't," said Bludgeonhead. "They came of their own accord. They saw
what a beautiful place this was and they simply moved in."

Bludgeonhead paused a moment in his walk and set Jimmieboy down on the
ground again.

"I think I'll take a rest here before going on. We are very near to
Fortyforefoot's castle now," he said. "I'll sit down here for a few
moments and sharpen my sword and get in good shape for a fight if one
becomes necessary. Don't wander away, Jimmieboy. This place is full of
traps for just such fellows as you who come in here. That's the way
Fortyforefoot catches them for dinner."

So Jimmieboy staid close by Bludgeonhead's side and was very much
entertained by all that went on around him. He saw the most wonderful
birds imaginable, and great bumble-bees buzzed about in the flowers
gathering honey by the quart. Once a great jack-rabbit, three times as
large as he was, came rushing out of the woods toward him, and Jimmieboy
on stooping to pick up a stone to throw at Mr. Bunny to frighten him
away, found that all the stones in that enchanted valley were precious.
He couldn't help laughing outright when he discovered that the stone he
had thrown at the rabbit was a huge diamond as big as his fist, and that
even had he stopped to choose a less expensive missile he would have had
to confine his choice to pearls, rubies, emeralds, and other gems of the
rarest sort. And then he noticed that what he thought was a rock upon
which he and Bludgeonhead were sitting was a massive nugget of pure
yellow gold. This lead him on to inspect the trees about him and then he
discovered a most absurd thing. Fortyforefoot's extravagance had
prompted him to make all his pine trees of the most beautifully polished
and richly inlaid mahogany; every one of the weeping willows was made of
solid oak, ornamented and carved until the eye wearied of its beauty,
and as for the birds in the trees, their nests were made not of stray
wisps of straw and hay stolen from the barns and fields, but of the
softest silk, rich in color and lined throughout with eiderdown, the
mere sight of which could hardly help being restful to a tired bird--or
boy either, for that matter, Jimmieboy thought.

"Did he make all this out of sand? All these jewels and magnificent
carvings?" he asked.

"Yes," said Bludgeonhead. "Simply took up a handful of sand and tossed
it up in the air and whatever he commanded it to be it became. But the
most wonderful thing in this place is his spring. He made what you might
call a 'Wish Dipper' out of an old tin cup. Then he dug a hole and
filled it with sand which he commanded to become liquid, and, when the
sand heard him say that, it turned to liquid, but the singular thing
about it is that as Fortyforefoot didn't say what kind of liquid it
should be, it became any kind. So now if any one is thirsty and wants a
glass of cider all he has to do is to dip the wish dipper into the
spring and up comes cider. If he wants lemonade up comes lemonade. If he
wants milk up comes milk. It's simply great."

As Bludgeonhead spoke these words Jimmieboy was startled to hear
something very much like an approaching footstep far down the road.

"Did you hear that?" he asked, seizing Bludgeonhead by the hand.

"Yes, I did," replied Bludgeonhead, in a whisper. "It sounded to me like
Fortyforefoot's step, too."

"I'd better hide, hadn't I?" said Jimmieboy.

"Yes," said Bludgeonhead. "Come here and be quick about it. Climb inside
my coat and snuggle down out of sight in my pocket. We musn't let him
see you yet awhile."

Jimmieboy did as he was commanded, and found the pocket a very
comfortable place, only it was a little stuffy.

"It's pretty hot in here," he whispered.

"Well, look up on the left hand corner of the outer side of the pocket
and you'll find two flaps that are buttoned up," replied Bludgeonhead,
softly. "Unbutton them. One will let in all the air you want, and the
other will enable you to peep out and see Fortyforefoot without his
seeing you."

In a minute the buttons were found and the flaps opened. Everything
happened as Bludgeonhead said it would, and in a minute Jimmieboy,
peering out through the hole in the cloak, saw Fortyforefoot

The owner of the beautiful valley seemed very angry when he caught sight
of Bludgeonhead sitting on his property, and hastening up to him, he

"What business have you here in the Valley of Fortyforefoot?"

Jimmieboy shrank back into one corner of the pocket, a little overcome
with fear. Fortyforefoot was larger and more terrible than he thought.

"I am not good at riddles," said Bludgeonhead, calmly. "That is at
riddles of that sort. If you had asked me the difference between a duck
and a garden rake I should have told you that a duck has no teeth and
can eat, while a rake has plenty of teeth and can't eat. But when you
ask me what business I have here I am forced to say that I can't say."

"You are a very bright sort of a giant," sneered Fortyforefoot.

"Yes," replied Bludgeonhead. "The fact is I can't help being bright. My
mother polishes me every morning with a damp chamois."

"Do you know to whom you are speaking?" asked Fortyforefoot,

"No; not having been introduced to you, I can't say I know you,"
returned Bludgeonhead. "But I think I can guess. You are Anklehigh, the

At this Fortyforefoot turned purple with rage.

"Anklehigh the Dwarf?" he roared. "I'll right quickly teach thee a
lesson thou rash fellow."

Fortyforefoot strode up close to Bludgeonhead, whose size he could not
have guessed because Bludgeonhead had been sitting down all this time
and was pretty well covered over by his cloak.


[Blank Page]

"I'll take thee by thine ear and toss thee to the moon," he cried,
reaching out his hand to make good his word.

"Nonsense, Anklehigh," returned Bludgeonhead, calmly. "Don't be foolish.
No dwarf can fight with a giant of my size."

"But I am not the dwarf Anklehigh," shrieked Fortyforefoot. "I am

"And I am Bludgeonhead," returned the other, rising and towering way
above the owner of the valley.

"Mercy sakes!" cried Fortyforefoot, falling on his knees in abject
terror. "He'd make six of me! Pardon, O, Bludgeonhead. I did not know
you when I was so hasty as to offer to throw you to the moon. I thought
you were--er--that you were--er----"

"More easily thrown," suggested Bludgeonhead.

"Yes--yes--that was it," stammered Fortyforefoot. "And now, to show that
you have forgiven me, I want you to come to my castle and have dinner
with me."

"I'll be very glad to," replied Bludgeonhead. "What are you going to
have for dinner?"

"Anything you wish," said Fortyforefoot. "I was going to have a very
plain dinner to-night because for to-morrow's dinner I have invited my
brother Fortythreefoot and his wife Fortytwoinch to have a little
special dish I have been so fortunate as to secure."

"Ah?" said Bludgeonhead. "And what is that dish, pray?"

"Oh, only a sniveling creature I caught in one of my traps this
afternoon. He was a soldier, and he wasn't very brave about being
caught, but I judge from looking at him that he will make good eating,"
said Fortyforefoot. "I couldn't gather from him who he was. He had on a
military uniform, but he behaved less like a warrior than ever I
supposed a man could. It seems from his story that he was engaged upon
some secret mission, and on his way back to his army, he stumbled over
and into one of my game traps where I found him. He begged me to let him
go, but that was out of the question. I haven't had a soldier to eat for
four years, so I took him to the castle, had him locked up in the
ice-box, and to-morrow we shall eat him."

"Did he tell you his name?" asked Bludgeonhead, thoughtfully.

"He tried to but didn't succeed. He told me so many names that I didn't
believe he really owned any of them," said Fortyforefoot. "All I could
really learn about him was that he was as brave as a lion, and that if I
would spare him he would write me a poem a mile long every day of my

"Very attractive offer, that," said Bludgeonhead, with a smile.

"Yes; but I couldn't do it. I wouldn't miss eating him for anything,"
replied Fortyforefoot, smacking his lips, hungrily. "I'd give anything
anybody'd ask, too, if I could find another as good."

"Would you, honestly?" asked Bludgeonhead. "Well, now, I thought you
would, and that is really what I have come here for. I have in my pocket
here a real live general that I have captured. Now between you and me, I
don't eat generals. I don't care for them--they fight so. I prefer
preserved cherries and pickled peaches and--er--strawberry jam and
powdered sugar and almonds, and other things like that, you know, and it
occurred to me that if I let you have the general you would supply me
with what I needed of the others."

"You have come to the right place, Bludgeonhead," said Fortyforefoot,
eagerly. "I'll give you a million cans of jam, all the pickled peaches
and other things you can carry if this general you speak about is a fine

"Well, here he is," said Bludgeonhead, hauling Jimmieboy out of his
pocket--whispering to Jimmieboy at the same time not to be afraid
because he wouldn't let anything happen to him, and so of course
Jimmieboy felt perfectly safe, though a little excited.

"Beautiful!" cried Fortyforefoot. "Superb! Got any more?"

"No," answered Bludgeonhead, putting Jimmieboy back into his pocket
again. "If I ever do find another, though, you shall have him."

This of course put Fortyforefoot in a tremendously good humor, and
before an hour had passed he had not only transformed pebbles and twigs
and leaves of trees and other small things into the provisions that the
tin soldiers needed, but he had also furnished horses and wagons enough
to carry them back to headquarters, and then Fortyforefoot accompanied
by Bludgeonhead entered the castle, where the proprietor demanded that
Jimmieboy should be given up to him.

Bludgeonhead handed him over at once, and ten minutes later Jimmieboy
found himself locked up in the pantry.

Hardly had he time to think over the strange events of the afternoon
when he heard a noise in the ice-box over in one corner of the pantry,
and on going there to see what was the cause of it he heard a familiar
voice repeating over and over again these mournful lines:

    "From Giant number one I ran--
       But O the sequel dire!
     I truly left a frying-pan
       And jumped into a fire."

"Hullo in there," whispered Jimmieboy. "Who are you?"

"The bravest man of my time," replied the voice in the ice-box. "Major
Mortimer Carraway Blueface of the 'Jimmieboy Guards.'"

"Oh, I am so glad to find you again," cried Jimmieboy, throwing open the
ice-box door. "I thought it was you the minute I heard your poetry."

"Ah!" said the major, with a sad smile. "You recognized the beauty of
the poem?"

"Not exactly," said Jimmieboy. "But you said you were in the fire when I
knew you were in the ice-box, and so of course----"

"Of course," said the major, with a frown. "You remembered that when I
say one thing I mean another. Well, I'm glad to see you again, but why
did you desert me so cruelly?"



For a moment Jimmieboy could say nothing, so surprised was he at the
major's question. Then he simply repeated it, his amazement very evident
in the tone of his voice.

"Why did we desert you so cruelly?"

"Yes," returned the major. "I'd like to know. When two of my companions
in arms leave me, the way you and old Spriteyboy did, I think you ought
to make some explanation. It was mean and cruel."

"But we didn't desert you," said Jimmieboy. "No such idea ever entered
our minds. It was you who deserted us."

"I?" roared the major fiercely.

"Certainly," said Jimmieboy calmly. "You. The minute Spritey turned into
Bludgeonhead you ran away just about as fast as your tin legs could
carry you--frightened to death evidently."

"Jimmieboy," said the major, his voice husky with emotion, "any other
person than yourself would have had to fight a duel with me for casting
such a doubt as you have just cast upon my courage. The idea of me, of
I, of myself, Major Mortimer Carraway Blueface, the hero of a hundred
and eighty-seven real sham fights, the most poetic as well as the
handsomest man in the 'Jimmieboy Guards' being accused of running away!
Oh! It is simply dreadful!

    "I've been accused of dreadful things,
     Of wearing copper finger-rings,
     Of eating green peas with a spoon,
     Of wishing that I owned the moon,
     Of telling things that weren't the truth,
     Of having cut no wisdom tooth,
     In times of war of stealing buns,
     And fainting at the sound of guns,
     Yet never dreamed I'd see the day
     When it was thought I'd run away.
     That this should ever come to pass!
     It knocks me flat upon my back.
     It fills me full of sore dismay.

"Are you going to keep that up forever?" asked Jimmieboy. "If you are
I'm going to get out. I've heard stupid poetry in this campaign, but
that's the worst yet."

"I only wanted to show you what I could do in the way of a lamentation,"
said the major. "If you've had enough I'll stop of course; but tell me,"
he added, sitting down upon a cake of ice, and crossing his legs, "how
on earth did you ever get hold of the ridiculous notion that I ran away

"How?" ejaculated Jimmieboy. "What else was there to think? The minute
the sprite was changed into Bludgeonhead I turned to speak to you, and
all I could see of you was your coat-tails disappearing around the
corner way down the road."

"And just because my coat-tails behaved like that you put me down as a
coward?" groaned the major.

"Didn't you run away?" Jimmieboy asked.

"Of course not," replied the major. "That is, not exactly. I hurried
off; but not because I was afraid. I was simply going down the road to
see if I couldn't find a looking-glass so that Spriteyboy could see how
he looked as a giant."

Jimmieboy laughed.

"That's a magnificent excuse," he said.

"I thought you'd think it was," said the major, with a pleased smile.
"And when I finally found that there weren't any mirrors to be had
along the road I went back, and you two had gone and left me."

"And what did you do then?" asked Jimmieboy.

"I wrote a poem on sleep. It's a great thing, sleep is, and I wrote the
lines off in two tenths of a fifth of a second. As I remember it, this
is the way they went:


     Deserted by my friends I sit,
       And silently I weep,
     Until I'm wearied so by it,
     I lose my little store of wit;
       I nod and fall asleep.

     Then in my dreams my friends I spy--
       Once more are they my own.
     I cease to murmur and to cry,
     For then 'tis sure to be that I
       Forget I am alone.

     'Tis hence I think that sleep's the best
       Of friends that man has got--
      Not only does it bring him rest
     But makes him feel that he is blest
       With blessings he has not."

"Why didn't you go to sleep if you felt that way?" said Jimmieboy.

"I wanted to find you and I hadn't time. There was only time for me to
scratch that poem off on my mind and start to find you and Bludgeyboy,"
replied the major.

"His name isn't Bludgeyboy," said Jimmieboy, with a smile. "It's

"Oh, yes, I forgot," said the major. "It's a good name, too,
Bludgeonpate is."

"How did you come to be captured by Fortyforefoot?" asked Jimmieboy,
after he had decided not to try to correct the major any more as to
Bludgeonhead's name.

"There you go again!" cried the major, angrily. "The idea of a miserable
ogre like Fortyforefoot capturing me, the most sagacitacious soldier of
modern times. I suppose you think I fell into one of his game traps?"

"That's what he said," said Jimmieboy. "He said you acted in a very
curious way, too--promised him all sorts of things if he'd let you go."

"That's just like those big, bragging giants," said the major. "The
idea! why he didn't capture me at all. I came here of my own free will
and accord."

"What? Down here into this pantry and into the ice-chest? Oh, come now,
major. You can't fool me," said Jimmieboy. "That's nonsense. Why should
you want to come here?"

"To meet you, of course," retorted the major. "That's why. I knew it
was part of your scheme to come here. You and I were to be put into the
pantry and then old Bludgeyhat was to come and rescue us. I was the one
to make the scheme, wasn't I?"

"No. It was Bludgeonhead," said Jimmieboy, who didn't know whether to
believe the major or not.

"That's just the way," said the major, indignantly, "he gets all the
credit just because he's big and I don't get any, and yet if you knew of
all the wild animals I've killed to get here to you, how I met
Fortyforefoot and bound him hand and foot and refused to let him go
unless he would permit me to spend a week in his ice-chest, for the sole
and only purpose that I wished to meet you again, you'd change your mind
mighty quick about me."

"You bound Fortyforefoot? A little two-inch fellow like you?" said

"Why not?" asked the major. "Did you ever see me in a real sham battle?"

"No, I never did," said Jimmieboy.

"Well, you'd better never," returned the major, "unless you want to be
frightened out of your wits. I have been called the living telescope,
sir, because when I begin to fight, in the fiercest manner possible, I
sort of lengthen out and sprout up into the air until I am taller than
any foe within my reach."

"Really?" queried Jimmieboy, with a puzzled air about him.

"Do you doubt it?" asked the major.

"Well, I should like to see it once," said Jimmieboy. "Then I might
believe it."

"Then you will never believe it," returned the major, "because you will
never see it. I never fight in the presence of others, sir."

As the major spoke these words a heavy footstep was heard on the stairs.

"What is that?" cried the major, springing to his feet.

    "I do not ask you for your gold,
       Nor for an old straw hat--
     I simply ask that I be told
       Oh what, oh what is that?"

"It is a footstep on the stairs," said Jimmieboy.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" moaned the major "If it is Fortyforefoot all is
over for us. This is what I feared.

    "I was afraid he could not wait,
       The miserable sinner,
     To serve me up in proper state
       At his to-morrow's dinner.

     Alas, he comes I greatly fear
       In search of Major Me, sir,
     And that he'll wash me down with beer
       This very night at tea, sir."

"Oh, why did I come here--why----"

"I shall!" roared a voice out in the passage-way.

"You shall not," roared another voice, which Jimmieboy was delighted to
recognize as Bludgeonhead's.

"I am hungry," said the first voice, "and what is mine is my own to do
with as I please. I shall eat both of them at once. Stand aside!"

"I will toss you into the air, my dear Fortyforefoot," returned
Bludgeonhead's voice, "if you advance another step; and with such force,
sir, that you will never come down again."

"Tut, tut! I am not so easily tossed. Stand aside," roared the voice of

The two prisoners in the pantry heard a tremendous scuffling, a crash,
and a loud laugh.

Then Bludgeonhead's voice was heard again.

"Good-by, Fortyforefoot," it cried.

"I hope he is not going to leave us," whispered Jimmieboy, but the major
was too frightened to speak, and he trembled so that half a dozen times
he fell off the ice-cake that he had been sitting on.

"Give my love to the moon when you pass her, and when you get up into
the milky way turn half a million of the stars there into baked apples
and throw 'em down to me," called Bludgeonhead's voice.

"If you'll only lasso me and pull me back I'll do anything you want me
to," came the voice of Fortyforefoot from some tremendous height, it
seemed to Jimmieboy.

"Not if I know it," replied Bludgeonhead, with a laugh. "I think I'd
like to settle down here myself as the owner of Fortyforefoot Valley.

Whatever answer was made to this it was too indistinct for Jimmieboy to
hear, and in a minute the key of the pantry door was turned, the door
thrown open, and Bludgeonhead stood before them.

"You are free," he said, grasping Jimmieboy's hand and squeezing it
affectionately. "But I had to get rid of him. It was the only way to do
it. He wanted to eat you right away."

"And did you really throw him off into the air?" asked Jimmieboy, as he
walked out into the hall.

"Yes," said Bludgeonhead. "See that hole in the roof?" he added,
pointing upward.

"My!" ejaculated Jimmieboy, as he glanced upward and saw a huge rent in
the ceiling, through which, gradually rising and getting smaller and
smaller the further he rose, was to be seen the unfortunate
Fortyforefoot. "Did he go through there?"

"Yes," replied Bludgeonhead. "I simply picked him up and tossed him over
my head. He'll never come back. I shall turn myself into Fortyforefoot
and settle down here forever, only instead of being a bad giant I shall
be a good one--but hallo! Who is this?"

The major had crawled out of the ice-chest and was now trying to appear
calm, although his terrible fright still left him trembling so that he
could hardly speak.

"It is Major Blueface," said Jimmieboy, with a smile.

"Oh!" cried Bludgeonhead. "He was Fortyforefoot's other prisoner."

"N--nun--not at--t--at--at all," stammered the major. "I
def--fuf--feated him in sus--single combat."

"But what are you trembling so for now?" demanded Bludgeonhead.

"I--I am--m not tut--trembling," retorted the major. "I--I am o--only
sh--shivering with--th--the--c--c--c--cold. I--I--I've bub--been in
th--that i--i--i--ice bu--box sus--so long."

Jimmieboy and Bludgeonhead roared with laughter at this. Then giving the
major a warm coat to put on they sent him up stairs to lie down and
recover his nerves.

After the major had been attended to, Bludgeonhead changed himself back
into the sprite again, and he and Jimmieboy sauntered in and out among
the gardens for an hour or more and were about returning to the castle
for supper when they heard sounds of music. There was evidently a brass
band coming up the road. In an instant they hid themselves behind a
tree, from which place of concealment they were delighted two or three
minutes later to perceive that the band was none other than that of the
"Jimmieboy Guards," and that behind it, in splendid military form,
appeared Colonel Zinc followed by the tin soldiers themselves.

"Hurrah!" cried Jimmieboy, throwing his cap into the air.

"Ditto!" roared the sprite.

"The same!" shrieked the colonel, waving his sword with delight, and
commanding his regiment to halt, as he caught sight of Jimmieboy.


[Blank Page]

"Us likewise!" cheered the soldiers: following which came a trembling
voice from one of the castle windows which said:

    "I also wish to add my cheer
       Upon this happy day;
     And if you'll kindly come up here
       You'll hear me cry 'Hooray.'"

"It's Major Blueface's voice!" cried the colonel. "Is the major ill?"

"No," said the sprite, motioning to Jimmieboy not to betray the major.
"Only a little worn-out by the fight we have had with Fortyforefoot."

"With Fortyforefoot?" echoed the colonel.

"Yes," said the sprite, modestly. "We three have got rid of him at

"Then the victory is won!" cried the colonel. "Do you know who
Fortyforefoot really was?"

"No; who?" asked Jimmieboy, his curiosity aroused.

"The Parallelopipedon himself," said the colonel. "We found that out
last night, and fearing that he might have captured our general and our
major we came here to besiege him in his castle and rescue our

"But I don't see how Fortyforefoot could have been the
Parallelopipedon," said Jimmieboy. "What would he want to be him for,
when, all he had to do to get anything he wanted was to take sand and
turn it into it?"

"Ah, but don't you see," explained the colonel, "there was one thing he
never could do as Fortyforefoot. The law prevented him from leaving this
valley here in any other form than that of the Parallelopipedon. He
didn't mind his confinement to the valley very much at first, but after
a while he began to feel cooped up here, and then he took an old packing
box and made it look as much like a living Parallelopipedon as he could.
Then he got into it whenever he wanted to roam about the world. Probably
if you will search the castle you will find the cast-off shell he used
to wear, and if you do I hope you will destroy it, because it is said to
be a most horrible spectacle--frightening animals to death and causing
every flower within a mile to wither and shrink up at the mere sight of

"It's all true, Jimmieboy," said the sprite. "I knew it all along. Why,
he only gave us those cherries and peaches there in exchange for
yourself because he expected to get them all back again, you know."

"It was a glorious victory," said the colonel. "I will now announce it
to the soldiers."

This he did and the soldiers were wild with joy when they heard the
news, and the band played a hymn of victory in which the soldiers
joined, singing so vigorously that they nearly cracked their voices.
When they had quite finished the colonel said he guessed it was time to
return to the barracks in the nursery.

"Not before the feast," said the sprite. "We have here all the
provisions the general set out to get, and before you return home,
colonel, you and your men should divide them among you."

So the table was spread and all went happily. In the midst of the feast
the major appeared, determination written upon every line of his face.
The soldiers cheered him loudly as he walked down the length of the
table, which he acknowledged as gracefully as he could with a stiff bow,
and then he spoke:

"Gentlemen," he said, "I have always been a good deal of a favorite with
you, and I know that what I am about to do will fill you with deep
grief. I am going to stop being a man of war. The tremendous victory we
have won to-day is the result entirely of the efforts of myself, General
Jimmieboy and Major Sprite--for to the latter I now give the title I
have borne so honorably for so many years. Our present victory is one of
such brilliantly brilliant brilliance that I feel that I may now retire
with lustre enough attached to my name to last for millions and millions
of years. I need rest, and here I shall take it, in this beautiful
valley, which by virtue of our victory belongs wholly and in equal parts
to General Jimmieboy, Major Sprite and myself. Hereafter I shall be
known only as Mortimer Carraway Blueface, Poet Laureate of Fortyforefoot
Hall, Fortyforefoot Valley, Pictureland. As Governor-General of the
country we have decided to appoint our illustrious friend, Major
Benjamin Bludgeonhead Sprite. General Jimmieboy will remain commander of
the forces, and the rest of you may divide amongst yourselves, as a
reward for your gallant services, all the provisions that may now be
left upon this table. It is all yours. I demand but one condition. That
is that you do not take the table. It is of solid mahogany and must be
worth a very considerable sum.

    Now let the saddest word be said,
    Now bend in sorrow deep the head.
    Let tears flow forth and drench the dell:
    Farewell, brave soldier boys, farewell."

Here the major wiped his eyes sadly and sat down by the sprite who shook
his hand kindly and thanked him for giving him his title of major.

"We'll have fine times living here together," said the sprite.

"Well, rather!" ejaculated the major. "I'm going to see if I can't have
myself made over again, too, Spritey. I'll be pleasanter for you to look
at. What's the use of being a tin soldier in a place where even the
cobblestones are of gold and silver."

"You can be plated any how," said Jimmieboy.

"Yes, and maybe I can have a platinum sword put in, and a real solid
gold head--but just at present that isn't what I want," said the major.
"What I am after now is a piece of birthday cake with real fruit raisins
in it and strips of citron two inches long, the whole concealed beneath
a one inch frosting. Is there any?"



"I don't think we have any here," said Jimmieboy, who was much pleased
to see the sprite and the major, both of whom he dearly loved, on such
good terms. "But I'll run home and see if I can get some."

"Well, we'll all go with you," said the colonel, starting up and
ordering the trumpeters to sound the call to arms.

"All except Blueface and myself," said the sprite. "We will stay here
and put everything in readiness for your return."

"That is a good idea," said Jimmieboy. "And you'll have to hurry for we
shall be back very soon."

This, as it turned out, was a very rash promise for Jimmieboy to make,
for after he and the tin soldiers had got the birthday cake and were
ready to enter Pictureland once more, they found that not one of them
could do it, the frame was so high up and the picture itself so hard
and impenetrable. Jimmieboy felt so badly to be unable to return to his
friends, that, following the major's hint about sleep bringing
forgetfulness of trouble, he threw himself down on the nursery couch,
and closing his brimming eyes dozed off into a dreamless sleep.

It was quite dark when he opened them again and found himself still on
the couch with a piece of his papa's birthday cake in his hand, his
sorrows all gone and contentment in their place. His papa was sitting at
his side, and his mamma was standing over by the window smiling.

"You've had a good long nap, Jimmieboy," said she, "and I rather think,
from several things I've heard you say in your sleep, you've been
dreaming about your tin soldiers."

"I don't believe it was a dream, mamma," he said, "it was all too real."
And then he told his papa all that had happened.

"Well, it is very singular," said his papa, when Jimmieboy had finished,
"and if you want to believe it all happened you may; but you say all the
soldiers came back with you except Major Blueface?"

"Yes, every one," said Jimmieboy.

"Then we can tell whether it was true or not by looking in the tin
soldier's box. If the major isn't there he may be up in Fortyforefoot
castle as you say."

Jimmieboy climbed eagerly down from the couch and rushing to the toy
closet got out the box of soldiers and searched it from top to bottom.
The major was not to be seen anywhere, nor to this day has Jimmieboy
ever again set eyes upon him.


Transcriber's Note:

The use of capitalisation for major and general has been retained as
appears in the original publication. Punctuation has been standardised.
Changes have been made as follows:

    Page 60
    ejaculated the Paralleopipedon _changed to_
    ejaculated the Parallelopipedon?

    Page 74
    should have been resusticated _changed to_
    should have been resusitated

    Page 85
     he would pay him fifty cent _changed to_
     he would pay him fifty cents

    Page 131
    For intance, a cousin of mine _changed to_
    For instance, a cousin of mine

    Page 159
    to do but accept your propostion _changed to_
    to do but accept your proposition

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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.