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´╗┐Title: Captain Salt in Oz
Author: Thompson, Ruth Plumly, Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank)
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 "Captain Salt in Oz" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                             CAPTAIN SALT
                                 IN OZ

                                 _By_

                         RUTH PLUMLY THOMPSON
            Founded on and continuing the Famous Oz Stories

                                 _By_
                             L. FRANK BAUM
                        "Royal Historian of Oz"

                           _Illustrated by_
                             JOHN R. NEILL

                         The Reilly & Lee Co.
                                CHICAGO

                            Copyright, 1936
                                  by
                         THE REILLY & LEE CO.
                          All rights reserved

                         Printed in the U.S.A.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dear Boys and Girls:

    Another year--
    Another book,
    And this time a voyage
    That Sam Salt took
    In that good old Ship,
    The _Crescent Moon_--
    Steering by compass,
    By star and moon,
    To discover new countries
    For OZ. Hear! Hear!
    He's discovered a whole
    New Hemisphere!
    Three cheers for Sam,
    And his jolly crew,
    And three for OZ
    And three for YOU,
    And three for me,
    Though I don't need cheer
    'Cause the letters you write
    Keep me gay ALL year!

So keep writing to me about Oz and everything, will you? And remember
to put your full name and complete address on the letter. Righto!

And Best till I hear from you!

RUTH PLUMLY THOMPSON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
                    WITH MY BEST BOW AND TOP WISHES
                           TO MY PUBLISHER.

                       --_Ruth Plumly Thompson_

       *       *       *       *       *



                           LIST OF CHAPTERS

       1 SAIL HO!

       2 ANCHORS AWEIGH

       3 THE FIRE BABY

       4 SAMUEL'S FIRST SPECIMEN

       5 PATRIPPANY ISLAND

       6 A LITTLE WILD MAN

       7 STRANGE SPECIMENS FOR SAMUEL SALT

       8 MAXIMS FOR MONARCHS

       9 SEA LEGS FOR TANDY

      10 THE CITY OF BRIDGES

      11 THE PRINCE OF THE PEAKS

      12 FOG

      13 THE SEA FOREST

      14 THE SEA UNICORN!

      15 THE COLLECTOR IS COLLECTED

      16 THE STORM!

      17 THE OLD MAN OF THE JUNGLE!

      18 A NEW COUNTRY

      19 BOGLODORE'S REVENGE

      20 KING TANDY

      21 A VOYAGE RESUMED



CHAPTER 1

Sail Ho!


Eight miles east of Pingaree lies the eight-sided island of King
Ato the Eighth. While not so large as Pingaree, the Octagon Isle is
nevertheless one of the tidiest and most pleasing of the sea realms
that dot the great green rolling expanses of the Nonestic Ocean. And
Ato himself is as pleasing as his island, enormously fat and jolly with
a kind word for everyone.

In his eight-sided castle, he has every modern convenience and comfort
and some of which even an up-to-date country like our own cannot boast.
For instance, take Roger, his Royal Read Bird. Roger, besides knowing
eight languages, can read aloud for hours at a time without growing
hoarse or weary. So Ato never has to strain his eyes poring over his
eight hundred huge volumes of adventure and history, nor his arms
holding a newspaper or court document, nor his jaw pronouncing the
names of kings and countries in Ev and Oz and other curious places on
the mainland west of his own island. And Roger is as handsome as he
is handy, his head and bill rather like a duck's, his body shaped and
colored like a parrot, but much larger, while his tail opens out into
an enormous fan. This is extremely fortunate, for the Octagon Isle
is semi-tropical in climate, and on warm sultry days, Roger not only
reads to his Majesty, but fans him as well. All in all, Ato's life is
decidedly luxurious and lazy.

Sixentwo, Chief Chancellor of the realm, and Four'nfour, its treasurer,
attend to all the business of governing, so that Ato and Roger have
little to do but enjoy themselves. The Octagon Islanders, one hundred
and eighty in number, are a sober and industrious lot, rarely giving
any trouble.

Once, it is true, they sailed off and deserted the King entirely, but
Ato, with Peter, a Philadelphia boy, and Samuel Salt, a pirate, who
landed on the Island at just the right moment, immediately set out
after them, using the pirate's stout ship the _Crescent Moon_, for the
purpose.

By a strange coincidence, Samuel Salt's men had also mutinied and
sailed away, so that there were two sets of deserters to seek out
and discover. After a dangerous and lively voyage, the _Crescent
Moon_ reached the rocky shores of Menankypoo on the Mainland. Here
they learned that the Octagon Islanders and Samuel Salt's men had
been enslaved by Ruggedo, the former Gnome King, and marched off to
conquer the Emerald City of Oz. How Peter and the Pirate, Ato and a
poetical Pig outwitted the Gnome King is a long and other story. You
have probably read it yourself. But ever since their hair-raising
experiences with Ruggedo, and their rescue by Ato, the Octagon
Islanders have been perfectly satisfied with their own ruler and
country. In fact, they were so docile and devoted, so fearfully anxious
to please, Ato often wished they would revolt or sass him a little just
to relieve the monotony and make life more interesting.

To tell the truth, after serving as cook, mate and able-bodied seaman
on the _Crescent Moon_, Ato found it quite boring to settle down to
a humdrum life of a monarch ashore. Roger, too, missed the gay and
carefree life he had led as a pirate and could not even pretend an
interest in the books of adventure he still dutifully read to his
Master. He and Ato now spent most of their time on the edge of the
Island--the King in a comfortable hammock swung between two palm
trees, Roger on a tall golden perch set close beside him. Whenever the
Read Bird paused to yawn or turn a page, Ato would pull himself up to
a sitting position, raise the telescope he always had with him and
gaze long and wistfully out to sea. Many ships passed Ato's Island,
but never a one in the least resembling the splendid three-masted fast
sailing ship belonging to the Pirate.

"You'll give yourself a fine squint there," warned Roger one morning,
as Ato for about the hundredth time raised his spy glass. "And what is
the use of it, pray?" inquired Roger grumpily, ruffling the pages of
the Book of Barons. "Samuel Salt has probably forgotten all about us
and gone off by himself on a voyage of discovery."

"No! No! Sammy wouldn't do that," said the King, shaking his head
positively. "He promised to stop by for us on the very first voyage he
made as Royal Discoverer of Oz."

"Ho, one of those seafaring promises!" muttered Roger. "A pirate's
promise. Humph! His new honors have gone to his head. Quite a jump from
pirating to exploring. I'll wager a wing he's gone back to buccaneering
and forgotten us altogether!"

"Now, Roger, how can you say that?" Heaving up his huge bulk with
great difficulty, Ato looked reproachfully at his Royal Read Bird.
"Sammy never cared for pirating in the first place," wheezed the King
earnestly, "and he was so soft-hearted about planking the captives and
burning the ships, his band sailed off and left him. They only made him
Captain because he was clever at navigating, and you know perfectly
well he spent more time looking for flora and fauna than for ships and
treasure."

"Ah, then I suppose some wild Flora or Fauna has him in its clutches,"
observed Roger sarcastically, "and a likely thing that is, seeing the
poor Captain weighs but two hundred and twenty pounds and stands six
feet in his socks."

"What a tremendous fellow he was," sighed Ato, sinking dreamily back in
his hammock and half closing his eyes. "I'll never forget how high and
handsome he looked when Queen Ozma asked him to give up buccaneering,
and serve her instead as Royal Discoverer and Explorer for Oz! And
a fitting reward it was, too, for capturing Ruggedo and saving the
Kingdom. Aha, my lad, THAT was a day! And we had our share of glory,
too! Remember how they cheered us in the Emerald City of Oz?"

"Aye, I remember THAT day and a good many other days since," sniffed
the Read Bird disagreeably. "Six months from that day Samuel Salt was
to sail into our Harbor. Well, King--it's been six times six months,
and nary a sail nor a sign of him have we seen."

"That long?" said Ato, blinking unhappily.

"That long and longer. Three years, eleven months, twenty-six days and
twelve hours, to be exact!"

"Dear, dear and dear! Then something's happened to him," murmured
Ato. "He's either been shipwrecked, captured or enchanted! I'll never
believe Sammy would forget us or break his promise. Never!"

"Well, whatever you believe, the results are the same." Flapping open
his book, Roger prepared to go on with his reading. "And depend upon
it," he insisted stubbornly, "we'll never see Samuel Salt again, so
you may as well put up your telescope and put your mind on something
else for a change. Maybe it's your cooking that's keeping him away,"
finished the Read Bird, who felt cross and fractious and contrary as a
goat.

"My cooking?" roared Ato, roused to honest anger at last. "I've a
notion to have you plucked and roasted for that. My cooking, indeed!
Show me the fellow who can beat up an omelette, a cake, a batch of
biscuits, faster than I; who can brown a fowl, broil a steak or toss
out a pan of fried potatoes to compare with mine. I--I, why, I'm
surprised at you, Roger!"

Roger, ruffling his feathers uncomfortably, was rather surprised at
himself, for the King was speaking the exact truth; a more skillful man
with a skillet it would be impossible to find in any kingdom. Ever
since his voyage on the _Crescent Moon_, cooking had been Ato's chief
pleasure and pastime. The castle chef, though he heartily disapproved
of a King in the kitchen, could do nothing to discourage him, so
finally stood by in grudging envy and admiration as Ato turned out his
delectable puddings, pies, roasts and sauces.

Muttering with hurt pride and indignation, his Majesty continued to
frown at the Read Bird, and realizing he had gone too far, Roger
started to read as fast as he could from the Book of Barons. As he read
on, he could see the King growing calmer and finally, pausing to turn a
page, he let his gaze rove idly over the harbor.

"Anchors and animal crackers! What was that?" Stretching up his neck,
Roger took another look, then, flinging the Book of Barons high into
the air, he spread his wings and started out to sea.

Soothed by the droning voice of the Read Bird, Ato had closed his
eyes and the first warning he had of Roger's departure was a terrific
thump as the Book of Barons landed on his stomach. Leaping out of the
hammock as if he had been shot, the outraged Monarch looked furiously
around for his Read Bird. This really was too much. Not satisfied with
insulting him, Roger must now be bombarding him with books, cocoanuts
and what not.

Shading his eyes with his hand, Ato glared up and down the beach and
finally out over the rippling blue ocean. At what he saw there, the
King forgot his anger as completely as Roger had forgotten his manners.
For, swinging jauntily into the Octagon Harbor was the _Crescent Moon_
herself! No mistaking the high-prowed, deep-waisted, powerful craft of
the Pirate. But a new and gayer pennant fluttered from the mizzenmast
today. Instead of the skull and bones, Samuel was flying the green and
white banner of Oz, as befitted the Royal Discoverer and Explorer of
the most famous Fairyland in History.

"He's here! He's come!" shouted Ato, running wildly up and down.
"Samuel! SAM-U-EL!" In his delight and excitement the King forgot the
Royal dock and began wading out into the bay. Peering around his
wheel, Sammy saw him coming and broke into a loud cheerful greeting.

"Hi, King! Ho, King! How are you, you son of a Lubber! Wait till I
ease her in and I'll be ashore quicker than quick." Roger had already
reached the _Crescent Moon_ and, perched on the Captain's shoulder, was
chattering away at such a rate Samuel could hardly keep his mind on his
steering. But he was an old hand at such matters, and before Ato had
half recovered from the shock of seeing him, the shining three-masted
vessel was made fast, and its Master striding exuberantly up the wet
planks of the royal dock.

"Ahoy! Ahoy!" he boomed boisterously. "What a day for a voyage! Is it
really my old cook and shipmate?"

"None other!" puffed Ato, seizing both of the former pirate's hands.
"But what have you done to yourself, Sam-u-el? Where's your sash and
scimiter? And what's that on your head, may I ask? You don't look
natural or seaman-like at all."

"Oh, don't mind these," grinned the Pirate, touching his three-cornered
hat and satin coat apologetically. "These are my shore togs for
impressing the natives. Can't look like pirates when we go ashore this
voyage, Mates. We're explorers and fine gentlemen now, and when we set
the flag of Oz on lofty mountains and rocky isles, when we bring savage
tribes and strange races under the beneficent rule of Ozma of Oz, we
must look like Conquerors. Eh, my lads?"

"Yes--I sup-pose--so!" puffed the King, skipping clumsily to keep up
with the long strides of Captain Salt. "But I'm sorry this is going to
be a dressy affair, Sammy. How'm I to cook in a cocked hat and lace
collar and swab down the deck in velvet pants?"

"Ho, ho! You'll not have to," exploded the Pirate, giving the tail
feathers of the Read Bird a sly tweak. "On shipboard we'll dress as we
please, for the sea is MY country and free as the wind and sun."

"Well, well, I'm glad to hear you say that. Have you still got my old
pirate suit and blunderbuss aboard?" inquired the King anxiously.

"Certain for sure, and a couple of new ones, and WAIT till you see your
galley all fitted out with copper pots, and provisions enough below
to carry us anywhere and back. Wait till you cast your eyes on 'em,
Lubber!"

"Don't you call ME a Lubber!" chuckled Ato, giving Samuel a hearty poke
in the ribs. "I'm as able-bodied a seaman as you, Sammy, and you know
it."

"SIR Samuel, if you please!" roared the former Pirate, striking himself
a great blow on the chest with his clenched fist. "Sir Samuel Salt,
Explorer and Discoverer Extraordinary to the Crown of Oz."

"So--oooh! You've been knighted?" breathed Roger, peering round into
the Captain's face,

    "Ho pass the salt and ring the bell
    And bend the knee to Sir Sam-u-el!"

"Sir Samuel Salt! Well, I'll be peppered!" gasped Ato, sinking down on
the lower step of the palace which they had reached by this time.
"Sir Samuel!"

"Yes, SIR!" boasted the Pirate, rubbing his hands together, "but come
on, step lively, boys; how long'll it take you to pack up and heave
your dunnage aboard? Mustn't keep a Knight of Oz waiting, you know!"

"Keep _you_ waiting?" Suddenly and determinedly, Ato rose to his feet
and shook his finger under Sammy's nose. "Keep YOU waiting? Why, we've
been ready and waiting for this voyage three years, eleven months,
twenty-six days and twelve hours. Where've you been, you great lazy son
of a sea-robber?"

"Four years?" choked the Pirate, falling back in real consternation and
dismay. "Never! It's never been four years, Mates. Why, I've scarcely
had time to sort out the shells and specimens we picked up on the last
voyage, and to fit out the _Crescent Moon_ for the next."

"Where have you been?" repeated Ato, wagging his finger sternly.

"Why, home on Elbow Island, of course. Where else should I have been?"
muttered Samuel, looking distinctly worried and crestfallen.

"Then have you no clocks or calendars in your cave?" demanded the King
accusingly. "And what would the _Crescent Moon_ be needing? I thought
she was about perfect as she was."

"Ah, but wait till you see her now!" exclaimed Samuel, cheering up
immediately at mention of his ship. "The _Crescent Moon_, besides a
new coat of paint, has self-hoisting sails and a mechanical steering
control in case we wish to take it easy occasionally. The Red Jinn
paid me a visit and presented us with these and several other magical
contrivances and improvements. I'm minded to make this voyage with no
crew but ourselves. It's cozier so, don't you think?"

"Yes, but am I still on bird watch and lookout duty?" demanded Roger
jealously.

"Aye, aye!" Samuel Salt assured him heartily.

"I suppose the Red Jinn has supplied you with a mechanical cook in my
place as well as a mechanical steering wheel," murmured Ato, tugging
uneasily at the cord round his waist.

"In your place!" thundered the Pirate. "Why, shiver my timbers, Mate!
Only over my prone and prostrate body shall another man enter my galley
to shuffle my rations, sugar my duff or salt my prog!"

"Hooray, then let's get going!" squealed Roger, bouncing up and down
on Sammy's shoulder. "I was only saying this very morning that you'd
never forget your old friends and shipmates or go on a voyage without
us!"

"Huh! So THAT'S what you were saying!" grunted Ato, looking fixedly at
the Read Bird. "Well, well, let it go. Come along then!"

"Yes, yes, and hurry," screamed Roger, spreading his wings to fly on
ahead.

"Sixentwo! Sevenanone! Where are you?" panted the King, plunging up the
steps after Roger two at a time. "Where is everybody? Pack a bag, a
chest, a couple of trunks. I'm going on a voyage of discovery!"

"And don't forget the cook book!" bawled Samuel Salt, bounding
exuberantly after the King.



CHAPTER 2

Anchors Aweigh!


With the help of eighteen serving men, eight courtiers, Sixentwo,
Sevenanone, and Samuel Salt, who was not above carrying a sea chest
or hamper, Ato began stowing his belongings on the _Crescent Moon_.
There was little court apparel or finery in the King's boxes. Most
of it consisted of bottles of flavoring extract, spiced sauces, cook
books, minced meats, fruits in jars for pies, numerous frying pans, egg
beaters, and rolling pins.

"Are we gypsies, pan handlers, peddlers or what?" panted Samuel Salt as
he dumped the last load breathlessly on the main deck. "Goosewing my
topsails, Mate, many's the fish we cleaned with a jackknife, and potato
we pared with a dagger on the last voyage. Mean to say an explorer
needs to use all these weapons on his pork and beans?"

Checking off a list as his stuff was placed in the galley, Ato nodded
determinedly, then winking good-humoredly at the perspiring Captain,
ducked into the cabin to don his old sea clothes. Samuel was not long
following suit and soon, in short red pants, open shirts and carelessly
tied head kerchiefs, the two went below to inspect the stores Samuel
had laid in for the voyage. Roger, having nothing to bring aboard but
a few books and a bottle of feather oil, was already perched in the
crosstrees of the fore topgallant mast looking longingly toward the
east and waiting impatiently for the ship to get under way. But the
booming voice of the Pirate soon drew him to the lower deck and from
there he swooped down an open hatchway to the hold.

This huge space, usually reserved by the pirates for captives and
treasure, had been neatly divided into two sections. In one were
the tinned, dried and salted meats, the groceries, vegetables and
extra supplies of rope, tar and sail. In the other section there were
numerous shelves, many iron cages, aquariums and sea chests.

"For any strange animals or wild natives we may encounter and wish to
bring home with us," explained Samuel Salt as Roger looked curiously at
the cages. "In those chests are the flags of Oz we shall plant here,
there and everywhere as we sail onward!"

"And to think a new and mighty Empire may grow from this flag
planting," mused Ato, opening one of the sea chests and thoughtfully
fingering one of Ozma's green and white silken banners. "But surely you
don't expect to plant all these, Samuel?"

"Why not?" demanded the Royal Discoverer of Oz with a wave of the
scimiter he had resumed with his old pirate pants. "The sea is broad
and wide and no one's to tell us when we may start or sail home again.
But look, Ato, my lad--these will interest you." Turning from the
chests, Samuel pointed to a stack of long poles lashed to the side of
the ship with leather thongs. "Stilts!" grinned the Pirate as Roger
and Ato stared at them in complete mystification. "Fine for keeping
the shins dry when we wade ashore and don't feel like lowering the
jolly boat. All my own idea." Samuel cleared his throat with pardonable
pride. "Of course, it takes a bit of practice, but we'll try 'em on the
first island we come to. Eh, boys?"

"Well, thank my lucky stars for wings!" breathed Roger after a long
disapproving look at Samuel's stilts. "Two steps and you'll smash
yourself to a jellyfish, Ato. Stick to the boats, men. That's MY
advice!"

"Too bad he has no confidence in us!" roared Samuel, giving Ato a
resounding slap on the back. "Just wait, my saucy bird, and we'll show
you how stilting is done. And now, gaze upon this corner I've set aside
for my specimens; for rare marine growths, for seaweed, for curious
mollusks and other crustacean denizens of the darkest deep."

Samuel coughed apologetically as he always did when he mentioned
his collecting mania, and Roger and Ato, exchanging an amused grin,
swung about to examine the long shelves with iron boxes clamped down
to prevent them from shifting with the motion of the vessel, huge
aquariums fitted into brass holders, and large trays bedded with dried
moss and sand for Samuel's collection of shells.

"You might even bring home a mermaid in this," murmured Ato, touching
the side of an enormous aquarium.

"No women!" snapped Samuel Salt, growing red in the face, for he did
not like to be teased about his specimen collecting. "I'll--I'll have
no women or mermaids switching their tails around my ship and turning
things topsy turvy."

"Right," agreed Ato, giving his belt a vigorous tug. "Then how about
shoving off, Sammy? Everything's shipshape, there's a good wind and
the best way to begin a voyage is to start."

"I'm for it!" roared the Captain, swinging hand over hand up the wooden
ladder. "All hands on deck! Up with your Master's flag, Roger. Cast off
the mooring lines, Ato, while I make sail and we'll be out of here in a
pig's jiffy."

"Aye! Aye!" croaked Roger, seizing the cord that would send Ato's
octagon banner flying to the masthead, directly under the flag of Oz.
"Goodbye, all you lubbers ashore! Goodbye Sevenanone. Mind you keep
the King's Crown polished and don't forget to feed the silver fish."

"GOODBYE!" called the one hundred and eighty Octagon Islanders drawn up
on the beach and dock to see his Majesty sail away. "A fine voyage to
your Highness!"

"And neglect not to return!" shouted Sixentwo, using his hands as a
megaphone. "You know there is a Crown Council eight days and eight
months from yesterday."

"Crown Council be jigged!" sniffed Ato, leaning far over the rail to
wave to his cheering subjects. "I'm a cook, an explorer--and a bold bad
seafaring man out to collect islands and jungles and jillycome-wiggles
for Samuel's shell box. Crown Council, indeed! Don't care if I never
see a castle again."

"Me neither!" squalled Roger, flying up to his post in the foremast.
"Seven bells and all's well! Buoy off the beam and no land in sight."

"Unless you look behind you," laughed Samuel, grabbing the wheel
with a practiced hand and squinting cheerfully up at the sun. "East
by southeast it'll be this voyage, Mates. There's ice in the North
Nonestic and I've a craving for tropical isles and the hidden rivers
of some deep and mysterious jungle!"

"Remember Snow Island?" smiled Ato, coming over to stand beside the
wheel.

"Shiver my shins! DO I? No more of that, me lads! But Ho! Isn't this
like old times?" Stretching up his arms exultingly, Samuel Salt let his
hands fall heavily on the wheel, and the great ship lifting with the
wind plunged her nose eagerly into the southeast swell.

"M--mmm! Like old times, except for the boy," agreed Ato slowly.

"Aye, and we'll surely miss Peter on this trip," sighed the Captain,
shaking his head regretfully. "Wonder where the little lubber is now?
That's the trouble with these real countries and peoples, there's no
getting at them when you need them most. Well, maybe we'll pick up
another hand somewhere to serve as cabin boy and keep us lively on the
voyage. But take a look at my sail controls, Ato. We can hoist, trim
and furl by just touching different buttons, nowadays; set this wheel
for any course and just let her ride."

"Splendid!" grunted Ato, rising reluctantly from a coil of rope. "But
since there are no buttons on my stove, I'd best be thinking about
dinner."

"Tar and tarpaulin, why didn't I have the Red Jinn fix you some?"
exclaimed the Pirate regretfully. "I'm sorry as a goat, Mate."

"Ho--I'm not," laughed Ato, waddling happily off toward his galley.
"That would have spoiled everything. What'll it be, Captain--a fried
sole, a broiled steak, or a roaring huge hot peppery meat pasty?"

"All of 'em!" yelled the Royal Explorer of Oz, exhaling his breath
in a mighty blast of anticipation. It seemed to Roger, high in the
foremast, that the ship gave an extra little skip at its Captain's
mighty roar, then settling easily into her usual graceful pace she ran
smoothly before the wind.



CHAPTER 3

The Fire Baby


Morning found the _Crescent Moon_ forging ahead with a stiff breeze, a
choppy sea and the last known island far behind her.

"Ahoy, and this is the life, Mates!" bellowed Samuel Salt, bracing his
legs against the pitch and roll of the vessel, and waving largely to
the ship's cook who sat on an overturned bucket mending his second best
sea shirt. "Anything can happen now!" Lovingly Samuel let his gaze rove
over the sparkling Nonestic, and Ato, squinting painfully as he pushed
his long needle in and out, nodded portentously.

"By the way, Sammy, what are your plans for this flag planting and
discovery business?" inquired the portly cook somewhat later. Having
finished his mending, he had dragged a canvas chair and a pot of
potatoes aft by the wheel. "Do you look for resistance and rebellion
when we start taking possession of this land and that land for the
crown of Oz?"

"No, no, nothing like that," mused Samuel, removing his pipe and
blowing a cloud of smoke into the rigging. "Everything's to be polite
and peaceable this voyage. No guns, knives or scimiters. Queen Ozma
particularly does not want any country taken by force or against its
will."

"And suppose they object to being taken at all?" said Ato, beginning to
pare a fat potato. "What then?"

"Well, then--er then--" Samuel rubbed his chin reflectively, "we'll try
persuasion, my lad. We'll explain all the advantages of coming under
the flag and protection of a powerful country like Oz. That ought to
get them, don't you think?"

"Yes, if they don't get us first," observed Ato, popping a potato
dubiously into the pot. "Suppose while we stand there waving flags and
persuading, some of these wild fellows have at us with spears, clubs
and poison arrows?"

"Well, that would be extremely unfortunate," admitted Samuel, glancing
soberly at the compass, "and in that case----"

"I hope you will remember you were once a pirate and act accordingly,"
Ato blew out his cheeks sternly as he spoke. "The one trouble with you,
Sammy, is that you take too long to get mad. So I shall go ashore armed
as usual with my kitchen knife and blunderbuss. I don't intend to be
sliced into sandwiches while you're talking through your three-cornered
hat, and waving flags at a lot of ignorant savages. And I'll have Roger
carry the books ashore too."

"Ho, ho!" roared the Captain of the _Crescent Moon_, giving his knee
a great slap. "Just like old times, Ato. Rough, bluff and relentless,
Mates, remember?"

"Aye, and I should say I do. And I remember Roger had to drop a good
many books on your head before you got mad enough to fight. What
makes you so calm and peaceable, Sammy? A big born fighting man like
yourself."

"Sea life, I reckon," answered the former Pirate, extending his brawny
arms in a huge yawn. "The sea's so much bigger than a man, Mate--it
rather makes him realize how small and unimportant he really is. But
don't fret, Cook dear, no one shall tread on your toes, this voyage.
But avast there--it grows warmer and the air smells a bit thunderish.
Had you noticed?"

"'Hoy, 'hoy! Deck ahoy!" bawled a shrill voice from above. "Island
astern." Both Samuel and Ato stared up in amazement, for Roger was
supposed to be resting in the cabin. But the Read Bird, after
snatching an hour's nap, had slipped out an open port and, unnoticed,
taken his position in the foremast. The Read Bird did not trust Ato,
who was supposed to be on watch. Besides, he wanted to be the first to
report a new island to the Captain.

"Looks like a mountain," mumbled Ato, setting down his potatoes and
waddling over to the rail. "Heave to, Skipper, here's our first
discovery."

"Now how in sixes did that get by me?" muttered Samuel Salt, hurrying
to shorten sail for the zigzag course, back and in, he would have to
take to reach the island at all.

It showed plainly enough now, a rugged gray and purple mass of rock,
with apparently no vegetation or dwellings of any kind. As the
_Crescent Moon_ drew nearer, the sea became smooth and oily, and the
air sulphurous and hot.

"Think likely this is an island we might well pass by," murmured Ato,
peering critically through his telescope. "Positively deserted so far
as I can see--but there might be valuable minerals in those rocks."

"Don't doubt it!" Samuel Salt curved himself all the way round the
wheel in his interest. Mechanical devices were well enough for the open
sea, but Samuel preferred to handle his own ship on occasions like
this. As there was no harbor or safe place to put in, he decided to
anchor off shore and land in the jolly boat. The anchor had just gone
clanking and rattling over the side when a horrid hiss and boom from
the center of the island made all hands look up in alarm.

"K-kkk cannons!" quavered Ato, dropping his bread knife with a clatter.
"Stand by to man the guns!"

But Samuel Salt, instead of heeding the cook's warning, began to sniff
the air. "Volcano, Mates," announced the Captain calmly. "And in that
case we may be a bit close for comfort. Still, I've always wanted
to observe a volcano in action. I've a theory there may be living
creatures in the center."

"Living creatures in the center!" raged Ato, tearing off his white
apron and dashing it on the deck. "How long will we be living if that
fire pot starts boiling? We mayn't be killed, being of magic birth, but
we can be jolly well singed, fried, boiled and melted. And after that
who'd care to be alive? Quick, Roger, heave in on that chain! Anchors
aweigh!"

While Samuel stood in rapt contemplation of the volcano, and Ato began
frantically winding up the anchor, a long tongue of flame leaped out
of the crater and a great jet of bubbling lava shot clear over the
_Crescent Moon_. This occurrence soon brought Samuel out of his revery,
and snapping into action and forgetting all about his mechanical
devices, he began working like a mad man to get the ship in motion,
tugging at the sheets, throwing his whole weight against the halyards,
till the ship with quivering sail sped away like a frightened bird, the
hot winds from the volcano whistling and rattling through her rigging.

"Where's Roger?" yelled Ato, staggering across the deck with two
buckets of water. "Oh, woe! Is he a Read Bird or a just plain Goose?
Look yonder, Sammy, he's flown ashore." Outlined against the sky in
a sudden flare from the volcano they could see Roger poised over the
center of the smoking island. In his claw was a large rippling banner
of Oz and as they looked he lifted the banner high above his head and
flung it straight into the center of the boiling crater.

"We hereby take complete and absolute possession of this island and
declare all its inhabitants lawful subjects of her Majesty, Queen Ozma
of Oz!" screamed Roger hysterically.

"Well, hurray, and three cheers for a real Explorer!" shouted Samuel
Salt. "He's done it all by himself, the only man among us who
remembered his duty under fire. There's a bird for you, Mates. Not even
a volcano can turn him from his duty. All we thought of was safety.
Poh!" Rubbing the back of his hand across his eyes, which were full of
smoke, Samuel looked glumly across at his cook.

"Now, now, don't be too hard on yourself," puffed the King, setting
down the fire buckets. "A Captain must think of his ship, even if he
is an Explorer. Besides, having wings gives Roger an advantage of us.
Still and all, it was a brave and timely act." Ato's further remarks
were drowned out in a second tremendous explosion. Sky and sea turned
red, whole flaming boulders shot above the ship's spars, while great
sullen waves of lava boiled over the crater's edge and rolled smoking
and hissing into the sea.

"Missed us again," panted Samuel Salt, hanging desperately to his wheel
as the _Crescent Moon_ plunged and pitched in the angry seas. "Wonder
what started that?"

"The Oz flag, probably," gasped Ato, feeling around in the dense smoke
for his fire buckets. "Hope Roger got off safely. Where is that fool
bird? Ho, Sammy! Hi, Sammy! Quick, they've hit us amidships."

Hastily setting his mechanical steering gear, the former Pirate rushed
forward to where a glowing lump of lava was burning its way slowly but
surely through the deck.

"Fire! Fire!" shrilled Roger, who had dropped down on the rail
unnoticed in the smoke and confusion. "Water, Ato! Water, you old Slow
Poke!"

"Avast!" puffed Samuel Salt, staring down in astonishment at the
glowing lump at his feet. "It's alive, Mates, and lively as a grig.
It's a FIRE baby, that's what! HAH! Didn't I just say there was life on
a volcano? Well, this proves it and I'm taking this young one along for
proof."

"Now stop talking like a book and act like a seaman," choked Ato, in
his agitation tripping over a rope but still managing to keep his hold
on the water buckets. "Fire baby or not, can't you see it's burning a
hole in the deck, you seventh son of a sea-going Jackass? Here, put it
out! Dash this water over it before it burns up the whole ship!"

"Avast! Avast and belay!" roared Samuel Salt in a terrible voice as Ato
raised his bucket. "I'm still Captain here. Do you wish to destroy a
rare specimen of volcanic life? Fetch a shovel from the hold, Roger. A
shovel, I said, and don't stand there dithering."

"Aye aye, sir!" sputtered the Read Bird, half falling and half flying
down the companionway. Now a bird is a quick and handy fellow about a
ship and in half the time it would have taken a seaman, Roger was back
with a long handled shovel. Snatching the shovel, which he had often
used on former treasure hunts, Samuel scooped up the bawling fire baby
and started on a run for the galley.

"It's turning black, it's turning black," wailed the disconsolate
collector, crooning to the ugly infant as he ran along as if he were
its own mother. "Aye, aye--it's going out!"

"And a good thing, too," panted Ato, who was close behind him. "What in
tarry barrels are you fixing to do with it, Sammy?"

Roger, sensible bird that he was, stayed long enough to douse the two
buckets of water on the smoking deck, then he, too, made a bee line for
the galley. He was just in time to see Samuel lift the lid of the range
and slide the baby down on top of the hot coals. No sooner had the
squat infant touched the glowing fire than it stopped yelling at once
and began to purr and sing like a teakettle set on to boil.

"Well, I'll be swizzled!" gulped Ato, and snatching a wet dish towel
from the rack, he wound it round and round his aching head. "Whatever
made you think of that?"

"It's my scientific mind," the Pirate told them blandly. "The proper
place for any infant that size is bed and I naturally figured that
a fire baby belonged in a fire bed, and a bed of hot coals was the
nearest to it, so here it is!" Winking solemnly at Roger, who was
regarding the little Lavaland Islander with fear and loathing, Samuel
picked up the poker and gave the baby an affectionate poke. "It'll do
fine here," he predicted happily, "and prove beyond a quibble that
volcanos are inhabited."

"It'll do nothing of the sort!" exploded Ato, bringing his fat fist
down with a resounding thump on the drain board. "You may be the
Captain of the ship, Sammy, but I'm the boss of this galley, and that
fire baby will have to go. GO! Do you understand? How'm I to cook with
the ugly little monster lolling all over the fire bed and like as not
falling into the soup when my back is turned?"

"Hark!" interrupted Roger. "More trouble! Something's up, Master Salt,
and it's not an eruption either." And Samuel had to agree with him as
groans, moans, shrieks and hisses came whistling after the flying ship.

"Ah, that'll be the rest of them!" exulted the Royal Discoverer,
pounding out on deck. "Hah! It's the Lavaland Islanders themselves.
Ho--this WILL be interesting!"

"Well, just invite them over and we'll all burn up happily together,"
suggested Ato bitterly.

Hanging over the taffrail, Samuel paid no attention to the King's
sarcastic suggestion. Indeed, he was much too interested, for just
showing above the flaming circle of the volcano's crater was a row
of immense and thunderous looking natives. They were of transparent
rock-like structure and burned and glowed from the molten lava that
coursed through their veins. With upraised arms and furious faces they
were yelling over and over some strange and indistinguishable threats
and phrases. One, shaking the blackened stick of the Oz flag, danced
and screamed louder than all the rest put together.

"They do not wish to become subjects of Oz, I take it," sighed Samuel,
undecided whether to sail back and argue the matter, or sail away and
save his ship from possible destruction.

"That's not it! That's not it!" cried Roger, flapping his wings
triumphantly. "I know what's the matter. They want that baby back.
You're probably making off with the Crown Prince of the Volcano. See
that woman yelling louder than the others and holding out both arms?
Well, look--she has a crown on her head and is likely the Queen. She
wants her baby back."

"And she should have it, too," stated Ato, blinking his eyes at the
frightful racket the Lavaland Islanders were making. "You can't steal
people's children like this, Sammy, unless you're going back to
buccaneering. It's just plain piracy."

"She threw it at us, didn't she?" muttered the Captain, who was
unwilling to part with so valuable a specimen.

"It probably blew out of its cradle when the volcano erupted. Give it
back to her, Sammy," begged Ato, who was determined to get rid of the
terrible infant at any cost. "After all, she's its mother."

"But do you expect me to sail back there and endanger all of our
lives?" Samuel jerked his head angrily. "And how else can it be done?"

"Er--er--let Roger carry it back in that old wire basket we use for
clams," proposed the cook eagerly.

"Not on your life," protested Roger in a sulky voice. "The basket would
grow red hot and burn my bill. Besides, I'm no stork. Tell you what we
could do, though, and we'd better be quick before they start throwing
things."

"What?" inquired the Captain, gazing uneasily at the infuriated
Islanders.

"Why, simply shoot it back," Roger said calmly. "Stuff it in the port
cannon and blaze away. You never miss your mark, Master Salt, and if
you can't shoot that baby back into its mother's arms, I'll walk on my
wings and be done with it."

"Why, Roger, how clever! The very thing!" rejoiced Ato. "I'll go fetch
it with the fire tongs and you'll have to hurry, Sammy, or we'll be out
of range."

"But it might injure the young one," objected the Captain of the
_Crescent Moon_, shifting his feet uncomfortably.

"Nonsense, it'll be just like a ride in a baby carriage for that little
rascal. Prime your gun, Sammy, while I get the child."

By this time the clamor from the Island had become so alarming that
even Samuel realized something would have to be decided. So, somewhat
mollified by Roger's compliment on his aim, he made ready to fire the
port cannon. The baby, hissing lustily, was brought without accident
from the galley. Ato held it gingerly before him, using the fire
tongs, Roger following along to hold a lighted candle under the little
fellow to keep him from going out before he was shot.

The baby fitted nicely into the cannon's mouth and stopped crying
instantly. At the last moment Samuel almost lost his courage, but urged
on to action by both Ato and Roger, he carefully made his calculations
and then shutting both eyes pulled the cord that set off the gun. The
terrible explosion shocked the Lavalanders into silence, and almost
afraid to look, Samuel opened his eyes.

"Yo, ho, ho! Three cheers for the Skipper!" squealed Ato, snatching
the towel from his head and waving it like a banner. "The neatest shot
you ever made, Mate, and a lucky shot, too." The baby and the cannon
ball which would have shattered a less durable lady had struck the Lava
Queen amidships. Dropping the cannon ball carelessly into the crater,
the giantess clasped her child in her arms, smiling and screaming her
thanks across the tumbling waters.

"Well, was I right, or was I right?" chuckled Roger, teetering backward
and forward on the rail and preening his feathers self-consciously.
"And I've another idea just as good in case you should be interested."

"Oh, keep it till tomorrow," grumbled Samuel Salt, who felt terribly
depressed at the loss of his rare specimen.

"But tomorrow will be too late," persisted Roger, settling on the
Captain's shoulder. "Now, while these savages are in a good humor, let
me fly over and drop another Oz flag on the Island. Maybe this time
they'll let it stand and once it flies over the crater the Island is
Ozma's."

"By the tooth of a harpooned whale, you're right! I'm forgetting my
duty to Oz," breathed Samuel, straightening up purposefully. "But our
kind of flag won't stand the climate yonder."

The Read Bird, however, had thought even of that. Taking a sheet of
iron from the hold, the resourceful fellow stopped in the galley long
enough to burn in the word OZ with the red hot poker. Then, thrusting
the poker itself through two slits in his iron banner, he flew jauntily
back to the Island.

"Ahoy, and there's a standard bearer for you!" Rubbing his hands
together, Samuel strode to the rail. "Bless my buttons, the boy
deserves a medal for this, and shall have one, too."

This time the Lavaland Islanders watched Roger's approach with quiet
interest and as he hovered uncertainly over their heads held up their
hands for the iron flag. But Roger, made daring by their friendliness,
swooped down suddenly to the crater's edge, and jamming his banner
between two smoking boulders soared aloft.

"Lavaland Islanders!" screamed the Read Bird hoarsely. "You are now
under the protection and rule of Queen Ozma of Oz. Lavaland Islanders,
you are hereby adjured to keep the peace and the law and LAV one
another!"

His voice cracked from fright and excitement, but finishing
triumphantly, he spread his wings and skimmed back to the _Crescent
Moon_.

"Hung wung wah HEEE!" yelled the Islanders all together, nodding their
heads and waving their arms cheerfully. "Hung wung wah HEEE!"



CHAPTER 4

Samuel's First Specimen


"What do you make of that?" puffed Samuel Salt as Roger dropped
breathlessly down on his shoulder. "Well, 'Hung wung wah HEEE!' it is.
Let's give them a cheer for luck." Lifting his great voice, the Royal
Discoverer for Oz, helped out by his two shipmates, sent the weird call
booming back across the water.

An answering call came from the Island, and then, with a hiss and thud,
a small glowing object fell on the deck. Fortunately the fire tongs
were still handy and picking up the offending object before it could do
any damage, Ato marched sternly off to the galley. Stopping long enough
for another wave to the Island, which was growing smaller and smaller
as the _Crescent Moon_ sped away, Samuel hastened after his cook,
jotting down hurried notes in his journal as to latitude and longitude
as he ran along.

"There's something written on this piece of lava," announced Ato, who
had dropped the smoking souvenir from Lavaland on the stove. Peering
over his shoulder, Samuel could see queer raised symbols and signs on
the sulphurous surface of the rock.

"There's something crawling on it, too," volunteered Roger, who was
perched on the towel rack above the stove, and had a better view, "a
golden frog or a lizard."

"Merciful mustard! What next?" groaned Ato.

"Why, this--this--" Samuel's voice quivered with excitement and
disbelief, "this, Mates, is as fine a specimen of a Preoztoric Monster
as a scientist could hope for; a real live salamander, a fire lizard,
straight from the burning depths of yonder crater. Stars! Tar and
Tarrybarrels! This is even better than the baby and will prove my point
just as well."

"Does it have to live on my stove?" asked Ato ominously, as the
Salamander slid merrily backward and forward over the red hot plates of
the range. "Home on the range!" snickered Roger, winking at the Pirate.

"Just till I can fix up a hot box for it," apologized Samuel, "but
don't fret, old Toff, it doesn't bite and if it falls on the floor, all
you have to do is scoop it up and put it back before it goes out."

"Not only cook, mate and swab, but now I'm nursemaid to a fire lizard."
Ato shuddered, and reaching for his tall cook's cap, jammed it down
hard on his shiny bald head.

"You can keep it in an iron pot while you cook," suggested Roger
practically, "and after all, King dear, it's the only Salamander in
captivity. Here, Sally, here Sal--this way, my little crater critter."
Tilting the pot on the back of the stove, Roger was delighted to find
the Salamander quite willing to answer to her new name. As she slid
adventurously into the small cooking vessel, the Read Bird quickly
righted the pot and clapped on the cover. "There," he exclaimed with a
satisfied nod at his Master, "how's that?"

"Well, I suppose I'll have to put up with it," sighed Ato resignedly.
"But in some ways pirating was easier than discovering, Sammy. At
least, we never kept the captives on the stove. And NOW--" Ato waved
his arms determinedly. "Clear out, both of you. It's three bells and
time to stir up the food. And just take that pesky rock along with you.
I've meat to broil!"

"When this cools, maybe I'll be able to figure out the language,"
exulted Samuel, removing the offending piece of lava with a cake
turner. "All in all, a most interesting and profitable day, eh, Roger?
An island, a visit from a fire baby, and a real live Preoztoric
monster."

"Not bad," agreed the Read Bird, transferring himself to the Captain's
shoulder. Depositing the piece of lava on an iron hatchway to cool,
Samuel strode happily along the deck, stopping to light the red lamps
on the port and the green lights on the starboard. Roger himself had
just hung a white light in the rigging when a lusty call from the
galley sent him flying off to help Ato serve the dinner.

"What could be cozier than a life at sea?" he reflected, winging
jauntily into the main cabin with a dish of roast potatoes. Ato puffed
cheerfully behind, bearing a huge tray. On the tray a steaming tureen
of soup, a pot of coffee, seven dishes of vegetables and two of smoking
meats sent up tantalizing whiffs and fragrances. Later when the Read
Bird brought in the pudding, he and Sammy soberly agreed it was the
tastiest feast Ato had served on the voyage.

The main cabin of the _Crescent Moon_, with its red leather couches
under the ports, its easy chairs and tables clamped to the floor to
keep them from shifting, with its ship's clock and ship's lanterns,
was a cheery place to be when the day's work was ended. There was a
huge fireplace for foggy evenings and every visible space on the wall
was covered with pictures of pirate ships, ancient sailing vessels and
rough maps and charts of strange and curious islands. While Samuel
and Ato sat at their ease to finish off the pudding, Roger took his
upon the wing, darting in and out between bites to assure himself that
all was well on deck. There was a tiny crescent moon sliding down the
sky, and the slap of waves against the side of the ship and the wind
creaking in the cordage made as pleasant a tune as the heart of a
seaman could wish for.

"Now what could be better than this?" said Samuel Salt exhaling a cloud
of smoke from his pipe and stretching his legs luxuriously under the
long table. "A tidy ship, a good wind and the whole wide sea to sail
on."

"Suits me!" grinned Ato scraping up the last of the hard sauce and
settling back with a grunt of sheer content. "Did you mark up our
volcano on the chart Sammy, and what are we calling it Mates? An island
must have a name you know."

"I know." Samuel blew another cloud of smoke upward and cleared his
throat. "If it's agreeable to all hands and Roger, I'd like to call it
Salamander Island after Sally."

"Why not? There's a Sally in our galley and a real nice gal is Sally,"
warbled Roger, settling on the back of Samuel's chair and wagging his
head in time to the music.

"Sing like a bird, don't ye?" muttered Samuel striding over to the map
of Oz and surrounding countries and oceans that covered the west wall.

"I AM a bird," screamed Roger fluttering up to his shoulder. "'Bout
here she would lie, Master Salt, sixty leagues from Octagon Island."

As Roger talked on, making numerous suggestions, the Captain of the
_Crescent Moon_ drew with red chalk a small but effective picture
of Salamander Island showing the volcano in action and the Lavaland
Islanders grouped around the crater's top.

"Taken this day without a shot or the loss of a single man," printed
Samuel in neat letters under his sketch.

"Don't forget, you shot the baby," twittered Roger raising a claw
argumentatively.

"Oh, we can't put in small details like that," sniffed the Captain
stepping back to admire his drawing.

"Seems odd for us to be discovering and taking possession of islands
for a country we know so little about," mused Ato, looking thoughtfully
at the map on the west wall. "Why, we've only been to Oz once
ourselves."

"Yes, but everybody knows about Oz," Samuel said putting the red chalk
back in the table drawer. "Our business is with wild new countries
that have never been seen or heard of. Besides, anyone can see that Oz
is overpopulated and needs new territories and sea ports. And since
Ozma is so clever at governing, and her subjects all so happy and
prosperous, the more people who come under her rule the better!"

"Aye! Aye!" agreed Roger, peering with deep interest at the map. Small
wonder the Read Bird was interested, for Oz is one of the most exciting
and enchanting countries ever discovered. There are four large Kingdoms
in Ozma's realm, the Northern Land of the Gillikens, the Eastern Empire
of the Winkies, the Southern Country of the Quadlings and the Western
domain of the Munchkins. Each forms a triangle in the oblong of Oz. The
Emerald City which is the capital, is in the exact center where all
these triangles meet. Each of these Kingdoms has its own ruler, but
all four are under the sovereign rule and control of Ozma, the small
but powerful fairy who lives in the Emerald City. On all sides, Oz is
surrounded by a deadly desert and beyond the desert lie the independent
Kingdoms of No-Land, Low Land, Ix, Play, Ev, the Dominions of the
Gnome King, and many other strange and important Principalities. These
countries form a narrow rim around the desert, and beyond this rim lies
the Nonestic Ocean itself, stretching in all directions and to no one
knows what far and undiscovered shores. Each of the four Kingdoms in
Oz shown on Samuel's map was so dotted with smaller Kingdoms, cities,
towns, villages and the holdings of ancient Knights and Barons, there
was scarcely room for another castle. With young Princes growing up on
every hand, Roger could well sympathize with the need of Ozma for more
territory.

"Won't the Ozians have too long a way to come before they reach these
new islands and countries we discover?" inquired the Read Bird, after
staring at the map for some moments in silence.

"Not a bit of it!" Samuel dismissed Roger's objection with a snap of
his fingers. "I hear the Wizard of Oz is working on a new fleet of
airships, that will make crossing the desert and Nonestic a real lark
and enable new settlers to reach these outlying islands in a day or
less. So all we have to do is to proceed with our discovering. Ozma
will attend to the rest. This volcanic island may not be as useful as
some of the others, but one can never tell. How about picking up a few
islands for you, Ato, as we ride along?" The former pirate dropped his
arm affectionately round the shoulders of his Royal Cook.

"No, thanks," grunted Ato, rolling cheerfully to his feet. "One's
enough. What would I want with any more islands? Why I'd never get off
on a voyage. But pick yourself a couple, Sammy, why don't you?"

"Who, ME?" Samuel Salt shook his head emphatically. "A ship's all I
can handle and I wouldn't trade you two buckets of sea water for all
the islands in the Nonestic. One ship and one crew's enough for me,
and since you're my crew, you'd better turn in--we've had a hard day
and another one coming. I'll take first watch, Cooky, here, shall have
middle, and you Roger can be the early bird on morning watch."

"Ho hum! I'm right sleepy at that," admitted Ato, starting to heap up
plates. "Give me a lift with the dishes, Roger, will you?"

"Oh, throw 'em overboard," directed Samuel Salt recklessly. "There's
plenty more in the hold and I'm agin all extry labor."

"Hurray!" screamed Roger seizing the coffee pot and winging merrily
through an open port.

"Avast! Avast there! Not my coffee pot!" pleaded Ato, making after the
Read Bird with surprising speed considering his tonnage. "Stop you
great Gossoon! How many times must I tell you I'm boss of the galley?"
Catching Roger by the leg just as he reached the rail, Ato snatched
back his precious coffee pot and hugged it protectively to his bosom.
"Why I've just got this contraption broken in proper," he panted
indignantly. "A coffee pot's like a pipe, it's got to be sweetened and
seasoned. Heave over the plates and cups if you like," he went on,
relenting a bit as he noted the keen disappointment on Roger's face,
"but save the soup tureen. I'll wager there's not another that size on
the ship and the Captain must have his soup. What a splendid pot of
soup THIS would make," murmured Ato looking dreamily down at the sea,
"a bit salty, perhaps, but full of snapper and porgy and tender young
sea shoots. Why that foam's as near to whipping cream as anything I've
ever gazed on."

Tearing himself reluctantly from the appetizing sight, the Royal Cook
padded off to put the galley in order for the night, while Roger with
loud squalls of glee dropped the plates and saucers one by one over
the side. In this way the dishes were soon done, the cabin tidy and
shipshape, and by eight bells the King and the Read Bird were sleeping
soundly and Samuel Salt had the ship to himself.

First, he made a complete round of all decks, glanced at the barometer
and compass, and furled the fore and mizzen topsails. Then he took the
cooled piece of lava down to the hold. The strange signs and symbols
had hardened, and labeling it carefully with the date and name of
Salamander Island, Samuel placed it on his shelves for further study.
Then returning to the main deck he set a portable ship's lantern on
a coil of rope and settled down to fix a hot box for the Salamander.
Selecting from the material he had brought from the hold an iron box
with a glass lid, he covered the bottom with sand and pebbles. Knowing
salamanders require hot water as well as hot air, he placed a tiny
flat pan of water in the corner of the box to serve as a swimming
pool. A burning glass in the day time and an alcohol lamp under the
box at night would supply the necessary heat, and setting the whole
contrivance on an iron tray in the cabin, Samuel went joyfully off to
fetch the fire lizard.

The Salamander was still in the pot on the back of the stove, and
giving her an experimental poke with his finger, Samuel was astonished
to find her quite cool to the touch. This was surprising considering
she could only live in the most intense heat. But without stopping to
figure it out, the Captain picked her up between thumb and forefinger,
carried her to the cabin and popped her into the iron box. He had
already lighted the lamp under the box so that everything was red
hot and cozy for her. The small captive seemed to appreciate her new
quarters, wriggling over the hot pebbles and sand, then splashing gaily
in her swimming pool.

"Quite a girl!" sighed the pirate, resting his elbows on the table and
gazing happily down at the first prize of the voyage. "You're going
to be great company for me, Sally." As if she really understood, the
lizard gave a squeak and tapped loudly on the glass lid with her
tail. The pipe almost dropped from Samuel's mouth at Sally's strange
behavior, and lifting the lid he peered inquisitively down at her.
Before he had a chance to clap it shut, the Salamander hurled herself
upward, landing smartly on the bridge of the Pirate's nose, from where
she slid cleverly into the pipe itself.

"Well I'll be scuppered!" gasped the Royal Explorer looking slightly
cross-eyed down the bridge of his nose as Sally coiled up comfortably
in the bowl of the pipe. "The little rascal wants to keep me company,
and so she shall, bless my boots, so she shall! Why this is plumb
cute and cozy and something to write in my journal." Puffing away
delightedly Samuel stepped out of the cabin and all during his watch,
the little Salamander rested contentedly in his pipe. Sometimes she
peered up inquisitively over the edge, but mostly she lay quietly on
the smoking tobacco, looking with calm interest at the sky and the
rippling sails over her head. Not only did she keep his pipe from going
out, but never had it drawn so well. So, filled with a vast wonder
and content, Samuel strode up and down the deck. Not till midnight
when he roused Ato could he bear to put Sally back in her box and only
then, after he had promised her another ride in the morning. But when
morning came, Samuel had no time to keep his promise, for while Ato was
cooking breakfast and the Captain himself catching forty winks in the
cabin, the raucous voice of the Read Bird came whistling down from the
foremast.

"Land Ho! Land! More Land. Island tuluward, Captain!"



CHAPTER 5

Patrippany Island


"All hands on deck! Come on! Come _on_!" yelled Samuel Salt running
past Ato's galley dragging on his clothes as he ran. "There's an island
tuluward, you lubber."

"Well, 'tain't a flying island is it?" Ato stuck a very red face out
the door. "I guess it'll stay there till I turn the bacon, won't it? No
cause to burn the biscuits just 'cause an island's sighted is there?"
But in spite of his pretended indifference, the ship's cook shoved
all his pans on the back of the stove and hurried out on deck. "Rich
and jungly, this one," he observed, resting his arms comfortably on
the rail, "and from what I can see a good place to grow bananas and
whiskers. Look, Sammy, even the trees have beards."

"Moss," muttered Samuel Salt striding over to the wheel. "Fly ashore
Roger and see whether there's a good place to put in."

Twittering with importance and curiosity, the Read Bird flung himself
into the air. In ten minutes he was back to report a wide river cutting
through the center of the island from end to end. The foliage was so
dense, Roger had not been able to discover any signs of habitation, but
after viewing the mouth of the river through his glasses, the Captain
decided to take a chance, and sail through.

"Now, Sammy, let's not do anything hasty," begged the ship's cook
lifting his floury hands in warning, "nor try to conquer a country on
an empty stomach. This may be an important island, so after we eat, let
us put on our proper clothes and plant the Oz flags with dignity and
decorum."

"Spoken like a King and a seaman," approved Samuel Salt, "and if my eye
does not deceive me, I'll have the ship in the river as soon as you
have the coffee in the pot. Then we'll ride in with the tide, put on
our discovering togs and proceed with the business of the day."

So while Ato returned to his galley and the Read Bird to his post in
the foremast, Samuel swung the _Crescent Moon_ in toward the island.
Each felt a slight twinge of uneasiness as the ship left the open sea
and began to slip rapidly up the broad new and unnavigated jungle
stream. Vine covered trees pressed close to the banks, and birds and
monkeys in the branches kept up an incessant screech and chattering. A
flock of greedy pelicans flopped comically after the ship and as they
penetrated deeper and deeper into the jungle it almost seemed as if
they were entering some dim green land of goblins.

"A fine target we make for anyone who cares to shoot at us," moaned
Ato, as he waddled backward and forward between the cabin and galley
with cups and covered dishes. "Ugh!"

"Yes, I wouldn't be surprised to feel an arrow in my back any minute
now," assented Samuel Salt brightly, "though I must say I'd much prefer
a fried mackerel in my stomach."

"Come on then," shuddered Ato, in no wise cheered by Samuel's remarks,
"breakfast's ready and we may as well eat before we die."

"Now never say die!" roared the Royal Explorer of Oz, touching the
buttons to furl sail and yelling to Roger to let go the anchor.
"Never say die--say dee--dee-scovery is our aim and purpose, Mates.
Dee-scovery with a _hi de di dide di dough_!" sang Samuel vociferously
to keep up his own spirits. Finally with the ship motionless amidstream
the three shipmates sat down to breakfast. Their nerves were tense and
their ears cocked for signs of approaching natives, but except for the
noise of the birds and monkeys and the occasional splash of some river
creature, there was no sound to indicate the ship had been sighted by
the islanders.

"Nobody's home," concluded Samuel, finishing off his third cup of
coffee at one toss and hurrying off to his cabin. Roger, having only
Oz flags and no shore togs to bother him, generously offered to clear
away the dishes and amused himself by throwing scraps and the rest of
the biscuits to the pelicans. He had just tossed over the last biscuit
when Ato appeared in a grand satin coat and breeches, long cape and
three-cornered hat. The elegance of his apparel was somewhat marred by
the bread board he had belted round his middle and the bread knife
and blunderbuss he had stuck through his sash.

"Ha, hah!" roared Samuel Salt, giving the bread board a resounding
whack. "Something to stay your stomach, EH?" Samuel himself was as
stylishly attired as the King, his three-cornered hat at a dashing
angle. Under his arm he had two pairs of tremendously long stilts. "No
need for us to get all grubby lowering the boat. We'll wade ashore this
time," explained Samuel as Ato's eyes grew round and questioning. "Easy
as walking on crutches; just watch me, Mate."

Now Samuel, it must be confessed, had been practicing stilting on Elbow
Island, so naturally it came easy to him. First he put his stilts over
the side, then vaulting the rail, he seized the tops and settled his
feet in the cross pieces at one jump and started walking calmly up and
down gleefully calling for Ato to follow. It all looked so simple, Ato
handed the basket of lunch he had packed to Roger, and seizing his
stilts began anxiously feeling around for the river bottom. Satisfied
that it was solid, he climbed boldly up on the rail.

"That's it! That's it!" applauded Samuel. "Now grab the tops, Mate, and
start coming."

"Chee tree--tee--hee--!" screeched the monkeys derisively as Ato clung
precariously to the rail with one hand and maneuvered his stilts with
the other. By some miracle of balance the fat King actually managed
to mount and hold on to his perilous walking sticks. Then with a long
quivering breath he heaved one forward. He was about to take another
step when a desperate scream from Roger almost caused him to topple
over backwards.

"'Gators!" croaked the Read Bird, beating his wings together violently.
"Watch out for those 'gators."

"Why bother him with gaiters at a time like this? They look perfectly
all right to me." Samuel Salt frowned up at Roger.

"Not _his_ gaiters, river 'gators, alligators, CROCODILES!" wailed
Roger, beginning to fly in agonized circles. "Crocodiles and WORSE."

Samuel, eyeing what he had supposed to be a pile of rotten logs on the
river bank, saw dozens of the slimy saurians slide into the water and
come savagely toward them.

"Back to the ship! Back to the ship!" babbled the Read Bird, clutching
Ato's collar with a frantic claw. But the King was too frightened to
move. The sight of the bleary-eyed river monsters made him tremble so
violently his stilts twittered and swayed like trees in a hurricane. He
could not for the life of him take a step in either direction. With a
loud cry Samuel started to help him, but a crocodile reached Ato first.
Its jaws closed with a vicious snap on the King's left stilt and with a
heart-rending shriek Ato plunged into the slimy river.

"There, there! Now you've done it!" sobbed Roger. "Fed the kindest soul
who ever served a ship's company to a parcel of crocodiles!" Dropping
the Oz flags and lunch basket, he made an unsuccessful grab for his
Master's arm. But even if he had caught it, Ato's great weight would
have pulled them both under, and now only a circle of bubbles showed
where the luckless explorer had disappeared. Firing his blunderbuss
to frighten off the rest of the crocodiles, Samuel, striking left and
right with his stilts, propelled himself forward, while Roger pecked
futilely at the monster that had felled his Master. But just as Samuel,
after boldly driving off the dragon-like creature, prepared to dive in
and save Ato or perish with him, a dripping head appeared above the
water.

"Thank you. Thank you very much!" murmured a mild voice. "I haven't
had as nice a present as this since I was an itty bitty baby. Now what
can I do for YOU?" Neither Samuel nor Roger could speak a word, for
where the King had gone down, a tremendous hippopotamus was coming
up, the lunch basket hanging carelessly out of a corner of its mouth.
For a wild moment Samuel thought his enormous friend and shipmate had
been transformed by some witchcraft into this ponderous beast. He even
imagined he caught an expression of Ato's in the monster's moist eye.
But this gloomy idea was soon dispelled, for, as the creature rose
higher out of the water, they could see a desperate and bedraggled
figure sprawled across its slippery back.

"Ahoy, Mate!" choked Samuel, his heart thumping like a trip hammer. "Is
it really you? Are you safe, then?"

"Safe!" quavered the half-drowned and mud-covered King of the Octagon
Isle. "SAFE?" He peered dizzily at the churning crocodiles just a
boat's length away, and his voice cracked and broke. "I never felt
safer in my life. What am I riding, a whale or an elephant?"

"A river horse," explained the hippopotamus, looking kindly over her
shoulder. Then, as the crocodiles began to hiss and roar and come
rolling toward them, she gave a ferocious bellow and snort. "Away with
you! Be off, you river scum!" she squealed viciously. "These travelers
are MINE. Shoot your fire stick, Master Long Legs. That will fix them."
For a moment the crocodiles held their post, then, as Samuel fired his
gun repeatedly, they began to slide sullenly across the river to the
opposite bank. "Hold fast, Master Short Legs, and I'll soon have you
ashore," wheezed the hippopotamus, speaking out of the corner of her
mouth so as not to drop the picnic basket.

"Yes, yes, but what then?" shuddered Ato, trying to get a finger hold
on the monster's slippery neck.

"Why, then, we'll both tell our stories, and after that I'll eat,"
snorted the river horse, paddling joyously toward the bank.

"You'll EAT!" groaned Ato, ready to roll back into the river. "Oh, my
father and mother and maiden aunts!"

"Did you hear that?" Dropping to Samuel's shoulder, Roger whispered
fiercely. "Quick now, a shot behind the ear, before it gets any
further. Are you going to do nothing while this ravenous monster
carries off my poor Master?"

"Sh-hh!" warned Samuel, holding up his finger. "These creatures do
not eat meat or men. They're herbivorous, my lad, and this one seems
uncommonly kind and friendly. But what puzzles me--" the Royal Explorer
looked intently into the face of the Read Bird. "What puzzles me is to
find this one talking our language. To my knowledge, only animals in
Oz, a few in Ev and you on the Octagon Isle have the gift of speech.
And I tell you, Mate, this is a valuable discovery, and a simply
splendid specimen of a pachydermatous talking aquatic." Whether the
last few words in this sentence or a stone in the river bottom tripped
up the Captain, Roger never knew, but without any warning Samuel turned
a sudden back somersault into the river, going under as completely as
Ato had done.

"Ugh--gr--ugh!" he gurgled, coming up full of mud and disgust. "How did
that happen?"

"Stilts!" sniffed Roger, whose wings had saved him from going down with
Samuel. "A splendid way to get ashore, Master Salt, so neat and tidy.
And a fine Discoverer you look now."

Sighing deeply, Samuel watched his stilts floating out of reach, then
shaking his head violently to get the water out of his eyes, he swam
thoughtfully after the hippopotamus. As he dragged himself up on the
bank, a monkey swinging by its tail from the lower branches of a tree
snatched his three-cornered hat and scittered all the way to the tree
top, at which all the other monkeys let out shrill hoots of mocking
merriment.

"Ah! The welcome committee!" sniffled Ato, rolling off the
hippopotamus. "Well, Sammy, wherever it is, here we are and a nice
mess you've made of the landing. Clothes ruined, weapons gone," (Ato
felt his middle dejectedly for his bread knife and blunderbuss), then
hitching up the bread board at his waist looked long and accusingly at
the Leader of the Expedition.

"Now you mustn't mind a little mud," said the hippopotamus, setting
down the picnic basket and gazing from one to the other with frank
interest and curiosity. "Mud is beautiful and SO healthy."

"Not for me," frowned Samuel Salt, endeavoring to remove the thick
green slime from his hair and ears with his damp silk handkerchief.
"But I suppose we'll dry off in time and--"

"Proceed with the business of the day," finished Ato sarcastically,
as he squeezed the water out of his silk pantaloons and coat tails.
"But I hope you don't mind my saying that a seaman should stick to
his boats, Samuel. If I had not fallen in with this kind and obliging
hippopotamus, I'd have been a crocodile's lunch by this time."

"Oh, I'd have got you out somehow," muttered Samuel, smoothing back his
hair sulkily. "And those stilts really saved your life. Suppose that
animal had bitten your leg instead of your stilt? By the way, what's
the name of this island, Mate?" Anxious to change the subject, Samuel
turned to Ato's tremendous rescueress.

"Mate?" repeated the hippopotamus, wiggling her ears inquiringly, "What
may that mean?"

"It is what a seaman calls his crew and his friends," explained Samuel,
grinning in spite of himself.

"Seaman? Mate?" mused the hippopotamus in a rapt voice. "How cozy, how
beautiful!" Overcome with emotion, the mighty monster leaned forward
and lapped up the picnic basket, Oz flags, lunch and everything.
"I shall remember this as long as I live," she assured them with a
gulp as one of the flags went sideways down her throat. "Nikobo,
Little Daughter of the Biggenlittle River People, bids you welcome to
Patrippany Island."

"Little daughter!" exclaimed Ato in a smothered voice. "Ha, ha!
Patrippany Island. Ho, ho! This is interesting. I knew there was a trip
in it somewhere, a wet trip for us, eh, Samuel?"

"But what I don't understand," said the Royal Explorer of Oz, briskly
massaging his beard with his handkerchief, "is how you happen to speak
our language. Do all the creatures on this Island talk? I don't mean
that monkey chatter above."

"No, none of the other creatures here speak the language of man,"
answered Nikobo solemnly. "I never knew I could speak it myself till
five moons ago last Herb Day."

"Herb Day? Dear, dear and dear! How confusing it all grows," sighed
Ato, emptying the water out of his hat which had somehow survived his
river ducking. "Do you suppose she means Thursday? Roger! ROGER! Keep
away from those monkeys. Do you wish to lose all your tail feathers?"

"Oh, it's all very simple," Nikobo rolled her eyes from side to side.
"One day I eat herbs and that is Herb Day. One day I eat twigs and that
is Twig Day, and one day I eat grass and that is Grass Day, and--"

"And one day you eat lunch baskets and Oz flags, and I suppose that
makes it Flag Day," chuckled Roger, coming down from a little
excursion in the tree tops. "She's swallowed the Oz flags, Skipper, and
if that doesn't make her a citizen of Oz, I'll eat my feathers."

"Go ahead, if it will keep you any quieter," said Samuel Salt, who did
not want this interesting conversation interrupted by Roger's nonsense.
"So you only began to speak our language five moons ago last Herb Day?
What made you do that?"

"A boy," confided Nikobo with a ponderous wag of her head.

"Ah, now we're getting somewhere." Feeling in his pocket, Samuel pulled
out a small note book and pencil, still damp but usable. "Was it a
native boy?" he asked eagerly.

"No, no, certainly NOT." The hippopotamus panted a little at the very
idea of such a thing. "The Leopard Men speak a strange roaring language
I have never been able to make head or tail of. Besides, to speak to
them would not be safe nor desirable. The Leopard Men have long tusks
and spears and--"

"Leopard Men!" yelled Ato, flinging both arms round the trunk of a
tree. "Oh! Oh! and OH! I wish we were safely back at pirating, Sammy.
Here we are marooned on this miserable monkey island, inhabited by
Leopard Men, surrounded by crocodiles and no way of getting back to the
ship."

"You forget me," murmured the hippopotamus. Lumbering over to Ato, she
gave him a gentle nudge with her moist pink snout. "Nikobo, Little
Daughter of the Biggenlittle River People, will carry you anywhere you
wish to go."



CHAPTER 6

A Little Wild Man


"Not yet, not yet," protested Samuel Salt as Ato made a clumsy attempt
to mount the hippopotamus. "Why, we've only just come, Mate. We can't
go without seeing these Leopard Men and this strange boy who speaks our
language."

"Oh, CAN'T we?" Drawing in his breath, Ato made a flying leap at
Nikobo, and this time managing an ear hold, pulled himself determinedly
up on her moist, slippery back. "Goodbye, Samuel," said the King with
a firm wave of his hand. "If you bring any Leopard Men back to the
_Crescent Moon_, you can discover yourself another cook. No Leopard
Men. Mind, now!"

"Oh, you needn't worry about that." The hippopotamus closed one eye and
smiled knowingly to herself. Thoroughly annoyed by the desertion of Ato
and the superior grin of the river horse, Samuel snatched a long rapier
from his belt and glowered belligerently around him.

"Shiver my timbers! You think I'm not strong enough nor smart enough to
fight these savages? HUWHERE are these Leopard Men?" roared the former
Pirate in such a reverberating voice the monkeys fled silently to the
tree tops, and even Roger put his head under his wing.

"Gone, all gone!" explained Nikobo as she started calmly down toward
the river bank.

"You mean there are no Leopard Men on this Island now?" Looking with
horror and aversion at the crocodile-infested river, Ato began tugging
at Nikobo's ear. "Not so fast, my good creature! Wait a moment, my
buxom lass! Perhaps I'll stay with Sammy after all."

"Well, just as you say." With scarcely a pause in her stride, the
hippopotamus turned round and waddled amiably back to the strip of sand
where Samuel Salt stood staring sternly into the jungle beyond.

"This is a great disappointment to me, Mates," sighed the Captain of
the _Crescent Moon_ mournfully wringing out the lace ruffles of his
cuffs. "To have taken a Leopard Man back to the Court of Oz would have
been an achievement worth the whole voyage."

"Now there's where we're different," murmured Ato, settling into a more
comfortable position on the back of the river horse. "I myself would
rather be disappointed than speared by a savage, and I don't care how
many Leopard Men I miss seeing. Rather be spared than speared, ha, ha!
Tee, HEE, HEE!" Ato chuckled from sheer relief.

"Shall I fly back to the ship for some more Oz flags?" Roger flapped
his wings inquiringly. "If the Leopard Men are really gone, then
Patrippany Island is ours without a spear thrown."

"That's so," mused Samuel Salt, thrusting his rapier back into its
sheath and beginning to show a little interest in the island itself.
"Fly ahead, my Hearty."

"And bring back some ship's biscuit," called Ato. "All this diving and
mud turtling has left me weak as a fish. And while we're waiting for
Roger, perhaps Nikobo will tell us a little about these Islanders. Were
they little or big, black or brown?"

"Yellow," answered the hippopotamus gravely. "Big and yellow with brown
spots all over their hides. They had brown hair, mane and eyes, and
rough snarling voices. They used neither huts nor shelter, but roamed
like the animals through the jungle, hunting, fishing and fighting.
They had hollowed out logs for use in the water and last Twig Day
every Leopard man, woman and child climbed into the long boats and
paddled out to sea. Shortly afterward--" Nikobo's eyes grew round and
shiny at the mere memory, "shortly afterward a great hurricane arose
and my family and I, watching from the mouth of the Biggenlittle River,
saw the boats and men swept under the waves. Some of the logs floated
back to the islands, but the Leopard Men and women we never saw again."

"Not even ONE?" exclaimed Samuel peevishly.

"Not even one," Nikobo assured him solemnly. "And to tell the truth,"
the hippopotamus flashed a sudden and expansive sigh, "it is much
better and safer without them. The one problem is the boy, and I've
been feeding him myself."

"Oh, yes, the boy who speaks our language," mused Samuel, still lost in
bitter reflections of the Leopard Men he should never see face to face.

"What've you been feeding him?" asked Ato, suspiciously. "How would a
hippopotamus know what to feed a boy?"

"I do the best I can," said Nikobo in a hurt voice. "Every day I
collect fresh roots, herbs and grasses for him."

"Roots, herbs--grasses! Merciful Mustard! A boy's being fed on roots,
herbs and grasses, Sammy. Did you ever hear of anything more ridiculous
in your life?"

"No worse than spinach," mumbled Samuel Salt. "But SAY, look here--"
The Royal Explorer of Oz raised his arm imperiously. "What is a small
boy doing on this island? How'd he get here in the first place, and
where is he now?"

"Follow me," directed Nikobo in a dignified voice. "Follow me and you
shall know all." As Roger appeared at that moment with the Oz flags and
biscuits, the little procession immediately got under way, Ato calmly
riding behind.

On her many visits to the strange boy, Nikobo had worn a path through
the tangled growth of vines and bush. Tenuous trees dropped their
branches over this path and stretched out their gnarled roots to trip
the unwary traveler. Several times Roger let out hoarse squeals as a
huge snake coiled along the limb of a tree, thrust out its ugly head.
Gaudy flowers from the vines that closely entwined every tree, filled
the air with a damp sleepy fragrance, and Samuel Salt, darting his eyes
left and right, held his blunderbuss ready for any savage beast that
might spring upon them. But the jungle creatures, thinking the Leopard
Men had returned, slunk further and further into the green shadows and
without any mishaps or encounters, Nikobo brought the explorers to a
small clearing in the whispering tangle of green.

Here they were suddenly confronted by a stoutly built cage, its bars
constructed of saplings set scarcely an inch apart. On a heap of grass
in a corner of the cage crouched the lonely figure of a little boy
clothed in a single leopard skin.

"Well, goosewing my topsails!" panted Samuel Salt, deceived at first by
the leopard skin. "A little wild man, a Leopard boy, as I'm a salt sea
sailor!"

"It's nothing of the kind," Nikobo contradicted him sharply. "Can't you
see he is white and has teeth as straight as your own instead of tusks?
He's not like the Leopard Men at all."

"But who put him in this cage? What's he done, and what's he doing
here?" Slipping off Nikobo's back, Ato pressed his face close to the
bars of the strange prison.

"I am waiting for my people to come and rescue me," stated the boy,
rising with great dignity from his bed of grass. Folding his arms, he
looked haughtily out at the explorers. "Who are these men, Nikobo?"
he inquired sternly. "Why have you brought them here?"

"Because they seemed friendly and speak your language," puffed the
hippopotamus, beaming lovingly at her small charge. "Because I thought
they might break these bars and set you free. They have a hollow log
seventy times as large as the hollowed logs of the Leopard Men. In
this they could easily carry you over the waters and back to your own
people. I've tried to break this miserable hutch dozens of times,"
explained Nikobo, turning to Samuel Salt. "But the saplings are sunk so
deep, I've been afraid I'd crush Tandy as well as the cage if I pushed
too hard."

"Quite likely," said Samuel Salt, rapping the bars with his knuckles.
"We'll have to fetch an ax from the ship. But who shut you up here,
little Lubber, and how long have you been prisoner on this island?"

"Five months and a half," answered the boy after consulting one of the
bars in the corner of his cage. "I've made a nick in this bar with my
teeth for every day I have been here."

"Well, that's all over now, you poor child, you!" Ato's voice shook
with indignation as he looked in at the little boy whose every rib
showed plainly under the skin. In fact, a heap of grass and dried roots
in the cage made the kind-hearted monarch shudder with distaste and
sympathy. "You shall come with us and eat like a King," he promised,
nodding his head cheerfully, "and learn to be an able-bodied seaman
to boot." Instead of looking grateful or pleased, the boy whom the
hippopotamus had called "Tandy" merely stood looking between the bars
of his cage.

"Why should I go with you?" he said finally and wearily. "You look wild
and dangerous to me, and far worse than the Leopard Men. Here, at least
I have Kobo to take care of me, and who knows what further perils and
hardships I should suffer at sea?"

"Ho! HO! And how do you like that, my lads?" Roger rocked backward and
forward on Samuel Salt's shoulder. "The young one speaks truly. If you
could but see yourselves, my Hearties." Now both Ato and Samuel had
forgotten their plunge in the river, but with their hair and clothing
still covered with mud and slime they looked the veriest rogues
and rascals. And while Ato regarded himself with embarrassment and
discomfiture, Samuel took a quick step forward.

"SO!" roared the great seaman angrily. "So, you don't trust us, eh?
Well, stay here if you wish and grow up like a monkey. You look like a
little wild man already."

"STOP!" Nikobo quivered all over with resentment. "You must not call
Tandy a wild man."

"Don't mind." The boy drew the leopard skin around him with quiet
dignity. "I can bear it. I have borne far worse. I can bear anything. I
am a KING and the son of a King's son! Tell them to go away, Kobo."

"Now, Now, NOW! This is nothing but nonsense." Ato clapped his hands
sharply. "However we look, my young squab, you are in good and royal
company. My mate here, Captain Salt, is Captain of the _Crescent Moon_,
Royal Explorer of Oz, and a Knight, besides. I, though at present
a ship's cook, am King of the Octagon Isle, and Roger, here, is as
Royal a Read Bird as ever wagged a bill and wing. If you say you are
a King, we will have to believe you, though 'tis hardly credible."
Ato stared with round eyes at the matted hair and dirty body of the
little prisoner. "If you say you are a King we must believe you, but in
return you must believe _us_, and stop all this hoity toity talk and
clishmaclatter."

"He speaks the plain truth." Nikobo pressed her huge snout close to the
bars. "Even I can detect the signs of royalty in this fat and goodly
person whom I just this morning helped out of the river. You must go
with them, Tandy, and they will carry you back to your own Kingdom."

"But I tell you, I'd rather stay here with YOU," wailed the little boy,
relaxing a moment from his kingly and overbearing attitude.

"Roger, fetch the AX." Samuel Salt spoke so loud and sternly Nikobo
lapsed into a shocked silence and Tandy hastily drew back into a far
corner of his cage.

"Never argue with a sea-going man," whispered Ato, winking solemnly as
Roger flew off to obey Samuel's order. Having settled the matter in his
own mind, Samuel turned his back on Tandy and began to examine with
deep interest the fungus growth on one of the gnarled old trees. "So
you really are a King?" Leaning against the huge body of Nikobo, Ato
folded his hands comfortably on his stomach and regarded the boy in the
leopard skin earnestly. "Now what country do you hail from and what do
they call you at home?"

"I am Tazander Tazah of Ozamaland," announced the boy proudly, "the
land of the creeping bird and flying reptile. Ozamaland on the long
continent of Tarara is my home."

"OZAMALAND!" shouted Samuel Salt, swinging round like a teetotum. "So
there really IS such a place. I have always said so, Ato, but no one
would believe me. Lies to the east of here, doesn't it, sonny, and is
twice as large as any known land bordering on the Nonestic?" Somewhat
impressed to find that Samuel Salt knew something of his homeland, the
little boy nodded. "And do you suppose we could snare one of those
creeping birds and flying reptiles if we managed to reach Ozamaland?"
Grasping the bars of the cage, Samuel peered anxiously into the young
King's face.

"Do you suppose you ever could reach Ozamaland?" sighed Tazander,
returning Samuel's eager look with gloomy aloofness. "Do you know that
a ship has never touched our shores?"

"Then the _Crescent Moon_ shall be the first!" cried Samuel Salt,
snapping his fingers joyfully. "Why, this will be tremendous and the
most momentous discovery in a thousand years! But how do you happen
to be so far from Ozamaland yourself?" asked Samuel Salt immediately
afterward. "Did you come by air or sea?"

"That I cannot tell." Tazander seated himself soberly on a log before
he continued. "One night I was sleeping soundly in my tower in the
White City, next thing I remember I was here in this jungle. The
Leopard Men, wild and savage as they were, fed me when they remembered
on raw fish and chunks of hard, bitter bread they made from the roots
of the Brima Tree. But I could not understand their talk, nor they
mine, and till Kobo found me a month after my imprisonment I had no one
to talk to at all. But she has come every day to keep me company and
try to set me free, and since the Leopard Men were drowned she has fed
me, too. See, through this little door." Tazander opened a small door
in the bars and stuck both hands through.

"But how did you learn the language?" asked Ato, turning round to gaze
up into Nikobo's huge face.

"I don't know," said Nikobo with an excited gulp. "I just started to
say 'Hello!' and instead of saying it in hippopotamy, there I was
talking a strange language which I could understand as well as my
own. And in this language Tandy answered me, much to my delight and
pleasure."

"Strange, very strange." Ato shook his head in a puzzled manner.
"Well, all I say is, it was lucky for this small fellow that you
happened along, and once we have him aboard he'll soon forget all these
hardships and unpleasant experiences."

"I'll never forget Kobo," said the young King, backing stiffly away
from the outstretched arms of Ato.

"And Kobo'll never forget YOU," sniffed the hippopotamus. "The talk
of the river people seems dull and stupid since I've talked to Tandy.
None of the herd really need me and I don't know what I'm going to
do--whoo--Hoo HOO WHOOO!" Rocking from side to side, Nikobo began
to sob as if her heart would break, so violently in fact, Samuel
Salt covered both ears and Ato, alarmed at the enormous grief of the
gigantic beast, tried to put his arms around her.

"Here, here!" begged the ship's cook, thumping her hard upon the back.
Opening the bag of biscuits Roger had brought from the ship, Ato handed
two to Tandy and began shoving the rest as fast as he could down the
vast throat of the grief-stricken hippopotamus. After each biscuit,
Nikobo choked and sobbed to herself, but on the whole, they seemed
to comfort her, and when the Read Bird finally returned with the ax
she watched almost cheerfully as Samuel Salt, with well-aimed blows,
demolished Tandy's jungle cage. As the last side crashed down and
without giving Tandy time to argue any further, Samuel Salt seized
the boy firmly in both arms and set him down on the back of the
hippopotamus. Then, giving Ato a hand up behind him, the Captain of
the _Crescent Moon_ sternly led the way to the edge of the island.
Roger, waving an Oz flag, flew ahead screaming defiantly to the monkeys
and parrots that infested the island, "WAY, WAY! Way for the Royal
Discoverer of Oz! Way for the King of the Octagon Isle! Way for Nikobo,
Little Daughter of the Biggenlittle River People. Way for Tazander
Tazah, King and son of a King's son! WAY--ay--ayyyy!"



CHAPTER 7

Strange Specimens for Samuel Salt


With no one to challenge their going but the birds and monkeys, the
little band made its way back to the sandy beach. Tandy, perhaps
because he had been so long pent up in the silent jungle and because he
was by nature a naturally sober and solemn little boy, said nothing.
Not even the _Crescent Moon_, riding so proudly at her anchor, seemed
to arouse any interest or enthusiasm in this strange young Ozamalander.

"Well, here we are!" exclaimed Ato, heartily thankful to be in sight
of the ship again. "And I hope you'll not mind ferrying us out to the
boat, Nikobo; those crocodiles still look hungry and I've no notion of
being crocked for the rest of my life."

"Any time you say," grunted the hippopotamus, squeaking a listless
greeting to a company of her own relatives who were rolling lazily
about in the muddy river water.

"Avast and belay and what's the hurry?" Leaning his ax against a tree,
Samuel moistened a finger and held it up. "The wind's against us,
Mate, so we'll have to wait for the tide. Not only that, but Roger and
I must survey the island and dig up some more interesting specimens
to take back to the ship." After a long and rather quizzical look at
Tandy, Samuel turned and swung along the beach, the Read Bird flapping
joyously behind him.

"Run up and down a bit," advised Ato, sliding down from Nikobo's back.
"Your legs must need stretching. Wonder if there's anything to eat
around here or hereabouts? Aha, those look like oranges, a wild orange
grove, as I'm a cook and a seaman. Come along, young one, and help me
gather a few."

"A King and son of a King's son does not come and go at another's
bidding," announced Tandy, stiffly, alighting from the hippopotamus.

"Merciful mothers! What's this?" gasped Ato, blinking his eyes rapidly.
"As complete a case of ingrowing Royalitis as I've ever had the
misfortune to encounter. Well, since it's every King for himself, then
I'll be leaving you, sonny and son of a King's sonny. Watch out for
him, Kobo, he's probably real important to himself."

"You should not speak like that," reproved the hippopotamus as Ato
disappeared into the orange grove, "after all, the big and fat one is
himself a King."

"Pooh, King of some potty little island," sniffed Tandy, leaning
wearily against a palm. "Break me a cocoanut, Kobo, I'm thirsty."
With a discouraged sigh Nikobo trod on one of the cocoanuts, cracking
it from end to end and then, because she was a generous and kindly
creature, she cracked several more for Ato when he should return.
Sitting back on her haunches, she anxiously watched while Tandy downed
the cocoanut milk, then, stretching out in the sand, fell unconcernedly
asleep. Thus Ato found them when he emerged from the orange grove an
hour later. His elegant explorer's cape was knotted to form a sack
and bursting full of the small sweet fruit of the wild orange trees.

"These will make us a fine mess of marmalade when I get back to the
ship," panted the perspiring monarch, settling down with his back
cozily to Nikobo's. "How's young Saucebox?"

"All right." The hippopotamus nodded in Tandy's direction. "He is so
small and tired," she murmured worriedly, "and you must know he has
been exposed in an open cage in the jungle for five long months with
only a miserable hippopotamus for company."

"Miserable hippopotamus," snorted Ato indignantly. "You're a very
superior animal, my girl. I'd consider it an honor to converse with
you any day. Did you crack these cocoanuts for me?" As Nikobo, trying
bashfully to conceal her pleasure at Ato's praise, admitted she had,
the King took several long, satisfying draughts from the shells.
"Now, don't you worry about that young sprout," he advised kindly as
Nikobo continued to gaze mournfully at the sleeping boy. "We'll make
allowances for his High and Mighty Littleness and set him down in his
own country. That is, if we ever manage to find it, though I must say
he'll not be much use nor company for us. Ahoy! Here comes Sammy.
Wonder what he's found?" As a matter of fact, the Royal Explorer of Oz
looked more like a walking window box than a seaman. Long vines hung
from his neck and trailed from his pockets. His arms were crammed with
spiked and prickly plants and on his head he balanced a package of sea
shells tied up in his shore-going coat.

"What you going to do, start a conservatory?" roared Ato as Roger
helped the Captain set his treasures on the ground.

"Rare and unusual, all of 'em," said Samuel, dropping down beside Ato
and looking with complete satisfaction at his curious collection.

"Mind those yellow creepers," warned Nikobo, wiggling her vast snout
warningly. "Those purple flowered plants in the middle are treacherous,
too. They are tumbleweeds, Master Long Legs, and 'tis from them
Patrippany Island gets its name. When the Leopard Men fought, they
would fling these weeds at one another, and I've seen them falling
about for hours, neither side being able to advance a step or even
stand up."

"Tumbleweeds!" breathed Samuel ecstatically. "You don't SAY! Why, these
might come in real handy if we ever get in a tight place. I'll give a
few to the Wizard of Oz and to the Red Jinn when we get back from this
voyage. And what about the yellow creepers, Mate? Are they fighting
plants, too?"

"The creepers, if uprooted and thrown at an animal or man, will creep
rapidly after him, catching him no matter how fast he runs and tying
him up so tight he will not be able to move until the vine withers,"
explained Nikobo solemnly. "I happen to know from an experience I had
with one of these vines in my early youth."

"Creeping vines," shivered Ato, moving as far away from Samuel's
collection as possible. "Just keep them away from me, Sammy. What right
have such things on a ship?"

"Oh, they'll be harmless enough when they're potted," answered Samuel
easily. "And a splendid weapon they'll make for some up and coming
country."

"Better keep them for ourselves," advised Roger, fluttering down to
Samuel's shoulder. "Exploring's a dangerous business, if you ask me,
Master Salt."

"Well, you'll have to admit that it's been pretty safe and successful
so far," said Samuel, clasping his hands behind his head and gazing
contentedly up at the waving fronds of the palm trees.

"SAFE!" The ship's cook began to shake and quiver all over. "Ho, ho!
Safe? Especially sailing round that volcano and going swimming with the
crocodiles! Safe! You'll be the death of me yet, Sam-u-el. Have you
planted your Oz flags and told the wild creatures in the jungle about
their new sovereign?"

Roger nodded his head importantly. "We've raised Oz flags on the
tallest trees on the East, South, West and North sides of the Island.
I flew across and got a bird's eye view while the Captain walked clear
'round. We've discovered it's bean shaped, King dear, the exact shape
of a kidney bean, and a fine fertile place for settlers and prospectors
from Oz."

"Yes, all they have to do is cut down a million trees, drain the swamps
and train the wild beasts in the jungle to be as polite and considerate
as Nikobo here."

"Well, what of it? That's their problem." Samuel stretched himself,
luxuriously snapping each finger to see that it was still working.
"And now, since our part is done, what do you say to waking this son
of a King's son and getting aboard the ship? The tide'll run out in a
couple of hours and carry us along." Tazander had been awake for some
time listening to the conversation with closed eyes. Now sitting up, he
calmly spoke his mind.

"I'm not going with you," he stated grandly. "I'm going to stay here
with Kobo till my own people come for me."

"Hah! Mutiny!" Leaping to his feet, Samuel glared down at the puny
youngster with real anger and exasperation. "If you think I'm going to
leave you on this island to be devoured by wild animals when Nikobo's
back is turned, you don't know your pirates. CLIMB up on that animal.
Lively, now!" Samuel looked so fierce and threatening, Ato felt rather
sorry for the stubborn little King, but he was wasting his sympathy.

"I'm not going," said Tandy, settling more determinedly down into the
sand. "And no one can make me."

"Don't say that! Don't say that!" Blubbering with grief at the thought
of losing her small charge and shivering with anxiety lest he arouse to
further anger this tall sea captain, Nikobo lumbered to her feet and
began to whisper eagerly in Tandy's ear. During this short conference
Samuel gathered up his specimens and Ato his oranges, and when both had
finished the hippopotamus edged nervously forward.

"I've decided to go with you," she announced in a slightly shaken
voice. "If I go, Tandy'll go, so I'll just GO!"

"WHAT?" roared Samuel Salt, dropping his shells and clapping his hand
to his forehead. "Well, that practically solves everything!" Looking
wildly from the hippopotamus to the _Crescent Moon_, Samuel had a
dreadful vision of Nikobo rolling dangerously from side to side of his
cherished vessel.

"What'll you eat?" demanded Roger, who was ever more practical than
polite. "How'll we ever feed this enormous lady, Cook dear? Besides,
she'll sink the ship."

"I'll be very quiet and stay wherever you put me," murmured Nikobo in a
meek voice. "I'll go on a diet and eat whatever is left."

"Well, why couldn't she go?" proposed Ato, who already had formed a
great liking for Tandy's devoted guardian. "Why couldn't she? Nice kind
motherly creature that she is!"

"But a hippopotamus needs fresh water and tons of food and--" Then
suddenly Samuel brought his hands together with a resounding smack.

"Have you thought of something?" asked Ato hopefully, shifting his
oranges from one shoulder to the other.

"Yes," stated the former Pirate solemnly, "I have." Samuel was secretly
delighted to have found a way to carry this superb herbivorous specimen
back to Oz. "I'll build her a raft and tow her along after the ship.
We'll stop at all the islands we come to for fresh water and grass, and
meanwhile she'll have to do with salt baths and such food as we have in
the hold."

"Oh, KOBO! Did you hear that?" Springing up with the first signs of
life or feeling he had yet shown, Tandy flung himself on his huge
champion and friend. "So you're really going. Then I'll go too."

"Can't be all bad, if he's as fond of her as all that," whispered Ato
in Samuel's ear.

"Not bad, just a pest," wheezed Samuel, reaching for his ax. "Needs a
taste of the rope, if you ask me." Then, while Nikobo went for a last
swim in the Biggenlittle River and bade goodbye to her numerous and
wondering relatives, Samuel felled trees, split wood, and with nails
Roger fetched from the ship fashioned a splendid strong raft for their
new pet. Round the edge he built a sturdy railing to keep Nikobo from
sliding off in a rough sea. Ato and Roger, taking thought for the
evening meal, heaped one end of the raft with grass and twigs and all
the jungle roots they could gather. Without moving or offering to help,
Tandy sat watching, and just as the sun sank down behind the palms, a
strange procession started out for the _Crescent Moon_. Ahead with the
keg of nails soared Roger. Then came the hippopotamus moving like a
small dreadnought through the water. On her back sat Ato, the haughty
young King of Ozamaland, and Samuel Salt. Samuel rode last, holding in
his hand the long cable he had attached to the raft and with which he
meant to fasten it to the _Crescent Moon_.

Following his orders, Nikobo swam close to the side of the ship so
Tandy and Ato could climb the rope ladder, then she paddled round to
the stern where Samuel drew his cable through an iron ring in the
ship's hull and made the raft fast. There was a runway at the back of
the raft and the rails on that side let down so that Nikobo had no
trouble clambering aboard. By pulling a rope with her teeth, she could
raise or lower the back of her pen and take a swim whenever she felt
the need of one. After giving her a bit of advice about voyaging, and
seeing her comfortably settled, Samuel climbed the cable and nimbly
pulled himself aboard his ship. Roger had already stowed their precious
specimens in the hold and rubbing his hands with brisk satisfaction,
the Captain of the _Crescent Moon_ weighed anchor and dropped with
the tide down the Biggenlittle River to the sea. Then touching the
automatic controls, he set his sails to catch the evening breeze,
adjusted his steering gear for a course east by sou'east and strode
happily into his cabin. The Salamander chirped cheerfully as he passed
her hot box and after tapping a cheerful greeting on the lid, the weary
explorer stripped off his ruined and muddy shore-going outfit, took a
shower and climbed thankfully back into his old sea clothes.

"Where's the pest?" he called out as Roger flew past the open port.

"Well, since he was so small and important," sniffed the Read Bird,
waving a claw, "I gave him a large cabin to himself. I didn't think you
and Ato would want him in here."

"Shiver my timbers, NO." Samuel looked ruefully across at the small
berth the Philadelphia boy occupied on their last voyage. "He'll never
be the seaman Peter was, nor the company either. He'd better keep out
of my way, HAH! or I'll give him a taste of my belt." Snatching up his
spyglass and looking as stern as a kind-hearted pirate well can, Samuel
hurried out on deck.

Meanwhile, in the cabin next to the Captain's, Tandy stood regarding
himself mournfully in the small glass over his sea chest. He too had
taken a shower and at Roger's suggestion had donned one of Peter's old
pirate suits.

"I am a King and the son of a King's son," muttered Tandy, staring
sadly at the sallow reflection in the mirror. To tell the truth, the
suit was not in the least becoming to the skinny and sullen young
monarch.

"I am a King and son of a King's son and can bear anything," he
repeated dismally.

"Then bear a hand with the dinner," yelled Roger, who had been peeking
at him through the port hole. "All who eat must work, and under the
hatches with lubbers!"

Pretending not to hear, Tandy sat resignedly on the side of his bunk,
though he really was curious to look around the ship and see what
Kobo was doing. From the galley came the cheerful rattle of pots and
pans and the huge voice of Ato singing as he prepared the dinner.
Gulls flew in excited circles all round the _Crescent Moon_, calling
out their hoarse challenge and farewell, and Samuel Salt, leaning
on the taffrail, gazed dreamily back at Patrippany Island. The Oz
flags fluttering from the tall palms gave it quite a gay and festive
appearance and in spite of not seeing the Leopard Men, Samuel felt he
had done a good day's discovering.

"Ahoy, below! How you coming?" called Samuel, leaning down to look at
Nikobo. The hippopotamus wagged her huge head.

"Fine! Just fine, Mate," she wheezed pleasantly.

"Hah! Good for you!" Samuel's face broke into a broad grin as Kobo
remembered to call him "Mate." "We'll make an able-bodied seawoman of
you yet, my lass!"



CHAPTER 8

Maxims for Monarchs


When Ato, banging boisterously on an iron frying pan with a wooden
spoon, summoned all hands to dinner, Samuel and Roger responded with a
rush. But Tandy remained sitting gloomily on his bunk.

"Now what's the matter?" demanded Samuel Salt as Roger, sent to call
the young voyager, came flying back to the table.

"He says I may serve his dinner in the cabin," snickered Roger,
popping a biscuit into his mouth and swallowing it whole.

"Well, don't you do it!" roared the Captain, bringing his fist down
with an angry thump. "No use to start such nonsense!"

"But he's so thin and feeble. The poor child's just full of raw roots
and jungle grass," murmured Ato, beginning to heap a platter with
meat and vegetables. "Wait till he folds himself round some of these
seafarin' rations. He'll be a different person."

"And he'd better be!" rumbled the Captain of the _Crescent Moon_,
pulling in his chair. "And if you and Roger want to spoil the little
pest, go ahead, but he'd better keep out of MY way. HAH!"

"I could drop the dinner on his head," suggested Roger helpfully as Ato
handed him an appetizing tray for Tandy. "How would that be?"

"Utterly reprehensible, and conduct unbecoming in a Royal Read Bird and
able-bodied seaman," chuckled the ship's cook, shaking his finger at
Roger. "Why don't you try to help the little beggar and set him a good
example?"

Now Roger, in spite of his sharp tongue, was really a sociable and
kind-hearted bird and the sight of Tandy sitting so forlornly on his
bunk made him regret his teasing speeches. After all, the little
fellow was far from home and had had a hard time in the jungle.

"Here!" he puffed, setting down the tray and lighting the lantern.
"This'll put feathers on your chest, young one, and mind you eat every
scrap."

"Thank you," answered Tandy, so drearily that Roger with a shudder
of distaste fled back to the cheerful company of Samuel and Ato.
But later, when Samuel had gone below to pot the precious plants
from Patrippany Island and the ship's cook was leaning over the rail
conversing cozily with the hippopotamus, Roger flew back to Tandy's
cabin resolved to help him if he could. With calm satisfaction he noted
that Tandy had eaten everything on the tray. Lying on his back, the
young King of Ozamaland was staring solemnly up at the beams over his
bunk.

"Ahoy! And what goes on here?" cried Roger, setting down on the old sea
chest. "How about a turn on deck, my lad, and a bit of chatter with the
crew?"

"It is not seemly for a King and son of a King's son to talk with his
inferiors," observed Tandy coldly.

"In-feer-iors!" screamed Roger, forgetting all his good intentions
and mad enough to nip the youngster's nose right off. "Are you by any
chance referring to me?"

"Ozamaland is a great and powerful country and I am its King," stated
Tandy, turning his back on the Read Bird. At this Roger let out another
screech, and then suddenly remembering the purpose of his visit, took a
long breath to steady himself. When he spoke again his voice was both
calm and reasonable.

"Ozamaland may be a great and powerful country and you may also be its
King, but remember you are no longer in Ozamaland," explained Roger
firmly. "You are on this ship by the express wish and kindness of the
Captain and in the company of Kings and BETTER. WAIT!" Shaking a claw
at Tandy's back, Roger flew off to fetch one of Ato's books from the
shelf above the stove. Tandy was in the same position when he returned,
but paying him no further attention, Roger pulled the lamp nearer and
opened his volume.

"When a King is in the company of Kings," began the Read Bird
impressively, "he is no longer a special or royal being, but merely
a man among men, and as such must maintain his honor and standing by
sheer worth and ability alone."

"Who says that? What are you reading?" Tandy sat up with sudden
interest, for his whole life had been spent in study and reflection and
the voice of the Read Bird was not unlike the voice of Woodjabegoodja,
his royal instructor at home.

"I am reading _Maxims for Monarchs_," answered Roger calmly, "a book of
great authority and antiquity that has been used by the Rulers of Oz
and Ev and the Nonestic Islands these many thousand years. No great and
important country would think of being without a copy of this book," he
continued severely.

"Strange, then, that I should not have heard of it," mused Tandy,
looking not quite so sure of himself. "We have no _Maxims for Monarchs_
in Ozamaland."

"Pooh, Ozamaland!" Roger dismissed the whole country with a shrug of
his wing. "A country as young and unimportant as that would probably
know nothing about such matters."

"You mean my country is not so old nor important as Oz and this
two-penny island of your fat Master?" shouted Tandy angrily.

"Of course not. Why, it's not even been discovered, and whoever has
been there?" demanded Roger disdainfully. "Take you, as its King,
acting in this small up-country fashion--what CAN a fellow think?
Here--" Shoving the book toward the disagreeable young monarch, the
Read Bird urged him to look for himself. With a puzzled frown Tandy
reread the passage Roger had just quoted.

"Well, even though your Master is a King, you're not a King and neither
is Samuel Salt," said Tandy, looking at Roger with some of his former
arrogance.

"Oh, isn't he? Well, just lay to this, young fellow," Roger shook his
claw under Tandy's upturned nose. "Samuel Salt is Captain of this ship,
a Knight and the Royal Discoverer of Oz, which makes him seventy times
as important as you, King Pins. He not only is boss of the _Crescent
Moon_, but he rules the sea, discovering countries for other Kings to
govern, and if it were not for Samuel Salt and people like him, there
wouldn't be any Kingdoms nor people like you to run them. See? As for
me, I'm a Royal Read Bird and wouldn't be a King for a minute. I can
live my own life and go and come as I please."

"Then while I'm on this ship I'm not a King at all," said Tandy
wonderingly. "Then what am I? What am I supposed to do?" The little
boy looked puzzled and positively frightened.

"Why, you're supposed to act like a person, that is, if possible,"
sniffed Roger, reaching over for his book and looking at Tandy sideways
down his bill. "What are you besides a King? What can you do that is
useful or interesting?"

"Do, DO?" Tandy's voice rose shrilly. "Why--er--why, I can draw
pictures and ride an elephant."

"Good!" Roger put up his claw to hide the grin that, in spite of his
best efforts, began to spread round his bill. "Well, there isn't much
call for drawing or elephant riding on a ship, but you can draw water
to swab the decks and I'll teach you to ride the yards and follow the
crosstrees to the main topgallant mast in the blowingest blow that ever
blowed. And depend upon it, young one, you'll have more fun as a person
than you ever had as a King. There's no place for having fun like a
ship!"

"Fun!" said Tandy flatly and inquiringly. "What's that?"

"Tar and tobaccy jack! What are you tellin' me?" Roger almost toppled
off the sea chest. "Do you mean to sit there like a dumb image and tell
me you've never had any fun? Never felt so bursting full of ginger and
happiness you could sing or do a sailor's horn pipe?"

"It is not seemly--" began the boy in a staid voice. "It is--"

"Seemly! Great goosefeathers, are you alive or aren't you?" gasped
Roger. "What in paint did you do in that cussed country of yours before
you got carried off and penned up like a pig in the jungle?"

Considering Roger's question, Tandy clasped and unclasped his hands
nervously. "Well, you must know," he began in a very grown-up voice,
"the King of Ozamaland is not allowed to mingle with the common people.
In all things he is alone and set apart. So it was with my father and
mother before they disappeared. So it is with me. Furthermore, it being
prophesied that I would be carried off by an aunt in the middle years
of my youth, it was deemed expedient and necessary to keep me locked
away from danger in the White Tower of the Wise Men."

"Hurumph!" grunted the Read Bird, who had not heard so many long words
since the voyage began. "And what did you do in this precious tower?"

"I studied," sighed Tandy, reclining wearily back on his pillows, "for
there are many things a King must learn. But one hour of every evening
I was permitted to walk about the garden on top of the tower and look
down upon my Kingdom. On very great occasions I was allowed to come out
and ride the white elephant in the grand processions of state."

"Humph!" grunted Roger again, looking at Tandy with round dismayed
eyes. "And with whom did you play?" he asked after a little silence.

"Play?" Again Tandy's voice was politely inquiring.

"The word was _play_," insisted the Read Bird doggedly. "With whom
did you run about, play tag, checkers, pirates or go fishing?"

Tandy looked confused and Roger shook his head sorrowfully. "Never
heard of such things!" he exclaimed indignantly. "Well, all I can say
is, whoever carried you off and shut you up in that jungle cage did you
a real service. If you had not been there we never would have found
you and I'm here to tell you that from now on things are going to be
different. You're discovered now and aboard the grandest ship afloat.
You can forget all about being a King and start right in being a person
and an able-bodied seaman. I for my part mean to see you have some fun
or break a wing in the attempt."

"But would a King--"

"King! Never let me hear that terrible word again," shuddered Roger,
sticking his head under his wing and then popping it comically out
again. "From now on, you're plain Tandy and can do as you plain please
so long as it does no harm to yourself or the ship. Understand? And
tomorrow we'll start having fun, so be ready." Roger's promise sounded
almost like a threat, but there was such a merry twinkle in his eye,
Tandy began to feel interested. "You might even begin tonight," sniffed
Roger, taking up the tray. "Just begin by thinking of something you
want to do. Think about it hard and then DO it." Winking cheerfully
over the empty plates, the Read Bird spread his wings and sailed
through the port.

For several minutes Tandy lay where he was, turning Roger's last
injunction over and over in his stiff, precise little mind. What DID he
really want to do? At first he could think of nothing. Then suddenly
he knew. Why, of course--he wanted to talk to Kobo and he just plain
WOULD. There was a frosted cake left from his supper, and slipping it
into his blouse, Tandy stepped quietly out on deck. The ship, with only
a slight roll, was moving briskly through the water, white foam falling
in lacy spray from her sides, the moon-white sails spread like giant
wings above his head. There was no one in sight, and almost holding his
breath, Tandy tiptoed aft and leaned adventurously over the taffrail.

"Kobo--Yo KOBO!" he called huskily.

"Hello! I thought you'd be out soon." Swinging round and turning her
vast smile upward, the hippopotamus gazed fondly at her young charge.
"Are you comfortable? Did you have a good dinner?" she asked anxiously.

"Yes, and look what I saved for you!" As he spoke, Tandy glanced
over his shoulder as if he were almost afraid to have anyone see him
enjoying himself. "Open your mouth, Kobo!" he whispered eagerly.
Without hesitation or question the hippopotamus stretched her jaws wide
and Tandy with the first real thrill of his life flung the frosted cake
into that immense pink cavern. As Kobo neatly caught and snapped her
lips on the tempting morsel Tandy let out a faint cheer and began to
think there might be something in Roger's suggestions after all. "I'll
throw you lots of things tomorrow," he promised gaily. "Good night,
Kobo. Good night, Kobo dear."

Humming a tuneless little song, the young King hurried almost
cheerfully back to his cabin. Pausing in the doorway of his tidy
quarters, he looked about complacently. What did he want to do next?
There was no one to tell him to go to bed, so he just plain wouldn't.
He'd sit up as late as he plain pleased. Rummaging through Peter's sea
chest, which Ato had placed near his bunk, Tandy found a large tablet
of stiff paper, a box of paints and some crayons. Settling himself
cross-legged on his bunk, he began drawing, not pictures of the castles
and courtiers of Ozamaland, but pictures of the queer jungle beasts and
Leopard Men he had seen on Patrippany Island.

When Roger, on first watch, called out eight bells, he saw Tandy's
light still burning, and flying down to investigate, found his new
pupil fast asleep in the middle of his masterpieces. The whole bunk
was covered with bright drawings and pictures and even to Roger's
inexperienced eye they seemed excellently done. So, carefully the Read
Bird stowed them in the sea chest, then, without bothering to waken or
undress the little King, he covered him with a light blanket and went
quietly from the cabin.



CHAPTER 9

Sea Legs for Tandy


"If what Roger tells us is so, little Sauce Box yonder has had a
pretty dull life," said Ato as he and the Captain sat finishing their
breakfast next morning. "Lucky for him we happened along and anyway,
the hippopotamus will be good company, eh, Samuel? She seems downright
sensible and jolly. Reminds me of Pigasus and I suppose she does belong
to the pig family when you come to think of it."

"Well, she's a pretty big pig if she does," laughed Samuel Salt,
swallowing his coffee with gusty relish. "Pretty big any way you take
her. Personally, I like the animal, but the King and son of a King's
son! PAH! Reminds me of Peter, he's so different, and the sooner we
reach Ozamaland and set him ashore, the better. Meals in his own cabin.
Hoh!"

"Oh, give him time," drawled Ato, helping himself a second time to
fried potatoes. "If there's any good in the lad, a sea voyage will
bring it out, and what chance has he had shut up in a tower for ten
years and in a cage for five months? Though how an aunt managed to
have him carried so far and why she left him with those savages in the
jungle I can't get through my head at all."

"Maybe it was a gi-ant," whistled Roger, swooping down on Ato's plump
shoulder and flapping his wings cheerfully. "How far do you figure it
is to Ozamaland, Master Salt?"

"Well, that I couldn't just say," answered Samuel in a milder voice.
Pushing back his chair, he stepped over to the map on the west wall.
"Maybe a thousand leagues or so from Patrippany Island, maybe more,
in a line east by sou'east from Ev. If that is so, we're bound to
bump into it sometime, as I've set my course east by sou'east, and
anyway it's all in the year's sailing." Samuel bent over with pride
to examine the newest island discovery he had marked on the chart the
evening before. "And when we do come to it," he announced firmly,
"we'll trade this useless young one for some of those flying snakes and
creeping birds, eh, Mates?"

"If we bring any more animals aboard we might as well set up an ark and
be done with it," warned Ato, shaking his fork at the Captain. "By the
way, how's Sally this morning?'

"Tiptopsails!" grinned Samuel. "She eats nothing but hot air and water
and is no more trouble than a hair in a flea's whisker. I can carry her
round in my pipe when I want company. Now there's a lass for you!"

"Well, I'll just see to Nikobo, for she's the girl for me," retorted
Ato, rolling briskly out of his seat. "I saved all the potato peelings
from last night, and that, with a dozen cans of peas, corn, carrots and
beets, should stay her appetite till lunch time."

"Forty cans at one swallow," groaned Roger, clapping a claw to his head
in mock dismay. "She'll eat us out of ship and home at this rate. Can't
you think of something else, King dear? A nice wind pudding or a tub of
sea soup sprinkled with faggots."

"Oh, go along with you," roared Ato, and picking up his precious coffee
pot, he waddled cheerfully off to his storeroom.

The day was bright and breezy and the _Crescent Moon_ going free,
breasted the waves like a white-winged sea witch. It was SUCH a
morning that even Tandy, peering inquiringly from his cabin, felt an
uncontrollable impulse to slide down the deck. So he did, coming up
smartly by Roger, who was perched on the rail.

"That's it! That's it! Now you're catching on," approved the Read Bird,
hopping cheerfully from one foot to the other. "Now match your step to
the sea's roll, sonny, get into her rhythm. You've got to breathe with
the ship to carry your rations on a voyage. Watch the Captain, there,
and do as he does," finished Roger as Samuel Salt left his cabin and
came striding aft.

"Rather watch you!" exclaimed Tandy, who sensed the Captain's dislike.
Uneasily he moved a little nearer the Read Bird.

"All right, come on then!" shouted Roger, heading recklessly for the
foremast. "Ever climb a tree?" Tandy shook his head, looking with
deep misgiving into the maze of sail and rigging above. But Roger
was already aloft and beckoning for him to follow. "Not that way,
Brainless!" scolded Roger anxiously as Tandy, gritting his teeth, made
a desperate leap upward. "See those rope ladders by the rail? Put your
feet in the ratlins, boy, and come along hand over hand. It's easy as
flying once you get the swing of it. There, that's better! Come on!
Come on! Don't stop! Don't look down." So up--up and up the narrow rope
ladders toiled Tandy, till Roger, growing impatient, seized his collar
and helped him straddle the crosstree of the fore t'gallant mast.
"Ahoy! And isn't this better than riding an elephant?" beamed Roger,
winking a knowing eye. "Ahoy, this is fun and NO fooling." Seeing Tandy
was too dizzy and breathless to talk for a moment, Roger cheerfully set
himself to teach the young Ozamander a bit about ships and sailing.
Soon Tandy was so interested he forgot the leap and plunge of the ship,
the rattle and creak of the cordage and his own precarious perch in the
foremast.

"The _Crescent Moon_," began Roger with an impressive jerk of his head,
"is a square rigged three-masted sailing vessel. Normally 'twould take
from sixty to eighty men in a crew to set and make sail and bring
her about in a blow. But Samuel Salt has magic sail controls, so we
three manage quite easily, and now that YOU are here and the handy
hippopotamus below 'twill be easier still. The mast we're riding is the
foremast. The mast second from the bow, as we call the front of the
ship, is the mainmast, and the mast at the back or, as we salt water
birds say, the stern of the boat, is the mizzenmast. And now for the
sails." Roger took a deep breath. "Those below, beginning from the
bottom up, are the course, the topsail, the topgallant sail, the royal
and the sky sail. And don't forget!" Roger wagged his claw sternly.
"Before each sail you must put the name of the mast to which it is
attached. As, for instance, this ahead of us is the fore-topgallant
sail. SEE? And everything to the left of the ship's center we say is on
the port side and anything to the right is on the starboard."

"Then tell me why is the water on the port side bluer than the water on
the starboard?" asked Tandy, who had been listening very solemnly as he
tried to fix all of these strange sea terms in his head.

"Bravo!" cried Roger. "Right the first time, Mate. And the water is
bluer on the port side of the vessel because it is saltier. The bluer
the saltier," declared Roger, who, besides his first voyage with the
_Crescent Moon_, had read all the sea books in Ato's library and was
simply crammed with deep sea facts and information. "And what is more,"
he continued, pursing his bill mysteriously, "we're sailing in a magic
circle never knowing what may pop up over the edge. A ship? An island?
A hurricane? Or even a fabulous monster! That's what makes sea voyaging
so glorious, and sailing so much fun!"

Tandy, staring at the empty circle of blue falling away from the ship
on all sides, nodded dreamily. The White City--Patrippany Island--all
his former life and existence seemed unreal and far away and he hoped
in his heart of hearts the _Crescent Moon_ would not reach his native
shores for many a long gay day. As Roger said, being a person _was_ fun.

"M--mm!" Roger sniffed suddenly. "Wonder what Ato's cooking? Smells
like taffy. I'll bet a ship's biscuit we're going to have a candy pull."

"A candy pull!" exclaimed Tandy, taking a furious sniff himself.
"What is that?" As Roger started in to explain about candy pulls, a
large green column shot up on the skyline, a column so surprising and
shocking in appearance Tandy felt positively stunned.

"Oh, look! LOOK!" he screamed, grabbing Roger's wing. "There's
something now. Oh, Roger, what fun! What terrible fun!"

"Fun?" Roger spun round like a weather cock in a gale. "Fun?" he
repeated, stretching out his neck as far as it would go and a few
inches besides. "Oh, my best bill and feathers. That's not fun--that's
a SEA-Serpent. Help! Help! Deck ahoy! 'Hoy! 'Hoy! Below! King! Captain!
Ato! SAMMY! SAMU-EL!" As if calling them not only by their titles
but by their names would increase the number of the ship's officers
and crew, Roger tugged wildly at Tandy's arm. "Below! Below! All
hands below," shrilled the Read Bird. "Cover all ports and batten the
hatches!"

Urged on by Roger, Tandy, still more interested than frightened,
descended rapidly to the main deck. At Roger's cries, Ato had run out
with a pan of bubbling molasses in one hand and his trusty bread knife
in the other. Right behind him stood Samuel Salt, his eye pressed to
his largest spyglass.

"Well, tar and tarry barrels!" exclaimed the Captain exultantly. "Why,
this is a sea serpent second to none, the finest example of a marine
ophidian I've ever met in all my voyages!"

"Oh, fiddlesticks!" blustered Ato, shaking him angrily by the arm. "Are
you a Captain or a Collector? Quick, now, make up your mind before your
ship is crunched down like a cracker and we're all swallowed up with
the crumbs. Quick, Sammy! For the love of salt mackerel, DO something!"
Squeezing himself between the cook and the Captain, Tandy saw that
there were now three immense shiny curves showing above the water, and
with scarcely a splash the tremendous monster was moving toward the
ship. Then suddenly it was upon them, and its huge horrid unbelievable
head came curling far over the bow of the _Crescent Moon_.

"Avast and belay! Avast and belay, you villain!" yelled Samuel Salt,
dropping his spyglass and grasping his blunderbuss while Roger beat his
wings together like castanets and screamed like a fire siren.

Tandy, rather frightened himself, and not knowing what else to do, fell
flat on his stomach and pulling a pad from his blouse, began making
a quick and frantic sketch of the dreadful sea beast. Its body was
leagues long and yards through, the head was large as a whole elephant
with a long curling silver tongue and darting green fangs. But it was
the teeth that made even the stout heart of Ato hammer against his
ribs. Each tooth of this singular sea serpent was a live white goblin
brandishing a long spear. Leaning far out of the yawning mouth, they
screamed, hissed and yelled at the defenseless company below. The next
forward thrust of the monster brought its head curling right down among
them. This so startled Tandy he could neither move nor scream. Samuel
fired his blunderbuss so fast and furiously it sounded like a dozen
guns, but it was Ato who really saved the day and his shipmates.

With calm and deadly precision, the ship's cook flung the pan of
still bubbling molasses straight into the cavernous mouth. Screaming
with surprise, pain and fury, the monster clamped its jaws together,
and finding them stuck fast on the taffy, fell writhing back into
the sea, dashing and slashing its head under water to ease the burn
and setting the _Crescent Moon_ to dancing like a cocklebur. But the
taffy, hardened by contact with the cold water, stuck faster than ever,
and unable to bite and scarcely able to breathe, the discomfited sea
monster backed away from the ship and went slithering and thrashing
away toward the skyline.

"Well, there goes our candy pull!" sighed Roger, falling in a limp heap
to Ato's shoulder. "Nice work! Nice work, King dear. There's a certain
touch about your fighting that is well nigh irresistible."

"Mains'ls and tops'ls! You certainly pulled a trick THAT time!" puffed
Samuel Salt, picking up his spyglass to have a last look at his lovely
specimen. "You saved us and the ship, that time, Mate. My bullets
rattled off its hide like hailstones off a roof."

"Pooh! Just happened to have the taffy handy," answered Ato, looking
rather regretfully into the empty pot. "Here, child, run back and tell
Kobo everything's all right." The ship's cook pulled Tandy quickly to
his feet. "Just listen to her squealing. The poor lass is probably
frightened out of her skin." As Tandy started aft on a run, Ato picked
up the sketch he had made of the monster. "Ahoy and what's this?" he
panted. "What did I tell you, Sammy? Look, the boy's drawn as lively a
picture of that varmint as you'd ever hope to paste in a scrap book.
Here it is--tail, teeth and everything!"

"Mean to say he drew that while we were all standing here ready to
perish and go down with the ship? Hah! That's what I call bravery in
action!" exclaimed Samuel. "And goosewing my topsails! If the young
lubber can draw like this he'll be a monstrous help to us, Mates. Why,
I'll make him cabin boy and Royal Artist of the Expedition with extra
rations and pay."

"Hurray! And I'll tell him," puffed Roger, spreading his wings
gleefully. "Hi, King! Hi, Tandy! Ho, Tandy! You've been promoted from
King to cabin boy and Royal Drawer of Animals and Islands and extry
rations and pay!"

Nikobo was as pleased as Tandy at her little charge's rise to favor,
and after they had both listened in rapt silence to Roger's news,
Tandy told her how Ato had routed the sea serpent. Meanwhile, Roger
had carried all the sketches Tandy had made of the Leopard Men and
Patrippany Island to the main cabin. Samuel's delight and enthusiasm
at having such spirited and authentic records of the lost tribe and
strange animals on Patrippany Island knew no bounds. He beamed on Tandy
so kindly and approvingly next time they met, the little boy felt warm
and jolly all the way down to his heels. Roger had already explained
his new duties to him and when Ato sounded the gong for dinner Tandy
was the first to answer. But when he started to pass the vegetables and
wait on the table, the Captain gruffly pushed him into a chair.

"All equals here," roared Samuel, slapping him affectionately on the
shoulder. "You've earned your place and your salt, sonny, and we'll all
help ourselves and each other." Tilting back his chair and keeping
time with his teacup, Samuel began to sing lustily:

    "Blow high--blow low--
      'Tis a salt sea life for me--
    With a good ship's crew I'll sail the blue
      With a good ship going free--eeeh--eeeh!
    With a good ship going free!"

Almost before he knew it, Tandy was singing, too.



CHAPTER 10

The City of Bridges


The days that followed always seemed to Tandy the happiest he had
known. He wondered now how he had ever endured his long, tedious,
pent-up life in Ozamaland. There was so much to see and do on a ship,
the hours were not half long enough. Being a full-fledged member of
the crew, he took his turn on watch, his trick at the wheel, and had
besides other duties on deck. After a bit of practice he could scramble
aloft like a monkey and liked nothing so much as perching in the
rigging looking far out to sea. The Read Bird had fastened a special
rope to the mizzenmast so that Tandy could swing out and drop down on
Nikobo's raft, and much of his free time was spent with the faithful
hippopotamus.

Sea life agreed enormously with Nikobo, especially since Ato had solved
the largest item of her diet. Noting the tangled mass of seaweed often
floating by on the surface of the sea, the clever cook let down the
ship's nets daily. The seaweed, crisp, tender and green, was dragged
on deck where Roger and Tandy went carefully through it, removing all
crabs, small fish and sea shells which seriously disagreed with the
hippopotamus. A huge hamper full was lowered to her every evening and
with this plentiful supply of green food, with the bread and delicious
vegetable scraps Ato saved from the table, Nikobo fared better than she
had on the Island. The largest tub on the boat served as a drinking
cup and this Tandy kept full by playing down the hose from the deck,
giving her a daily shower of fresh water at the same time. So, lacking
nothing in interest or comfort, Nikobo enjoyed herself hugely and to
the fullest extent.

On calm mornings, with the _Crescent Moon_ hove to, all hands would go
swimming. Nikobo loved to swim and to roll over and over like a mighty
porpoise, even though the salt water made her eyes sting. Since Tandy
had given Samuel the drawings of the Leopard Men, the ship's Captain
could not do enough for his young cabin boy, and among other things had
made a rope harness for Nikobo so Tandy could hang on when he perched
upon her slippery back. At first he had been satisfied to ride Nikobo,
but after several days he was splashing recklessly with the others and
Samuel had taught him all the swimming strokes he knew and had Tandy
diving over and under the hippopotamus in a way to make Roger scream
with envy and approval.

Swimming was the only part of a sea voyage the Read Bird could not
really enjoy, but he was always on hand to give advice, roosting on
Nikobo's head so long as she stayed above water and taking hurriedly to
his wings when she mischievously tried to dunk him. The hippopotamus
made a really splendid raft when they tired of swimming, and Ato, who
did not care for water sports so much as Samuel or Tandy, fished for
hours from her back, his feet hooked through the ropes of her harness
to keep him from falling into the sea. The only thing Tandy regretted
was Nikobo's great size and that she could not come aboard ship and
join them in the cabin. On cool evenings he and Ato and the Captain
(Roger preferring to take first watch) would sit cozily round the fire
listening to the stories Samuel told them of the days when he had been
a pirate and roamed up and down the Nonestic, capturing the ships and
treasure of all the powerful island monarchs. Tandy never tired of
these thrilling sea battles nor of watching Samuel Salt's pet fire
lizard.

Sally was now so tame she would allow any one of them to pick her up.
They had to be careful not to hold her against their clothing, however,
for though Sally did not burn the fingers, she set fire to whatever she
touched. Indeed, whenever they wanted a fire in the grate, they had
only to place the Salamander on the kindlings beneath the logs and a
cheery flame would blaze up instantly. It was in the fireplace Sally
took most of her exercise, racing and scittering over the glowing logs
or rolling happily in the red hot embers. But most of her time she
spent curled up in Samuel Salt's pipe, and it was always a surprise to
Tandy to see her comical head pop up over the edge of the bowl or hear
her chirping and purring to herself from her cozy bed of tobacco leaves.

Some evenings, when Ato was trying out new recipes in the galley,
Tandy and Samuel would descend to the hold to look over the plants
from Patrippany Island, try to figure out the script on the piece of
lava, and sort and arrange Samuel's shell collection. Every day after
the nets were drawn up there were new specimens to classify and label.
The drawing Tandy had made of the Sea Lion and all the pictures of the
Leopard Men and beasts on Patrippany Island, Samuel had framed and hung
above his shelves so that the hold was looking more and more like a
scientific laboratory every day.

"Do you suppose we'll ever find anything large enough to put in those
big cages and aquariums?" asked Tandy one night as he pasted a pink
label on a fluted conch shell.

"Sure's eight bells!" murmured Samuel Salt comfortably. "No telling
what'll turn up on a voyage like this. Personally I've set my heart on
a roc's egg, but setting the heart on a roc's egg won't hatch one out,
Ho, Ho! No, No! But, on the other hand, one never can tell and we've
had a week of such fine and pleasant days, I look for something to
happen any moment now, so you'd better put up your paste pot and turn
in, my lad, so we'll all be ready for the morning."

"Well, what would you do with a roc's egg?" inquired Tandy, reluctantly
clapping the top on his bottle of glue. "Aren't they terribly big and
terribly scarce, Captain Salt?"

"Terribly!" admitted Samuel Salt, placing his tray of lamp shells back
on their stand. "But a newly laid roc's egg is as rare as a mermaid's
foot, and no larger than one small tar barrel. Now if we could just
get a newly laid roc's egg aboard and find some way to preserve it,
why, well and good, if we didn't find a way and it hatched before we
landed, it could easily fly off with us and the ship, for THAT'S how
big a bird a roc is. But I'll take a chance if I ever find a roc's egg
and there's an island somewhere in these waters where rocs are known to
nest. Rock Island it's called, and a roc's nest would be something to
see, eh, Kinglet?"

"Please don't call me that," begged Tandy earnestly. "Roger says I
don't have to be a King on this ship and I like not being a King."

"Ha! Ha! And I like you that way myself," roared Samuel, tossing Tandy
suddenly to his shoulder. "Why, since you've stopped this King and son
of a Kinging, you're a seaman after my own heart, and so long as the
_Crescent Moon's_ afloat you've a berth on her! Up with you! Up with
you! Tomorrow's another day." Swinging gaily to the main deck, Samuel
tumbled Tandy into his bunk and went striding aft to take in his main
and mizzen topsails.

Next morning, while he and Ato were cutting up potatoes for Nikobo,
Tandy was not surprised to hear a loud hail from above. Something had
happened just as Samuel had predicted. Running out with a paring knife
still in his hand, he saw a strange glittering mountainous island abaft
the beam. It was still a goodish sea mile away, but with the glasses
Ato generously pressed upon him Tandy made out the most curious bit
of geography the eyes of a voyager had yet gazed on. There was not a
piece of level ground on the island anywhere. Its high, glittering,
needle-like peaks rose straight out of the sea with apparently no way
of ascending or descending. Of clear crystal, reflecting every color
of the rainbow, the beautiful island was almost too dazzling to look
at as it lay shimmering and sparkling in the bright sunshine. As they
sailed nearer, Tandy saw that a perfect maze of high and airy bridges
ran like a gigantic spider web between the peaks. On these bridges all
the island's life and activities seemed to take place. Quaint fluted
cottages were built in the center, and along the perilous catwalks on
either side raced the Mountaineers themselves, brandishing glittering
poles and spears and halberds.

"Pikes on the peak! Pikes on the peak! Port your helm, Sammy," roared
Ato. "Not too close! Not too near, Sam-u-el. How'd you like to be
pinned to the mast with a spear or flattened on the deck with a
boulder?"

"Ah, now, they're just excited!" answered Samuel Salt, squinting
curiously up at the Bridgemen, but Nikobo, with her short legs resting
on the top rail of her raft, squealed out a dolorous warning.

"Fighters! Fighters! These Pikers look savager than the Leopard Men.
Best back away, Master Captain, while there's still time."

"Oh, look! LOOK! There's a ship on the mountain," cried Tandy, jerking
Samuel's sleeve, "right there where that torrent comes down between the
bridges, a three-master, larger than the _Crescent Moon_."

"Then it's a battle!" boomed Samuel, bringing his helm hard around.
"Stand by to man the guns. 'Hoy, all hands, 'hoy!" While his shipmates
sprang to attention, Samuel darted from mast to mast, touching the
buttons on his sail controls.

"AYE DE AYE OH LAY!" The shrill unexpected cry came from the highest
bridge on the island, and was immediately taken up and repeated by all
the Pikemen on the lower bridges. It resulted in such a mad medley of
yodels that Ato clapped both hands to his ears and Nikobo plunged her
head in her drinking tub.

"Not only fighters, but singers!" grunted Ato, swinging the port
gun into an upright position. "Beef, beans and barley bread! What a
rumpus!" Tandy, who with Roger had charge of the other gun, could not
help but admire the calm way Samuel Salt ignored the dreadful outcry
from the bridges. Whether the pikes of the islanders could be flung
down upon them was still a question, but as Tandy looked anxiously
aloft, he saw the great white-sailed ship of the Mountain Men sweeping
toward the torrent. It paused for a breathless instant on the top and
then came rushing down upon them. They were right in the path of the
descending vessel which would strike them with such force both ships
would surely be demolished.

"I am a King's son and the son of a King's son," shuddered Tandy,
gritting his teeth and waiting desperately for the order to fire. "I
can bear anything."

"Not this! Not this!" chattered Roger, sliding wildly up and down the
shiny cannon. "It will shiver your timbers--it will shiver all of our
timbers. What in salt ails the Captain? Why doesn't he give the order
to fire and pepper these rascals before they reach us? Oh, oh! Oh--hh!"
But the only orders that came from the Captain were for Nikobo.

"Overboard, Lassie! Dive off! Quick, now, and swim for your life,"
bawled Samuel Salt, waving both arms frantically at the hippopotamus.
As Nikobo with a frightened squeal let down the back rail of her pen
and slid into the sea, Tandy felt a quiver and jerk through the whole
length of the _Crescent Moon_. Glancing aloft, he saw a strange change
in the sails. Where before they had been sturdy single stretches of
canvas, they were now great swelling balloon sails, each a perfect
air-filled sphere. As the ship from the mountain with an angry swish
catapulted down from the torrent into the sea, the _Crescent Moon_ rose
buoyantly into the air, allowing the enemy craft to shoot harmlessly
beneath her bow.

"What in Monday!" gasped Ato, flinging both arms round the cannon.
"What in Monday are you up to now? How'd we do this? Stop! Stop! I'm
no flier. No higher! No higher! Do you intend to impale us on yonder
Peaks?" Samuel Salt, hanging desperately to the wheel, made no reply
and as the ship, dipping and swaying, soared higher and higher the
deafening yodels of the Bridgemen ceased abruptly.

"Wha--wha--where are you heading?" demanded Roger, spreading his wings
in order to keep his balance on the sloping deck. "You never told us
you had balloon sails, Master Salt."

"Ahoy, but we never needed them before!" panted Samuel. "Look sharp
below, Roger. Tell me whether I'm over that lake or basin. Look sharp,
mind you, or we'll come to grief yet."

"Aye, aye!" quavered the Read Bird, dropping obediently over the side.
"It all looks sharp to me."

"Mean to say you're coming down in the middle of these pikes, peaks
and bridges?" moaned Ato, holding his head with both hands. "Avast and
belay, Mate, I signed up for a sea voyage and not a balloon ride. The
altitude's got you, Sammy, that's what. You've air holes in your head.
How do you expect the four of us to conquer this whole pesky peaky
island? How could we even take half of them?"

"By surprise," announced Samuel Salt grimly. "We'll take them by
surprise. Look, they're too surprised to even yodel. Fetch up the Oz
flags, Tandy, and all hands aft for further orders."

"Aft and daft!" choked Ato, hanging on to the rail as he made his
way toward the wheel. When Tandy came hurrying up from the hold, his
arms full of Oz flags, the _Crescent Moon_ hung directly over the
glittering Island. Roger fluttered anxiously just below calling up
hoarse information as to the size, possible depth and shape of the
sparkling blue lake between the peaks.

Listening carefully to Roger's directions, Samuel deflated his balloon
sails so skillfully the _Crescent Moon_ came down lightly as a swan in
the exact center of the Lake. Above and around the ship on all sides
hung the glittering spans of a beautiful Bridge City, and in stunned
silence and dismay the Bridgemen looked down on the flying ship and its
curious crew.

"Ahoy and hail, Men of the Mountain!" challenged Samuel in a ringing
voice. "You are now part and parcel of the great Kingdom of Oz, free as
before to govern yourselves, but from this day and henceforth on, an
island possession and colony under the protection and puissant rule of
her Majesty Queen Ozma of Oz!"

"OZ! Ozay Oz Oh Lay?" The cry came from the tallest and most splendid
of the Islanders, who was standing with folded arms on the lacy span
connecting the two highest peaks on the Mountain.



CHAPTER 11

The Prince of the Peaks


The cry, though loud, was no longer defiant, and Tandy with a little
gasp of relief saw the Mountaineers on all the bridges bring their
pikes to rest beside them and gaze aloft for further orders.

"I am Alberif, Prince of the Peaks," stated the Man on the Highest
Bridge, looking coolly down at Samuel Salt. "But YOU--you who come in
this flying ship to conquer the Island of Peakenspire, who are YOU?"

"Ato, the Eighth, King of the Octagon Isles, Sir Samuel Salt, Captain
of the _Crescent Moon_ and Royal Explorer of Oz, Tazander Tazah, King
of Ozamaland, and myself a Royal Read Bird," shouted Roger before any
of the others had time to speak for themselves.

The Prince of the Peaks, tall and splendid in his shining coat and
breeches of silver cloth, his broad-brimmed hat with its quill and
rosette of wild flowers, looked so much more impressive than anyone
aboard the _Crescent Moon_, Tandy half expected him to laugh at Roger's
boastful announcements. But instead, Alberif, leaning far out over his
royal bridge, looked down at them long and seriously.

"Two Kings, a Royal Discoverer, a Flying Ship and a Read Bird! Hi de
Aye de Oh!" whistled the handsome monarch, shaking his head ruefully.
"No wonder we were captured. What then are your terms, Kings, Captain,
Bird and Conquerors?"

"Not conquerors, COMRADES," called up Samuel Salt in his hearty voice.
"Only by your own wish, agreement and consent shall ye come under the
rule of Oz. If your Highness could but descend from yon Royal Bridge to
this ship, everything can be arranged both peaceably and pleasantly."

"'Ware, Alberif! 'Ware, Alberif!" yodeled the Pikemen on the lower
bridges. "Once aboard that ship eeee-ip! We may never see you again
eeeeee-yen!"

"Oh, nonsense!" blustered Samuel Salt impatiently. "I give you my word
as a Pirate and a seaman no harm shall come to you on the _Crescent
Moon_."

The Prince stood lost in thought for a moment, then tapping his
long alpenstock sharply he issued a high yodeled command. From the
bridgehead an immense basket swooped down. The Prince seated himself
gravely in the basket and with three men manipulating the ropes made a
swift and dizzy descent to the deck of the _Crescent Moon_.

While Samuel and Roger welcomed the tall and lordly Ruler of the
Mountain Isle, Ato hurried off to the galley to prepare some suitable
refreshments for his entertainment. Tandy, after Samuel had introduced
him, began making careful sketches of the handsome Prince, of the
lovely city of bridges and of the Pikemen, who still looked with
suspicion and distrust upon the ship that had taken the place of their
own.

"How about that basket?" whispered Roger, who had come out to help Ato
in the galley. "How'd you like to be hoisted and lowered like a sail?
And for salt's sake, King dear, dust the flour off your nose and put
on your crown, or this fellow will think you're King of the Cookies and
Doughnuts."

"Ha, ha! When he's tasted my plum cake he'll not think it, he'll know
it!" puffed Ato, bustling happily from cupboard to cupboard. "Bring out
the best tumblers and silver plates, fetch up a dozen bottles of my
famous Sea-pop from the hold and we'll have this island in our pocket
before you can say Oz Robinson!"

When Ato with one tray and Roger with another came out, they found
the Captain and the Prince of the Peaks striding up and down the deck
in the friendliest conversation imaginable. Matched in height and
handsomeness, the two were discussing with lively interest everything
from ships and governments to the strange limestone that formed the
crystalline rocks of Alberif's island. Later, seated around the table
with Tandy and Roger passing plum cake and Sea-pop, the Prince grew
friendlier and more confidential still.

"We've never been conquered before," admitted his Majesty with a
puzzled smile, "but really I find it both interesting and enjoyable."

"Just a matter of chance and luck," said Samuel Salt with a modest
wave of his hand. "Had I not had balloon sails on the _Crescent Moon_,
your ship would have cut us clean in two before we had time to put
about."

"That is what I always planned would happen to an enemy craft," sighed
Alberif. "Naturally our own ship, the _Mountain Lass_, would have been
destroyed too, but we could easily have built another. That is what
we'll have to do anyway, as we'll never be able to haul her up the
torrent."

"Don't you do it," begged Samuel Salt, looking earnestly at the
Mountain Monarch. "I'll send you a set of balloon sails as soon as I
reach Elbow Island. The Red Jinn presented me with two sets and I'll be
delighted to send you one. Once they're set, you can fly up as easily
as we did and be ready for all and sundry, even US if we come again."

"Come and welcome!" beamed Alberif, looking in some surprise at Sally,
who had just lifted her head above the rim of Samuel's pipe bowl. "But
tell me, what am I to do now that I am conquered? Surely something is
required of us?"

"Nothing! Nothing at all!" Samuel spoke earnestly and admiringly. "This
island and your men are in fine shape and a great credit to you, so
just go on as you are, but from this time forth you'll be in contact
with the famous and most modern Fairyland in History, and if you are
ever beset by enemies, you can call upon Oz for assistance or help. In
time, fruit, foodstuffs, books and merchandise will arrive from Oz, and
in return you may send back some of the sparkling crystals composing
these mountains. You might even invite a band of settlers from Oz to
come and live as your loyal subjects here."

"Gladly! Gladly!" agreed the Prince, his eyes sparkling at the
prospect. "We have many uninhabited peaks and spires and could
easily accommodate a thousand new bridge builders. Come with me, all
of you, to Skytop Tower and we'll run up the flag of Oz and sign a
pledge of allegiance to her Majesty Queen Ozma. AYE DE AYE OH LAY!"
Running out on deck, Alberif joyously beckoned to the men who operated
the traveling basket, inviting them all to enter. Ato, who had no
intention of trusting his two hundred and fifty pounds to this strange
conveyance, shook the Prince regretfully by the hand.

"I'll just watch it all from here," said the ship's cook firmly. "I've
pie to cook, potatoes to peel and dinner to stir up for all hands and a
hippopotamus, so, if you'll kindly excuse me--"

The Prince looked a little disappointed, but cheered up as Samuel,
Roger and Tandy followed him into the basket.

"Haul away!" yelled Samuel Salt, winking at Ato, and to the shrill
tune of a ringing round of yodels their curious elevator rose from the
deck, spun merrily up to the Twin Peaks and highest bridge of Alberif's
Mountain. Used as he was to the tall masts and lofty rigging of the
_Crescent Moon_, Tandy felt sick and giddy as the basket swooped and
swung upward. But it came down safely at last and at sight of the
shining spans of the lacy city spread out below, and the glittering
castle rising from the royal bridge, Tandy forgot all his uneasiness.
With a little whistle of surprise and interest he followed Samuel and
Alberif into the royal dwelling, while Roger flew off on a little
exploring expedition of his own. Roger knew all about castles and was
much more interested in the many windowed, fluted cottages of the
yodelers.

Ato, watching from the deck of the _Crescent Moon_, presently saw the
flag of Oz fluttering from the top turret of the Castle Tower and with
a little sigh of relief and pride he gathered up the empty pop bottles
and padded off to his galley. Soon Oz flags floated from the posts on
all the bridgeheads, adding much to the gaiety and beauty of Alberif's
city.

From the Royal Bridge Tandy and Samuel had a splendid view, and of
his many experiences Tandy always remembered best the afternoon spent
on Peakenspire. Alberif was a merry as well as an interesting host,
explaining everything from the strange traveling baskets to the age-old
customs and treasures of the Islanders. In the baskets the Islanders
could travel from bridge to bridge and down to the sea itself when
they wished to go fishing. There was little soil between the rocks,
but such soil as there was, was so amazingly fertile, each family
could raise all the fruit and vegetables required in one small window
box. After long experimentation and culture, Alberif's ancestors had
perfected two curious vines. On one vegetables grew in rapid rotation,
potatoes following peas, corn following potatoes, carrots following
corn, beets following carrots, cabbages, lima beans and spinach after
the beets. The vine never withered or died and by cutting off the top
every day the Islanders were assured of a continuous supply of fresh
vegetables. The fruit vine was of the same variety, furnishing every
known berry, fruit and melon. Each family was given two of these vines
and thus had very little worry about food supplies. Birds, something of
a cross between wild ducks and chickens, made their nests in the craggy
peaks, and with their eggs and a plentiful supply of fish and other sea
food the Islanders fared splendidly.

The Bridgemen were tall, blue eyed, handsome and happy. Men and women
alike wore short trousers and blouses of silver cloth and carried
pikes that served both as weapons and alpenstocks. The bridges, while
delicate as fine lace in construction, were supple and strong as
steel. The material mined from the mountains themselves was like silver
and crystal combined, a new strong and glittering metal, samples of
which Samuel happily thrust into his pocket.

"Sounds like magic," said Tandy, who had been listening closely to
Alberif's description of life on Peakenspire.

"It _is_ magic of a kind," answered the Prince with a pleased little
nod. "And the air here is so light and sparkling we never tire, grow
old or have illness of any kind, so that my people are always light
hearted and happy, spending most of their time in dancing and singing."

"I see," murmured Samuel Salt, "er--and hear," he added quickly as the
wild, joyous cries of Alberif's yodelers made every window in the
palace rattle. "I'll certainly make a note of all this and report
Peakenspire Island to Queen Ozma as the most interesting discovery of
the voyage."

"I am highly honored!" Alberif bowed stiffly. "Highly honored! HI
dee Aye de OH--hhhhh!" Jumping into the air, the Prince of the Peaks
kicked his heels together from sheer exuberance. "Wait," he told
them cheerfully, "and I'll get you some fruit and vegetable vines to
take back with you." Tandy and Samuel could not help grinning as
Alberif rushed off. To tell the truth, there was something so light
and exhilarating about the mountain air they found it difficult to
walk calmly themselves. As the Prince returned Samuel felt a loud and
uncontrollable yodel rising in his own throat, and seizing Tandy's
arm, he bade Alberif a hasty and hearty adieu. Bidding him keep a
sharp lookout for the airships from Oz, and loaded down with crystals
and vines, the two explorers climbed into the basket and were swung
swiftly down to the deck of the _Crescent Moon_. Roger, flying under
his own power and yodeling like a native, arrived soon after.

With Oz flags flying from all bridges and the Mountaineers calling out
rousing and melodious farewells, Samuel inflated his balloon sails and
the ship soared gracefully aloft, circled the island three times and
then dropped lightly down upon the surface of the sea. The _Mountain
Lass_ in charge of Alberif's husky crew lay just off shore and there
she would have to stay till Samuel sent a set of balloon sails to lift
her back to the Lake among the peaks.

Nikobo, who'd been swimming anxiously round and round, gave a bellow of
relief as she spied the _Crescent Moon_.

"I thought you'd been captured and destroyed!" wheezed the
hippopotamus, scrambling hastily aboard her raft. "Next time you fly
off, take me aboard or give me a balloon sail too. I'm so full of
salt water I'm perfectly pickled and somebody'll have to scrape the
barnacles off my hide."

"But we've brought you a present," called Tandy, leaning far over the
taffrail, "a vegetable vine that will keep you supplied with fresh
vegetables as long as we're at sea. SEE! DEEEE Aye DEE OH!"

"Avast and balaydeeaye!" barked Samuel Salt grimly. "Let's get away
from here. This is no way for able-bodied seamen to talk." Rushing from
wheel to mast, he quickly set his sail. "Ahoy! Ahoy Dee Oy Dee OH!"
he yodelled, then, very red in the face, he blew three shrill blasts
on his fog horn, swung his ship about and the _Crescent Moon_, with a
spanking breeze on her quarter, went skimming away toward the southern
skyline.



CHAPTER 12

Fog


The evening had blown up raw and cold, and after carrying an old
tarpaulin down to cover Nikobo, Tandy had come shivering back to the
main cabin. Samuel Salt had close reefed his topsails and double reefed
his courses, adjusted his mechanical steering gear, and now sat beside
the fire examining a heap of the glittering crystals from Alberif's
island.

"Just sketch Peakenspire Island on the chart, there where I've made the
cross," he directed, looking up with an absent smile as the little boy
came over to warm himself at the cheerful blaze. "You're such a hand
with a brush, even in so small a place you can give a good idea of the
City of Bridges."

"And a good idea they are," murmured Ato, who was busy mending his
fishing nets on the other side of the fireplace. "In every port we
learn something new, eh, Mate? All mountains, no matter how high and
peaked, could be lived on if they were properly bridged."

"True, quite true," agreed Samuel, squinting contentedly through his
magnifying glass, while Tandy began sketching in the latest discovery
on the sea chart. "I've written it all up in my journal and put down
Peakenspire Island as able to accommodate a thousand settlers from Oz
and as an especially good place for poets."

"Provided they are deaf," put in Ato, looking comically over his specs,
"AYE DEE AYE DEE OH! While you fellows were aloft I got to yodeling so
fast and furious I blew all the sauce pans off their hooks."

"Yes, that _is_ one disadvantage," admitted Samuel, glancing
approvingly at Tandy's picture of Alberif's Island, "but never mind,
we don't have to live there, and think of the splendid specimens we've
brought away, Mates!" Samuel ran his fingers lovingly through the heap
of crystals and strands of metal Alberif had given him. "And those
fruit and vegetable vines will provision us for the whole voyage."

"They're a great comfort to _me_, I assure you," muttered Ato, holding
up his net to the light to see whether there were any more holes. "Now
I know Kobo will never starve. I put a vegetable vine in a box on her
raft and that leaves two for us, two for Ozma, and maybe Tandy would
like to take the other two home with him?"

"Home?" Tandy swung round in positive dismay. "Oh--we're not near
Ozamaland yet, are we, Captain?" His voice sounded so dismal Samuel
Salt threw down his magnifying glass with a roar of merriment.

"Shiver my timbers, lad, one would think you did not wish to reach
Ozamaland at all," he blustered teasingly. "What's the matter with that
country of yours? You wouldn't keep an honest explorer from adding a
creeping bird and a flying reptile to his collection, now would ye?"

"No! No! Of course not," answered Tandy quickly. "But perhaps it is
farther away than you think, Master Salt, and perhaps the Greys have
conquered the Whites and then I won't be King any more."

"What's this? What's this?" Ato lifted his nose like an old hound that
has just scented a fox, for he loved a good story even better than he
loved a good meal. "Who are the Greys and Whites, my lad? You never
told us anything about this."

"There's really not much to tell," sighed Tandy, seating himself on a
small stool before the fire. "In the first place, I suppose you know
that the great continent of Tarara is divided into two large long
countries? Ozamaland is on the East Coast and Amaland on the West
Coast."

"Now I'll just make a note of that," said Samuel Salt, leaning over to
pull his journal toward him.

"My country," went on Tandy slowly, "is made up largely of desert and
jungle, best known for its white elephants and camels and the famous
White City of Om, first King and ruler of the Kingdom. The Zamas are
fierce and still wild tribesmen living in tents on the desert and in
huts in the jungle. Only the thousand Nobles and their families who
live in the White City have been taught to read and write and live
under roofs. That is why the Kings of Ozamaland are so well guarded and
never allowed out of the capital."

"Then I'd rather be a tribesman," sniffed Ato, letting his nets drop in
a heap around his feet.

"But there's no choice," said Tandy thoughtfully. "The nine
Ozamandarins who make the laws have decreed that the King shall remain
in the White City."

"Well, what about these Whites and Greys?" asked Samuel Salt, pulling
out his pipe and leaning down close to the fire so Sally could light it
for him.

"My people, because they dress in white robes and turbans, are known
as the Whites, and the Amas, the rough plainsmen who rove the long
ranges of Amaland, are the Greys. The Amas care for nothing but their
swift grey horses and often charge over the border to make war on my
countrymen. Then the Whites, mounted on their white elephants and
camels, have all they can do to hold their own."

"Aha, that's what I'd call a REAL battle!" exclaimed Ato, his
eyes snapping with enthusiasm and interest. Then, noting Samuel's
disapproving frown, he pursed up his lips, shook his head and added
quickly, "All very wild and disorderly, Tandy, my lad. Seems as if the
Whites and Greys should manage their affairs more peaceably."

"Yes," said Tandy solemnly, "and I've often thought when I was grown,
I'd ride over on my white elephant to visit the Greys and see why they
are so unfriendly."

"A good idea, and if I were you, I wouldn't wait till I was grown. I'd
do it as soon as I got back," advised Samuel Salt, taking a long pull
at his pipe.

"And very probably get himself cut up and captured," shuddered Ato,
shaking his head.

"Well, he's been both shut up and captured anyway, hasn't he?" said
Samuel mildly. "Now which one of your aunts do you think had you
carried off, Matey, and how many aunts do you have anyway?"

"Three," Tandy answered, counting them off solemnly on his fingers.
"And they were all pretty and pleasant enough; but after the prophecy
of the Old Man of the Jungle that I would be carried off by an aunt,
they were all locked up in the castle dungeon and I was locked up in
the Tower." And, resting his elbows on his knees, Tandy gazed soberly
into the fire as if he might discover there the reason for his cruel
abduction and imprisonment in the jungle.

"If I'd only been awake when I was carried away," he exclaimed
impatiently.

"They probably gave you a sleeping potion," decided Ato, nodding his
head portentously, "but it's such a longish distance, unless this aunt
had wings or a flying eagle I'll never understand how she shipped you
so far and so fast."

"Well, whoever it was did _us_ a real service!" boomed Samuel Salt,
twinkling his blue eyes affectionately at Tandy. "Even Peter was no
better aboard a ship--eh, Mate?"

"A real artist and a seaman," agreed Ato, rolling cheerfully to his
feet, "and when we reach Ozamaland I'll talk to these aunts like
an Octagon uncle, and the Ozamandarins had better hold on to their
turbans, too."

"But they wear square hats!" roared Tandy, laughing so hard he almost
fell off the stool, for he just could not picture the fat King of the
Octagon Isle berating the haughty judges of Ozamaland.

"What's the joke?" demanded Roger, flying in through the open port
and making a straight line for the fire. "Brrr-rah! Wet weather,
boys! Wet weather! Oh, what a coldth and dampth and gloomth. Why, I'm
moister than an oyster and clammier than a clam. How about a cup of hot
chocolate for the Watch, Cook dear? Better see to your sail, Master
Salt. Fog's thicker than bean soup out there."

"We'll _all_ have some chocolate," said Ato as Samuel hurried out to
see how dense the fog really was. Later, sitting by the stove sipping
Ato's delicious hot chocolate, Tandy could not help comparing this cozy
life aboard the _Crescent Moon_ with his dull and lonely existence in
the Royal City of his Fathers.

"I wish the Greys _would_ capture the Whites," he thought vindictively,
as he followed Roger across the slippery deck. "Then I'd never have to
leave this ship." The kind-hearted Read Bird was carrying a pail of hot
chocolate down to Nikobo on the raft. She could not get her great snout
into the bucket, but she opened her enormous mouth and with one toss
Roger poured the whole pail down her throat.

"That'll keep her warm till morning," chuckled Roger, flying back to
join Tandy, "and now you'd better turn in, little fellow, for you're on
morning watch and eight bells will be sounding before you know it!" All
through his dreams about the Whites and Greys Tandy heard the raucous
voice of the fog horn, and when he rolled sleepily out of his bunk to
relieve Ato, the ship seemed to be hardly moving at all.

"Ahoy, Captain! Isn't a fog dangerous?" Tandy's voice seemed more
hopeful than worried, and Samuel Salt, peering down at the little boy
buttoned to his chin in Peter's old sou'easter, grinned approvingly.

"Just about as dangerous as a man-eating tiger," he answered
cheerfully. "We're liable to ram a ship, run on the rocks, or scrape
our bottom on a hidden reef or sand bar. These waters, as you know,
being all unnavigated. But I've brought Sally along to keep my nose
warm and throw a bit more light on the subject and we'll have to take
our chance--eh, Matey? Just step aft and see if you can make out
anything astern, will you, Tandy?"

Four o'clock, or rather eight bells, was always pretty dark and one had
to depend more or less on the ship's lanterns, but this morning was
the darkest Tandy had ever experienced. Clinging to the rail, he moved
cautiously to the stern and gazed intently down into the gloom. Nothing
an inch beyond his nose was visible and as for the raft and Nikobo,
they might just as well not have been there.

"Kobo, Kobo, are you all right?" There was no answer to Tandy's call,
but presently a huge and resounding snore rolled upward and, greatly
comforted, Tandy hurried back to the Captain. Samuel Salt was busy
lighting extra lanterns and as he straightened up, a hollow boom,
followed by a splintering crash, sent them both sprawling to the deck.
Leaping to his feet and unmindful of the glass from the shattered
lanterns, Samuel seized an unbroken one and ran furiously to the rail.

"Ship ahoy! Heave to! you blasted son of a cuttle-fish lubber! You've
rammed us amidships, you blasted Billygoat. Where are your lights? Why
didn't ye sound the horn?" His lantern, held far over the rail, made
no impression at all on the choking fog. Jumping up and running after
Samuel, Tandy strained his eyes for a glimpse of the ship that had hit
them, for unmistakably to his ears came the scrape and rasp of wood on
wood. Yes, surely it was a ship. But no answer to Samuel's hail came
out of the fog, only the swish and murmur of the sea and the rattle
of wind in the rigging. But all this creaking could not come from the
_Crescent Moon_ alone. There _was_ a ship beyond them in the fog,
but where, as Samuel had demanded, were her lights and crew? Wildly
Tandy, hardly knowing what to think or do, continued to blink into the
maddening darkness. Ato and Roger, wakened by the horrible jolt, now
came hurrying out, each waving a lantern.

"Let go the anchor, Mates," ordered Samuel in a stern voice, "we're to
grips with an enemy ship, so stand by for trouble. Further shortening
his sail, Samuel waited tensely for the first move from their invisible
foe.

"Might be pirates," he whispered out of the corner of his mouth to
Tandy, who stood close beside him grasping the scimiter that had once
been Peter's. "Jump the first man aboard."

"How about a long shot in their general direction?" wheezed Ato, who
found the silence and suspense well nigh unbearable.

"No, it is not for _us_ to start a fight," stated Samuel grimly. "But
hah! Just let _them_ start one! Fetch me my stilts, Roger, and be quick
about it, too!"

"Stilts?" choked the Read Bird, dropping the blunderbuss with which he
had armed, or rather winged, himself. "You'll never be trying those
things again--they nearly shivered our timbers last time. Why take
another chance?"

"My stilts!" repeated Samuel savagely, and Roger, who knew his duty
as a sailor, flew without further argument to the hold. When Roger
returned with a stilt in each claw, the Captain grasped one and moving
silently as a cat over to the port rail, he thrust the long pole
experimentally out into the fog. There was an instant thud, and Samuel
himself got a severe jolt as the stilt struck against some firm and
immovable object beyond. Convinced that it was an enemy ship, Samuel
returned to the others and, drawn up in an anxious row, the four
shipmates waited for the fog to lift or the first enemy seaman to leap
aboard.

"I'll wager it's a derelict, or an abandoned vessel with no crew,"
breathed Ato, seating himself on a fire bucket to somewhat ease the
long wait. The first hour Tandy stood fairly well, but the second
seemed interminable. The flickering lanterns, the tense quiet, the
choking fog and gentle roll of the ship all made him desperately
drowsy, and, much to his later disgust, he must have finally fallen
asleep. The next thing he remembered was the shrill squall of the Read
Bird and the pleasant feel of the sun on his eyelids.

"The ship! The pirates! The fog!" thought Tandy, springing up wildly,
but neither ship nor pirates met his astonished gaze. Abaft the beam
lay a great whispering deep sea forest, its trees higher than the masts
of the ship, springing directly out of the water and stretching their
leafy branches to the sky. It was into one of these giant greenwoods
the _Crescent Moon_ had crashed in the fog. Samuel was staring at the
sea forest with the rapt look of a scientist who has just made an
unbelievable discovery, and Ato, with his elbows resting on the rail,
was gazing dreamily in the same direction.

"'Hoy! Ahoy! Why, I never knew there were forests in the sea,"
exclaimed Tandy, running over to insinuate himself between the cook and
the Captain.

"There aren't! It's just plain impossible!" breathed Ato, moving over
to make room for Tandy. "But, impossible or not, there she lies. And
isn't it pretty?" he mused, resting more than half of his great weight
on the rail.

"I suppose Sammy'll want to dig up a sea tree and bring it along," he
leaned over to whisper mischievously in Tandy's ear. "And anyway, it's
better than pirates."

"Look, look, there's fish in those trees," screamed Roger, bouncing
up and down on Ato's plump shoulder. "How about some flying fish for
breakfast, Cook dear?"

"Breakfast? Breakfast? Can it really be time for breakfast? Ho, hum! I
thought I was still asleep and dreaming," grunted Ato, giving himself a
little shake. "Well, forests or no forests, a man must eat, I suppose!"
And still gazing delightedly over his shoulder, the ship's cook trod
reluctantly toward the galley, while Tandy hurried into the cabin for
his paints.



CHAPTER 13

The Sea Forest


Tandy had to call Samuel twice before he would come to breakfast and
when he finally did sit down, he was so busy preparing to explore the
sea forest he ate scarcely a bite.

"We'll take the jolly boat," he decided, making long notes in his
journal between his sips of coffee, "the small nets and knives and
baskets for cuttings and any specimens we may pick up and--"

"Why the jolly boat when we have a jolly sea-going hippopotamus?"
inquired Roger, elevating one eyebrow. "A jolly hippopotamus, I might
add, who runs under her own power and saves us the trouble of rowing!"
Roger was much annoyed because he had failed to catch a flying fish
before breakfast and instead of eating his hard-boiled eggs, kept
winging over to the open port to glare at his finny rivals. Tandy, like
the Captain, was too excited to eat, and even Ato downed his omelette
and fresh strawberries from the Peakenspire fruit vine with rare speed
and indifference.

"It's a lucky thing you're so enormous, Kobo," puffed the ship's cabin
boy, dropping down on the raft a few minutes later. "Ato's got his crab
nets and fishing lines, Samuel's bringing an aquarium, a couple of
baskets and a box. And I have this pail, my paints and a cage in case
Roger does manage to catch one of those flying fish." Kobo was staring
fixedly at her vegetable vine as Tandy dropped down beside her, and now
snapping off a whole bushel of beans, she turned round and, munching
contentedly, surveyed the excited boy at her side.

"Whatever you have can be hung to my harness," she assured him,
speaking a bit thickly through the beans. "But turn the point of that
scimiter up instead of down; you wouldn't want to carve old Kobo, now
would you? It will seem funny swimming through a forest, won't it,
little King? The further we go on this voyage the queerer everything
grows."

"But I like it queer," stated Tandy, climbing with a satisfied little
sigh on Nikobo's broad back.

"I, too, find it most interesting and jolly," agreed the hippopotamus,
fastening her eyes dreamily on the vegetable vine to see what was
coming up next. "I thought I might be on short rations when I came on
this voyage, Tandy, but I declare to goodness I've never had such a
rich and varied diet in my life. You, too, look fine and strong and
much happier than when we met in the jungle. But to get back to the
fare--why, today I've had a basket of biscuits, a bushel of beans--"

"And that makes it Bean and Biscuit Day, I suppose," giggled Tandy,
remembering Kobo's strange way of dividing up her week. "But look!
Listen! Here they come!"

"Ahoy below, Hip Hip OPOTOMUS, AHOY!" roared Samuel Salt jovially from
above. "All ready to cast off, my lass?"

"Aye, aye, sir!" grinned Kobo as Samuel and Ato came panting down the
rope ladders to the raft. "Move over, Tandy, and make room for the Cook
and the Captain!" It took nearly ten minutes to get all the gear and
crew aboard and Nikobo looked like some curious deep sea monster when
she finally shoved off. Two large baskets were slung from ropes across
her back. The pail and bird cage slapped up and down on one hip, the
aquarium on the other, and through her collar various fishing rods,
nets and poles were stuck like quills on a porcupine.

"Now whatever you do, don't submerge," warned Samuel, holding his tin
box for especially fragile specimens high above his chest to keep it
dry. "Just slow and steady, m'lass, so we'll have time to observe and
admire and make notes of any strange growths and creatures as we ride
along."

"Creatures!" exclaimed Tandy, twisting round. He was perched on
Nikobo's head, his paints held carefully in his lap. "Would there be
any wild animals in a sea forest, Master Salt?"

"Sea Lions, likely," predicted Samuel, peering round eagerly as Nikobo
paddled between two slippery barked sea trees into the murmuring forest
itself. Except for the fact that the floor of this curious sea wood was
the blue and restless sea, it might almost have been a forest ashore.
The trees, tall, straight and stately, towered up toward the sky.
Staring down into the clear green water, Tandy saw their trunks going
down, down, down as far as he could see.

"Rooted in the very ocean bed," marveled Samuel Salt, touching one
lovingly as they passed. "What splendid masts these would make, Mates!
Avast and belay, Nikobo, I believe I'll just take a cutting or two."

"Ha, ha!" roared Ato, peering over Samuel's shoulder. "So now we're
going to grow our own masts."

Samuel himself, leaning far out over Nikobo's back, severed three young
shoots from the sea tree and popped them happily into the aquarium.
Vines that were really of coral ringed the gigantic trunks like
bracelets, and the leaves of the trees were long ribbons of green and
silver that whipped and fluttered like banners in the morning breeze.

"What's that?" puzzled Ato as the hippopotamus made her way leisurely
between the trees. "Looks like mushrooms, Sammy! Wait, I'll just pick
me a few and see." Hooking his heels in Nikobo's harness, Ato began
vigorously cutting from the trunk of one of the trees the colored
fungus growths which sprouted in great profusion just above the
water line. Nikobo bravely offered to sample some, and after waiting
anxiously to see whether they would have any ill effects the ship's
cook decided they were harmless and joyfully filled one of the baskets.
The only specimens that really interested Ato were of the edible
variety. While he was thus employed, Tandy, an experienced climber
by now, scurried up to the top of one of the sea trees, breaking off
several branches so Samuel could press the curious leaves in his
album. High above his head Tandy could see Roger chasing angrily after
a flying fish, muttering with anger at his unsuccessful efforts to
overtake the nimble little sea bird. In our own southern waters there
are large flying fish that leap out of the water of the gulf stream,
but the flying fish in this Nonestic Sea Forest were small, and where
most fish have gills wore strong transparent wings. Their claws,
somewhat like a crab's, made it possible for them to perch jauntily in
the branches of the sea trees, and these strange little fellows could
swim and dive as well as fly. Pulling out his pad, Tandy made a lively
sketch of one in the tree opposite, for it did look as if Roger would
never succeed in catching one.

All morning Nikobo paddled calmly through the dreamy sea forest; Samuel
making notes, Tandy sketches, and Ato catching in his long-handled
nets plump little fish and crabs, and filling another basket with the
small delicious clams that clung like barnacles to the slippery bark
of the sea trees. In the shadowy center of the forest where the trees
pressed closer together and great flat rocks stuck their heads out of
the water, the explorers came upon several fierce sea lions. They were
not smooth and shiny like the seals of our own oceans, but yellow and
tawny with long yellow tusks, tufted tails and scaly manes. Their front
legs ended in sharp claws, their back legs were shorter and their feet
were webbed for swimming. Only the fact that Nikobo was larger and more
frightening to the sea lions than they were to her saved the party from
a savage attack by these malicious-looking monsters. As it was, they
retired sullenly into the deeper shadows, snarling and roaring defiance
as they backed away, but not before Tandy had made an effective sketch
of the whole group.

"'Tis a lucky thing for us that you're along!" grunted Ato, drawing
his feet up out of the water and looking with grim disfavor after the
snarling sea lions. "Likely as not, if you had not made that picture,
Samuel would have tried to drag one along by its tail, regardless of
our feelings or safety."

"A wild maned sea lion would be a valuable addition to any collection,"
sighed Samuel Salt, shaking his head regretfully. "But then--" he
grinned in his sudden pleasant way, "not much of a mascot at that."

The only other happening of note was Roger's capture of a monkey fish.
Unable to overtake a flying fish, the Read Bird had pounced on this
small combination of a land and water beast as it sat quietly sunning
itself on the limb of a tree. Screaming and chattering, he bore it
proudly down to the Captain, and Samuel was so pleased with the curious
little creature that when Nikobo suggested going back he made no
serious objection. And as the hippopotamus, rather weary from her
long swim, headed thankfully back for the ship Tandy and Samuel made
ambitious plans for the monkey fish's care and comfort.

Thrusting it into Tandy's bird cage, Samuel regarded it with increasing
enthusiasm and interest. "I'll rig up a wooden tree in one of the
aquariums, set the aquarium in one of the large cages so it'll have
both air and water, and call it 'Roger' after its discoverer," beamed
the former Pirate with a wink at Tandy.

"Don't you dare call that monkey fish after me," screeched the Read
Bird, flying round to have another look at his strange prize. "Why,
it's uglier than a blue monkey, looks like a regular goblin, if you ask
me." And to tell the truth, the monkey fish _was_ even uglier than a
goblin, shaped like a monkey but scaled all over, and with unpleasant
goggly eyes and three short spikes sticking out of its forehead.

"It does look like a goblin," agreed Tandy with an amused sniff. "But
let's call it Mo-fi, which is short for fish and monkey."

"Tip tops'ls!" approved Samuel Salt, taking out his note book. "Wonder
what it eats?"

"Great grandmothers, what would it eat?" moaned Ato, looking blankly at
Samuel. "Another mouth to feed and listen to! Dear, Dear and DEAR!"

"Oh, give it a box of animal crackers," put in Roger carelessly.

"No, I brought along some gold fish food for just such an emergency as
this," declared Samuel, making a little flourish with his pencil as he
wrote busily in his journal. "Gold fish food will be splendid for a
monkey fish."

"Well, don't forget the bananas--for remember it's a monkey, too,"
chirped Roger, settling on the Captain's shoulder to read what he had
written. So, laughing and joking and in the highest good humor the
exploring party returned to the _Crescent Moon_.

What with planting the slips from the sea tree, settling Mo-fi in his
aquarium cage, pressing the leaves from the marine forest, and making
copies and further notes about the sea lions in his journal, Samuel did
not get his ship under way till late afternoon.

Ramming into the sea tree, beyond scraping off some paint, had done
little damage, so singing boisterously, Samuel finally heaved up his
anchor. And soon, with Ato stirring up a huge clam chowder, Tandy
painting the sea forest on the chart and Roger scouring the hold for
Mo-fi's fish food, the _Crescent Moon_ again dipped adventurously into
the southeast swell.



CHAPTER 14

The Sea Unicorn!


"Ahoy! and how goes it with the able-bodied seaman?" called Roger,
swooping down from the foremast. Tandy, polishing the brass trim on the
binnacle, looked up with a welcoming grin.

"Tip topsails!" he answered, pausing a minute to stare off toward the
skyline to see whether any islands or sea serpents were visible.

"And look at that muscle, now," marveled Roger, touching Tandy's arm
admiringly with his claw. "You're twice the lad you were, Mate, and
I'll wager my last feather you can lay any lubber by the heels. If
anyone gets fresh-water ashore, remember you're a salt sea-going sailor
and you just take a poke at him. That's my advice without any charge or
obligation. But then again, a chap that's a King, the Royal Artist of
an exploring expedition, with a sea forest named after him, might not
need to take any advice at all," added Roger with a long and knowing
wink.

"But I like you to tell me things," said Tandy, looking earnestly up
at the Read Bird. "You make everything seem so interesting and jolly."
With a secret smile, for Tandy was thinking how much he would enjoy
taking a poke at Didjabo, the Chief Ozamandarin, the little boy went
on with his polishing. If Didjabo said anything further about shutting
him up in the Tower, he just plain would take a poke at him. But saying
nothing of all this to Roger, he called up cheerfully, "How's Mo-fi?
Has he stopped scolding and begun to eat?"

Roger, who was running races with himself up and down the taffrail,
stopped short and held up his claw. "Everything I give him," he told
Tandy solemnly. "And I declare to badness he's getting to know me,
Mate. He only pulled out three feathers instead of a fistful when I
gave him breakfast just now. Before long he'll be so tame he'll be
riding around on your shoulder."

"Not MY shoulder," laughed Tandy, waving his bottle of polish at the
Read Bird. "Goodness, I believe you're growing fond of that monkey
fish, Roger."

"Well, why not?" retorted the Read Bird, puffing up his chest. "Ato has
me, the Captain has Sally, you have Kobo, so why shouldn't I have a
little pet if I want one?"

The monkey fish seemed such a strange prickly sort of pet, Tandy could
hardly keep his face straight, but seeing Roger was quite in earnest,
he tactfully changed the subject. "Do you suppose we'll make any new
discoveries today?" he asked, screwing the cap on the bottle of polish.
"Any as important as the sea forest, I mean?"

"Why not call it by its proper name?" teased Roger, scratching his head
with his left claw. "And I think it most unlikely we'll strike anything
as curious and important as Tazander Forest. Two discoveries like that
just couldn't happen two days running. Still, I'll just fly up to the
main truck and have a look around."

"Main truck?" Tandy wrinkled up his brows. "I thought I knew all the
parts of this ship by now. You never told me about the main truck,
Roger."

"Just the top of the main mast, Brainless." Giving Tandy an
affectionate little shove, Roger soared into the rigging and Tandy went
joyfully off to have another look at the forest Samuel had insisted
on naming after him. He had taken great pains with the painting and
printing when he sketched it on the map, and now with a sigh of
complete satisfaction he stood regarding the sea chart. Then, suddenly
remembering he had promised to water Samuel Salt's plants, he jog
trotted contentedly down to the hold.

The tumbleweeds in their small red pots grew so rapidly Samuel had
to cut them back every day. These Tandy watered very sparingly,
snapping his fingers at Mo-fi, who was gravely chinning himself on a
branch of his artificial tree. The slips of the sea trees in their
covered aquarium required no attention at all. Ato had planted all the
vegetable and fruit vines from Peakenspire on the rail outside the
galley, so that left only the creeping vines from Patrippany Island to
care for. He had just picked up one of the small potted creepers when
a sharp rap tap under his toes made Tandy leap straight up in the air.
Someone was knocking on the bottom of the boat.

"Ato! Captain! ROGER!" shrilled the little boy, scurrying up from the
hold faster than he had ever done before.

"Su--su--SOMEBODY'S knocking on the bottom of the boat." Before he
could explain, or tell them anything further, a perfectly terrific
knock from below made the _Crescent Moon_ shiver from end to end.
Samuel and Ato, leaning over the port rail, turned round so suddenly
they bumped their heads smartly together. Next with a scrape, screech
and splintering of timber, a giant white horn came tearing up through
the decks.

"Whale! Whale!" croaked Roger, falling off the main truck and coasting
crazily down to the deck. "Wha--what ever'n ever's that?" he quavered,
pointing a trembling claw at the rigid white column between the main
and mizzenmasts. Samuel did not even try to explain, for at that
instant the ship began to rise, to fall, to lash and plunge both up
and down and east and west. Hooking his arms through the rail, Tandy
blinked, gasped and shudderingly waited for the _Crescent Moon_ to fly
asunder.

"Narwhal, Mates!" panted Samuel Salt, throwing himself bodily upon the
wheel. "Horn like a--uni--corn--branch of the Odontocetes and--"

"Oh--you--don't say--it--is!" chattered Ato, who was lying on his
stomach bouncing up and down like a ball at each frightful lunge of the
monstrous fish. "Well, it's spiked us--is that a horn or a ship's mast?
Oh woe, oh! What'n salt'll we do now?"

Samuel had not the heart to answer, for he had all he could do to
hang on to the wheel as the ship, like a wounded animal, reared and
plunged, thrashing the sea to a fury of foam and spray. Nikobo,
diving precipitously off her raft, began to squeal in high and low
hippopotamy, making brave but ineffective lunges at the lashing giant
beneath the ship.

"Su--suppose it su--submerges?" wailed Ato, who had managed at last to
seize a rope from the end of which he banged and slammed continuously
up and down against the deck. "Oh, my stars! Oh, my spars! Oh, my
beams and--" Tandy never heard Ato's last anguished cry, for at that
moment a savage shake of the Narwhal's head sent him flying into the
sea. Coming up coughing and choking, Tandy instinctively began to swim
and for the first time became aware of the creeping vine he still had
clutched tightly in one hand. And in that instant and in that whirl of
danger, disaster and destruction, the little boy suddenly grew calm
and purposeful. This vine--well, why would this powerful vine from
Patrippany Island not work as well under water as on land? The chances
were that it would. Swimming boldly back to the ship, Tandy took a
quick dive, hurling the vine pot and all in the general direction of
the Narwhal. No sooner had the vine touched the water than it began
to open, creep and grow and, spraying out a hundred strong tentacles,
it seized and bound the plunging monster in a secure and inescapable
cradle of leafy wood.

Gasping and sputtering, but with his heart pounding with joy to think
he had really saved Samuel's beautiful ship, Tandy rose to the surface.
Nikobo, letting off shrill blasts of anger and fright, came paddling
anxiously toward him. But giving the hippopotamus a reassuring wave,
Tandy seized the end of a rope ladder and pulled himself up to the deck.

Samuel, though battered and bruised, still clung to the wheel, and Ato,
almost pounded to a jelly, had rolled into the scuppers where Roger
was fanning him vigorously with a butter paddle. The Read Bird, having
wings, could have left the ship at any time, but had clung bravely to
his post, preferring to go down with the ship and his shipmates. Now
all three of them stared in dazed silence at Tandy as he climbed back
over the rail, for in the terrible confusion and excitement no one had
seen him go overboard.

"Tandy! Tandy! Where've you been?" With outstretched arms Samuel Salt
rushed groggily forward. "Shiver my liver! Why's everything so quiet?
Could it be that you single-handed have destroyed that ship-shaking
menace?"

"I don't think he's destroyed, Master Salt," answered Tandy, limping
happily to meet the Captain, "but he's caught fast as a lobster in a
lobster pot and can't move at all."

"Caught?" rasped Samuel, running across the deck to peer over the rail.

"By the creeping vine," explained Tandy, and in short, breathless
sentences he told them all that had happened after he was flung into
the sea.

"Well, bagpipe my mizzenmain sails!" gasped Samuel Salt, staring at
Tandy with round eyes. "This is the strangest and happiest day of my
life. You've saved the ship and the whole expedition, my boy, and all
we have to do now is cut loose from this cavorting unicorn of the sea
and sail off with the largest ivory horn in captivity. An ivory mast,
blast my buckles! Wait till the Ozites see us sailing up the Winkie
River with four masts instead of three! Ahoy, below! Ahoy, Kobo! Can
you dive with me beneath this ship?"

"Dive and stay under as long as you can," vowed the hippopotamus,
shaking the water out of her eyes and looking cheerily up at the
Captain. "You see, I was right about those creeping vines, now wasn't
I?" Nikobo, having done a little investigating on her own account, was
well nigh ready to burst with pride at Tandy's quick action and the way
in which the vines had overcome their gigantic foe.

"RIGHT!" boomed Samuel Salt, hurrying off for his oxygen helmet and
powerful diamond toothed saw. Ato was too bruised and exhausted to
rise, but Tandy and Roger, perching on the ship's rail, watched Samuel
in his queer diver's helmet climb down the rope ladder and clamber
up on the hippopotamus. Next minute Nikobo had disappeared under the
surface and presently from the slight shiver and shake of the boat
they knew that Samuel was determinedly at work cutting them loose.
Fortunately there was room between the ship's bottom and the whale's
head for Nikobo to swim about, and so splintering sharp was Samuel's
saw that in less than five minutes he had cut off the great column of
ivory level with the ship's bottom, carefully calking the edges with
material he had brought down. In its tight and live wood crate the
Narwhal could not stir an inch, and, while the cutting of its horn was
not painful, it blubbered and spouted so terrifically that Samuel and
Nikobo heaved tremendous sighs of relief when the dangerous operation
was accomplished.

Backing off a few paces, Nikobo began butting the crated sea beast with
her head till she had driven it out from beneath the boat. Roger and
Tandy, with little shrieks of wonder and excitement, saw the crated
fish like some queer and monstrous mummy rise to the surface and go
floating sullenly away toward the east. Now that they had a full view
of the Narwhal they saw that it was three times the length of the
_Crescent Moon_.

"A great wonder Sammy didn't tie it to the ship and tow it along,"
sighed Ato, who had at last got to his feet and draped himself weakly
over the rail. "Some fishin'--eh, Mates?"

"But look at the beautiful mast we have!" cried Tandy, waving to Nikobo
and the Captain as they came cheerfully alongside.

"Huh! you're as bad as Sammy," grunted Ato, rubbing his bruises
sorrowfully. "And of course a mast was just what we were needing! Whale
of a mast! Mast of a whale! HUH!"



CHAPTER 15

The Collector Is Collected


"What are you going to call this one?" inquired Tandy next morning as
he and Samuel squinted thoughtfully up at the gleaming ivory column
between the main and mizzenmasts.

"Might call it the whalemast," said Samuel, rubbing his chin
reflectively. "And it's a lucky thing for us the point was sharp enough
to cut through the decks without damaging the ship. At any rate, it's
given us the biggest fish story a voyager ever had to relate. Tossed
on the horn of a Narwhal! And the best part of the whole story is that
we have the proof right along with us. Hah! Right here!" Samuel in his
glee and exuberance gave the whalemast a hearty slap.

"Kobo says that vine won't unwind for a couple of days, but anyway
it'll be a fine rest for the whale floating around without having to
swim. And I expect it can grow another horn?"

"I expect so," agreed Samuel, winking down at Sally, who was standing
on her head in the bowl of his pipe. "If this little Lady would just
talk, she could give us a heap of valuable information about life in
Lavaland, Mate."

"Roger's taught Mo-fi to say 'Ship ahoy!'" observed Tandy, strolling
over to the rail to watch the white foam sweep past the ship's side.
"And your sea tree sprays have grown an inch since yesterday, Captain."

"They have?" Samuel blew three rings from his pipe, then walked aft
to glance at the compass. "Well, my boy, if the rest of the voyage
is as good as the beginning, we'll sail home loaded to the gun'ls."
The mention of home always made Tandy wince, for the _Crescent Moon_
was the first real home he had known. To think that he would be put
ashore in Ozamaland while Samuel's ship would continue its adventurous
voyage of discovery without him, was a fact almost too terrible to
consider.

"Maybe we'll never come to Ozamaland at all," mused Tandy as he climbed
into the rigging to join Roger. "Maybe the Captain's reckoning is wrong
and Ozamaland is to the north instead of the south." Vastly comforted
by this idea, Tandy swung nimbly to the crosstree on the fore t'gallant
mast. Roger was staring intently through Ato's telescope and as Tandy
squirmed along to a position beside him, the Read Bird let out a shrill
squall, all his head feathers standing straight on end.

"What do you see? What is it?" cried the little King, shading his eyes
with his hands and staring in all directions. "I can't see a thing."

"Take the glasses," urged Roger, handing them over with a frightened
gulp. "Take the glasses and then tell me it isn't so." Tandy, scarcely
knowing what to expect, screwed his eye close to the telescope, then
he, too, gave a shriek of consternation.

"Why--it's a big HOLE, a HOLE in the sea!" he stuttered, lowering the
glasses and staring at the Read Bird in blank dismay.

"Exactly!" croaked the Read Bird, "and whoever heard of such a thing? A
hole in the ground, certainly, but a hole in the sea, why that's just
plain past believing. Ahoy, DECK AHOY!" Wagging his head, Roger lifted
his voice in a long warning wail. "Heave to, Master Salt! Heave to!
Danger on the bow!"

Somewhat surprised, but without stopping to question Roger, in whom
he had the utmost confidence, Samuel hove his vessel to. And not a
moment too soon, for barely a ship's length away yawned an immense
and unexplainable hole in the sea. Round its edges the waves frothed,
tossed and bubbled, making no impression on that quiet curious vacuum
of air. Crowding into the bow, the ship's company stared down in
complete wonder and mystification.

"Now, goosewing my topsails, this'll bear looking into!" puffed Samuel,
breaking the silence at last.

"Now, now, NOW!" Ato snatched wildly at Samuel's coat tails as he
raced aft bellowing loudly for Kobo to come alongside. "You'll not go
a step off this boat. We can sail round this air hole and no damage
done, but as for looking into it! Help, HELP! Avast and belay and I'll
knock eight bells out of anyone who leaves this ship!" Seizing an iron
belaying pin, Ato made a desperate rush after Samuel Salt, and failing
to catch him before he slid down the cable to Kobo's raft, he grabbed
Tandy firmly and angrily by the seat of the pants. "Not a step!" panted
the ship's cook savagely. "Not a step! Roger! Roger! Come back here
this instant." But Roger, with a screech of defiance, had already flown
after Samuel. Tandy, pinned against the rail by Ato's two hundred
and fifty pounds, was forced to watch Nikobo, with Roger and Samuel
on her back, moving cautiously toward the edge of the air hole. Over
his shoulder Samuel had a huge coil of rope the end of which he had
attached to the capstan of the boat before he dropped over the side.

"Oh! Oh! and OH!" wheezed the ship's cook, "If Sammy goes down that
cavern we're as good as lost. No one to navigate, to up sail or down
sail or lay to in a storm. My, My and MYland!"

"Well, there he goes!" cried Tandy as Samuel flung the rope down into
the sea hole. "Don't worry, Ato, he's always come back before, hasn't
he? Let me go! Let me go, I tell you!" With a sudden jerk Tandy tore
out of Ato's grasp, climbed up on the rail and dove into the sea.
Swimming rapidly toward the hippopotamus, he climbed on her back and
with Roger fluttering in excited circles overhead Nikobo swam as
close to the edge of the sea hole as she dared, watching in terrified
fascination as Samuel calmly lowered himself into the clouded blue
depths. With mingled feelings of interest and alarm, Tandy saw the
Royal Explorer of Oz go down lower and lower and finally disappear
altogether into the deep blue air below. Now not a glimpse of Samuel
was visible and not a sound came up to reassure them that he was still
there.

"I'll just fly down and see what's up," quavered Roger, and in spite
of the loud shouts and threats of Ato on the _Crescent Moon_, the Read
Bird spread his wings and coasted slowly and bravely into the immense
air shaft. Nikobo, now as alarmed as the ship's cook, began swimming
frantically round the edge of the misty chasm, letting out piercing
blasts that sounded like nothing so much as a ferry boat whistle.
Tandy himself felt uneasy and frightened and Ato, unable to bear the
suspense any longer, climbed over the side and came swimming out to
join them. After an endless fifteen minutes, during which dreadful fear
and premonition gripped the watchers, the head of the Read Bird popped
mournfully into view.

"Is he all right? Where's Sammy? What in soup's he doing? What'd you
find out?" gasped Ato, reaching out to clutch Roger by the wing. Roger,
limp and bedraggled, with all the stiffness out of his feathers, said
nothing for a whole minute. Then, beating his wings together, he
began to scream out hoarsely, "The Captain's caught! The Collector's
collected. They have Master Salt forty fathom below. They've got him
shut up, I mean down at the bottom of the sea like a gold fish in a
bowl, only he's in a big bowl of air. They're poking little fish and
crabs through a trap door in the air shaft and I cannot break or even
make a dent in the transparent slide they've shot across the air hole
to shut him off from us. And oh, my bill and feathers! Every time they
open the trap door to shove things in to him, water rushes into the
vacuum. He's standing in water to his knees now and unless we can break
a hole in that lid the Captain's done for--done for, do you hear?"

"They?" asked Tandy while Nikobo's eyes almost popped out of her head,
"Who do you mean?"

"Oh, oh, don't ASK me!" choked the poor Read Bird. "They're not fish
and they're not men. They're about the size of Tandy, here, sort of
stiff and jellied and perfectly transparent. On a shell hanging outside
of one of their caves it said 'Seeweegia.'"

"Seeweegia!" moaned Ato, clutching his head in both hands. "Let me see!
Let me see! What's to be done, boys? Now quick! What's to be done?"

"Have Roger fetch the saw we used on the whale's horn," gurgled Nikobo.

"And I'll climb down and saw a hole in that slide," cried Tandy eagerly.

"No, _I'll_ climb down," said Ato firmly. "I've known Sammy the longest
and if he's going to come to a watery end I might as well end with
him."

Leaving the two arguing, Roger flashed back to the ship, returning
in almost no time with the scintillating and powerful saw. Tandy had
meanwhile convinced Ato that he could climb down the rope faster, being
so much lighter, and now, with tears in their eyes, Nikobo and the
ship's cook saw Tandy and Roger disappear into the air shaft.

Tandy let himself down carefully hand over hand, Roger keeping abreast
of him with the saw. To slide rapidly to the bottom would have been
quicker, but the resulting blisters would make it difficult to use the
saw. Forty fathoms, nearly two hundred and forty feet, is a long way
to go hand over hand on a rope, and before he reached the glass-like
slide, Tandy's palms stung and his shoulders ached and burned from the
strain. But at last he was down, and dropping to his hands and knees
with Roger mourning and muttering beside him, Tandy peered fearfully
through the glassy substance.

For a moment everything was a green and misty blur, but gradually the
figure of Samuel Salt standing sturdily in the middle of the air bowl
became visible. Although waist high in sea water, and surrounded by
loathsome sea creatures and crabs the Seeweegians had tossed in for him
to eat, Samuel was making slow and interested entries in his journal.
Pressed against the sides of his strange aquarium, Tandy could see the
round, square and triangular faces of the jellyfish men and women.
Brilliantly colored vines and seaweed waved and tossed in the current,
the floor of the ocean was covered with bright shells, polished stones
and all manner of sparkling deep sea jewels. Had Tandy not been so
worried about Samuel Salt he would have liked nothing better than
sketching this strange and beautiful under sea Kingdom with the
Seeweegians flopping and swimming busily in and out of their grottos
and caves, or disporting themselves in the sea weed forests. But as
it was, his only thought was of quickly freeing the Captain of the
_Crescent Moon_ from his curious prison.

"Look, they've put up a sign," hissed Roger, handing over the saw.
Looking in the direction indicated by Roger, Tandy saw an immense shell
on which long wisps of sea weed had been arranged to form the words:

    COME SEE THE CURIOUS HIGH AIR MANSTER.
    ADMISSION, 1 PEARL, 5 CORALS AND A CLAM!

The sight of this sign swinging from a small sea tree close to Samuel's
air bowl sent a wave of rage up Tandy's back. Rubbing his palms briskly
together, the little boy seized the saw and struck it with all his
might against the unyielding surface of the slide. The noise attracted
Samuel's attention, and looking up he began waving his arms, yelling
out wild orders and commands. Not being able to hear any of them and
being quite sure Samuel was telling them to leave the air shaft before
the Seeweegians shot another slide above their heads and caught them,
too, Tandy proceeded grimly with his task. Roger helped, scraping away
with both claws and bill. For five desperate minutes they worked
without success, then a tiny crack split the slide from edge to edge.
Wedging the saw into the narrow opening, Tandy began sawing away like
a little wild man, for a fresh batch of snails and crabs tossed in to
Samuel had let in another rush of sea water. Immersed to his chin,
Samuel started to swim round and round, dodging the end of the saw as
it flashed up and down above his head.

"Oh!" gasped Tandy, stopping a moment to blow on his fingers. "I'll
never be able to make this opening large enough. Look, look, Roger,
they're opening that trap door again. Oh, Oh! I can't bear it!"

"Help! Help!" yelled the Read Bird, looking despairingly up the empty
air shaft. "Help, for the love of sea salt and sailor men!" His cry,
increased by the curious nature of the compressed air in the air shaft,
increased a hundredfold and fell with a hideous roar upon the anguished
ears of Ato and Nikobo. Almost instinctively and without thought of
her own safety, or Ato's, or the dire consequences, the hippopotamus
jumped bodily into the sea hole. Roger, still glaring upward, had a
quick flash of an immense falling object. Realizing at once what had
happened, the Read Bird had just time to snatch Tandy and drag him to
the opposite side of the slide before Nikobo landed--broke through
the thick glass, plunged into Samuel's aquarium and shot out through
the side into a group of horrified Seeweegians. Now do not suppose for
an instant that Tandy, Roger or Samuel himself saw all this happen.
Indeed, after Nikobo struck the slide, none of them remembered a thing,
for the ocean, rushing in through the puncture the hippopotamus had
made in the vacuum, rose like a tidal wave, carrying them tumultuously
along.

Nikobo came up at a little distance from the others, with Ato,
completely wrapped and entangled in seaweed, clinging tenaciously to
her harness and looking like some queer marine specimen himself. Too
shocked and stunned to swim, the five shipmates bobbed up and down
like corks on the surface of the sea. Then Roger, spreading his wet
and bedraggled wings and coughing violently from all the salt water he
had swallowed, started dizzily back to the _Crescent Moon_. Nikobo had
several long gashes in her tough hide, but still managed to grin at
Tandy.

"I--I must have lost the saw," panted the little boy, pulling himself
wearily up on her back.

"Never mind the saw. I still have my journal, and look what I caught!"
puffed Samuel Salt, dragging himself up on the other side of the
hippopotamus. "Ship ahoy, Mates, a live and perfect specimen of a
jellyfish boy." Holding up his prize, Samuel smiled blandly, all his
danger and discomfort apparently forgotten.

"Oh, my eyes, ears and whiskers!" quavered Ato, peering out of his
net of seaweed. "Is it for this we've been scraping our noses on the
sea bottom?" Nodding cheerfully, Samuel plunged the squirming and
transparent little water boy under the surface, holding him there, as
Nikobo swam slowly and painfully back to the ship.



CHAPTER 16

The Storm!


Tandy was so exhausted from his dreadful experiences at the bottom of
the sea hole he spent the rest of the morning flat on his stomach on
deck making lively sketches from memory of the City of Seeweegia. Of
the sea hole itself not a sign nor vestige remained. The sea, tumbling
through the breach made by Nikobo, had closed it up forever and ever.
Ato had Roger fetch bandages and witch hazel down to the raft and it
took him two hours to bind up the cuts and hurts of the faithful
hippopotamus. Then climbing wearily up the rope ladder to the deck, he
spent another hour rubbing himself with oil and liniment, muttering
darkly about reckless collectors who got themselves and their shipmates
collected.

"What would WE have done if you'd never got out of that air bowl?"
scolded Ato, waving the bottle of liniment at the Captain, who was
cheerfully changing into dry clothes. "_You_ know _I_ know nothing
about navigation nor one sail from t'other."

"Ah--but what you know about sauces!" retorted Samuel, rolling his
eyes rapturously. "Of course, I'll grant a ship cannot sail on its
stomach, but if the worst had come to the worst, you could have left
a note for the sails on the binnacle. 'If it comes up a blow, tie
yourselves up.' Ha, ha! Tie yourselves UP!" Jamming his feet into his
boots, Samuel blew a kiss to his still muttering shipmate and tramped
down to the hold to settle his jellyfish boy in one of the large
aquariums. The water boy, about half the size of Tandy, was a jolly
enough looking specimen, but kept opening and shutting his mouth like
a fish and staring anxiously from his captor to Mo-fi in the cage
opposite. Whistling happily and unmindful of the cuts and bruises he
had suffered, Samuel filled the bottom of the aquarium with pebbles
and shells, put in several seaweed plants he'd fished up in the nets,
and soon had the little stranger as happy and cozy as a clam. Giving
him and Mo-fi a wafer of fish food, the Royal Explorer of Oz went above
to have a look at the weather, for he did not like the way the ship was
pitching.

In spite of the desperately fatiguing morning they had had, it seemed
the voyagers were in for some further excitement. The sky had grown
dark and threatening. Dark clouds in ever-increasing numbers scudded
along from the east; the sea, rough and angry, was full of racing
little whitecaps. Nikobo's raft plunged and rocketed up and down like
a bucking bronco, flinging the hippopotamus from side to side and
bringing her with squealing protests up against the rail first on one
side and then on the other. Fearing for her safety, Samuel with Tandy's
help rigged a temporary derrick to the mizzenmast, hove his vessel
to, and bidding Nikobo swim round to the side, cleverly hoisted her
to the main deck by a hook caught through her harness. Nikobo took it
all quite calmly, coming down with a thankful little grunt, glad to be
with her shipmates in the gale that was lashing the sea into a rolling,
tossing fury of mounting gray water and foam.

The wind had risen now almost to hurricane proportions, and taking in
all sail and with only a tarpaulin lashed in the main rigging, Samuel
prepared with bared poles to ride out the storm. Ato, always ready and
helpful in a crisis, trudged up and down the heaving decks with pails
of hot soup and coffee, and after a hasty lunch, all hands fell to
closing ports, battening hatches and removing from the decks all loose
gear and equipment. As it was impossible to shove Nikobo through the
door of the main cabin, Samuel lashed her tightly to the mizzenmast and
with an old sail round her shoulders the hippopotamus anxiously watched
the mountainous waves breaking over the bow and running down into
the scuppers. It was all so wild and new, so dangerous and exciting,
Tandy begged Samuel to let him stay on deck. Much against his better
judgment, Samuel finally gave his consent, tying Tandy fast to Nikobo
and the mizzenmast. If anything happened to the ship, reflected Samuel,
fighting his way back to the wheel, the hippopotamus could keep Tandy
afloat and take care of him besides.

Ato and Roger, not being needed on deck and not caring for storms, shut
themselves up in the main cabin for a game of checkers. But checkers
and board soon flew through the air, and the two had all they could do
to hang on to their chairs as the _Crescent Moon_ pitched headlong into
the cavernous hollows and struggled up the mountainous ridges of the
great running seas.



CHAPTER 17

The Old Man of the Jungle!


In the splendid white marble Palace in the splendid White City of
Ozamaland the nine Ozamandarins sat in solemn conference.

"This time we have succeeded," stated Didjabo, chief of the nine Judges
of the realm, "this time we have succeeded and our plans may now be
accomplished. Last time, we merely destroyed the King and Queen,
neglecting to do away with the Royal Off-spring, Tazander Tazah, and
for that reason we failed utterly. So long as this boy survived, the
natives insisted on considering him their rightful King and Ruler. But,
hah! that prophecy we invented about an aunt carrying him off was a
clever and useful idea--eh, my fellow Zamians? Now as the child, with a
little help on our part it must be confessed, has really been carried
off and destroyed, we can blame these same silly females, and they and
all the royal family can be tossed into the sea to pay for this heinous
crime. Ha, ha! Quite an idea, a famous idea!" murmured Didjabo, and the
eight Ozamandarins nodded their narrow heads in complete and satisfied
agreement. "Leaving the throne clear for us--the Nine Faithful Servants
of the People!" Again the Ozamandarins nodded, but Didjabo, slanting
his cruel little eyes up and down the long table, was already making
plans to destroy the lot of them and have the whole great country for
himself.

"But how can we be sure the boy is destroyed and out of the way?"
questioned Lotho, the second Ozamandarin in point of rank and power.

"Because," Didjabo curled up his lips in a hard little smile, "the Old
Man of the Jungle has brought us proof. Boglodore! BOGLODORE! It is our
wish that you appear before us."

At Didjabo's call there was a slight rustle and stir behind the
curtains in the doorway, and an immense wrinkled old native clad only
in a turban and loin cloth stepped noiselessly into the Chamber of
Justice. Without waiting for further orders, Boglodore began in a high,
dismal, droning voice:

"Following the commands of the highest among you, I, Boglodore the
Magician, did carry off on my famous, never known or seen flying
umbrellaphant the heir and small King of this country, coming down
after two days, on Patrippany Island. Not wishing to destroy the boy
with my own hands, I left him to the wild beasts and savage Leopard Men
known to inhabit this island. That, as you know, was five months and
two weeks ago. Having just returned from a second flight to the Island
where I found no trace or sign of the boy, I can safely assure you
that he is no more, that he has undoubtedly been killed by the savages
or the wild beasts of the jungle." There was not a trace of pity or
remorse on the cruel flat faces of his listeners as Boglodore finished
this shameful recital.

"In that case there is nothing left to do but punish the royal aunts
and family, issue a proclamation of our accession to power, and divide
up the Kingdom," mused Lotho, drumming thoughtfully on the table with
his long skinny fingers.

"But do not forget my reward," wheezed Boglodore firmly. "For this
cruel and infamous deed I was promised one tenth of Ozamaland and I
am here to claim as my share the entire jungle reach of this country.
Extending his arms, the old man of the jungle advanced threateningly
toward the long table.

"Ha, ha! Just listen to him now," sneered Didjabo, gathering up his
papers and looking insolently across at the angry native. "Have a care
what you say, fellow. Too much of this and you'll go over the cliff
with the royal relatives. Now, then, clear out! Your work is done! If
you ever set foot in this city again, you shall be trampled beneath the
feet of the royal elephants!"

"Ah--hhh!" Boglodore recoiled as if he had been confronted by a
poisonous reptile. "So that's to be the way of it? Aha! Very good! I
will go. But do not think this is the end! It is but the beginning!"
Snapping his fingers under the long noses of the Ozamandarins, the old
man, not bothering with the door, leapt out the window and vanished
into the garden.

"Do you think that was quite wise?" questioned Teebo, third in rank of
the Ozamandarins. "This fellow and his flying elephant are dangerous
and may do us a world of harm."

"Do not forget, anything he says will involve himself, and he'll have a
hard time proving to the people that it was on my orders the young King
was carried off."

"Oh, hush!" warned Lotho, glancing nervously over his shoulder. "Not
another word!" Shrugging his shoulders and rising to indicate that the
meeting was over, Didjabo started pompously for the door. "I will go
now to prepare a Royal Proclamation explaining that as the young King
has not after exhaustive search been found or located, the authority
and governing power of the state shall pass to us, the Nine Faithful
Ozamandarins of the Realm! We can then meet again and here in this star
and barred Chamber of Justice divide the Kingdom among us."

"Very well, but see that you remember it is to be divided!" Staring
fixedly at Didjabo, Lotho strode away, colliding violently at the door
with a small breathless page who was entering on a veritable gallop.

"Your Honors! Your Ozamandarin Majesties!" shrilled the boy, wildly
waving his trumpet instead of blowing upon it. "A ship--there is a ship
with four masts beneath the chalk cliffs, a strange ship with full
sail is riding into our harbor."

"There, there, don't shout!" snapped Didjabo, seizing the boy roughly
by the shoulders. "Go back at once and discover what flag this ship
flies from her masthead. Quickly now. RUN!"

"What could it mean? Where could it be from? Such a thing has never
happened before!" muttered the others, hastening over to the long
windows.

"Confoundation!" raged Didjabo as the page with frightened stutters
turned and ran out of the Hall of Justice. "This ruins everything.
Who are these meddling foreigners? And why do they have to arrive
now of all times? NOW! Lotho! Teebo! Call out the camel corps and
the white elephant guard. Have them drawn up in war formation on the
chalk cliffs. You others!" impatiently Didjabo waved his arms at the
six remaining Ozamandarins, "See to the defense of the palace! If
these meddlers set foot upon our territory they are to be trampled
upon, trampled upon--do you understand?" Nodding with fierce and cruel
determination, the eight tall Keepers of the White City set about
carrying out Didjabo's orders. Didjabo, hurrying up to the highest
tower in the castle, looked through his telescope to see what manner
of ship had come sailing out of the west to spoil or postpone his
well-laid plans.



CHAPTER 18

A New Country


Driven by the pitiless wind, pounded by the merciless sea, the
_Crescent Moon_ rode before the gale, coming, toward morning, into
quiet waters at last. The sky, now pale grey instead of black, showed
a small single star in the east, and with a huge sigh of weariness and
relief Samuel let go the anchor and bade his crew turn in all standing.
This they were only too glad to do, sleeping heavily and thankfully in
their clothes, Nikobo still wrapped in her sail snoring like a whole
band of music beneath the mizzenmast.

Tandy, to whom the storm had been a thrilling adventure, was the first
to waken. Still stiff and bruised from the pounding he had taken as
the _Crescent Moon_ tossed and pitched in the terrible seas, he sprang
eagerly out of his bunk, curious to know where the storm had carried
them.

The morning mists, lifting like a shimmering veil or the curtain of
a stage on some new and strange scene, showed a long white line of
chalk cliffs to the east, and beyond the cliffs the dim outline of a
great and splendid city. With joy and lively expectations Tandy had
run out on deck, but now, after a long look over the port rail, he
crept silently and soberly back to his cabin, closing the door softly
behind him. Later, as the sun rose higher, and his shipmates awoke,
the excited screams of Nikobo and Roger and the eager voices of Samuel
and Ato told him that they too had seen the bright land beyond the
cliffs. Already Samuel was clewing up his sail and above the rattle in
the rigging Tandy could hear the rasp of the anchor cable as it came
winding over the side. But he only bent lower over the fat book in his
lap, and when the Read Bird, loudly calling his name, came hurtling
through the port-hole, he did not even look up.

"Land! Land and MORELAND!" croaked Roger, dancing up and down on the
foot of the bunk. "None of your pesky islands this time, but a whole
long new continent. What in salt's the matter, youngster, this is no
time to be a-reading! Come on, come on, the Captain's looking for you!"
As Roger peered sharply down at the book in Tandy's lap two tears
splashed on the open page. Quickly brushing two more off his nose, the
ship's cabin boy unwillingly met the puzzled gaze of the Read Bird.

"Roger," demanded Tandy in a smothered and unsteady voice, "which is
most important, being a King or being a person?" Roger, his head on one
side, considered this for a moment and then spoke quickly.

"Well, you can't be a good King without being a good person, so I
should say, being a good person is most important."

"But it says here," with a furious sniff Tandy put his finger on the
middle paragraph of the page, "'In no circumstances and for no reason
may a King forsake his country nor desert his countrymen.'"

"What's that? What's this? Humph! _Maxims for Monarchs._ Well, what in
topsails do we care for that musty volume?" Giving the book a vicious
shove, Roger, forgetting how much he had formerly praised Ato's fat
volume, fluttered down on Tandy's shoulder. "So THAT'S it!" he burst
out explosively. "This pernicious country yonder is Ozamaland. Well, we
can't spare you and that's final. They didn't know how to treat a good
King when they had one, now let 'em practice on somebody else. Say the
word, m'lad, and we'll put about and sail away as fast as a good ship
can take us! CAPTAIN! Master Salt! Deck ahoy! All hands 'HOY!" Without
waiting for Tandy's answer, Roger skimmed through the port and winged
over to the Captain.

"Wait! Wait!" sputtered Tandy, hurrying aft where the officers and
crew of the _Crescent Moon_ were now engaged in earnest conversation.
"Don't you remember you wanted some of those creeping birds and flying
reptiles, Captain? Well, this is the place!" puffed the little boy,
waving his arm toward the cliffs. "This is Ozamaland and I've got to go
ashore. It's really all right," he continued earnestly as Samuel began
unhappily rubbing his chin, "it's been a grand voyage and I've learned
a lot, but a King has to stick to his post, hasn't he?"

"Not all the time," snapped Ato, giving his belt an indignant jerk.
"You stuck to your post and they stuck you in a tower and then in a pig
pen in the jungle. So what do you owe them? Nothing, say I, absolutely
nothing!"

But Samuel Salt, regretful as he was to lose this handy young artist
and cabin boy, felt that Tandy must decide the matter for himself. "If
you're as good a King as you are a seaman, I'm not the one to hold you
back," he sighed sorrowfully. "But just let these lubbers start any
more nonsense and I'll give them a taste of the rope. HAH! And we'll
not be leaving you till everything's shipshape, and you can lay to
that!"

"I'm not leaving you at all," snorted Nikobo, lumbering hugely over to
Tandy and almost flattening him against the port rail. "I'll miss this
ship worse'n the river, and Ato's cooking and the Captain's stories and
Roger's jokes, but wherever Tandy goes I go, and that's flat!"

"Just plain noddling nonsense, putting him ashore," fumed Ato angrily.
"He's not old enough to manage these wild tribesmen and scheming
aristocrats. Besides, we need him on this expedition, and you know it."
Samuel, sighing deeply, smiled at Tandy and Tandy, sighing just as
deeply, smiled back.

"Never you mind," promised the former Pirate with a wink that somehow
lacked conviction, "there'll be other voyages!" And seizing the wheel,
he began tacking in toward Tandy's homeland. But he had lost all
pleasure and interest in charting for the first time on any map the
long continent of Tarara and adding strange animals and plants to his
ever-growing collection. Losing Tandy spoiled the whole expedition for
him, and by taking longer and wider tacks he delayed their landing to
the latest possible moment.

But at last there they were in the very shadow of the chalk cliffs
and with no further excuse for not going ashore. Nikobo had agreed to
carry them and had abruptly heaved herself overboard, sending up a
fountain of spray as high as the ship itself when she struck the water,
thus astonishing no end the watchers on the bank. Tandy, after running
down to the hold to say goodbye to Mo-fi and have a last look at the
jellyfish boy, regretfully joined the others at the port rail. Having
brought nothing aboard the _Crescent Moon_, he insisted on leaving in
the same way, soberly waving aside all the gifts and presents Ato and
Samuel sought to press upon him. Clad only in the leopard skin he had
worn on Patrippany Island, he swung nimbly down the rope ladder. The
Captain and the cook, in honor of Tandy's homecoming, had donned their
finest shore-going togs, and Samuel, with a scimiter in his teeth,
and Ato, armed as usual with his bread knife and a package he refused
to explain, followed him more slowly down the ladder. Then they all
climbed aboard the hippopotamus.

Roger, flying ahead with some Oz flags just for luck, could not help
comparing the brown, hard-muscled young seaman with the skinny, fretful
boy they had taken on at Patrippany Island. Trying to comfort himself
with Tandy's improved health and spirits, he looked curiously at the
great company assembled on the cliffs. All of the Nobles and their
families in flowing white robes were present and many of the immense
turbanned tribesmen who happened to be in the capital had gathered to
see for themselves the first ship that had ever touched the shore of
Ozamaland. Beyond the Nobles and natives Roger could see row on row of
white guards mounted on enormous white elephants and snow-white camels.

"Trouble, trouble, nothing but trouble!" mourned the Read Bird drearily
to himself. Tandy, familiar with the whole coast, guided Nikobo to
the only possible spot for landing and, grunting and mumbling, the
hippopotamus hauled herself up on the rocks, glancing sharply and
suspiciously at the little boy's subjects. A narrow path wound and
curved up through the cliffs and, puffing and panting, Nikobo finally
made her way to the top, where she stood uncertainly facing the milling
multitude.

"Hail and greetings!" called Samuel Salt, raising his arm to attract
their attention, for the crowd looked both dangerous and unfriendly.
"We are here to return to you safe and sound your lost King, Tazander
Tazah, rescued by us from the wild jungle of Patrippany Island."

"King? King?" shrilled a dozen shrill and unbelieving voices. "Where?
Where?" and everyone craned his neck to get a better view of Nikobo and
her three curious riders. "Is it really our lost and stolen Kinglet?"

"Yes!" cried Tandy, springing erect. "I am Tazander Tazah, King's son
and son of a King's son. You are my lawful subjects and Ozamaland is my
Kingdom!" A little shiver of excitement ran through the crowd at these
words.

"He does in truth resemble our young ruler," murmured one Noble to
another, "though much stronger and more bold." Drawing a long sword, he
waved it imperiously above his head. "Summon the Ozamandarins," he
called loudly. "They will decide whether this be our King or some small
Impostor, and DEATH to all strangers and enemies who come in ships to
lay waste our realm."

"Oh, hold your tongue!" advised Ato, settling himself more comfortably
between Nikobo's shoulders. "Who are you to challenge the Royal
Explorer of Oz, the King of the Octagon Isle--"

"And his Royal Read Bird," piped Roger, flying savagely round and round
the head of the speaker.

"Yes, who are you to challenge the rightful ruler of Ozamaland?" cried
Tandy, folding his arms and gazing calmly out over the curious throng.

"Hi, is this the young slip they kept locked in the tower? Hoo,
Hoo!" yelled an old tribesman, brandishing his long lance. "He's the
salt of the sea and the sand of the desert. Shame on you, Zamen,
not to recognize and welcome your young King. _I'm_ for you, young
one, down to my last breath!" In spite of these brave words, the
nobles, natives and guards made no move or motion to let Nikobo pass
through. Then suddenly there was a break in the crowd and the nine
square-hatted Ozamandarins stepped rigidly forward. And nine taller,
thinner, meaner-visaged rogues, decided Samuel, lovingly fingering
his scimiter, it had never been his misfortune to encounter. Didjabo,
recognizing Tandy at once in spite of his new and seaman-like bearing,
was the first to speak.

"The blessing of the stars, moon and sun upon you!" cried the wily
chief, bowing rapidly ten times in succession, "And upon these
strangers who have brought you safely back to these shores! Welcome,
most welcome, small King and ruler of the Ozamanders!" Speaking calmly
but with black fury in his heart to have his plans so unexpectedly
thwarted, Didjabo advanced rapidly toward Nikobo. "And now that you
are here and really safe, we must see that you are locked securely in
the White Tower of the Wise Man away from all future hurt and harm!"
Reaching the side of the hippopotamus, he put up his hand to help Tandy
dismount.

"But I'm not going back to the Tower!" said Tandy, looking the Chief
Ozamandarin straight in the eye. "Ever! I'm riding on to the castle, so
kindly order some refreshments for my friends and shipmates."

"Hi, Yi, Yi!" approved the old tribesman, pounding the cliff with his
lance. "Here's a King for us. What good did your Tower do before, old
Square-Hat? He was carried off in spite of it, wasn't he? Well, trot
along now and do as he says; he's the King, and I'm here to see he
gets his rights!" Shocked by the determination in Tandy's voice and the
evident delight of the crowd at his defiance, Didjabo put up his hand
for silence.

"It is the law of the land that the nine Ozamandarins shall guard
the life and preserve the health of the country's sovereign," stated
Didjabo in his cold and impressive voice. "Until this boy becomes of
age he must be cared for and protected from his enemies. Forward,
guards! On to the Tower! You OTHERS!" Didjabo nodded disagreeably at
Samuel Salt, Ato, Roger and Nikobo, "You others may return to your
ship, where a suitable reward will be sent out to you. We are deeply
indebted to you for finding our King, but the law of Ozamaland says
that all foreigners landing on our shores shall instantly and without
delay be flung over the cliffs. In your case we graciously permit you
to leave. Come, Tazander!"

While Samuel Salt could not help admiring the way the old Ozamandarin
was trying to keep the upper hand, he had no intention of leaving till
he had assured himself that Tandy was in safe and proper hands. "But
surely you will wish to hear the story of how we found this boy and
explain how he happened to be on that jungle island!" observed Samuel
mildly. "Step back, my good fellow, Nikobo has large feet and she just
might happen to tread on you."

"Yes," wheezed Nikobo sullenly, "I just might happen to do that very
thing." Slipping round to the other side of the hippopotamus, Didjabo,
paying no attention to either remark, tried to pull Tandy to the
ground. But the little boy, remembering Roger's advice about lubbers
gave him a fast and sudden poke in the nose that sent his hat flying
off and the Ozamandarin himself rolling head over heels.

"Hurray, Hurray! Avast and belay! And down with old Square-Hats
forever!" shrilled the Read Bird, while Ato and Samuel exchanged
a proud and pleased glance. While the other Ozamandarins stood
uncertainly, the crowd, long weary of the rigid rule of the nine
judges, began to laugh and cheer.

"The King is King! Long live the King!" shouted the old tribesman
vociferously.

But Didjabo pulling himself furiously to his feet, flung up his arm.
"Guards! Guards!" he screeched venomously, "Do your work! Save this
poor, misguided child from these unspeakable foreigners or we are all
lost. Can you not see they are savages, sorcerers and enemies? Seize
the King and over the cliff with these hippopotamic invaders!"



CHAPTER 19

Boglodore's Revenge


The word "hippopotamic" seemed to rouse the undecided guards to action,
and Samuel, as the crowd moved uneasily aside to let the elephant and
camel mounted guardsmen through, heartily wished himself back on the
ship. Nikobo, squealing with rage and defiance, began moving cautiously
back toward the path down the cliffs, but Ato, who had been merely
biding his time, tore open his package and began tossing right and left
the tumbleweeds and creeping vines which fortunately it had contained.

The first creeper caught Didjabo, bound him up and laid him by the
heels before he could issue another order. Taking careful aim,
Ato threw a creeping vine at each of the other Ozamandarins. The
tumbleweeds, whirling beneath the feet of the elephants and camels,
caused them to fall to their knees, tossing their riders over their
heads, and between the yells of the guards, the squeals of the camels,
and trumpeting of the elephants, confusion was terrific. The natives
and Nobles and all who could still move or run set off at top speed for
the city without once looking behind them. Muttering angrily under his
breath, Ato continued to hurl vines and tumbleweeds till none was left.
Unable to advance an inch, the white guard and their mounts rolled and
groveled together in the deep sand.

"Now we can go on to the palace!" cried Tandy, a bit breathless by the
suddenness of it all. "Oh, Ato, how did you ever happen to bring those
plants along?"

"I suspected some of these subjects of yours were villains," answered
Ato grimly, "and the only way to meet villains is with villainy.
Forward march, my Lass! On to the King's castle!"

Picking her way around the fallen men and beasts, Nikobo, snorting at
each step to show her superiority and contempt, set out for the Royal
Palace. Of all the people who had run out on the cliffs, besides the
securely bound Ozamandarins and the guard, only the old tribesman who
had first cheered Tandy remained.

"Oh, please do come with us," invited Tandy earnestly as the old man
stepped smilingly out of Nikobo's way. "You could tell me all about the
tent dwellers and help me so much if you would."

"I am Chunum, the Sheik, head of a thousand tribes and speaking for
them, I can say they all will proudly and gladly serve your brave
young Majesty. Too long have the city dwellers ruled this great
liberty-loving land."

"Then over the side and under the hatches with 'em," cried Roger,
beside himself with joy and exuberance at the neat way Ato had handled
Tandy's subjects. "This boy's an able-bodied seaman and explorer and
will stand no nonsense!"

"My sea is the desert," said Chunum, striding jauntily along beside
Nikobo, "and my ship is a camel, but I'll wager we'll understand each
other well enough for all that."

To Tandy, conversing eagerly with Chunum, the splendor of the White
City of Om was an old story, but to the others it seemed, with its
flashing marble walks, great waving palms and towering dwellings and
castle, one of the loveliest capitals they had yet visited.

Word of the happenings on the cliff had traveled fast. Longing to
welcome the young King, but fearing the strange magicians who had come
with him, the Nobles had barred themselves in their fine houses and the
natives had fled to the hills beyond the city gates. The many-domed
marble palace was absolutely deserted when Nikobo pushed her way
through the wide doors. Not a footman, page or courtier was in sight.
Seeing no attention or service was to be had for some time, Ato hurried
away to the kitchens and was soon happily at work preparing a splendid
feast to celebrate Tandy's homecoming.

Tandy himself felt quiet and sad, examining with scant interest and
enthusiasm the splendid rooms which he had never yet been allowed to
live in. To tell the truth, he would have traded the whole castle for
his small cabin aboard Samuel's ship. Samuel himself, never really
happy or comfortable ashore, wandered about aimlessly, opening books on
the long tables, peering out windows, and finally settling with a sigh
of resignation in a huge chair beside the throne.

Nikobo had found a long pool and fountain in the same room and, lying
at full length in this luxuriant marble bath, tranquilly waited for
events to shape themselves.

"Why not sit on your throne?" asked Roger as Tandy seated himself on a
small stool beside Samuel Salt.

"Oh, it's much too big for me," sighed Tandy, thinking how very big and
lonely the palace would seem when all his shipmates had gone.

"Aho, and methinks you are right! Ahoy, the beginning of a beautiful
idea doth at this moment start to seep through the head feathers, of
which, _more_ anon!" Chunum, who had never before heard a bird talk,
stared at Roger in amazed interest and surprise, but giving him no more
satisfaction than a mischievous wink, the Read Bird flew off to help
Ato with the dinner. And now Samuel proceeded to tell the old tribesman
how he had found Tandy in the jungle imprisoned in the wooden cage. As
he finished, Chunum shook his head in stern displeasure.

"It has long been my conviction and belief," he stated solemnly, "that
the Ozamandarins are at the bottom of this. Every year they usurp more
and more power, and keeping the young King shut up in the Tower was
but an excuse to give them their own will and way. Nor can I believe
that the royal parents of this boy accidentally fell into the sea as
they were reported to have done, or that the young aunts mentioned in
the prophecy had anything at all to do with Tandy's abduction. Tell me,
how long will the vines hold those villains prisoner, for only that
long is Tazander safe. We must think and act quickly," said Chunum,
tapping his staff thoughtfully on the floor.

"The vines will not unwind for two days and before THEN--HAH!" Samuel
expelled his breath in a mighty blast and sprang purposefully to his
feet. "Before then we shall put those fellows in a very safe place
for Tandy and for them too, shiver my timbers!" Taking Chunum by the
shoulder, Samuel started toward the door, and seeing the two intended
to leave the castle, Nikobo climbed out of the fountain and offered
to carry them. Tandy nodded absently as the two left the castle, his
thoughts still far away on the _Crescent Moon_, and considering the
work they had to do, Samuel and Chunum were well pleased to leave him
behind.

With surprising speed the hippopotamus made the return trip to the
cliffs. The effects of the tumbleweed had evidently worn off and the
guards and their mounts had fled with the rest of the inhabitants
of White City to the hills. But the nine Ozamandarins still lay in
their curious cradles in the deep coarse sand. As Samuel and Chunum,
in absolute agreement as to what should be done, rolled off Nikobo's
back, a furious bellow and screech brought them up short. Nikobo,
startled out of her usual calm, fell back on her haunches and after one
horrified look upward buried her head in the sand.

"It can't be!" cried Samuel, clutching Chunum's sleeve. "It can't be,
but it is!"

"An elephant, a flying elephant!" panted Chunum, dragging Samuel from
under the immense shadow. "Flatten yourself in the sand, seaman,
and we may yet be spared." As Samuel, more amazed than scared at so
strange and curious a specimen, and even vaguely hopeful of capturing
the unwieldy creature, made no move, Chunum dragged him down by main
force. The elephant meanwhile lighted like some gigantic butterfly on
the edge of the cliff. Fairly bleating with fright and terror, the
nine Ozamandarins watched him swooping toward them with a sinister and
soundless speed. Just behind his ear perched Boglodore, the Old Man of
the Jungle, looking cruel and ugly as the genie of all evil.

"Revenge! Revenge!" shrilled the turbaned native, clenching his fists.
"Now shall Boglodore have his reward!" Addressing himself to Chunum and
Samuel Salt, the Old Man of the Jungle began screaming out the story
of his wrongs. "For these scheming rascals I carried away on Umbo,
my great and useful umbrellaphant, the young King of this country.
For this I was to receive one-tenth of the Kingdom, the Ozamandarins
themselves to divide the rest of the country among them. But Hah!
What happened?" Dancing up and down on the elephant's head, Boglodore
again clenched his fists, his face distorted with rage and fury. "What
happened? Why, these miserable cheats refused to pay me, intending to
keep the whole country for themselves. But hearken well, you and YOU!"
Jerking his thumb contemptuously toward his rigid and helpless enemies,
the Old Man continued his story.

"All along I have suspected these thieving Zamans; all along I intended
to fool them and return the little King to his castle, keeping only
the jungle for my own. That is why I built the boy his cage in the
jungle and set Nikobo, the great hippopotamus, to watch over him,
giving her the power of speech and the desire to seek out and protect
this unfortunate child of an unfortunate country. I am a magician and
could well bring about these things. You, whoever you are, who found
and brought him back to Ozamaland did no more than I myself intended to
do and intend to do now. After restoring Tandy to his throne, I meant
to deal with his enemies, and now as they are so neatly bound up and
ready, I shall reward them well for their pains and treachery."

"Stop! Stop! Avast there and belay!" shouted Samuel Salt as the
umbrellaphant, obeying an order from the terrible Old Man, picked up
Didjabo in his trunk and flew swiftly toward the cliff's edge. But
Chunum, again dragging Samuel down, whispered fiercely in his ear.

"It is justice, seaman, and only what we ourselves planned to do. The
vines will keep these rogues afloat for two days, then haply they will
sink--not to die, as death comes not to the people of my country, but
to lie for long forgotten ages at the bottom of the sea, harmless and
sodden, and unable to do any more harm to the country they have so
dishonorably served and betrayed!"

Shuddering and in a tense silence, Samuel and the Sheik watched the
umbrellaphant toss the wretched Ozamandarins one after the other into
the sea. The immense zooming monster fascinated the Captain of the
_Crescent Moon_. Not wings, but a balloon-like structure of its own
tough skin billowing over its back like a howdah, enabled Umbo to
navigate in the air. Samuel was anxious for further talk with the Old
Man of the Jungle, but as the last Ozamandarin fell over the cliff the
umbrellaphant, with a trumpet of defiance, headed rapidly for the open
sea.

"Look! Look! It's getting away!" cried Samuel, rushing to the cliff's
edge and almost tumbling over. "Do you realize that there goes the only
umbrellaphant in captivity?"

"Well, well, and what if it is?" muttered Chunum, again pulling Samuel
back to safety. "I expect Boglodore does not find this country healthy
after the pretty story he has just told us, and come, COME, Master
Seaman, what would you do with a flying elephant aboard your ship?"

"I'd tie it to the mast and carry it back to Oz," explained Samuel,
staring gloomily after the disappearing prize. "Why, it would be the
most rare and amazing specimen ever brought back from anywhere, and
now--now--I've lost it--" Samuel's arms dropped heavily to his sides
and turning away from the cliff, he began walking slowly back toward
Nikobo, who had at last ventured to lift her head from the sand.
Surprised enough was the hippopotamus to learn that she had been given
her power of speech by the ugly little magician on the umbrellaphant,
and frightened lest she forget Tandy's language, she began talking
rapidly to herself.

"But you forget what all this means!" panted Chunum, catching up with
the Explorer and shaking him energetically by the shoulder. "Why, this
clears up the whole mystery. Not an AUNT but an ELEPHant carried
Tazander to Patrippany Island. We must return quickly to the castle
and release his innocent relatives. I myself will call back Tandy's
frightened subjects and tell them of the great good fortune that has
befallen, that we are rid of nine rogues and have a brave young King
to rule Ozamaland. Come, come, do not stand here dreaming about lost
elephants; there is much to be accomplished and done."

"Goosewing my topsails, you're right!" breathed Samuel Salt, coming
completely out of his reverie. "Round up the citizens, comrade, and
I'll carry the good news to the castle."



CHAPTER 20

King Tandy


When Samuel reached the castle, he found Ato and Roger had set a small
cozy table in the Throne Room, and Tandy was anxiously looking out of
one of the gold-framed windows for his return. The whiffs from the
covered dishes were so appetizing the Royal Explorer of Oz was almost
inclined to let his news wait till afterward. But thinking better
of it, he blurted out the whole story of what had happened to the
Ozamandarins.

"Then they're all gone and done for," sniffed Ato, seating himself at
the head of the table. "Well, a couple of hundred years at the bottom
of the sea should soak all the sin and wickedness out of 'em! And you
say it was an umbrellaphant that carried Tandy off? My! and MY! Dear,
dear and DEAR! Just pour me a cup of coffee, Roger. I'm feeling weaker
than soup!"

"Well, how do you suppose _I_ feel," grumbled Samuel Salt, throwing his
hat up on a bronze figure, "to lose an elegant specimen like that? Why,
I'll wager we'll never see another creature like it!"

"There! There! Always talking about the elephant that got away instead
of appreciating your good fortune!" scolded Ato, throwing a corn muffin
down to Nikobo and lifting the gold cover off the roast fowl.

"Yes, and you'd better listen to OUR news, Master Salt!" Roger said,
pouring a cup of coffee for all hands.

"News? NEWS? Has anything happened here?" Samuel looked more anxious
than interested.

"Oh, YES!" cried Tandy, running round to his side of the table and
pressing eagerly against Samuel's knee. "Roger has a wonderful plan and
I as King of Ozamaland have agreed to it, and oh, Samuel, SAMUEL!"
Forgetting he usually called the tremendous seaman "Captain," Tandy
flung both arms round his neck and almost squeezed the breath out of
him. "I'm going straight back on the _Crescent Moon_, and I'm not
coming ashore for years and years. I'm going with you to Ev, Oz, Elbow
Island and everywhere!"

"What?" spluttered Samuel Salt, disentangling himself with great
difficulty and holding Tandy off at arm's length. "Are you joking? Are
you crazy? Have you abdicated or what? Why, this is too good to be
true!"

"But it _is_ true!" insisted Roger, strutting up and down the table and
illy concealing his pride and satisfaction.

"Oh, tell him, tell him," begged Tandy, too happy to speak for himself.

"Well," said Roger, spreading his wings self-consciously, for the
plan was his and he felt prouder of it every minute, "we are placing
Ozamaland under the general rule and protection of Oz and leaving as
Ruler in Tandy's place that long-legged son of the desert, Chunum. Now
there's a fellow who can handle these scary Nobles and natives and wild
elephant and camel riders. A King must complete his education before he
starts ruling, you know." Roger paused to scratch his head and wink
gaily at Samuel Salt. "And if this King chooses to finish his education
on our ship, that is his own affair."

"Oh, quite! Quite!" Samuel began to rock backward and forward and
roar with merriment. "Roger, you rascal, you've done as good a job of
reasoning as a whole flock of Wise Men! Fall to, Mates, now we can
enjoy our victuals and I give you a toast to King Tandy, Cabin Boy,
Explorer and Artist Extraordinary to this Expedition!"

"Tandy! Tandy!" echoed Ato and Roger, lifting their coffee cups.

"Tandy! Tandy!" mumbled Nikobo, who was lunching largely and
luxuriantly on the flowers in a low window box. "When do we sail?"



CHAPTER 21

A Voyage Resumed


Anxious as Tandy was to return to the _Crescent Moon_ and continue the
voyage, it was a whole week before they finally shoved off. Chunum,
true to his word, had rounded up the frightened citizens of the
capital and explained to them the wicked plots of the Ozamandarins and
their punishment by Boglodore, the Old Man of the Jungle. Then Tandy,
addressing them from the castle balcony, called upon them to consider
Chunum as their King until he himself should have completed his
education in foreign parts and aboard the _Crescent Moon_, during which
time he promised to keep them always in mind and have their welfare
always at heart. Next, Tandy explained how Ozamaland was now a province
and under the general rule and protection of Ozma of Oz, how settlers
from that famous fairyland would soon arrive to help them build new
cities and towns, tame the wild jungles of the interior and repel the
dangerous invasions of the Greys.

Here Chunum rose to declare he himself would be responsible for peace
along the border between Amaland and Ozamaland, that the Greys had long
desired to be friends with the Whites, but trouble had been stirred up
by the Ozamandarins so they might have the credit of protecting the
country. Then Tandy spoke again of all the advantages that would be
enjoyed from their association with the Kingdom of Oz. It was a long
and splendid speech, Roger and Tandy having spent the whole morning
in its preparation, and delighted and surprised by the energy and
ambition of their young Ruler, Tandy's subjects cheered him long and
vociferously, greeting each new plan and proposal with loud acclaim and
enthusiasm. The royal aunts and relatives, already released from the
castle dungeons and restored to their royal dwellings, could not speak
highly enough of their young relative's bravery and cleverness and
the bravery and cleverness of all of his new friends. They quite wore
Nikobo out with their questions and petting and the hippopotamus sighed
hugely for the time when they would all be at sea.

"Was I right or was I wrong?" questioned Roger on the third afternoon
as Tandy, resplendent in his court suit of white velvet, reviewed
the vast parade of Loyal Nobles and Natives, and the long lines of
elephants and camels went sweeping by the palace. "They love you just
as much for going away as they would if you stayed. And Chunum is a Man
in a Million."

"Right!" Tandy nodded, waving happily to the crowds that in a high
holiday mood thronged the walks and parks of the beautiful White City.

Chunum had taken Samuel Salt and Ato on an expedition into the jungle
so that the Royal Explorer of Oz could procure a creeping bird and
flying reptile for his collection. Nikobo, old jungaleer that she was,
had gone along to see that no harm came to them. To Tandy a snake with
feathers and a bird with scales and fangs was no novelty, but Samuel,
returning with a pair of each, considered them the most peculiar and
precious of his queer specimens. He carried their cages everywhere he
went and spent long rapt hours watching the snakes fly and the birds
creep about their new cages. Ato had discovered a new and rare fruit
and had brought along several slips to plant in the rail boxes he had
outside the galley. Nikobo had swum to her heart's content in a green
and muddy jungle stream and all three were now quite ready and anxious
to continue the voyage. Aboard the _Crescent Moon_ one of the Guards
had been established to feed the monkey fish and water boy and tend
to the plants in the hold and serve as watchman. And early one bright
morning, just a week after they had landed, the members of the Royal
Exploration Party of Oz set forth from the palace.

Oz flags fluttered and snapped in the fresh morning breeze, mingling
with the white banners of Ozamaland, and the streets and avenues were
lined with Tandy's cheering and now quite cheerful subjects. Riding
Nikobo, accompanied by Chunum on a white elephant and the entire camel
corps and elephant guard, the party made their way down to the water's
edge, feeling exactly, as Ato whispered in a laughing undertone to
Roger, like a whole circus and a zoo. Besides Roger, Tandy, Samuel Salt
and Ato, Nikobo carried two large cages and two small cages. In the
small cages were the flying reptiles and creeping birds. In the large
cages a baby white camel and a baby white elephant.

"You'll sink, my Lass," worried Samuel Salt, as Nikobo, having safely
made her way down the rocky cliff road, waded confidently out into the
sea.

"Not me," murmured the hippopotamus comfortably. "You may get wet, but
I'll get you safely out to the ship. Trust me."

"Goodbye! Goodbye, all!" cried Tandy, standing up on her back to wave
to the crowds collected on the cliffs. Now that he was leaving, he felt
a strange fondness for them. "Goodbye, Chunum! I'll be back, never
fear!"

"Goodbye, Little Fellow! Goodbye, Little King! A fair and far-away
voyage to you," called the tall old desert chief, standing up in his
stirrups to wave his long lance. "To the sun--the moon--the stars I
commend you! Go in happiness and return in health and live long to rule
over Ozamaland."

"You take care of the country and we'll take care of the King," shouted
Samuel. "Goodbye! Goodbye! Be watching, all of you, for the ships from
Oz!"

"Goodbye! Goodbye!" called the Nobles, the natives, the guards; even
the elephants and camels raised their shrill voices in farewell as
Nikobo swam strongly away from the shore and toward the _Crescent Moon_.

The guard left in charge of the ship thankfully turned the vessel
over to its rightful owners and, shaking Tandy feelingly by the hand,
climbed down the ladder and dropped nervously on the back of the
hippopotamus, who was to carry him to shore.

"Here, Brainless, lend a hand with the freight," yelled Roger as Tandy
stood gazing rather thoughtfully toward the cliffs. "The King's ashore!
Long live his cabin boy! I'll carry these pesky reptilia if you take
the camel." Roger winked at Tandy as Samuel Salt, bent double under
the baby elephant's cage, started carefully down to the hold. The baby
camel and its cage were so small Tandy could manage them quite easily,
and with a little laugh he hurried after Samuel and Roger. By the time
they had finished Nikobo had returned from her shore trip and climbed
thankfully back on her raft.

"All hands stand by to heave up the anchor," bellowed Samuel, stepping
cheerfully over to his sail controls. "Anchors aweigh! and away we go,
boys, and the hippopotamus take the hindmost!"

"Ho, ho! Well, she's built for it," roared Ato, bending his weight to
the cable as sail after sail rattled up the masts and bellied out from
the yards. "Where to now, Sam-u-el? Oz?"

"OZ, I should say not! We've a lot of geography to discover before we
go back to Oz. We'll need a roc's egg before we go there, eh, Tandy? A
roc's egg and sixty more islands for Ozma's Christmas stocking."

"Oh! Will we really spend Christmas in Oz?" cried Tandy, skipping up
and down the deck, and forgetting all about his subjects waving from
the cliffs.

"Why not?" demanded Samuel Salt, letting his hands fall happily upon
the wheel. "Oz is as merry a place as any to spend Christmas, eh,
Roger?"

"Merry as eight bells!" cried Roger, flying joyfully into the rigging.
"Ahoy! Ahoy! Nothing but sea t'seaward!"

And when the _Crescent Moon_ flies over Ev and drops down the Winkie
River on Christmas morning with its chart full of islands and curious
continents and its hold full of strange beasts, plants and treasure, I
for one should like to be there, shouldn't you?

                                THE END

       *       *       *       *       *


                      _A Word about the Oz Books_


Since 1900, when L. Frank Baum introduced to the children of America,
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and all the other exciting characters who
inhabit the land of Oz, these delightful fairy tales have stimulated
the imagination of millions of young readers.

These are stories which are genuine fantasy--creative, funny, tender,
exciting and surprising. Filled with the rarest and most absurd
creatures, each of the 39 volumes which now comprise the series, has
been eagerly sought out by generation after generation until today they
are known to all except the very young or those who were never young at
all.

When, in a recent survey, _The New York Times_ polled a group of
teen agers on the books they liked best when they were young, the Oz
books topped the list.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          Captain Salt In Oz


A voyage on the famous Nonestic Ocean! What could be more thrilling
than that? We--many of us--have taken trips on the prosaic Atlantic
or even Pacific, but have we found a SEA FOREST with flying fish and
swimming birds? Have we been pursued by a real SEA SERPENT, or had
our ship transfixed by the immense ivory tusk of a NARWHAL? Have we
come upon the glittering island of PEAKENSPIRE, or made friends with a
charming talking hippopotamus?

Yet all these things and more befall Captain Salt, one time Pirate and
now Royal Explorer of Oz, and his merry crew. They come back with their
hold bursting with unique and fascinating specimens, with their chart
crowded with new islands, claimed for Ozma, and drawn so realistically
by the delightful little boy Tandy, Cabin Boy and Artist of the
Expedition.

       *       *       *       *       *


                             The Oz Books

        Wizard of Oz
        Visitors from Oz
     1. The Land of Oz
     2. Ozma of Oz
     3. Dorothy and the Wizard
     4. The Road to Oz
     5. The Emerald City of Oz
     6. The Patchwork Girl of Oz
     7. Tik-Tok of Oz
     8. The Scarecrow of Oz
     9. Rinkitink in Oz
    10. The Lost Princess of Oz
    11. The Tin Woodman of Oz
    12. The Magic of Oz
    13. Glinda of Oz
    14. The Royal Book of Oz
    15. Kabumpo in Oz
    16. The Cowardly Lion of Oz
    17. Grandpa in Oz
    18. The Lost King of Oz
    19. The Hungry Tiger of Oz
    20. The Gnome King of Oz
    21. The Giant Horse of Oz
    22. Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
    23. The Yellow Knight of Oz
    24. Pirates in Oz
    25. The Purple Prince of Oz
    26. Ojo in Oz
    27. Speedy in Oz
    28. The Wishing Horse of Oz
    29. Captain Salt in Oz
    30. Handy Mandy in Oz
    31. The Silver Princess in Oz
    32. Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz
    33. Wonder City of Oz
    34. Scalawagons of Oz
    35. Lucky Bucky in Oz
    36. Magical Mimics in Oz
    37. The Shaggy Man of Oz
    38. The Hidden Valley of Oz





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