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Title: Coppertop - The Queer Adventures of a Quaint Child
Author: Gaze, Harold
Language: English
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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.

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produced from scans of public domain works at The National
Library of Australia.)



COPPERTOP



  _Affectionately inscribed to my little friend
  CELIA HALL
  Without whom there would have been no
  COPPERTOP_


[Illustration: COPPERTOP.]



  COPPERTOP

  The Queer Adventures of a Quaint Child

  BY
  HAROLD GAZE

  AUTHOR OF
  “The Mite Merry Stories,” “War in Faerieland,”
  “Omar in Faerieland,” etc.

  ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR

  Melbourne Publishing Company
  CROMWELL BUILDINGS
  MELBOURNE



  MELBOURNE PUBLISHING COMPANY
  CROMWELL BUILDINGS
  MELBOURNE



CONTENTS.


  Chapter                                         Page

      I. In the Old Four-Posted Bed                  9

     II. Off on an Adventure                        19

    III. They Make an Enemy                         21

     IV. In the Middle of a Thunderstorm            25

      V. They Meet Their First Bear                 30

     VI. Under the Snow                             36

    VII. The Castle of the South Wind               40

   VIII. Towards the Great West Land                46

     IX. In the Tropics                             57

      X. Shipwrecked                                62

     XI. Waomba-Mother of the West Land             65

    XII. Lost in a Forest                           69

   XIII. In the Arms of the Mist Maidens            77

    XIV. Inside a Crocodile                         82

     XV. The Clerk of the Weather Lays a Trap       90

    XVI. Discovered by the East Wind                97

   XVII. The Strangest Ride that Ever Was          105

  XVIII. The East Wind and the White Elephant      110

    XIX. The East Wind in a Rage                   115

     XX. In the Den of the Spinster Spider         119

    XXI. Coppertop and the Old Mother-Bird         128

   XXII. Tibbs and Kiddiwee to the Rescue          133

  XXIII. The December Day is Almost Theirs         140

   XXIV. Biddy-be-sure, the Irish Witch            145

    XXV. Coppertop Kisses the Blarney Stone        148



ILLUSTRATIONS.


  =Colored.=

  Coppertop                                              Frontispiece

  “Come along,” cried Tibbs                           To face page 16

  The Albatross and the Sea-Maidens                      ”     ”   48

  “Look again, little one,” said Waomba                  ”     ”   80

  Tibbs and Kiddiwee escape from the Crocodile           ”     ”   96

  “Foolish ones,” said Amon Ra                          ”     ”   112

  Miss Smiler sits on the White Elephant                ”     ”   128


  =Black and White.=

                                                                 Page

  “If a Book of Travels can’t move about a bit, who can?”          16

  The Clerk of the Weather                                         22

  “Oh, my hair is on fire!” cried Coppertop                        26

  The South Wind                                                   43

  Skipper Blubberkins                                              53

  The Four-posted Bed at Sea                                       60

  The Chief of the Monkey Tribe                                    73

  The East Wind                                                   101

  “Don’t talk of husbands to me,” said the Elderly Spinster
    Spider                                                        125

  The North Wind                                                  142



COPPERTOP



CHAPTER I.

IN THE OLD FOUR-POSTED BED


She sat up in the big four-poster and listened to the wind as it blew
round the house.

A ’possum on the roof uttered a plaintive gurgling cry, which sent a
little shiver down her back, and she snuggled under the bedclothes,
thankful for their cosy protection.

But to-night the old bed felt less “snuggly” than usual, and she had a
strange “I-wonder-what-will-happen-next” feeling, which would not allow
her to sleep. It was such a night as witches love, when they fly about
on broomsticks, and you feel sure-as-sure there is a black cat with
green, staring eyes, hiding behind the burnt log in the chimney corner.

Even the old colonial house, with its new slated roof and the strange
terracotta gargoyles--that Coppertop was certain-sure had moved several
times since they were first put up there--shook and shuddered in the
bitter south wind which blew down from the ranges.

“Oh, I’m just too lonesome!” sighed Coppertop, “if the old wind won’t
stop whooling round the house, I simply don’t know what I’ll do.”

Celia Anagusta Sinclair--for that was her real name--was rather a
lonely little girl at the best of times, as her father and mother were
obliged to spend many months of the year in far-away India, and left
their little ten-year-old daughter in the charge of Mrs. Grudge, the
housekeeper; and it must be confessed that she and “Miss Celia” were
not always the best of friends.

Mrs. Grudge could not abide a nickname, and never used the term
“Coppertop” by which the child was known to everyone else; she was of
the old school, stern and strict, and had come out in the early days
from Home. She could not understand “these colonials,” she would say,
and Coppertop’s cheeks would glow and her auburn plaits would seem
to grow even more coppery, for she was an Australian bred and born,
and proud of it, too, and simply hated to be called one of “these
colonials.”

The old four-posted bed had come out from Home, too, but it had a very
different spirit from that of dour Mrs. Grudge; it was old, and massive
and beautiful, with richly carved legs--which, of course, Mrs. Grudge
couldn’t boast of--and it seemed to whisper of old rose gardens, and
ivy-clad towers, and quaint, sleepy, thatched cottages, and knights in
armour, and May-day revels, and, most of all, of security and comfort.

“I wouldn’t care one bit if only Mummie and Daddy were here,” sighed
the child; “the old wind could blow as hard as it liked. I wouldn’t
care if it blew away the house, and the old clock, and Mrs. Grudge. Oh,
if only it would--and left just Mummie and Daddy and me, all alone in
the dear old bed, cuddling tight.”

Coppertop threw her little freckled arms round the soft, bulgy pillow,
and tried to “’magine” that it really was so; but still the wind
howled, and the rain pattered on the windowpane.

“Oh, I’m tired of ’magining! I wish they were really-truly here. I
believe I shall hate that horrid old India soon, for keeping them away.
Well, perhaps I won’t quite hate it, but I wish it were here, then
they’d be here too, and so would Simla and the beautiful Taj Mahal.”

“But if India were here, where would Here be? Oh, it’s awfully
muddling,” she added.

Then her face brightened up, and plunging one hand under the pillow she
brought out a very crumpled letter, a letter that had been hugged and
kissed till it was scarcely readable.

Screwing up her grey eyes, Coppertop read it, word by word, keeping her
place with a wet finger with which she had just flicked away a tear:

    My Dearest Child,--

    I am writing this letter to you from our bungalow at Simla--the one
    in which you stayed two years ago--do you remember?

    I am sitting on the verandah, looking out over the mountains, and
    thinking of you, my darling, oh, so hard, that I believe I can
    almost see you, dancing through the long grass in the orchard, and
    climbing the trees, to see if the green apples are not too hard for
    your strong little teeth. And, dear, you really must not eat green
    apples, they are not good for little girls--it is so much better to
    let them grow into big, rosy ones.

    Daddy is lying in the deck-chair under the punkah, and the breeze
    from it is making his hair stand up in queer little tufts--you
    would laugh so to see it--and he is snoring! Snoring so loudly that
    I thought it was the punkah. He is sound asleep, and dreaming, I
    expect, of his darling little girl in far-away Australia.

    And now for some beautiful news! We are coming back to our little
    girl. Daddy has applied for his leave, and we may sail quite, quite
    soon.

    I expect we shall go to England first, and then back again, through
    the Canal, and see the Pyramids and the Arab donkey-boys, and the
    camels. Take care of that little bronze camel Daddy gave you--don’t
    lose it, dear.

    And try to be good to Mrs. Grudge, and do as she tells you.

    How I am longing to give you a big, big hug.

    Good-bye, my own darling child.

                                                                 MUMMIE.

    P.S.--Daddy will write next mail.

When she came to the last line Coppertop’s lips trembled, and two big
tears rolled down her cheeks. It was just that “Big, big hug” that she
was wanting this very minute.

“Of course,” she said to herself, “I’ve got Tibbs and Kiddiwee, and
although they’re only ’maginary brothers, they do get terrifkly real at
times, and I’ve got this pudgy little bronze camel--Miss Smiler--but
they don’t make up for Mummie and Daddy, and it seems so long waiting
for them to come.”

She sat lost in thought for some minutes, then she yawned and lay back
on the pillow. The candle winked and spluttered and sent huge shadows
dancing upon the walls and ceiling with each flicker. Coppertop wished
dreamily that she could be a shadow too, and tried to imagine just how
it would feel to be dancing upon the ceilings, and growing suddenly
large and small, and long or short, as the shadows seemed to do.

“It’s a regular witches’ dance!” she exclaimed. And as she said this,
there came a nervous tap-tap at the door.

Coppertop lay very still, with a wildly-beating heart, wondering if she
had really heard a tap on the door or not.

Then a voice said:

“Miss Celia! Are you awake?” It was Jane, the maid, who spoke, but in a
voice so hushed and mysterious that it sent a shiver down the child’s
back.

“I--I suppose so,” replied Coppertop, sitting up in bed to make quite
sure. “What is it, Jane?”

Jane opened the door cautiously, and continued in a hushed voice--

“I hardly think I ought to tell you, seeing it’s so late.”

“Tell me what?” asked the child in an excited whisper.

“They’re coming home, miss. Mrs. Grudge has had a telegram to say
Captain and Mrs. Sinclair will be here to-morrer mornin’, being the
first of December!”

“GOOD GRACIOUS!” cried Coppertop. And bounding out of bed she dragged
the nervous maid into the room by her apron.

“Mummie and Daddy coming home!” she cried, “absolutely really-truly!
Eeeeeuggh!” and Coppertop gave a shrill squeal of delight, and capered
madly about the room.

“Oh, hush, miss! If Mrs. Grudge should hear us. I never ought to have
told you, only I simply couldn’t ’elp it. You’ll be that excited you’ll
never sleep a wink. Lor, here she is!”

And at the sound of someone coming along the passage, Jane beat a hasty
retreat.

Coppertop wanted to rush after her and pour out a string of burning
questions--but on second thoughts she remembered Mrs. Grudge, and drew
back; it would never do to get Jane into trouble.

But whatever would she do? How could she ever get through the long
night with all this excitement bottled up inside her?

“I believe I shall positively explode!” she muttered, as she clambered
back into the old bed.

For what seemed long, long ages she lay and tossed from side to side.
The night would never pass! The solemn “Tick-tock! Tick-tock!” of the
grandfather clock outside her door told her so.

“Never-never! Never-never! NEVER-NEVER!” it seemed to say.

Her head burned upon the pillow, which seemed to grow larger and
larger, till it almost smothered her. She turned it over to the cool
side, and closed her eyes tightly.

“Never-never! Never-never!” ticked the old clock.

A sudden gust of wind shook the window, followed by the patter of
raindrops on the pane.

“That doesn’t sound much like the first of December,” she thought, and
shivered a little as it came again.

“Whatever shall I do if it isn’t a fine day to-morrow? Why, I must have
a fine day for Mummie and Daddy to arrive on--a real scrumptious, warm,
December day.”

The more she thought about it the more important it seemed. “It would
be dreadful if it wasn’t even fine.”

She sat up in bed to consider this all-important question, and as she
did so, a large Book of Travels which she had been reading fell on to
the floor with a loud thump.

Coppertop jumped. Then, bending over the edge of the big bed to pick up
the Book, she noticed, to her great surprise, that it had risen of its
own accord, and was walking sedately over to the window.

“That’s awfully strange!” exclaimed Coppertop.

[Illustration: “If a Book of Travels can’t move about a bit, who can?”]

“Not a bit,” replied the Book without turning round. “I must improve
my circulation somehow! And if a book of travels can’t move about a
bit, who can, I should like to know?”

[Illustration: “Come along,” cried Tibbs (p. 19).]

While Coppertop was wondering what reply to make, the Book reached out
its hand and pulled the blind, which went up with such force that it
twirled round and round the roller at the top.

“What a day for the first of December!” exclaimed the Book. “I’m going
to look for something better,” and so saying, it sat on the floor and
rapidly turned over its own pages, saying as it did so:

  “North, South, East, West,
  Weather’s never at its best.
  India, Egypt, or Japan,
  Give us better, if you can.”

Coppertop blinked at the book of travels, and then at the window,
unable to believe her eyes.

It was daybreak, and RAINING HARD.

“Oh dear, oh dear, how dreadfully botherating!” she exclaimed, almost
in tears.

“I simply must get a fine December day somehow. It will never do for
‘them’ to arrive on a soaking wet day like this. It’s all the fault of
that stupid old clerk of the weather, he does get things so mixed up!
Why, this is more like a horrid July day!”

“That’s what it is,” muttered the Book of Travels.

“Oh, I do wish Tibbs and Kiddiwee were here to help me,” continued the
child; “I don’t know what to do.”

“I expect they’re waiting for you on the roof,” remarked the Book.
“Follow me,” he continued, “we’ll soon put this little matter right.”
And so saying, the book of travels ran over to the fireplace.

“You may have to go all round the world to find a really fine December
day,” he added, “so you’ve no time to lose. Come along!”

And with a flap of his covers he flew up the chimney.

“It looks as if it’s going to be a truly grand adventure,” cried
Coppertop, with her eyes sparkling. And, springing out of the big
four-posted bed, she followed quickly after the book.



CHAPTER II.

OFF ON AN ADVENTURE WITH TIBBS AND KIDDIWEE


“Come along!” cried Tibbs, who was seated upon a puff of smoke above
the chimney-pot, “we thought you were never coming.”

“’Es we did!” chimed in Kiddiwee, from a swallow’s nest under the ledge
of the chimney.

“On the contery,” said Coppertop, as she emerged from the chimney-pot
in a dignified fashion, “on the contery, you knew perfectly well I was
coming, else you wouldn’t have been waiting here, would you?”

“’Spose not!” said Tibbs. “What’s the trouble this time?”

“Oh, if you’re going to be grumpy, I shall wish I hadn’t ’magined you,”
said Coppertop, looking down her freckled nose and pouting her lips;
“and my book’s gone! I can’t see it anywhere!”

“Don’t cry, Cece!” piped up a tiny voice from the swallow’s nest.
Kiddiwee always took Coppertop’s part in any dispute that arose.

“I’m not crying! But he needn’t be so grumpy, and on a beastly old day
like this, too!”

“That’s why!” cried Tibbs. “You shouldn’t have called us on such a day!
It’s warm and cosy in the Far-away-Beyond,” he added, with a shiver.

“You don’t seem to understand,” said Coppertop, with tears in her eyes.
“Mummie and Daddy are coming home to-day, and it simply _must_ be fine.
This is just a horrid July day that’s gone astray! We really can’t have
it here on the first of December. Whatever can we do about it?”

“So that’s it, is it?” cried Tibbs; “you want us to help you put the
weather right?”

“Oh, yes!” cried Coppertop eagerly. “It’s not for myself, it’s for
Mummie and Daddy!” she added beseechingly.

“It’s an awful big interference,” said Tibbs, his eyes beginning to
sparkle at the thought of it. “But we’ll do it.”

“’Es, so we will,” agreed Kiddiwee.

“We’ll push this beastly old July day back to its right month, and find
the December day that ought to be here. My, but it will be a spree!”
and Tibbs rubbed his hands delightedly.

“That’s right! I knew I could depend on you!” said Coppertop, and her
pale cheeks began to glow with excitement.

“’Es, but how?” asked Kiddiwee anxiously.

“I don’t know exactly how,” replied Coppertop, “but it _must_ be done!
Perhaps we’d better call on the Clerk of the Weather, he ought to be
able to help us!”

And so saying, off they flew to interview that important personage.



CHAPTER III.

THEY MAKE AN ENEMY


“What do you want here?” cried the Clerk of the Weather, crossly.

It wasn’t a very nice greeting, especially as the three anxious
children had been standing and knocking upon the thundercloud door of
the Clerk’s house for the last half hour.

It was Monday morning, and the Clerk of the Weather was never at his
best on Monday. A muddler at all times, on Monday he was usually the
most muddled muddler who ever muddled muddles!

“He’s cross as two sticks!” whispered Tibbs; “we shan’t get much help
from him.”

“I wonder if he is related to Mrs. Grudge,” said Coppertop in a subdued
voice; “he has her nose----”

“And her temper,” agreed Tibbs.

“Yes,” continued Coppertop, “and that’s about all there is of Mrs.
Grudge--nose, and temper, and teeth.”

“’Es, and not always teeth, only sometimes,” added Kiddiwee.

“Hush!” corrected Coppertop, “you should never notice uncertain teeth.”

[Illustration: The Clerk of the Weather.]

“What do you want here?” repeated the Clerk of the Weather, growing
angrier and more like Mrs. Grudge each moment.

“If you please, we’ve come----”

“I can see that!” interrupted the Clerk.

“To--to----” stammered Coppertop.

“Two and two makes four!” snapped the Clerk. “Well! what have you come
for?”

“Smarty!” cried Tibbs. And the Clerk glared at him.

“We’ve come to ask you very kindly for a December day, if you please,”
said Coppertop, speaking in her best party manner, to hide Tibbs’
rudeness.

“Well, I don’t please!” rapped the Clerk of the Weather. “I haven’t
one! And I wouldn’t give it to you if I had! December day, indeed! The
most precious thing in my whole year! What do you think I’m made of?”

“Nose and temper and teeth,” said Kiddiwee, who thought the Clerk was
asking a question to be answered.

“Insolent!” yelled the Clerk, purple with rage. “Be off at once!
December day, indeed! You won’t get one if I can help it!” And so
saying, he shut the thundercloud door with a bang!

“That’s a jolly bad start!” exclaimed Tibbs.

“’Es, it is!” echoed Kiddiwee.

“I don’t call it a start at all,” pouted Coppertop. “I’m afraid we’ve
made an emeny of him.”

“Enemy, you mean,” corrected Tibbs. “Yes, I’m afraid we have. But that
makes it all the more exciting.”

“’Es, it does too!” said Kiddiwee.

Just then a sharp breeze sprang up, flattening their gauzy wings (of
course, they all had wings) against their sides, and nearly blowing
them off the cloud upon which they were standing.

“I have an idea!” cried Tibbs, his face brightening up. “Let’s call on
the Four Winds. They’re some of the Powers-that-be, and maybe they’ll
help us.”

“Very well, then,” assented Coppertop, but without much enthusiasm; she
never liked the Winds very much, they always made her hair so untidy.
“But which shall we call on first? We ought to know before we start.”

“The South Wind, I should think; I expect he looks after the July days.”

“Oh, but he’s so cold! He nips my nose and fingers. I don’t like him
one bit!” cried poor Coppertop, shivering at the very idea.

“Then I shall have to go alone,” cried Tibbs.

But at such a threat the others spread their wings, and prepared to
follow him to the Castle of the Chill South Wind.



CHAPTER IV.

IN THE MIDDLE OF A THUNDERSTORM


The three adventurous children had not flown very far on their way to
the Castle of the Chill South Wind before they found themselves in the
middle of a dense black cloud.

“Wherever did it come from?” asked Coppertop in a scared voice.

“I can guess _whom_ it came from,” said Tibbs; “it’s sent by the Clerk
of the Weather. He’s going to try and stop us reaching the South Wind.
But he won’t!”

At this moment there came a low, dull rumble.

“Thunder!” cried Tibbs.

“Goodness gracious! Then this must be a thundercloud we’re in!” gasped
Coppertop.

And it was.

It very soon commenced to roar and rumble round them in a most
terrifying way, and vivid flashes of lightning shot here and there and
zig-zagged across the sky. It grew so dark that the children could
scarcely see each other, and had no idea in which direction to fly.

“Oh, my hair is on fire!” cried Coppertop, after a vivid flash. “Oh,
whatever shall I do? Please put it out, somebody. Quickly!”

[Illustration: “Oh, my hair is on fire!” cried Coppertop.]

But it was a false alarm. Her little red head wasn’t more on fire than
usual, but it was full of electricity, and sparkled and crackled all
over. And when she put up her hand, to feel if her ribbons were still
there, her hair went off in sharp explosions wherever her fingers
touched it.

“Oough, how funny!” exclaimed Kiddiwee, “Cece has turned into a real
firework.”

“It’s not at all funny. I only hope I’m not a rocket, and that my head
won’t shoot off!”

“Take hold of her pig-tails on either side,” cried Tibbs, “then it
won’t.”

But as soon as they did this, they received such an electric shock from
her hair that it knocked them both over!

Now it was Coppertop’s turn to laugh, which she did very thoroughly;
but she suddenly stopped, the smile faded from her face, and gave way
to a look of blank dismay.

Tibbs and Kiddiwee were nowhere to be seen!

“Where can they be?” she cried, trying vainly to see through the
dense black cloud. “Whatever shall I do if they have melted away, or
something terrifikly annoying like that? Whatever shall I do?”

“Go back to bed!” cried a harsh voice, which sounded like Mrs.
Grudge’s, “and don’t try to steal my fine December days!”

“I won’t go to bed!” cried Coppertop defiantly, “and I hate you for
being so beastly!” she added, for she knew now that it was the Clerk of
the Weather who spoke.

“Then I’ll throw you into the sea!” he snarled.

At the words the thundercloud melted away, and Coppertop found herself
far out over a wide ocean, and falling rapidly. She tried to fly up,
but her wings had been injured by the storm, and were useless.

“I suppose I shall be drowned,” she muttered to herself, as she fell
faster and faster, “and that will be the end of me and the December
day. I suppose Tibbs and Kiddiwee are down there too, and that’ll be
the end of them. I ought to be simply terrified, but I’m not. This
falling-down feeling is so funny, that I believe, if I’m not dreadfully
careful, I shall laugh instead.”

Still faster she fell, and nearer and nearer came the sparkling ocean.

Just as she began to prepare for a splash, she fell PLOMP on to
something soft and springy.

“Why, it’s a BED!” she cried. “MY bed!” and her eyes opened so widely
with surprise that their lashes tangled with her eyebrows.

“My big four-posted bed!” she muttered, unable to believe it.

She crawled cautiously to the edge and peeped over, and found that the
bed was floating, like an old Spanish galleon, upon the ocean.

“Well!” she exclaimed, “I’ve gone back to bed, but not the way that
horrid old Clerk thought.” And then she flung herself down and hugged
the bulgy pillow.

“Thank you, old Bed!” she cried, “thank you, just heaps and heaps!” And
she almost wept with joy to find herself safe.

“Please don’t weep,” said a gentle, soothing voice, “it makes me damp,
and damp beds are DANGEROUS!”

As it said this last word the voice became quite fierce, and so
surprised Coppertop that she sat up and dried her eyes hastily. “But
where are Tibbs and Kiddiwee?” she faltered. “I’m dreadfully unhappy
about them.”

“Some folks are never happy unless they’re _unhappy_ about something!”
droned the voice, grown soft and almost feathery again. “They’ll be all
right--boys always are. Just wait and see, my dearie, just wait and
see.”

As the Bed was saying so soothingly, “Wait and see, wait and see,” a
gentle breeze began to blow, the curtains of the old bed filled out
like sails, and it glided with a gentle roll over the silvery ocean.

Before Coppertop could worry any further over Tibbs or Kiddiwee, she
was sound asleep.



CHAPTER V.

THEY MEET THEIR FIRST BEAR


When Coppertop opened her eyes, her first thought was that the bed had
become very hard, and her second that she was cold, freezingly cold.

She sat up. And then, to her great surprise, she saw that she was on
the bed no longer, but seated upon something white and glistening.

“Why, it’s snow!” she declared, “beautiful, crisp snow. But however did
I get here?”

“What does that matter?” said a familiar voice, and, looking round, she
beheld Tibbs and Kiddiwee.

With a scream of delight, she flung her arms round them, but Tibbs
wriggled out of her reach--he never liked being hugged.

“But I simply must know how we all came to be here,” repeated
Coppertop, when she had recovered from her excitement.

“It’s awfully strange!”

“Don’t bother about a little thing like that. Girls _are_ funny,”
remarked Tibbs, grandly.

“But it isn’t a little thing,” said Coppertop.

“Well, anyhow, _you_ are!”

“’Es, and Tibbs and me is too,” piped up Kiddiwee, “twemendously
small!”

“Small, are we?”

“Rather,” assured Tibbs; “why we’re not as large as these snowflakes,
see.”

“Good gracious!” exclaimed Coppertop, “so we are! However did it all
happen?”

“Oh, _don’t_ bother about that,” said Tibbs again.

“Pretend we know,” suggested Kiddiwee.

“All right. That’ll be rather fun,” assented Coppertop. And so it was
settled.

“Oh, how the dear old snow sparkles,” she continued, “and isn’t it
a lovely day. Perhaps we can find a fine day here to take back to
Australia for Mummie and Daddy to arrive on. Do let us try.”

“You can’t take one without asking the South Wind,” warned Tibbs. “He’d
be furious about it. Besides this is too cold for December.”

“My toes are freezing, they are,” cried Kiddiwee.

“Joggle them about,” suggested his sister.

“I can’t, Cece, they won’t joggle!” came a pitiful little voice.

“Then rub some snow on them,” said Tibbs.

While this was being done, he climbed up to the top of a snowflake to
spy out the land, and find the way to the South Wind’s Castle.

“It’s just snow, and snow, and snow, as far as I can see,” he cried.

“Oh, do let me see,” said Coppertop. “Pull me up.”

Tibbs lent her his hand from above, and Kiddiwee did his best to push
from below. But she found it was not at all easy to climb a snowflake.
Each piece that she took hold of melted away under her warm hands.

“How wonderful!” she exclaimed, when she at last reached the top. “And
look--LOOK! Whatever is it? It looks like a huge white mountain running
towards us.”

They all looked. And, surely enough, a great white mass was charging
down upon them.

“It’s a Teddy Bear!” exclaimed Kiddiwee, “only it’s the hugestest that
ever was.”

“Kiddi is right!” cried Tibbs. “It _is_ a bear, I can see his mouth and
teeth.”

“Oh, dear! Whatever shall we do?” cried Coppertop, beside herself with
fear.

“Don’t be ’fraid, Cece,” said Kiddiwee; “I’ll just shoo him away.”

“Stupid! He wouldn’t even see you,” cried Tibbs. “Look out, he’s
coming! We must run!” And he seized hold of the other two and pulled
them along with him, helter-skelter down the snowflake, away from the
bear. They could hear the thud! thud! of his great paws, under which
the snow shook.

Faster and faster they ran! But the bear was running faster still. When
suddenly the thud of the paws stopped.

After waiting breathlessly for some moments, Tibbs climbed up to a
snowflake top to see what had happened.

“Look! Look!” he cried, and the other two scrambled up after him.

A few yards away sat the mighty bear, solemnly staring at a large brown
hair-ribbon.

“Why, it’s mine!” exclaimed Coppertop, feeling one of her plaits and
finding the ribbon gone; “but how tremendous it’s grown!”

“He’s never seen one before,” whispered Tibbs. “Look, I believe he is
going to eat it.”

“’Es. P’r’aps that will do instead of us!” said Kiddiwee.

And so it did, for no sooner had the bear swallowed the
hair-ribbon--which he seemed to enjoy--than he smiled broadly, and,
lifting up one paw, he waved it at the children in the friendliest way.

“He really does look very nice and soft and kind,” whispered Coppertop
to Tibbs, “he reminds me, somehow, of my big bed. I wonder if we ought
to speak to him.”

“Yes, let’s,” agreed Tibbs. “I haven’t spoken to many bears--it’ll be
rather a rag!”

After a little hesitation, the three adventurers walked boldly up to
the Polar Bear.

“How-de-do?” he said, smiling his broadest smile, and holding out his
paw, which, however, was far too large for them to shake.

“How do you do, Mr. Bear?” replied Coppertop, in her best society
manner, and feeling, somehow, that she was addressing her bed, which
was rather absurd.

“Mr. Bear, indeed!” said the animal, and went off into peals of huge
laughter. “Bare! Ho, ho! That’s a good one! Bare, indeed! With all
this fur on! I’m not nearly as bare as you are!” And he rolled about
and gurgled with mirth.

And the children laughed too, although not quite sure what the joke was.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“That’s just what I was going to ask you,” interrupted Tibbs, “because
there aren’t any bears at the South Pole, you know.”

“That’s why we came,” replied the Bear. “We thought it was quite time
they had some. But what about yourselves?”

“We’re looking for the Castle of the South Wind,” said Tibbs. “Perhaps
you can tell us the nearest way.”

“That I can,” replied the Bear, good-humouredly. “Jump up on my back
and I’ll give you a lift. I’m going that way myself.”

“How perfectly splendid!” cried Coppertop, joyfully, and scrambled up
on to his back, followed by the others. And off they started at a big
jog-trot.

Swiftly over the snow and ice trotted the Bear, climbing, at times, to
the top of a huge iceberg, to spy out the way, and the children had to
hold tightly to his fur as he swung along.

Mile after mile they went, and Coppertop felt sure they must be nearing
their journey’s end.

“We shall soon get the December day at this rate!” cried Tibbs.

“Will you?” screamed a piercing voice in their ears. “Not if I can
prevent it! Oh, dear me, no!”

“The Clerk of the Weather!” they all three exclaimed.

Before they could utter another word, they found themselves in the
midst of a terrific blizzard.

And a squalling, snowing, blowing, freezing, breezing, tearing, scaring
blizzard it was, to be sure.

It blew the children down from the back of the Bear, and rolled them
over and over. It bowled them along helplessly till they arrived at the
bottom of a great bank of snow. And here it could blow them no further,
and so it heaped the snow over them, in a large white mound, until they
were completely buried.



CHAPTER VI.

UNDER THE SNOW


“It’s getting so warm, it is. I can hardly find any breff,” cried
Kiddiwee.

“I call it beautifully cosy. This is how the snow keeps the flowers
warm, I suppose. I like it,” said Coppertop.

“Oh, dear! It’s getting hotterer and hotterer!” he panted.

“The snow is melting all round us--we shall soon have room to walk,”
said his sister. “And there will be more air, too.”

“The question is, how are we going to get out?” cried Tibbs.

“If you had any sense--which I very much doubt--you wouldn’t want to,
at least till the blizzard’s gone!” piped up a little shrill voice
beside them. And looking down, they beheld a tiny little creature, so
wee that, small as they were just then, he made them feel like giants.
He was so very minute that he could have built a ninety-roomed castle
on Coppertop’s little finger-nail, and hung out the household washing
upon one of her golden eyelashes, if she had been her natural size.

“Make yourselves at home--you’re quite welcome,” continued the small
voice.

“Is this YOUR home?” asked Coppertop.

“Yes, more or less. Let me explain,” went on the little voice. “My name
is Mr. A. Tom--Atom for short.”

“’Es, very short!” interrupted Kiddiwee, looking down grandly upon the
little creature.

“You shouldn’t say that!” cried Coppertop; “he might be offended, and
we’re in his house, you know.”

“’Es, and I wish we weren’t,” said Kiddiwee, wearily; “it’s drefful
stuffy, it is.”

“Yes, I know,” agreed Coppertop; “but don’t say so, it sounds so rude.
We’ll just ask him to tell us the nearest way to the South Wind’s
Castle.”

“I will,” volunteered Tibbs. “Please, Mr. Adam----”

“Atom--ATOM! Not Adam! Mr. A. Tom.”

“Well, Mr. Atom, please----” repeated Tibbs, rather confused by his
mistake. “Please, Mr. Atom, can you tell us where the South Wind’s
Castle is?”

“Still in the same place, I should imagine,” answered the merry little
man, with a twinkling eye. “Unless it has moved,” he added.

“Oh, please, he means how can we get there?” cried Coppertop, coming to
the rescue.

“Well, you can run there, walk there, jump there, fly there, or think
there! But you’re far too small as you are to undertake a journey like
that. Bless me, you’d spend all your time climbing over the snowflakes.”

At this the children looked very crestfallen.

“But, my dears,” continued Mr. Atom, “it is a very simple thing for
me--with a wave of my hand and the use of a magic spell--thus--to cause
you to become any size you may wish.”

Mr. Atom stretched out one hand towards the children, and with
the other he beckoned to the snow, saying at the same time,
“Elementi-allione!”

As the strange little person said this, the snow on either side of the
children melted away, and they found themselves growing.

“Oh, how funny!” cried Coppertop, as she felt herself getting larger
and larger. “Oh, Mr. Atom! However can you do it?”

“It’s a ripping feeling!” cried Tibbs. “I feel as if I could jump over
a house.”

And still they continued to grow, larger and larger.

“Hallo! Where is Mr. Atom gone?” exclaimed Tibbs. “I can’t see him at
all.”

“I’m here, sure enough,” said a tiny voice, which seemed to come from
everywhere at once. “Only you are getting so large that you can’t see
me, except with a microscope.”

And still they grew.

Then came a crash and a crunch, and a shower of snow fell all round
them. And, to their surprise, they found that their heads had smashed
through the snow under which they had been concealed, and they were
once more able to look out upon the great white world.

“We are still growing!” cried Tibbs.

“We shall be giants soon,” replied Coppertop; “but I only hope our
clothes grow as well, or we shall look too silly for words.”

“How lovely to be giants!” cried Kiddiwee, gleefully.

And now the world round them seemed to be growing very small.

“The Clerk of the Weather did us little harm with his blizzard after
all,” remarked Tibbs.

“Horrid person,” said Coppertop.

“He doesn’t know what a good friend we’ve found through his old
blizzard. Mr. Atom is awfully nice. And he is going to help us--heaps.
It’s funny how things happen.”



CHAPTER VII.

THE CASTLE OF THE SOUTH WIND


The fact that the children were now so big helped them greatly on
their journey; but they had to walk, as they were far too large and
cumbersome to fly, their gauze wings would never carry them.

“Really, I’m very grateful to Mr. Atom,” said Coppertop; “what a
wonderful little person he is.”

“Yes, it isn’t always size that counts,” came a tiny voice from a cloud
near by, which she instantly recognised as belonging to Mr. Atom.

“Why, I believe he’s up here, too!” she cried.

“Quite right, my dear,” continued the small voice. “You see, I’m pretty
well everywhere.”

“So am I,” replied Coppertop, who had mistaken his meaning, “except in
India! Of course I love India terrifikly, because I’ve been there, and
it’s nearly always warm and sunny; but people get so dried up--I know
Mummie and Daddy do!”

“That’s why you call her Mummie, I suppose, instead of Mother?”
interrupted Mr. Atom, with the sound of a smile in his voice.

“Not at all,” replied Coppertop; “I’ve always called her Mummie. But
oh, I’m always well in Australia--it’s simply glorious! The paddocks
and the scrumptious little gardens full of flowers; the birds--I know
all their names--and the air smells so wonderful, it feels just like
music when you breathe it.”

“Ah, yes, precisely,” said Mr. Atom.

“It makes me want to cry when I think of it. I believe I’m going to be
homesick!” At this Tibbs and Kiddiwee commenced to laugh.

“You’re both very horrid!” said Coppertop, and she pouted her lips and
waited for them to say something nice. But boys never will, when you
want them to.

“Come along,” was all the response she got from Tibbs, but Kiddiwee
squeezed her hand.

So they continued their tramp to the Castle of the South Wind.

And now they found themselves walking on thick ice across a frozen
ocean, stepping over mountainous icebergs which shone and glittered
like green diamonds in the soft sunlight. It was the most exciting
and amusing part of the whole trip, so far, and Coppertop thoroughly
enjoyed it.

“What a fine story all this would make! I think I’ll try and write it
some day,” she said.

As she was speaking, a brilliant bluish light lit up the sky in front
of them. From the centre of this light rose slowly a widening circle of
flame, from which shot out jets of rainbow-coloured fire.

The beauty of this light took away the children’s breath, and they
could only gaze in wonder and amazement at the sight.

Slowly the light faded, and where it had been they beheld a towering
Castle built of glistening blocks of ice.

“Come along! Let us see if the South Wind is in” cried Tibbs.

But before the giant children had gone far towards the iceberg gateway,
a great voice, like the sound of a hurricane, cried: “Who dares to
enter my thawless Castle, and tread the icy cloisters of my hall? Who
wakes me rudely from my slumber?”

The children were too awed to speak, and the mighty voice continued:

“Summer is at hand! and she and I have quarrelled since the world
began. Why do you waken me at such a time? ’Tis I who rule the wintry
southern world, holding it tight within my icy grasp. I scatter with
a lavish hand the jewels of frost! I make the rosy cheeks of children
glow! And yet I can be cruel! I can be cruel!”

“I wonder if he has finished the recitation? These winds are so
long-winded,” whispered Tibbs to Coppertop.

“Oh, do be careful what you say! He’s annoyed already!” she said
warningly.

“Pooh! Think I’m afraid of a puff of wind!”

“Please be quiet!” pleaded his sister. “You know we’ve come to ask a
favour.”

Just then an icy gust, like a huge hand, shot forth and touched Tibbs
on the hands and feet. Instantly he howled with pain and tried to warm
his frost-bitten fingers by holding them in his mouth, whilst he
hopped first on one foot and then on the other.

[Illustration: The South Wind.]

“I was only saying ‘How-do-you-do!’” laughed the mighty voice of the
South Wind. “Won’t you shake hands?”

But Tibbs had had enough.

“You have no manners,” continued the South Wind, “although you are so
big. What has She-of-the-sunset-hair to say?”

“That’s you, Cece,” said Kiddiwee, giving her a nudge.

“Oh, we’re very sorry you think us rude,” stammered Coppertop,
colouring.

“What is your name?” asked the South Wind.

“It’s Anagusta Celia Sinclair, thank you.”

“Don’t thank me, Anagusta.”

“Oh, please don’t call me Anagusta! I hate it!” cried Coppertop, quite
forgetting to whom she was speaking.

“Softly, softly!” chuckled the South Wind, in quite a gentle-breeze
mood. “If you get so hot, you’ll melt my Palace. Why have you honoured
me with this visit?” he asked.

“He means what are we here for,” whispered Tibbs to Coppertop.

“Oh, dear! It’s so hard to explain. You see, Mummie and Daddy are
coming home from India to-day--and it’s the first of December.”

“How I hate that name!” grumbled the South Wind to himself.

“And--and it should be a fine day, but it isn’t--it’s a horrid July
day!”

“You are ungrateful!” reproved the South Wind.

“You have much to thank the dull July days for. They soften the ground,
and supply it with moisture to feed the coming spring-time crops.”

“Yes. But it shouldn’t be July in December, should it?”

“Er--well, no! Perhaps not! I know my winter days do stray at times.”

“Oh, please DO call it back!” pleaded Coppertop. “And tell us where to
find the December day in its place.”

“Very well, I’ll call back my July day,” consented the South Wind. “But
I can do no more. I’ll have nothing to do with December. I loathe it!”

“Oh, but then there will be no day at all for them to arrive on--and
that will be worse than ever. How awfully puzzling it all is!” cried
Coppertop.



CHAPTER VIII.

TOWARDS THE GREAT WEST LAND


“We don’t seem to have done much good,” grumbled Tibbs.

“And you never will, if you grumble,” said a cheery voice, which they
knew belonged to Mr. Atom, although he was far too small for them to
see. “You’ll never find a December day in these cold parts, if you stay
here till the moon turns into cheese.”

“I suppose not. But whatever are we to do?” said Coppertop.

“See if the West Wind has one to spare.”

“’Es, but how are we to find him?” asked Kiddiwee, in a tired little
voice.

“That’s easy,” said Mr. Atom cheerily. “He lives in the Great West
Land.”

“How shall we get there?” asked all three children, excitedly.

“Just--

  Walk with the Sunshine
    Upon your right shoulder,
  And you’ll reach the West Land
    Before you’re much older.

                          Ta-ta!”

And with this advice he left them.

“Come on! Let’s try it,” cried Tibbs, beaming. And turning their backs
on the South Wind’s Castle, they commenced their long tramp to the West.

“I do wish I was my right size again,” sighed Coppertop. “It’s so
tiring walking, and we simply can’t fly whilst we’re so large.” As she
uttered this wish she suddenly commenced to grow smaller and smaller,
until, to her great joy, she was her right size again.

“That’s strange!” she exclaimed, and then she noticed that she had her
foot upon a bright green stone, frozen into the ice.

“It’s a Wishing Stone!” explained Tibbs, who was also growing rapidly
smaller.

“’Es, so it is,” cried Kiddiwee. But how either of them knew anything
about it was a puzzle, for they had never seen it before.

“Hurrah!” exclaimed Coppertop joyfully, realising the power that the
Wishing Stone gave her. “I’ll wish for a fine, hot----”

Before she could say “December day” a gust of warm wind blew round
them, and the sun came out through the hazy sky and shone brightly upon
them.

“It IS a December day!” she cried, clapping her hands with joy.

“It is the right day at last!”

“But in the wrong place!” sneered a voice from a passing cloud. And
looking up, the children saw the mean, spiteful face of the Clerk of
the Weather.

“What does he mean by that?” growled Tibbs. “I’d like to punch that
chap!”

But they soon found out what he meant. For the snow and the ice all
round them were melting rapidly with the heat of the December day sun
upon it.

The icebergs thawed into waterfalls, and the snow melted from under
their feet, and in a very short while they were floating helplessly in
a vast sea, where the field of ice had been.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Cheer up!” said the familiar voice of Mr. Atom. “Things are seldom as
bad as they seem. Keep up your hearts and your heels, and you’ll never
drown.”

“I don’t believe I care much if I do!” sighed Coppertop. “Things are so
awfully disappointing--just when I thought I had it, too! If I don’t
get it soon, Mummie and Daddy will arrive on no day at all, and I
shan’t be there either. They’ll be terrifikly upset--I know they will.
And I’m just dying to see them.”

“You’ll die without seeing them, my dear, if you don’t do as I tell
you. Keep your heart and your heels up.”

“Cheer up, old girl!” said Tibbs, who was swimming close by.

“’Es, cheer up, Cece!” echoed Kiddiwee, as he floated past.

“But I did think I had it at last!” sobbed Coppertop.

[Illustration: The Albatross and the Sea-Maidens (p. 58).]

“You can’t get a thing by just ‘wishing’ for it,” warned Mr. Atom.
“Nothing that’s worth having is won that way.”

“That’s all very well, but however are we to get it? We shan’t find it
in this horrid old sea,” pouted the child.

“Then take to your wings and fly to the West Land as fast as you
can--that’s my advice,” said Mr. Atom.

“Wings!” shouted the children.

“Why, we quite forgot we had any!” cried Coppertop, brightening up.

“There is always a way out of troubles,” smiled Mr. Atom. “By-by!” And
he was gone.

Up into the warm air flew the children, spreading their wings gladly.
And--

  Keeping the Sunshine
    Upon the right shoulder

they sped off towards the West.

After flying some miles, they came upon a number of sea-gulls, who
seemed very interested in the children.

“Funny things,” said one gull. “They don’t seem to have any tails.”

“I expect they’re some new kind of bat,” said another. “Bats have four
legs, and so have these!”

“Very ugly bats!” cried a third; “their skin is all loose, and they
haven’t any fur on it.”

“They are not bats. Bats only fly in the twilight! These have wings
like flying fish,” said one who had travelled far.

“Queer fish!” sneered another. “I shouldn’t like to eat ’em. You try.”

“Gracious! I only hope they don’t!” cried Coppertop, in alarm.

“They’d better not attempt to!” said Tibbs, rolling back his sleeves.
“Do you remember that lovely sea-gull pie we ate last Sunday!” he cried
in a loud voice.

“We didn’t----” began Coppertop.

“Hush!” warned Tibbs. “Look!”

For at the mention of “sea-gull pie” the birds nearest to them grew
pale, and edged nervously away.

“Monsters!” shrieked a large hen sea-gull, but she flew off when Tibbs
looked at her. And very soon they all departed, uttering dismal cries,
and the travellers were left in peace to continue their journey.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Gracious me! what is that great bird?” cried Coppertop, pointing to a
large white creature gliding through the air in front of them.

“It’s a great-great-grandpapa sea-gull, I ’spect,” ventured Kiddiwee.

“Nonsense!” said Tibbs. “That’s an Albatross.”

“’Es, so it is!” agreed Kiddiwee. “Do Albertroters bite?” he added.

“We shall soon know,” said Tibbs, as the great bird swooped round and
came towards them.

“’Es, but I don’t want to know--like that!” cried Kiddiwee. “If he
bites Cece, I’ll kill him dead! I will.”

“Oh, I’M not frightened of a bird!” said Coppertop, “besides, he’s got
quite a kind sort of face, hasn’t he?”

“Thought you might like a lift, my hearties!” said the Albatross,
abruptly, as he flew up. “Where are you bound?”

“West Land, sir,” said Tibbs, who determined to humour the bird.

“It’s a long, long way to----”

“Is he going to sing ‘Tipperary?’” thought Coppertop.

“West Land!” remarked the Albatross. “Get aboard, you lubbers--I’m
sailing that way.”

Coppertop didn’t know whether to be annoyed or not at being addressed
as a “lubber,” but decided that the bird meant it kindly.

“Not all on the starboard side, or we’ll capsize,” warned the
Albatross, as the children hastened to avail themselves of his kind
invitation. “Stow yourselves abaft the hatch between the main-sheets,”
he directed.

“But there aren’t any sheets!” said Coppertop, in bewilderment, “or
even blankets!” although as she said this, it seemed to her that he was
rather like a bed--a feather one.

“He means his wings,” whispered Tibbs; “we must sit up here on his
shoulders.”

“Are you all aboard, my hearties?”

“Aye, aye, sir!” answered Tibbs, in truly nautical style.

And they started off. But the children found it rather hard to keep
their balance, as the bird’s back was inclined to be slippery, and
Kiddiwee slid backwards on to its tail.

“Ahoy, there!” shouted the Albatross, “keep that young shaver off my
steering gear!” And the other two hastily pulled him back.

And now they were swaying and gliding in a most soothing way, and at a
very good speed, over the deep blue waters. It was the strangest trip
they had ever made, and quite one of the nicest. Sometimes they flew
so low that they skimmed the water, and flecked it into a thousand
glowing spray-bubbles, and the shadowy form of some large fish could be
seen gliding along under the water, hoping for a chance nibble, if the
Albatross should be foolish enough to settle. Then, again, they would
glide upwards till they were on a level with the fleecy clouds, and the
waves looked like ripples beneath them.

“If that isn’t old Skipper Blubberkins, the Whale. What’s he doing up
in these warm parts?” cried the Albatross. “With your permission, my
hearties, we’ll just pull alongside and see what the old pirate has to
say for hisself.”

The Albatross certainly talked like a true old Salt, but whether he
learnt it from the sailors, or the sailors learnt it from him, is a
problem hard to decide--you never can tell.

Skipper Blubberkins--the Whale--was asleep when they arrived, and
looked much more like an island than a living animal.

“He’s the hugestest person I’ve seen,” exclaimed Kiddiwee; “how
’normous his great-great-grandpapa must be!” He always had an idea
that the word “great” before “grandpapa” referred to the size of that
individual, and not to his place upon the family tree.

[Illustration: Skipper Blubberkins.]

They were cruising about in the air above the Whale’s head, wondering
how to announce their visit politely, there being no front door
knocker, nor even an electric bell.

“Look out! I believe something’s going to happen!” cried Tibbs,
suddenly.

For there had come a strange gurgling sound beneath them. And the next
moment, before the Albatross could move a wing, the Whale SPOUTED!

They were drenched! They were soaked to the skin, and even under that!

This was evidently a little joke on the part of the Whale, for he had
his absurd little eyes open all the while, and must have waited until
the Albatross and the children were over his head.

“Man the pumps, you lubberly longshoremen! I’m foundering!” shouted the
distracted bird.

“Who’s floundering? What do you mean?” cried Tibbs, bewildered by the
sudden uprush of water.

Kiddiwee was too frightened to say anything at first; he just clung to
one of the bird’s big wing feathers, and waited for the deluge to stop.

Coppertop was the calmest of all. She was so busy trying to obey the
orders of the confused Albatross that she had no time to be afraid.

“Tibbs, do help!” she cried.

“He wants us to ‘man the pumps’--whatever that is! And where are the
pumps? I can’t see any. It’s terrifikly confusing!” she added. “And my
hair’s all in my eyes! I’m positive I look a sight!”

“Yes, you do!” said Tibbs, with brotherly frankness. “And the old bird
is crazy!” he cried. “He imagines he’s a ship.”

“He looks more like a bed to me!” said Coppertop. And then she wondered
why she had said it.

Then came the gurgling sound from below, once more.

The Albatross swerved, and the children turned pale--they thought they
were going to have a second drenching.

But this time it was only Mr. Skipper Blubberkins laughing at the
success of his little joke.

At this the Albatross quivered with rage, and flew down to tell the
Whale exactly--or very nearly--what he thought of him. He was in a
furious temper, and shrieked at the placid Whale. But Mr. Skipper
Blubberkins only gurgled more than ever, until the bird grew so hoarse
he could not utter another word.

“You shouldn’t lose your temper, and say things like that in front of
my sister!” cried Tibbs, leaning forward and shouting to the angry bird.

“Lar! Bless me!” cried the Whale, as he caught sight of Tibbs. “Why
didn’t you say you had a cargo aboard. Maybe I shouldn’t have made so
free with my spoutings, if I’d known.”

“Blow me!” retorted the Albatross, “you should look before you spout!”

“Where are e’ going, my dears?” shouted the Whale, as two other heads
came peeping over.

“To the West Land,” answered Coppertop. “We’re searching for a December
day,” she added, “and we thought the West Wind might lend us one of
his.”

“Lar, now! Why, you’ve just missed the West Wind by a fin’s length! He
blew by here about two bells after the dog watch. Won’t you come inside
and sit down?” added Mr. Skipper Blubberkins, with an inviting smile.

“Not if I know it!” said the Albatross ungraciously. And with one sweep
of his mighty wings he sped on, and the Whale was soon left behind.

“I--I should rather like to have gone in!” said Coppertop.



CHAPTER IX.

IN THE TROPICS


They were now in the tropics. The ocean lay basking in the heat, with
scarcely a ripple upon its placid green face.

It was very beautiful and mysterious. A slight mauve haze hung over the
sky, and the horizon was lost in a golden mist.

It seemed to the children that the whole world had fallen into a
peaceful slumber, and was dreaming a beautiful dream. Nothing moved,
nothing stirred but the heat that danced on the hazy ocean.

Without a visible movement of his mighty wings, the Albatross glided
calmly along, gazing dreamily at his reflection in the water below.

Then, without warning, from the shimmering waves came the words of a
mysterious song!

Very faint, at first--like the dream-voices of fairies--it grew louder,
until they could catch the words clearly--

  “Albatross! Albatross!
    Where are you flying?
  Stay here, we pray you,
    We’ll take no denying.
  Beautiful bird,
    With a wonderful motion,
  Tell us what lifts you
    With ease o’er the ocean.”

The Albatross heard too, but he was nervous and pretended he didn’t.

  “Albatross! Albatross!
    May we draw near?
  You are so beautiful,
    Pearly and dear.
  You most magnificent
    Bird of the ocean,
  May we draw near you
    And offer devotion.”

At this the Albatross visibly trembled. Then turned his head and
preened a stray feather into place.

  “Albatross! Albatross!
    Be not afraid,
  Fly not away
    From a little sea-maid.
  Long have we waited
    In vain for this hour,
  Now you have entered
    The realm of our power.”

At this the Albatross made an effort to fly away. But a golden rainbow
rose from the ocean and encircled him, and he did not know which way to
fly.

As the song ended, all the waters around seemed to ripple with joyous
laughter. And here and there a little foam-crest appeared, and
pearly-white arms robed in a mist of rainbow spray stretched up towards
the Albatross. The ocean beneath them seemed to be alive with shadowy
forms, and merry little faces smiled up through the veil of emerald
water.

It was evident that the head of the foolish bird had been turned by all
this praise, for he hovered, hesitating, just above the little white
arms. Then he sank lower and lower.

Countless silvery voices repeated the enchanting song. And it seemed to
the children that they were being rocked to sleep in a cradle of silver
sound.

Kiddiwee and Coppertop were enraptured. And they gazed wonder-eyed at
the beautiful sea-maidens.

Lower still drifted the Albatross, and there came a dreamy far-away
look into his eyes.

So near the ocean was he now that one of the enchanting sea-maidens
leapt out of the foam towards him, and winding her arms round his neck,
she pressed her lips to his beak.

Instantly a terrible change too place!

The song of the sea-maidens turned to cruel laughter. The golden
tresses of their hair became coarse seaweed. Their eyes glowed with a
pale green light, and their lips grew hard and cruel.

The Albatross fell to the water--dead!

After floating some moments, the bird began to sink, and the terrified
children tried to fly away, but found that their wings had gone!

The sea-maidens swam round and round them, and one, bolder than the
rest, reached out of the water and tried to grasp hold of one of
Coppertop’s plaits, but Tibbs rushed bravely forward and thrust his
sister behind him.

“Look! Look at her face!” screamed Coppertop. “It’s exactly like Mrs.
Grudge!”

“’Es, so it is! With all her teeth--sharp ones!” cried Kiddiwee.

And now a very strange thing happened.

As the poor Albatross lay stretched upon the ocean, slowly sinking,
from the four corners of his body arose four carved posts, and his back
became a large feather mattress!

[Illustration: The Four-Posted Bed at Sea.]

Before Coppertop, Tibbs or Kiddiwee could recover from their
astonishment, the Albatross turned into the old four-posted Bed!

“That’s the second time you’ve saved us!” cried Coppertop, clapping
her hands with joy. “When we get home, I’ll buy you a real golden
counterpane, and you shall live in a crystal case, and never be slept
on unless you wish.”

As for the sea-maidens--they were so annoyed at being cheated of their
prey, that they sank beneath the ocean and were seen no more.



CHAPTER X.

SHIPWRECKED


“Do these belong to you, my dears?” said a large voice behind them, as
they were sailing peacefully along on the old Bed.

And looking round, they beheld a black form towering above them.

“It’s old Skipper Blubberkins--the Whale!” exclaimed Tibbs.

“I found these floating around,” continued their huge friend, “after
you left. I shouldn’t wonder but what they were washed off by that
sudden shower we had,” he added, gurgling gleefully at the remembrance
of his little joke, at the same time holding up an immense fin, upon
which lay three pairs of gauzy wings.

“Oh, you dear, great person!” cried Coppertop. And I think that she
would have embraced him, then and there, had there been any part small
enough for her to put her arms round.

“Thanks awfully. You’re an old sport!” cried Tibbs.

And Kiddiwee lisped, “You’re the beautifullest whale of all the whales,
you are!”

And the Whale was so overcome by all this praise, that he dived beneath
the waves to hide his blushes.

A gentle breeze sprang up, and the old bed sailed merrily over the
waves with her cargo of happy adventurers.

They were sailing so fast that Coppertop felt sure that they would
catch the West Wind before he blew away to his home in Africa.

Tibbs climbed up one of the posts--or “masts,” as he called them--to
keep a look-out for land ahead. And Kiddiwee steered the ship with a
large piece of seaweed.

“We shall be there in almost no time at this rate,” said Coppertop
gleefully, watching the foaming trail they were leaving behind.

“Will you?” cried a spiteful voice in her ear, as a little gust of wind
shot by.

Coppertop shivered! It sounded unpleasantly like the Clerk of the
Weather.

“_Will you?_” came the voice again. And this time it arose to a scream.
And a sharp gust of wind lashed the sea-spray in her face.

“Storm brewing!” called out Tibbs, from the masthead. “Furl the sails!”

The other two ran to carry out the orders, folding up the curtains
against the bed-posts as fast as they could. But they were just too
late!

In that moment the full force of the gale burst upon them.

It wrenched the curtains from their hands and tore them to shreds! It
blew Tibbs from the main-mast, and whirled him far up into the air! It
beat upon the sea till the waves rose up in anger, and the peaceful
ocean became a fury of troubled waters!

The old Bed struggled bravely to keep her head above the waves, but she
could not be expected to swim in such a gale.

After floating about helplessly for some time, she slowly sank beneath
the angry sea.

Coppertop clung to the bulgy pillow, which floated like a raft, and
Kiddiwee took refuge upon one of the carved bed-posts, which had been
broken off by the first blast of the gale, and floated away on the
waves.

Soon the great mountains of water hid them from each other, and
Coppertop was all alone.



CHAPTER XI.

WAOMBA--MOTHER OF THE WEST LAND


After a while the gale died down as suddenly as it began. The sea grew
calm once more, and the sun shone out brightly.

Coppertop dried her wings in the warm sunlight, and leaving the pillow
upon which she floated, flew up into the golden air.

She looked eagerly round for Tibbs and Kiddiwee, but they were nowhere
to be seen.

And Coppertop felt too broken-hearted and sad even to cry.

Far away in the distance she espied a peak of land, showing blue above
the horizon. And not caring very much whether she reached it or not,
she flew in that direction.

But as she drew nearer her spirits rose.

“After all,” she said to herself, “even that horrid old Clerk of the
Weather wouldn’t dare to drown them! ’Maginary brothers can’t be
drowned, I’m positively sure they can’t. But where are they? I do love
them so! And I shall never find the December day by myself.”

So she pondered wearily, until she reached the West Land, and beheld
a great mountain, with a queer tablecloth of cloud upon it, as though
it were laid for a feast of giants. This looked so strange and
interesting that she flew towards it.

“I wonder,” thought Coppertop, “if it is laid for the West Wind’s
breakfast? It will be most disappointing if I miss him!”

Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud roaring from somewhere beneath
her. The roar of a lion! This was followed by the cries of smaller
animals. And looking down, to her surprise, she found that she was now
flying over several large, open cages, in which were many animals.

“Why, I do believe it’s a Zoo!” she exclaimed. “Oh, I do hate to see
the poor things shut up! How would we like to be shut up in cages and
stared at by crowds of animals, I should like to know? People are so
funny! It’s just the same way with flowers. They say, ‘Oh, I do love
the beautiful flowers!’ and then, off they pull their heads, and stick
them in ugly old vases, in stuffy rooms! That isn’t much like loving
them! I wouldn’t love things that way.” Pondering deeply, she added,
“Oh, I don’t know how I’d love! It would be bigger than the biggest
balloon! Oh, much huger! I wish I had someone to scrumble and squeege
now! It’s simply miserable being alone!”

“Those who love as you do are never alone,” said a soft rich voice from
the mist in front of her. For she had now reached the tablecloth of
cloud which hung over the mountain top.

Coppertop was startled. And yet she did not feel really afraid--the
voice was too gentle for anyone to be afraid of. It reminded her of
her mother’s voice.

“Do not fear, little one!” continued the voice. “It is I, Waomba, who
speaks.”

“I don’t think I know you, do I?” stammered Coppertop. She had never
heard the name before, but the gentle voice she knew quite well.

“I came from the Shadowland of the Barimo, because I heard you call.”

“I--I don’t think I did call!” murmured the child.

“Yes, little one, your heart did! It was lonely, and it called to me.
Come!”

And at these words the mist rolled back and revealed a gigantic, but
beautiful, negress.

Upon her head, which towered almost to the sky, were two large buffalo
horns, held by a band of gold; her shoulders and arms were bare, and
round her waist coiled a golden snake, which held in place her robe of
bluest blue. Against her heart there cooed a grey ring-dove; and ah,
she looked serene and wonderful.

Coppertop was so awestruck that she could neither move nor speak, until
the great negress, smiling, held out her arms and said--

  “I am Waomba, whom the great tribes love.
  To me come all the hurt things--large and small.
  The wounded Kudu,
  And the Lioness,
  The tiny Ant,
  Or Hippopotamus!
  I hear each cry, and soothe and understand.
  I am the Mother of the great West Land.”

As she heard these strange words Coppertop forgot to be afraid, and,
without hesitating, flew up to the outstretched arms, and was pressed
close to Waomba’s great heart.

Side by side with the cooing dove she lay, her cheek against its soft
grey head--and she was happier than words can tell.

As she seemed to be sinking into a delicious slumber she heard a small
voice say--

“Cece! Cece! I do want you, I do!”

It was Kiddiwee speaking. Of that there could be no doubt. But where
was he? And where was Tibbs?

She felt ashamed at having been happy even for a moment, when they were
lost, and perhaps in great peril.

“See!” said Waomba.

And as Coppertop looked, she saw them both.

They were many, many miles away, and yet she saw them clearly, which,
of course, was due to the magic spell of Waomba; and not only could she
see them, but she could hear them as well.

And this is what she heard and saw.



CHAPTER XII.

LOST IN A FOREST


Tibbs was blown many miles by the gale which had wrecked the
four-posted Bed. At last he found himself passing over the silver sands
of a strange coast, and fell at the edge of a forest which grew almost
down to the water.

As soon as he recovered his breath, he picked himself up, in no way
hurt, and very excited to find himself in a strange country. He stood
up, brushed the sand from his clothes, and looked round him. As he did
so, he spied a black speck upon the sand, just beyond the reach of the
angry breakers.

Running towards this, he found, as he drew near, that it was a large
carved post tossed up by the sea; and then, to his amazement and joy,
he caught sight of the golden head of Kiddiwee beside it.

The two brothers fell into each other’s arms, and Kiddiwee wept with
joy, and even Tibbs had tears in his eyes.

“Well, this IS an adventure!” he said.

“’Es, it is!” replied the little chap. “But I do wish Cece was here!”

“Perhaps she is,” said Tibbs, with more cheerfulness than he felt. The
thought of Coppertop filled him with fear as to what had become of her.

“I shouldn’t wonder,” he continued, “if she hasn’t been blown here,
too. Perhaps she is looking for us in the forest. Come on, we’ll hunt
for her. She may be lost!”

And so saying, the two boys flew into the dense forest.

They could see very little at first, because it seemed so dim, after
the bright sunlight outside, but soon they made out great tree-trunks
reaching up out of sight and lost in the thick foliage. Strange
creepers twined through the branches of the trees, like never-ending
serpents; masses of bright scarlet flowers showed here and there, and
clusters of orchids shone from the green of the undergrowth.

To the eyes of the two adventurous boys, the forest seemed peopled with
strange shapes; great arms shot up and twined round the shoulders of
the trees; weird plant faces grinned up from the deep shadows, and all
the trees and plants and creepers appeared to be struggling with each
other to reach the air and sunshine above.

The hot, moist air was rank with the smell of decaying leaves, and
Tibbs and Kiddiwee gasped for breath.

As they passed what seemed to be the limb of a tree, it suddenly coiled
up and hissed in their faces, and they were terrified to find that it
was a huge boa-constrictor.

This so frightened them, that they flew on rapidly, without noticing
where they were going, till Kiddiwee said--

“I wonder where we are? ’Cause I ’spect we’re lost! I do.”

Tibbs turned pale, but he said bravely--

“We’ll find a way out, somehow. But it is a bit risky. And I can’t see
a sign of Celia.”

While he paused to decide which way to fly, a flock of parrots flew
past, screeching at the intruders. And they heard the roar of a lion
from the undergrowth, awakened from his morning slumber by the parrots,
and in a very angry mood.

“I think we’d better move on,” whispered Tibbs.

“’Es. They don’t seem very pleased we’ve come, do they?”

“If we can find some of the Monkey People,” said Tibbs, after they had
flown some distance further, “they’d be able to tell us which way to
go.”

“It’ll be lovely to see Monkey People,” said Kiddiwee.

“It’ll be more lovely to get out of this beastly hot-house,” answered
his brother. “We must reach Celia, and help her to find the West Wind,
and it will be gone if we don’t hurry.”

“It’s miserable without Cece!” pouted Kiddiwee, with tears in his eyes.

“Hum!” said Tibbs gruffly. “I can’t see a monkey anywhere!”

Scarcely had he said this, when Bang! Crash! Down came a cocoanut, just
missing his head by half an inch!

The Monkey People had found them, and were sending a greeting.

“Hurrah! We’ve found them!” cried Tibbs, as he dodged another nut.
“It’s a jolly good thing they can’t throw straight.”

The Monkeys were very shy at first, and kept well out of reach,
thronging the branches above the boys’ heads, peering at them with
bright, inquisitive eyes. Then seeing that the intruders were only
small man-cubs, and not dangerous, they came nearer.

“Greeting!” cried a grizzled old Monkey, who was evidently the head of
the tribe. “O cubs-with-the-butterfly-wings! Welcome! In the name of
the Garra-garra-pom-nutta-garra Tribe, I greet you!”

So said the aged Monkey, in a solemn manner.

Tibbs wanted to laugh as the animal mentioned the name of his tribe.
“I wonder if I’ve got to call him names too?” he asked his brother,
anxiously.

“’Spect so,” Kiddiwee replied, vaguely.

“Oh--er. O He-of-the-long-curly-tail!” Tibbs began, hoping the Monkey
would not be offended. “I’m--I’m very well, thank you! How are you, old
chap?” he concluded nervously, and feeling very foolish.

“O cubs-with-the-butterfly-wings! What want you?” asked the old Monkey,
without a smile.

“Well, we’re lost. And we want you to help us out!” replied Tibbs.

[Illustration: The Chief of the Monkey Tribe.]

“I and the Garra-garra-pom-nutta-garra Tribe are at the service of the
Man-cubs!” said the Monkey kindly. “Come with me, O little-lost-ones!”

Wondering what would happen next, Tibbs and Kiddiwee followed him, with
the whole tribe chattering behind them.

Before long they arrived at the edge of the forest, and the old Monkey
said--

“Fly over the plains--

  Keeping the sunshine
  Upon the right shoulder,

until you reach a mighty river, and follow that till you come to the
West Wind’s bower--and there you will find what you are seeking!”

“Does he mean Cece or the December day?” whispered Kiddiwee.

“Both, I expect,” cried Tibbs, overjoyed.

“But beware! O cubs-with-the-butterfly-wings,” continued the kindly
Monkey, “beware of the arrows of the Bushmen!”

And before they could thank him, he was gone, with his chattering
tribe, and they were alone once more.

Far across the plains they flew,

  Keeping the sunshine
  Upon the right shoulder,

as they had been told to do.

Before long they passed over a circle of huts, round which were
standing a number of fierce, black people--the ugliest they had ever
seen.

“Bushmen!” warned Tibbs.

They were naked, and carried bows and arrows. In the centre a large
group of excited black men were lighting a fire, and over this fire was
a cauldron, and in this cauldron they beheld, to their amazement, a
man! A white man!

“By jingo!” exclaimed Tibbs, “they’re cooking him for dinner! We must
rescue the poor beggar before he is too well done!”

And braving the arrows of the Bushmen--poisoned with the n’gwa
juice--they flew down to the poor half-crazed man in the cauldron.

At the sight of the winged boys, the blacks fled in terror, their
woolly hair uncurling, and their eyes starting from their eye-sockets.

“Um gullaber n’ging boo!” they yelled, which means “The Evil Ones have
come!” Then rushing madly away, they left their dinner to cook itself.

Tibbs and Kiddiwee were delighted at the success of their surprise
visit, and ran to the cauldron to help the poor man out, but when they
beheld his face they drew back with a cry.

“It’s the Clerk of the Weather!” gasped Tibbs.

“So it is!” sneered the spiteful Clerk. “Have you found your precious
December day yet?”

“No,” growled Tibbs, still too amazed to know what to do.

“And I don’t think you will!” yelled the Clerk of the Weather. Then,
leaning suddenly forward, he grasped hold of the two boys and pulled
them into the cauldron, jumping out himself as he did so; then, flying
up into the coil of smoke from the fire, disappeared.

“It was just a beastly trick!” cried Tibbs, scrambling as best he could
from the hot cauldron, and helping Kiddiwee out after him. “I’d like to
punch that fellow into fits!”

But he had no time to think of revenge, for the Bushmen grew bold
at seeing the winged boys in the cauldron, and now ran towards them
threateningly.

The boys turned to fly, but their wings had been scorched by the heat
and would hardly carry them.

So they took to their heels and ran, pursued at a safe distance by the
cowardly Bushmen, who fired flights of poisoned arrows at them.

Two of these arrows wounded Tibbs.

“Kiddi, I’m--I’m hit!” he groaned. “We must reach a river, somehow, and
wash out the poison.”

Kiddiwee helped him along as best he could. And after travelling many
weary miles, they came at last to a mighty river.

The river was red with the mud washed into it by numerous streams, and
large trees floated past, torn from the river banks, for it was in
flood.

But the two boys were so hot and weary, that, heedless of danger, they
plunged in, and were carried rapidly away on the stream.



CHAPTER XIII.

IN THE ARMS OF THE MIST MAIDENS


Coppertop was so terrified when she beheld Tibbs and Kiddiwee floating
down the stream of the great river that she cried out--

“Oh, don’t let them be drowned! Please don’t!” and hid her eyes.

“Look again, little one,” said Waomba. “Look closely!”

And as Coppertop did so, she seemed to be standing at the edge of a
mighty waterfall, which sent up clouds of rainbow-coloured spray, in
which were the forms of Maidens, transparent and airy as soap bubbles.

Hundreds of feet below, the water seethed round a beautiful island
covered with trees, and looking quite peaceful, in spite of the angry
torrent.

While she stood there, wondering, two tiny forms were borne along by
the river, and flung out over the edge of the waterfall.

“Oh, Tibbs! Oh, Kiddiwee!” screamed Coppertop. “Oh, how terrible! They
will fall and be smashed into a thousand pieces!”

But this was not to be. For the Mist Maidens clustered round them, and
bore them upward, high above the falls. And there in the sunlight,
Coppertop could see them clearly.

The two boys seemed to be asleep in the arms of the Mist Maidens,
who bent and kissed them. And at each kiss they grew smaller, until
Coppertop feared, if it went on much longer, they would be kissed away.

And to be sure, the boys grew so small at length that they slipped from
the arms of the Maidens, and floated down gently, like autumn leaves,
on to the island at the foot of the falls.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Oh, horrors! Look!” exclaimed Coppertop, in tones of fear; and well
she might, for as she watched Tibbs and Kiddiwee, a large crocodile--a
crusty, carnivorous crocodile--came slowly out of the water and crawled
towards her brothers.

“Oh, I must save them!” she cried, and with that one thought in her
mind, she spread her wings for flight.

“But what of the West Wind, little one--and the December day?” said
Waomba.

“Oh, how can you ask me to think of such a thing now,” almost sobbed
Coppertop, “when they are in such dreadful danger?” So saying, she flew
from the arms of Waomba toward the island in front of her.

       *       *       *       *       *

“You’ve missed the West Wind entirely,” said a queer little voice
beside her. “You’d better try the East Wind, now!”

Coppertop thought she recognised the voice, but there was no one to be
seen.

“You’ve grown so big now that you can’t even see your old friends,”
continued the small voice, good-naturedly. “But I’m here all the
same--in fact, I’m everywhere. Come, come, my dear! Don’t say you’ve
forgotten Mr. A. Tom.”

“No, of course I haven’t. But it’s hard to remember someone you can’t
even see,” cried Coppertop. “And I’m so miserable!”

“Oh, don’t be miserable, my dear. It’s a silly habit! Get out of it.
How would the world go along if I became miserable? Why there wouldn’t
be an atom of happiness left!”

“But whatever am I to do?” pouted the child. “I’ve missed the West
Wind--all through the horrid Clerk of the Weather and his old storm!
And now Tibbs and Kiddiwee are in awful danger. I simply don’t know
what to do,” she added.

“Yes, you do! I have told you. Find the East Wind as soon as you can.
He may have a December day to spare. You’ll probably meet him in
Pyramid Land, and can pick up your brothers on the way. Ta-ta!” And he
was gone.

“I expect they will be ‘picked up’ before I get there!” thought
Coppertop, and she shuddered.

Before long she arrived at the waterfall, and, flying through the
rainbow spray, landed safely upon the island.

Her heart almost stood still as she drew near, at the thought of what
she might see. But with great courage she clambered down the steep
bank to the water’s edge, expecting every moment to be faced by the
monster.

[Illustration: “Look again, little one,” said Waomba (p. 77).]

But neither the crusty, carnivorous crocodile nor her brothers were to
be seen.

With beating heart she knelt down to examine the ground, as she had
read that trackers and hunters always did, and there, surely enough,
she made out the footprints of the crocodile!

This discovery made her tremble, but she clenched her teeth and
continued her search for Tibbs and Kiddiwee.

She had only gone a few steps, however, when her sharp eyes caught the
gleam of gold upon a twig near by. Going closer, she saw that it was a
long golden hair.

Once more her heart stood still! It was Kiddiwee’s, pulled from his
tiny head as he and Tibbs fell through the branches.

Then the crocodile had them! There was no doubt of that.

And having made up her mind on that point, she decided that the
creature must be found at once, and induced to smile! She would tell
him the funniest joke she could think of, and if she could only succeed
in making the reptile laugh really heartily, why then it would be the
easiest thing in the world for her brothers to walk out unobserved.

“I don’t see a bit why they shouldn’t,” she said aloud. “Jonah was
quite comfy in the whale! And I expect the crocodile is the same
inside, only not quite such large rooms! I think they will be quite all
right, if they didn’t get too much chewed up going in!”

It was no use flying, as she had to follow the footprints very closely,
which was not easy to do on the rocky ground.

“What a good thing it was that he didn’t go back into the water,”
thought Coppertop; “I could never have found him then, and Tibbs and
Kiddiwee would have got damp, I expect, and have started sneezing!”
And she smiled at the thought of the crocodile’s expression when this
happened.

It was back-achy work stooping down to follow the crocodile’s tracks,
but she was in the mood to endure things bravely.

  “Tearful heart goes lame they say,
  But smiling heart runs all the way!”

she repeated, remembering an old rhyme her mother used to sing to her
when she was “quite a little thing” out in India.



CHAPTER XIV.

INSIDE A CROCODILE


Coppertop had travelled many miles, and was growing very tired, when
she remembered that she was on an island, and therefore must be going
round and round in her search for the crocodile.

And now the question arose as to which was chasing which.

“I can’t be running after him and away from him at the same time, can
I?” she exclaimed.

“Was that question addressed to me?” chirped a small blue bird, from
the branch of a baobab tree.

“Oh, yes, if you like,” said Coppertop, not at all surprised to be
conversing with a strange bird; nothing surprised her now. “If only
I had brought Pudgy with me, instead of Miss Smiler,” she mused, “he
would have been able to tell me!”

“Who is Pudgy?” asked the Bird, who was very curious.

“Why, my little bronze Golliwog, of course.”

“Golliwog! Golliwog!” exclaimed the Bird, putting his little blue head
first on one side and then on the other. “Never tasted Golliwog! Don’t
suppose it grows in these parts.”

“It isn’t to eat!” cried Coppertop, glancing nervously behind her as
she hurried along.

“Not to EAT! Then what’s the use of it? Everything is to eat here, and
everything eats everything else,” explained the Bird, “until there’s
nothing else left to eat anything else!”

“What happens then?”

“Then! Oh, then we turn back and start the other way,” chirped the
Bird, with an air of great wisdom.

But Coppertop found this more puzzling than the question as to which
was being chased, she or the crocodile.

“Which is what you’d better do,” continued the Bird.

“Which--what?” asked the child, very much confused.

“Why, you’d better turn round and go the other way,” said the Bird.

“And meet the crocodile face to face! Thank you very much, but I’d
rather not!” replied Coppertop with decision.

“Well, it’s the only way!” cried the Bird, with a shrug of his wings,
“otherwise you and the crocodile will go round and round for ever! And
that’s an awful long time.”

“I have it!” exclaimed Coppertop; “I’ll fly across the island and catch
the crocodile in the flank!”

“Oh, yes!” said the Bird, but he didn’t really understand, and she
couldn’t wait to explain any further.

So, spreading her wings, she flew across the island.

       *       *       *       *       *

When she reached the other side an unexpected sight met her eyes!

Close by the water’s edge lay the crocodile, motionless as a rock. Its
tail was still in the water, as though it had fallen asleep in the very
act of crawling out.

“It looks very much like Mrs. Grudge!” thought the child. “Just her
expression--especially about the teeth! I wonder if it IS Mrs. Grudge!
It might be, in a kind of way.”

Coppertop flew nearer. “Is it asleep, or only pretending?” she
muttered, and breaking off a large twig, she threw it at the monster.
But he never stirred.

Then she came to the ground, and, picking up a large stone, she flew up
with it and dropped it on to his forehead. But still he never moved an
eyelid.

Perhaps he was only pretending, and would snap at her suddenly, as soon
as she was within reach. But in spite of her fears she flew down and
touched him with a trembling finger.

Nothing happened.

Growing bolder, she crept up and placed her ear against his side, and
listened.

As she did so she heard a small voice say, “Wake up! Wake up, Kiddi!
Something has happened! I can’t hear the old chap’s heart beating at
all! And we’ve come to a full stop!”

“’Es, so we must have!” she heard Kiddiwee say, sleepily.

“Isn’t he simply too dear for words?” she cried out, forgetting the
crocodile in her excitement. “I shall almost squeedge him to nothing
when I see him. But how shall I let them know I’m here?”

With a trembling hand, she tapped three times on the side of the
crusty, carnivorous crocodile. And, to her joy, she heard a faint tap,
tap, tap, in reply.

“But that’s not much use unless they can find a way out, is it?”
thought Coppertop.

She studied the crocodile carefully to find some way of escape for
them. She noticed that there was a board fastened on to its back, upon
which was written--

“GOOD ACCOMMODATION WITHIN!”

“That’s rather unusual!” exclaimed Coppertop.

“Not at all!” chirped the Bird. “It’s done to attract the young
monkeys.”

“Well, it’s not the sort of place I should like to stay at!”

“You can’t help staying, once you’re there!” explained the Bird.

“No, I s’pose not! But it’s horrid of you to say so, when I’ve two
brothers inside!”

“Cannibal!” shrieked the Bird, glancing at her disdainfully.

“Inside the crocodile, I mean!” cried Coppertop. “How stupid you are!”

And the Bird looked reassured.

“Well, the front door is closed,” he observed, after hopping round
looking closely at the monster’s head.

“Yes, it is!” agreed Coppertop, in a depressed tone. Then she said, “Do
you happen to remember any funny stories?”

“Why?” asked the Bird.

“Because if you do, tell one to the crocodile, and when he smiles my
brothers can just hop out!”

“The only one I know was told me by a bear who had once been in a thing
he called a circus.”

“Say it all in a loud voice,” interrupted Coppertop, “so that the
crocodile can hear!”

“The man thing who looks after the animals,” began the Bird, chirping
his loudest.

“You mean the Keeper!”

“Yes, the Keepit!” corrected the Bird, flurried by the interruption.
“The Keepit man thing had to give the bear a powder. And so he put it
in a long tube, and he put one end in the bear’s mouth and the other
end in his own, ready to blow it down the bear’s throat. But the bear
blew first!”

They both waited anxiously for the smile on the face of the crocodile.
But it never came.

“I believe the joke has killed him--it’s a very old one,” said
Coppertop. But she was sorry afterwards, as the poor Bird looked so
very crestfallen.

“We’ll soon see!” he cried. And flying down, he perched upon the
crocodile’s eyelid and pecked at it.

But it never flickered.

“Dead! Dead as a stone!” he remarked. And bursting into tears, he flew
away, sadly twittering.

After he had gone, Coppertop sat wondering how she was to release Tibbs
and Kiddiwee, when she saw a sharp-pointed stone lying near her feet.

“Why, it’s the very thing!” she exclaimed. “I’ll make a hole in the old
reptile with this, and then they can crawl through.”

So saying, she set to work, and quickly removed a piece of his hard,
leathery skin.

The hole was certainly not much larger than a penny, when to her
surprise she saw the head and shoulders of Tibbs through the opening,
and then Kiddiwee. The next moment they both flew out and rushed
towards her, trying to throw their tiny arms round her neck.

Of course she was overjoyed to see them. But what had happened? They
were no larger than dragon-flies.

Then she remembered all she had seen from Waomba’s arms--how the Mist
Maidens had kissed them till they grew smaller and smaller and floated
down like leaves on to the island.

“It was all the fault of those stupid Maidens!” apologised Tibbs, as
soon as the excitement of their greeting was over. “They would keep on
kissing us! And it made us feel small! And, of course, when you feel
small, I suppose you become so!”

“Never mind,” said their sister, soothingly, as she snuggled them under
her chin against her warm neck.

“Hurry up, my dears!” cried a voice near by, “or you’ll miss the East
Wind, too.”

“Why, it’s old Mr. Atom!” cried Tibbs, in surprise.

“Where? Oh, where?” said Kiddiwee.

“There, sitting on that spider web,” replied Tibbs. “See!”

“I can’t see him,” said Coppertop, who was too large. “But I do believe
I had forgotten all about the East Wind. Do let us hurry.”

“You mean the West Wind,” corrected Tibbs.

“No, I don’t. It’s the East Wind we’ve to find now. Isn’t it, Mr. Atom?”

“That’s so,” he replied. “And you’d better look sharp about it. But
you two boys aren’t much use that size, are you? On the bank of the
river you will find growing a fruit called the mabola. It is like a
strawberry. Eat it, and you’ll soon be your natural size. Ta-ta!” And
before they could thank him he had disappeared.

“He’s a dear!” cried Coppertop. “But I do wish he wasn’t so small.”

Quicker than words can tell, the little party flew across the river.
And they had no trouble in finding the berry which Mr. Atom had
described.

Tibbs tasted it, and immediately he began to grow.

“It’s scrumptious!” he cried, eating more and more as his mouth grew
larger. Kiddiwee did likewise, and in less than no time they were
restored to their right size.

Coppertop gave a little sigh. They couldn’t nestle against her neck any
more, now.

“Oh, dear!” she thought. “I suppose it’s terrifikly greedy, but I did
love them being so small and cuddly.”



CHAPTER XV.

THE CLERK OF THE WEATHER LAYS A TRAP


“You see, it’s Pyramid Land we have to reach now,” explained Coppertop.

“That’s where the mummies and sacred cats come from!” cried Tibbs. “And
Arab steeds, and Bedouins! We shall have a ripping time there!”

“’Es, it will be beautiful if there are lots of Mummies. We can have
one each, and heaps of cuddles!” cried Kiddiwee.

“Oh, they’re not that kind,” explained his brother. “They’re not like
Celia’s mummie. These mummies are all dried up, and yellow, and wrapt
up in thousands of bandages.”

“Well, there’s not much difference--’cept the bandages,” said Kiddiwee.

“Oh! You’re very, very, very rude!” cried Coppertop. “Mummie may be a
little wee bit thin and sunburnt, but people from India are all like
that, and she’s beautiful underneath.”

There was an uncomfortable silence after this. Then Tibbs said--

“Well, come on, you people! There’s no time to lose. Let’s make a
start.”

“But which way do we go?” asked Coppertop, screwing up her eyes with a
puzzled expression.

“Oh, I know the way,” said Tibbs. “Just follow me.”

And off they flew, their wings glinting in the bright sunlight.

They passed over a wide desert, and reached a long, blue river, on the
banks of which were the ruins of old, old cities.

“What lovely ruins!” said Coppertop. “They’re too lovely for words! I
do love old things!”

“Just look at that huge person!” she cried, pointing to a gigantic
stone figure, standing on guard at the entrance to an ancient temple.

“I expect that is older than--older than----”

“Mummie!” suggested Kiddiwee.

“Oh, millions of times!” laughed Coppertop. “Mummie isn’t so very old.”

As they were passing by a sudden breeze sprang up--a spiteful, waspish
breeze--that flattened their wings against their backs, making it
difficult to fly; and it blew the sand up into clouds.

And as it whistled round the great stone figure they distinctly heard a
voice say:

  “Come inside!
  Come inside!
  I have wonderful treasures,
  Such gems and such jewels!
  Come, see them, I pray.
  And if you will venture,
  I have--for the asking--
  That which you are seeking,
  A December day!”

“Did you hear that?” cried Coppertop, hardly able to believe her ears.
“Our December day at last! Oh, how splendid!”

“It’s a funny place to keep it,” said Tibbs doubtfully.

“’Es, it is!” agreed Kiddiwee; “a dark old place, I ’spect.”

“But we must go down and see,” urged Coppertop, her eyes sparkling.

“All right,” assented Tibbs; “it’ll be rather fun exploring, anyway.”

So they flew down. And close to the ground, between the feet of the
stone figure, they found a crumbling doorway.

With beating hearts, they entered.

       *       *       *       *       *

“It’s getting darkerer and darkerer!” cried Kiddiwee, in an awed voice.

“I shouldn’t be surprised if we come across some snakes!” exclaimed
Tibbs. “Better look where you’re going, Celia!”

“I can’t see! And I ’spect I’ll tread on one if it gets any darkerer,”
piped Kiddiwee.

They had come to the head of some old, half-ruined steps leading down
to a dark passageway.

“It’s an awful risk,” said Tibbs, hesitatingly; “I don’t care about
myself--but you two kids!”

“Oh, no! _Do_ let’s go on!” cried Coppertop. “There may be something
frightfully old and mysterious down there. I’ll go alone if you’re
afraid.”

That settled it! To be taunted by a mere girl was too much for Tibbs,
and taking Kiddiwee by the hand, he descended the steps.

It was now so dark that they had to feel their way along the wall, and
once or twice they stumbled over the uneven flooring. On one occasion
their blood went cold at the sound of a venomous hiss! And “something”
brushed against Coppertop’s legs.

After walking along this passage for what seemed to be a very long way,
Tibbs said breathlessly--

“I say! This passage is going down hill! We shall be miles underground,
soon. I don’t believe there is a December day down here, or any other
day. We have been done!”

“But the voice did ask us to come in, didn’t it?” said Coppertop.

“Yes. But whose voice was it? It sounded to me very much like the Clerk
of the Weather.”

“It’s dreadful if it was!” panted Coppertop. “Whatever shall we do?”

“Nothing to do but go on, now,” said Tibbs; “we don’t know the way
back--and perhaps it’s all right,” he added, seeing how scared they
both were.

There was something so mysterious and awful about this dark, down-hill
passage, that they all became quite silent, and only the sound of their
stumbling steps and quick breathing could be heard.

“If you take my advice, my dears,” came the familiar voice of their old
friend, “you’ll turn back.”

“You’ll never find what you are seeking down there,” he added; “and
even if Amon Ra had one to spare he’d never part with it. He dislikes
foreigners. Take my advice and turn back. You’re near his temple now.”

“Oh, we can’t turn back now!” cried Coppertop. “I’ve never seen Amon
Ra. He’s the Sun God. Daddy told me about him. We must go on.”

“Well, I’m going on, for one,” agreed Tibbs.

“’Es, so am I!” echoed Kiddiwee, although his voice trembled.

“Australian--very Australian!” sighed Mr. Atom, and left them to their
fate.

After groping along a little further, the children turned a sharp
corner and found themselves within a vast chamber.

There were huge pillars on one side, and massive blocks of carved stone
on the other. The place was lit by a strange glow which fell between
the pillars, throwing their long shadows across the tiled floor.

“Oh, dear! My wings have gone!” gasped Coppertop, for they had vanished
the moment she entered the chamber; “I wish I had not been so curious
and stupid as to come here!”

“_Look!_” cried Tibbs, in a thrilled voice.

Motionless, they all three turned their eyes to the far end of the
chamber.

A golden disk appeared out of the dim shadows which hid the top of the
columns; it spun in mid-air, growing brighter and brighter till it
shone like the sun itself. Then from the tiled floor under it came two
coils of bluish vapour floating up toward the golden sun-disk. As they
reached it there came a strange sound, like a mighty whisper, which
filled the chamber.

Then, slowly, from behind this veil of vapour, the children beheld a
mighty figure appearing.

“It’s Amon Ra!” cried Tibbs, in a husky voice, through his dry lips.

Coppertop fell to her knees, and buried her face in her hands. But
Tibbs, although rather shaken, faced him boldly. And Kiddiwee actually
ran toward Amon Ra fearlessly, attracted by the bright sun-disk which
shone in his forehead.

“Foolish ones!” said Amon Ra in a mighty voice, deep and melodious as
the thunder of an organ. “Why have you ventured here? You who have
dared to kill a sacred crocodile!”

“If--if you please, sir!” said Tibbs, keeping his voice as steady as he
could, “we didn’t kill him! He swallowed us, and the poison from the
Bushmen’s arrows settled in his tail--and so--he pegged out!”

“Pegged out?” repeated Amon Ra.

“Well, died,” explained Tibbs.

“That is not true!” thundered Amon Ra, in a voice that made the stone
blocks tremble and the pillars sway; “the Clerk of the Weather told me
otherwise!”

“The sneak!” broke out Tibbs, between his clenched teeth.

[Illustration: Tibbs and Kiddiwee escape from the Crocodile (p. 87).]

“Silence!” roared the Sun God. “You shall be punished for this. BEGONE!”

As he uttered these words, a fierce hurricane swept through the
chamber, carrying the children off their feet, and whirling them away!

And the last thing they were conscious of was the spiteful laughter
of the Clerk of the Weather ringing in their ears as they were blown
along.



CHAPTER XVI.

DISCOVERED BY THE EAST WIND


“I will drop them here!” growled the Clerk of the Weather. “They’re not
worth carrying further--wretched brats!” And so saying, he dropped them
down beside a pyramid--the Pyramid of Gizeh.

“I don’t think they’ll pester me again,” he chuckled. “And when the
East Wind finds them littering up his favourite resting place he’ll
bury them deep beneath the sand!”

Laughing, he went on his way, and left Coppertop, Tibbs and Kiddiwee
lying in the shadow of the Pyramid.

Before long the East Wind came--as was his time-long custom--to rest
beside the Pyramid.

He was weary and hot with blowing over the burning desert, and was not
in the best of temper. He had just arrived from India, having blown
a plague from Shah Land into the Ruby Sea, and he felt that he fully
deserved a snooze beside his favourite Pyramid.

But what was this?

Nestling against its base, in the very spot where he himself would sit,
he beheld three small forms.

Who had dared to place them there, in his private snuggery?

“Some frivolous breeze has blown this rubbish here!” cried the East
Wind, angrily. “But they shall not trouble me long! I will heave up the
sand about them and bury them deep--and then sit thereon!”

He had just commenced to blow up the sand into little swirls and
eddies, when he was interrupted by a voice saying--

“Oh, no you don’t, my friend! Oh, no you don’t!”

The East Wind paused, and looked round in astonishment. But he could
see no one.

“I am a kind of fairy god-father to those three ‘little bits of
rubbish,’” continued the voice, “and anyone who harms them will have to
reckon with me!”

The East Wind grew slightly nervous. And the voice went on, “If you
take MY advice----”

“Who,” burst out the East Wind, “is going to take your advice when
they can’t even _see_ you? Who are you?” he added, feeling nervous and
irritated.

“Mr. Atom, at your service!” laughed the gallant little person. “And,
if you lay a finger on these children, I shall just----”

“In that case, I’m off!” cried the East Wind, without even waiting to
hear just exactly what Mr. Atom would do, for he was a great coward,
and frightened of anything that he couldn’t see or understand.

And away he flew, back to India, in a very bad mood.

“H’m! I’m rather sorry I frightened him away like that,” remarked Mr.
Atom; “he may have had the December day that Coppertop is in search of.
They’d better rouse up in double-quick time, and follow the rascal back
to India.”

“Wake up! Wake up!! WAKE UP!!!” He cried to the sleeping children.

To Tibbs and Kiddiwee he caused his voice to sound like the song of
golden larks in the Far-away-beyond.

And to Coppertop it sounded like the crowing of her pet bantam in the
farmyard at home.

“I thought that would do the trick!” laughed Mr. Atom, as he watched
the effect of his magic upon the children.

“I think they will be all right now, bless ’em,” and the kindly little
person disappeared.

At the sound of his voice each child roused up with a happy smile.

“Gracious! I thought I heard----” began Coppertop.

“’Es, so did I!” exclaimed Kiddiwee.

“I say, this is jolly funny! Where on earth are we?” cried Tibbs. And
the three bewildered children sat up on the sand and gazed around them,
trying vainly to make out where they were, and how they got there.

“Heavens! Why, we’ve got to the Pyramids, somehow!” exclaimed
Coppertop, staggering to her feet and gazing up helplessly at the huge
stone monument towering above them. “Isn’t it simply tremendous?”

“Let’s climb it!” exclaimed Tibbs.

“We couldn’t, why each step’s as big as I am. And besides----”

“Well?”

“I distinctly heard my little bantam crow!” and Coppertop set her lips
firmly.

“’Es, and I heard the Golden Larks--I did!” cried Kiddiwee, his little
face glowing with excitement.

“Well, so did I; but that’s no reason why we shouldn’t climb the
Pyramid. Come on!”

“No,” said Coppertop, and she meant it. “That crowing was a kind of
mysterious warning!”

“Oh, rot!” interrupted Tibbs, but he looked slightly uncomfortable all
the same.

“Yes, it was! I shall be dreadfully angry if you say it’s ‘rot.’ It’s
a warning that time is getting short, and I’ve simply got to find that
old December day as fast as ever I can.”

“Look!” cried Kiddiwee. “What funny sand!”

The others looked, and saw, to their surprise, that letters were being
written on the sand, as though by some great invisible finger. Spelling
it letter by letter, it read--

    FOLLOW THE EAST WIND TO INDIA: HE SAYS A PRAYER AT THE TAJ MAHAL
    EACH MORN.

[Illustration: The East Wind.]

“Now, then, you see! I was right!” cried Coppertop, as soon as she had
breath to speak. “There’s something very, very mysterious about all
this. I wonder what the third thing will be.”

“Why should there be a ‘third thing’? Girls are always so
superstitious!” said Tibbs. He felt decidedly uncomfortable, and did
not like mysterious things in any shape or form.

“I don’t know, but there always is,” answered Coppertop gravely. “I
wonder why the East Wind prays at the Taj Mahal? It’s the grave of
an old Indian Queen-woman called Nur Mahal--which means Light of the
Harem. Daddy told me all about it.”

“Where is it?” asked Tibbs.

“At Agra,” replied Coppertop. “And I’ve seen it. It’s simply gorgeous!”

“Well, if we’ve to go to India, let’s start. It’s a jolly long way.
Come on, Kiddiwee.”

“But however am I to go?” cried Coppertop. “My wings are gone!”

“I forgot that!” said Tibbs, ashamed of his thoughtlessness. “Couldn’t
we carry you?”

“It would take ages that way,” she replied.

And they sat down on the sand again to think the matter over.

“If the old Big Bed hadn’t been shipwrecked, we might have sailed over
the sand on that.”

“Or if we could find some camels,” suggested Tibbs; “they call them the
‘ships of the desert,’ you know.”

“Miss Smiler is a camel,” said Coppertop, fingering the little bronze
animal that hung on a chain round her neck. “But she’s so very small,
I don’t suppose she’d do.”

“That little thing!” laughed Tibbs. “Lor, no!”

“You’ve no business to laugh at her, anyway,” pouted Coppertop. “Daddy
gave her to me, and she’s a very dear little person,” and, so saying,
she took the little bronze camel from the chain and kissed it.

No sooner had she done this, than it began to grow.

“Oh, look!” she cried. “How perfectly wonderful! It’s coming to life!
It’s turning into a real one!”

And so it was.

It raised its head, and looked round in a calm and dignified way,
opening its languid eyes a little wider, and then--catching sight of
the children--smiled broadly.

“What a duckie little thing!” exclaimed Coppertop. “Oh, do look! It’s
simply screaming with laughter now!”

“Oh, crikey!” laughed Tibbs. “It’s a lively little beggar!”

“Yes. It’s tiggling so!” giggled Coppertop. “I can hardly hold it!”

For Miss Smiler was now racing round and round her hand as fast as her
legs would carry her.

“She’ll grow to any size we want her, I believe,” said Coppertop.

“Ough!” exclaimed Kiddiwee; “I’d like her as big as a real one, I
would!”

“Hush!” warned his sister; “don’t let her hear you say that! She IS
a real one, or, at least, she thinks she is. And she’d be terrifikly
angry and hurt if she thought that you thought that she wasn’t--see?”

“’Es, but IS she?” whispered Kiddiwee.

“Yes--perhaps,” she whispered back.

“I’d like her as big as this old Pyramid,” she added, aloud. “And then
she would go at a simply huge rate!”



CHAPTER XVII.

THE STRANGEST RIDE THAT EVER WAS


“Well, do let’s decide what size she is going to be,” cried Coppertop,
“and then we can make a start.”

“I don’t believe it can alter its size,” said Tibbs. “It’s impossible.”

“Nothing’s impossible!” retorted Coppertop; “Mr. Atom said so.”

“I’d like him like a real one,” repeated Kiddiwee.

“It isn’t a ‘_him_,’ it’s a ‘_she_’!” said his sister. “Do be careful,
we don’t want to offend it.”

“Yes, I think we’ll have her a proper camel size, to begin with,” she
added.

“I don’t believe----” began Tibbs.

But ere he could finish a sentence, Coppertop’s hand was forced open
by the swiftly-growing camel, which, with a joyful cry, she put on the
ground. There the animal continued to grow rapidly.

“Good morning!” said Miss Smiler, the camel, as soon as she was large
enough to have a voice at all.

“She talks!” exclaimed Coppertop.

“Frequently,” said the Camel; “did you ever know a girl who didn’t?”

“She’s still growing!” cried Tibbs, scarcely able to believe his eyes.

“I usually grow faster than this,” said the Camel, “but one of you
three didn’t believe I could.”

By this time she was as large as an ordinary camel, and in every way
like one, except that she had no hump, and she wore a large silk bow
upon her forehead, and another one upon her tail.

“You’d better climb up while I’m a comfortable size,” said Miss Smiler.
“One of you wants me to be as big as this pyramid. I feel it in my
bones. So hop on, I’m still growing!”

The children did not need another warning, and tried their best to
reach the Camel’s back. But in spite of their efforts, they found that
she was already too large.

“I shall have to kneel,” remarked Miss Smiler. “It’s a bit of a bore,
but I can say my prayer at the same time.”

“Whatever is your prayer?” asked Coppertop.

“Oh, I just say--

  Please keep the horrid Hump away,
  And let me smile from day to day.

Try it, my dear, three times a day, after meals.”

By this time Miss Smiler was down on her knees, and without very much
trouble the children clambered upon her broad back.

Immediately they had done so, the Camel rose to her feet, and continued
to grow rapidly. But what was the strangest thing of all, the children
on her back felt themselves growing, too!

Everything round them appeared to be getting smaller and smaller. The
Pyramid now seemed only half its original size, and the river looked
like a little stream. And before many moments had passed, there was
no difference in size between the Pyramid and themselves, and the
surrounding country lay stretched beneath them like a map.

“We must be awfully huge!” cried Coppertop, in a high-pitched voice,
screwing up her little eyes. “Yet I don’t feel a bit conceited!”

“That’s because there is nobody here but ourselves,” said Tibbs, “and
we’re all as large as each other. Wait till we meet some ordinary
people--we shall feel like Greek gods then!”

“Why Greek?” asked his sister.

“Why not? Girls always want to argue!”

“I wonder that you have anything to do with us, then,” pouted Coppertop.

“Oh, do stop being so grumbly with each other,” cried Kiddiwee. “See
where we’re going. I ’spect we’re nearly at India.”

Miss Smiler had now settled into a long, swinging trot. And when you
consider her great size, and that she covered at least half a mile at
each stride, you will then have some idea of the rate at which they
were travelling.

They had long ago stepped across the Ruby Sea, and were now striding
through Shah Land. Here it was that Miss Smiler ate up a few hundred
mulberry trees as she passed, and gobbled down some fine carpets.
Feeling refreshed, she galloped at an increased speed down on to the
plains of Indus.

Although it was early morning, the sun now grew intensely hot. And
Tibbs and Kiddiwee were very glad when Miss Smiler knelt down to rest
beneath the shade of some tall palm trees. But, owing to their size, it
was rather like an elephant trying to shelter beneath a toad-stool.

“If we could only go up to Simla,” sighed Coppertop, “I believe we
should find several of Daddy’s friends there. But I couldn’t go this
size, could I? I’d only be able to get about half my nose into one of
those wee bungalows, and the punkah-wallahs would all die of fright!
And the ‘pi’ dogs would run mad at the sight of me. And the Colonel
Sahibs would come fuming out of the clubs! And I should just be able to
push them all away with my little toe.” And Coppertop laughed heartily
at the thought of it.

The Himalaya Mountains spread before them in all their glory, for the
morning sun was dressing their highest peaks in a rich robe of rose and
golden sunbeams.

“Aren’t those mountains simply too gorgeous!” cried Coppertop; “and
dear old Simla is just there at the foot of them.”

After a short rest under the palm trees, Miss Smiler arose and
continued her journey.

They passed many beautiful valleys, but saw no sign of the East Wind.
Neither was he cooling himself in the shade of the mountains. So the
chances were that he was even then at his prayers beside the Taj Mahal.

And thither they went at full speed.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE EAST WIND AND THE WHITE ELEPHANT


“If you take MY advice, you won’t go near the East Wind at present,”
said a tiny, familiar voice, “he’s in a terrible rage!”

“Why?” asked the three children together.

“Well, my dears, it’s the old, old story,” said Mr. Atom. “He fell in
love, some years ago, with the White Elephant of Amrapure. For long
years he has whispered love songs round the folds of her unheeding
ears. At length, driven to despair, he asked a friendly Cyclone if he
would kindly blow the White Elephant from Amrapure to the Taj Mahal,
and there shut her up, a prisoner, until she consented to wed him.
Which the friendly Cyclone did, blowing the little elephant along,
willy-nilly, past Benares and Allahabad, till they reached Agra. And it
so happened----”

“’Es, but who is Willie Nilly?” asked Kiddiwee.

“Don’t interrupt! That’s only an expression,” corrected Tibbs.

“And it so happened,” continued Mr. Atom, “that a great Rajah found
the White Elephant there. Thinking it was a gift from some other
Prince, he called his retainers, and had the White Elephant removed to
his palace, near by.”

“This sounds exactly like an Arabian Nights story,” interrupted
Coppertop.

“Perhaps it does, my dear. But it’s perfectly true, I assure you,” said
Mr. Atom.

“Of course it is!” cried Tibbs. “Don’t stop him.”

“Now, when the East Wind heard of this, he flew into a great rage. He
howled and screamed round the Rajah’s Palace, and finding that this
had but little effect, he rustled, he murmured, he implored. But no!
The Rajah refused to part with the White Elephant, and shut all his
casements to the pleading voice of the East Wind.”

“Is that all?” exclaimed Miss Smiler, when Mr. Atom ceased speaking.
“Because,” she continued, “I think I can help that East Wind in his
little affair.”

“Can you? Oh, Miss Smiler, tell us how!” cried Coppertop.

“Easy as--smiling,” assured the Camel. “I’ll just push the Rajah’s
Palace down, and then sit on the White Elephant till she consents to
marry the East Wind.”

“I think that is an excellent plan, my dears!” cried Mr. Atom. “The
East Wind will be so grateful to you for your assistance that he’ll
surely spare you a December day. He’s in Tibet at present, cooling down
after his rage. So if you take MY advice, you’ll carry out your plan at
once. Ta-ta!”

[Illustration: “Foolish ones,” said Amon Ra (p. 95).]

“Whatever should we do without him?” remarked Coppertop when Mr. Atom
had disappeared. “He’s really a most useful little person, isn’t he?”

“Yes, but he seems to know everything, and makes a fellow feel an awful
dunce!” grumbled Tibbs. “But don’t worry about him. This elephant
affair is getting exciting. Come along, Smiler, old girl, let us try
your plan, it sounds ripping!”

Without any further delay, they made their way to the Taj Mahal.

As they drew near, Miss Smiler lifted her head and tittered.

“There it is!” she cried, “the little White Elephant, out for a morning
stroll, with the Rajah on her back.”

“Where?” cried the children.

“There! On the other side of that queer little box you call the Taj
Mahal.”

From their great height they could easily see over the building to the
jungle beyond. And there they beheld her.

“’Es, but it’s only a tiny wee toy eferlent!” exclaimed Kiddiwee,
disappointedly.

“No, it isn’t a bit,” exclaimed Coppertop; “that’s only because we’re
so huge. It’s quite the ordinary size. Oh, don’t you understand?”

“’Es, I ’spect I do,” said Kiddiwee, rather doubtfully.

“What are you going to do, Miss Smiler?” inquired Tibbs.

“Oh, call me Smiler, for short!” corrected the Camel. “What am I going
to do? Why, I’m going to hop over the Taj Mahal, like a bird, and sit
right down on the little Elephant. That’ll surprise the Rajah, won’t
it?” and Miss Smiler smiled hugely at the very idea.

In an instant Miss Smiler jumped right over the Taj Mahal, and with one
stride reached the White Elephant. Without a moment’s hesitation, she
sat down on it, greatly to the terror of the Rajah and his servants,
who thought the end of the world had come.

Smiler was in the highest of spirits at the success of her plan, and
shook with laughter when she saw the Rajah and his attendants running
away like frightened rabbits.

The little White Elephant was most indignant. She was accustomed to be
treated with the greatest respect, and she objected strongly to being
sat on; in fact, she kicked and struggled, and she raised her trunk and
trumpeted her loudest. But it was all to no purpose.

As soon as he saw that the Elephant was secure, Tibbs ran off in the
direction of Tibet, to find the East Wind and tell him the good news.
Kiddiwee climbed on to the Taj Mahal to watch for his return.

Unfortunately, Miss Smiler had acted rather hastily in jumping over the
Taj Mahal, for, in so doing, her hind legs caught against the beautiful
central dome, and partly destroyed it; and her shoulder struck against
one of the marble towers and broke it in half.

This unlucky accident was the cause of much delay in finding the
December day. For it so happened that the rascally Clerk of the Weather
was watching from a passing cloud, and saw the whole thing happen, and,
in order to upset the plan of Smiler and the children, he rushed off to
find the East Wind and poison his heart against them before Tibbs could
reach him.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE EAST WIND IN A RAGE.


“I can’t see Tibbs anywhere, I can’t!” cried Kiddiwee, after watching
a long time for his return, to Coppertop, who was seated on the Camel
and laughing heartily at the antics of the Rajah and his attendants,
as they rushed madly about, trying to find some means of getting the
little White Elephant from under Miss Smiler. But I’m afraid that--

  Not all the King’s horses,
  Nor all the King’s men,
  Could lift such a Camel
  As Smiler was then.

“Oh, he’ll be back soon!” cried Coppertop. “Do look at these queer
little excited things. They’re too funny for words!” and she laughed
until she nearly fell off Miss Smiler’s back.

“Oh, look! LOOK! They’re trying to pull the White Elephant out by her
trunk! I shall scream if it stretches and goes back with a bang!”

“’Es, like ’lastic,” cried Kiddiwee.

“Yes! I do hope Miss Smiler isn’t sitting too heavily on her; the East
Wind won’t care very much for a squashed wife, will he?”

“We’ll ask for the December day before we give him the Elephant, don’t
you think so?” she continued, addressing the Camel.

“Bet your life!” observed Miss Smiler.

“I never bet,” replied Coppertop, with dignity. “Except--well, it isn’t
betting exactly--but Daddy always puts me on the Calcutta Sweep,” she
added, truthfully.

“Nice for the sweep,” remarked the Camel.

“Oh, you really are stupid,” exclaimed Coppertop. “You don’t
understand. It’s not that kind of a sweep. It’s a----”

But before she could utter another word the roar of a rapidly
approaching gale drowned all further utterance. The trees of the jungle
were bent nearly double, and the next moment the East Wind rushed upon
them in a fury, blowing Tibbs helplessly along in front.

The poor boy felt so small at this indignity, that he quickly became
so, and running off, hid himself behind a stone by the roadside.

“Where is the creature who has ruined my beautiful Taj Mahal?” roared
the East Wind, in a voice of seven hurricanes.

  “Where is the Goth who has done this deed?
  I will blow him off the earth!
  I will grind him to the dust!
  The Ganges shall lift its head like a hooded snake, and drown him!
  He shall be whirled in a hurricane to the highest peak of the
    Himalayas and left there to freeze!”

“Is that all?” remarked Miss Smiler, smiling broadly. “And who is the
lucky person?”

“The Clerk of the Weather told me it was a creature called ‘Smiler’!”
cried the East Wind, tearing down the palm trees as he spoke, and
whirling them about like straws. “SMILER!” he bellowed, “who has dared
to use my Best Beloved as an air cushion!” he roared, blind with rage.

And Smiler smiled no more.

She looked hastily round at the ruined Taj Mahal, and she wept an
inward tear of remorse. She glanced down at the little White Elephant
struggling beneath her, and she blushed with shame at the way she had
treated her.

Now, all this made Miss Smiler feel very small. And, feeling small, she
quickly became so!

The White Elephant, feeling the weight on her back grow less--as Miss
Smiler grew smaller--scrambled to her feet, and made off into the
jungle, trumpeting joyfully.

As for Coppertop, the first rush of the East Wind blew her off the
Camel’s back and whirled her up into a tall palm tree. And there she
hung--by the leg of her pyjamas--in mid air.

Of course, such an undignified position made her feel very “small,” and
she quickly became so in fact.

Then Kiddiwee, left all alone on the ruined Taj Mahal, shrinking
with fear, grew so small that he was carried off by the Clerk of the
Weather, who was hiding close by, and thrown into the den of an Elderly
Spinster Spider, in a crevice of the ruined building.

As for the East Wind, being changeable, as most winds are, he forgot
his rage as soon as he caught sight of his beloved White Elephant.
Sighing deeply, he made off into the jungle after her.

There they were wed, I think, for the trees still whisper of his tender
wooing.

But the three children were in great distress. They were all separated,
and were so small that they had little chance of finding each other;
for a distance that is only a few paces to a giant, may be several
miles to a tiny dwarf.



CHAPTER XX.

IN THE DEN OF THE SPINSTER SPIDER


The East Wind soon repented of his rage, and, feeling not a little
ashamed of the harsh way he had treated the children, he came back to
apologise. Finding Tibbs sitting alone upon a pebble, he murmured his
deep regrets.

But Tibbs was in no mood to forgive him easily.

“It’s pretty easy for you to say you’re sorry, and all that, after
you’ve blown my sister and brother and Miss Smiler----”

“Don’t mention that Camel’s name!” interrupted the East Wind, “or I
shall get annoyed again!”

“Anyhow, you’ve blown them to--to smithereens. And then you come to me
and say you’re sorry! But, if you’re a sport at all, the first thing
you ought to do is to find them for me, or at least tell me where they
are,” continued Tibbs.

“Let me think,” began the East Wind. “The Clerk of the Weather took the
little sunbeam boy----”

“Kiddiwee!” corrected Tibbs.

“Yes. And dropped him into a crevice in the dome of the Taj Mahal;
and there he lies asleep, in the safe keeping of an Elderly Spinster
Spider.”

“A Spider!” cried Tibbs, growing white. “Why, she’ll suck his blood.
Well, what about Celia?”

“Do you mean the boy with the golden fire falling from his head in two
long streams, on to his shoulders?”

“Yes; but she’s a girl, not a boy,” corrected Tibbs.

“But, she was wearing----” and the East Wind paused in slight confusion.

“Pyjamas! Yes, I know,” said Tibbs; “heaps of girls do in Australia.”

“Pity I didn’t know!” sighed the East Wind, “because I hung her up by
the leg of her py--py----”

“Jamas!” finished Tibbs.

“Yes, pyjamas, to a leaf of a tall palm tree, and a bird came along and
flew off with her, thinking she was a worm, no doubt; she looked rather
like a worm in those striped things, didn’t she?”

“I never saw a worm in blue and white pyjamas! That bird must have been
crazy! But this is terrible news. How on earth are we to find her?”
cried Tibbs.

“It--it was a Japanese bird,” ventured the East Wind; “maybe that will
help you to find her.”

“Yes, by Jove it does!” cried Tibbs. “I expect he has carried her to
Japan. And what about the Camel?”

“Oh, _that_ I was too disgusted with even to blow on. I left it where
it was. But I have reason to know that it followed the flight of the
bird as best it could on its puny legs, and galloped along after them.”

“Good old Smiler!” exclaimed Tibbs. Then he added in a matter-of-fact
way, “I suppose you haven’t a December day knocking around anywhere,
that you don’t particularly want? If you have, old man, you might lend
it to me. I’ll give you some marbles and a piece of string in exchange,
and it’ll help to make up for the way you’ve behaved!”

Just then the East Wind happened to glance up at his beloved Taj Mahal,
and his brow clouded.

“No, I haven’t,” he growled, “and you deserved all you received!” He
was turning his back to go, when from the jungle came the soft, sweet
trumpeting of the little White Elephant. At the sound of his loved
one’s voice the East Wind changed again, and, turning once more to
Tibbs, he added:

“Try the North Wind for a December day, mine are not so warm as his.”
Then turning on his heels, once more he blew back into the jungle.

As soon as the East Wind had departed, Tibbs commenced to search for
Kiddiwee. But it was no easy matter for a little chap no larger than a
lead soldier to clamber over a huge building, such as the ruined Taj
Mahal. However, he struggled on bravely, and at length came to a large
slanting crack in the side of the building, which was like a winding
mountain pathway to him. Up this he strode, and at last arrived at a
deep crevice between two great blocks of marble, across which was hung
a dusty cobweb. With a great effort of will--for he hated spiders
above all things--he shook the web, and after doing this once or twice,
a huge, hairy-legged spider appeared and looked at him hungrily.

“Well!” said the Elderly Spinster Spider, for it was she, “What do you
want?” This was not a very polite greeting, but Tibbs thought it as
well to humour her, so he said--

“Nothing, Madame----”

“Miss!” corrected the Elderly Spinster Spider, folding two legs across
her chest.

“Miss,” repeated Tibbs, “I want nothing but a glance into your eyes,
for they are said to be the brightest gems in the Taj Mahal.”

“Rubbish!” exclaimed the Elderly Spinster Spider, but she carefully
combed her eyebrows with the comb on her third left leg.

“It is also said,” continued Tibbs, “that you have the kindest heart in
all Spiderland, preferring rather to remain single than to marry and be
obliged to eat up your husband!” (Tibbs had read somewhere that this
was the usual custom amongst lady Spiders.)

“Don’t talk of husbands to me!” said the Elderly Spinster Spider, “the
shy, undersized, nervous, shamefaced things! Ugh! I wouldn’t eat one if
there wasn’t a fly left in India!”

“Tender-hearted creature!” murmured Tibbs.

“Not that I haven’t had my little flirtations!” sighed the Elderly
Spinster Spider, combing her spinnerettes, “but I always stopped
before it came to eating the beasts. I think men-spiders taste horrid!
I nibbled the leg of one I was rather fond of once, just to see!”

After this heart-to-heart confession, the Elderly Spinster Spider
sighed again, and her eyes grew dreamy.

“I hear that gentlemen spiders are not your only suitors,” continued
Tibbs; “wasn’t there once a golden-haired boy?”

“Once?” exclaimed the Elderly Spinster Spider, “not once, but NOW! He
is inside my den at this very moment, sound asleep.”

“I can scarcely believe it!” cried Tibbs, hiding his relief.

“Don’t you?” said the Elderly Spinster Spider, with a touch of her
former severity; “then, pray walk in, and see for yourself.”

Tibbs needed no second asking.

The Spider’s den was a gruesome place--hung with the remains of flies
and insects--and in a far corner lay Kiddiwee, fast asleep. The
question was how to get him away from the old Spider.

“I must get her out of the way,” he said to himself. Then, turning to
the Elderly Spinster Spider, he said, “By Jove, you know, he looks very
pale.”

“Does he?” said the Spider, looking anxiously at Kiddiwee.

“These boys are awfully thirsty little chaps, you know,” added Tibbs;
“they want plenty of water.”

[Illustration: “Don’t talk of husbands to me,” said the Elderly
Spinster Spider.]

“Dear, dear, and I haven’t a drain of water in the den!” cried the
Spider.

“I saw a dew-drop--a beauty--hanging from the next crevice as I came
along,” said Tibbs. “I can’t climb for toffee, else I’d get it like a
shot; it’s the very thing for a thirsty boy. But you, with your eight
beautiful, long legs----”

Before he had finished the sentence, the Elderly Spinster Spider--who
was very good-hearted, as Spiders go--left the den in search of the
dew-drop. As soon as her back was turned, Tibbs seized the sleeping
form of Kiddiwee in his arms, rushed out of the den with him, and,
running down the long crevice road at breakneck speed, was soon out of
reach of the Elderly Spinster Spider.

“Goodness gracious!” said Kiddiwee, waking up suddenly, and using
one of Coppertop’s expressions--perhaps he had been dreaming of
her--“Wherever am I? Why! it’s Tibbie. Oh, I am glad, I am!” and he
threw his arms round his elder brother’s neck, and gave him a real big
squeeze.

“Stop that!” cried Tibbs. “Fellows don’t hug each other,” but he was
pleased nevertheless.

“’Es, but where’s Cece?” asked Kiddiwee, looking round anxiously, “and
Miss Smiler?”

“Celia’s gone to Japan,” explained Tibbs, briefly, “and Smiler has
followed her. We’re going there also, if we can find the way!”

“Ou! how lovely! I love going to Japan--I do!” exclaimed Kiddiwee, his
fair little cheeks growing red as roses, with excitement, and his big,
blue eyes sparkling like dew on a blue-bell.

“But how are we to get there; we’re so hugely tiny?”

“Don’t worry about that,” said a small voice.

“Mr. Atom!” exclaimed both boys in a breath.

“As I told you some little time ago, size is nothing. Even now, to some
of the insects, you look like giants. But it was a pity about the Taj
Mahal, wasn’t it? Never mind,” he added, “when you get to Japan look
for the North Wind. He’s a good fellow, and perhaps he’ll lend you a
December day.”

“Yes! But how are we to get to Japan?” burst out Tibbs.

“Quite easily,” answered Mr. Atom. “If you take MY advice, you’ll walk
quietly along this road till you reach a Bungalow on the left-hand
side. There you will find a little Baba-Sahib blowing beautiful soap
bubbles. Wait until one falls to the ground, and then--before it
breaks--step inside, and think hard that you want to go to Coppertop in
far-away Japan. You’ll be there in the twinkling of an eye. Ta-ta!”

Before they could thank him, Mr. Atom had gone, at least as far as they
could tell.

They soon arrived at the Bungalow, and there was the little Baba-Sahib,
busily blowing soap bubbles, as Mr. Atom had foretold.

They waited till a large and beautiful one came gracefully to the
ground, where it bounced light-heartedly once or twice and then stood
still! With the greatest care they crawled inside, and thought hard of
their wish to go to Celia in Japan.

After a moment’s hesitation the glorious bubble rose gracefully into
the warm air, and off they started.



CHAPTER XXI.

COPPERTOP AND THE OLD MOTHER-BIRD.


[Illustration: Miss Smiler sits on the White Elephant (p. 112).]

“No! you can’t. You can’t have another WORM!” said a strange voice.

Looking up, or down--Coppertop wasn’t quite sure which--she found to
her amazement that she was no longer hanging by one leg to the palm
tree, but was sitting in a large nest, made of sticks and clay, and
surrounded by a nestful of very ugly chicks, all beaks and eyes! But
what surprised her most was the hideous old Mother-bird--very like Mrs.
Grudge--perched above them with a long, wriggling worm in her beak.

“Oh, goodness gracious!” she exclaimed. “I DO hope I haven’t been
eating WORMS! And, however did I get here? And what am I?”

“What are you?” croaked the old Mother-bird, “a chick, like the rest,
of course! Only you’ve the largest mouth of all, and a rampageous
appetite for WORMS!”

“Yes,” admitted Coppertop, sorrowfully; “I have got a large mouth
and little piggy eyes, and--and--the only nice thing about me is my
hair----”

“Hair!” shrieked the old Mother-bird, “HAIR!! Feathers, you mean.
Hair, indeed! As though any chick of mine ever had hair!”

“But--am I a chick of _yours_?” cried Coppertop, feeling that some
terrible change must have taken place.

“I suppose so,” replied the old Bird; “but I never could count.”

“And am I--am I like the other chicks?”

“Like as two rice!” replied the old Mother-bird, as she dropped a worm
into one of the ever-open beaks.

This was all such terrible and confusing news to the poor child, that
her brain failed to grasp it at once.

“And what kind of a bird are you?” she asked, for she had never seen
one like it before.

“An UN-KIND, if you ask any more foolish questions!” snapped the old
Mother-bird.

“Just as if you didn’t know that we are all Scarecrows!” she added.

“Oh, I know I’m a plain little thing!” said Coppertop, tearfully, “but
I never thought I was a Scarecrow before.”

“Neither you are, before--this is ‘after’.”

“After what?” cried Coppertop, feeling sure that she must be going mad.

“After to-morrow, of course!” replied the old Mother-bird, with
surprised eyebrows.

“Oh, dear!” cried the poor, bewildered child, “what’s after to-morrow?”


“The day stupid! Haven’t you heard the old saying, ‘The day after
to-morrow’? The day is always after to-morrow, but he never catches it.”

“Well, I’m after a December day, and I never catch that,” sighed
Coppertop.

“Hush!” suddenly cried the old Mother-bird. “There goes the Mikado!”

“The Mikado!” exclaimed Coppertop; “why, he lives in Japan!”

“Well, isn’t this Japan, stupid?” snapped the old Mother-bird.

“Is it? I thought it was India,” said Coppertop, wearily, “nothing
seems to be right. I’ve got feathers instead of hair, and I eat worms!
I don’t believe I’m me at all! I must be someone else, but if I’m not
‘me,’ who am I?”

“Be quiet!” said the old Mother-bird, sternly; “if the Mikado hears
you, he’ll order us to jump into the river--like poor Tom Tit.”

“But how----” persisted Coppertop.

“I’ll explain it all,” cried the voice of kindly Mr. Atom. “Take MY
advice, my dear, and don’t argue with the old Bird.”

“When you see a chance,” he continued, “jump out of the nest and fly to
the ancient Japanese Lantern over there.”

“Then are we really in Japan?” whispered the child.

“Yes,” replied Mr. Atom. “The old Mother-bird found you hanging from
the palm tree in India, and, thinking that you were one of her precious
chicks, she flew with you here to Japan. Now you know all about it.
Ta-ta.” And he was gone.

Coppertop lost no time in doing as Mr. Atom had told her. Just as soon
as the old Scarecrow’s back was turned, she scrambled from the nest and
jumped.

As she flew down to the Lantern, she saw that she was really and truly
in Japan.

How beautiful it was, to be sure! It seemed to be a land of colour
and sunshine. Flowers grew in profusion, and here and there quaint
little Japanese houses peeped up, like golden and red-haired children
playing at hide-and-seek amongst the blossom of the plum trees. And in
the distance she caught a glimpse of snow-capped Fujiyama, the sacred
mountain of Japan.

Upon reaching the Lantern, which was made of stone, and very old and
large, Coppertop clambered inside, and sat down to have a deep, deep
think, for she had much to think about and to consider.

The more she pondered, the more sad she became, for it seemed to her
that all her plans had gone astray, and that she was no nearer finding
the precious December day for which she had now searched the wide world
over. The South Wind had helped her but little, the West Wind she had
missed, the East Wind was enraged with them. Now there was only the
North Wind left, and she was not at all certain where she could find
him.

“I’m simply too miserable for words!” sighed the poor child. “Whatever
can I do all alone, without Tibbs, or Kiddiwee, or even Miss Smiler to
help me?”

“Wherever are they?” she cried aloud. “I do love them so! And perhaps
I shall never see them again!” And the tears rolled down her cheeks at
the very thought.



CHAPTER XXII.

TIBBS AND KIDDIWEE TO THE RESCUE.


“I do wish you’d go away, or--or--move--or do something!” sobbed
Coppertop. “You make me feel terrifikly nervous, standing there and
saying nothing; just staring and staring, and leaning on that horrid,
sharp sword!”

These words were addressed to a strange-looking person, who had been
standing beside the Japanese Lantern for some time, silent, motionless,
and mysterious.

He was dressed in the armour of a Samurai of old Japan, and leant upon
a long and very sharp two-handed sword. His face was so stern and still
that Coppertop could not decide if it really were his face or only a
mask. And it made her feel most uncomfortable and nervous.

She had spoken to him several times, but he took not a bit of notice,
which was extremely impolite, to say the least.

“Whatever shall I do with the horrid old thing?” she cried, and she
wept faster than before.

Splash, splash, fell the big crystal tears, on to the steps of the
ancient stone Lantern.

“Don’t splash so, up there!” cried a small voice, which sounded so very
familiar that Coppertop ceased weeping, and, drying her little grey
eyes, looked down.

And there, to her intense delight, she beheld Miss Smiler.

“Oh, you dear, duckie, little old person!” she cried. “However did you
get here?”

“Oh, I just trotted along on my four legs,” replied the Camel, smiling
up at her, “until I came to the sea, and then--

      Myself and a Nautilus
      Put to sea
      In a beautiful ship
      Of purple shell.
      And the Nautilus smiled
      In the highest glee,
      But I felt far from well.
      For a storm came on--
      As storms will do--
      And rocked our shell-ship
      Fro and to,
      Fro and to,
      And to and fro,
      The way that shell-ships
      Rock, you know.

  And I cried, ‘Though I’m fond of the ocean, too,
  With its billowy waves, so green and blue,
  I like it much better quite still, don’t you?’
  But the Nautilus didn’t agree.

      She said, ‘When it’s still
      As still can be,
      And there isn’t a breeze
      To fill my sail,
      Great fishes come up
      And stare at me,
      Till I feel my cheeks
      Grow pale.’

  ‘Don’t talk about “pale,”’ I cried. ‘Oh, please!
  I’m getting so shaky about my knees;
  Such rickety-rockety boats as these
  Should never put out to sea.’

      For the storm grew worse--
      As storms will do--
      And rocked our shell-ship
      Fro and to,
      Fro and to,
      And to and fro,
      The way that shell-ships
      Rock, you know.
      Then the Nautilus into
      A rage she flew!
      ‘My beautiful ship
      Of shell,’ cried she,
      ‘Is far too good
      For a Cameloo!’
      And she pushed me
      Into the sea.

But I reached here just the same!” beamed Miss Smiler.

“Yes, but how?” asked Coppertop, who was so interested by this story
that she almost forgot the horrid Samurai.

“Before I answer any more questions,” interrupted Miss Smiler, in
a hushed voice, “I’d like to know who that piece of old china is,
standing there on guard, like a figure on a teapot?”

“Hush!” cried Coppertop. “Oh, I’ve been terrifikly worried about him.”

“I don’t wonder,” interrupted the Camel, whose manners were not too
good. “I should think he’s worried about himself, with such a face!”

“Oh, I don’t mind his face so much,” whispered back Coppertop; “he’s a
Samurai of Old Japan, and they all have faces like that!”

“Poor things!” exclaimed the Camel.

“If we were used to their faces, we should think them quite handsome,”
exclaimed the child. “I expect they think we’re ugly, too. It’s all a
matter of taste.”

“Taste!” cried Smiler. “We don’t have to taste them, do we? It’s
painful enough to look at them.”

“Do be quiet!” warned Coppertop. “If he hears you he’ll chop your head
off! That’s what he’s waiting to do with mine, I expect.”

“Don’t you let him take such a liberty,” cried Miss Smiler. “Once you
lose your head you don’t know where you are. And it’ll be extremely
hard to put it on again.”

“Oh, I’ve had such arguments with the horrid old thing! I’ve told him
all that. If only Tibbs and Kiddiwee were here to drive him away,” she
added, tearfully.

“They’re not so very far away,” replied Miss Smiler, peeping round the
edge of the Lantern. “In fact--HERE THEY ARE!” she exclaimed.

And, lo and behold, floating along over the river toward the Lantern,
came the beautiful soap bubble, with Tibbs and Kiddiwee inside.

“Oh, where? Where?” cried Coppertop, excitedly, for she could see
nothing from her side of the Lantern, and she dared not venture out
because of the Samurai, who looked most anxious to prove how sharp his
sword was.

“I can’t see without a head,” she added. “Otherwise I believe I’d risk
it.”

Just then the soap bubble was seen by the Samurai, who evidently
wondered where it had come from, and looked a trifle uneasy.

While he was looking, it suddenly exploded, and out shot Tibbs and
Kiddiwee. As soon as they were released from the bubble they grew
rapidly to their usual size.

Head or no head, Coppertop could resist it no longer, but flew down
from the old stone Lantern, and flung herself into their arms.

At this strange sight the Samurai showed little surprise, but he walked
sternly forward, and in the calmest manner, without even waiting to say
“May I?” or “By your leave!” he aimed a terrible blow at Coppertop’s
head with his cruel two-handed sword.

Fortunately, she moved her head, but the blade cut through both her
wings, and, with a cry of dismay, she saw them fall to the ground.

Instantly Tibbs and Kiddiwee threw themselves on the Samurai, flying
round him rapidly, to dazzle and confuse him.

They kicked and they punched him--for what else could they do? They
pulled his long, black hair. They scratched him. Anything to take his
attention, and to prevent him from again attacking Coppertop.

Miss Smiler joined in also, and did what she could, which wasn’t very
much, for she was smaller than ever now, being no larger than when she
hung on the chain round the neck of her little mistress.

Making a final effort, the Samurai tried, with one sweep of his
terrible sword, to cut through the bodies of the two boys. But his
foot slipped on a stone which Smiler had rolled under it, and he fell
crashing to the ground, the sword flying out of his hand.

In a flash, Tibbs seized the sword, and, swinging it above his head
with both hands, he rushed upon the fallen Samurai.

But, before he could strike, the armour of the Samurai was flung
asunder, and revealed the craven face, the snub nose, and the trembling
form of the wretched Clerk of the Weather!

“Mercy! Mercy!” he cried, grovelling on the ground at the feet of the
two boys. “Spare me, and I’ll worry you no more! You shall be free to
find your precious day unhindered.”

“Perhaps it _would_ be better not to kill him,” suggested Coppertop.
“You see, if we did, the weather would be simply too awful for words,
with no one to look after it.”

“All right,” agreed Tibbs, reluctantly. At the words the Clerk of
the Weather rose shakily to his feet, and, springing into the air,
disappeared behind a passing cloud.

“I don’t trust him a bit!” muttered Tibbs. “And I may never get another
chance to cut a real head off,” he said, regretfully.

“Oh, you two dears!” cried Coppertop, beside herself with joy, “you’re
both positively Victoria Cross heroes! I’m terrifikly proud of you. If
I wasn’t so upset about my poor old spoilt wings, I could almost cry
with happiness!”

“Funny things--girls?” remarked Tibbs, feeling awkward at being
regarded as a hero. “Let’s find another head. This sword’s too sharp to
waste. Come on, Kiddiwee,” and off he raced.

“_Boys_ are funny--I should think,” remarked Coppertop. “Fancy leaving
me like that, when we’ve only just found each other. Oh, I do wish I
had a baby to squeedge.”

At this moment she glanced down, and there she beheld Smiler; smiling,
too, with all her might.

“Oh, I do love you, I do!” cried the child, impulsively, and seizing
the surprised Camel in her hands, she kissed her fondly.

As this happened, Miss Smiler heaved a deep sigh, and became just a
little bronze camel once more.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE DECEMBER DAY IS ALMOST THEIRS


“Yes! I guess I’ll fix you up with a December day, all right,” answered
the genial North Wind, in response to the entreaty of the children.
For, shortly after their fight with the Clerk of the Weather, there
came a gentle, warm breeze, which they felt sure must be the North
Wind. And finding that this was so, Coppertop and Tibbs implored his
aid in their long search for a December day.

“Oh, you dear!” exclaimed Coppertop, scarcely able to believe their
good fortune; “the address is: ‘Chesney Grange, near Mount Dandenong,
Australia,’” she added, lest the precious December day should go astray.

“The World,” added the North Wind, with a smile. “Bless you, I guess
I know all Australia from Perth to Sydney, and Darwin to Hobart. I’ll
send the December day along to this Australia of yours, direct by
Sunbeam--that’s heaps faster than Marconi.”

“’Es, but I like marconi!” interrupted Kiddiwee, “with lots and lots of
milk!”

“You mean macaroni, stupid!” corrected Tibbs.

“Whatever CAN we do to thank you?” cried Coppertop, beside herself with
joy.

“Don’t thank me till you get it,” said the North Wind, with a decided
American accent, due to the fact that he had often travelled over the
United States. “And you don’t get it till you’ve paid the price!”

“The price!” exclaimed Coppertop, her face falling.

“Yep! Everything has a price in this world, dearie! Nothing is given
away. We must earn everything that is worth having, and then we know
how to value it. I guess you’ve pretty well earned your wish by now,
and there’s only one thing more to do----”

“Oh, do say!” cried Coppertop, anxiously.

“Well, you must kiss Biddy-be-sure, or the Blarney Stone, and then the
December day will be yours.” And, without any more explanation, the
North Wind blew by.

For some time after his departure the children remained silent; they
were decidedly disappointed, for the December day seemed as far off as
ever.

“Why, the Blarney Stone is on Blarney Castle!” said Tibbs.

“And where’s that?” asked Coppertop.

“Right away over in the Emerald Isle! It’s an awfully long way from
here!”

“However shall we get there,” cried Coppertop, hopelessly, “now that I
haven’t any wings?”

“Keep smiling!” replied the small voice of Smiler--the
Camel-without-the-Hump--who now hung by a string round Coppertop’s
neck.

[Illustration: The North Wind.]

“The Camel is right!” said a voice which seemed to come from everywhere
at once, “always smile at difficulties; they don’t like being smiled
at, and soon get out of your way. Now, if you take my advice----”

“Yes, we will!” cried each of the children eagerly, for they recognised
the voice of dear Mr. Atom.

“You’ll put the two wings which were cut off upon the sword of the
Samurai, then seat yourselves upon it--on the blunt side--and sing:

  “Smiles to-day
  Make smiles to-morrow;
  Smiles will banish
  Bogey Sorrow.
  Smiles will help us
  Over stiles,
  Making life
  Just miles of Smiles!

Then hold tight, and see what happens. Ta-ta!”

Trembling with excitement, the children hastened to carry out the
instructions of Mr. Atom. Tibbs and Kiddiwee fetched the sword of
the Samurai, and laid it upon the steps of the old Japanese Lantern.
Coppertop picked up her beautiful wings very tenderly, shedding a tear
or two unseen, and placed them--the wings, not the tears--upon the
Samurai’s sword, to which they at once became attached, and commenced
to quiver with life!

Feeling that something most magical was about to happen, Coppertop and
her brothers seated themselves upon the sword--their legs hanging over
the blunt side--and commenced to sing:

  “Smiles to-day
  Make Smiles to-morrow.”

At this, the sword of the Samurai quivered violently, and then rose
several feet into the air--

  “Smiles will banish
  Bogey Sorrow.”

continued the children, hardly able to sing for excitement. They felt
that they were in for another wonderful trip.

  “Smiles will help us
  Over stiles.”

And now the wings began to beat, and the sword moved forward--

  “Making life
  Just miles of Smiles!”

shouted the children.

At these last words the sword of the Samurai shot forward at lightning
speed with its precious burden, and never stopped till they arrived at
the Emerald Isle.



CHAPTER XXIV.

BIDDY-BE-SURE, THE IRISH WITCH


It was raining. It sometimes dies in the Emerald Isle; but the country
looked wonderfully green and fresh and beautiful.

It somehow reminded Coppertop of a lovely lady, a lady who was weeping,
always weeping, yet smiling at times at her own tears; a lady with
great, tragic, blue eyes and black lashes, which weeping could not
spoil.

When the children arrived upon the magic sword, at the cabin of
Biddy-be-sure, they were surprised to hear a good-natured voice from
within saying--

“Come in! Come in, me dears!”

“She seems to expect us!” cried Coppertop.

“Witches are always like that!” explained Tibbs; “they can see right
through walls and things without using their eyes.”

As soon as they were inside the cabin, Biddy-be-sure rushed forward to
greet them. But she was so very ugly that they shrank from her in fear.

“Sure,” she cried, wondering at their evident dislike to being
embraced, “sure and Oi’ll give ye a kiss each,” and she came forward
with her lips pursed up.

“Oh! I--I think we really must be going,” cried Coppertop, backing to
the door.

“Would ye be after lavin’ me the momint ye arrive?” said Biddy, looking
very crestfallen. “Sure, ye moight jist as well ’ave gone before ye
came!”

“It’s the Blarney Stone ye’ve come to kiss,” she added, peering at them
sharply, “and not poor ould Biddy-be-sure, ye’ll be after sayin’. But
ye can’t go into the Castle atall, atall, these toimes, unless Oi help
ye.”

“And it’s moighty dangerous!” she warned.

“However did you know that we wanted to kiss it?” cried Coppertop in
astonishment.

“Sure, the North Wind had a gossip wid me, not ten minutes agone, on
this very subject!” explained Biddy, with a twinkle in her eye.

Whilst this conversation was going on, Kiddiwee had discovered Pimby,
the Flying Pig, and the two had struck up a fast friendship. Pimby was
quite a dear, but, being an inflated pig, he was apt to give himself
airs; he had two really beautiful wings, and--well--Flying Pigs are
rare, and Pimby knew it.

As for the Black Cat, it had scuttled up the chimney as soon as the
children appeared, and was seen no more.

“But Oi know the Keeper of the Castle,” said Biddy-be-sure, going back
to her former conversation, “and Oi jist smoile at him, and look at
him wid me little eye, and ‘Bedad,’ he’ll say, ‘Biddy-be-sure, ye can
go up and come down a hundred toimes a day, if ye’ve a moind, for jist
such another smoile as that, bedad!’”

“Come on, let’s start at once!” suggested Tibbs, who did not want to
run the risk of being kissed. “We’ve no time to spare.”

“Oh, but ye have!” cried Biddy-be-sure, wagging her old head wisely;
“ye spare Toime, and Toime ’ill spare ye!”

“But if it isn’t troubling you too much,” cried Coppertop, “we are
rather in a hurry. You see,” she added, “Mummie and Daddy may arrive
home at any moment now.”

“Then, begorrah, we’ll start at once. Come, Pimby! Pimby!” she called
to the Flying Pig.

Then off they started, she riding upon the broomstick, and the children
upon the magic sword of the Samurai.



CHAPTER XXV.

COPPERTOP KISSES THE BLARNEY STONE


Upon arriving at Blarney Castle, Biddy-be-sure tried her wiles upon the
Keeper most successfully, and they were given full permission to enter
the Castle.

Up a dark winding staircase they went, and then round the gallery of
the old banqueting hall, and so out on to the parapet under which the
Blarney Stone lies.

Pimby, the Flying Pig, got stuck in the staircase once or twice on the
way up, but otherwise the party reached the top without mishap.

Upon arriving at the spot, there was some argument as to which of them
should kiss the stone, but Coppertop reminded her brothers that the
North Wind had distinctly told her to do so; and besides, Tibbs, being
so strong and manly, was just the one to hold her legs and prevent her
from falling.

For, in order to kiss the stone properly, she had to be lowered over
the edge of the parapet, head foremost.

It was a very dangerous thing to do, for, if she fell, she would be
dashed to pieces at the foot of the Castle.

The sword of the Samurai lay upon the parapet and kept guard, and
Coppertop kissed Smiler, hugged and kissed Tibbs and Kiddiwee,
and prepared to be lowered over the parapet. Of course, she was
nervous--“terrifikly”--but she just grit her teeth, and determined to
do this last thing to gain her precious December day, and thus to be
able to greet her Mummie and Daddy with sunshine and beauty.

Kiddiwee grew so white and nervous that it was decided he should watch
from one of the windows of the tower.

“’Es, but I do wish I could do it instead of Cece,” were his last words
as he went below.

Biddy-be-sure mounted her broomstick, and, flying over the parapet, she
hovered under the Blarney Stone with her apron spread out, to catch
Coppertop if she fell.

White and anxious, Tibbs helped Coppertop over the side of the Castle,
holding tightly to her legs until she was able to grasp the iron rail,
which has been put there for the purpose. She was now hanging over the
side of the Castle, upside-down! The blood rushed to her head, and she
felt terribly giddy, but with great courage she held on, and lowered
herself, inch by inch, whilst Tibbs held her legs in a tight grip,
until her head was on a level with the Blarney Stone.

To make things safer, Pimby, the Flying Pig, flew over also, and
insisted on catching hold of the coat of Coppertop’s pyjamas, which he
held tightly between his teeth.

Tibbs’ face was perspiring with anxiety and fatigue, but he would
rather have fallen to the bottom himself, than have let go of those
precious little ankles.

There was a distant rumble of thunder, and a few drops of rain fell
upon them.

Coppertop’s heart beat faster at the sound, and she felt as though she
must choke, for she hated a thunderstorm. Besides, it sounded ominously
like the Clerk of the Weather, up to his mischief again, in spite of
his promise. It would be too terrible if he interfered now--just at the
critical moment.

She must hasten to kiss the stone without delay. She was surprised to
find that it had a face, and that it pouted its lips to be kissed, in
a most amusing way. Coppertop wanted to laugh, and then to cry. And
as she looked down she saw that Biddy-be-sure, with her white apron
outstretched, had grown to look strangely like her big four-posted Bed!

She suddenly felt very limp and nerveless, but she thought of the
December day, so nearly hers; and, with a mighty effort, she raised her
head forward, and--KISSED THE BLARNEY STONE!

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a blinding flash of lightning! A roar of thunder! And, to her
amazement, Coppertop felt herself FALLING!

Tibbs still held her ankles, but he was falling too! The Castle was
falling! EVERYTHING was FALLING!

Down, down like a stone she fell, through Biddy’s apron, pulling the
Flying Pig with her!

Oh! what would happen when she reached the ground? But there was no
ground, for that was falling, too!

Whirling! Swirling! Down! DOWN! WALLOP!

       *       *       *       *       *

                             BANG!!

Coppertop opened her eyes, and sat bolt upright in bed!

“It was a REAL Bang! Of course it was! It’s Jane, banging on the door,”
exclaimed Coppertop, rubbing her eyes and yawning. “Goodness me!
however did I get back here? And I never said good-bye to Tibbs and
Kiddiwee!

“Gracious!” she exclaimed, as she recalled the events of the previous
evening, “why, it’s the First of December! Mummie and Daddy are coming
home to-day! It’s simply too glorious for words!” she cried, as she
sprang out of her bed. “I’m so happy I--I shall positively explode!”

As she jumped up, Coppertop felt something dangling round her neck, she
put up her hand, and grasped--Smiler!

“There now, I knew it was all real!” she cried, her eyes growing dark
with wonder, “and the December day? I must rush and see!”

And so she did. Up shot the blind, and in shone the most heavenly
December day! It flooded the room with warmth, and the glory of
sunbeams, which made a halo of light and beauty round Celia’s happy
little “Coppertop.”

As she stood, breathless with wonderment and rapture, the door behind
her was gently opened, and Captain and Mrs. Sinclair stole softly into
the room--so softly that Celia heard no sound.

The tall, soldierly man, bronzed by the hot sun of the East, smiled as
his glance fell tenderly upon the quaint figure of Coppertop, standing
there in her pyjamas, her hands clasped in ecstacy over the tiny bronze
camel, and seeming to be part of the glowing sunshine which filled the
room.

“What IS she looking for?” he whispered to his wife.

“Hush, dear!” warned Mrs. Sinclair, with finger on lip. But it was too
late.

Coppertop had heard the whispering voices!

She turned, and stood for one moment too overjoyed to move. Then,
uttering the very highest little scream of delight she had ever
uttered, she bounded towards them.

Trembling with excitement, she flung a freckled arm round each dear
neck, and, pulling their laughing faces down to hers, she covered them
with kisses.

“What a perfect December day to welcome us on!” said Captain Sinclair,
as soon as he had sufficiently recovered from Coppertop’s embrace to
speak.

“Perfect!” echoed his wife, smiling down at their little daughter.

And Coppertop’s cup of happiness was full.


THE END.



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:


    Text in italics is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

    Emboldened text is surrounded by equals signs: =bold=.

    Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

    Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

    Archaic spelling that may have been in use at the time of
    publication has been retained.





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