Then the dog said, "As you have lived upon others, others shall live upon you!" So he caught the cat, and he ate her up. And there was an end of the cat.
But as the dog was barking one day,
He met a Chinaman, Ting-Pan. And he talked, And he talked, And he talked.
And when the Chinaman saw the dog, he said to him, "what do you do for a living?" And the dog said, "I slay the cat, and likewise the rat." Then the Chinaman said, "as you have lived upon others, others shall live upon you!" So he caught the dog, and he cooked him with rice, and ate him up. And there was an end of the dog.
But now, you see, the Chinaman had eaten
The dog, Named Gog, And the cat, Very fat, And the mouse, Round the house, And the flea, Wee wee.
So when he had eaten them all, they all disagreed with him, and he died. And there was an end of the Chinaman, Ting-Pan.
This was Puff's favorite story, and I had to tell it at least once every night, and often twice. Then when that was done, she would call for "Michikee Moo." You have never heard that, I'll warrant, for you do not, most of you, understand the Pawnee dialect, and "Michikee Moo" is a Pawnee ballad. The Indian mammas sing it to their pappooses, as they rock them in their bark cradles under the trees, in the western forests. I had to translate it into English, of course, for Puff; so here it is.
AN INDIAN BALLAD.
Whopsy Whittlesy Whanko Whee, Howly old growly old Indian he, Lived on the hill of the Mungo-Paws, With all his pappooses and all his squaws. There was Wah-wah-bocky, the Blue-nosed Goose, And Ching-gach-gocky, the Capering-Moose; There was Peeksy Wiggin, and Squawpan too, But the fairest of all was Michikee Moo. Michikee Moo, the Savoury Tart, Pride of Whittlesy Whanko's heart. Michikee Moo, the Cherokee Pie, Apple of Whittlesy Whanko's eye.
Whittlesy Whanko loved her so That the other squaws did with envy glow. And each said to the other "Now what shall we do To spoil the beauty of Michikee Moo?" "We'll lure her away to the mountain top, And there her head we will neatly chop!" "We'll wile her away to the forest's heart, And shoot her down with a poisoned dart!" "We'll 'tice her away to the river side, And there she shall be the Manitou's bride!" "Oh! one of these things we will surely do, And we'll spoil the beauty of Michikee Moo!"
"Michikee Moo, thou Cherokee Pie, Away with me to the mountain high!" "Nay, my sister, I will not roam; I'm safer and happier here at home," "Michikee Moo, thou Savoury Tart, Away with me to the forest's heart!" "Nay, my sister, I will not go; I fear the dart of some hidden foe." "Michikee Moo, old Whittlesy's pride, Away with me to the river-side!" "Nay, my sister, for fear I fall. And wouldst thou come if thou heardst me call?" "Now choose thee, choose thee thy way of death, For soon thou shalt draw thy latest breath. We all have sworn that to-day we'll see The last, fair Michikee Moo, of thee!"
Whittlesy Whanko, hidden near, Each and all of these words did hear. He summoned his braves, all painted for war, And gave them in charge each guilty squaw. "Take Wah-wah-bocky, the Blue-nosed Goose! Take Ching-gach-gocky, the Capering Moose! Take Peeksy Wiggin, and Squawpan too, And leave me alone with my Michikee Moo! This one away to the mountain-top, And there her head ye shall neatly chop. This one away to the forest's heart, And shoot her down with a poisoned dart. This one away to the river-side, And there let her be the Manitou's bride. Away with them all, the woodlands through. For I'll have no squaw save Michikee Moo!" Away went the braves, without question or pause, And they soon put an end to the guilty squaws; They pleasantly smiled when the deed was done, Saying "Ping-ko-chanky! oh! isn't it fun?" And then they all danced the Buffalo dance, And capered about with ambiguous prance; While they drank to the health of the lovers so true, Brave Whittlesy Whanko and Michikee Moo.
"I wish I had an Indian doll, Mr. Moonman!" said Fluff one night, after I had sung this ballad to her. "A little pappoose! it would be so nice!"
"Nothing is easier!" I replied. "Take Katinka, there, who has long black hair; stain her face and neck with walnut juice, and paint her with stripes and spots of red and yellow. Then wrap her up in a blanket and put some beads round her neck, and you have an Indian doll. She will be a truly lovely object, according to Indian ideas, which indeed may not be quite the same as your own, but what of that?"
"Thank you kindly, Mr. Moonman!" said Katinka, who was spending the night on Puff's bed. "I am very sure my dear little mother will do nothing of the kind. Walnut juice, indeed! and for me, who have the finest complexion in the doll-house! You might take Sally Bradford, now, and she would not look more like a witch than she does now; but I am a French doll, and am not used to such treatment."
"Don't abuse Sally Bradford, Miss!" I said. "She is an excellent doll, for whom I have a great respect; and as for your fine complexion, why, we all know that 'handsome is as handsome does;' and I should like to know who does all the work in the doll-house. But speaking of witches, I wonder if Puff has ever heard the story of the witch who came to see little Polly Pemberton. That is a queer story."
"No, I have never heard it, Mr. Moonman!" cried Puff eagerly. "Was it a real witch? do tell me the story!"
"Oh! as for being real," I replied, "that is none of my business. My business is to tell the story which I will do. I heard a little girl in New Haven, telling it to her brothers and sisters the other night, and she frightened them half out of their wits. I will try to tell the story just as she did. Did you know, children, that there were witches in old times? well, there were, or people thought there were, which came to much the same thing for the witches. Hear this story, and then see what you think about the matter.
"Well, once there was a little girl, about eight years old. I shall call her Polly, but you need not feel obliged to follow my example. If you prefer to call her Kamschatka, I don't mind in the least. This little girl lived with her father and mother, in a little red cottage which stood quite by itself near a thick wood. Every day her parents went to the village, which was a mile or more away, to work, and they left little Polly in charge of the house, for she was a good and quiet little girl, and never was lonely or sad. One day Polly was sitting by the window, knitting, when she saw a queer-looking old woman coming along the road; such a queer old woman. Have you ever seen a picture of Cinderella's fairy godmother? well, she looked just like that, pointed hat, red cloak, and all. When the old woman saw Polly, she stopped, and looked earnestly at her; then she hobbled slowly up to the door and knocked. Polly ran and opened the door. "How are you, my child?" said the old dame; "let me in. I'm your grandmother." Polly had always been taught to be respectful to old people, so she let the old woman in, and politely handed her a chair; but she could not help saying, as she did so, "excuse me, ma'am, but I don't think you can be my grandmother." "That shows how much you know about it!" replied the old woman; "how old are you?" "Eight years old," said Polly. "Very well!" said the old woman; "now I am ninety-six years old, just twelve times as old as you are; therefore, I'm your grandmother." "But I don't see——" began Polly. "Oh, if you want to argue about it," said the old dame, "here we are," and she drew from her pocket a small book, and opening it, read aloud, "Take a little girl eight years old, and multiply her by twelve; what will be the result? Answer: her grandmother. There!" she said, triumphantly, "what do you think of that?" Poor Polly did not know what to think of it. She looked at the book, which looked exactly like Colburn's Arithmetic. "Is that Colburn's Arithmetic, ma'am?" she asked timidly. "Colburn's Fiddlestick!" said the old woman, shortly. "Here's another for you. Put a boy up an apple-tree, and divide him by a good sized bull-dog; what will remain? hey?" "I'm sure I don't know," said poor Polly, faintly. "Mince-meat, of course," said the old woman. "You don't know much, evidently." "What a dreadful looking cat!" thought Polly. And indeed, he did not look like an amiable animal. His green eyes shone with an uncanny light, and his long claws were constantly sheathing and unsheathing themselves, as if they longed to scratch somebody. However, the old woman certainly seemed fond of him. "Hobble-gobble!" she said, "prince of cats, black diamond, blazing emerald, attend!
Kickery punk, punkery kick, Bring the teapot and be quick!"
The cat gave one spring, and in the twinkling of an eye he reached the cupboard where the silver was kept. Now the door of the cupboard was locked, as Polly, in her surprise, (which was fast turning into terror,) thankfully remembered. The cat, finding it locked, turned and looked at his mistress, who, striking her stick on the floor, exclaimed
"Scratchery, patchery, tooth and nail; Open the door with a quirk of your tail."
Quick as thought the creature turned round and inserted the tip of his tail in the key hole. In a moment the door flew open, and seizing the silver teapot in his claws, the cat sprang back with it to his mistress, who, snatching the teapot, hid it under her red cloak. At this Polly sprang to her feet, with a cry of mingled fear and anger; but the witch (for this certainly must have been a witch, if ever there was one,) pointed her stick at her, and muttered some strange words which sounded like "Buggara wuggera boogle jum, Hobble-gobble!" She said this last word suddenly and sharply, and Polly was quite startled; but fancy her alarm when a large black cat crept out from beneath the red cloak, and sitting down on his mistress's knee, looked up in her face with an air of unearthly sagacity, and poor Polly fell back in her chair, unable to move hand or foot. There she sat, motionless, but perfectly conscious, watching this dreadful old hag. And what do you think the creature did next? She took some strange looking herbs from her pocket, and put them in the teapot, which she then filled with water and set on the stove. Then, calling to her cat, she began to hop slowly round the stove on one foot. The cat followed her, hopping first on one black foot and then on another, but keeping its unearthly green eyes fixed on Polly all the time. The witch kept muttering strange words like those which had thrown the spell on Polly; while her companion moved in time if not in tune.
"Buggara wuggara, boogle jum jum! I will have all, and my cat shall have some. Boogle jum! boogle jmm! buggara boom! Down with the teapot and up with the broom!"
"By the time she had hopped round the stove six times, the water in the teapot was boiling furiously. The old hag stopped and said "Hobble gobble, prince of cats, produce the broom-stick!"
"The cat jumped up on the stove, without seeming to mind the heat in the least, though the iron was nearly red hot. He lifted the lid of the teapot, and took out—what do you think, now? You will never believe me, but I am not responsible for the story. He took out—a broom. A long broom, with a bright red handle, which seemed somehow as if it was alive, for it actually wriggled as the cat, leaping down from the stove, handed it to his mistress. The old woman snatched it, and waved it three times round Polly's head. Then she mounted the stick as if it were a horse, and calling once more to her cat, she rose in the air, and vanished up the chimney, the cat sitting beside her on the broom-stick, and grinning hideously at Polly as long as he remained in sight. That was truly dreadful, was it not? that comes of leaving little girls alone all day, which is a very bad plan."
"But is that all?" asked Puffy. "Doesn't it tell what became of Polly, and the teapot? You haven't told any end to the story, Mr. Moonman."
"Exactly!" I replied. "There isn't any end to it. But there is an end to this night, and that end has come. Farewell, my mouse, till to-morrow night."
And I whisked away, leaving Katinka and Puff so much astonished that one fell off the bed, and the other woke up. Wasn't that funny?
FOLLOWING A SUNBEAM.
"AUNTIE," said Downy, one morning, "I'v dere any people in de fun?"
"In the fun, dear child?" answered Mrs. Wilton. "What do you mean? people are often in fun. Is that it?"
"Oh! no, Auntie!" said Fluff, who was sitting beside Downy on the broad window-sill, eating her porridge, "I know what he means. He means 'in the sun,' but he cannot say 's,' you know, so he says 'f' instead."
"Oh!" said Aunt Grace. "In the sun; of course. I understand now. Well, Downy boy, I have never been in the sun, so I really cannot tell you. I heard of a little boy who did go once, however. Fluffy, tell Downy the little story I told you the other day, about the sunbeam. I would tell it to him myself, but I must speak to cook about dinner."
"Well, Downy," said Fluff, in an important tone, as she settled herself more comfortably on the window-sill, "Once upon a time there was a little boy, and his name was Wynkyn."
"Nebber heard dat name!" interrupted Downy.
"Well, it was his name just the same," said Fluff, "for Auntie said so. So he wanted to know what was in the sun. So somebody told him—"
"Whobody was it?" inquired Downy.
"Oh! I don't know! anybody!" said Fluff. "I wont tell it if you interrupt me, Downy."
"I wont adain!" said Downy. "Do on, Fluffy!"
"Somebody told him," continued Fluff, "that if he put his foot on the end of a sunbeam, it would turn into a golden ladder and lead to the sun. So he did, and so it did,—turned into a ladder, I mean; all shining gold, going right up into the sun. So he went up, and up, and up, and the upper he went the brighter the ladder grew. At last he came to the sun, and there were ever so many little boys and girls, all made of gold, running about and playing, and having a splendid time. And they all came and played with Wynkyn, and gave him all sorts of lovely presents to take back to the earth.
A golden hat and a golden coat, A golden ball and a golden boat, A slate all covered with golden sums, And a golden pudding with diamond plums.
So he was very happy, and thought he would stay there all his life. But while he was running after one of the little golden boys, he tumbled off the sun, and fell down the ladder, turning somersaults all the way. And when he came down to the earth again he had lost all the presents except the pudding, but he had held that all the way down. So he sold it to a man for forty million hundred dollars; and then he was so rich that they made him King of Siam, and he rode on a white elephant with pink ears all the rest of his life."
"Iv dat all?" asked Downy.
"Yes, that's all," replied Fluff. "I made up the last part of it, because I couldn't remember just what Auntie told me after he came down the ladder. And now, Downy, pet," she continued, "I must go, for old Margaret has promised to show me the new chickens. Finish your porridge, and then you can come too!" and away ran Fluff, leaving the Downy mouse alone, looking very thoughtful over his porringer. He was silent for some time; then laying down his spoon, he said with an air of decision, "I'm doin' to do!" With that, he slid down from the window sill, and trotted out of the house as fast as his little fat legs would carry him. I knew perfectly well that his intention was to go up to the sun, but I did not think he would get very far. On the lawn he paused, and looked about him. Plenty of sunbeams there; every blade of grass had one, for the little sparklers, who are very vain, had come to look at themselves and admire their own brightness in the drops of dew which lay on every leaf and flower and spear of grass. Downy ran here and there, putting his foot down wherever he saw a flash, and then looking expectantly up into the air. But no golden ladder appeared, and at length I heard the little mouse say, "Deve ivn't de right kind of funbeamv. I'll do fomewhere elfe." So off he went, pattering over the grass and over the gravel paths, still stamping on every spot of sunshine, and still looking up for the golden ladder. I was just beginning to think it was time some one came to look after the mouse, when I heard a loud scream from the farm-yard. Turning my eyes in that direction, I saw something that was really shocking.
Fluff had gone, as you know, with old Margaret, Mrs. Wilton's good housekeeper, to see a new brood of chickens which had just been hatched. They were the prettiest little downy things in the world, and Fluff's happiness was complete when Margaret put them all in her apron, and told her she might carry them to the new coop which had just been made for them and their mother. Now Billy, the donkey, was in the shed, by which Fluff was standing, and for some minutes he had been looking out of the window, deeply interested in my mouse's straw bonnet. Was it good to eat, or was it not? that was the question which was agitating Billy's mind at that moment. On the whole, he thought the only way to decide the matter was to try it; so stretching his head quietly out of the window, he seized the bonnet in his teeth, and tearing it from Fluff's head, he proceeded to chew it as calmly as if it had been a wisp of hay instead of a Tuscan straw. It was Fluff's scream that I heard, and I found the little mouse overcome with grief at the loss of her bonnet, the last fragment of which was just disappearing between Billy's capacious jaws.
"Never mind, Miss Fluffy, dear!" said Margaret, soothingly; "come in to Auntie with me, and we'll tell her all about it. She'll buy you a new bonnet, I promise you, or make you one out of Master Billy's ears."
So they went into the house, after putting the chickens carefully in their coop, and told Mrs. Wilton about the sad misfortune. Aunt Grace could not help laughing at first; but she comforted Fluff, who was really very much cast down, and promised to make her the prettiest bonnet that heart could desire.
"But where is Downy?" she asked; "did you leave him in the farm-yard, Margaret?"
"Sure, ma'am, I have not seen the child this morning!" said Margaret.
"Why, I left him in the dining-room, finishing his porridge!" exclaimed Fluff. "Isn't he there now, Auntie?"
"No!" replied Mrs. Wilton. "He is not anywhere in the house, and I thought he had gone with you. Where can the child be?"
Then there was a great hurry-scurry, in the house and out of it. All the other children were summoned, but none of them had seen Downy: so they all started off to look for him, Mrs. Wilton and Margaret, Nibble and Brighteyes, Fluff and Roger, all going in different directions, and callings as they went: "Downy! Downy boy! where are you, Downy?" but no Downy answered.
If people only knew a little more, how much better they would get on! at every step the children might have found out where Downy was, if they had only taken the trouble to listen. The old Drake quacked to them in his loudest tones: "down by the brook! down by the brook! stupid creatures! down by the brook!" the fir-trees on the lawn pointed their long green fingers towards the brook. The birds sang, the dogs barked, the leaves whispered, the hens cackled, and each and all said the same thing, over and over again! "Down by the brook! down by the brook!" and so the whole family looked on the beach, and in the orchard, and up and down the road, and all over the barn and the stable, and in the pig-sty. If you will believe me, it was not till after a two-hour's hunt that they found the little fellow, curled up in the long grass by the side of the brook, fast asleep.
You may imagine how Aunt Grace caught him up, and kissed and petted and scolded him all in a breath. But Downy struggled to get down, and cried out "Don't take my foot off! don't take my foot off! naughty Auntie! a-a-a-ah! a-a-ah!"
"What is it, dear?" said his aunt. "Wake up, Downy dear! you have been asleep, and we all thought you were lost, and were dreadfully frightened about you. What is the matter with your foot, my precious?"
Downy rubbed his eyes and looked about him, seeming very much puzzled.
"Why, where'v ve ladder?" he asked. "And where'v my dolden puddin? I didn't want to tome down from de fun! a-a-a-ah! I want to be de King of Fiam, and wide on a white elephant!"
Well, they all told him he had been asleep and dreaming; and they petted and consoled him, and took him into the house, and Aunt Grace gave him an apple almost as big as his own head. But all day long Downy was very melancholy. He smarted under a sense of injury, and could not forgive his aunt for taking his foot off the ladder; and it was many a day before he forgot the golden pudding and the white elephant.
UNDER THE SEA.
THE four mice had been settled at Glenwood for more than two weeks before I was able to pay them one of my evening visits. Little Puff had been very ill indeed, and all my spare time had been devoted to her. Besides this, there was a revolution in Meteoria (the place where the meteors come from, my dears), and numbers of the inhabitants had emigrated, and had been whizzing past my palace constantly, requiring my utmost care to prevent it from catching fire.
But the revolution was over in a week, and about the same time Puff began to be a little better. Then she went on improving so fast that I thought I really must go and tell her brothers and sisters about it. So off to Glenwood I went one fine night, where I was greeted, as usual, with a chorus of delight.
"Oh! Mr. Moonman!" cried Fluff, clapping her hands. "And we thought he didn't know the way here! How did you know where to find us, Mr. Moonman, dear?"
"Why, if you come to that," I replied, "there are very few places in the world that I cannot find, and Glenwood is not a very hard one to discover, my mouse. Now I have good news for you. I have just come from Puff's nursery; she sends her love to you all, and says she is nearly well, and wants to know what you have been doing all this time."
Then rose a clamor of questions from all sides, which I answered as best I could. Yes, she sat up every day, and she had broiled chicken for dinner, and dip-toast for supper, and Uncle Jack had given her a lovely new doll, with flaxen hair curling all over her head, whose name was Scarlatina Clematis Alfarata; but Puff called her Tina, "for short."
"Did I know that Downy had been ill?" Brighteyes asked.
"No I did not know it! What had been the matter?"
"Oh! it wasn't much!" broke in Nibble: "I don't see why they made such a fuss about it. I made a feast for him, because Aunt Grace wanted me to amuse him while she gave Brighteyes her French lesson; and I cooked the feast in Roger's little stove, and some of the black paint got into the food and made it disagree with him. Things are always disagreeing with people; I don't see why. People eat oil, and I don't see why they shouldn't eat paint; there's a great deal of oil in paint, Uncle Jack told me so."
"Well," I said, "you might spread paint instead of butter on your bread, and see how you like it. Personally, I am inclined to take Downy's view of the matter. But now, we must not stop too long, for we have a long way to go to-night. I am going to fulfil my promise at last, and take you to see Patty! What do you say to that, all four of you?"
The mice did not say much that was intelligible, but their shrieks of delight, their jumping and clapping of hands, were quite satisfactory. The big cloud was waiting outside, and the seven Winds were there, too, impatient for a frolic; so I tumbled my mice and their cousin mouse out of their beds and into their soft white carriage, and away we all went post-haste, or rather comet-haste, for it is a long way to the Indian Ocean. Merrily puffed the winds, and merrily chattered the five little ones; we told stories, and sang songs, and altogether the trip was made so quickly that we were almost sorry to hear the Winds talking Hindostanee to the waves of the great silent water over which we were sweeping. Down floated the cloud, down and down, until it rested lightly on a bit of smooth sandy beach.
"Out with you, mice of mine!" I said. So the mice tumbled out of the cloud again, and looked about them in much amazement and some terror.
"I fink I'm afraid!" said Downy to me, confidentially.
"Oh, no!" I replied. "You are not afraid. You are delighted, my dear, but you are delighted in Hindostanee, and that may be a different sensation from being delighted in English."
This explanation seemed to comfort the little fellow, so I turned to the elder mice and said, "Patty is expecting you to-night, so everything will be in readiness. All you have to do is to go out on that flat rock yonder, and wait till a fish comes and speaks to you. Then you must say—
"'Bobbily Bungaloo, Indian fish. To visit your mistress is what I wish.'
"After that he will manage everything for you, and will take you at once to Patty. I shall wait here till you return, for going under the water is very apt to give me the asthma. Run, now, and be good, all of you!"
It required some courage for the little ones to leave their old friend and start off on such a strange and out-of-the-way expedition; but Nibble and Brighteyes led the way boldly, and the three others followed, clinging closely to each other. They soon reached the rock, and found Bobbily Bungaloo swimming about, waiting for them. He greeted them kindly, and bade them follow him, and one by one they all disappeared under the water.
Of course, however, I can see perfectly well what goes on under the water. Dear me, yes! it would be a pity if I could not do that. I saw the mice go down, down, down, through the clear water. All around them swam myriads of fishes, all eager to greet the little strangers who had come so far. There were large fishes and small fishes, some all head and some all tail, some ugly enough to frighten one, and others so beautiful that the children were sorely tempted to catch them and carry them home. All were kind and friendly, and said many pleasant things, which Bobbily Bungaloo, who is a very learned fish, translated into English for the mice's benefit. At length they arrived at the bottom of the sea, and saw at a little distance before them, the palace of my cousin Patty. As I may have told you before, this palace is simply a huge round pearl, hollowed out into many chambers. A more superb dwelling-place can hardly be imagined. It is really like a small moon under the water, so bright and beautiful is it. The children were speechless with admiration and wonder, as they well might be.
"H'm!" said a fat oyster, opening her shell to peep at them, "I should think they had never seen a pearl before. My necklace also is worth looking at, if they only knew enough to look down."
But the mice had no eyes for anything except the pearl palace, especially as Patty herself now appeared in the doorway, waiting to welcome her little guests.
She kissed them all, and led them into a great hall, the walls and ceiling of which were of mother-of-pearl, while the floor was of pink coral, laid in a hundred beautiful patterns. At one end of the hall was a throne of pearl, and on this Patty seated herself, bidding the children sit down on some pretty pink coral stools beside her.
"Now, my dears," she said, "what shall Patty do to amuse her little friends? I think we will have some lunch first, for you must be hungry after your long journey. Then I will take you through the palace, and then you shall sail in one of my pretty boats. How does that programme please you?"
She rang a bell, and a tall merman in a splendid livery, glistening with pearl buttons, made his appearance, carrying a huge silver tray heaped with sea-delicacies. The children were really hungry, and they soon found that the dishes were as good as they were strange.
"What is this, Patty?" asked Brighteyes; "it is delicious, but I cannot imagine what it is."
"That," said Patty, "is a fricassee of sea-anemones. They are very nice, I think, and we cook them in a great many different ways. Nibble, there, is eating fried gold-fish, and Fluff and Roger are busy over a dish of scallops in jelly."
"Oh! how nice everything is!" sighed Fluff; "I wish I knew whether it were all real or not. Mr. Moonman always laughs at me when I ask him if I am dreaming him and all the good times we have with him. Are you real, Patty? do tell me!"
But Patty only laughed and said, "I am as real as a great many things in this world, dear child! Take some anemones, and don't trouble yourself about their being real, as long as they are good."
When the children had finished their lunch, she took Downy by the hand, and bade the rest follow her: and then she led them through the different rooms of the wonderful palace. Dear! dear! such a palace as it was! I really thought those mice would never get their mouths shut again, so wide did they open them in their amazement. The first room they went through was hung with green sea-weed, beautifully fringed, and the carpet was of softest moss. Here were sitting numbers of pretty mermaids, sewing and embroidering on great pieces of kelp, with needles made of the spines of some fish. They all nodded and smiled at the children, but did not speak, for they knew nothing but Hindostanee.
"To think," murmured Brighteyes, softly, "that we should really be in the same room with a dozen mermaids! and their neat little tails are covered with scales, just as the song says, and they are sitting in pink coral chairs. Oh! if I could only find out where the sea-flower grows, so that I might remember all this!"
Then they passed through halls of deep-red coral, and lovely little rooms which seemed entirely made of small bright shells set closely together, until they came to the Sun and Moon rooms, which my good Patty has named in honor of my brother and me. The Sun room is all gold from floor to ceiling, burnished gold, which shines so that one really has to shade one's eyes on going into it. From the glittering ceiling hang numbers of diamond lamps, which swing perpetually to and fro with a slow, steady motion, flashing and sparkling like real sunbeams. My room, which is next to this gorgeous apartment, is no less beautiful, being all of fretted silver, with lamps of pearl, which shed a lovely soft light nearly equal to that of my own beams, though not so bright. Of course the mice were enchanted beyond measure with all this splendor; but when they begged to be allowed to stay in the lovely silver room and play, Patty smiled and said, "we have yet many things to see, dear children, and the night is short. Besides, puss-in-the-corner is no better fun in a silver room than in a plastered nursery. Come then, and see the play-room of my little mermaids!"
She threw open a door, and there was a sight which made the mice fairly squeak with amazement and delight. It was a vast room, all of white coral, with lovely pictures painted on the walls and ceiling, and as full as it could be of little tiny sea-children, frolicking about, and playing just as many pranks as land-babies play. They surrounded the children with exclamations of wonder and delight. Children must have a language of their own, certainly, for though the Indian sea-babies knew no more of English than the American babies did of Hindostanee, it was not ten minutes before they were all perfectly good friends, and were playing together in the most delightful way. Nibble and Roger were almost breaking their necks in the vain endeavor to turn somersaults as fast as their little friends with the tails. Brighteyes was hugging and petting "the loveliest baby in the world, if it hasn't any toes," which she had taken from its nurse's arms, while Fluff and a little mermaiden of her own age were deeply confidential in a corner, on the subject of their respective dolls. Fancy, will you, children all, a white coral doll with a long pearly tail, and hair of pale yellow sea moss, very fine and soft! Truly, it was a lovely creature, and Fluff would gladly have exchanged the most cherished of her waxen babies for it. The little mermaid sang pretty songs to her dolly, and rocked it in a cradle of amber with sea-weed curtains. Presently Patty said, "Little Fluff, will you not sing an English song for my sea-babies? sing something about flowers and fairies, for those are things that we have not here, and the little ones like to hear about them."
So my Fluff sang this little song, which she called "The Fairy Wedding:"
Blue bell, bonny bell, ring for the wedding! Gallant young Hyacinth's married the rose; Here we all wait for the marriage procession, Standing up high on our tippy-toe-toes.
Blue bell, bonny bell, ring for the wedding! First the three ushers on grasshoppers ride; Coxcomb, Larkspur, and gallant Sweet William, Handsome young dandies as ever I spied.
Here in a coach come the bride's rich relations, Old Madame Damask and old Mr. Moss; Greatly I fear she has not won their blessing, Else they'd not look so uncommonly cross.
Here comes his Excellence Baron de Goldburg, Leading the Dowager Duchess of Snail; Feathers and fringe on the top of her bonnet, Roses and rings on the end of her tail.
Blue bell, bonny bell, ring for the wedding! Here come the bridesmaids by two and by two. Gay little Primrose, fair little Snowdrop, Peachblossom, Jasmine and Eglantine too.
Last come the lovers, wrapped up in each other, Thinking of love, and of little beside; Blue bell, bonnie bell, ring for the wedding! Health and long life to the beautiful bride!
Loud were the cries of delight over Fluffy's song; but they soon changed into exclamations of sorrow, when Patty told the mice that they must bid good-bye to their little sea friends, as it was nearly time for them to go home. All the little sea-maidens and boys pressed round them, kissing them, and begging them to come again, which they gladly promised to do. Fluffy hugged her new friend and said "good-bye, you dear! I think you must be real, you are so lovely!" and so they left the beautiful play-room, and the coral doors shut behind them.
At the gate of the palace they found a lovely boat waiting for them. It was a great purple mussel-shell, lined with pearl, and cushioned with softest moss. In this Patty told the mice to seat themselves, and then, kissing them all, she bade them good-bye, and touched the shell with her silver wand. Up floated the strange boat, up and up, while the children leaned over the side as far as they dared, and threw kisses to their "dear delightful lovely Patty!" Multitudes of fishes surrounded them as before, and Bobbily Bungaloo, as a guard of honor, swam before the boat. At last I, waiting patiently by the rock, saw the five little heads rise above the water. Lightly my pets jumped from their purple boat; they bade farewell to Bobbily Bungaloo and his train, and then came running to me, all talking at once, and so fast that their remarks sounded quite as much like Hindostanee as like English.
"Now," I said, "you shall tell me all about everything as we go along; but we must start at once, for there is no time to be lost, I assure you!"
So they wrapped themselves up in their cloud again, and the Winds blew, and the children chattered, and the cloud flew through the air at a tremendous rate. Indeed, our seven little airy friends were so bent upon showing their utmost speed that they forgot where they were going, and would have blown my mice to California if I had not stopped them. As it was, it was nearly daybreak when we reached Glenwood. The seven Winds were so weary that they did not trouble themselves about the cloud after the children had got out of it, but bidding the little ones farewell, they fell fast asleep in the bed of lilies under the window; and I also departed, while my pets called after me, thanking me for "the most delightful of all the delightful nights!"
WELL, it was not long after this that my four mice went back to the Mouse-trap, for Puffy was quite well again, and begged that she might not be left alone a moment longer than was necessary. So one happy day the little mouse, still pale and thin, but beaming with delight, clasped her twin in her arms, on the old stone steps, while the other mice danced about them. Mrs. Posset cried over her Downy; Tomty came up from the garden with his pockets full of apples for his pets; Gruff and Grim and Grab barked their noisy welcome; while good Uncle Jack smiled on them all, and was well-pleased to have all his little ones around him again in the dear old Mouse-trap.
And here, though it is really melancholy to think of, I must leave my five mice. There are many and many more things that I should like to tell you about them, but we must wait till another time for all that. The fact is that Mr. Estes, the gentleman who is going to be so very kind as to put all these stories into a book for me, (for neither my dog nor I could possibly do that for ourselves, and I don't know of any book-binding star in the whole firmament,) says he really cannot undertake to print any more of my nonsense at present, as he has many grave and learned books to publish. It is my private opinion that there is often as much moonshine in grave and learned books as there is in children's stories; but perhaps I am not a good judge, for I see more or less moonshine in everything.
However that may be, the fact remains that I must say good-bye for the present to the Five Mice in the Mouse-trap, and to you, Patchko and Tinka, Jimmy and Jenny, Alice and Amy, and all the rest of you. Be good children, now! don't forget to shut the door after you when you go out of a room; don't forget to shut your eyes when you go to sleep; and above all, don't forget your old friend,
THE MAN IN THE MOON
* * * * *
Obvious punctuation errors repaired.
Page 66, Illustration caption, "JOSE" changed to "JOSE" (JOSE OPENING THE GATE.)
Page 81, "alway" changed to "always" (I always ride on)
Page 130, "Possett" changed to "Posset" (Mrs. Posset was not there)
Page 132, "pleasan" changed to "pleasant" (It was pleasant)
Page 141, "Pluffy" changed to "Puffy" (said Puffy with dignity)
Page 144, "liketo" changed to "like to" (should like to sing)
Page 151, "suid" changed to "said" ("To be sure!" said Uncle)
Page 173, "faries" changed to "fairies" (the three little fairies)
Page 197, word "in" removed from text. Original read (it in into English)
Page 191, extra word "he" removed from text. Original read: (what do you he think)
Page 205, lines were printed out of order. Every attempt was made to correct the text for readability.
At this Polly sprang to her feet, with a cry of mingled fear and anger; but the witch (for this certainly must have been a witch, if Hobble-gobble!" She said this last word suddenly and sharply, and Polly was quite startled; but fancy her alarm when a large black cat crept out from beneath the red cloak, and sitting down on his mistress's knee, looked up in her face with an air of unearthly sagacity, ever there was one,) pointed her stick at her, and muttered some strange words which sounded like "Buggara wuggera boogle jum," and poor Polly fell back in her chair, unable to move hand or foot. There she sat, motionless, but perfectly conscious, watching this
At this Polly sprang to her feet, with a cry of mingled fear and anger; but the witch (for this certainly must have been a witch, if ever there was one,) pointed her stick at her, and muttered some strange words which sounded like "Buggara wuggera boogle jum, Hobble-gobble!" She said this last word suddenly and sharply, and Polly was quite startled; but fancy her alarm when a large black cat crept out from beneath the red cloak, and sitting down on his mistress's knee, looked up in her face with an air of unearthly sagacity, and poor Polly fell back in her chair, unable to move hand or foot. There she sat, motionless, but perfectly conscious, watching this
Page 214, "conld" changed to "could" (and could not forgive)
"Jose" was changed to "Jose" eleven times.
Page 69, catch Master Jose 82, and even Jose 124, Jose, the brown donkey 125, Get up, Jose! ... But Jose .... poked Master Jose from 131, Jose may have been playing .... Jose was not to be seen Has Jose been rolling ... Then Jose went home 183, three dogs, and Jose