Trot seated herself on one side of him and Button-bright on the other, and the sailor put his arms around them both to hold them tight together.
"Are you ready?" asked the frog.
"Ding-dong!" cried the parrot.
"All aboard, let 'er go! Jump the best jump that you know."
"Don't--don't! Jump sort o' easy, please," begged Cap'n Bill.
But the frog was unable to obey his request. Its powerful hind legs straightened like steel springs and shot the big body, with its passengers, through the fog like an arrow launched from a bow. They gasped for breath and tried to hang on, and then suddenly the frog landed just at the edge of the Fog Bank, stopping so abruptly that his three riders left his back and shot far ahead of him. They felt the fog melt away and found themselves bathed in glorious rays of sunshine, but they had no time to consider this change because they were still shooting through the air, and presently--before they could think of anything at all--all three were rolling heels over head on the soft grass of a meadow.
THE PINK COUNTRY
When the travelers could collect their senses and sit up, they stared about them in bewilderment, for the transition from the sticky, damp fog to this brilliant scene was so abrupt as to daze them at first.
It was a Pink Country indeed. The grass was a soft pink, the trees were pink, all the fences and buildings which they saw in the near distance were pink--even the gravel in the pretty paths was pink. Many shades of color were there, of course, grading from a faint blush rose to deep pink verging on red, but no other color was visible. In the sky hung a pink glow, with rosy clouds floating here and there, and the sun was not silvery white, as we see it from the Earth, but a distinct pink.
The sun was high in the sky just now, which proved the adventurers had been a long time in passing through the Fog Bank. But all of them were wonderfully relieved to reach this beautiful country in safety, for aside from the danger that threatened them in the Blue Country, the other side of the island was very depressing. Here the scene that confronted them was pretty and homelike, except for the prevailing color and the fact that all the buildings were round, without a single corner or angle.
Half a mile distant was a large City, its pink tintings glistening bravely in the pink sunshine, while hundreds of pink banners floated from its numerous domes. The country between the Fog Bank and the city was like a vast garden, very carefully kept and as neat as wax.
The parrot was fluttering its wings and pruning its feathers to remove the wet of the fog. Trot and Button-Bright and Cap'n Bill were all soaked to the skin and chilled through, but as they sat upon the pink grass they felt the rays of the sun sending them warmth and rapidly drying their clothes; so, being tired out, they laid themselves comfortably down and first one and then another fell cozily asleep.
It was the parrot that aroused them.
"Look out--look out-- There's folks about!"
"The apple-dumplings, fat and pink, Will be here quicker than a wink!"
Trot stared up in alarm and rubbed her eyes; Cap'n Bill rolled over and blinked, hardly remembering where he was; Button-Bright was on his feet in an instant. Advancing toward them were four of the natives of the Pink Country.
Two were men and two were women, and their appearance was in sharp contrast to that of the Blueskins. For the Pinkies were round and chubby--almost like "apple-dumplings," as the parrot called them--and they were not very tall, the highest of the men being no taller than Trot or Button-Bright. They all had short necks and legs, pink hair and eyes, rosy cheeks and pink complexions, and their faces were good-natured and jolly in expression.
The men wore picturesque pink clothing and round hats with pink feathers in them, but the apparel of the women was still more gorgeous and striking. Their dresses consisted of layer after layer of gauzy tuck and ruffles and laces, caught here and there with bows of dainty ribbon.