Sky Island

Page 45

So, being protected from the mud and wet, they speedily gained the City and in a short time were all gathered in the low room of Tourmaline's palace, where the Great Book of Laws lay upon a table.

Polychrome began turning over the leaves, while the others all watched her anxiously and in silence. "Here," she said presently, "is a Law which reads as follows: 'Everyone in the Pink Country is entitled to the protection of the Ruler and to a house and a good living, except only the Blueskins. If any of the natives of the Blue Country should ever break through the Fog Bank, they must be driven back with sharp sticks.' Have you read this Law, Tourmaline?"

"Yes," said the Queen, "but how does that apply to these strangers?"

"Why, being in the Pink Country, as they surely are, and not being Blueskins, they are by this Law entitled to protection, to a home and good living. The Law does not say 'Pinkies,' it says any who are in the Pink Country."

"True," agreed Coralie, greatly pleased, and all the other Pinkies nodded their heads and repeated, "True, true!"

"The rose is red, the violet's blue, The law's the thing, because it's true!"

cried the parrot.

"I am indeed relieved to have you interpret the Law in this way," declared Tourmaline. "I knew it was cruel to throw these poor people over the edge, but that seemed to us the only thing to be done."

"It was cruel and unjust," answered Polychrome as sternly as her sweet voice could speak. "But here," she added, for she had still continued to turn the leaves of the Great Book, "is another Law which you have also overlooked. It says, 'The person, whether man or woman, boy or girl, living in the Pink Country who has the lightest skin shall be the Ruler--King or Queen--as long as he or she lives, unless someone of a lighter skin is found, and this Ruler's commands all the people must obey.' Do you know this Law?"

"Oh yes," replied Tourmaline. "That is why I am the Queen. You will notice my complexion is of a lighter pink than that of any other of my people."

"Yes," remarked Polychrome, looking at her critically, "when you were made Queen without doubt you had the lightest-colored skin in all the Pink Country. But now you are no longer Queen of the Pinkies, Tourmaline."

Those assembled were so startled by this statement that they gazed at the Rainbow's Daughter in astonishment for a time. Then Tourmaline asked, "Why not, your Highness?"

"Because here is one lighter in color than yourself," pointed to Trot. "This girl is, by the Law of the Great Book, the rightful Queen of the Pinkies, and as loyal citizens you are all obliged to obey her commands. Give me that circlet from your brow, Tourmaline." Without hesitation Tourmaline removed the rose-gold circlet with its glittering jewel and handed it to Polychrome, who turned and placed it upon Trot's brow. Then she called in a loud, imperative voice, "Greet your new Queen, Pinkies!"

One by one they all advanced, knelt before Trot and pressed her hand to their lips. "Long live Queen Mayre!" called out Cap'n Bill, dancing around on his wooden leg in great delight. "Vive la--Vive la--ah, ah, Trot!"

"Thank you, Polly," said Button-Bright gratefully. "This will fix us all right, I'm sure."

"Why, I have done nothing," returned Polychrome, smiling upon him. "It is the Law of the Country. Isn't it surprising how little people know of their Laws? Are you all contented, Pinkies?" she asked, turning to the people.

"We are!" they cried. Then several of the men ran out to spread the news throughout the City and Country, so that a vast crowd soon began to gather in the Court of the Statues.

MAYRE, QUEEN OF THE PINK COUNTRY

CHAPTER 18

Polychrome now dismissed all but Button-Bright, Cap'n Bill, Rosalie the Witch and the new Queen of the Pinkies. Tourmaline hastened away to her father's house to put on a beautiful gown all covered with flounces and ribbons, for she was glad to be relieved of the duties of the Queen and was eager to be gaily dressed and one of the people again.

Sky Island Page 46

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