Sky Island

Page 06

So he made me go right home to put the umbrella back where I got it. I was sorry Uncle Bob was so cross, and I didn't want to go home yet, where the governess was crosser 'n he was. I wonder why folks get cross when it rains? But by that time it had stopped raining--for awhile, anyhow--and Uncle Bob told me to go straight home and put the umbrella in the attic an' never touch it again.

"When I was around the corner, I thought I'd see if I could fly as I had before. I'd heard of Buffalo, but I didn't know just where it was, so I said to the umbrella, 'Take me to Buffalo.' Up in the air I went, just as soon as I said it, and the umbrella sailed so fast that I felt as if I was in a gale of wind. It was a long, long trip, and I got awful tired holding onto the handle, but just as I thought I'd have to let go, I began to drop down slowly, and then I found myself in the streets of a big city. I put down the umbrella and asked a man what the name of the city was, and he said 'Buffalo'."

"How wonderful!" gasped Trot. Cap'n Bill kept on smoking and said nothing.

"It was magic, I'm sure," said Button-Bright. "It surely couldn't have been anything else."

"P'raps," suggested Trot, "the umbrella can do other magic things."

"No," said the boy. "I've tried it. When I landed in Buffalo I was hot and thirsty. I had ten cents car fare, but I was afraid to spend it. So I held up the umbrella and wished I had an ice-cream soda, but I didn't get it. Then I wished for a nickel to buy an ice-cream soda with, but I didn't get that, either. I got frightened and was afraid the umbrella didn't have any magic left, so to try it I said 'Take me to Chicago.' I didn't want to go to Chicago, but that was the first place I thought of, and I soon saw this was going to be another long journey, so I called out to the umbrella, 'Never mind. Stop! I guess I won't go to Chicago. I've changed my mind, so take me home again.' But the umbrella wouldn't. It kept right on flying, and I shut my eyes and held on. At last I landed in Chicago, and then I was in a pretty fix. It was nearly dark, and I was too tired and hungry to make the trip home again. I knew I'd get an awful scolding, too, for running away and taking the family luck with me, so I thought that as long as I was in for it, I'd better see a good deal of the country while I had the chance. I wouldn't be allowed to come away again, you know."

"No, of course not," said Trot.

"I bought some buns and milk with my ten cents, and then I walked around the streets of Chicago for a time and afterward slept on a bench in one of the parks. In the morning I tried to get the umbrella to give me a magic breakfast, but it won't do anything but fly. I went to a house and asked a woman for something to eat, and she gave me all I wanted and advised me to go straight home before my mother worried about me. She didn't know I lived in Philadelphia. That was this morning."

"This mornin'!" exclaimed Cap'n Bill. "Why, lad, it takes three or four days for the railroad trains to get to this coast from Chicago."

"I know," replied Button-Bright. "But I didn't come on a railroad train. This umbrella goes faster than any train ever did. This morning I flew from Chicago to Denver, but no one there would give me any lunch. A policeman said he'd put me in jail if he caught me begging, so I got away and told the umbrella to take me to the Pacific Ocean. When I stopped I landed over there by the big rock. I shut up the umbrella and saw a girl sitting on the rock, so I went up and spoke to her. That's all."

"Goodness me!" said Trot. "If that isn't a fairy story, I never heard one."

"It IS a fairy story," agreed Button-Bright. "Anyhow, it's a magic story, and the funny part of it is, it's true. I hope you believe me, but I don't know as I'd believe it myself if it hadn't been me that it happened to."

"I believe ev'ry word of it!" declared Trot earnestly.

"As fer me," said Cap'n Bill slowly, "I'm goin' to believe it, too, by'm'by, when I've seen the umbrel fly once."

"You'll see me fly away with it," asserted the boy.

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