Sky Island

Page 31

The Blueskins fell back, horrified at the mad act of the strangers. To them the Fog Bank was the most dreadful thing in existence, and no Blueskin had ever ventured within it even for a moment.

"That's the end of those short-necked Yellowskins," said one, shaking his head. "We may as well go back and report the matter to the Boolooroo."



It was rather moist in the Fog Bank. "Seems like a reg'lar drizzle," said Trot. "I'll be soaked through in a minute." She had been given a costume of blue silk in exchange for her own dress, and the silk was so thin that the moisture easily wetted it.

"Never mind," said Cap'n Bill. "When it's a case of life 'n' death, clo's don't count for much. I'm sort o' drippy myself."

Cried the parrot, fluttering his feathers to try to keep them from sticking together,

"Floods and gushes fill our path-- This is not my day for a bath! Shut if off, or fear my wrath."

"We can't," laughed Trot. "We'll jus' have to stick it out till we get to the other side."

"Had we better go to the other side?" asked Button-Bright anxiously.

"Why not?" returned Cap'n Bill. "The other side's the only safe side for us."

"We don't know that, sir," said the boy. "Ghip-Ghisizzle said it was a terrible country."

"I don't believe it," retorted the sailor stoutly. "Sizzle's never been there, an' he knows nothing about it. 'The Sunset Country' sounds sort o' good to me."

"But how'll we ever manage to get there?" inquired Trot. "Aren't we already lost in this fog?"

"Not yet," said Cap'n Bill. "I've kep' my face turned straight ahead ever since we climbed inter this bank o' wetness. If we don't get twisted any, we'll go straight through to the other side."

It was no darker in the Fog Bank than it had been in the Blue Country. They could see dimly the mass of fog, which seemed to cling to them, and when they looked down, they discovered that they were walking upon white pebbles that were slightly tinged with the blue color of the sky. Gradually this blue became fainter until, as they progressed, everything became a dull gray.

"I wonder how far it is to the other side," remarked Trot wearily.

"We can't say till we get there, mate," answered the sailor in a cheerful voice. Cap'n Bill had a way of growing more and more cheerful when danger threatened.

"Never mind," said the girl. "I'm as wet as a dishrag now, and I'll never get any wetter."

"Wet, wet, wet! It's awful wet, you bet!"

moaned the parrot on her shoulder.

"I'm a fish-pond, I'm a well; I'm a clam without a shell!"

"Can't you dry up?" asked Cap'n Bill.

"Not this evening, thank you, sir; To talk and grumble I prefer,"

replied the parrot dolefully.

They walked along more slowly now, still keeping hold of hands, for although they were anxious to get through the Fog Bank, they were tired with the long run across the country and with their day's adventures. They had no sleep and it was a long time past midnight.

"Look out!" cried the parrot sharply; and they all halted to find a monstrous frog obstructing their path. Cap'n Bill thought it was as big as a whale, and as it squatted on the gray pebbles, its eyes were on a level with those of the old sailor.

"Ker-chug, herk-choo!" grunted the frog. "What in the Sky is THIS crowd?"

"W-we're strangers," stammered Trot, "an' we're tryin' to 'scape from the Blueskins an' get into the Pink Country."

"I don't blame you," said the frog in a friendly tone. "I hate those Blueskins. The Pinkies, however, are very decent neighbors."

"Oh, I'm glad to hear that!" cried Button-Bright. "Can you tell us, Mister--Mistress--good Mr. Frog--eh, eh, your Royal Highness, if we're on the right road to the Pink Country?"

The frog seemed to laugh, for he gurgled in his throat in a very funny way. "I'm no Royal Highness," he said. "I'm just a common frog, and a little wee tiny frog, too. But I hope to grow in time. This Fog Bank is the Paradise of Frogs, and our King is about ten times as big as I am."

"Then he's a big 'un, an' no mistake," admitted Cap'n Bill.

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