Sky Island

Page 39

It was really a magnificent sight, and Trot scarcely breathed as the great, golden ball sank low in the sky and colored all the clouds with gorgeous tints of orange, red and yellow. Never on the Earth was there visible such splendor, and as the little girl watched the ever-changing scene, she decided the Sunset Tribe was amply justified in claiming that the West was the favored country of the sun.

"You see," said Cap'n Bill, "the sky is all around us, an' we're high up, so the sun really loses itself in the clouds an' leaves a trail of beauty behind him."

"He does that!" agreed Trot. "This is almost worth comin' for, Cap'n."

"But not quite," said Button-bright sadly. "I'd get along without the sunset if only we could go home."

They went in to dinner after this, and sat at Coralie's own table with her husband and children and found the meal very good. After a pleasant evening, during which no reference was made to their being prisoners, they were shown to prettily furnished rooms--all in pink--and slept soundly in the soft beds provided for them. Trot wakened early the next morning and went out on the balcony to see the sunrise. The little girl was well repaid, for the splendor of the rising sun was almost equal to that of the setting sun. Surely this was a wonderful country and much more delightful than the Blue side of the island, where the sun was hidden by the great Fog and only the moon was visible.

When she went in, she found that both Button-Bright and Cap'n Bill were up and dressed, so they decided to take a walk before breakfast. No one restrained them or interfered with them in any way. "They know we can't get away," observed the sailor, "so they don't need to watch us."

"We could go into the Fog Bank again," suggested Trot.

"We could, mate, but we won't," answered Cap'n Bill. "If there's no way for us to get clean off'n Sky Island, I'd rather stay with the Pinkies than with the Blues."

"I wonder what they'll do with us," said Button-Bright. "The Queen seems like a nice girl, and I don't think she'll hurt us, whatever happens."

They walked freely along the circular street, seeing such sights as the Pink City afforded, and then returned to Coralie's house for breakfast. Coralie herself was not there, as she had been summoned to the Queen's palace, but her husband looked after the guests, and when breakfast was finished he said to them, "I am to take you to Tourmaline, who has promised to decide your fate this morning. I am curious to know what she will do with you, for in all our history we have never before had strangers intrude upon us."

"We're curious, too," said Trot, "but we'll soon find out." As they walked down the street, they observed that the sky was now covered with dark clouds which entirely hid the sun.

"Does it ever rain here?" inquired Button-Bright.

"Certainly," answered Coralie's husband, "that is the one drawback of our country: it rains quite often. And although it makes the flowers and the grass grow, I think rain is very disagreeable. I am always glad to see the rainbow, which is a sign that the sun will shine again."

"Looks like rain now," remarked Cap'n Bill.

"It does," said the man, glancing at the sky. "We must hurry, or we may get wet."

"Haven't you any umbrellas?" asked Button-Bright.

"No, we don't know what umbrellas are," replied the Pinky man.

It did not rain at once, and they reached Tourmaline's wretched hut in safety. There they found quite a number of Pinkies assembled, and a spirited discussion was taking place when they arrived.

"Come in, please," said Tourmaline, opening the door for them, and when they had entered, she placed a pinkwood bench for them to sit upon and went back to her throne, which was a common rocking chair. At her right were seated six men and women of the Sunrise Tribe, and on her left six men and women of the Sunset Tribe, among the latter being Coralie. The contrast between the plain, simple dress of the Queen and the gorgeous apparel of her Counselors was quite remarkable, yet her beauty far surpassed that of any of her people, and her demeanor was so modest and unassuming that it was difficult for the prisoners to believe that her word would decree life or death and that all the others were subservient to her.

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