Sky Island

Page 40

Tourmaline's eyes were so deep a shade of pink that they were almost hazel, and her hair was darker than that of the others, being a golden-red in color. These points, taken with her light-pink skin and slender form, rendered her distinctive among the Pinkies, whatever gown she might wear.

When the strangers were seated, she turned to them and said, "I have searched through the Great Book of Laws and found nothing about foreign people entering our land. There is a law that if any of the Blueskins break through the Fog Bank, they shall be driven back with sharp sticks; but you are not Blueskins, so this Law does not apply to you. Therefore, in order to decide your fate, I have summoned a Council of twelve of my people, who will vote as to whether you shall be permitted to remain here or not. They wanted to see you before they cast their final vote, that they may examine you carefully and discover if you are worthy to become inhabitants of the Pink Country."

"The rose is red, the violet's blue, But Trot is sweeter than the two!"

declared the parrot in a loud voice. It was a little verse Cap'n Bill had taught the bird that very morning while Trot was seeing the sun rise.

The Pinkies were startled and seemed a little frightened at hearing a bird speak so clearly. Trot laughed and patted the bird's head in return for the compliment. "Is the Monster Man whose legs are part wood a dangerous creature?" asked one of the Sunrise Tribe.

"Not to my friends," replied Cap'n Bill, much amused. "I s'pose I could fight your whole crowd of Pinkies if I had to, an' make you run for your lives, but bein' as you're friendly to us, you ain't in any danger." The sailor thought this speech was diplomatic and might "head off any trouble," but the Pinkies seemed uneasy, and several of them picked up their slender, pointed sticks and held them in their hands. They were not cowardly, but it was evident they mistrusted the big man, who on Earth was not considered big at all, but rather undersized.

"What we'd like," said Trot, "is to stay here, cozy an' peaceable, till we can find a way to get home to the Earth again. Your country is much nicer than the Blue Country, and we like you pretty well from what we've seen of you, so if you'll let us stay, we won't be any more trouble to you than we can help."

They all gazed upon the little girl curiously, and one of them said, "How strangely light her color is! And it is pink, too, which is in her favor. But her eyes are of that dreadful blue tint which prevails in the other half of Sky Island, while her hair is a queer color unknown to us. She is not like our people and would not harmonize with the universal color here."

"That's true," said another. "The three strangers are all inharmonious. If allowed to remain here, they would ruin the color scheme of the country, where all is now pink."

"In spite of that," said Coralie, "they are harmless creatures and have done us no wrong."

"Yes they have," replied a nervous little Sunrise man, "they wronged us by coming here."

"They could not help doing that," argued Coralie, "and it is their misfortune that they are here on Sky Island at all. Perhaps if we keep them with us for a while, they may find a way to return safely to their own country."

"We'll fly through the sky by-and-by--ki-yi!" yelled the parrot with startling suddenness.

"Is that true?" asked a Pinky seriously.

"Why, we would if we could," answered Trot. "We flew to this island, anyhow."

"Perhaps," said another, "if we pushed them off the edge, they could fly down again. Who knows?"

"We know," answered Cap'n Bill hastily. "We'd tumble, but we wouldn't fly."

"They'd take a fall-- And that is all!"

observed the parrot, fluttering its wings. There was silence for a moment while all the Pinkies seemed to think deeply. Then the Queen asked the strangers to step outside while they counseled together. Our friends obeyed, and leaving the room they all entered the courtyard and examined the rows of pink marble statues for nearly an hour before they were summoned to return to the little room in Tourmaline's palace.

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