Sky Island

Page 43

They may not be aware of this themselves, nor did I see any fairies in my vision. But if you will think upon it carefully, you will realize that the Magic Umbrella has no power in itself, but is enchanted by fairy power so that it is made to fly and carry passengers through the air BY FAIRIES. This being the case, I do not think you will be allowed to injure these favored people in any way; but I am curious to see in what manner the fairies will defend them, and therefore I have voted to have them thrown off the island. I bear these strangers no ill will, nor do I believe they are in any danger. But since you, Tourmaline, have determined to attempt this terrible thing at once, I shall go with you and see what will happen."

Some of the Pinkies looked pleased and some troubled at this speech, but they all prepared to escort the prisoners to the nearest edge of the island. The rain was pouring down in torrents, and umbrellas were unknown; but all of them, both men and women, slipped gossamer raincoats over their clothing, which kept the rain from wetting them. Then they caught up their sharp sticks and surrounding the doomed captives commanded them to march to meet their fate.



Cap'n Bill had determined to fight desperately for their lives, but he was a shrewd old sailorman, and he found much that was reasonable in the Witch's assertion that fairies would protect them. He had often wondered how the Magic Umbrella could fly and obey spoken commands, but now he plainly saw that the thing must be directed by some invisible power, and that power was quite likely to save them from the cruel death that had been decreed. To be sure, the Magic Umbrella was now in the Blue Country, and the fairies that directed its flight might be with the umbrella instead of with them, yet the old sailor had already experienced some strange adventures in Trot's company and knew she had managed to escape every danger that had threatened. So he decided not to fight until the last moment and meekly hobbled along the street as he was commanded to do. Trot was also encouraged by the Witch's suggestion, for she believed in fairies and trusted them; but Button-Bright could find no comfort in their situation, and his face was very sad as he marched along by Trot's side.

If they had followed the corkscrew windings of the street, it would have been a long journey to the outer edge of the Pink Country, but Tourmaline took a shortcut, leading them through private gardens and even through houses, so that they followed almost a bee line to their destination. It rained all the way and the walking was very disagreeable, but our friends were confronting an important crisis in their strange adventures, and with possible death at their journey's end, they were in no hurry to arrive there.

Once free of the City they traversed the open country, and here they often stepped into sticky, pink mud up to their ankles. Cap'n Bill's wooden leg would often go down deep and stick fast in this mud, and at such times he would be helpless until two of the Pinkies--who were a strong people--pulled him out again. The parrot was getting its feathers sadly draggled in the rain, and the poor bird soon presented a wet and woebegone appearance.

"Soak us again, Drown us with rain!"

it muttered in a resigned tone; and then it would turn to Trot and moan, "The rose is red, the violet's blue, The Pinkies are a beastly crew!"

The country was not so trim and neatly kept near the edge, for it was evident the people did not care to go too near to the dangerous place. There was a row of thick bushes which concealed the gulf below, and as they approached these bushes the rain abruptly ceased, and the clouds began to break and drift away in the sky. "Two of you seize the girl and throw her over," said Tourmaline in a calm, matter-of-fact way, "and two others must throw the boy over. It may take four, perhaps, to lift the huge and ancient man."

"More'n that," said Cap'n Bill grimly.

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