We are all anxious to become grasshoppers." And then Kwytoffle would set to work again, although big drops of perspiration were now streaming down his face.
Finally he pulled an old book from underneath the pillow of his bed, and crying, "Here it is!" carried it to the window.
He turned a few leaves of the book and then said:
"How unfortunate! The compound I require to change you into grasshoppers must be mixed on the first day of September; and as this is now the eighth day of September I must wait nearly a year before I can work the enchantment."
"How about the June-bugs?" asked Nerle.
"Oh! Ah!. The June-bug mixture can only be made at the dark o' the moon," said the sorcerer, pretending to read, "and that is three weeks from now."
"Let me read it," said Prince Marvel, suddenly snatching the book from Kwytoffle's hands. Then he turned to the title-page and read:
"'Lives of Famous Thieves and Impostors.' Why, this is not a book of enchantments."
"That is what I suspected," said Terribus.
"No one but a sorcerer can read the enchantments in this book," declared Kwytoffle; but he hung his head with a sheepish look, for he knew his deception had been well understood.
"Is your own history written in this volume?" inquired Marvel.
"No," answered the sorcerer.
"Then it ought to be," said the prince, "for you are no sorcerer at all, but merely a thief and an impostor!"
22. The Queen of Plenta
The soldiers of Kwytoffle wanted to hang their old master at once, for he had won their enmity by abusing them in many ways; but Prince Marvel would not let them do this. However, they tied the false sorcerer to a post, and the captain gave him a good whipping--one lash for each letter in the words "grasshopper" and "June-bug." Kwytoffle howled loudly for mercy, but no one was at all sorry for him.
Wul-Takim tied a rope around the impostor's neck, and when the party left the castle they journeyed all through the kingdom of Auriel, and at every town or city they came to the reformed thief would cry out to the populace:
"Here is the terrible sorcerer Kwytoffle, who threatened to change you into grasshoppers and june-bugs. But you may see that he is a very common man, with no powers of sorcery whatever!"
And then the people would laugh and pelt mud at their former tyrant, and thank Prince Marvel for haying exposed the false and wicked creature.
And they called the son of their old king back to his lawful throne, where he ruled wisely and well; and the hoarded wealth of Kwytoffle was divided among the people again, and soon the country became prosperous once more.
This adventure was very amusing to the pretty High Ki of Twi. It afforded them laughter for many days, and none of the party ever saw a grasshopper or a june-bug afterward without thinking of the terrible sorcerer Kwytoffle.
They left that disgraced person grooming horses for his board in the stables of the new king, and proceeded upon their journey.
Without further event they reached the splendid southern Kingdom of Plenta, which was the most delightfully situated of any dominion in the Enchanted Island of Yew. It was ruled by a good and generous queen, who welcomed the strangers to her palace and gave a series of gay entertainments in their honor.
King Terribus was especially an object of interest, for every one had heard his name and feared him and his fierce people. But when they beheld his pleasant countenance and listened to his gentle voice they began to regard him with much love and respect; and really Terribus was worthy of their friendship since he had changed from a deformed monster into an ordinary man, and had forbidden his people ever again to rob and plunder their weaker neighbors.
But the most popular personages visiting at the court of the Queen of Plenta were the lovely High Ki of Twi. Although beautiful girls abounded in this kingdom, none could compare with the royal twins, and their peculiar condition only served to render them the more interesting.