It was not accomplished without a few tumbles, and Tip really worked harder than he ever had in the fields or
16 forest; but a love of mischief urged him on, and it pleased him to test the cleverness of his workmanship.
"Jack's all right, and works fine!" he said to himself, panting with the unusual exertion. But just then he discovered the man's left arm had fallen off in the journey so he went back to find it, and afterward, by whittling a new and stouter pin for the shoulder-joint, he repaired the injury so successfully that the arm was stronger than before. Tip also noticed that Jack's pumpkin head had twisted around until it faced his back; but this was easily remedied. When, at last, the man was set up facing the turn in the path where old Mombi was to appear, he looked natural enough to be a fair imitation of a Gillikin farmer, -- and unnatural enough to startle anyone that came on him unawares.
As it was yet too early in the day to expect the old woman to return home, Tip went down into the valley below the farm-house and began to gather nuts from the trees that grew there.
However, old Mombi returned earlier than usual. She had met a crooked wizard who resided in a lonely cave in the mountains, and had traded several important secrets of magic with him. Hav-
17 ing in this way secured three new recipes, four magical powders and a selection of herbs of wonderful power and potency, she hobbled home as fast as she could, in order to test her new sorceries.
So intent was Mombi on the treasures she had gained that when she turned the bend in the road and caught a glimpse of the man, she merely nodded and said:
"Good evening, sir."
But, a moment after, noting that the person did not move or reply, she cast a shrewd glance into his face and discovered his pumpkin head elaborately carved by Tip's jack-knife.
"Heh!" ejaculated Mombi, giving a sort of grunt; "that rascally boy has been playing tricks again! Very good! ve -- ry good! I'll beat him black- and-blue for trying to scare me in this fashion!"
Angrily she raised her stick to smash in the grinning pumpkin head of the dummy; but a sudden thought made her pause, the uplifted stick left motionless in the air.
"Why, here is a good chance to try my new powder!" said she, eagerly. "And then I can tell whether that crooked wizard has fairly traded secrets, or whether he has fooled me as wickedly as I fooled him."
So she set down her basket and began fumbling in it for one of the precious powders she had obtained.
While Mombi was thus occupied Tip strolled back, with his pockets full of nuts, and discovered the old woman standing beside his man and apparently not the least bit frightened by it.
At first he was generally disappointed; but the next moment he became curious to know what Mombi was going to do. So he hid behind a hedge, where he could see without being seen, and prepared to watch.
After some search the woman drew from her basket an old pepper-box, upon the faded label of which the wizard had written with a lead-pencil:
"Powder of Life."
"Ah -- here it is!" she cried, joyfully. "And now let us see if it is potent. The stingy wizard didn't give me much of it, but I guess there's enough for two or three doses."
Tip was much surprised when he overheard this speech. Then he saw old Mombi raise her arm and sprinkle the powder from the box over the pumpkin head of his man Jack. She did this in the same way one would pepper a baked potato, and the powder sifted down from Jack's head and scattered
19 Full page line-art drawing.
"OLD MOMBI DANCED AROUND HIM"
20 over the red shirt and pink waistcoat and purple trousers Tip had dressed him in, and a portion even fell upon the patched and worn shoes.
Then, putting the pepper-box back into the basket, Mombi lifted her left hand, with its little finger pointed upward, and said:
Then she lifted her right hand, with the thumb pointed upward, and said:
Then she lifted both hands, with all the fingers and thumbs spread out, and cried:
Jack Pumpkinhead stepped back a pace, at this, and said in a reproachful voice:
"Don't yell like that! Do you think I'm deaf?"
Old Mombi danced around him, frantic with delight.