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|Rinkitink In Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Magic Boat
|Page 3 of 6||
It proved no easy task to get Bilbil into the boat, for he was a remarkably clumsy goat and once, when Rinkitink gave him a push, he tumbled into the water and nearly drowned before they could get him out again. But there was no thought of leaving the quaint animal behind. His power of speech made him seem almost human in the eyes of the boy, and the fat King was so accustomed to his surly companion that nothing could have induced him to part with him. Finally Bilbil fell sprawling into the bottom of the boat, and Inga helped him to get to the front end, where there was enough space for him to lie down.
Rinkitink now took his seat in the silver-lined craft and the boy came last, pushing off the boat as he sprang aboard, so that it floated freely upon the water.
"Well, here we go for Gilgad!" exclaimed the King, picking up the oars and placing them in the row-locks. Then he began to row as hard as he could, singing at the same time an odd sort of a song that ran like this
"The way to Gilgad isn't bad For a stout old King and a brave young lad, For a cross old goat with a dripping coat, And a silver boat in which to float. So our hearts are merry, light and glad As we speed away to fair Gilgad!"
"Don't, Rinkitink; please don't! It makes me seasick," growled Bilbil.
Rinkitink stopped rowing, for by this time he was all out of breath and his round face was covered with big drops of perspiration. And when he looked over his shoulder he found to his dismay that the boat had scarcely moved a foot from its former position.
Inga said nothing and appeared not to notice the King's failure. So now Rinkitink, with a serious look on his fat, red face, took off his purple robe and rolled up the sleeves of his tunic and tried again.
However, he succeeded no better than before and when he heard Bilbil give a gruff laugh and saw a smile upon the boy Prince's face, Rinkitink suddenly dropped the oars and began shouting with laughter at his own defeat. As he wiped his brow with a yellow silk handkerchief he sang in a merry voice:
"A sailor bold am I, I hold,
"Please leave me out of your verses," said Bilbil with a snort of anger.
"When I make a fool of myself, Bilbil, I'm a goat," replied Rinkitink.
"Not so," insisted Bilbil. "Nothing could make you a member of my superior race."
"Superior? Why, Bilbil, a goat is but a beast, while I am a King!"
"I claim that superiority lies in intelligence," said the goat.
Rinkitink paid no attention to this remark, but turning to Inga he said:
"We may as well get back to the shore, for the boat is too heavy to row to Gilgad or anywhere else. Indeed, it will be hard for us to reach land again."
"Let me take the oars," suggested Inga. "You must not forget our bargain."
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|Rinkitink In Oz
L. Frank Baum
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