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|The Story of Doctor Dolittle||Hugh Lofting|
Polynesia And The King
|Page 1 of 2||
WHEN they had gone a little way through the thick forest they came to a wide, clear space; and they saw the King's palace which was made of mud.
This was where the King lived with his Queen, Ermintrude, and their son, Prince Bumpo. The Prince was away fishing for salmon in the river. But the King and Queen were sitting under an umbrella before the palace door. And Queen Ermintrude was asleep.
When the Doctor had come up to the palace the King asked him his business; and the Doctor told him why he had come to Africa.
"You may not travel through my lands," said the King. "Many years ago a white man came to these shores; and I was very kind to him. But after he had dug holes in the ground to get the gold, and killed all the elephants to get their ivory tusks, he went away secretly in his ship-- without so much as saying `Thank you.' Never again shall a white man travel through the lands of Jolliginki."
Then the King turned to some of the black men who were standing near and said, "Take away this medicine-man--with all his animals, and lock them up in my strongest prison."
So six of the black men led the Doctor and all his pets away and shut them up in a stone dungeon. The dungeon had only one little window, high up in the wall, with bars in it; and the door was strong and thick.
Then they all grew very sad; and Gub-Gub, the pig, began to cry. But Chee-Chee said he would spank him if he didn't stop that horrible noise; and he kept quiet.
"Are we all here?" asked the Doctor, after he had got used to the dim light.
"Yes, I think so," said the duck and started to count them.
"Where's Polynesia?" asked the crocodile. "She isn't here."
"Are you sure?" said the Doctor. "Look again. Polynesia! Polynesia! Where are you?"
"I suppose she escaped," grumbled the crocodile. "Well, that's just like her!--Sneaked off into the jungle as soon as her friends got into trouble."
"I'm not that kind of a bird," said the parrot, climbing out of the pocket in the tail of the Doctor's coat. "You see, I'm small enough to get through the bars of that window; and I was afraid they would put me in a cage instead. So while the King was busy talking, I hid in the Doctor's pocket--and here I am! That's what you call a `ruse,'" she said, smoothing down her feathers with her beak.
"Good Gracious!" cried the Doctor. "You're lucky I didn't sit on you."
"Now listen," said Polynesia, "to-night, as soon as it gets dark, I am going to creep through the bars of that window and fly over to the palace. And then--you'll see--I'll soon find a way to make the King let us all out of prison."
"Oh, what can YOU do?" said Gub-Gub, turning up his nose and beginning to cry again. "You're only a bird!"
"Quite true," said the parrot. "But do not forget that although I am only a bird, I CAN TALK LIKE A MAN--and I know these people."
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