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|The Story of Doctor Dolittle||Hugh Lofting|
The Black Prince
|Page 2 of 2||
This was always a very bad sign with Polynesia. Whenever she said nothing and blinked her eyes, it meant that somebody had been making trouble, and she was thinking out some way to put things right. People who made trouble for Polynesia or her friends were nearly always sorry for it afterwards.
Presently she spied Chee-Chee swinging through the trees still looking for the Doctor. When Chee-Chee saw her, he came into her tree and asked her what had become of him.
"The Doctor and all the animals have been caught by the King's men and locked up again," whispered Polynesia. "We lost our way in the jungle and blundered into the palace-garden by mistake."
"But couldn't you guide them?" asked Chee-Chee; and he began to scold the parrot for letting them get lost while he was away looking for the cocoanuts.
"It was all that stupid pig's fault," said Polynesia. "He would keep running off the path hunting for ginger-roots. And I was kept so busy catching him and bringing him back, that I turned to the left, instead of the right, when we reached the swamp.--Sh!--Look! There's Prince Bumpo coming into the garden! He must not see us.--Don't move, whatever you do!"
And there, sure enough, was Prince Bumpo, the King's son, opening the garden-gate. He carried a book of fairy-tales under his arm. He came strolling down the gravel-walk, humming a sad song, till he reached a stone seat right under the tree where the parrot and the monkey were hiding. Then he lay down on the seat and began reading the fairy-stories to himself.
Chee-Chee and Polynesia watched him, keeping very quiet and still.
After a while the King's son laid the book down and sighed a weary sigh.
"If I were only a WHITE prince!" said he, with a dreamy, far-away look in his eyes.
Then the parrot, talking in a small, high voice like a little girl, said aloud,
"Bumpo, some one might turn thee into a white prince perchance."
The King's son started up off the seat and looked all around.
"What is this I hear?" he cried. "Methought the sweet music of a fairy's silver voice rang from yonder bower! Strange!"
"Worthy Prince," said Polynesia, keeping very still so Bumpo couldn't see her, "thou sayest winged words of truth. For 'tis I, Tripsitinka, the Queen of the Fairies, that speak to thee. I am hiding in a rose-bud."
"Oh tell me, Fairy-Queen," cried Bumpo, clasping his hands in joy, "who is it can turn me white?"
"In thy father's prison," said the parrot, "there lies a famous wizard, John Dolittle by name. Many things he knows of medicine and magic, and mighty deeds has he performed. Yet thy kingly father leaves him languishing long and lingering hours. Go to him, brave Bumpo, secretly, when the sun has set; and behold, thou shalt be made the whitest prince that ever won fair lady! I have said enough. I must now go back to Fairyland. Farewell!"
"Farewell!" cried the Prince. "A thousand thanks, good Tripsitinka!"
And he sat down on the seat again with a smile upon his face, waiting for the sun to set.
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