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Part Five Hugh Lofting

IX The Election

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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"Well, that's something!" said Bumpo. "My father is a king and has a hundred and twenty wives."

"That would make it worse," said the Doctor--" a hundred and twenty times worse. I have my work to do. I don't want to be a king."

"Look," said Polynesia, "here come the head men to announce your election. Hurry up and get your boots laced."

The throng before our door had suddenly parted asunder, making a long lane; and down this we now saw a group of personages coming towards us. The man in front, a handsome old Indian with a wrinkled face, carried in his hands a wooden crown--a truly beautiful and gorgeous crown, even though of wood. Wonderfully carved and painted, it had two lovely blue feathers springing from the front of it. Behind the old man came eight strong Indians bearing a litter, a sort of chair with long handles underneath to carry it by.

Kneeling down on one knee, bending his head almost to the ground, the old man addressed the Doctor who now stood in the doorway putting on his collar and tie.

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"Oh, Mighty One," said he, "we bring you word from the Popsipetel people. Great are your deeds beyond belief, kind is your heart and your wisdom, deeper than the sea. Our chief is dead. The people clamor for a worthy leader. Our old enemies, the Bag-jagderags are become, through you, our brothers and good friends. They too desire to bask beneath the sunshine of your smile. Behold then, I bring to you the Sacred Crown of Popsipetel which, since ancient days when this island and its peoples were one, beneath one monarch, has rested on no kingly brow. Oh Kindly One, we are bidden by the united voices of the peoples of this land to carry you to the Whispering Rocks, that there, with all respect and majesty, you may be crowned our king-- King of all the Moving Land."

The good Indians did not seem to have even considered the possibility of John Dolittle's refusing. As for the poor Doctor, I never saw him so upset by anything. It was in fact the only time I have known him to get thoroughly fussed.

"Oh dear!" I heard him murmur, looking around wildly for some escape. "What SHALL I do?--Did any of you see where I laid that stud of mine?-- How on earth can I get this collar on without a stud? What a day this is, to be sure I--Maybe it rolled under the bed, Bumpo--I do think they might have given me a day or so to think it over in. Who ever heard of waking a man right out of his sleep, and telling him he's got to be a king, before he has even washed his face? Can't any of you find it? Maybe you're standing on it, Bumpo. Move your feet."

"Oh don't bother about your stud," said Polynesia. "You will have to be crowned without a collar. They won't know the difference."

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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