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Part Five Hugh Lofting

V War!

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When the enemy drew near enough to be seen from where we stood we all gasped with astonishment. The hillsides were actually covered with them-- thousands upon thousands. They made our small army within the village look like a mere handful.

"Saints alive!" muttered Polynesia, "our little lot will stand no chance against that swarm. This will never do. I'm going off to get some help." Where she was going and what kind of help she meant to get, I had no idea. She just disappeared from my side. But Jip, who had heard her, poked his nose between the bamboo bars of the fence to get a better view of the enemy and said,

"Likely enough she's gone after the Black Parrots. Let's hope she finds them in time. Just look at those ugly ruffians climbing down the rocks-- millions of 'em! This fight's going to keep us all hopping."

And Jip was right. Before a quarter of an hour had gone by our village was completely surrounded by one huge mob of yelling, raging Bag-jagderags.

I now come again to a part in the story of our voyages where things happened so quickly, one upon the other, that looking backwards I see the picture only in a confused kind of way. I know that if it had not been for the Terrible Three-- as they came afterwards to be fondly called in Popsipetel history-- Long Arrow, Bumpo and the Doctor, the war would have been soon over and the whole island would have belonged to the worthless Bag-jagderags. But the Englishman, the African and the Indian were a regiment in themselves; and between them they made that village a dangerous place for any man to try to enter.

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The bamboo fencing which had been hastily set up around the town was not a very strong affair; and right from the start it gave way in one place after another as the enemy thronged and crowded against it. Then the Doctor, Long Arrow and Bumpo would hurry to the weak spot, a terrific hand-to-hand fight would take place and the enemy be thrown out. But almost instantly a cry of alarm would come from some other part of the village-wall; and the Three would have to rush off and do the same thing all over again.

The Popsipetels were themselves no mean fighters; but the strength and weight of those three men of different lands and colors, standing close together, swinging their enormous war-clubs, was really a sight for the wonder and admiration of any one,

Many weeks later when I was passing an Indian camp-fire at night I heard this song being sung. It has since become one of the traditional folksongs of the Popsipetels.


    Oh hear ye the Song of the Terrible Three
    And the fight that they fought by the edge of the sea.
    Down from the mountains, the rocks and the crags,
    Swarming like wasps, came the Bag-jagderags.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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