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  Part Five Hugh Lofting

X The Coronation Of King Jong

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Table Of Contents: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

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IN my long lifetime I have seen many grand and inspiring things, but never anything that impressed me half as much as the sight of the Whispering Rocks as they looked on the day King Jong was crowned. As Bumpo, Chee-Chee, Polynesia, Jip and I finally reached the dizzy edge of the great bowl and looked down inside it, it was like gazing over a never-ending ocean of copper-colored faces; for every seat in the theatre was filled, every man, woman and child in the island-- including Long Arrow who had been carried up on his sick bed-- was there to see the show.

Yet not a sound, not a pin-drop, disturbed the solemn silence of the Whispering Rocks. It was quite creepy and sent chills running up and down your spine. Bumpo told me afterwards that it took his breath away too much for him to speak, but that he hadn't known before that there were that many people in the world.

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Away down by the Table of the Throne stood a brand-new, brightly colored totem-pole. All the Indian families had totem-poles and kept them set up before the doors of their houses. The idea of a totem-pole is something like a door-plate or a visiting card. It represents in its carvings the deeds and qualities of the family to which it belongs. This one, beautifully decorated and much higher than any other, was the Dolittle or, as it was to be henceforth called, the Royal Thinkalot totem. It had nothing but animals on it, to signify the Doctor's great knowledge of creatures. And the animals chosen to be shown were those which to the Indians were supposed to represent good qualities of character, such as, the deer for speed; the ox for perseverance; the fish for discretion, and so on. But at the top of the totem is always placed the sign or animal by which the family is most proud to be known. This, on the Thinkalot pole, was an enormous parrot, in memory of the famous Peace of the Parrots.

The Ivory Throne had been all polished with scented oil and it glistened whitely in the strong sunlight. At the foot of it there had been strewn great quantities of branches of flowering trees, which with the new warmth of milder climates were now blossoming in the valleys of the island.

Soon we saw the royal litter, with the Doctor seated in it, slowly ascending the winding steps of the Table. Reaching the flat top at last, it halted and the Doctor stepped out upon the flowery carpet. So still and perfect was the silence that even at that distance above I distinctly heard a twig snap beneath his tread.

Walking to the throne accompanied by the old man, the Doctor got up upon the stand and sat down. How tiny his little round figure looked when seen from that tremendous height! The throne had been made for longer-legged kings; and when he was seated, his feet did not reach the ground but dangled six inches from the top step.

Then the old man turned round and looking up at the people began to speak in a quiet even voice; but every word he said was easily heard in the furthest corner of the Whispering Rocks.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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