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0105_001E 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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First he recited the names of all the great Popsipetel kings who in days long ago had been crowned in this ivory chair. He spoke of the greatness of the Popsipetel people, of their triumphs, of their hardships. Then waving his hand towards the Doctor he began recounting the things which this king-to-be had done. And I am bound to say that they easily outmatched the deeds of those who had gone before him.

As soon as he started to speak of what the Doctor had achieved for the tribe, the people, still strictly silent, all began waving their right hands towards the throne. This gave to the vast theatre a very singular appearance: acres and acres of something moving--with never a sound.

At last the old man finished his speech and stepping up to the chair, very respectfully removed the Doctor's battered high hat. He was about to put it upon the ground; but the Doctor took it from him hastily and kept it on his lap. Then taking up the Sacred Crown he placed it upon John Dolittle's head. It did not fit very well (for it had been made for smaller-headed kings), and when the wind blew in freshly from the sunlit sea the Doctor had some difficulty in keeping it on. But it looked very splendid.

Turning once more to the people, the old man said,

"Men of Popsipetel, behold your elected king!--Are you content?"

And then at last the voice of the people broke loose.

"JONG! JONG!" they shouted, "LONG LIVE KING JONG!"

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The sound burst upon the solemn silence with the crash of a hundred cannon. There, where even a whisper carried miles, the shock of it was like a blow in the face. Back and forth the mountains threw it to one another. I thought the echoes of it would never die away as it passed rumbling through the whole island, jangling among the lower valleys, booming in the distant sea-caves.

Suddenly I saw the old man point upward, to the highest mountain in the island; and looking over my shoulder, I was just in time to see the Hanging Stone topple slowly out of sight-- down into the heart of the volcano.

"See ye, Men of the Moving Land!" the old man cried: "The stone has fallen and our legend has come true: the King of Kings is crowned this day!"

The Doctor too had seen the stone fall and he was now standing up looking at the sea expectantly.

"He's thinking of the air-chamber," said Bumpo in my ear. "Let us hope that the sea isn't very deep in these parts."

After a full minute (so long did it take the stone to fall that depth) we heard a muffled, distant, crunching thud--and then immediately after, a great hissing of escaping air. The Doctor, his face tense with anxiety, sat down in the throne again still watching the blue water of the ocean with staring eyes.

Soon we felt the island slowly sinking beneath us. We saw the sea creep inland over the beaches as the shores went down-- one foot, three feet, ten feet, twenty, fifty, a hundred. And then, thank goodness, gently as a butterfly alighting on a rose, it stopped! Spidermonkey Island had come to rest on the sandy bottom of the Atlantic, and earth was joined to earth once more.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Hugh Lofting

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