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|Rinkitink In Oz||L. Frank Baum|
The Three Pearls
|Page 2 of 7||
The following morning, while Rinkitink was still sound asleep and Bilbil was busily cropping the dewy grass that edged the shore, Prince Inga began to search the tumbled heaps of marble for the place where the royal banquet hall had been. After climbing over the ruins for a time he reached a flat place which he recognized, by means of the tiled flooring and the broken furniture scattered about, to be the great hall he was seeking. But in the center of the floor, directly over the spot where the pearls were hidden, lay several large and heavy blocks of marble, which had been torn from the dismantled walls.
This unfortunate discovery for a time discouraged the boy, who realized how helpless he was to remove such vast obstacles; but it was so important to secure the pearls that he dared not give way to despair until every human effort had been made, so he sat him down to think over the matter with great care.
Meantime Rinkitink had risen from his bed and walked out upon the lawn, where he found Bilbil reclining at ease upon the greensward.
"Where is Inga?" asked Rinkitink, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles because their vision was blurred with too much sleep.
"Don't ask me," said the goat, chewing with much satisfaction a cud of sweet grasses.
"Bilbil," said the King, squatting down beside the goat and resting his fat chin upon his hands and his elbows on his knees, "allow me to confide to you the fact that I am bored, and need amusement. My good friend Kitticut has been kidnapped by the barbarians and taken from me, so there is no one to converse with me intelligently. I am the King and you are the goat. Suppose you tell me a story.
"Suppose I don't," said Bilbil, with a scowl, for a goat's face is very expressive.
"If you refuse, I shall be more unhappy than ever, and I know your disposition is too sweet to permit that. Tell me a story, Bilbil."
The goat looked at him with an expression of scorn. Said he:
"One would think you are but four years old, Rinkitink! But there -- I will do as you command. Listen carefully, and the story may do you some good -- although I doubt if you understand the moral."
"I am sure the story will do me good," declared the King, whose eyes were twinkling.
"Once on a time," began the goat.
"When was that, Bilbil?" asked the King gently.
"Don't interrupt; it is impolite. Once on a time there was a King with a hollow inside his head, where most people have their brains, and --"
"Is this a true story, Bilbil?"
"And the King with a hollow head could chatter words, which had no sense, and laugh in a brainless manner at senseless things. That part of the story is true enough, Rinkitink."
"Then proceed with the tale, sweet Bilbil. Yet it is hard to believe that any King could be brainless -- unless, indeed, he proved it by owning a talking goat."
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|Rinkitink In Oz
L. Frank Baum
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