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Chapter 7 Rinkitink Makes a Great Mistake

  • The fat King rode his goat through the streets of the conquered city and th_oy Prince walked proudly beside him, while all the people bent their head_umbly to their new masters, whom they were prepared to serve in the sam_anner they had King Gos.
  • Not a warrior remained in all Regos to oppose the triumphant three; the bridg_f boats had been destroyed; Inga and his companions were free from danger — for a time, at least.
  • The jolly little King appreciated this fact and rejoiced that he had escape_ll injury during the battle. How it had all happened he could not tell, no_ven guess, but he was content in being safe and free to take possession o_he enemy's city. So, as they passed through the lines of respectful civilian_n their way to the palace, the King tipped his crown back on his bald hea_nd folded his arms and sang in his best voice the following lines:
  • "Oh, here comes the army of King Rinkitink!
  • It isn't a big one, perhaps you may think,
  • But it scattered the warriors quicker than wink —
  • Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!
  • Our Bilbil's a hero and so is his King;
  • Our foemen have vanished like birds on the wing;
  • I guess that as fighters we're quite the real thing —
  • Rink-i-tink, tink-i-tink, tink!"
  • "Why don't you give a little credit to Inga?" inquired the goat. "If _emember aright, he did a little of the conquering himself."
  • "So he did," responded the King, "and that's the reason I'm sounding our ow_raise, Bilbil. Those who do the least, often shout the loudest and so get th_ost glory. Inga did so much that there is danger of his becoming mor_mportant than we are, and so we'd best say nothing about him."
  • When they reached the palace, which was an immense building, furnishe_hroughout in regal splendor, Inga took formal possession and ordered th_ajordomo to show them the finest rooms the building contained. There wer_any pleasant apartments, but Rinkitink proposed to Inga that they share on_f the largest bedrooms together.
  • "For," said he, "we are not sure that old Gos will not return and try t_ecapture his city, and you must remember that I have no magic to protect me.
  • In any danger, were I alone, I might be easily killed or captured, while i_ou are by my side you can save me from injury."
  • The boy realized the wisdom of this plan, and selected a fine big bedroom o_he second floor of the palace, in which he ordered two golden beds placed an_repared for King Rinkitink and himself. Bilbil was given a suite of rooms o_he other side of the palace, where servants brought the goat fresh-cut gras_o eat and made him a soft bed to lie upon.
  • That evening the boy Prince and the fat King dined in great state in th_ofty-domed dining hall of the palace, where forty servants waited upon them.
  • The royal chef, anxious to win the favor of the conquerors of Regos, prepare_is finest and most savory dishes for them, which Rinkitink ate with muc_ppetite and found so delicious that he ordered the royal chef brought int_he banquet hall and presented him with a gilt button which the King cut fro_is own jacket.
  • "You are welcome to it," said he to the chef, "because I have eaten so muc_hat I cannot use that lower button at all."
  • Rinkitink was mightily pleased to live in a comfortable palace again and t_ine at a well spread table. His joy grew every moment, so that he came i_ime to be as merry and cheery as before Pingaree was despoiled. And, althoug_e had been much frightened during Inga's defiance of the army of King Gos, h_ow began to turn the matter into a joke.
  • "Why, my boy," said he, "you whipped the big black- bearded King exactly as i_e were a schoolboy, even though you used no warlike weapon at all upon him.
  • He was cowed through fear of your magic, and that reminds me to demand fro_ou an explanation. How did you do it, Inga? And where did the wonderful magi_ome from?"
  • Perhaps it would have been wise for the Prince to have explained about th_agic pearls, but at that moment he was not inclined to do so. Instead, h_eplied:
  • "Be patient, Your Majesty. The secret is not my own, so please do not ask m_o divulge it. Is it not enough, for the present, that the magic saved yo_rom death to-day?"
  • "Do not think me ungrateful," answered the King earnestly. "A million spear_ell on me from the wall, and several stones as big as mountains, yet none o_hem hurt me!"
  • "The stones were not as big as mountains, sire," said the Prince with a smile.
  • "They were, indeed, no larger than your head."
  • "Are you sure about that?" asked Rinkitink.
  • "Quite sure, Your Majesty."
  • "How deceptive those things are!" sighed the King. "This argument reminds m_f the story of Tom Tick, which my father used to tell."
  • "I have never heard that story," Inga answered.
  • "Well, as he told it, it ran like this:
  • "When Tom walked out, the sky to spy,
  • A naughty gnat flew in his eye;
  • But Tom knew not it was a gnat —
  • He thought, at first, it was a cat.
  • "And then, it felt so very big,
  • He thought it surely was a pig
  • Till, standing still to hear it grunt,
  • He cried: 'Why, it's an elephunt!'
  • "But — when the gnat flew out again
  • And Tom was free from all his pain,
  • He said: 'There flew into my eye
  • A leetle, teenty-tiny fly.'"
  • "Indeed," said Inga, laughing, "the gnat was much like your stones that seeme_s big as mountains."
  • After their dinner they inspected the palace, which was filled with valuabl_oods stolen by King Gos from many nations. But the day's events had tire_hem and they retired early to their big sleeping apartment.
  • "In the morning," said the boy to Rinkitink, as he was undressing for bed, "_hall begin the search for my father and mother and the people of Pingaree.
  • And, when they are found and rescued, we will all go home again, and be a_appy as we were before."
  • They carefully bolted the door of their room, that no one might enter, an_hen got into their beds, where Rinkitink fell asleep in an instant. The bo_ay awake for a while thinking over the day's adventures, but presently h_ell sound asleep also, and so weary was he that nothing disturbed his slumbe_ntil he awakened next morning with a ray of sunshine in his eyes, which ha_rept into the room through the open window by King Rinkitink's bed.
  • Resolving to begin the search for his parents without any unnecessary delay, Inga at once got out of bed and began to dress himself, while Rinkitink, i_he other bed, was still sleeping peacefully. But when the boy had put on bot_is stockings and began looking for his shoes, he could find but one of them.
  • The left shoe, that containing the Pink Pearl, was missing.
  • Filled with anxiety at this discovery, Inga searched through the entire room, looking underneath the beds and divans and chairs and behind the draperies an_n the corners and every other possible place a shoe might be. He tried th_oor, and found it still bolted; so, with growing uneasiness, the boy wa_orced to admit that the precious shoe was not in the room.
  • With a throbbing heart he aroused his companion.
  • "King Rinkitink," said he, "do you know what has become of my left shoe?"
  • "Your shoe!" exclaimed the King, giving a wide yawn and rubbing his eyes t_et the sleep out of them. "Have you lost a shoe?"
  • "Yes," said Inga. "I have searched everywhere in the room, and cannot fin_t."
  • "But why bother me about such a small thing?" inquired Rinkitink. "A shoe i_nly a shoe, and you can easily get another one. But, stay! Perhaps it wa_our shoe which I threw at the cat last night."
  • "The cat!" cried Inga. "What do you mean?"
  • "Why, in the night," explained Rinkitink, sitting up and beginning to dres_imself, "I was wakened by the mewing of a cat that sat upon a wall of th_alace, just outside my window. As the noise disturbed me, I reached out i_he dark and caught up something and threw it at the cat, to frighten th_reature away. I did not know what it was that I threw, and I was too sleep_o care; but probably it was your shoe, since it is now missing."
  • "Then," said the boy, in a despairing tone of voice, "your carelessness ha_uined me, as well as yourself, King Rinkitink, for in that shoe was conceale_he magic power which protected us from danger."
  • The King's face became very serious when he heard this and he uttered a lo_histle of surprise and regret.
  • "Why on earth did you not warn me of this?" he demanded. "And why did you kee_uch a precious power in an old shoe? And why didn't you put the shoe under _illow? You were very wrong, my lad, in not confiding to me, your faithfu_riend, the secret, for in that case the shoe would not now be lost."
  • To all this Inga had no answer. He sat on the side of his bed, with hangin_ead, utterly disconsolate, and seeing this, Rinkitink had pity for hi_orrow.
  • "Come!" cried the King; "let us go out at once and look for the shoe which _hrew at the cat. It must even now be lying in the yard of the palace."
  • This suggestion roused the boy to action. He at once threw open the door an_n his stocking feet rushed down the staircase, closely followed by Rinkitink.
  • But although they looked on both sides of the palace wall and in ever_ossible crack and corner where a shoe might lodge, they failed to find it.
  • After a half hour's careful search the boy said sorrowfully:
  • "Someone must have passed by, as we slept, and taken the precious shoe, no_nowing its value. To us, King Rinkitink, this will be a dreadful misfortune, for we are surrounded by dangers from which we have now no protection. Luckil_ have the other shoe left, within which is the magic power that gives m_trength; so all is not lost."
  • Then he told Rinkitink, in a few words, the secret of the wonderful pearls, and how he had recovered them from the ruins and hidden them in his shoes, an_ow they had enabled him to drive King Gos and his men from Regos and t_apture the city. The King was much astonished, and when the story wa_oncluded he said to Inga:
  • "What did you do with the other shoe?"
  • "Why, I left it in our bedroom," replied the boy.
  • "Then I advise you to get it at once," continued Rinkitink, "for we can il_fford to lose the second shoe, as well as the one I threw at the cat."
  • "You are right!" cried Inga, and they hastened back to their bedchamber.
  • On entering the room they found an old woman sweeping and raising a great dea_f dust.
  • "Where is my shoe?" asked the Prince, anxiously.
  • The old woman stopped sweeping and looked at him in a stupid way, for she wa_ot very intelligent.
  • "Do you mean the one odd shoe that was lying on the floor when I came in?" sh_inally asked.
  • "Yes — yes!" answered the boy. "Where is it? Tell me where it is!"
  • "Why, I threw it on the dust-heap, outside the back gate," said she, "for, i_eing but a single shoe, with no mate, it can be of no use to anyone."
  • "Show us the way to the dust-heap — at once!" commanded the boy, sternly, fo_e was greatly frightened by this new misfortune which threatened him.
  • The old woman hobbled away and they followed her, constantly urging her t_asten; but when they reached the dust-heap no shoe was to be seen.
  • "This is terrible!" wailed the young Prince, ready to weep at his loss. "W_re now absolutely ruined, and at the mercy of our enemies. Nor shall I b_ble to liberate my dear father and mother."
  • "Well," replied Rinkitink, leaning against an old barrel and looking quit_olemn, "the thing is certainly unlucky, any way we look at it. I suppos_omeone has passed along here and, seeing the shoe upon the dust-heap, ha_arried it away. But no one could know the magic power the shoe contains an_o will not use it against us. I believe, Inga, we must now depend upon ou_its to get us out of the scrape we are in.
  • With saddened hearts they returned to the palace, and entering a small roo_here no one could observe them or overhear them, the boy took the White Pear_rom its silken bag and held it to his ear, asking:
  • "What shall I do now?"
  • "Tell no one of your loss," answered the Voice of the Pearl. "If your enemie_o not know that you are powerless, they will fear you as much as ever. Kee_our secret, be patient, and fear not!"
  • Inga heeded this advice and also warned Rinkitink to say nothing to anyone o_he loss of the shoes and the powers they contained. He sent for the shoemake_f King Gos, who soon brought him a new pair of red leather shoes that fitte_im quite well. When these had been put upon his feet, the Prince, accompanie_y the King, started to walk through the city.
  • Wherever they went the people bowed low to the conqueror, although a few, remembering Inga's terrible strength, ran away in fear and trembling. They ha_een used to severe masters and did not yet know how they would be treated b_ing Gos's successor. There being no occasion for the boy to exercise th_owers he had displayed the previous day, his present helplessness was no_uspected by any of the citizens of Regos, who still considered him _onderful magician.
  • Inga did not dare to fight his way to the mines, at present, nor could he tr_o conquer the Island of Coregos, where his mother was enslaved; so he se_bout the regulation of the City of Regos, and having established himself wit_reat state in the royal palace he began to govern the people by kindness, having consideration for the most humble.
  • The King of Regos and his followers sent spies across to the island they ha_bandoned in their flight, and these spies returned with the news that th_errible boy conqueror was still occupying the city. Therefore none of the_entured to go back to Regos but continued to live upon the neighboring islan_f Coregos, where they passed the days in fear and trembling and sought t_lot and plan ways how they might overcome the Prince of Pingaree and the fa_ing of Gilgad.