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Chapter 6 The Flight of the Midgets

  • Cap'n Bill and Trot rode very comfortably in the sunbonnet. The motion wa_uite steady, for they weighed so little that the Ork flew without effort. Ye_hey were both somewhat nervous about their future fate and could not hel_ishing they were safe on land and their natural size again.
  • "You're terr'ble small, Trot," remarked Cap'n Bill, looking at his companion.
  • "Same to you, Cap'n," she said with a laugh; "but as long as we have th_urple berries we needn't worry about our size."
  • "In a circus," mused the old man, "we'd be curiosities. But in a sunbonnet —
  • high up in the air — sailin' over a big, unknown ocean — they ain't no word i_ny booktionary to describe us."
  • "Why, we're midgets, that's all," said the little girl. The Ork flew silentl_or a long time. The slight swaying of the sunbonnet made Cap'n Bill drowsy,
  • and he began to doze. Trot, however, was wide awake, and after enduring th_onotonous journey as long as she was able she called out:
  • "Don't you see land anywhere, Mr. Ork?"
  • "Not yet," he answered. "This is a big ocean and I've no idea in whic_irection the nearest land to that island lies; but if I keep flying in _traight line I'm sure to reach some place some time."
  • That seemed reasonable, so the little people in the sunbonnet remained a_atient as possible; that is, Cap'n Bill dozed and Trot tried to remember he_eography lessons so she could figure out what land they were likely to arriv_t.
  • For hours and hours the Ork flew steadily, keeping to the straight line an_earching with his eyes the horizon of the ocean for land. Cap'n Bill was fas_sleep and snoring and Trot had laid her head on his shoulder to rest it whe_uddenly the Ork exclaimed:
  • "There! I've caught a glimpse of land, at last."
  • At this announcement they roused themselves. Cap'n Bill stood up and tried t_eek over the edge of the sunbonnet.
  • "What does it look like?" he inquired.
  • "Looks like another island," said the Ork; "but I can judge it better in _inute or two."
  • "I don't care much for islands, since we visited that other one," declare_rot.
  • Soon the Ork made another announcement.
  • "It is surely an island, and a little one, too," said he. "But I won't stop,
  • because I see a much bigger land straight ahead of it."
  • "That's right," approved Cap'n Bill. "The bigger the land, the better it wil_uit us."
  • "It's almost a continent," continued the Ork after a brief silence, durin_hich he did not decrease the speed of his flight. "I wonder if it can b_rkland, the place I have been seeking so long?"
  • "I hope not," whispered Trot to Cap'n Bill — so softly that the Ork could no_ear her — "for I shouldn't like to be in a country where only Orks live. Thi_ne Ork isn't a bad companion, but a lot of him wouldn't be much fun."
  • After a few more minutes of flying the Ork called out in a sad voice:
  • "No! this is not my country. It's a place I have never seen before, although _ave wandered far and wide. It seems to be all mountains and deserts and gree_alleys and queer cities and lakes and rivers —mixed up in a very puzzlin_ay."
  • "Most countries are like that," commented Cap'n Bill. "Are you going to land?"
  • "Pretty soon," was the reply. "There is a mountain peak just ahead of me. Wha_o you say to our landing on that?"
  • "All right," agreed the sailor-man, for both he and Trot were getting tired o_iding in the sunbonnet and longed to set foot on solid ground again.
  • So in a few minutes the Ork slowed down his speed and then came to a stop s_asily that they were scarcely jarred at all. Then the creature squatted dow_ntil the sunbonnet rested on the ground, and began trying to unfasten wit_ts claws the knotted strings.
  • This proved a very clumsy task, because the strings were tied at the back o_he Ork's neck, just where his claws would not easily reach. After muc_umbling he said:
  • "I'm afraid I can't let you out, and there is no one near to help me."
  • This was at first discouraging, but after a little thought Cap'n Bill said:
  • "If you don't mind, Trot, I can cut a slit in your sunbonnet with my knife."
  • "Do," she replied. "The slit won't matter, 'cause I can sew it up agai_fterward, when I am big."
  • So Cap'n Bill got out his knife, which was just as small, in proportion, as h_as, and after considerable trouble managed to cut a long slit in th_unbonnet. First he squeezed through the opening himself and then helped Tro_o get out.
  • When they stood on firm ground again their first act was to begin eating th_ark purple berries which they had brought with them. Two of these Trot ha_uarded carefully during the long journey, by holding them in her lap, fo_heir safety meant much to the tiny people.
  • "I'm not very hungry," said the little girl as she handed a berry to Cap'_ill, "but hunger doesn't count, in this case. It's like taking medicine t_ake you well, so we must manage to eat 'em, somehow or other."
  • But the berries proved quite pleasant to taste and as Cap'n Bill and Tro_ibbled at their edges their forms began to grow in size — slowly bu_teadily. The bigger they grew the easier it was for them to eat the berries,
  • which of course became smaller to them, and by the time the fruit was eate_ur friends had regained their natural size.
  • The little girl was greatly relieved when she found herself as large as sh_ad ever been, and Cap'n Bill shared her satisfaction; for, although they ha_een the effect of the berries on the Ork, they had not been sure the magi_ruit would have the same effect on human beings, or that the magic would wor_n any other country than that in which the berries grew.
  • "What shall we do with the other four berries?" asked Trot, as she picked u_er sunbonnet, marveling that she had ever been small. enough to ride in it.
  • "They're no good to us now, are they, Cap'n?"
  • "I'm not sure as to that," he replied. "If they were eaten by one who ha_ever eaten the lavender berries, they might have no effect at all; but then,
  • contrarywise, they might. One of 'em has got badly jammed, so I'll throw i_way, but the other three I b'lieve I'll carry with me. They're magic things,
  • you know, and may come handy to us some time."
  • He now searched in his big pockets and drew out a small wooden box with _liding cover. The sailor had kept an assortment of nails, of various sizes,
  • in this box, but those he now dumped loosely into his pocket and in the bo_laced the three sound purple berries.
  • When this important matter was attended to they found time to look about the_nd see what sort of place the Ork had landed them in.