"Now," said the Canary, in a tone more brisk than before, "we may tal_ogether more freely, as Mrs. Yoop cannot hear us. Perhaps we can figure out _ay to escape."
"Open!" said Woot the Monkey, still facing the door; but his command had n_ffect and he slowly rejoined the others.
"You cannot open any door or window in this enchanted castle unless you ar_earing the Magic Apron," said the Canary.
"What Magic Apron do you mean?" asked the Tin Owl, in a curious voice.
"The lace one, which the Giantess always wears. I have been her prisoner, i_his cage, for several weeks, and she hangs my cage in her bedroom ever_ight, so that she can keep her eye on me," explained Polychrome the Canary.
"Therefore I have discovered that it is the Magic Apron that opens the door_nd windows, and nothing else can move them. when she goes to bed, Mrs. Yoo_angs her apron on the bedpost, and one morning she forgot to put it on whe_he commanded the door to open, and the door would not move. So then she pu_n the lace apron and the door obeyed her. That was how I learned the magi_ower of the apron."
"I see — I see!" said the little Brown Bear, wagging his stuffed head. "Then,
if we could get the apron from Mrs. Yoop, we could open the doors and escap_rom our prison."
"That is true, and it is the plan I was about to suggest," replied Polychrom_he Canary-Bird. "However, I don't believe the Owl could steal the apron, o_ven the Bear, but perhaps the Monkey could hide in her room at night and ge_he apron while she is asleep."
"I'll try it!" cried Woot the Monkey. "I'll try it this very night, if I ca_anage to steal into her bedroom."
"You mustn't think about it, though," warned the bird, "for she can read you_houghts whenever she cares to do so. And do not forget, before you escape, t_ake me with you. Once I am out of the power of the Giantess, I may discover _ay to save us all."
"We won't forget our fairy friend," promised the boy; "but perhaps you ca_ell me how to get into the bedroom."
"No," declared Polychrome, "I cannot advise you as to that. You must watch fo_ chance, and slip in when Mrs. Yoop isn't looking."
They talked it over for a while longer and then Mrs. Yoop returned. When sh_ntered, the door opened suddenly, at her command, and closed as soon as he_uge form had passed through the doorway. During that day she entered he_edroom several times, on one errand or another, but always she commanded th_oor to close behind her and her prisoners found not the slightest chance t_eave the big hall in which they were confined.
The Green Monkey thought it would be wise to make a friend of the big woman,
so as to gain her confidence, so he sat on the back of her chair and chattere_o her while she mended her stockings and sewed silver buttons on some golde_hoes that were as big as row-boats. This pleased the Giantess and she woul_ause at times to pat the Monkey's head. The little Brown Bear curled up in _orner and lay still all day. The Owl and the Canary found they could convers_ogether in the bird language, which neither the Giantess nor the Bear nor th_onkey could understand; so at times they twittered away to each other an_assed the long, dreary day quite cheerfully.
After dinner Mrs. Yoop took a big fiddle from a big cupboard and played suc_oud and dreadful music that her prisoners were all thankful when at last sh_topped and said she was going to bed.
After cautioning the Monkey and Bear and Owl to behave themselves during th_ight, she picked up the cage containing the Canary and, going to the door o_er bedroom, commanded it to open. just then, however, she remembered she ha_eft her fiddle lying upon a table, so she went back for it and put it away i_he cupboard, and while her back was turned the Green Monkey slipped throug_he open door into her bedroom and hid underneath the bed. The Giantess, bein_leepy, did not notice this, and entering her room she made the door clos_ehind her and then hung the bird-cage on a peg by the window. Then she bega_o undress, first taking off the lace apron and laying it over the bedpost,
where it was within easy reach of her hand.
As soon as Mrs. Yoop was in bed the lights all went out, and Woot the Monke_rouched under the bed and waited patiently until he heard the Giantes_noring. Then he crept out and in the dark felt around until he got hold o_he apron, which he at once tied around his own waist.
Next, Woot tried to find the Canary, and there was just enough moonligh_howing through the window to enable him to see where the cage hung; but i_as out of his reach. At first he was tempted to leave Polychrome and escap_ith his other friends, but remembering his promise to the Rainbow's Daughte_oot tried to think how to save her.
A chair stood near the window, and this — showing dimly in the moonlight —
gave him an idea. By pushing against it with all his might, he found he coul_ove the giant chair a few inches at a time. So he pushed and pushed until th_hair was beneath the bird-cage, and then he sprang noiselessly upon the seat
— for his monkey form enabled him to jump higher than he could do as a boy —
and from there to the back of the chair, and so managed to reach the cage an_ake it off the peg. Then down he sprang to the floor and made his way to th_oor. "Open!" he commanded, and at once the door obeyed and swung open, Bu_is voice wakened Mrs. Yoop, who gave a wild cry and sprang out of bed wit_ne bound. The Green Monkey dashed through the doorway, carrying the cage wit_im, and before the Giantess could reach the door it slammed shut an_mprisoned her in her own bed-chamber!
The noise she made, pounding upon the door, and her yells of anger an_readful threats of vengeance, filled all our friends with terror, and Woo_he Monkey was so excited that in the dark he could not find the outer door o_he hall. But the Tin Owl could see very nicely in the dark, so he guided hi_riends to the right place and when all were grouped before the door Woo_ommanded it to open. The Magic Apron proved as powerful as when it had bee_orn by the Giantess, so a moment later they had rushed through the passag_nd were standing in the fresh night air outside the castle, free to g_herever they willed.