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Chapter 22 Ruggedo Reforms

  • It did not take them long to regain the royal cavern of the Nome King, wher_aliko ordered served to them the nicest refreshments the place afforded.
  • Ruggedo had come trailing along after the rest of the party and while no on_aid any attention to the old King they did not offer any objection to hi_resence or command him to leave them. He looked fearfully to see if the egg_ere still guarding the entrance, but they had now disappeared; so he crep_nto the cavern after the others and humbly squatted down in a corner of th_oom.
  • There Betsy discovered him. All of the little girl's companions were now s_appy at the success of Shaggy's quest for his brother, and the laughter an_erriment seemed so general, that Betsy's heart softened toward the friendles_ld man who had once been their bitter enemy, and she carried to him some o_he food and drink. Ruggedo's eyes filled with tears at this unexpecte_indness. He took the child's hand in his own and pressed it gratefully.
  • "Look here, Kaliko," said Betsy, addressing the new King, "what's the use o_eing hard on Ruggedo? All his magic power is gone, so he can't do any mor_arm, and I'm sure he's sorry he acted so badly to everybody."
  • "Are you?" asked Kaliko, looking down at his former master.
  • "I am," said Ruggedo. "The girl speaks truly. I'm sorry and I'm harmless. _on't want to wander through the wide world, on top of the ground, for I'm _ome. No nome can ever be happy any place but underground."
  • "That being the case," said Kaliko, "I will let you stay here as long as yo_ehave yourself; but, if you try to act badly again, I shall drive you out, a_ititi-Hoochoo has commanded, and you'll have to wander."
  • "Never fear. I'll behave," promised Ruggedo. "It is hard work being a King,
  • and harder still to be a good King. But now that I am a common nome I am sur_ can lead a blameless life."
  • They were all pleased to hear this and to know that Ruggedo had reall_eformed.
  • "I hope he'll keep his word," whispered Betsy to Shaggy; "but if he gets ba_gain we will be far away from the Nome Kingdom and Kaliko will have to 'ten_o the old nome himself."
  • Polychrome had been a little restless during the last hour or two. The lovel_aughter of the Rainbow knew that she had now done all in her power to assis_er earth friends, and so she began to long for her sky home.
  • "I think," she said, after listening intently, "that it is beginning to rain.
  • The Rain King is my uncle, you know, and perhaps he has read my thoughts an_s going to help me. Anyway I must take a look at the sky and make sure."
  • So she jumped up and ran through the passage to the outer entrance, and the_ll followed after her and grouped themselves on a ledge of the mountain-side.
  • Sure enough, dark clouds had filled the sky and a slow, drizzling rain had se_n.
  • "It can't last for long," said Shaggy, looking upward, "and when it stops w_hall lose the sweet little fairy we have learned to love. Alas," h_ontinued, after a moment, "the clouds are already breaking in the west,
  • and—see!—isn't that the Rainbow coming?"
  • Betsy didn't look at the sky; she looked at Polychrome, whose happy, smilin_ace surely foretold the coming of her father to take her to the Clou_alaces. A moment later a gleam of sunshine flooded the mountain and _orgeous Rainbow appeared.
  • With a cry of gladness Polychrome sprang upon a point of rock and held out he_rms. Straightway the Rainbow descended until its end was at her very feet,
  • when with a graceful leap she sprang upon it and was at once clasped in th_rms of her radiant sisters, the Daughters of the Rainbow. But Polychrom_eleased herself to lean over the edge of the glowing arch and nod, and smil_nd throw a dozen kisses to her late comrades.
  • "Good-bye!" she called, and they all shouted "Good-bye!" in return and wave_heir hands to their pretty friend.
  • Slowly the magnificent bow lifted and melted into the sky, until the eyes o_he earnest watchers saw only fleecy clouds flitting across the blue.
  • "I'm dreadful sorry to see Polychrome go," said Betsy, who felt like crying;
  • "but I s'pose she'll be a good deal happier with her sisters in the sk_alaces."
  • "To be sure," returned Shaggy, nodding gravely. "It's her home, you know, an_hose poor wanderers who, like ourselves, have no home, can realize what tha_eans to her."
  • "Once," said Betsy, "I, too, had a home. Now, I've only—only—dear old Hank!"
  • She twined her arms around her shaggy friend who was not human, and he said:
  • "Hee-haw!" in a tone that showed he understood her mood. And the shaggy frien_ho was human stroked the child's head tenderly and said: "You're wrong abou_hat, Betsy, dear. I will never desert you."
  • "Nor I!" exclaimed Shaggy's brother, in earnest tones.
  • The little girl looked up at them gratefully, and her eyes smiled throug_heir tears.
  • "All right," she said. "It's raining again, so let's go back into the cavern."
  • Rather soberly, for all loved Polychrome and would miss her, they reentere_he dominions of the Nome King.