Boglodore’s Revenge

Driven by the pitiless wind, pounded by the merciless sea, the
_Crescent Moon_ rode before the gale, coming, toward morning, into
quiet waters at last. The sky, now pale grey instead of black, showed
a small single star in the east, and with a huge sigh of weariness and
relief Samuel let go the anchor and bade his crew turn in all standing.
This they were only too glad to do, sleeping heavily and thankfully in
their clothes, Nikobo still wrapped in her sail snoring like a whole
band of music beneath the mizzenmast.

Tandy, to whom the storm had been a thrilling adventure, was the first
to waken. Still stiff and bruised from the pounding he had taken as
the _Crescent Moon_ tossed and pitched in the terrible seas, he sprang
eagerly out of his bunk, curious to know where the storm had carried
them.

The morning mists, lifting like a shimmering veil or the curtain of
a stage on some new and strange scene, showed a long white line of
chalk cliffs to the east, and beyond the cliffs the dim outline of a
great and splendid city. With joy and lively expectations Tandy had
run out on deck, but now, after a long look over the port rail, he
crept silently and soberly back to his cabin, closing the door softly
behind him. Later, as the sun rose higher, and his shipmates awoke,
the excited screams of Nikobo and Roger and the eager voices of Samuel
and Ato told him that they too had seen the bright land beyond the
cliffs. Already Samuel was clewing up his sail and above the rattle in
the rigging Tandy could hear the rasp of the anchor cable as it came
winding over the side. But he only bent lower over the fat book in his
lap, and when the Read Bird, loudly calling his name, came hurtling
through the port-hole, he did not even look up.

“Land! Land and MORELAND!” croaked Roger, dancing up and down on the
foot of the bunk. “None of your pesky islands this time, but a whole
long new continent. What in salt’s the matter, youngster, this is no
time to be a-reading! Come on, come on, the Captain’s looking for you!”
As Roger peered sharply down at the book in Tandy’s lap two tears
splashed on the open page. Quickly brushing two more off his nose, the
ship’s cabin boy unwillingly met the puzzled gaze of the Read Bird.

“Roger,” demanded Tandy in a smothered and unsteady voice, “which is
most important, being a King or being a person?” Roger, his head on one
side, considered this for a moment and then spoke quickly.

“Well, you can’t be a good King without being a good person, so I
should say, being a good person is most important.”

“But it says here,” with a furious sniff Tandy put his finger on the
middle paragraph of the page, “‘In no circumstances and for no reason
may a King forsake his country nor desert his countrymen.'”

“What’s that? What’s this? Humph! _Maxims for Monarchs._ Well, what in
topsails do we care for that musty volume?” Giving the book a vicious
shove, Roger, forgetting how much he had formerly praised Ato’s fat
volume, fluttered down on Tandy’s shoulder. “So THAT’S it!” he burst
out explosively. “This pernicious country yonder is Ozamaland. Well, we
can’t spare you and that’s final. They didn’t know how to treat a good
King when they had one, now let ’em practice on somebody else. Say the
word, m’lad, and we’ll put about and sail away as fast as a good ship
can take us! CAPTAIN! Master Salt! Deck ahoy! All hands ‘HOY!” Without
waiting for Tandy’s answer, Roger skimmed through the port and winged
over to the Captain.

“Wait! Wait!” sputtered Tandy, hurrying aft where the officers and
crew of the _Crescent Moon_ were now engaged in earnest conversation.
“Don’t you remember you wanted some of those creeping birds and flying
reptiles, Captain? Well, this is the place!” puffed the little boy,
waving his arm toward the cliffs. “This is Ozamaland and I’ve got to go
ashore. It’s really all right,” he continued earnestly as Samuel began
unhappily rubbing his chin, “it’s been a grand voyage and I’ve learned
a lot, but a King has to stick to his post, hasn’t he?”

“Not all the time,” snapped Ato, giving his belt an indignant jerk.
“You stuck to your post and they stuck you in a tower and then in a pig
pen in the jungle. So what do you owe them? Nothing, say I, absolutely
nothing!”

But Samuel Salt, regretful as he was to lose this handy young artist
and cabin boy, felt that Tandy must decide the matter for himself. “If
you’re as good a King as you are a seaman, I’m not the one to hold you
back,” he sighed sorrowfully. “But just let these lubbers start any
more nonsense and I’ll give them a taste of the rope. HAH! And we’ll
not be leaving you till everything’s shipshape, and you can lay to
that!”

“I’m not leaving you at all,” snorted Nikobo, lumbering hugely over to
Tandy and almost flattening him against the port rail. “I’ll miss this
ship worse’n the river, and Ato’s cooking and the Captain’s stories and
Roger’s jokes, but wherever Tandy goes I go, and that’s flat!”

“Just plain noddling nonsense, putting him ashore,” fumed Ato angrily.
“He’s not old enough to manage these wild tribesmen and scheming
aristocrats. Besides, we need him on this expedition, and you know it.”
Samuel, sighing deeply, smiled at Tandy and Tandy, sighing just as
deeply, smiled back.

“Never you mind,” promised the former Pirate with a wink that somehow
lacked conviction, “there’ll be other voyages!” And seizing the wheel,
he began tacking in toward Tandy’s homeland. But he had lost all
pleasure and interest in charting for the first time on any map the
long continent of Tarara and adding strange animals and plants to his
ever-growing collection. Losing Tandy spoiled the whole expedition for
him, and by taking longer and wider tacks he delayed their landing to
the latest possible moment.

But at last there they were in the very shadow of the chalk cliffs
and with no further excuse for not going ashore. Nikobo had agreed to
carry them and had abruptly heaved herself overboard, sending up a
fountain of spray as high as the ship itself when she struck the water,
thus astonishing no end the watchers on the bank. Tandy, after running
down to the hold to say goodbye to Mo-fi and have a last look at the
jellyfish boy, regretfully joined the others at the port rail. Having
brought nothing aboard the _Crescent Moon_, he insisted on leaving in
the same way, soberly waving aside all the gifts and presents Ato and
Samuel sought to press upon him. Clad only in the leopard skin he had
worn on Patrippany Island, he swung nimbly down the rope ladder. The
Captain and the cook, in honor of Tandy’s homecoming, had donned their
finest shore-going togs, and Samuel, with a scimiter in his teeth,
and Ato, armed as usual with his bread knife and a package he refused
to explain, followed him more slowly down the ladder. Then they all
climbed aboard the hippopotamus.

Roger, flying ahead with some Oz flags just for luck, could not help
comparing the brown, hard-muscled young seaman with the skinny, fretful
boy they had taken on at Patrippany Island. Trying to comfort himself
with Tandy’s improved health and spirits, he looked curiously at the
great company assembled on the cliffs. All of the Nobles and their
families in flowing white robes were present and many of the immense
turbanned tribesmen who happened to be in the capital had gathered to
see for themselves the first ship that had ever touched the shore of
Ozamaland. Beyond the Nobles and natives Roger could see row on row of
white guards mounted on enormous white elephants and snow-white camels.

“Trouble, trouble, nothing but trouble!” mourned the Read Bird drearily
to himself. Tandy, familiar with the whole coast, guided Nikobo to
the only possible spot for landing and, grunting and mumbling, the
hippopotamus hauled herself up on the rocks, glancing sharply and
suspiciously at the little boy’s subjects. A narrow path wound and
curved up through the cliffs and, puffing and panting, Nikobo finally
made her way to the top, where she stood uncertainly facing the milling
multitude.

“Hail and greetings!” called Samuel Salt, raising his arm to attract
their attention, for the crowd looked both dangerous and unfriendly.
“We are here to return to you safe and sound your lost King, Tazander
Tazah, rescued by us from the wild jungle of Patrippany Island.”

“King? King?” shrilled a dozen shrill and unbelieving voices. “Where?
Where?” and everyone craned his neck to get a better view of Nikobo and
her three curious riders. “Is it really our lost and stolen Kinglet?”

“Yes!” cried Tandy, springing erect. “I am Tazander Tazah, King’s son
and son of a King’s son. You are my lawful subjects and Ozamaland is my
Kingdom!” A little shiver of excitement ran through the crowd at these
words.

“He does in truth resemble our young ruler,” murmured one Noble to
another, “though much stronger and more bold.” Drawing a long sword, he
waved it imperiously above his head. “Summon the Ozamandarins,” he
called loudly. “They will decide whether this be our King or some small
Impostor, and DEATH to all strangers and enemies who come in ships to
lay waste our realm.”

“Oh, hold your tongue!” advised Ato, settling himself more comfortably
between Nikobo’s shoulders. “Who are you to challenge the Royal
Explorer of Oz, the King of the Octagon Isle–”

“And his Royal Read Bird,” piped Roger, flying savagely round and round
the head of the speaker.

“Yes, who are you to challenge the rightful ruler of Ozamaland?” cried
Tandy, folding his arms and gazing calmly out over the curious throng.

“Hi, is this the young slip they kept locked in the tower? Hoo,
Hoo!” yelled an old tribesman, brandishing his long lance. “He’s the
salt of the sea and the sand of the desert. Shame on you, Zamen,
not to recognize and welcome your young King. _I’m_ for you, young
one, down to my last breath!” In spite of these brave words, the
nobles, natives and guards made no move or motion to let Nikobo pass
through. Then suddenly there was a break in the crowd and the nine
square-hatted Ozamandarins stepped rigidly forward. And nine taller,
thinner, meaner-visaged rogues, decided Samuel, lovingly fingering
his scimiter, it had never been his misfortune to encounter. Didjabo,
recognizing Tandy at once in spite of his new and seaman-like bearing,
was the first to speak.

“The blessing of the stars, moon and sun upon you!” cried the wily
chief, bowing rapidly ten times in succession, “And upon these
strangers who have brought you safely back to these shores! Welcome,
most welcome, small King and ruler of the Ozamanders!” Speaking calmly
but with black fury in his heart to have his plans so unexpectedly
thwarted, Didjabo advanced rapidly toward Nikobo. “And now that you
are here and really safe, we must see that you are locked securely in
the White Tower of the Wise Man away from all future hurt and harm!”
Reaching the side of the hippopotamus, he put up his hand to help Tandy
dismount.

“But I’m not going back to the Tower!” said Tandy, looking the Chief
Ozamandarin straight in the eye. “Ever! I’m riding on to the castle, so
kindly order some refreshments for my friends and shipmates.”

“Hi, Yi, Yi!” approved the old tribesman, pounding the cliff with his
lance. “Here’s a King for us. What good did your Tower do before, old
Square-Hat? He was carried off in spite of it, wasn’t he? Well, trot
along now and do as he says; he’s the King, and I’m here to see he
gets his rights!” Shocked by the determination in Tandy’s voice and the
evident delight of the crowd at his defiance, Didjabo put up his hand
for silence.

“It is the law of the land that the nine Ozamandarins shall guard
the life and preserve the health of the country’s sovereign,” stated
Didjabo in his cold and impressive voice. “Until this boy becomes of
age he must be cared for and protected from his enemies. Forward,
guards! On to the Tower! You OTHERS!” Didjabo nodded disagreeably at
Samuel Salt, Ato, Roger and Nikobo, “You others may return to your
ship, where a suitable reward will be sent out to you. We are deeply
indebted to you for finding our King, but the law of Ozamaland says
that all foreigners landing on our shores shall instantly and without
delay be flung over the cliffs. In your case we graciously permit you
to leave. Come, Tazander!”

While Samuel Salt could not help admiring the way the old Ozamandarin
was trying to keep the upper hand, he had no intention of leaving till
he had assured himself that Tandy was in safe and proper hands. “But
surely you will wish to hear the story of how we found this boy and
explain how he happened to be on that jungle island!” observed Samuel
mildly. “Step back, my good fellow, Nikobo has large feet and she just
might happen to tread on you.”

“Yes,” wheezed Nikobo sullenly, “I just might happen to do that very
thing.” Slipping round to the other side of the hippopotamus, Didjabo,
paying no attention to either remark, tried to pull Tandy to the
ground. But the little boy, remembering Roger’s advice about lubbers
gave him a fast and sudden poke in the nose that sent his hat flying
off and the Ozamandarin himself rolling head over heels.

“Hurray, Hurray! Avast and belay! And down with old Square-Hats
forever!” shrilled the Read Bird, while Ato and Samuel exchanged
a proud and pleased glance. While the other Ozamandarins stood
uncertainly, the crowd, long weary of the rigid rule of the nine
judges, began to laugh and cheer.

“The King is King! Long live the King!” shouted the old tribesman
vociferously.

But Didjabo pulling himself furiously to his feet, flung up his arm.
“Guards! Guards!” he screeched venomously, “Do your work! Save this
poor, misguided child from these unspeakable foreigners or we are all
lost. Can you not see they are savages, sorcerers and enemies? Seize
the King and over the cliff with these hippopotamic invaders!”

The word “hippopotamic” seemed to rouse the undecided guards to action,
and Samuel, as the crowd moved uneasily aside to let the elephant and
camel mounted guardsmen through, heartily wished himself back on the
ship. Nikobo, squealing with rage and defiance, began moving cautiously
back toward the path down the cliffs, but Ato, who had been merely
biding his time, tore open his package and began tossing right and left
the tumbleweeds and creeping vines which fortunately it had contained.

The first creeper caught Didjabo, bound him up and laid him by the
heels before he could issue another order. Taking careful aim,
Ato threw a creeping vine at each of the other Ozamandarins. The
tumbleweeds, whirling beneath the feet of the elephants and camels,
caused them to fall to their knees, tossing their riders over their
heads, and between the yells of the guards, the squeals of the camels,
and trumpeting of the elephants, confusion was terrific. The natives
and Nobles and all who could still move or run set off at top speed for
the city without once looking behind them. Muttering angrily under his
breath, Ato continued to hurl vines and tumbleweeds till none was left.
Unable to advance an inch, the white guard and their mounts rolled and
groveled together in the deep sand.

“Now we can go on to the palace!” cried Tandy, a bit breathless by the
suddenness of it all. “Oh, Ato, how did you ever happen to bring those
plants along?”

“I suspected some of these subjects of yours were villains,” answered
Ato grimly, “and the only way to meet villains is with villainy.
Forward march, my Lass! On to the King’s castle!”

Picking her way around the fallen men and beasts, Nikobo, snorting at
each step to show her superiority and contempt, set out for the Royal
Palace. Of all the people who had run out on the cliffs, besides the
securely bound Ozamandarins and the guard, only the old tribesman who
had first cheered Tandy remained.

“Oh, please do come with us,” invited Tandy earnestly as the old man
stepped smilingly out of Nikobo’s way. “You could tell me all about the
tent dwellers and help me so much if you would.”

“I am Chunum, the Sheik, head of a thousand tribes and speaking for
them, I can say they all will proudly and gladly serve your brave
young Majesty. Too long have the city dwellers ruled this great
liberty-loving land.”

“Then over the side and under the hatches with ’em,” cried Roger,
beside himself with joy and exuberance at the neat way Ato had handled
Tandy’s subjects. “This boy’s an able-bodied seaman and explorer and
will stand no nonsense!”

“My sea is the desert,” said Chunum, striding jauntily along beside
Nikobo, “and my ship is a camel, but I’ll wager we’ll understand each
other well enough for all that.”

To Tandy, conversing eagerly with Chunum, the splendor of the White
City of Om was an old story, but to the others it seemed, with its
flashing marble walks, great waving palms and towering dwellings and
castle, one of the loveliest capitals they had yet visited.

Word of the happenings on the cliff had traveled fast. Longing to
welcome the young King, but fearing the strange magicians who had come
with him, the Nobles had barred themselves in their fine houses and the
natives had fled to the hills beyond the city gates. The many-domed
marble palace was absolutely deserted when Nikobo pushed her way
through the wide doors. Not a footman, page or courtier was in sight.
Seeing no attention or service was to be had for some time, Ato hurried
away to the kitchens and was soon happily at work preparing a splendid
feast to celebrate Tandy’s homecoming.

Tandy himself felt quiet and sad, examining with scant interest and
enthusiasm the splendid rooms which he had never yet been allowed to
live in. To tell the truth, he would have traded the whole castle for
his small cabin aboard Samuel’s ship. Samuel himself, never really
happy or comfortable ashore, wandered about aimlessly, opening books on
the long tables, peering out windows, and finally settling with a sigh
of resignation in a huge chair beside the throne.

Nikobo had found a long pool and fountain in the same room and, lying
at full length in this luxuriant marble bath, tranquilly waited for
events to shape themselves.

“Why not sit on your throne?” asked Roger as Tandy seated himself on a
small stool beside Samuel Salt.

“Oh, it’s much too big for me,” sighed Tandy, thinking how very big and
lonely the palace would seem when all his shipmates had gone.

“Aho, and methinks you are right! Ahoy, the beginning of a beautiful
idea doth at this moment start to seep through the head feathers, of
which, _more_ anon!” Chunum, who had never before heard a bird talk,
stared at Roger in amazed interest and surprise, but giving him no more
satisfaction than a mischievous wink, the Read Bird flew off to help
Ato with the dinner. And now Samuel proceeded to tell the old tribesman
how he had found Tandy in the jungle imprisoned in the wooden cage. As
he finished, Chunum shook his head in stern displeasure.

“It has long been my conviction and belief,” he stated solemnly, “that
the Ozamandarins are at the bottom of this. Every year they usurp more
and more power, and keeping the young King shut up in the Tower was
but an excuse to give them their own will and way. Nor can I believe
that the royal parents of this boy accidentally fell into the sea as
they were reported to have done, or that the young aunts mentioned in
the prophecy had anything at all to do with Tandy’s abduction. Tell me,
how long will the vines hold those villains prisoner, for only that
long is Tazander safe. We must think and act quickly,” said Chunum,
tapping his staff thoughtfully on the floor.

“The vines will not unwind for two days and before THEN–HAH!” Samuel
expelled his breath in a mighty blast and sprang purposefully to his
feet. “Before then we shall put those fellows in a very safe place
for Tandy and for them too, shiver my timbers!” Taking Chunum by the
shoulder, Samuel started toward the door, and seeing the two intended
to leave the castle, Nikobo climbed out of the fountain and offered
to carry them. Tandy nodded absently as the two left the castle, his
thoughts still far away on the _Crescent Moon_, and considering the
work they had to do, Samuel and Chunum were well pleased to leave him
behind.

With surprising speed the hippopotamus made the return trip to the
cliffs. The effects of the tumbleweed had evidently worn off and the
guards and their mounts had fled with the rest of the inhabitants
of White City to the hills. But the nine Ozamandarins still lay in
their curious cradles in the deep coarse sand. As Samuel and Chunum,
in absolute agreement as to what should be done, rolled off Nikobo’s
back, a furious bellow and screech brought them up short. Nikobo,
startled out of her usual calm, fell back on her haunches and after one
horrified look upward buried her head in the sand.

“It can’t be!” cried Samuel, clutching Chunum’s sleeve. “It can’t be,
but it is!”

“An elephant, a flying elephant!” panted Chunum, dragging Samuel from
under the immense shadow. “Flatten yourself in the sand, seaman,
and we may yet be spared.” As Samuel, more amazed than scared at so
strange and curious a specimen, and even vaguely hopeful of capturing
the unwieldy creature, made no move, Chunum dragged him down by main
force. The elephant meanwhile lighted like some gigantic butterfly on
the edge of the cliff. Fairly bleating with fright and terror, the
nine Ozamandarins watched him swooping toward them with a sinister and
soundless speed. Just behind his ear perched Boglodore, the Old Man of
the Jungle, looking cruel and ugly as the genie of all evil.

“Revenge! Revenge!” shrilled the turbaned native, clenching his fists.
“Now shall Boglodore have his reward!” Addressing himself to Chunum and
Samuel Salt, the Old Man of the Jungle began screaming out the story
of his wrongs. “For these scheming rascals I carried away on Umbo,
my great and useful umbrellaphant, the young King of this country.
For this I was to receive one-tenth of the Kingdom, the Ozamandarins
themselves to divide the rest of the country among them. But Hah!
What happened?” Dancing up and down on the elephant’s head, Boglodore
again clenched his fists, his face distorted with rage and fury. “What
happened? Why, these miserable cheats refused to pay me, intending to
keep the whole country for themselves. But hearken well, you and YOU!”
Jerking his thumb contemptuously toward his rigid and helpless enemies,
the Old Man continued his story.

“All along I have suspected these thieving Zamans; all along I intended
to fool them and return the little King to his castle, keeping only
the jungle for my own. That is why I built the boy his cage in the
jungle and set Nikobo, the great hippopotamus, to watch over him,
giving her the power of speech and the desire to seek out and protect
this unfortunate child of an unfortunate country. I am a magician and
could well bring about these things. You, whoever you are, who found
and brought him back to Ozamaland did no more than I myself intended to
do and intend to do now. After restoring Tandy to his throne, I meant
to deal with his enemies, and now as they are so neatly bound up and
ready, I shall reward them well for their pains and treachery.”

“Stop! Stop! Avast there and belay!” shouted Samuel Salt as the
umbrellaphant, obeying an order from the terrible Old Man, picked up
Didjabo in his trunk and flew swiftly toward the cliff’s edge. But
Chunum, again dragging Samuel down, whispered fiercely in his ear.

“It is justice, seaman, and only what we ourselves planned to do. The
vines will keep these rogues afloat for two days, then haply they will
sink–not to die, as death comes not to the people of my country, but
to lie for long forgotten ages at the bottom of the sea, harmless and
sodden, and unable to do any more harm to the country they have so
dishonorably served and betrayed!”

Shuddering and in a tense silence, Samuel and the Sheik watched the
umbrellaphant toss the wretched Ozamandarins one after the other into
the sea. The immense zooming monster fascinated the Captain of the
_Crescent Moon_. Not wings, but a balloon-like structure of its own
tough skin billowing over its back like a howdah, enabled Umbo to
navigate in the air. Samuel was anxious for further talk with the Old
Man of the Jungle, but as the last Ozamandarin fell over the cliff the
umbrellaphant, with a trumpet of defiance, headed rapidly for the open
sea.

“Look! Look! It’s getting away!” cried Samuel, rushing to the cliff’s
edge and almost tumbling over. “Do you realize that there goes the only
umbrellaphant in captivity?”

“Well, well, and what if it is?” muttered Chunum, again pulling Samuel
back to safety. “I expect Boglodore does not find this country healthy
after the pretty story he has just told us, and come, COME, Master
Seaman, what would you do with a flying elephant aboard your ship?”

“I’d tie it to the mast and carry it back to Oz,” explained Samuel,
staring gloomily after the disappearing prize. “Why, it would be the
most rare and amazing specimen ever brought back from anywhere, and
now–now–I’ve lost it–” Samuel’s arms dropped heavily to his sides
and turning away from the cliff, he began walking slowly back toward
Nikobo, who had at last ventured to lift her head from the sand.
Surprised enough was the hippopotamus to learn that she had been given
her power of speech by the ugly little magician on the umbrellaphant,
and frightened lest she forget Tandy’s language, she began talking
rapidly to herself.

“But you forget what all this means!” panted Chunum, catching up with
the Explorer and shaking him energetically by the shoulder. “Why, this
clears up the whole mystery. Not an AUNT but an ELEPHant carried
Tazander to Patrippany Island. We must return quickly to the castle
and release his innocent relatives. I myself will call back Tandy’s
frightened subjects and tell them of the great good fortune that has
befallen, that we are rid of nine rogues and have a brave young King
to rule Ozamaland. Come, come, do not stand here dreaming about lost
elephants; there is much to be accomplished and done.”

“Goosewing my topsails, you’re right!” breathed Samuel Salt, coming
completely out of his reverie. “Round up the citizens, comrade, and
I’ll carry the good news to the castle.”

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