Sea Legs for Tandy

When Ato, banging boisterously on an iron frying pan with a wooden
spoon, summoned all hands to dinner, Samuel and Roger responded with a
rush. But Tandy remained sitting gloomily on his bunk.

“Now what’s the matter?” demanded Samuel Salt as Roger, sent to call
the young voyager, came flying back to the table.

“He says I may serve his dinner in the cabin,” snickered Roger,
popping a biscuit into his mouth and swallowing it whole.

“Well, don’t you do it!” roared the Captain, bringing his fist down
with an angry thump. “No use to start such nonsense!”

“But he’s so thin and feeble. The poor child’s just full of raw roots
and jungle grass,” murmured Ato, beginning to heap a platter with
meat and vegetables. “Wait till he folds himself round some of these
seafarin’ rations. He’ll be a different person.”

“And he’d better be!” rumbled the Captain of the _Crescent Moon_,
pulling in his chair. “And if you and Roger want to spoil the little
pest, go ahead, but he’d better keep out of MY way. HAH!”

“I could drop the dinner on his head,” suggested Roger helpfully as Ato
handed him an appetizing tray for Tandy. “How would that be?”

“Utterly reprehensible, and conduct unbecoming in a Royal Read Bird and
able-bodied seaman,” chuckled the ship’s cook, shaking his finger at
Roger. “Why don’t you try to help the little beggar and set him a good
example?”

Now Roger, in spite of his sharp tongue, was really a sociable and
kind-hearted bird and the sight of Tandy sitting so forlornly on his
bunk made him regret his teasing speeches. After all, the little
fellow was far from home and had had a hard time in the jungle.

“Here!” he puffed, setting down the tray and lighting the lantern.
“This’ll put feathers on your chest, young one, and mind you eat every
scrap.”

“Thank you,” answered Tandy, so drearily that Roger with a shudder
of distaste fled back to the cheerful company of Samuel and Ato.
But later, when Samuel had gone below to pot the precious plants
from Patrippany Island and the ship’s cook was leaning over the rail
conversing cozily with the hippopotamus, Roger flew back to Tandy’s
cabin resolved to help him if he could. With calm satisfaction he noted
that Tandy had eaten everything on the tray. Lying on his back, the
young King of Ozamaland was staring solemnly up at the beams over his
bunk.

“Ahoy! And what goes on here?” cried Roger, setting down on the old sea
chest. “How about a turn on deck, my lad, and a bit of chatter with the
crew?”

“It is not seemly for a King and son of a King’s son to talk with his
inferiors,” observed Tandy coldly.

“In-feer-iors!” screamed Roger, forgetting all his good intentions
and mad enough to nip the youngster’s nose right off. “Are you by any
chance referring to me?”

“Ozamaland is a great and powerful country and I am its King,” stated
Tandy, turning his back on the Read Bird. At this Roger let out another
screech, and then suddenly remembering the purpose of his visit, took a
long breath to steady himself. When he spoke again his voice was both
calm and reasonable.

“Ozamaland may be a great and powerful country and you may also be its
King, but remember you are no longer in Ozamaland,” explained Roger
firmly. “You are on this ship by the express wish and kindness of the
Captain and in the company of Kings and BETTER. WAIT!” Shaking a claw
at Tandy’s back, Roger flew off to fetch one of Ato’s books from the
shelf above the stove. Tandy was in the same position when he returned,
but paying him no further attention, Roger pulled the lamp nearer and
opened his volume.

“When a King is in the company of Kings,” began the Read Bird
impressively, “he is no longer a special or royal being, but merely
a man among men, and as such must maintain his honor and standing by
sheer worth and ability alone.”

“Who says that? What are you reading?” Tandy sat up with sudden
interest, for his whole life had been spent in study and reflection and
the voice of the Read Bird was not unlike the voice of Woodjabegoodja,
his royal instructor at home.

“I am reading _Maxims for Monarchs_,” answered Roger calmly, “a book of
great authority and antiquity that has been used by the Rulers of Oz
and Ev and the Nonestic Islands these many thousand years. No great and
important country would think of being without a copy of this book,” he
continued severely.

“Strange, then, that I should not have heard of it,” mused Tandy,
looking not quite so sure of himself. “We have no _Maxims for Monarchs_
in Ozamaland.”

“Pooh, Ozamaland!” Roger dismissed the whole country with a shrug of
his wing. “A country as young and unimportant as that would probably
know nothing about such matters.”

“You mean my country is not so old nor important as Oz and this
two-penny island of your fat Master?” shouted Tandy angrily.

“Of course not. Why, it’s not even been discovered, and whoever has
been there?” demanded Roger disdainfully. “Take you, as its King,
acting in this small up-country fashion–what CAN a fellow think?
Here–” Shoving the book toward the disagreeable young monarch, the
Read Bird urged him to look for himself. With a puzzled frown Tandy
reread the passage Roger had just quoted.

“Well, even though your Master is a King, you’re not a King and neither
is Samuel Salt,” said Tandy, looking at Roger with some of his former
arrogance.

“Oh, isn’t he? Well, just lay to this, young fellow,” Roger shook his
claw under Tandy’s upturned nose. “Samuel Salt is Captain of this ship,
a Knight and the Royal Discoverer of Oz, which makes him seventy times
as important as you, King Pins. He not only is boss of the _Crescent
Moon_, but he rules the sea, discovering countries for other Kings to
govern, and if it were not for Samuel Salt and people like him, there
wouldn’t be any Kingdoms nor people like you to run them. See? As for
me, I’m a Royal Read Bird and wouldn’t be a King for a minute. I can
live my own life and go and come as I please.”

“Then while I’m on this ship I’m not a King at all,” said Tandy
wonderingly. “Then what am I? What am I supposed to do?” The little
boy looked puzzled and positively frightened.

“Why, you’re supposed to act like a person, that is, if possible,”
sniffed Roger, reaching over for his book and looking at Tandy sideways
down his bill. “What are you besides a King? What can you do that is
useful or interesting?”

“Do, DO?” Tandy’s voice rose shrilly. “Why–er–why, I can draw
pictures and ride an elephant.”

“Good!” Roger put up his claw to hide the grin that, in spite of his
best efforts, began to spread round his bill. “Well, there isn’t much
call for drawing or elephant riding on a ship, but you can draw water
to swab the decks and I’ll teach you to ride the yards and follow the
crosstrees to the main topgallant mast in the blowingest blow that ever
blowed. And depend upon it, young one, you’ll have more fun as a person
than you ever had as a King. There’s no place for having fun like a
ship!”

“Fun!” said Tandy flatly and inquiringly. “What’s that?”

“Tar and tobaccy jack! What are you tellin’ me?” Roger almost toppled
off the sea chest. “Do you mean to sit there like a dumb image and tell
me you’ve never had any fun? Never felt so bursting full of ginger and
happiness you could sing or do a sailor’s horn pipe?”

“It is not seemly–” began the boy in a staid voice. “It is–”

“Seemly! Great goosefeathers, are you alive or aren’t you?” gasped
Roger. “What in paint did you do in that cussed country of yours before
you got carried off and penned up like a pig in the jungle?”

Considering Roger’s question, Tandy clasped and unclasped his hands
nervously. “Well, you must know,” he began in a very grown-up voice,
“the King of Ozamaland is not allowed to mingle with the common people.
In all things he is alone and set apart. So it was with my father and
mother before they disappeared. So it is with me. Furthermore, it being
prophesied that I would be carried off by an aunt in the middle years
of my youth, it was deemed expedient and necessary to keep me locked
away from danger in the White Tower of the Wise Men.”

“Hurumph!” grunted the Read Bird, who had not heard so many long words
since the voyage began. “And what did you do in this precious tower?”

“I studied,” sighed Tandy, reclining wearily back on his pillows, “for
there are many things a King must learn. But one hour of every evening
I was permitted to walk about the garden on top of the tower and look
down upon my Kingdom. On very great occasions I was allowed to come out
and ride the white elephant in the grand processions of state.”

“Humph!” grunted Roger again, looking at Tandy with round dismayed
eyes. “And with whom did you play?” he asked after a little silence.

“Play?” Again Tandy’s voice was politely inquiring.

“The word was _play_,” insisted the Read Bird doggedly. “With whom
did you run about, play tag, checkers, pirates or go fishing?”

Tandy looked confused and Roger shook his head sorrowfully. “Never
heard of such things!” he exclaimed indignantly. “Well, all I can say
is, whoever carried you off and shut you up in that jungle cage did you
a real service. If you had not been there we never would have found
you and I’m here to tell you that from now on things are going to be
different. You’re discovered now and aboard the grandest ship afloat.
You can forget all about being a King and start right in being a person
and an able-bodied seaman. I for my part mean to see you have some fun
or break a wing in the attempt.”

“But would a King–”

“King! Never let me hear that terrible word again,” shuddered Roger,
sticking his head under his wing and then popping it comically out
again. “From now on, you’re plain Tandy and can do as you plain please
so long as it does no harm to yourself or the ship. Understand? And
tomorrow we’ll start having fun, so be ready.” Roger’s promise sounded
almost like a threat, but there was such a merry twinkle in his eye,
Tandy began to feel interested. “You might even begin tonight,” sniffed
Roger, taking up the tray. “Just begin by thinking of something you
want to do. Think about it hard and then DO it.” Winking cheerfully
over the empty plates, the Read Bird spread his wings and sailed
through the port.

For several minutes Tandy lay where he was, turning Roger’s last
injunction over and over in his stiff, precise little mind. What DID he
really want to do? At first he could think of nothing. Then suddenly
he knew. Why, of course–he wanted to talk to Kobo and he just plain
WOULD. There was a frosted cake left from his supper, and slipping it
into his blouse, Tandy stepped quietly out on deck. The ship, with only
a slight roll, was moving briskly through the water, white foam falling
in lacy spray from her sides, the moon-white sails spread like giant
wings above his head. There was no one in sight, and almost holding his
breath, Tandy tiptoed aft and leaned adventurously over the taffrail.

“Kobo–Yo KOBO!” he called huskily.

“Hello! I thought you’d be out soon.” Swinging round and turning her
vast smile upward, the hippopotamus gazed fondly at her young charge.
“Are you comfortable? Did you have a good dinner?” she asked anxiously.

“Yes, and look what I saved for you!” As he spoke, Tandy glanced
over his shoulder as if he were almost afraid to have anyone see him
enjoying himself. “Open your mouth, Kobo!” he whispered eagerly.
Without hesitation or question the hippopotamus stretched her jaws wide
and Tandy with the first real thrill of his life flung the frosted cake
into that immense pink cavern. As Kobo neatly caught and snapped her
lips on the tempting morsel Tandy let out a faint cheer and began to
think there might be something in Roger’s suggestions after all. “I’ll
throw you lots of things tomorrow,” he promised gaily. “Good night,
Kobo. Good night, Kobo dear.”

Humming a tuneless little song, the young King hurried almost
cheerfully back to his cabin. Pausing in the doorway of his tidy
quarters, he looked about complacently. What did he want to do next?
There was no one to tell him to go to bed, so he just plain wouldn’t.
He’d sit up as late as he plain pleased. Rummaging through Peter’s sea
chest, which Ato had placed near his bunk, Tandy found a large tablet
of stiff paper, a box of paints and some crayons. Settling himself
cross-legged on his bunk, he began drawing, not pictures of the castles
and courtiers of Ozamaland, but pictures of the queer jungle beasts and
Leopard Men he had seen on Patrippany Island.

When Roger, on first watch, called out eight bells, he saw Tandy’s
light still burning, and flying down to investigate, found his new
pupil fast asleep in the middle of his masterpieces. The whole bunk
was covered with bright drawings and pictures and even to Roger’s
inexperienced eye they seemed excellently done. So, carefully the Read
Bird stowed them in the sea chest, then, without bothering to waken or
undress the little King, he covered him with a light blanket and went
quietly from the cabin.

“If what Roger tells us is so, little Sauce Box yonder has had a
pretty dull life,” said Ato as he and the Captain sat finishing their
breakfast next morning. “Lucky for him we happened along and anyway,
the hippopotamus will be good company, eh, Samuel? She seems downright
sensible and jolly. Reminds me of Pigasus and I suppose she does belong
to the pig family when you come to think of it.”

“Well, she’s a pretty big pig if she does,” laughed Samuel Salt,
swallowing his coffee with gusty relish. “Pretty big any way you take
her. Personally, I like the animal, but the King and son of a King’s
son! PAH! Reminds me of Peter, he’s so different, and the sooner we
reach Ozamaland and set him ashore, the better. Meals in his own cabin.
Hoh!”

“Oh, give him time,” drawled Ato, helping himself a second time to
fried potatoes. “If there’s any good in the lad, a sea voyage will
bring it out, and what chance has he had shut up in a tower for ten
years and in a cage for five months? Though how an aunt managed to
have him carried so far and why she left him with those savages in the
jungle I can’t get through my head at all.”

“Maybe it was a gi-ant,” whistled Roger, swooping down on Ato’s plump
shoulder and flapping his wings cheerfully. “How far do you figure it
is to Ozamaland, Master Salt?”

“Well, that I couldn’t just say,” answered Samuel in a milder voice.
Pushing back his chair, he stepped over to the map on the west wall.
“Maybe a thousand leagues or so from Patrippany Island, maybe more,
in a line east by sou’east from Ev. If that is so, we’re bound to
bump into it sometime, as I’ve set my course east by sou’east, and
anyway it’s all in the year’s sailing.” Samuel bent over with pride
to examine the newest island discovery he had marked on the chart the
evening before. “And when we do come to it,” he announced firmly,
“we’ll trade this useless young one for some of those flying snakes and
creeping birds, eh, Mates?”

“If we bring any more animals aboard we might as well set up an ark and
be done with it,” warned Ato, shaking his fork at the Captain. “By the
way, how’s Sally this morning?’

“Tiptopsails!” grinned Samuel. “She eats nothing but hot air and water
and is no more trouble than a hair in a flea’s whisker. I can carry her
round in my pipe when I want company. Now there’s a lass for you!”

“Well, I’ll just see to Nikobo, for she’s the girl for me,” retorted
Ato, rolling briskly out of his seat. “I saved all the potato peelings
from last night, and that, with a dozen cans of peas, corn, carrots and
beets, should stay her appetite till lunch time.”

“Forty cans at one swallow,” groaned Roger, clapping a claw to his head
in mock dismay. “She’ll eat us out of ship and home at this rate. Can’t
you think of something else, King dear? A nice wind pudding or a tub of
sea soup sprinkled with faggots.”

“Oh, go along with you,” roared Ato, and picking up his precious coffee
pot, he waddled cheerfully off to his storeroom.

The day was bright and breezy and the _Crescent Moon_ going free,
breasted the waves like a white-winged sea witch. It was SUCH a
morning that even Tandy, peering inquiringly from his cabin, felt an
uncontrollable impulse to slide down the deck. So he did, coming up
smartly by Roger, who was perched on the rail.

“That’s it! That’s it! Now you’re catching on,” approved the Read Bird,
hopping cheerfully from one foot to the other. “Now match your step to
the sea’s roll, sonny, get into her rhythm. You’ve got to breathe with
the ship to carry your rations on a voyage. Watch the Captain, there,
and do as he does,” finished Roger as Samuel Salt left his cabin and
came striding aft.

“Rather watch you!” exclaimed Tandy, who sensed the Captain’s dislike.
Uneasily he moved a little nearer the Read Bird.

“All right, come on then!” shouted Roger, heading recklessly for the
foremast. “Ever climb a tree?” Tandy shook his head, looking with
deep misgiving into the maze of sail and rigging above. But Roger
was already aloft and beckoning for him to follow. “Not that way,
Brainless!” scolded Roger anxiously as Tandy, gritting his teeth, made
a desperate leap upward. “See those rope ladders by the rail? Put your
feet in the ratlins, boy, and come along hand over hand. It’s easy as
flying once you get the swing of it. There, that’s better! Come on!
Come on! Don’t stop! Don’t look down.” So up–up and up the narrow rope
ladders toiled Tandy, till Roger, growing impatient, seized his collar
and helped him straddle the crosstree of the fore t’gallant mast.
“Ahoy! And isn’t this better than riding an elephant?” beamed Roger,
winking a knowing eye. “Ahoy, this is fun and NO fooling.” Seeing Tandy
was too dizzy and breathless to talk for a moment, Roger cheerfully set
himself to teach the young Ozamander a bit about ships and sailing.
Soon Tandy was so interested he forgot the leap and plunge of the ship,
the rattle and creak of the cordage and his own precarious perch in the
foremast.

“The _Crescent Moon_,” began Roger with an impressive jerk of his head,
“is a square rigged three-masted sailing vessel. Normally ‘twould take
from sixty to eighty men in a crew to set and make sail and bring
her about in a blow. But Samuel Salt has magic sail controls, so we
three manage quite easily, and now that YOU are here and the handy
hippopotamus below ’twill be easier still. The mast we’re riding is the
foremast. The mast second from the bow, as we call the front of the
ship, is the mainmast, and the mast at the back or, as we salt water
birds say, the stern of the boat, is the mizzenmast. And now for the
sails.” Roger took a deep breath. “Those below, beginning from the
bottom up, are the course, the topsail, the topgallant sail, the royal
and the sky sail. And don’t forget!” Roger wagged his claw sternly.
“Before each sail you must put the name of the mast to which it is
attached. As, for instance, this ahead of us is the fore-topgallant
sail. SEE? And everything to the left of the ship’s center we say is on
the port side and anything to the right is on the starboard.”

“Then tell me why is the water on the port side bluer than the water on
the starboard?” asked Tandy, who had been listening very solemnly as he
tried to fix all of these strange sea terms in his head.

“Bravo!” cried Roger. “Right the first time, Mate. And the water is
bluer on the port side of the vessel because it is saltier. The bluer
the saltier,” declared Roger, who, besides his first voyage with the
_Crescent Moon_, had read all the sea books in Ato’s library and was
simply crammed with deep sea facts and information. “And what is more,”
he continued, pursing his bill mysteriously, “we’re sailing in a magic
circle never knowing what may pop up over the edge. A ship? An island?
A hurricane? Or even a fabulous monster! That’s what makes sea voyaging
so glorious, and sailing so much fun!”

Tandy, staring at the empty circle of blue falling away from the ship
on all sides, nodded dreamily. The White City–Patrippany Island–all
his former life and existence seemed unreal and far away and he hoped
in his heart of hearts the _Crescent Moon_ would not reach his native
shores for many a long gay day. As Roger said, being a person _was_ fun.

“M–mm!” Roger sniffed suddenly. “Wonder what Ato’s cooking? Smells
like taffy. I’ll bet a ship’s biscuit we’re going to have a candy pull.”

“A candy pull!” exclaimed Tandy, taking a furious sniff himself.
“What is that?” As Roger started in to explain about candy pulls, a
large green column shot up on the skyline, a column so surprising and
shocking in appearance Tandy felt positively stunned.

“Oh, look! LOOK!” he screamed, grabbing Roger’s wing. “There’s
something now. Oh, Roger, what fun! What terrible fun!”

“Fun?” Roger spun round like a weather cock in a gale. “Fun?” he
repeated, stretching out his neck as far as it would go and a few
inches besides. “Oh, my best bill and feathers. That’s not fun–that’s
a SEA-Serpent. Help! Help! Deck ahoy! ‘Hoy! ‘Hoy! Below! King! Captain!
Ato! SAMMY! SAMU-EL!” As if calling them not only by their titles
but by their names would increase the number of the ship’s officers
and crew, Roger tugged wildly at Tandy’s arm. “Below! Below! All
hands below,” shrilled the Read Bird. “Cover all ports and batten the
hatches!”

Urged on by Roger, Tandy, still more interested than frightened,
descended rapidly to the main deck. At Roger’s cries, Ato had run out
with a pan of bubbling molasses in one hand and his trusty bread knife
in the other. Right behind him stood Samuel Salt, his eye pressed to
his largest spyglass.

“Well, tar and tarry barrels!” exclaimed the Captain exultantly. “Why,
this is a sea serpent second to none, the finest example of a marine
ophidian I’ve ever met in all my voyages!”

“Oh, fiddlesticks!” blustered Ato, shaking him angrily by the arm. “Are
you a Captain or a Collector? Quick, now, make up your mind before your
ship is crunched down like a cracker and we’re all swallowed up with
the crumbs. Quick, Sammy! For the love of salt mackerel, DO something!”
Squeezing himself between the cook and the Captain, Tandy saw that
there were now three immense shiny curves showing above the water, and
with scarcely a splash the tremendous monster was moving toward the
ship. Then suddenly it was upon them, and its huge horrid unbelievable
head came curling far over the bow of the _Crescent Moon_.

“Avast and belay! Avast and belay, you villain!” yelled Samuel Salt,
dropping his spyglass and grasping his blunderbuss while Roger beat his
wings together like castanets and screamed like a fire siren.

Tandy, rather frightened himself, and not knowing what else to do, fell
flat on his stomach and pulling a pad from his blouse, began making
a quick and frantic sketch of the dreadful sea beast. Its body was
leagues long and yards through, the head was large as a whole elephant
with a long curling silver tongue and darting green fangs. But it was
the teeth that made even the stout heart of Ato hammer against his
ribs. Each tooth of this singular sea serpent was a live white goblin
brandishing a long spear. Leaning far out of the yawning mouth, they
screamed, hissed and yelled at the defenseless company below. The next
forward thrust of the monster brought its head curling right down among
them. This so startled Tandy he could neither move nor scream. Samuel
fired his blunderbuss so fast and furiously it sounded like a dozen
guns, but it was Ato who really saved the day and his shipmates.

With calm and deadly precision, the ship’s cook flung the pan of
still bubbling molasses straight into the cavernous mouth. Screaming
with surprise, pain and fury, the monster clamped its jaws together,
and finding them stuck fast on the taffy, fell writhing back into
the sea, dashing and slashing its head under water to ease the burn
and setting the _Crescent Moon_ to dancing like a cocklebur. But the
taffy, hardened by contact with the cold water, stuck faster than ever,
and unable to bite and scarcely able to breathe, the discomfited sea
monster backed away from the ship and went slithering and thrashing
away toward the skyline.

“Well, there goes our candy pull!” sighed Roger, falling in a limp heap
to Ato’s shoulder. “Nice work! Nice work, King dear. There’s a certain
touch about your fighting that is well nigh irresistible.”

“Mains’ls and tops’ls! You certainly pulled a trick THAT time!” puffed
Samuel Salt, picking up his spyglass to have a last look at his lovely
specimen. “You saved us and the ship, that time, Mate. My bullets
rattled off its hide like hailstones off a roof.”

“Pooh! Just happened to have the taffy handy,” answered Ato, looking
rather regretfully into the empty pot. “Here, child, run back and tell
Kobo everything’s all right.” The ship’s cook pulled Tandy quickly to
his feet. “Just listen to her squealing. The poor lass is probably
frightened out of her skin.” As Tandy started aft on a run, Ato picked
up the sketch he had made of the monster. “Ahoy and what’s this?” he
panted. “What did I tell you, Sammy? Look, the boy’s drawn as lively a
picture of that varmint as you’d ever hope to paste in a scrap book.
Here it is–tail, teeth and everything!”

“Mean to say he drew that while we were all standing here ready to
perish and go down with the ship? Hah! That’s what I call bravery in
action!” exclaimed Samuel. “And goosewing my topsails! If the young
lubber can draw like this he’ll be a monstrous help to us, Mates. Why,
I’ll make him cabin boy and Royal Artist of the Expedition with extra
rations and pay.”

“Hurray! And I’ll tell him,” puffed Roger, spreading his wings
gleefully. “Hi, King! Hi, Tandy! Ho, Tandy! You’ve been promoted from
King to cabin boy and Royal Drawer of Animals and Islands and extry
rations and pay!”

Nikobo was as pleased as Tandy at her little charge’s rise to favor,
and after they had both listened in rapt silence to Roger’s news,
Tandy told her how Ato had routed the sea serpent. Meanwhile, Roger
had carried all the sketches Tandy had made of the Leopard Men and
Patrippany Island to the main cabin. Samuel’s delight and enthusiasm
at having such spirited and authentic records of the lost tribe and
strange animals on Patrippany Island knew no bounds. He beamed on Tandy
so kindly and approvingly next time they met, the little boy felt warm
and jolly all the way down to his heels. Roger had already explained
his new duties to him and when Ato sounded the gong for dinner Tandy
was the first to answer. But when he started to pass the vegetables and
wait on the table, the Captain gruffly pushed him into a chair.

“All equals here,” roared Samuel, slapping him affectionately on the
shoulder. “You’ve earned your place and your salt, sonny, and we’ll all
help ourselves and each other.” Tilting back his chair and keeping
time with his teacup, Samuel began to sing lustily:

“Blow high–blow low–
‘Tis a salt sea life for me–
With a good ship’s crew I’ll sail the blue
With a good ship going free–eeeh–eeeh!
With a good ship going free!”

Almost before he knew it, Tandy was singing, too.

The days that followed always seemed to Tandy the happiest he had
known. He wondered now how he had ever endured his long, tedious,
pent-up life in Ozamaland. There was so much to see and do on a ship,
the hours were not half long enough. Being a full-fledged member of
the crew, he took his turn on watch, his trick at the wheel, and had
besides other duties on deck. After a bit of practice he could scramble
aloft like a monkey and liked nothing so much as perching in the
rigging looking far out to sea. The Read Bird had fastened a special
rope to the mizzenmast so that Tandy could swing out and drop down on
Nikobo’s raft, and much of his free time was spent with the faithful
hippopotamus.

Sea life agreed enormously with Nikobo, especially since Ato had solved
the largest item of her diet. Noting the tangled mass of seaweed often
floating by on the surface of the sea, the clever cook let down the
ship’s nets daily. The seaweed, crisp, tender and green, was dragged
on deck where Roger and Tandy went carefully through it, removing all
crabs, small fish and sea shells which seriously disagreed with the
hippopotamus. A huge hamper full was lowered to her every evening and
with this plentiful supply of green food, with the bread and delicious
vegetable scraps Ato saved from the table, Nikobo fared better than she
had on the Island. The largest tub on the boat served as a drinking
cup and this Tandy kept full by playing down the hose from the deck,
giving her a daily shower of fresh water at the same time. So, lacking
nothing in interest or comfort, Nikobo enjoyed herself hugely and to
the fullest extent.

On calm mornings, with the _Crescent Moon_ hove to, all hands would go
swimming. Nikobo loved to swim and to roll over and over like a mighty
porpoise, even though the salt water made her eyes sting. Since Tandy
had given Samuel the drawings of the Leopard Men, the ship’s Captain
could not do enough for his young cabin boy, and among other things had
made a rope harness for Nikobo so Tandy could hang on when he perched
upon her slippery back. At first he had been satisfied to ride Nikobo,
but after several days he was splashing recklessly with the others and
Samuel had taught him all the swimming strokes he knew and had Tandy
diving over and under the hippopotamus in a way to make Roger scream
with envy and approval.

Swimming was the only part of a sea voyage the Read Bird could not
really enjoy, but he was always on hand to give advice, roosting on
Nikobo’s head so long as she stayed above water and taking hurriedly to
his wings when she mischievously tried to dunk him. The hippopotamus
made a really splendid raft when they tired of swimming, and Ato, who
did not care for water sports so much as Samuel or Tandy, fished for
hours from her back, his feet hooked through the ropes of her harness
to keep him from falling into the sea. The only thing Tandy regretted
was Nikobo’s great size and that she could not come aboard ship and
join them in the cabin. On cool evenings he and Ato and the Captain
(Roger preferring to take first watch) would sit cozily round the fire
listening to the stories Samuel told them of the days when he had been
a pirate and roamed up and down the Nonestic, capturing the ships and
treasure of all the powerful island monarchs. Tandy never tired of
these thrilling sea battles nor of watching Samuel Salt’s pet fire
lizard.

Sally was now so tame she would allow any one of them to pick her up.
They had to be careful not to hold her against their clothing, however,
for though Sally did not burn the fingers, she set fire to whatever she
touched. Indeed, whenever they wanted a fire in the grate, they had
only to place the Salamander on the kindlings beneath the logs and a
cheery flame would blaze up instantly. It was in the fireplace Sally
took most of her exercise, racing and scittering over the glowing logs
or rolling happily in the red hot embers. But most of her time she
spent curled up in Samuel Salt’s pipe, and it was always a surprise to
Tandy to see her comical head pop up over the edge of the bowl or hear
her chirping and purring to herself from her cozy bed of tobacco leaves.

Some evenings, when Ato was trying out new recipes in the galley,
Tandy and Samuel would descend to the hold to look over the plants
from Patrippany Island, try to figure out the script on the piece of
lava, and sort and arrange Samuel’s shell collection. Every day after
the nets were drawn up there were new specimens to classify and label.
The drawing Tandy had made of the Sea Lion and all the pictures of the
Leopard Men and beasts on Patrippany Island, Samuel had framed and hung
above his shelves so that the hold was looking more and more like a
scientific laboratory every day.

“Do you suppose we’ll ever find anything large enough to put in those
big cages and aquariums?” asked Tandy one night as he pasted a pink
label on a fluted conch shell.

“Sure’s eight bells!” murmured Samuel Salt comfortably. “No telling
what’ll turn up on a voyage like this. Personally I’ve set my heart on
a roc’s egg, but setting the heart on a roc’s egg won’t hatch one out,
Ho, Ho! No, No! But, on the other hand, one never can tell and we’ve
had a week of such fine and pleasant days, I look for something to
happen any moment now, so you’d better put up your paste pot and turn
in, my lad, so we’ll all be ready for the morning.”

“Well, what would you do with a roc’s egg?” inquired Tandy, reluctantly
clapping the top on his bottle of glue. “Aren’t they terribly big and
terribly scarce, Captain Salt?”

“Terribly!” admitted Samuel Salt, placing his tray of lamp shells back
on their stand. “But a newly laid roc’s egg is as rare as a mermaid’s
foot, and no larger than one small tar barrel. Now if we could just
get a newly laid roc’s egg aboard and find some way to preserve it,
why, well and good, if we didn’t find a way and it hatched before we
landed, it could easily fly off with us and the ship, for THAT’S how
big a bird a roc is. But I’ll take a chance if I ever find a roc’s egg
and there’s an island somewhere in these waters where rocs are known to
nest. Rock Island it’s called, and a roc’s nest would be something to
see, eh, Kinglet?”

“Please don’t call me that,” begged Tandy earnestly. “Roger says I
don’t have to be a King on this ship and I like not being a King.”

“Ha! Ha! And I like you that way myself,” roared Samuel, tossing Tandy
suddenly to his shoulder. “Why, since you’ve stopped this King and son
of a Kinging, you’re a seaman after my own heart, and so long as the
_Crescent Moon’s_ afloat you’ve a berth on her! Up with you! Up with
you! Tomorrow’s another day.” Swinging gaily to the main deck, Samuel
tumbled Tandy into his bunk and went striding aft to take in his main
and mizzen topsails.

Next morning, while he and Ato were cutting up potatoes for Nikobo,
Tandy was not surprised to hear a loud hail from above. Something had
happened just as Samuel had predicted. Running out with a paring knife
still in his hand, he saw a strange glittering mountainous island abaft
the beam. It was still a goodish sea mile away, but with the glasses
Ato generously pressed upon him Tandy made out the most curious bit
of geography the eyes of a voyager had yet gazed on. There was not a
piece of level ground on the island anywhere. Its high, glittering,
needle-like peaks rose straight out of the sea with apparently no way
of ascending or descending. Of clear crystal, reflecting every color
of the rainbow, the beautiful island was almost too dazzling to look
at as it lay shimmering and sparkling in the bright sunshine. As they
sailed nearer, Tandy saw that a perfect maze of high and airy bridges
ran like a gigantic spider web between the peaks. On these bridges all
the island’s life and activities seemed to take place. Quaint fluted
cottages were built in the center, and along the perilous catwalks on
either side raced the Mountaineers themselves, brandishing glittering
poles and spears and halberds.

“Pikes on the peak! Pikes on the peak! Port your helm, Sammy,” roared
Ato. “Not too close! Not too near, Sam-u-el. How’d you like to be
pinned to the mast with a spear or flattened on the deck with a
boulder?”

“Ah, now, they’re just excited!” answered Samuel Salt, squinting
curiously up at the Bridgemen, but Nikobo, with her short legs resting
on the top rail of her raft, squealed out a dolorous warning.

“Fighters! Fighters! These Pikers look savager than the Leopard Men.
Best back away, Master Captain, while there’s still time.”

“Oh, look! LOOK! There’s a ship on the mountain,” cried Tandy, jerking
Samuel’s sleeve, “right there where that torrent comes down between the
bridges, a three-master, larger than the _Crescent Moon_.”

“Then it’s a battle!” boomed Samuel, bringing his helm hard around.
“Stand by to man the guns. ‘Hoy, all hands, ‘hoy!” While his shipmates
sprang to attention, Samuel darted from mast to mast, touching the
buttons on his sail controls.

“AYE DE AYE OH LAY!” The shrill unexpected cry came from the highest
bridge on the island, and was immediately taken up and repeated by all
the Pikemen on the lower bridges. It resulted in such a mad medley of
yodels that Ato clapped both hands to his ears and Nikobo plunged her
head in her drinking tub.

“Not only fighters, but singers!” grunted Ato, swinging the port
gun into an upright position. “Beef, beans and barley bread! What a
rumpus!” Tandy, who with Roger had charge of the other gun, could not
help but admire the calm way Samuel Salt ignored the dreadful outcry
from the bridges. Whether the pikes of the islanders could be flung
down upon them was still a question, but as Tandy looked anxiously
aloft, he saw the great white-sailed ship of the Mountain Men sweeping
toward the torrent. It paused for a breathless instant on the top and
then came rushing down upon them. They were right in the path of the
descending vessel which would strike them with such force both ships
would surely be demolished.

“I am a King’s son and the son of a King’s son,” shuddered Tandy,
gritting his teeth and waiting desperately for the order to fire. “I
can bear anything.”

“Not this! Not this!” chattered Roger, sliding wildly up and down the
shiny cannon. “It will shiver your timbers–it will shiver all of our
timbers. What in salt ails the Captain? Why doesn’t he give the order
to fire and pepper these rascals before they reach us? Oh, oh! Oh–hh!”
But the only orders that came from the Captain were for Nikobo.

“Overboard, Lassie! Dive off! Quick, now, and swim for your life,”
bawled Samuel Salt, waving both arms frantically at the hippopotamus.
As Nikobo with a frightened squeal let down the back rail of her pen
and slid into the sea, Tandy felt a quiver and jerk through the whole
length of the _Crescent Moon_. Glancing aloft, he saw a strange change
in the sails. Where before they had been sturdy single stretches of
canvas, they were now great swelling balloon sails, each a perfect
air-filled sphere. As the ship from the mountain with an angry swish
catapulted down from the torrent into the sea, the _Crescent Moon_ rose
buoyantly into the air, allowing the enemy craft to shoot harmlessly
beneath her bow.

“What in Monday!” gasped Ato, flinging both arms round the cannon.
“What in Monday are you up to now? How’d we do this? Stop! Stop! I’m
no flier. No higher! No higher! Do you intend to impale us on yonder
Peaks?” Samuel Salt, hanging desperately to the wheel, made no reply
and as the ship, dipping and swaying, soared higher and higher the
deafening yodels of the Bridgemen ceased abruptly.

“Wha–wha–where are you heading?” demanded Roger, spreading his wings
in order to keep his balance on the sloping deck. “You never told us
you had balloon sails, Master Salt.”

“Ahoy, but we never needed them before!” panted Samuel. “Look sharp
below, Roger. Tell me whether I’m over that lake or basin. Look sharp,
mind you, or we’ll come to grief yet.”

“Aye, aye!” quavered the Read Bird, dropping obediently over the side.
“It all looks sharp to me.”

“Mean to say you’re coming down in the middle of these pikes, peaks
and bridges?” moaned Ato, holding his head with both hands. “Avast and
belay, Mate, I signed up for a sea voyage and not a balloon ride. The
altitude’s got you, Sammy, that’s what. You’ve air holes in your head.
How do you expect the four of us to conquer this whole pesky peaky
island? How could we even take half of them?”

“By surprise,” announced Samuel Salt grimly. “We’ll take them by
surprise. Look, they’re too surprised to even yodel. Fetch up the Oz
flags, Tandy, and all hands aft for further orders.”

“Aft and daft!” choked Ato, hanging on to the rail as he made his
way toward the wheel. When Tandy came hurrying up from the hold, his
arms full of Oz flags, the _Crescent Moon_ hung directly over the
glittering Island. Roger fluttered anxiously just below calling up
hoarse information as to the size, possible depth and shape of the
sparkling blue lake between the peaks.

Listening carefully to Roger’s directions, Samuel deflated his balloon
sails so skillfully the _Crescent Moon_ came down lightly as a swan in
the exact center of the Lake. Above and around the ship on all sides
hung the glittering spans of a beautiful Bridge City, and in stunned
silence and dismay the Bridgemen looked down on the flying ship and its
curious crew.

“Ahoy and hail, Men of the Mountain!” challenged Samuel in a ringing
voice. “You are now part and parcel of the great Kingdom of Oz, free as
before to govern yourselves, but from this day and henceforth on, an
island possession and colony under the protection and puissant rule of
her Majesty Queen Ozma of Oz!”

“OZ! Ozay Oz Oh Lay?” The cry came from the tallest and most splendid
of the Islanders, who was standing with folded arms on the lacy span
connecting the two highest peaks on the Mountain.

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