KERNEL COB AND LITTLE MISS SWEETCLOVER
Illustrated by Tony Sarg
To Ursula, Dordie, Hutch and Bob And children the wide world over, I dedicate brave Kernel Cob And dear Little Miss Sweetclover.
Jackie was a little boy and he had a little sister named Peggs, and they lived with their Aunt who was very old, maybe thirty-two.
And it was so very long since she had been a little girl, that she quite forgot that children need toys to play with and all that.
So poor little Jackie and Peggs had no soldiers or dolls but could only play at make-believe all day long.
They lived in a little white house nearly all covered with honeysuckle, and a little white fence with a little white gate in it ran all about and at the back of the little white house was a little garden with beautiful flowers growing in it.
And once, when they were making pies in the garden, Peggs began to cry and Jackie ran and put his arms about her, for he loved his little Peggs very dearly; and he said to her:
"What's the matter, Peggsie? Did a spider bite you?"
"No," says Peggs, "it didn't."
"Was it a naughty worm?"
"No," says Peggs, "it wasn't."
"Well, what was it?" says Jackie.
"It weren't anything that bit me, only I want a doll," and away she cried again.
"Huh!" says Jackie, "that's nothing. You don't want a doll any mor'n I want a soldier," and he sat down beside her and began to cry, too.
And after they had cried for a long time, maybe four hours or two, they stopped.
"I tell you what!" says Jackie.
"What?" says Peggs, drying her eyes on her pinafore.
"If no one will give us a soldier"...
"But I don't want a soldier," says Peggs. "I want a doll."
"Let's make one," says Jackie.
"That's a good way," says Peggs.
"You bet," says Jackie, and he slapped one of his legs the way sailors do in tales of the sea.
"What'll we make it of?" asked Peggs.
"Things," says Jackie. "Goodie!" says Peggs.
And they went in search of the things they would make the dolls of. And pretty soon, Peggs made the most wonderful doll of flowers that ever a child could see.
The head was of Sweetclover, the dress was a purple morning-glory turned upside-down so it looked like a bodice and a skirt, and it was tied to the head so that they wouldn't come apart. And perched on the top of the head was a little bonnet, only it wasn't really a bonnet, you know, but a little four o'clock.
And she called it Little Miss Sweetclover and it was the dearest little doll and as fresh as the morning dew.
In the meantime, Jackie had been busy, you may be sure; but he couldn't find anything to make a soldier of except sticks of wood, but he had no jack-knife, much as he had always wanted one.
"Whatever shall I do?" thought Jackie, as he looked about the garden, and just then he saw an ear of corn and he picked it up.
"Maybe this will do," and he picked all the kernels off except two for the eyes, one for the nose, two more for the ears and a row for the teeth.
And he ran to Peggs to have her sew some clothes for his soldier.
"What do you think of Little Miss Sweetclover?" says Peggs, holding it up for Jackie to see.
"I think she's very pretty," says Jackie, "only she needs legs." And while Peggs cut out and sewed a uniform for the soldier, Jackie went in search of legs for Sweetclover.
And these he made of two stems of a flower, bent at the ends to look like feet. And he ran back to Peggs with them.
"Here are the legs for Sweetclover with green shoes and stockings on." And he tied them to the rest of Sweetclover so that when she walked, they wouldn't come off.
By this time Peggs had finished the uniform for Jackie's soldier and a hat of newspaper with a great plume of cornsilk and a lot of medals which were cut from the gold leaf that comes on a card of buttons. And when they were all sewed on the jacket, he cut out a sword from the gold leaf and made hands and feet from the corn husk. And he colored the eyes with black ink and the lips with red, and, much before you could say "Crickety," the soldier was all finished.
"What'll we call him?" asked Jackie.
And they thought, and thought, and thought.
"I have it!" said Jackie.
"What?" asked Peggs.
"We'll call him Kernel Cob," says Jackie.
"Goodie!" says Peggs, clapping her hands with glee.
And you will see what wonderful dolls they were, and what wonderful things they did, and how they helped Jackie and Peggs to find ... but never mind.
You will see.
And one day, when Jackie and Peggs were playing in the garden with Kernel Cob and Sweetclover, the sun was very hot, so Peggs ran and got a parasol and put it over the dolls so they wouldn't wilt.
"I'd like Kernel Cob to be a great general," said Jackie as he put up the parasol, "and fight in all the wars of the world and lead his soldiers with a sword in his hand and get wounded and all that. Not very much wounded, though. Or I'd like to have him be an Admiral and sail all around the world. What do you think of that?"
"That's good," said Peggs.
"You bet," said Jackie. And he stood on his tippy toes to look bigger.
"And I'd like Sweetclover to be a mother," says Peggs, "and have hundreds and hundreds of children so she could give them all the dolls that ever they wanted."
"That would be noble," said Jackie.
"It's terrible for children to have no father or mother isn't it?" asked Peggs looking far off at nothing in the sky.
"Yes," said Jackie.
"I would rather have a mother and father than everything else in the world," says Peggs.
"Better'n little Sweetclover?" asked Jackie.
"Yes," answered Peggs, "for I could make another doll, but you can only have one mother and one father."
"Maybe you're right," said Jackie, "but I love Kernel Cob very much, just the same."
"Of course!" says Peggs.
Now, all of this was heard by Kernel Cob and Sweetclover, for all flowers and vegetables understand the language of people, but people do not understand the language of flowers and vegetables; and when Kernel Cob and Sweetclover talked, Jackie and Peggs couldn't hear them because flowers whisper very softly, and even if the children could hear them they couldn't understand them, you see, because it's a different kind of language and they never had heard it.
Sometimes, if you are a child, and sit in the garden when the wind is blowing, and listen, you may hear a kind of whispering among the flowers. And if you look very closely, you will see them sway toward each other and smile and nod their heads. Well, that is when they whisper in each other's ears just as if they were children.
And all vegetables are like that too, only the corn has a louder voice, because the wind loves to blow through its ears and make it wave so it looks like a great green ocean.
"Did we have a mother and father?" asked Peggs.
"Of course!" answered Jackie, "Everybody has to have a mother and a father, except orphans."
"Are we orphans?" asked Peggs.
"I guess we must be," said Jackie, "I heard Auntie tell somebody, the other day, that both our parents were lost."
Just then the wind blew Sweetclover toward Kernel Cob, and, if you'd been there, you could have heard a whispering sound, and, if you'd been a flower, you would have heard Sweetclover say to Kernel Cob:
"Poor little Peggs!" and if you had looked very closely you would have seen dew drops in her eyes.
"What did she do?" asked Kernel Cob, and his voice was slow, for you must remember that it took him a long time to think, because his head was heavy and so filled up with corn cob. But, like most people who are slow, he was very determined, and once he made up his mind to do a thing you might be sure he would do it, no matter what.
"She lost her motheranfather," said Sweetclover.
"Did Jackie lose his motheranfather too?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Of course," answered Sweetclover. "Don't you know that Jackie and Peggs are brother and sister?"
"Sure," said Kernel Cob.
"Well then," said Sweetclover.
"You didn't tell me," said Kernel Cob.
"Tell you what?" asked Sweetclover.
"If Jackie lost his motheranfather," said Kernel Cob.
"Jackie's motheranfather are the same as Peggs'," explained Sweetclover.
"Doesn't everybody have his own motheranfather?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Not always," says Sweetclover. "Why?" asks Kernel Cob.
"Please keep quiet," said Sweetclover, "I can't hear what they are saying."
"If our mother and father are lost," says Peggs, "why doesn't Auntie try to find them?"
"I wish she would," says Jackie.
"Did you hear that?" says Sweetclover.
"What?" asked Kernel Cob.
"That they would like to find their motheranfather," says Sweetclover.
"Are they lost?" asks Kernel Cob.
"Yes," says Sweetclover.
"Who lost them?" asks Kernel Cob.
"Hush!" says Sweetclover.
For a long time nobody spoke and pretty soon a little breeze swayed Kernel Cob over toward Sweetclover and he said:
"Let's try to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather. Let us pray to the fairies that something will come along to help us."
"Good!" said Sweet clover, and they prayed and prayed and prayed.
And just then a great wind came and raised the parasol from the ground, and the hook of the handle caught in Kernel Cob's belt and pulled him up with it and Sweetclover was just in time to catch hold of him as he sailed away. And Jackie and Peggs sat upon the grass and cried because they had lost their little dolls.
And the parasol went up and up in the sky all the afternoon, and, try as he would, Kernel Cob could not get it to stop.
"I wonder what the fairies are sending us up here for?" shouted Kernel Cob.
"Maybe they're in Heaven," said Sweetclover, and just then the parasol went skimming through a beautiful white cloud, and the sun was dancing on it, making it look like pink eiderdown.
And soon they came out of the cloud and were in the blue sky again.
And up and up they sailed. And the sun dipped down in the sea, and its light went out, and the stars came out and began to peep through the sky like little fire-flies, and the moon came up, too, to see what was going on, and it grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly as big as the old Earth.
And then they came to the Moon and could see little people running around the edge waving their hands excitedly, and they were all dressed in silver clothing, and when Kernel Cob and Sweetclover were landed the Moonpeople ran to them and wondered.
And everything about them was silver. Churches and houses and rocks and rivers and trees and everything.
And the Moonpeople ran ahead in great confusion to show them the way.
And Kernel Cob formed them into line and put himself at the head of the column, as a general does, and they marched in step and everything until they came to the Palace of the King, which was of silver with turrets and spires of diamonds, and glittered so you could scarcely see.
And the King and the Queen were sitting on thrones, and when the King saw how Kernel Cob had formed his people in order, he was greatly pleased and said to himself, "Here is a fine General. I will put him at the head of all my armies."
And Kernel Cobb and Sweetclover were invited to a great banquet, as splendid as ever you could imagine.
And when they were seated, Sweetclover saw some flowers on the banquet table which were very beautiful, white with silver calyx, and they were called Silverfloss, and Sweetclover whispered to Silverfloss:
"Do you understand Earth talk?"
"Ting-a-ling," answered Silverfloss, and it sounded like the tinkling of a little silver bell.
"What did she say?" asked Kernel Cob.
"It must be Moonflower talk," said Sweetclover, and she looked about and saw some Edelweiss and she was very glad and said: "Edelweiss, Edelweiss, how came you here?"
Now you must know the Edelweiss is a little white flower that grows away up in the snow of the mountains of Switzerland.
"One night I was blown up here in a great snow storm and I've been here ever since," said Edelweiss.
"Can you speak Moonflower talk?" asked Sweetclover.
"Yes," said Edelweiss.
"Very well," said Kernel Cob, "we are trying to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather and we came all the way from the Earth on a parasol to do so. Maybe you can help us."
"I would if I could," replied Edelweiss. "But I am afraid they are not here. I've been here over four seasons and I've never seen a human being, and even if they were here they couldn't live here because it's too cold."
"You bet it is," said Kernel Cob, and he shivered till the medals on his coat rattled.
"Maybe they could be here in some other part of the Moon!" said Sweetclover. "Would you mind looking?"
"I would be glad to look," said Edelweiss, for he was a very polite little flower and had very pretty manners.
And turning to Silverfloss he asked her if she had seen two earth-people on the Moon.
"Ting-a-ling," answered Silverfloss and you would have thought it was two bells tinkling.
"She says there never was a human being on the Moon," said Edelweiss.
"Well if they are not here," said Kernel Cob, "we had better go before we freeze to death," and his teeth chattered.
"How'll we get off?" asked Sweetclover.
"I'll tell Silverfloss to weave you a strand of silver," and he turned to Silverfloss and said some tinkling words to her.
"She's doing it," he said. "It's a thread of silver so thin that it can't be seen and yet it is so strong that it can easily bear your weight."
"But I can't climb all the way down," said Kernel Cob.
"You won't have to," said Edelweiss. "All you have to do is to catch hold of the end of the silver thread and hang on to it, and, as Silverfloss weaves the thread it gets longer and longer, until you have reached the Earth. You'd better start now, if you are going."
So Kernel Cob wound the silver thread around his waist, and, lifting Sweetclover, was ready to start. "Good-bye," said Kernel Cob. "Good-bye," said Sweetclover.
"Good-bye," said Edelweiss, "Hold on tight!"
"All right," said Kernel Cob.
"Thank you very much," cried Sweetclover.
And down they went, Kernel Cob hanging to the silver thread and Sweetclover snuggled close against his jacket.
Kernel Cob and Sweetclover went down and down and down through the sky from the Moon.
And after they had gone down and down and down a long time Sweetclover suddenly cried:
"What's that?" and pointed below. "It's like a great ball turning round and round."
"It looks like another Moon with the lights out."
"It's the Earth!" cried Sweetclover with delight, for she could now see the tops of trees as the sun began to show his golden head above the hills in the East. And little by little, as Kernel Cob and Sweetclover neared the Earth, they could see rivers and lakes and steeples and houses and after awhile, people and horses in the fields.
And down, down, down they came, getting nearer and nearer and nearer until they saw, beneath their very feet, a great tall house with sails on it going round and round at a rapid rate, and, before you could say, "Look out!" Kernel Cob was caught in one of the sails and dashed to the ground.
"Are you hurt?" asked Sweetclover sitting on the ground where she had been thrown.
"No," said Kernel Cob, for a soldier must bear pain without complaint and pretend he isn't hurt even if he is.
And a number of people who were working in the fields ran out to see what had happened, and you may be sure that they were surprised to see these strange dolls. And they spoke a strange language which neither Kernel Cob nor Sweetclover could make out.
"I wonder where we are," said Sweetclover, "and who these people can be?"
"They're very funny," laughed Kernel Cob, "I never saw shoes like those before. They look like boats."
"They're made of wood," said Sweetclover.
And just then a little Dutch girl—for you have guessed that they were in Holland—came over and picked them up and carried them off into her house.
And little Antje, for that was her name, played with them all day, and, when night was come, she put them to sleep in a chair before the fireplace where it was nice and warm and cosy.
And, in the middle of the night, a cricket came out on the hearth stone and began to chirp.
"Chirp, chirp, chirp," sang the cricket, and Kernel Cob woke up and rubbed his eyes and listened.
"Hello, Mister Cricket," shouted Kernel Cob peering over the side of the chair.
And the Cricket hopped over to where Kernel Cob was lying.
"Who are you?" he chirped.
"I'm Kernel Cob. And Sweetclover and I are looking for Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," said Kernel Cob, "Have you seen them?"
"Never heard of them," chirped the Cricket. "What's their names?"
"Just Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather; that's all."
And just then Sweetclover woke up and sat on the side of the chair.
"I'm sure that there isn't anybody by that name," chirped the Cricket, "but I'll soon find out."
"How?" asked Kernel Cob.
"I'll send a chirp to all the crickets in this house and garden, and they'll send a chirp to all the crickets in the next house and garden, and so on, and so on, and so on, all through this country, and in a little while I'll be able to tell you if they're here or not."
"How'll you ever get the message back?" asked Sweetclover.
"I'm the King of all the Crickets," chirped he, "and when I give an order you may be assured that it will be obeyed," and he stretched himself with so much pride that you could have heard his jacket crackle.
"I'm sure you are very kind," said Sweetclover, "and Kernel Cob and I are very much obliged to you," and she said this so very sweetly and so prettily that the Cricket lost no time in sending the message.
"Crick-a-crick-a-crick," he chirped, and it sounded just like a telegraph instrument. "Crick-a-crick-a-crick. There," he chirped, "I've told them to make a search and we'll soon have an answer."
And while they waited, the cricket told them of the strange country they were in and all about the canals and the windmills and the skating in the winter and the curious wooden shoes that the people wore. And when he had done, Kernel Cob and Sweetclover told him about Jackie and Peggs, their wonderful visit to the Moon, and how they came down in the field and were picked up by little Antje.
"Hush!" said Kernel Cob, "I hear the chirping of a Cricket," for his ears were quicker to hear than either Sweetclover's or the Cricket's. And sure enough you could now hear the chirping....
"Crick-a-crick-a-crick," and the Cricket pricked up his ears and held up a foot to warn them to keep silence.
"I'm sorry to tell you," he said as the chirping stopped, "that they are not here."
"Too bad," said Sweetclover, and the dew began to come into her eyes.
"Come," chirped the Cricket. "We must be quick, for if little Antje wakes up, you'll not get away so easily again," and they followed him as he hopped toward the window, upon which he leaped and was soon outside.
Kernel Cob climbed upon a chair, lifted Sweetclover in his arms and was soon outside, following quickly on the heels of the nimble Cricket who led them down to the waterside, where they found an old wooden shoe.
Into this Kernel Cob lifted Sweetclover and, after he had put up a stick to serve as a mast and had fastened a piece of cloth to it for a sail, he shook hands with the Cricket and climbed in. The cricket gave the shoe a push off with one of his feet and they were afloat on the sea.
"Good-bye and good luck," chirped the Cricket.
"Good-bye and many thanks," shouted Kernel Cob and Sweetclover, and soon they were far off for the wind was blowing very strong.
Presently they were out of sight of the shore and the Cricket turned upon his heel and hopped away.
The Cricket is the kind of chap For whom I never cared a rap! I always thought he hopped about The fields, because he had the gout And lost his crutches in the crops, And that's the reason why he hops. But now I'll have to change my mind Because I see he's very kind, For he who is a friend in need Is quite the best of friends indeed.
And Kernel Cob and Sweetclover sailed and sailed for many days and nights.
"I wonder where we are and if we shall ever be on land again," sighed poor little Sweetclover.
"Of course we will," answered Kernel Cob although he, too, was doubtful, but being a soldier he had to keep his courage up and to cheer Sweetclover. So he pretended that they were perfectly safe.
And on they sailed and you couldn't see anything but water for miles and miles, no matter where you looked.
"What's that?" said Sweetclover, and she was so excited that she nearly tipped over the boat.
"I can't see anything but water and a little too much of that to suit me," said Kernel Cob.
"Don't you see something dark against the sky?" she asked.
"No, I don't," said Kernel Cob, and he shaded his eyes with his hand the way sailors do when they look for something at sea.
"I hope it isn't a whale," said Sweetclover.
"It had better not be," said Kernel Cob, "if he knows what's good for him," and he patted his sword in a very brave manner.
"It's getting bigger and bigger," said Sweetclover. "Don't you see it?"
"Sure!" said Kernel Cob, "I saw it all the time, it's a ship." And like all people who tell fibs he was found out, for it wasn't a ship at all.
"It's land!" said Sweetclover, joyfully, and sure enough it was, for soon you could see the trees. And as they sailed closer the trees grew taller and taller, and after a while you could see the shore.
"It's a little island," said Sweetclover.
"What's an island?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Didn't you ever go to school?" asked Sweetclover.
"No, but I wish I had."
But Kernel Cob didn't answer. He just steered the shoeboat toward the shore by putting one leg over the side as if it were a rudder, and in a little while they ran the boat up on the shore and Sweetclover hopped out and Kernel Cob pulled the boat up on the beach so the tide, when it came in, wouldn't take it out to sea again.
And they walked along the beach.
"I'm very hungry," said Sweetclover.
"Sit down here," said Kernel Cob, "and I'll see if I can find something for dinner." And he went along the beach.
After he had walked a long distance, he found a tree with some nuts on it, and he picked a lot of them and put them in his hat and started back to Sweetclover.
You may imagine his astonishment when he reached the spot where he had left her and discovered that she was not there.
But, all about on the sand, he saw foot-prints as of a great number of bare footed people.
"The savages have taken her," he muttered, and drawing his sword he ran off in the direction they had taken.
Through the woods he ran, and pretty soon he came to a clearing and there was Sweetclover surrounded by about a thousand savages shouting and dancing and waving spears above their heads. And Kernel Cob grasped his sword firmly in his hand and ran at them, and, so fiercely did he fight, that in a minute he had driven away about a hundred of them. And he would have driven them all away, but his foot slipped and, before he could get up again, he was overpowered and bound hand and foot.
And they brought him before their chief who was a great giant.
And when it was night, the savages tied the two captives to trees and went to sleep about a great fire. And in the middle of the night when Kernel Cob was thinking of some way in which to make their escape, he heard something stirring in the grass at his feet.
"Who's that?" he whispered.
"Tommy Hare," was the reply, and he ran out from a stone behind which he had been hiding.
"Good for you!" said Kernel Cob. "Come stand up on your hind legs, like a good fellow, and untie me from this tree."
"Who are you?" asked Tommy cautiously.
"I'm Kernel Cob and this is my little friend Sweetclover and we're looking for Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather and we've been captured by the savages who may keep us here forever if you don't help us."
"That I will," said Tommy, and in a jiffy he had gnawed them free.
"Now, show us the way down to the beach as quickly as you can," said Kernel Cob, "for it will be daylight soon and then it will be too late. Come."
And they started running as fast as they could.
And not a minute too soon, for they had got only half way when they heard the shouts of the savages and knew that their escape had been discovered.
Faster and faster they ran, but the savages gained on them at every step and were soon close upon their heels.
"Jump on my back!" shouted Tommy, "for I can run faster than all of them put together."
And they did so and flew over the ground as fast as the wind.
And they reached the shore and jumped into the shoeboat and Tommy shoved them off with a great push that put them out of sight of land, and the savages' spears fell in the water behind them.
"That was a narrow escape," said Sweetclover, as she settled down in the boat. "I hope Tommy Hare wasn't caught by the savages."
But she needn't have worried in the least about Tommy, for as soon as he had pushed them off, he scurried away and was at that moment sitting under a tree, eating his breakfast.
Kernel Cob and Sweetclover sailed all day. The shoeboat rode the waves with perfect ease. Up it went and up till it came to the top of a great wave, and then it would race down on the other side as if they were bob-sledding and great sport it was, too, out in the middle of the ocean, and Sweetclover laughed and even old serious Kernel Cob smiled and forgot all about fighting.
Toward the afternoon, the sea quieted down and they rode along faster and presently, Sweetclover, who was always watching, cried out:
"I see another island!"
"So it is!" said Kernel Cob, looking in the wrong direction.
"Not over there. Look!" and she pointed.
Sure enough. There was a large black stretch of what appeared to be land. And it was very flat.
"I hope there will be no more savages to fight," said Sweetclover.
"I hope there will," said Kernel Cob.
"It's moving," said Sweetclover. "It seems to be coming this way."
"Where did it go?" asked Kernel Cob, for at that moment it disappeared altogether.
"I'm sure I saw it," said Sweetclover. "Didn't you?"
But Kernel Cob only frowned and looked serious.
And, in a few minutes, they saw it again, but this time it was very much nearer and bigger and the sun made it look very smooth.
"It's a whale!" said Sweetclover.
"Who cares," said he, and drew his sword.
And the turtle, for it was a turtle and not a whale at all, came towards them and it was very large, nearly as big around as an acre. And when it got very near to the boat, its head came up out of its shell and the little shoe boat shook with the waves it made.
And the turtle was just about to snap the boat in its mouth when Kernel Cob swung his sword and with one mighty stroke cut off its head.
"Ha, ha!" cried Kernel Cob, but, receiving no reply from Sweetclover, he looked about and found she had fainted.
He found also that the boat was leaking badly from a crack in the side made, no doubt, by the turtle.
Quickly, he lifted Sweetclover and carried her aboard the back of the turtle and laid her gently down, for the shoe was sinking and he was no sooner out of it than it turned over on its side.
"Not a minute too soon," muttered Kernel Cob, "and now to revive Sweetclover." This he soon did and she opened her eyes and looked about in wonder.
"Where are we?" she asked.
"On the old turtle's back," laughed Kernel Cob.
"But we shall never get anywhere now, for we have no sail," said Sweetclover. And she began to cry.
"Crying never did anybody any good," said Kernel Cob, "I wish you would stop."
"I can't help it," said Sweetclover, "I'm miserable."
"What's all this about?" said a strange voice, and looking about quickly, they saw a sea-horse riding up to them.
"I am very glad to see you," said Kernel Cob.
"You're just in time to give us a lift on our journey."
"With pleasure," whinnied the sea-horse. "And where might you be going?"
"To find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," said Sweetclover.
"Well, leap on my back," said the Horse, "and I'll see that you get there if it's in the water."
So Kernel Cob got astride the horse and helped Sweetclover to mount behind him.
"Where are we?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Cuba is right over there," said the sea-horse pointing with his ear.
"Well, let's see if they are there, if you please," said Sweetclover.
"Aye, aye, Miss," he said, and trotted away as nearly like a real horse as he could.
They had gone along for a couple of hours without mishap when a storm came up. At first the sea-horse paid no attention to the storm, but one great big clap of thunder rang out and a flash of lightning struck so close it startled him.
With a great leap, he started forward, his eyes bulging from his head, and, with a stream of foam flung out from his mouth, he turned and raced through the water at a terrific rate, Kernel Cob and Sweetclover clinging to him with all their strength.
"He's a runaway," shouted Kernel Cob and, sure enough, the horse was mad and nothing could stop him. On and on they raced, but everything must come to an end and along about the afternoon, they saw land in the distance.
Toward this he made at breakneck speed and with a final spurt dashed into an inlet where many ships rode at anchor and a large city rose against the sky.
"Hurrah!" shouted Kernel Cob.
In and out among the ships the sea-horse ran, until, with a last gasp, he flung himself forward and fell upon the surface of the water.
When the sea-horse fell, Kernel Cob and Sweetclover were thrown over his head and landed into the water, but Kernel Cob told Sweetclover they would soon be picked up.
And so they were, for a row-boat pulled toward them and in a minute they were taken from the water and laid on the bottom of the boat.
"What did I tell you?" said Kernel Cob. "If you wish for anything strong enough you'll get it."
"You'll wish you were never born before you get out of here," said a deep, strange voice, and looking about, Kernel Cob and Sweetclover were surprised to see two puppets, their own size.
The one who spoke was a villainous-looking fellow dressed as a Pirate. His face was browned as if by the sun, earrings were in his ears, a black hat on his head, and a deep and very ugly scowl was painted on his forehead.
The other was good looking and resembled the hero in a story. He had pink cheeks and a pretty smile.
Now, when Sweetclover heard the villainous puppet speak, she moved away from him but Kernel Cob, who always welcomed a new adventure and saw in this fellow a possible enemy, spoke up:
"Who and what are you?"
"A friend," answered the Villain.
"You don't look it," said Sweetclover, "you look more like a villain."
"And so I am," said he. "At least that's what I'm painted to be, but I have a kind heart just the same."
"What are you doing out here in this boat?" asked Kernel Cob.
"The man who is rowing and who picked you up is a puppet showman," he explained.
"I don't like him a bit," said Sweetclover.
"You'll like him less and less as you get to know him," said the Villain. "He's very brutal. That's why we are in the boat, for yesterday during the puppet show, he broke the Hero in a rage and he had to go across the harbor to a toy-shop to buy another. That's the new Hero alongside of me."
"He's very handsome," said Sweetclover.
"Sure," said the Villain. "He's got to be. Heroes are all handsome."
"But why are you so ugly?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Ha, ha," laughed the Villain, "why bless your heart, I'm not a real villain, I only play the part of a villain in the play. My real self is something very different. But what, may I ask, are you doing out here in the harbor of Valparaiso?"
"Is that where we are?" asked Sweetclover.
"Sure," said Kernel Cob, for he didn't want the Villain to think he wasn't smart. "Didn't you know we were in Italy?"
"Ha, ha," sneered the Hero, and from that moment Kernel Cob disliked him.
"But you haven't told me how you got into the water," persisted the Villain.
"We came on a sea-horse from Cuba," said Sweetclover.
"That must have been an exciting adventure," said the Villain. "Tell me all of it."
And Kernel Cob told him how they had been to the Moon on a parasol and all that. When he had finished, he asked the Villain to tell them some of his adventures.
But the Villain was a modest sort of fellow and would say nothing but that he was very unhappy, leading a wicked life. What annoyed him most, he said, was that nearly everybody thought he was bad.
"It only goes to show," he said, "that you can never go by anybody's looks."
"You're right," said Kernel Cob, and gave a sharp glance at the Hero. "Many a kind heart beats beneath an ugly face."
And then the row-boat landed at the dock, and the showman, taking the Villain and the Hero under one arm and Kernel Cob and Sweetclover under the other, got out and walked away.
Through the town they went and everywhere children ran after them, and wondered at the strange puppets. And after a while they came to a little theatre and were thrown down among a lot of other puppets.
"I don't intend to stay here," said Kernel Cob. "I'm going to run away. I've got to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather."
"I don't think you'll be able to get away," said the Villain.
"Well, at least I'll try," answered Kernel Cob. "Wouldn't you like to come with us?"
"You bet," said the Villain, for he had taken a great fancy to Kernel Cob and especially to Sweetclover, whose gentle manners appealed very strongly to him. "But how are you going to do it?"
"Let me think," said Kernel Cob and they were very quiet for a long while.
"I tell you what," said the Villain, "When I am going to play I'll run off the stage and as soon as you see the Showman run after me, you must be ready to run and before he catches me, you'll be safe away."
"But you won't be able to come with us, then," said Sweetclover, "and you'll be beaten."
"Well, as long as you and Kernel Cob get away, it won't matter what happens to me," said the Villain.
"That's very noble of you, I'm sure," said Kernel Cob, "and I see that you are a very friendly Villain, but I think I can find a better plan than that."
While they were talking, the Showman came and tied some strings on Kernel Cob and Sweetclover.
"What's that for?" asked Kernel Cob.
"I guess you are going to play in the show," explained the Villain. "That's the way he works us."
"Now we will never be able to get away," sighed Sweetclover.
"Won't we though," said Kernel Cob, "leave it to me," for he was very brave of heart and nothing daunted him, because he was a soldier, you see, and was brave by nature.
And the Showman took them into the theatre, and the performance began. When the play was over, quick as a flash, Kernel Cob cut the strings from Sweetclover and himself.
"Now is our time!" shouted he to Sweetclover and the Villain, who were standing close by, and the Villain, catching Sweetclover by the hand, ran away with her.
Holding the Showman at a distance, Kernel Cob backed his way off the stage, joined the Villain and Sweetclover and all three ran out into the street at the top of their speed, but the Showman was much faster and was close on their heels when they came to a corner.
"Straight ahead!" shouted Kernel Cob while he turned and ran up the other street. This puzzled the Showman just what Kernel Cob wanted, and while he stood, wondering which one of them to follow, they gained on him.
Feeling angrier with Kernel Cob than with the Villain and Sweetclover, he made after him, but Kernel Cob had a good start this time and had turned another corner, and seeing an open doorway, leaped in and was well-hidden by the time the Showman came puffing by.
For a long time the Showman searched, but never thought of the door behind which Kernel Cob was hiding and finally gave up the search and went back.
After Kernel Cob had given him plenty of time to get away, he came out cautiously and with great courage went back the way he had come, anxious to find Sweetclover and the Villain.
When he came to the corner where Sweetclover and the Villain had gone straight ahead, he followed on after them, but could find no trace of them. Night was coming on and still he walked and being very tired with all his running, he sat down on the roadside, for he was now out in the country. And the moon came out and he watched it and thought of the many adventures he had been in since Sweetclover and he were up there and a great longing came into his heart to see her and if he had not been a soldier, I am sure he would have cried, but he didn't. Instead, he got upon his feet and looked about for some place where he could spend the night.
This he soon found, for close at hand was a field in which some hay had been stacked, and, careful not to arouse the dog, he crept under one of the haystacks and soon was fast asleep.
The Villain and Sweetclover ran on and on till their legs would carry them no farther and, being entirely out of breath, they came to a halt at last. They were far out beyond the City, and, if they had not been worried about Kernel Cob, they would have enjoyed the lovely fields of flowers and sunshine, but Sweetclover was quite sure that the wicked Showman had captured Kernel Cob and, having recovered her breath, sat down and began to cry. And the Villain, being a very kind-hearted puppet sat down to comfort her, but, try as he would, Sweetclover only cried the louder.
"I'm sure he's captured, I'm sure he's captured," she repeated over and over again, until she made the Villain believe it and he began to cry, too.
"Here, this will never do," said the Villain, getting up. "I'll go back and see if I can find him."
"No, no!" cried Sweetclover. "You'll be caught too, and then what will I do?" So he stayed with her.
Presently they were aroused by the barking of a dog and, looking about, discovered that they were sitting on the terrace of a big house all about which were fields of flowers and grain. And the dog, a big mastiff, came toward them. Sweetclover put out a friendly hand and said, "Nice Fido."
"Don't call me Fido," said the dog, "my name is Napoleon."
"Oh, excuse me," said Sweetclover, "I didn't know."
"That's all right," said Napoleon with a stately bow. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"I'm afraid not," said Sweetclover. "My friend here," and she turned to the Villain, "and I have been separated from Kernel Cob and we are anxious to find him. You didn't see him pass by, did you?"
"No," said Napoleon, "that I didn't."
"Oh dear," sighed Sweetclover, "night is coming on and we have nowhere to go."
"If you will give me a few minutes," said Napoleon, with a courteous wave of his paw in the direction of his house, "I will put my humble home at your disposal."
"We cannot think of disturbing you," said Sweetclover.
"It will be no trouble whatever," he said. "If I can be of any service to you, it will give me much pleasure."
And so they followed him, as he walked away with great dignity, to his kennel.
"What, may I enquire, has brought you to this neighborhood?" he asked as they arrived at his house.
"You see," explained Sweetclover, "we were captured by a very wicked Showman and made to act with him in his puppet-show, so we ran away."
"Have you been long in Valparaiso?" he asked. And she told him her story. How they had been to the moon in search of Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather, and so on, till the moment when he had met them on the road.
"Very, very interesting, I am sure," he said, "and I wish I could help you in finding Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather, but I think you must be tired, so if you will lie down here I will sleep outside and protect you from any danger."
So Sweetclover and the Villain entered his house, which was very nicely covered with straw and made a very comfortable place to sleep in, and in a few minutes were fast asleep.
In the morning, the sun was shining brightly and looking out of the door of Napoleon's house they were overjoyed to see Kernel Cob walking toward them, for the field in which he had slept was the one next to where Napoleon lived.
You may imagine their joy.
After he had been introduced to Napoleon, they sat down to think what had best be done.
"I wish I could help you," said Napoleon, "but I am a watch dog and a watch dog may never shirk his duty. I never leave these grounds, for I love my master."
"You have been very kind," said Sweetclover, "and I'm sure we are grateful to you."
"I'll tell you what I can do," said Napoleon, whose forehead wrinkled as he thought, "I can introduce you to a great bird that lives in a field back of me. She is the South American condor and I'm sure she will be able to carry you somewhere."
"All of us?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Why, yes, indeed," replied Napoleon, "she is about ten times as big as you and very strong."
"Oh, goodie," said Sweetclover, "where is she?"
"Over there," answered Napoleon. "Just say I sent you and she will do anything for you."
So, after thanking Napoleon for his kindness, they walked in the direction he had given them and soon came to a great haystack on the top of which was a large nest.
And Kernel Cob called up to the nest and the bird put out her head.
Kernel Cob then introduced everybody and the bird flew down at once.
"We are trying to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," he explained, and after he had told her their story, she was so interested that she said she would help them as soon as she had finished her breakfast.
"Now," she said, "let us start. Where are the motheranfather of these little children?"
"I don't know," said Kernel Cob. "They're lost."
"I don't know anything about motheranfathers," replied the bird, "but I know when I lose anything it is because it falls out of my nest."
"People don't live in nests," replied Kernel Cob. "For if they did, and fell out, they would get broken."
"I say!" said the Villain who had been thinking very deeply. "Let's look for them near where they were lost."
"That's a good way," said Sweetclover. "Let's go to the United States. How far is it?"
"Thousands of miles," answered the Condor. "But that is nothing for me. I can fly that far in a few days. Come, get ready. We will go to the United States. Jump on my back."
So they climbed up on the bird's back, and all being ready she flew away.
"How does she know which way to fly?" asked Sweetclover.
"Birds know everything in the air, just the same as fishes do in the water," said the Villain.
"And worms in the ground," added Kernel Cob.
"I guess Dolls must be the stupidest things in the world," said Sweetclover.
"Only some of us," said Kernel Cob.
At this Sweetclover, the Villain and the Condor laughed, but Kernel Cob didn't know what they were laughing at, which was a very good thing for him.
All that day they flew, and were very happy indeed in the warm sunshine skimming through the clouds. And once they went through a rainstorm and got wet; but as the sun came out soon after and dried them quickly they were none the worse for their bath, but felt refreshed for it.
And they passed over the great Amazon river, the largest river in the world, and, much before they knew it, they were in Central America going at a tremendous rate of speed.
"We shall be in the United States very soon, at this pace," said the Villain.
And on the Condor flew, swift as an arrow, but in the afternoon a great wind storm came from the East and she was obliged to turn her course in the direction of the wind, and late in the evening they were nearing a large city which was now visible in the distance.
"I wish I had wings," sighed Sweetclover, "and could fly all over the world. It would be so wonderful."
"We will rest to-night," said the bird, "and try to find the motheranfather of Jackie and Peggs to-morrow."
"You will be too tired," said Sweetclover.
"Oh, no," said the Condor. "You can have no fear. I will be all right. When I say I do something I do that. I never...."
She did not finish what she was going to say, and maybe it was a punishment for boasting. People are often punished for talking too much about what they can do ... for just at that moment something dreadful happened that changed their plans.
And what do you think happened to the Condor?
Just as they were coming to the city and the bird was looking back, talking to Kernel Cob and the others, and everything looked so happy and bright....
"Look out!" shouted Kernel Cob, but it was too late. Straight ahead was a tall tree, toward which the bird was flying, and from the branches came a puff of smoke and the sharp crack of a gun.
The next instant the Condor stopped flying, and slowly sank to the ground.
"I am done for," she said in a feeble voice. "It is just the way of all birds. I am sorry that I cannot help you more. Good-bye."
By this time she had reached the ground, and Kernel Cob was in a very great rage. He wanted to stay and fight the hunter who would soon come to take the bird, but Sweetclover and the Villain begged him to be prudent and run away, lest they all be captured.
So with great sorrow, they said good-bye to the Condor and hurried away.
From behind a rock, they watched the hunter take up the bird and carry it away.
And our three little friends sat down upon a stone to think.
"I don't know what to do," said Sweetclover. "We have lost our best friend."
"Never mind," said the Villain tenderly, and he put his hand kindly on her shoulder. "It will all come right in the end. It always does, you know."
"Yes, I know," said Sweetclover, "but you have to go through such terrible things first."
"Well, we got along pretty well before we met the bird," said Kernel Cob. "Didn't we get to the Moon and all that?"
"That was because we prayed to the Fairies," said Sweetclover.
"And maybe if we pray now, something will happen to help us."
Sweetclover had a very beautiful faith. She believed, as all good people do, that you must put your faith in something good, and then everything will be for the best, no matter what happens.
So they knelt down by the side of the rock and prayed.
"How do you pray?" whispered the Villain to Sweetclover. "I never prayed before in my life."
"Just say, 'Please good, kind Fairies, I am a poor little Villain, and I need your help, and I'll never be bad any more.'"
So they prayed, and pretty soon along came a team of horses drawing a big wagon packed with boxes of oranges.
And the wagon stopped on the road where they were, and the driver got down to fix the harness of one of the horses.
"I'm glad that buckle got loose," said the horse to his team-mate, "I was getting tired and needed a rest."
"Hello there, Master Horse," shouted Kernel Cob.
"Who are you?" neighed the horse.
"I'm Kernel Cob. Where are you going?"
"We're going to the city to pack these oranges on a train," was the reply.
"Here's our chance!" cried Kernel Cob. "Come, let us hide in one of these boxes, and we'll get a ride on the train."
"Good idea," said the Villain.
So they waited till the man climbed up on his seat again, and shouted, "get up" to the horses; then they ran out and got on one of the spokes of the wheel when it was near the ground, and when the wheel turned and the spoke came up to the top, they sprang off onto the wagon and crawled into a box which is called a crate, and is open a little so the oranges do not get too hot and spoil. And it was perfectly safe and very comfortable.
And they must have fallen asleep; for the next thing they knew they felt a rocking and a rocking and Kernel Cob got out of the crate and crawled along till he came to a stairway, and, climbing this, discovered that they were on a ship.
He hurried back to tell his news to Sweetclover and the Villain.
And Sweetclover began to cry.
"A woman is the crybabiest person in the world," said Kernel Cob.
If you attempt a noble deed You're almost certain to succeed, So do not give up hope, but try, However rough your path may lie, To forge ahead with all your might And everything will come out right.
For many days they sailed on the ship till they came to land. And men came to unload the vessel, and their crate of oranges was carried up on the dock and placed on a wagon, and they were driven off, not in the least knowing what country they were in, nor where they were going.
And they peered out from the crate, and soon they heard the queerest kind of talk they ever heard, and Kernel Cob, bolder than the others, raised his head above an orange but quickly put it down again.
"I know where we are," said the Villain who had been thinking. "We are in Japan."
"How do you know?" asked Sweetclover.
"I was here once with the Showman," said the Villain, "and I remember the way the people talked."
And, being pushed onto a wagon, they were driven outside the city.
"We mustn't go too far," said Sweetclover, "or we'll never find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather. Let's get out before it's too late."
So they climbed out of their hiding place, and jumped to the ground.
They were not far from a house, and a curious kind of a house it was.
"It looks like the kind of house Jackie used to make with cards," said Kernel Cob, and so intent were they, that they did not hear the approach of a little girl until she stood beside them, and lifted Sweetclover in her arms.
Of course they did not understand what she said, but it must have been something very beautiful, for her face was all smiles.
And the little Japanese girl lifted up Kernel Cob, and the Villain, too, and carried them off down the road and into the little house.
A very wonderful house it was, and full of toys, mostly Japanese dolls with short, straight hair and beautiful dresses, and talking all at once, in a curious language.
"Oh, dear," sighed Sweetclover, "shall we never understand anybody in this strange country?"
"Aye, aye sir," came a voice at her feet, and looking down, much to her surprise she saw an American Sailor doll.
"Bless my heart, mates," said the sailor, "I'm glad to see you aboard. I've been in this port these four months, and I haven't heard the sound of the American language in all that time. Shiver my timbers if I'm not glad to set eyes on you."
And they talked it all over, where they'd been and everything, all about the Condor and the savages and the Moon.
"Well, mates," said Jackie Tar, for that was his name, "you've seen a lot but you'll never do any more travelling, for you're in a pretty tight hole this time," and he went on to tell them about the Japanese who lived in the house and owned the store.
"He's a Toy-maker, he is, and the first thing he'll do is to rip you up to see how you're laid together, so he can make more like you."
"Mercy!" said Sweetclover, and she began to sob.
"If you're going to begin to cry," said Kernel Cob, "I'm going to give up," but the Villain whispered something kindly in Sweetclover's ear, and she stopped at once, for the Villain had more patience, and knew how to comfort her.
"Maybe I can help you to escape from here," said Jackie Tar, "and maybe I can't, but I can try. I've had a plan in my mind for a long time but I've had no one to help me but these Japs, and they're not worth the paint on their faces. Are you brave enough to risk it with me?"
Kernel Cob swelled out his chest and showed his medals, and told Jackie Tar how he had fought the savages single handed.
"You'll do," laughed the sailor, and he told them his plan. "Do you see that red box over there in the corner?
"Well, that's a Japanese kite. It goes up into the air very quickly. What I say to do is to climb into the kite, and go up with it. It's a big one and will carry us all."
"Where'll we go to?" asked the Villain.
"What care we, as long as we get out of here," and he hitched his trousers as real sailors do.
"Will you do it?"
"You bet," said Kernel Cob.
So it was agreed that they would go up in the kite, and they moved over to it and tugged at it till they had it in the center of the room. Then a great clatter of talk arose from all the Japanese dolls, which sounded like a lot of chickens calling for their dinner; but Kernel Cob and Jackie Tar and the Villain and Sweetclover paid no heed to them, but only tugged the harder till they had the kite out into the middle of the road.
"There are just four of us," said Jackie Tar. "Each man tar to a corner. Quick! All aboard," and it was all they could do to hold down the kite.
"Stand by to get the ship under way. Up anchor. Heave ho, lads. Heave ho."
But at that moment....
The little Japanese girl returned, pulling her father down the road.
The little old man was waving his arms about fiercely and shouting, "Zaca sakasaka," and before the kite had risen from the ground he had reached it, and the next moment Kernel Cob, Sweetclover, the Villain and Jackie Tar were being carried into the toy-shop.
"Did you ever see such luck in all your life?" grumbled Kernel Cob.
"I might have known it was Friday," said Jackie Tar, for sailors are very superstitious.
"Never mind," said the Villain, "we'll get away another day."
"Oh, let us hope so," said Sweetclover, "for I don't want to be ripped apart by that bad Japanese."
"Well, that's what the toy-maker will do if you don't escape him," said Jackie Tar, and his eyes would have bulged if they had been real ones instead of just painted.
"Why doesn't he rip you apart?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Because I'm made of wood. I haven't got any stuffings," said Jackie Tar.
By this time the four had been laid upon the floor, and the Japanese dolls had started a great clatter of talk. The little girl picked up Sweetclover and was smoothing out her ruffled dress when the Toy-maker took up a pair of scissors and grabbed up Kernel Cob, before he could draw his sword.
But at that moment the Fairies must have heard Sweetclover's prayer, for I am sure she must have uttered one when her beloved Kernel Cob was so near to being cut apart.
The door opened, and in walked a man, a woman, and a little girl. And they were Americans, too, for the first thing Sweetclover heard was the little girl saying:
"Mother dear, I do so want a dollie."
"Dorothy wants a doll, John," said the little girl's mother.
"Very well," said John, and turning to the Toy-maker said:
"You sell doll?"
"Me sell him very plenty doll," answered the Toy-maker.
"How much for this one?" asked the man, picking up a little Japanese doll.
But the little girl had seen Kernel Cob in the Toy-maker's hand, and clapping her hands joyfully said:
"Oh, Dad, may I have this one? I think he's so cunning."
"How much?" asked Dorothy's father.
"Him cost two yen."
"Let's see, that's one dollar."
"All right," and he took Kernel Cob, and gave the money to the Toy-maker.
Now you may be sure that Sweetclover's heart fell, when she heard this, and thought of being separated from Kernel Cob, and I am quite sure that she prayed very hard to the Fairies; for at that moment the little Japanese girl dropped her, and this caused Dorothy to see what had fallen, and, when she saw Sweetclover, she ran and picked her up.
"Oh!" she cried with pleasure. "Isn't she lovely. May I have her too?"
"Why, I suppose so," said her father. "If she doesn't cost too much."
"Him allee same cost like soldier doll," explained the Toy-maker.
"Very well," said Dorothy's father, "we'll take him too," and he gave the Toy-maker the money.
Sweetclover's heart was beating high with happiness; but suddenly there came into her mind the thought of leaving the Villain; her good, thoughtful friend, who had so often consoled her in her troubles, and her heart fell again. Oh, if she could only talk to little Dorothy and beg her to take the Villain and Jackie Tar; but this she could not do so she prayed to the Fairies instead and at once her prayer was heard; for the Toy-maker, who had a very good business head on his shoulders, ran to the door as Dorothy and her parents were going out and called to them:
"Little girl want nice Pirate and Sailor feller? Allee same price like other doll."
And Dorothy's father, being a very kind father indeed, and just the right kind of father for every little girl to have, bought them and Dorothy went down the road with the four dolls under her arms.
And you may be sure that Sweetclover was happy, for they had not only escaped being ripped apart, but were all together, safe and sound.
And Dorothy and her parents went to their hotel in the city, and Dorothy played with her new dolls till her mother came to her and said:
"Dorothy, dear, we must pack our things for we are going to China this afternoon."
But a great misfortune happened, for when Dorothy's parents arrived in China they were in a great hurry to leave the dock, where the boat landed, and Dorothy, who had fallen asleep, forgot her dolls, and left them on a bench in the waiting room, and before Kernel Cob or Jackie Tar or the Villain or Sweetclover could catch up to her, she had been lifted into her mother's arms and had disappeared in the crowd.
"Well," said Jackie Tar, "Here we are in China." "I don't see any cups and saucers," said Kernel Cob, looking about the streets. "All I can see is a lot of women with hair hanging down their backs."
"Those are men—Chinamen," explained Jackie Tar, for sailors travel all about and know pretty nearly everything about the people of the world.
"Well, if they are men," said Kernel Cob, "they ought to have their hair cut, and look like men. And if Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather look like these Chinamen, I don't want to find them at all, for I think a child is better off without parents than having two mothers."
"I wish we had never come here at all," said Sweetclover.
"Never mind," said the Villain, "we will find a way to get out of here."
"Leave it to me," said Jackie Tar. "I've been about this old world enough to know how to manage things."
But much as he had been about, he didn't count on the things that happen when you least expect them, for just at that moment, and without any warning, they were picked up by a little Chinese boy who carried them home.
"This must be the thirteenth of the month," said Jackie Tar, for you know that people think that the number thirteen brings bad luck.
But it wasn't the thirteenth as you will presently see, for it was a very lucky day indeed for our little friends.
And they were played with by the little Chinese boy, and, when it came time to go to bed, he took the little dolls with him and for once they were fed a very enjoyable supper of rice and milk, a food which Jackie Tar and the Villain liked, but Kernel Cob said it needed raisins and more sugar, so it might be a rice pudding, and after that they were properly put to bed under nice warm covers, but they did not sleep, you may be sure, but lay awake waiting for the little boy to fall asleep so that they might make their escape.
At last the moment arrived, and silently and cautiously they crept from under the covers, and once the Villain stumbled in climbing over the side of the crib, which wakened the little boy, but he must have been very tired for he went to sleep at once without thinking of his dolls.
They hurried away in the direction of the water, which Jackie Tar said he knew, for, said he, "A sailor can always smell the salt sea air, no matter how far away he may be."
And sure enough, in a few moments they arrived at the water's edge.
"Now that we are here," said Kernel Cob, "what's to be done?"
"All in good time, Kernel," said Jackie Tar, "Each man to his trade," and he began to look about.
"Gather all the sticks you see and bring them to me," said he, and they brought him pieces of wood, large and small, and he chose the largest, and having torn the lining of his jacket into strips, he spliced them into a rope and with this he tied the wood together until he had made a very good raft indeed.
And he set the biggest stick of all, which was a bamboo pole, into the raft and tying his jacket with one sleeve at the top, and the other at the bottom of the pole, he had a good sail made in a jiffy.
"All aboard," he sang out and they got upon the raft and sat "forward," as he told them, and grasping the tail of his coat in one hand, and the rudder with the other, for he had tied a flat board at the stern of the raft, they set sail.
"Where away?" he asked.
"I don't care," said Kernel Cob, "as long as we get away from this China place, for I don't like any place that isn't what it says it is."
"Aye, aye, sir," said Jackie Tar. "If you take my advice, we'll steer for India."
"Why?" asked the Villain.
"Because," said Jackie Tar, "from India there is always a ship bound for England and, once in England, we can easily get a ship for America."
"Goodie!" said Sweetclover.
And so Jackie Tar steered the raft in the direction of India, and they sailed with a good wind.
"I thought you said it was the thirteenth of the month?" said the Villain.
"I must have made a mistake," said Jackie Tar, "for I never had a better ship in all the years I've sailed the seas."
When I am grown to be a man I'll be a sailor if I can; For sailors, everywhere they roam Are sure to find a welcome home.
They sail upon the many seas We learn of in Geographies, And steer their ship by sun and star From Vera Cruz to Zanzibar.
They visit Chili and Japan, And Guyaquil and Yucatan, And they have friends in Martinique And relatives in Mozambique.
And all about the world they sail In wind and storm and mighty gale, So they can tell the tales they do That children love to listen to.
And so when I am grown a man I'll be a sailor, if I can, And sail upon the many seas We learn of in Geographies.
And under the skillful command of Jackie Tar, they reached India.
"We'd better land at night," said Jackie Tar, "so we won't be bothered with a lot of people watching us."
So they waited until it was dark.
"I've been thinking," said Jackie Tar. "Once when I was here before, I saw some magicians who did wonderful tricks. They are called Hindus. A Hindu is an Indian."
"Oh, I know," said Kernel Cob, "he's got red skin and wears feathers in his hair."
"No!" said Jackie Tar. "That's an American Indian; but these Hindus are born in India where we are now."
"Tell us about the tricks," said Sweetclover.
"Well," said Jackie Tar, "there isn't a trick which they can't do. Once I saw them make a little boy run up a long pole and when he came to the top he disappeared."
"You mean to say they can do that?" asked the Villain.
"They sure can," answered Jackie Tar. "And my idea is this: If they can do that, maybe they can show you where Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather are."
"What makes you so smart, Jackie Tar?" asked the Villain.
"I don't know," said he, "I guess I was just born that way."
"Well, let's go ashore and ask one of them to help us," said Kernel Cob.
"Aye, aye, mates," said Jackie Tar.
So they went ashore, and walked along the streets until they came to a little house that Jackie Tar said he remembered as being the house where a magician lived.
And they knocked upon the door and it opened. And they went inside and all was quiet and black as night. And they groped their way till they heard a low mumbling sound, and, pulling aside a curtain, they saw an old man with a long white beard, sitting in a room with black furniture and curtains.
And he said something to them in a very strange language which they couldn't understand.
And Jackie Tar stepped forward and said:
"Please, kind magician, we have come to find the motheranfather of Jackie and Peggs. Will you be good enough to help us?" And even as he was speaking a great cloud spread through the room and floated toward the ceiling. In a minute the cloud became thinner, so you could see through it, and at once trees and a house were seen.
"It's Jackie and Peggs' garden," said Sweetclover in a breathless whisper. "Look!"
And sure enough there was the garden just as they left it, and Jackie and Peggs were playing with Kernel Cob and Sweetclover just as they did on that day they were blown away by the storm.
"It's us! It's us!" cried Sweetclover, and as she spoke Peggs came and put the parasol over them and the storm arose that carried them away toward the sky. Then the cloud disappeared, and the vision was gone.
"It's the strangest thing I ever saw," and Kernel Cob rubbed his eyes and pinched himself, but he had to admit that he had not been asleep and dreamed it.
And the Magician led them into another room through a black curtain, and this new room was blacker than the first one, and they held hands so they wouldn't become separated.
In the middle of the room was a great crystal globe which stood upon a low table, and the Magician went to it, and, waving his hand above it, said something which sounded like "Alla ballaboo." And at once the globe began to glow as though there were a fire inside of it.
Then the light began to fade until the globe looked like a ball of milk.
Again the Magician waved his hand above it and a picture began to show itself upon its surface, like when you develop a photograph plate in a dark room.
First the trees, and then a little hut and snow, lots and lots of snow, and then a man with a shovel and a pick on his shoulder, and then a woman and they were roughly dressed.
And the man in the picture began to pick the ground, and the woman took the shovel, and they worked and worked. Presently, the man stooped down and picked up what seemed to be a stone, and he showed it eagerly to the woman and she trembled with excitement and the stone glowed.
"It must be gold," said Jackie Tar.
"They're gold miners."
"But who are they?"
"I've got it!" cried Kernel Cob. "They're Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," and he danced with joy.
But in his excitement he made a great mistake, for in hopping about he bumped into the crystal ball, and knocked it from the little table on which it stood.
The Magician rushed to save the globe from falling, but he was too late.
It came to the floor and crashed into a thousand pieces.
When he saw what was done and who had done it, he turned on Kernel Cob, and it was with great difficulty that Kernel Cob got out of his way.
Out into the street ran Kernel Cob, followed by Sweetclover, the Villain and Jackie Tar, the Magician in hot pursuit, and only that he was a very old man he would have caught them.
But he didn't, thank goodness! and at last they arrived at the raft.
"Well," said Jackie Tar, when they were safely seated, "one thing we know, anyway, and that is that Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather are living somewhere in the snow, and if it hadn't been for Kernel Cob...."
But he didn't finish what he was going to say, for, looking at Kernel Cob, he discovered him doing something that he had never done before—CRYING!
Sweetclover ran to him.
"Oh, Kernel Cob!" she cried, "what is it. Are you hurt?"
"Oh," he sobbed, "if it weren't for me, maybe we would have found out all about Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather, and maybe the Magician would have showed us how to get there," and he cried as if his heart would break.
And they sat upon the raft and talked it all over, what was to be done, and how they were to do it.
"Well," said Jackie Tar, "the nearest gold mines to us are in Africa."
"Have they got snow around them?" asked Sweetclover.
"Why, no, that's so," said Jackie Tar.
"Where else?" asked the Villain.
"We can go down to the South Pole," said Jackie Tar. At which Kernel Cob began to laugh.
"You don't expect to find any snow at the South Pole, do you?" he asked.
"Why not?" said Jackie Tar.
"It'll be too hot," answered Kernel Cob.
And it took about half an hour to explain to him how it got colder the farther south you went, after you crossed the equator.
So they set sail for the South Pole.
And after they had sailed for a couple of days and nights, there suddenly arose a great hurricane.
The wind raged and their tiny raft was blown clear out of the water.
"I hope I may never have to go to sea again," said the Villain. "And I wouldn't much care, if I fell into the water and were drowned."
But he clung to the mast just the same, for everybody loves to live no matter how miserable they may be, because they always hope that things will be better.
Soon a bit of land was seen, and you may be sure that when they saw that there was a great shout of joy, especially from the Villain.
Toward this they steered and in a little while Jackie Tar, who had been watching very closely, cried out that it was Venice.
And they sailed toward Venice, which, as you know, is a city in Italy, and is built on a number of little islands and the streets are nearly all of water.
"I think it is silly to go on," said Sweetclover, "for we know that Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather are not here, but somewhere in the mines."
"That's so," said Kernel Cob, "Let's turn 'round and sail for the South Pole again."
"Please don't," said the Villain, "I couldn't stand it. Isn't there some way that we can get to the South Pole by walking?"
"Not that I know of," said Jackie Tar, "unless you were a crab and crawled along the bottom of the ocean."
"Very well," said the Villain. "I'll try not to complain."
"Cheer up," said Kernel Cob, "all our troubles are over," and so he thought, for the sea wasn't any rougher than the water in a bath tub.
But often when you think there isn't anything going to happen, that's just the time when it does.
You see the raft had been blown about a great deal, so it wasn't very strange that the pieces of wood had come apart here and there.
The first they knew of their danger, the piece of wood that Sweetclover had been sitting on broke loose from the rest of the raft and began to float away and Kernel Cob jumped into the water to save her.
He caught the piece of wood with so much strength that he toppled Sweetclover over into the water, and then he lost his head, I mean not really his head, you know, but only that he got excited and let go of the stick.
The Villain, who couldn't swim at all, jumped in after them and all he did was to make matters worse.
Jackie Tar tried to tell them what to do, but they were too startled to pay any attention to him. So in he plunged and swam to them, for he was a very good swimmer.
When he reached them they were all floundering about, so he dived down and came up in the midst of them.
"Put your hands gently on my shoulders," he ordered, "and don't weigh down or you will push me under."
And when they had done this he looked about, but the raft was nowhere to be seen except for a few pieces of wood drifting about.
They were about a mile from shore, which is a pretty good swim for one man alone, but here he was with three others who couldn't swim one stroke.
But Jackie Tar was a brave sailor. Besides, he thought, "Here is a chance for me to show Kernel Cob that he is not the only brave person in the world."
"Pull off your coat," he shouted to the Villain, and the Villain pulled it off.
"Now tie one of the sleeves about my foot," he cried, and it was done. "Now each of you catch hold of the jacket and hang on for dear life and I'll see if I can pull you to shore."
So he started swimming, and little by little he neared the land, swimming with a strong stroke until he brought them safely to the beach.
You may think he was tired, but not so, for when they got up on their feet, and walked ashore, he simply knocked his heels together and danced a hornpipe and sang:
"A sailor's life's the life for me."
And they sat upon the shore until Jackie Tar had finished his song about the Sailor's Life, and by that time their clothing was pretty well dried out from their swim, so they got up and wandered toward the city and it wasn't an easy thing to do, for they had a lot of bridges to cross and they had no boat.
"I think the best thing to do," said the Villain, "is to find a toy-store, for there some doll can tell us what to do."
So they kept an eye out for a toy-store, and pretty soon they found one.
"I'd better go in alone," said Kernel Cob, "because I'm the bravest and have a sword and can fight if any trouble arises."
"Aye, aye, skipper," said Jackie Tar.
So Kernel Cob crept very carefully into the shop and very lucky he did so, for the shopkeeper was there although he was asleep.
On a shelf stood a row of soldiers.
And Kernel Cob saluted them and said, "I am Kernel Cob of the United States Army," at which the soldiers gave him three cheers.
"My friends and I," said Kernel Cob, "are looking for the South Pole, where we hope to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather, and I thought maybe you could help us."
But not one of them answered him for they didn't know what he had said.
"I guess tin soldiers are deaf," said he.
"No, they're not," said a voice behind him, "only these are Italians and do not understand English."
And looking behind him, Kernel Cob discovered an English clown doll who turned a somersault and came up on his feet with a merry laugh.
"Good for you," said Kernel Cob, "I wish I could do that."
"Everybody to his trade," said the clown, and stood upon his head.
"Maybe you'd be good enough to stay upon your feet till I find out what I want to know," said Kernel Cob.
And the Clown sprang into the air, turned over three or four times, and landed neatly upon his feet again.
"What is it you want to know?" he asked.
"First I want to know why you don't keep still?" asked Kernel Cob, for the Clown's antics made him nervous.
"I'm a Circus Clown," said he, "and I just turn these hand-springs all day."
So Kernel Cob looked about the store, but could see nobody else that looked as if he could talk English.
"What do you do all day without anybody to talk to?" he asked the Clown at length.
"Oh," said the Clown, "I tell myself funny stories to make me laugh, and then I have my hand-springs to make; that keeps me pretty busy," and he rolled along the shelf, head over heels.
"Well, I always thought a Clown was a silly fellow," said Kernel Cob, "but now I'm sure of it," and he turned upon his heel and walked out of the store.
When he got outside he told the others that it was no use trying to find out anything that way. So they walked along till night came and they crawled into a boat, which is called a gondola, and wait to sleep.
During the night, they were wakened by the movement of the boat, and looking out they saw that they were in motion. A man in a white suit and a red sash was paddling the gondola with a long oar, and he was singing a very beautiful song, and the moonlight was on the water. And they passed many other gondolas, and all the men who paddled were singing beautiful songs.
"I would like to live here," whispered the Villain, "everybody seems to be so happy."
"So would I," said Sweetclover. "I love to hear beautiful music, but we have to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather."
And being tired, they fell asleep and early in the morning their gondola was resting at the side of some marble steps which led up to a great square called Saint Mark's. So they got out of the gondola and walked across the square, for there wasn't anybody to be seen at so early an hour in the morning.
And a great number of pigeons were flying about. Thousands and thousands of them.
And Jackie Tar had a wonderful idea.
"Let's ask the pigeons if they will help us."
"Goodie!" said Sweetclover.
So they went up to a group of pigeons which were strutting along the ground, picking grain which the people throw to them in the day time.
"Hello! hello!" said Jackie Tar, and in a minute about a hundred pigeons gathered about them. And he said he wanted some of them to help him get to the South Pole.
"I'll do it," said one of them, and he stepped up to Jackie Tar.
"Good for you, matey," said Jackie Tar.
"I've always wanted to travel," said the pigeon, "for I'm tired flying around here and I'd like to see the world."
"So would I," said another.
"And I." "And I," cried three or four more.
You see pigeons are like people, for, lots of times, people want to do things but they wait and wait and wait till some one starts it.
"Four are all we need," said Jackie Tar, "one for each of us." So the pigeons crowded about and begged and begged to be taken, and Kernel Cob and Sweetclover and the Villain and Jackie Tar chose the biggest and strongest, and the ones that they liked the color of the best.
But one of the pigeons didn't want to go to the South Pole, for, said she, "You don't hear as much of the South Pole as you do of the North Pole, and unless you go to the North Pole, I won't go."
So it was decided to go to the North Pole, "For," said Kernel Cob, "I don't think it makes any difference after all. The Magician didn't say which pole it was, so maybe it's just as well."
"I say let's go to the North Pole," said Jackie Tar, "and, if we don't find them there, we can very easily try the South Pole next."
"Yes," said Kernel Cob, "let's go to all the Poles there are until we find the right one."
So they got upon the pigeons' backs, just as a little boy or girl gets on a pony, and one of the pigeons, the one that Sweetclover was on, said to the others:
"Let's make a race of it for the first mile."
"Good!" squeaked the others, and off they flew at their top speed.
It was a most exciting race, for they were pretty evenly matched in strength and speed, but one of them did win the race, and you will be very glad to know that it was the one on which Sweetclover was riding.
"Hurrah!" shouted the Villain, for he was better pleased that she had won than if he had won himself.
And they flew all day over Italy and, looking down, they saw people working in the fields and the vineyards, growing rice and grapes and all the fruits that come from Italy, and always they heard the people singing beautiful songs of gladness.
"I wonder what makes them so happy?" said the Villain.
"It's because it's such a beautiful country, I guess," said Sweetclover.
And they flew over the lakes which lie between Italy and Switzerland, and on all sides were mountains, the tops of which are always covered with snow.
Soon they came to Switzerland, which is away up in the mountains and very beautiful.
People travel from all parts of the world to climb these mountains and to see the wonderful scenery.
"Maybe it's here we are to find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," said the Villain, "and not at the North Pole at all."
"Oh, I hope so," said Sweetclover.
It was getting very cold now, for you know that the higher you go up in the air, the colder it gets. That's why there's snow on the mountain tops. And it began to storm; at first tiny flakes of snow fell, and then faster and thicker till it was snowing very hard, and the pigeons could scarcely see where they were flying.
"It seems to me," said the Villain, "that every time I get upon a boat or a bird or anything, it begins to storm."
By this time it was really a blizzard and one by one the poor pigeons' wings became so covered with snow they could not fly and fell to the ground and lay on the snow.
Of course they fell in different places, and Kernel Cob and Jackie Tar and Sweetclover and the Villain were separated.
Each one looked about for the others as best he could and, after much searching about, the Villain found Sweetclover huddled in the snow and very cold indeed. So he pulled off his coat and wrapped it about her shoulders, although she tried her best to prevent him from making such a sacrifice, but he said:
"I will certainly suffer more seeing you shiver, than I would from the cold itself."
You see he was a kind-hearted Villain, and it was too bad that he was painted to look like one at all.
So he dug a hole in a snowbank and they crawled into it, and in that way they were shielded from the wind.
Night came on and Kernel Cob and Jackie Tar searched about, but it was so dark that they could not tell where they were going, but only went round and round in circles.
In the morning the snow stopped falling, and if it hadn't been so cold it would have been a very beautiful sight. Snow lay all about them as far as the eye could reach.
You must know that in the Alps mountains, where they were, there are dogs, and very wonderful dogs they are, who live in the snowy mountains and are trained to go about to find lost travellers and to help them.
And one of these dogs came sniffing along and the first thing he did was to find the Villain, and you can imagine his and Sweetclover's delight when they saw him.
Around his neck was a little knapsack, and this he told them to untie and they would find food and a roll of fine warm wool inside.
And putting the wool about them they were soon warm as toast.
"Let us try to find Kernel Cob and Jackie Tar before they die of the cold," said the Villain.
"Very well," said Saint Bernard, for that was the name of the dog, "Come with me and we'll soon find them."
So he asked them to climb upon his back and he trotted off, and pretty soon they came to a spot where Jackie Tar's head was sticking up out of the snow. In a jiffy they had him out and sitting on the Dog's back.
"Hurrah!" shouted the Villain, "now for Kernel Cob."
In less than a minute they came to a little mound of snow.
So the Dog trotted up to it, and round on the other side they discovered an opening like a door, and inside lay Kernel Cob asleep, snoring away like anything.
So they wakened him and he was glad to see them, you may be sure.
And he climbed upon the Dog's back and all four rode off.
"Where are you going?" he asked them.
"We were on our way to the North Pole when our pigeons died," explained Jackie Tar.
"I'd like to take you there, if I could," said the Dog, "but I can't leave my work here. But I'll take you to the foot of the mountains, and there I'll have you meet a friend of mine who will take you to a ship going to the North Pole."
"Thank you very much," said Sweetclover. "We shall never be able to pay you for your kindness."
"Thank you, Miss," said the Dog. "I'm sure it will make me very happy to know that I helped you."
And when they arrived at the foot of the mountain he introduced them to his friend, a French poodle named Pierre, and when it was come time to say good-bye, he gave them each his paw and the last they saw of him was his bushy tail wagging behind him, as he trotted up the snowy mountain where he did so much good.
I love dogs best of all God's creatures, They have such noble, honest features, You never really have to scold 'em Because they do just what you've told 'em.
And even dogs that have no beauty Are always quick to do their duty, For they are faithful friends, and true, And gladly give their lives for you.
"Well," said their new friend Pierre, "That was a bad storm."
"We would have been lost in the snow, if it had not been for your good friend Saint Bernard," said Sweetclover.
And Pierre took them to a seaport and put them on a sailing vessel which is called a whaler.
"I have heard that this ship makes many voyages to the North," said Pierre, "And I'm sure that it will take you where you want to go."
"You are very kind," said Sweetclover, "and we shall always remember how good you have been to us."
"It is a pleasure to be of service to you," said Pierre.
And they said good-bye to him and went aboard the whaler.
The next morning the vessel set sail amid great cheering from a crowd which had gathered on the dock, and for days they sailed and sailed, and it got colder and colder till the vessel came to great fields of ice.
But the dolls were happy, for they thought they were getting close to the North Pole and soon they would find Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather.
"Do you think you will know them when you see them?" asked Jackie Tar.
"I'm sure of it," answered Kernel Cob, "for I remember just the way they looked in the glass ball that the Magician showed us in India."
And one night as they were sailing along, the dolls crept out on the deck to see where they might be, for all the time they were on the ship they were down in the hold to be out of sight.
And they sat on a coil of rope but could see nothing except the great wide sea and the beautiful blue sky.
And they fell asleep.
But the vessel began to rock and, waking, they saw that a storm had risen.
"Quick," said the Villain, "we must get down out of danger, for if we sit here we shall be swept overboard."
But Kernel Cob who loved all sorts of adventures didn't want to go.
"I love to be in danger," said he.
"That's not sensible," said Sweetclover. "There is enough danger in the world without looking for more of it. Come, let us go."
And the storm grew worse and worse, and the vessel was rolling and it was with great difficulty that they could stand.
And now something very sad was about to happen, something I would like not to tell you, but it really happened, so I must.
As Sweetclover stood up to move she slipped and fell upon the deck and would have rolled overboard if the Villain hadn't caught her, but alas! his generous action brought about his own misfortune for the vessel lurched at that moment and he was carried down to the side and before he could regain his balance he was swept overboard.
There was no time to stand there, for nothing could be done and sadly Kernel Cob lifted Sweetclover and carried her below.
Let us not dwell upon the sadness of our poor little friends, but let us feel sure that no matter how long they live and no matter where they go, they will always remember this good, true, unselfish friend who was willing to lose his own life to save another's.
* * * * *
And at length the vessel stuck in the ice and that was as far as they could go. Kernel Cob put his head out of the window of the vessel, which is called a port-hole, and saw nothing but ice, great fields of ice, greenish white and it was bitter cold. But Sweetclover had found some strips of woolen cloth on the ship which Jackie Tar had torn and tied about them to keep them warm, for sailors, you know, are very handy because they have no women about to help them to sew their clothes and cannot be running to the stores to buy things.
A Villain must be very horrid To wear a frown upon his forehead And lead a wicked pirate crew To do the awful things they do.
It's quite as easy to be good And kind to all, as children should, For grown-ups never give you toys If you are naughty girls and boys.
Besides, if you do what is right Your mother kisses you at night, And who could sleep in peaceful bliss Without a mother's good-night kiss?
And Jackie Tar had found a little compass on the ship, and this he had put in his pocket, for said he:
"You can never tell when you may be lost around the North Pole."
So they went ashore and, after Jackie had taken his bearings with his compass to see which way to go, they set out to walk to the North Pole.
And after they had walked for hours and hours, they saw a little bear, which is called a cub.
"I wonder if he is a tame bear," said Sweetclover.
And Kernel Cob went up to him as brave as you please and put out his hand to the bear and said:
"Hello, Teddy!" but the bear growled and showed his teeth.
"Don't start anything like that," said Kernel Cob, "unless you want to get hurt."
"Well, don't you call me names," said the Cub.
"Who's calling you names?" asked Kernel Cob.
"You are," said the Cub.
"What name did I call you?" asked Kernel Cob.
"Would you like to be called after a make-believe bear if you were a real one?" asked the Cub.
"No, I guess not," said Kernel Cob.
"Well then," said the Cub.
"Excuse me," said Kernel Cob, for he liked to see anybody who had spunk.
And they shook hands and were friends at once.
"Who are you?" asked the Cub, "and what are you doing up here?"
"I'm Kernel Cob," said he, "and this is Sweetclover and Jackie Tar," and the cub came forward and shook hands with them, and really he had very nice manners for a bear who lived so far away from nice people and things.
"You haven't told me what you are doing way up here."
"We're looking for Jackie and Peggs' motheranfather," answered Kernel Cob, "and we believe they are up here near the North Pole. Are we far away from it?"