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Full text of "The sea fairies"

Baum 

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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 



CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 




PRESENTED BY 



SUSAN BLISS 




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Books by L. Frank Baum 

Illustrated by John R. Neill 

Each book handsomely bound in artistic pictorial cover. $1.25 per volume 

THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ 

Mr. Baum is the most inventive writer of fairy tales in all the world to-day. 
The "Oz" stories teem with favorites new and old, for children miss any old char- 
acter and immediately demand reinstatement, so, after long experience, Mr. Baum 
brought along the old and created new ones for each succeeding book, until now 
' THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ " assembles more characters than possibly 
any other children's book contains. 

16 full-page pictures in {our colors and green bronze, 100 black-and-white 
illustrations. Stunning Jacket in four colors and aluminum and green bronze. 

THE ROAD TO OZ 

Tells how to reach the Magic City of Oz over a road leading through lands of 
many colors, peopled with odd characters, and surcharged with adventure suitable 
for the minds and imaginations of young children. The manufacture represents 
an entirely new idea the paper used is of various colors to indicate the several 
countries traversed by the road leading to Oz and the Emerald City. 

Unique and gorgeous Jacket in colors and gold. 

THE LAND OF OZ 

An account of the adventures of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Jack 
Pumpkinhead, the Animated Saw- Horse, the Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, 
the Gump and many other delightful characters. 

Nearly 150 black-and-white illustrations and sixteen full-page pictures in colors. 

OZMA OF OZ 

The story tells "more about Dorothy," as well as those famous characters, 
the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, and something of 
several new creations equally delightful, including Tiktok the machine man, the 
Yellow Hen, the Nome King and the Hungry Tiger. 

Forty-one full-page colored pictures; twenty-two half 
pages in color and fifty black-and-white text pictures. 

DOROTHY AND THE WIZARD IN OZ 

In this book Dorothy, with Zeb, a little boy friend, and Jim, the Cab Horse, 
are swallowed up in an earthquake and reach a strange vegetable land, whence 
they escape to the land of Oz, and meet all their old friends. Among the new 
characters are Eureka, Dorothy's Pink Kitten, and the Nine Tiny Piglets. 

Gorgeously illustrated with sixteen full color pages and numerous black-and-white pictures. 

JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB 

A whimsical tale portraying the exciting adventures of the 
Gingerbread Man and his comrade, Chick the Cherub, in the 
" Palace of Romance," the " Land of the Mifkets," " High- 
land and Lowland," and other places. 

Forty full-page colored pictures ; twenty colored pictor- 
ial chapter headings ; 100 black-and-white text pictures. 





THE SEA FAIRIES 



BY 

L. FRANK BAUM 

AUTHOR OF THE EMERALD CITY OF OZ, DOROTHY AND THE 

WIZARD IN OZ, OZMA OF OZ, THE ROAD TO OZ, 

THE LAND OF OZ, ETC. 




ILLUSTRATED BY 

JOHN R. NEILL 



CHICAGO 

THE REILLY & BRITTON CO. 
PUBLISHERS 




RIGHTS RESERVED 




r- 



PBOPKKTY OF THE 
CITY OF NEW YOfiX 



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H53I646 




THE oceans are big and broad. I believe two-thirds of the 
earth's surface is covered with water. What people inhabit 
this water has always been a subject of curiosity to the 
inhabitants of the land. Strange creatures come from the seas 
at times, and perhaps in the ocean depths are many, more strange 
than mortal eye has ever gazed upon. 

This story is fanciful. In it the sea people talk and act 
much as we do, and the mermaids especially are not unlike the 
fairies with whom we have learned to be familiar. Yet they 
are real sea people, for all that, and with the exception of Zog 
the Magician they are all supposed to exist in the ocean's depths. 

I am told that some very learned people deny that mermaids 
or sea-serpents have ever inhabited the oceans, but it would be 
very difficult for them to prove such an assertion unless they had 
lived under the water as Trot and Cap'n Bill did in this story. 

I hope my readers who have so long followed Dorothy's 
adventures in the Land of Oz will be interested in Trot's equally 
strange experiences. The ocean has always appealed to me as 
a veritable wonderland, and this story has been suggested to me 
many times by my young correspondents in their letters. Indeed, 
a good many children have implored me to "write something 
about the mermaids," and I have willingly granted the request. 

Hollywood, 79/7. L. FRANK BAUM. 




LIST OF CHAPTERS 

CHAPTER 

i TROT AND CAP'N BILL 1 1 

2 THE MERMAIDS 20 

3 THE DEPTHS OF THE DEEP BLUE SEA .... 33 

4 THE PALACE OF QUEEN AQUAREINE 44 

5 THE SEA SERPENT 56 

6 EXPLORING THE OCEAN 63 

7 THE ARISTOCRATIC CODFISH 76 

8 A BANQUET UNDER WATER 92 

9 THE BASHFUL OCTOPUS 100 

10 AN UNDISCOVERED ISLAND no 

1 1 ZOG THE TERRIBLE, AND His SEA DEVILS 120 

12 THE ENCHANTED CASTLE 128 

13 PRISONERS OF THE SEA MONSTER 140 

I4 CAP'N JOE AND CAP'N BILL 153 

15 THE MAGIC OF THE MERMAIDS 163 

1 6 THE TOP OF THE GREAT DOME 179 

17 THE QUEEN'S GOLDEN SWORD 187 

1 8 A DASH FOR LIBERTY 201 

19 KING ANKO TO THE RESCUE 207 

20 THE HOME OF THE OCEAN MONARCH. . . 214 

2 1 KING JOE 228 

22 TROT LIVES TO TELL THE TALE 235 





"NOBODY," said Cap'n Bill, solemnly, "ever sawr a mer- 
maid an' lived to tell the tale." 

'Why not*?" asked Trot, looking earnestly up into the 
old sailor's face. 

They were seated on a bench built around a giant acacia 
tree that grew just at the edge of the bluff. Below them 
rolled the blue waves of the great Pacific. A little way 
behind them was the house, a neat frame cottage painted 
white and surrounded by huge eucalyptus and pepper trees. 
Still farther behind that a quarter of a mile distant but 
built upon a bend of the coast was the village, overlooking 
a pretty bay. 

Cap'n Bill and Trot came often to this tree, to sit and 
watch the ocean below them. The sailor man had one "meat 
leg" and one "hickory leg," and he often said the wooden 

11 



The Sea Fairies 



one was the best of the two. Once Cap'n Bill had com- 
manded and owned the "Anemone," a trading schooner that 
plied along the coast; and in those days Charlie Griffiths, 
who was Trot's father, had been the Captain's mate. But 
ever since Cap'n Bill's accident, when he lost his leg, Charlie 
Griffiths had been the captain of the little schooner while his 
old master lived peacefully ashore with the Griffiths family. 

This was about the time Trot was born, and the old sailor 
became very fond of the baby girl. Her real name was 
Mayre, but when she grew big enough to walk she took so 
many busy little steps every day that both her mother and 
Cap'n Bill nicknamed her "Trot," and so she was thereafter 
mostly called. 

It was the old sailor who taught the child to love the 
sea to love it almost as much as he and her father did and 
these two, who represented the "beginning and the end of 
life" became firm friends and constant companions. 

'Why hasn't anybody seen a mermaid and lived?" 
asked Trot, again. 

" 'Cause mermaids is fairies, an' ain't meant to be seen 
by us mortal folk," replied Cap'n Bill. 

"But if anyone happens to see 'em, what then, Cap'n?" 

"Then," he answered, slowly wagging his head, "the 
mermaids give 'em a smile an' a wink, an' they dives into the 
water an' gets drownded." 

12 



The Sea Fairies 



"S'pose they know how to swim, Cap'n Bill?" 
'That don't make any difFrence, Trot. The mermaids 
live deep down, an' the poor mortals never come up again." 

The little girl was thoughtful for a moment. 

"But why do folks dive in the water when the mermaids 
smile an' wink 1 ?" she asked. 

"Mermaids," he said, gravely, "is the most beautifulest 
creatures in the world or the water, either. You know 
what they 're like, Trot; they 's got a lovely lady's form down 
to the waist, an' then the other half of 'em 's a fish, with green 
an' purple an' pink scales all adown it." 

"Have they got arms, Cap'n Bill?' 

'Course, Trot; arms like any other lady. An' pretty 
faces that smile an' look mighty sweet an' fetchin'. Their 
hair is long an' soft an' silky, an' floats all around 'em in the 
water. When they comes up atop the waves they wring the 
water out 'n their hair and sing songs that go right to your 
heart. If anybody is unlucky enough to be 'round jes' then, 
the beauty o' them mermaids an' their sweet songs charm 'em 
like magic; so 's they plunge into the waves to get to the mer- 
maids. But the mermaids have n't any hearts, Trot, no 
more J n a fish has ; so they laughs when the poor people 
drown, an' don't care a fig. That 's why I says, an' I says it 
true, that nobody never sawr a mermaid an' lived to tell the 
tale." 

H 



Chapter One 



"Nobody?" asked Trot. 

"Nobody a tall." 

"Then how do you know, Cap'n Bill?' asked the little 
girl, looking up into his face with big round eyes. 

Cap'n Bill coughed. Then he tried to sneeze, to gain 
time. Then he took out his red cotton handkerchief and 
wiped his bald head with it, rubbing hard so as to make him 
think clearer. 

"Look, Trot; ain't that a brig out there?' he inquired, 
pointing to a sail far out in the sea. 

"How does anybody know about mermaids, if those who 
have seen them never lived to tell about them?" she asked 
again. 

"Know what about 'em, Trot?' 

"About their green and pink scales, and pretty songs, and 
wet hair." 

"They don't know, I guess. But mermaids jes' natcherly 
has to be like that, or they would n't be mermaids." 

She thought this over. 

"Somebody must have lived, Cap'n Bill," she declared, 
positively. "Other fairies have been seen by mortals; why 
not mermaids?" 

"P'raps they have, Trot; p'raps they have," he answered, 
musingly. "I 'm tellin' you as it was told to me; but I never 
stopped to inquire into the matter so clost, before. Seems 

15 



The Sea Fairies 



like folks would n't know so much about mermaids if they 
had n't seen 'em; an' yet accordin' to all accounts the victim 
is bound to get drownded." 

"P'raps," suggested Trot, softly, "someone found a foty- 
graph of one of 'em." 

'That might 'a' been, Trot; that might 'a' been," 
answered Cap'n Bill. 

A nice man was Cap'n Bill, and Trot knew he always 
liked to explain everything so she could fully understand it. 
The aged sailor was not a very tall man, and some people 
might have called him chubby, or even fat. He wore a blue 
sailor shirt, with white anchors worked on the corners of the 
broad square collar, and his blue trousers were very wide at 
the bottom. He always wore one trouser leg over his 
wooden limb and sometimes it would flutter in the wind like 
a flag, because it was so wide and the wooden leg so slender. 
His rough kersey coat was a pea-jacket and came down to his 
waist line. In the big pockets of his jacket he kept a won- 
derful jackknife, and his pipe and tobacco, and many bits of 
string, and matches and keys and lots of other things. When- 
ever Cap'n Bill thrust a chubby hand into one of his pockets 
Trot watched him with breathless interest, for she never 
knew what he was going to pull out. 

The old sailor's face was brown as a berry. He had a 
fringe of hair around the back of his head and a fringe of 

16 



Chapter One 



whisker around the edge of his face, running from ear to ear 
and underneath his chin. His eyes were light blue and kind 
in expression. His nose was big and broad and his few teeth 
were not strong enough to crack nuts with. 

Trot liked Cap'n Bill and had a great deal of confidence 




in his wisdom, and a great admiration for his ability to make 
tops and whistles and toys with that marvelous jackknife 
of his. In the village were many boys and girls of her own 
age, but she never had as much fun playing with them as she 
had wandering by the sea accompanied by the old sailor and 
listening to his fascinating stories. 

17 



The Sea Fairies 



She knew all about the Flying Dutchman, and Davy 
Jones' Locker, and Captain Kidd, and how to harpoon a 
whale or dodge an iceberg, or lasso a seal. Cap'n Bill had 
been everywhere in the world, almost, on his many voyages. 
He had been wrecked on desert islands like Robinson Crusoe 
and been attacked by cannibals, and had a host of other 
exciting adventures. So he was a delightful comrade for the 
little girl, and whatever Cap'n Bill knew Trot was sure to 
know in time. 

"How do the mermaids live?" she asked. "Are they in 
caves, or just in the water like fishes, or how?" 

"Can't say, Trot," he replied. "I 've asked divers about 
that, but none of 'em ever run acrost a mermaid's nest yet, as 
I 've heard of." 

"If they 're fairies," she said, "their homes must be very 
pretty." 

"Mebbe so, Trot; but damp. They 're sure to be damp, 
you know." 

"I 'd like to see a mermaid, Cap'n Bill," said the child, 
earnestly. 

'What, an' git drownded?" he exclaimed. 

"No; and live to tell the tale. If they 're beautiful, and 
laughing, and sweet, there can't be much harm in them, I 'm 



sure.' 



Mermaids is mermaids," remarked Cap'n Bill, in his 

18 



Chapter One 



most solemn voice. "It would n't do us any good to mix up 
with 'em, Trot." 

"May re! May re!" called a voice from the house. 

"Yes, Mamma!" 
'You an' Cap'n Bill come in to supper." 





THE next morning, as soon as Trot had helped wipe tne 
breakfast dishes and put them away in the cupboard, the lit- 
tle girl and Cap'n Bill started out toward the bluff. 

The air was soft and warm, and the sun turned the edges 
of the waves into sparkling diamonds. Across the bay the 
last of the fisherboats was speeding away out to sea, for well 
the fishermen knew this was an ideal day to catch rockbass, 
barracuda and yellowtail. 

The old man and the young girl stood on the bluff and 
watched all this with interest. Here was their world. 

"It is n't a bit rough this morning. Let 's have a boat ride, 
Cap'n Bill," said the child. 

"Suits me to a T," declared the sailor. 

So they found the winding path that led down the face 
of the cliff to the narrow beach below, and cautiously began 

20 



Chapter Two 



the descent. Trot never minded the steep path or the loose 
rocks at all; but Cap'n Bill's wooden leg was not so useful 
on a down grade as on a level, and he had to be careful not 
to slip and take a tumble. 

But by and by they reached the sands and walked to a 
spot just beneath the big acacia tree that grew on the bluff. 
Halfway to the top of the cliff hung suspended a little shed 
like structure that sheltered Trot's rowboat, for it was nec- 
essary to pull the boat out of reach of the waves which beat 
in fury against the rocks at high tide. About as high up as 
Cap'n Bill could reach was an iron ring, securely fastened to 
the cliff, and to this ring was tied a rope. The old sailor 
unfastened the knot and began paying out the rope, and the 
rowboat came out of its shed and glided slowly downward to 
the beach. It hung on a pair of davits, and was lowered 
just as a boat is lowered from a ship's side. When it reached 
the sands the sailor unhooked the ropes and pushed the boat 
to the water's edge. It was a pretty little craft, light and 
strong, and Cap'n Bill knew how to sail it or row it, as Trot 
might desire. 

To-day they decided to row, so the girl climbed into the 
bow and her companion stuck his wooden leg into the water's 
edge, "so he would n't get his foot wet," and pushed off the 
little boat as he climbed aboard. Then he seized the oars 
and began gently paddling. 

21 



The Sea Fairies 



'Whither away, Commodore Trot?" he asked gaily. 

"I don't care, Cap'n. It 's just fun enough to be on the 
water," she answered, trailing one hand overboard. 

So he rowed around by the North Promontory, where the 
great caves were, and much as they were enjoying the ride 
they soon began to feel the heat of the sun. 

'That 's Dead Man's Cave, 'cause a skellington was 
found there," observed the child, as they passed a dark yawn- 
ing mouth in the cliff. "And that 's Bumble Cave, 'cause the 
bumblebees make nests in the top of it. And here 's Smug- 
gler's Cave, 'cause the smugglers used to hide things in it." 

She knew all the caves well, and so did Cap'n Bill. 
Many of them opened just at the water's edge and it was pos- 
sible to row their boat far into their dusky depths. 

"And here 's Echo Cave," she continued, dreamily, as 
they slowly moved along the coast; "and Giant's Cave, and 
oh, Cap'n Bill! do you s'pose there were ever any giants 
in that cave*?" 

'Pears like there must 'a' been, Trot, or they would n't 
'a' named it that name," he replied, pausing to wipe his bald 
head with the red handkerchief, while the oars dragged in 
the water. 

'We 've never been into that cave, Cap'n," she remarked, 
looking at the small hole in the cliff an archway through 
which the water flowed. "Let 's go in now." 

22 



Chapter Two 



'What for, Trot?" 

'To see if there 's a giant there." 

"H-m. Are n't you 'f raid?" 

"No; are you? I just don't b'lieve it 's big enough for 
a giant to get into." 

'Your father was in there once," remarked Cap'n Bill, 
"an' he says it 's the biggest cave on the coast, but low down. 
It 's full o' water, an' the water 's deep down to the very bot- 
tom o' the ocean ; but the rock roof 's liable to bump your 
head at high tide." 

"It 's low tide now," returned Trot. "And how could 
any giant live in there if the roof is so low down?" 

'Why, he could n't, mate. I reckon they must have 
called it Giant's Cave 'cause it 's so big, an' not 'cause any 
giant man lived there." 

"Let 's go in," said the girl, again; "I 'd like to 'splore 
it." 

"All right," replied the sailor. "It '11 be cooler in there 
than out here in the sun. We won't go very far, for when 
the tide turns we might n't get out again." 

He picked up the oars and rowed slowly toward the cave. 
The black archway that marked its entrance seemed hardly 
big enough to admit the boat, at first; but as they drew nearer 
the opening became bigger. The sea was very calm here, for 
the headland shielded it from the breeze. 

23 



The Sea Fairies 



"Look out fer your head, Trot!" cautioned Cap'n Bill, 
as the boat glided slowly into the rocky arch. 

But it was the sailor who had to duck, instead of the lit- 
tle girl. Only for a moment, though. Just beyond the 
opening the cave was higher, and as the boat floated into the 
dim interior they found themselves on quite an extensive 
branch of the sea. 

For a time neither of them spoke and only the soft lap- 
ping of the water against the sides of the boat was heard. A 
beautiful sight met the eyes of the two adventurers and held 
them dumb with wonder and delight. 

It was not dark in this vast cave, yet the light seemed to 
come from underneath the water, which all around them 
glowed with an exquisite sapphire color. Where the little 
waves crept up to the sides of the rocks they shone like bril- 
liant jewels, and every drop of spray seemed a gem fit to 
deck a queen. 

Trot leaned her chin on her hands and her elbows on her 
lap and gazed at this charming sight with real enjoyment. 
Cap'n Bill drew in the oars and let the boat drift where it 
would, while he also sat silently admiring the scene. 

Slowly the little craft crept farther and farther into the 
dim interior of the vast cavern, while its two passengers 
feasted their eyes on the beauties constantly revealed. Both 
the old seaman and the little girl loved the ocean in all its 

24 



Chapter Two 



various moods. To them it was a constant companion and a 
genial comrade. If it stormed and raved they laughed with 
glee ; if it rolled great breakers against the shore they clapped 
their hands joyfully; if it lay slumbering at their feet they 
petted and caressed it; but always they loved it. 




Here was the ocean yet. It had crept under the dome of 
overhanging rock to reveal itself crowned with sapphires and 
dressed in azure gown, revealing in this guise new and un- 
suspected charms. 

"Good morning, Mayre," said a sweet voice. 

Trot gave a start and looked around her in wonder. Just 



he Sea Fairies 



beside her in the water were little eddies circles withm cir- 
cles such as are caused when anything sinks below the 
surface. 

"Did did you hear that, Cap'n Bill?" she whispered, 
solemnly. 

Cap'n Bill did not answer. He was staring, with eyes 
that fairly bulged out, at a place behind Trot's back, and he 
shook a little, as if trembling from cold. 

Trot turned half around and then she stared, too. 

Rising from the blue water was a fair face around which 
floated a mass of long, blonde hair. It was a sweet, girlish 
face, with eyes of the same deep blue as the water and red 
lips whose dainty smile disclosed two rows of pearly teeth. 
The cheeks were plump and rosy, the brows gracefully pen- 
ciled, while the chin was rounded and had a pretty dimple 
in it. 

'The the most beauti-ful-est in all the world!" 
murmured Cap'n Bill, in a voice of horror; "an' no one has 
ever lived to to tell the tale!" 

There was a peal of merry laughter, at this ; laughter that 
rippled and echoed throughout the cavern. Just at Trot's 
side appeared a new face even fairer than the other with 
a wealth of brown hair wreathing the lovely features. And 
the eyes smiled kindly into those of the child. 

"Are you a a mermaid'?" asked Trot, curiously. 

26 



Chapter Two 



She was not a bit afraid. They seemed both gentle and 
friendly. 

'Yes, dear," was the soft answer. 

'We are all mermaids!" chimed a laughing chorus, and 
here and there, all about the boat, appeared pretty faces 
lying just upon the surface of the water. 

"Are you part fishes?" asked Trot, greatly pleased by 
this wonderful sight. 

"No, we are all mermaid," replied the one with the brown 
hair. 'The fishes are partly like us, because they live in the 
sea and must move about. And you are partly like us, 
Mayre dear, but have awkward stiff legs so you may walk on 
the land. But the mermaids lived before fishes and before 
mankind, so both have borrowed something from us." 

'Then you must be fairies, if you 've lived always," 
remarked Trot, nodding wisely. 

'We are, dear; we are the water fairies," answered the 
one with the blonde hair, coming nearer and rising till her 
slender white throat showed plainly. 

'We we 're goners, Trot!" sighed Cap'n Bill, with a 
white, woebegone face. 

"I guess not, Cap'n," she answered calmly. 'These 
pretty mermaids are n't going to hurt us, I 'm sure." 

"No, indeed," said the first one who had spoken. "If we 
were wicked enough to wish to harm you our magic could 

2? 



The Sea Fairies 



reach you as easily upon the land as in this cave. But we 
love little girls dearly, and wish only to please them and 
make their lives more happy." 

"I believe that!" cried Trot, earnestly. 

Cap'n Bill groaned. 

"Guess why we have appeared to you," said another mer- 
maid, coming to the side of the boat. 

"Why?" asked the child. 

'We heard you say yesterday you would like to see a 
mermaid, and so we decided to grant your wish." 

'That was real nice of you," said Trot, gratefully. 

"Also we heard all the foolish things Cap'n Bill said 
about us," remarked the brown haired one, smilingly; "and 
we wanted to prove to him they were wrong." 

"I on'y said what I 've heard," protested Cap'n Bill. 
"Never havin' seen a mermaid afore, I could n't be ackerate; 
an' I never expected to see one an' live to tell the tale." 

Again the cave rang with merry laughter, and as it died 
away Trot said: 

"May I see your scales, please? And are they green and 
purple and pink, like Cap'n Bill said?" 

They seemed undecided what to say to this, and swam a 
little way off, where the beautiful heads formed a group that 
was delightful to see. Perhaps they talked together, for the 

28 



The Sea Fairies 



brown haired mermaid soon came back to the side of the boat 
and asked : 

'Would you like to visit our kingdom, and see all the 
wonders that exist below the sea?" 

"I'd like to," replied Trot, promptly; "but I couldn't. 
I 'd get drowned." 

'That you would, mate!" cried Cap'n Bill. 

"Oh, no," said the mermaid. 'We would make you both 
like one of ourselves, and then you could live within the 
water as easily as we do." 

"I don't know as I 'd like it," said the child; "at least, for 
always." 

'You need not stay with us a moment longer than you 
please," returned the mermaid, smiling as if amused at the 
remark. 'Whenever you are ready to return home we prom- 
ise to bring you to this place again and restoce to you the 
same forms you are now wearing." 

"Would I have a fish's tail?" asked Trot, earnestly. 

'You would have a mermaid's tail," was the reply. 

'What color would my scales be pink, or purple?" 

'You may choose the color yourself." 

"Look a' here, Trot!" said Cap'n Bill, in excitement, 
"you ain't thinkin' o' doin' such a fool thing, are you?" 

'Course I am," declared the little girl. 'We don't get 

30 



Chapter Two 



such inv'tations every day, Cap'n; and if I don't go now I 
may never find out how the mermaids live." 

"I don't care how they live, myself," said Cap'n Bill. "I 
jes' want 'em to let me live." 

'There 's no danger," insisted Trot. 

"I do' know 'bout that. That 's what all the other folks 
said when they dove after the mermaids an' got drownded." 

"Who?" asked the girl. 

"I don't know who; but I 've heard tell ' 

'You 've heard that no one ever saw a mermaid and 
lived," said Trot. 

'To tell the tale," he added, nodding. "An' if we dives 
down, like they says, we won't live ourselves." 

All the mermaids laughed at this, and the brown haired 
one said : 

'Well, if you are afraid, don't come. You may row your 
boat out of this cave and never see us again, if you like. 
We merely thought it would please little Mayre, and were 
willing to show her the sights of our beautiful home." 

"I 'd like to see 'em, all right," said Trot, her eyes glis- 
tening with pleasure. 

"So would I," admitted Cap'n Bill; "if we would live to 
tell the tale." 

"Don't you believe us 1 ?" asked the mermaid, fixing her 

31 



The Sea Fairies 



lovely eyes on those of the old sailor and smiling prettily. 
"Are you afraid to trust us to bring you safely back?" 

"N n n-o," said Cap'n Bill; " 'tain't that. I 've got 
to look after Trot." 

'Then you '11 have to come with me," said Trot, decid- 
edly, "for I 'm going to 'cept this inv'tation. If you don't 
care to come, Cap'n Bill, you go home and tell mother I 'm 
visitin' the mermaids." 

"She 'd scold me inter shivers!" moaned Cap'n Bill, with 
a shudder. "I guess I 'd ruther take my chances down 
below." 

"All right; I'm ready, Miss Mermaid," said Trot. 
"What shall I do? Jump in, clothes an' all?" 

"Give me your hand, dear," answered the mermaid, lift- 
ing a lovely white arm from the water. Trot took the 
slender hand and found it warm and soft, and not a bit 
"fishy." 

"My name is Clia," continued the mermaid, "and I am a 
princess in our deep-sea kingdom." 

Just then Trot gave a flop and flopped right out of the 
boat into the water. Cap'n Bill caught a gleam of pink 
scales as his little friend went overboard, and the next 
moment there was Trot's face in the water, among those of 
the mermaids. She was laughing with glee as she looked 
up into Cap'n Bill's face and called: 

"Come on in, Cap'n! It did n't hurt a bit!" 

32 




CAP'N BILL stood up in the boat as if undecided what to 
do. Never a sailorman was more bewildered than this old 
fellow by the strangeness of the adventure he had encount- 
ered. At first he could hardly believe it was all true, and 
that he was not dreaming; but there was Trot in the water, 
laughing with the mermaids and floating comfortably about, 
and he could n't leave his dear little companion to make 
the trip to the depths of the ocean alone. 

'Take my hand, please, Cap'n Bill," said Princess Clia, 
reaching her dainty arm toward him; and suddenly the old 
man took courage and clasped the soft fingers in his own. 
He had to lean over the boat to do this, and then there came 
a queer lightness to his legs and he had a great longing to 
be in the water. So he gave a flop and flopped in beside Trot, 
where he found himself comfortable enough, but somewhat 
frightened. 

33 



The Sea Fairies 



"Law sakes! ' he gasped. "Here 's me in the water with 
my rheumatics! I '11 be that stiff termorrer I can't wiggle." 

'You 're wigglin 5 all right now," observed Trot. 
'That 's a fine tail you 've got, Cap'n, an' its green scales 
is jus' beautiful." 

"Are they green, eh?" he asked, twisting around to try 
to see them. 

"Green as em' raids, Cap'n. How do they feel*?" 

"Feel, Trot feel? Why, this tail beats that ol' wooden 
leg all holler! I kin do stunts now that I could n't 'a' done 
in a thousand years with ol' peg." 

"And don't be afraid of the rheumatism," advised the 
Princess. "No mermaid ever catches cold or suffers pain in 
the water." 

"Is Cap'n Bill a mermaid now?" asked Trot. 

'Why, he 's a merman, I suppose," laughed the pretty 
princess. "But when he gets home he will be just Cap'n 
Bill again." 

'Wooden leg an' all?" inquired the child. 
'To be sure, my dear." 

The sailor was now trying his newly-discovered powers 
of swimming, and became astonished at the feats he could 
accomplish. He could dart this way and that with wonderful 
speed, and turn and dive, and caper about in the water far 
better than he had ever been able to do on land even before 

34 



he Sea Fairies 



he got the wooden leg. And a curious thing about this present 
experience was that the water did not cling to him and wet 
him, as it had always done before. He still wore his flannel 
shirt and pea-jacket, and his sailor cap; but although he was 
in the water, and had been underneath the surface, the cloth 
still seemed dry and warm. As he dived down and came 
up again the drops flashed from his head and the fringe of 
beard, but he never needed to wipe his face or eyes at all. 

Trot, too, was having queer experiences and enjoying 
them. When she ducked under water she saw plainly every- 
thing around her, as easily and distinctly as she had ever 
seen anything above water. And by looking over her shoul- 
der she could watch the motion of her new tail, all covered 
with pretty iridescent pink scales, which gleamed like jewels. 
She wore her dress, the same as before, and the water failed 
to affect it in the least. 

She now noticed that the mermaids were clothed, too, and 
their exquisite gowns were the loveliest things the little girl 
had ever beheld. They seemed made of a material that was 
like sheeny silk, cut low in the neck and with wide flowing 
sleeves that seldom covered the shapely white arms of her 
new friends. The gowns had trains that floated far behind 
the mermaids as they swam, but were so fleecy and transpar- 
ent that the sparkle of their scales might be seen reaching 
back of their waists, where the human form ended and the 

36 



Chapter Three 



fish part began. The sea fairies wore strings of splendid 
pearls twined around their throats, while more pearls were 
sewn upon their gowns for trimmings. They did not dress 
their beautiful hair at all, but let it float around them in 
clouds. 

The little girl had scarcely time to observe all this when 
the princess said : 

"Now, my dear, if you are ready we will begin our jour- 
ney, for it is a long way to our palaces." 

"All right," answered Trot, and took the hand extended 
to her with a trustful smile. 

:< Will you allow me to guide you, Cap'n Bill?" asked 
the blonde mermaid, extending her hand to the old sailor. 

"O' course, ma'am," he said, taking her fingers rather 
bashfully. 

"My name is Merla," she continued, "and I am cousin 
to Princess Clia. We must all keep together, you know, and 
I will hold your hand to prevent your missing the way." 

While she spoke they began to descend through the water, 
and it grew quite dark for a time because the cave shut out 
the light. But presently Trot, who was eagerly looking 
around her, began to notice the water lighten and saw they 
were coming into brighter parts of the sea. 

'We have left the cave now," said Clia, "and may swim 
straight home." 

37 



The Sea Fairies 



CC1 
Cf 



"I s'pose there are no winding roads in the ocean," re- 
marked the child, swimming swiftly beside her new friend. 

"Oh, yes, indeed. At the bottom the way is far from 
being straight or level," replied Clia. "But we are in mid- 
water now, where nothing will hinder our journey, unless " 

She seemed to hesitate; so Trot asked: "Unless what?" 

''Unless we meet with disagreeable creatures," said the 
Princess. 'The mid-water is not as safe as the very bottom, 
and that is the reason we are holding your hands." 

'What good would that do?" asked Trot. 

'You must remember that we are fairies," said Princess 
Clia. "For that reason nothing in the ocean can injure us; 
but you two are mortals, and therefore not entirely safe at 
all times unless we protect you." 

Trot was thoughtful for a few moments and looked around 
her a little anxiously. Now and then a dark form would 
shoot across their pathway, or pass them at some distance; 
but none was near enough for the girl to see plainly what it 
might be. 

Suddenly they swam right into a big school of fishes, all 
yellowtails and of very large size. There must have been 
hundreds of them lying lazily in the water, and when they 
saw the mermaids they merely wiggled to one side and 
opened a path for the sea fairies to pass through. 

"Will they hurt us?" asked Trot. 

38 



Chapter Three 



"No, indeed," laughed the Princess. "Fishes are stupid 
creatures mostly, and this family is quite harmless." 

"How about sharks?" asked Cap'n Bill, who was swim- 
ming gracefully beside them, his hand clutched in that of 
pretty Merla. 

"Sharks may indeed be dangerous to you," replied Clia; 
"so I advise you to keep them at a safe distance. They never 
dare attempt to bite a mermaid, and it may be they will 
think you belong to our band ; but it is well to avoid them, if 
possible." 

"Don't get careless, Cap'n," added Trot. 

"I surely won't, mate," he replied. 'You see, I did n't 
use to be 'fraid o' sharks, 'cause if they came near I 'd stick 
my wooden leg at 'em. But now, if they happens to fancy 
these green scales, it 's all up with ol' Bill." 

"Never fear," said Merla; "I '11 take care of you on our 
journey, and in our palaces you will find no sharks at all." 

"Can't they get in?" he asked, anxiously. 

"No. The palaces of the mermaids are inhabited only 
by themselves." 

"Is there anything else to be afraid of in the sea?" asked 
the little girl, after they had swum quite a while in silence. 

"One or two things, my dear," answered Princess Clia. 
"Of course, we mermaids have great powers, being fairies; 



39 



The Sea Fairies 



yet among the sea people is one nearly as powerful as we 
are, and that is the devilfish." 

"I know," said Trot; "I 've seen 'em." 

'You have seen the smaller ones, I suppose, which some- 
times rise to the surface or go near shore, and are often caught 
by fishermen," said Clia; "but they are only second cousins 
of the terrible deep-sea devilfish to which I refer." 

'Those ones are bad enough, though," declared Cap'n 
Bill. "If you know any worse ones I don't want a interduc- 
tion to 'em." 

'The monster devilfish inhabit caves in the rugged, 
mountainous regions of the ocean," resumed the Princess, 
"and they are evil spirits who delight in injuring all who 
meet them. None lives near our palaces, so there is little 
danger of your meeting any while you are our guests." 

"I hope we won't," said Trot. 

"None for me," added Cap'n Bill. "Devils of any sort 
ought to be give a wide berth, an' devilfishes is worser ner 
sea serpents." 

"Oh, do you know the sea serpents'?" asked Merla, as if 
surprised. 

"Not much I don't," answered the sailor; "but I 've heard 
tell of folks as has seen 'em." 

"Did they ever live to tell the tale?" asked Trot. 



40 



Chapter Three 



cc* 



(I* 



"Sometimes," he replied. 'They 're jes' or-ful creatures, 
mate." 

"How easy it is to be mistaken," said Princess Clia, softly. 
'We know the sea serpents very well, and we like them." 
'You do!" exclaimed Trot. 

'Yes, dear. There are only three of them in all the 
world, and not only are they harmless, but quite bashful and 
shy. They are kind-hearted, too, and although not beautiful 
in appearance, they do many kind deeds and are generally 
beloved." 

"Where do they live?" asked the child. 
'The oldest one, who is king of this ocean, lives quite 
near us," said Clia. "His name is Anko." 

"How old is he?" inquired Cap'n Bill, curiously. 

"No one knows. He was here before the ocean came, and 
he stayed here because he learned to like the water better 
than the land as a habitation. Perhaps King Anko is ten 
thousand years old perhaps twenty thousand. We often 
lose track of the centuries down here in the sea." 

"That 's pretty old, is n't it," said Trot. "Older than 
Cap'n Bill, I guess." 

"Summat," chuckled the sailorman; "summat older, 
mate; but not much. P'raps the sea serpent ain't got gray 
whiskers." 

"Oh yes, he has," responded Merla, with a laugh. "And 

41 



The Sea Fairies 



so have his two brothers Unko and Inko. They each have 
an ocean of their own, you know; and once every hundred 
years they come here to visit their brother Anko. So we 've 
seen all three many times." 

: 'Why, how old are mermaids, then?" asked Trot, look- 
ing around at the beautiful creatures wonderingly. 

'We are like all ladies of uncertain age," rejoined the 
Princess, with a smile. 'We don't care to tell." 

"Older than Cap'n Bill?' 
'Yes, dear," said Clia. 

"But we have n't any gray whiskers," added Merla, mer- 
rily, "and our hearts are ever young." 

Trot was thoughtful. It made her feel solemn to be in 
the company of such old people. The band of mermaids 
seemed, to all appearances, young and fresh and not a bit as 
if they 'd been soaked in water for hundreds of years. The 
girl began to take more notice of the sea maidens following 
after her. More than a dozen were in the group; all very 
lovely in appearance and clothed in the same gauzy robes 
as Merla and the princess. These attendants did not join in 
the conversation, but darted here and there in sportive play, 
and often Trot heard the tinkling chorus of their laughter. 
Whatever doubts might have arisen in the child's mind, 
through the ignorant tales of her sailor friend, she now found 
the mermaids to be light-hearted, joyous and gay, and from 

42 



Chapter Three 



the first she had not been in the least afraid of her new 
companions. 

"How much farther do we have to go?" asked Cap'n 
Bill, presently. 

"Are you getting tired?" Merla inquired. 

"No," said he; "but I 'm sorter anxious to see what your 
palaces look like. Inside the water ain't as interestin' as the 
top of it. It 's fine swimmin', I '11 agree; an' I like it; but 
there ain't nuthin' special to see, that I can make out." 

'That is true, sir," replied the Princess. 'We have pur- 
posely led you through the mid-water, hoping you would see 
nothing to alarm you until you get more accustomed to our 
ocean life. Moreover, we are able to travel more swiftly 
here How far do you think we have already come, Cap'n?" 

"Oh, 'bout two mile," he answered. 

'Well, we are now hundreds of miles from the cave 
where we started," she told him. 

'You don't mean it!" he exclaimed, in wonder. 

'Then there 's magic in it," announced Trot, soberly. 

'True, my dear. To avoid tiring you, and to save time, we 
have used a little of our fairy power," said Clia. 'The 
result is that we are nearing our home. Let us go downward 
a bit, now, for you must know that the mermaid palaces are 
at the very bottom of the ocean and in its deepest part." 



43 




TROT was surprised to find it was not at all dark or gloomy 
as they descended farther into the deep sea. Things were 
not quite so clear to her eyes as they had been in the bright 
sunshine above the ocean's surface, but every object wdj dis- 
tinct, nevertheless, as if she saw it through a pane of green 
tinted glass. The water was very clear, except for this green 
shading, and the little girl had never before felt so light and 
buoyant as she did now. It was no effort at all to dart through 
the water, which seemed to support her on all sides. 

"I don't believe I weigh anything at all," she told 
Cap'n Bill. 

"No more do I, Trot," said he. "But that 's nat'ral, seein' 
as we J re under water so far. What bothers me most is how 
we manage to breathe, havin' no gills, like fishes have." 



44 



Chapter Four 



"Are you sure we have n't any gills'?" she asked, lifting 
her free hand to feel her throat. 

"Sure. Ner the mermaids have n't any, either," declared 
Cap'n Bill. 

'Then," said Trot, "we J re breathing by magic." 

The mermaids laughed at this shrewd remark, and the 
Princess said: 

'You have guessed correctly, my dear. Go a little 
slower, now, for the palaces are in sight." 

'Where?" asked Trot, eagerly. 

"Just before you." 

"In that grove of trees?" inquired the girl. And, really, 
it seemed to her they were approaching a beautiful grove. 

The bottom of the sea was covered with white sand, in 
which grew many varieties of sea shrubs with branches like 
those of trees. Not all of them were green, however, for the 
branches and leaves were of a variety of gorgeous colors. 
Some were purple, shading down to light lavender; and there 
were reds all the way from a delicate rose-pink to vivid 
shades of scarlet. Orange, yellow and blue shades were 
there, too, mingling with the sea-greens in a most charming 
manner. Altogether, Trot found the brilliant coloring some- 
what bewildering. 

These sea shrubs, which in size were quite as big and tall 
as the trees on earth, were set so close together that their 

45 



The Sea Fairies 



branches entwined; but there were several avenues leading 
into the groves, and at the entrance to each avenue the girl 
noticed several large fishes, with long spikes growing upon 
their noses. 

'These are swordfishes," remarked the Princess, as she 
led the band past one of these avenues. 

"Are they dang'rous?" asked Trot. 

"Not to us," was the reply. 'The swordfishes are among 
our most valued and faithful servants, guarding the entrances 
to the gardens which surround our palaces. If any creatures 
try to enter uninvited these guards fight them and drive them 
away. Their swords are sharp and strong, and they are fierce 
fighters, I assure you." 

"I 've known 'em to attack ships, an' stick their swords 
right through the wood," said Cap'n Bill. 

'Those belonged to the wandering tribes of swordfishes," 
explained the Princess. 'These, who are our servants, are 
too sensible and intelligent to attack ships." 

The band now headed into a broad passage through the 
"gardens," as the mermaids called these gorgeous groves, and 
the great swordfishes guarding the entrance made way for 
them to pass, afterward resuming their posts with round and 
watchful eyes. As they slowly swam along the avenue Trot 
noticed that some of the bushes seemed to have fruits grow- 



The Sea Fairies 



ing upon them; but what these fruits might be, neither she 
nor Cap'n Bill could guess. 

The way wound here and there for some distance, till 
finally they came to a more open space, all carpeted with sea 
flowers of exquisite colorings. Although Trot did not know 
it, these flowers resembled the rare orchids of earth in their 
fanciful shapes and marvelous hues. The child did not 
examine them very closely, for across the carpet of flowers 
loomed the magnificent and extensive palaces of the 
mermaids. 

These palaces were built of coral ; white, pink and yellow 
being used, and the colors arranged in graceful designs. The 
front of the main palace, which now faced them, had circular 
ends connecting the straight wall, not unlike the architecture 
we are all familiar with; yet there seemed to be no windows 
to the building, although a series of archways served as doors. 

Arriving at one of the central archways the band of sea 
maidens separated, Princess Clia and Merla leading Trot 
and Cap'n Bill into the palace, while the other mermaids 
swam swiftly away to their own quarters. 

'Welcome!" said Clia, in her sweet voice. "Here you 
are surrounded only by friends and are in perfect safety. 
Please accept our hospitality as freely as you desire, for we 
consider you honored guests. I hope you will like our home," 
she added, a little shyly. 

4 8 



Chapter Four 



'We are sure to, dear Princess," Trot hastened to say. 

Then Clia escorted them through the archway and into 
a lofty hall. It was not a mere grotto, but had smoothly built 
walls of pink coral inlaid with white. Trot at first thought 
there was no roof, for looking upward she could see the water 
all above them. But the princess, reading her thought, said 
with a smile : 

'Yes, there is a roof, or we would be unable to keep all 
the sea people out of our palace. But the roof is made of 
glass, to admit the light." 

"Glass !" cried the astonished child. 'Then it must be an 
awful big pane of glass." 

"It is," agreed Clia. "Our roofs are considered quite won- 
derful, and we owe them to the fairy powers of our queen. Of 
course, you understand there is no natural way to make glass 
under water." 

"No, indeed," said Cap'n Bill. And then he asked : "Does 
your queen live here*?" 

'Yes. She is waiting now, in her throne room, to wel- 
come you. Shall we go in?' 

"I 'd just as soon," replied Trot, rather timidly; but she 
boldly followed the princess, who glided through another 
arch into a small room, where several mermaids were reclin- 
ing upon couches of coral. They were beautifully dressed 
and wore many sparkling jewels. 

49 



The Sea Fairies 



"Her Majesty is awaiting the strangers, Princess Clia," 
announced one of these. 'You are asked to enter at once." 

"Come, then," said Clia, and once more taking Trot's 
hand she led the girl through still another arch, while Merla 
followed just behind them, escorting Cap'n Bill. 

They now entered an apartment so gorgeous that the 
child fairly gasped with astonishment. The queen's throne 
room was indeed the grandest and most beautiful chamber 
in all the ocean palaces. Its coral walls were thickly inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl, exquisitely shaded and made into bor- 
ders and floral decorations. In the corners were cabinets, upon 
the shelves of which many curious shells were arranged, all 
beautifully polished. The floor glittered with gems arranged 
in patterns of flowers, like a brilliant carpet. 

Near the center of the room was a raised platform of 
mother-of-pearl upon which stood a couch thickly studded 
with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. Here reclined 
Queen Aquareine, a being so lovely that Trot gazed upon 
her spellbound and Cap'n Bill took off his sailor cap and held 
it in his hands. 

All about the room were grouped other mother-of-pearl 
couches, not raised like that of the queen, and upon each of 
these reclined a pretty mermaid. They could not sit down as 
we do, Trot readily understood, because of their tails; but 



Chapter Four 



they rested very gracefully upon the couches, with their trail- 
ing gauzy robes arranged in fleecy folds. 

When Clia and Merla escorted the strangers down the 
length of the great room toward the royal throne they met 
with pleasant looks and smiles on every side, for the sea 
maidens were too polite to indulge in curious stares. They 
paused just before the throne, and the queen raised her head 
upon one elbow to observe them. 

''Welcome, Mayre," she said; "and welcome, Cap'n Bill. 
I trust you are pleased with your glimpse of the life beneath 
the surface of the sea." 

"/ am," answered Trot, looking admiringly at the beauti- 
ful face of the queen. 

"It 's all mighty cur'ous an' strange like," said the sailor, 
slowly. "I 'd no idee you mermaids were like this, at all !" 

"Allow me to explain that it was to correct your wrong 
ideas about us that led me to invite you to visit us," replied 
the Queen. 'We usually pay little heed to the earth people, 
for we are content in our own dominions ; but, of course, we 
know all that goes on upon your earth. So, when Princess 
Clia chanced to overhear your absurd statements concerning 
us, we were greatly amused and decided to let you see, with 
your own eyes, just what we are like." 

"I 'm glad you did," answered Cap'n Bill, dropping his 



The Sea Fairies 



eyes in some confusion as he remembered his former descrip- 
tion of the mermaids. 

"Now that you are here," continued the Queen, in a cor- 
dial, friendly tone, "you may as well remain with us a few 
days and see the wonderful sights of our ocean." 

"I 'm much obliged to you, ma'am," said Trot; "and I 'd 
like to stay, ever so much; but mother worries jus 5 dreadful if 
we don't get home in time. 5 * 

"I '11 arrange all that," said Aquareine, with a smile. 

"How 1 ?" asked the girl. 

"I will make your mother forget the passage of time, so 
she will not realize how long you are away. Then she cannot 
worry. 35 

"Can you do that 1 ?" inquired Trot. 

'Very easily. I will send your mother into a deep sleep 
that will last until you are ready to return home. Just at 
present she is seated in her chair by the front window, en- 
gaged in knitting." The queen paused to raise an arm and 
wave it slowly to and fro. Then she added : "Now your good 
mother is asleep, little Mayre, and instead of worries I prom- 
ise her pleasant dreams." 

'Won't somebody rob the house while she's asleep 1 ?" 
asked the child anxiously. 

"No, dear. My charm will protect the house from any 
intrusion. 55 

52 



Chapter Four 



'That 's fine!" exclaimed Trot in delight. 

"It 's jes' won-erful!" said Cap'n Bill. "I wish I knew it 
was so. Trot's mother has a awful sharp tongue when she 's 
worrited." 

'You may see for yourselves," declared the Queen, and 
waved her hand again. 

At once they saw before them the room in the cottage, with 
Mayre's mother asleep by the window. Her knitting was in 
her lap and the cat lay curled up beside her chair. It was 
all so natural that Trot thought she could hear the clock over 
the fireplace tick. After a moment the scene faded away, 
when the queen asked with another smile: "Are you 
satisfied?' 

"Oh, yes !" cried Trot. "But how could you do it?' 

"It is a form of mirage," was the reply. 'We are able to 
bring any earth scene before us whenever we wish. Some- 
times these scenes are reflected above the water, so that mor- 
tals also observe them." 

"I Ve seen 'em," said Cap'n Bill, nodding. "I 've seen 
mirages; but I never knowed what caused 'em, afore now." 

'Whenever you see anything you do not understand, and 
wish to ask questions, I will be very glad to answer them," 
said the Oueen. 

f^r 

"One thing that bothers me," said Trot, "is why we don't 
get wet, being in the ocean with water all around us." 

53 



The Sea Fairies 



'That is because no water really touches you," explained 
the Queen. 'Your bodies have been made just like those of 
the mermaids, in order that you may fully enjoy your visit 
to us. One of our peculiar qualities is that water is never 
permitted to quite touch our bodies, or our gowns. Always 
there remains a very small space, hardly a hair's breadth 




between us and the water, which is the reason we are always 
warm and dry." 

: 'I see," said Trot. 'That 's why you don't get soggy, or 
withered." 

"Exactly," laughed the Queen, and the other mermaids 
joined in her merriment. 

54 



Chapter Four 



"I s'pose that 's how we can breathe without gills," re- 
marked Cap'n Bill, thoughtfully. 

'Yes; the air space is constantly replenished from the 
water, which contains air, and this enables us to breathe as 
freely as you do upon the earth." 

"But we have fins," said Trot, looking at the fin that stood 
upright on Cap'n Bill's back. 

'Yes; they allow us to guide ourselves as we swim, and so 
are very useful," replied the Queen. 

'They make us more finished," said Cap'n Bill, with a 
chuckle. Then, suddenly becoming grave, he asked : "How 
'bout my rheumatics, ma'am? Ain't I likely to get stiffened 
up with all this dampness?" 

"No, indeed," Aquareine answered; "there is no such 
thing as rheumatism in all our dominions. I promise no evil 
result shall follow this visit to us, so please be as happy and 
contented as possible." 





JUST then Trot happened to look up at the glass roof and 
saw a startling sight. A big head, with a face surrounded by 
stubby gray whiskers, was poised just over them, and the head 
was connected with a long, curved body that looked much like 
a sewer pipe. 

"Oh, there is King Anko," said the Queen, following the 
child's gaze. "Open a door and let him in, Clia, for I suppose 
our old friend is anxious to see the earth people." 

"Won't he hurt us?" asked the little girl, with a shiver of 
fear. 

'Who, Anko? Oh, no, my dear! We are very fond of the 
sea serpent, who is king of this ocean, although he does not 
rule the mermaids. Old Anko is a very agreeable fellow, as 
you will soon discover." 

"Can he talk? 9 asked Trot. 

56 



Chapter Five 



'Yes, indeed." 

"And can we understand what he says?" 

"Perfectly," replied the Queen. "I have given you power, 
while you remain here, to understand the language of every 
inhabitant of the sea." 

"That 's nice," said Trot, gratefully. 

The Princess Clia swam slowly to one of the walls of the 
throne room where, at a wave of her hand, a round hole ap- 
peared in the coral. The sea serpent at once observed this 
opening and the head left the roof of glass only to reappear 
presently at the round hole. Through this he slowly crawled, 
until his head was just beneath the throne of Queen 
Aquareine, who said to him : 

"Good morning, your Majesty. I hope you are quite 
well?" 

"Quite well, thank your Majesty," answered Anko; and 
then he turned to the strangers. "I suppose these are the 
earth folks you were expecting?" 

'Yes," returned the Queen; "the girl is named Mayre, 
and the man Cap'n Bill." 

While the sea serpent looked at the visitors they ven- 
tured to look at him. He certainly was a queer creature, yet 
Trot decided he was not at all frightful. His head was 
round as a ball, but his ears were sharp pointed and had tas- 
sels at the ends of them. His nose was flat and his mouth 

57 



The Sea Fairies 



very wide indeed, but his eyes were blue and gentle in expres- 
sion. The white, stubby hairs that surrounded his face were 
not thick, like a beard, but scattered and scraggly. From the 
head, the long brown body of the sea serpent extended to 
the hole in the coral wall, which was just big enough to admit 
it, and how much more of the body remained outside the child 
could not tell. On the back of the body were several fins, 
which made the creature look more like an eel than a serpent. 
'The girl is young and the man is old," said King Anko, 
in a soft voice. "But I 'm quite sure Cap'n Bill is n't as old 
as I am." 

"How old are you?" asked the sailor. 

"I can't say, exactly. I can remember several thousands 
of years back, but beyond that my memory fails me. How 's 
your memory, Cap'n Bill?" 

"You 've got me beat," was the reply. "I '11 give in that 
you 're older than I am." 

This seemed to please the sea serpent. 

"Are you well?" he asked. 

"Pretty fair," said Cap'n Bill. "How 's yourself?" 

"Oh, I 'm very well, thank you," answered Anko. "I 
never remember to have had a pain but three times in my life. 
The last time was when Julius Sneezer was on earth." 
'You mean Julius Csesar," said Trot, correcting him. 

"No; I mean Julius Sneezer," insisted the Sea Serpent. 

58 



Chapter Five 



'That was his real name Sneezer. They called him Csesar 
sometimes, just because he took everything he could lay 
hands on. I ought to know, because I saw him when he was 
alive. Did you see him when he was alive, Cap'n Bill?" 
"I reckon not," admitted the sailor. 
'That time I had a toothache," continued Anko; "but I 
got a lobster to pull the tooth with his claw, so the pain was 



soon over." 



"Did it hurt to pull it?" asked Trot. 

"Hurt!" exclaimed the Sea Serpent, groaning at the recol- 
lection. "My dear, those creatures have been called lobsters 
ever since ! The second pain I had way back in the time of 
Nevercouldnever." 

"Oh, I s'pose you mean Nebuchadnezzar," said Trot. 

"Do you call him that, now?" asked the Sea Serpent, as 
if surprised. "He used to be called Nevercouldnever when 
he was alive, but this new way of spelling seems to get every- 
thing mixed up. Nebuchadnezzar does n't mean anything 
at all, it seems to me." 

"It means he ate grass," said the child. 

"Oh, no; he did n't," declared the Sea Serpent. "He was 
the firs'- to discover that lettuce was good to eat, and he be- 
came very fond of it. The people may have called it grass, 
but they were wrong. I ought to know, because I was alive 
when Nevercouldnever lived. Were you alive, then?" 

59 



The Sea Fairies 



<' 



'No," said Trot. 

'The pain I had then," remarked Anko, "was caused by a 
kink in my tail, about three hundred feet from the end. There 
was an old octopus who did not like me, and so he tied a knot 
in my tail when I was n't looking." 

"What did you do?' asked Cap'n Bill. 

'Well, first I transformed the octopus into a jelly fish, 
and then I waited for the tide to turn. When my tail was 
untied the pain stopped." 

"I I don't understand that," said Trot, somewhat 
bewildered. 

'Thank you, my dear," replied the Sea Serpent, in a grate- 
ful voice. "People who are always understood are very com- 
mon. You are sure to respect those you can't understand, for 
you feel that perhaps they know more than you do." 

"About how long do you happen to be?" inquired Cap'n 
Bill. 

: 'When last measured, I was seven thousand four hundred 
and eighty-two feet, five inches and a quarter. I 'm not sure 
about the quarter, but the rest is probably correct. Adam 
measured me when Cain was a baby." 

: 'Where 's the rest of you, then?" asked Trot. 

"Safe at home, I hope, and coiled up in my parlor," an- 
swered the Sea Serpent. 'When I g3 out I usually take 
along only what is needed. It saves a lot of bother and I can 

60 



The Sea Fairies 



always find my way back in the darkest night, by just coiling 
up the part that has been away." 

"Do you like to be a sea serpent?" inquired the child. 

'Yes, for I 'm King of my Ocean, and there is no other 

sea serpent to imagine he is just as good as I am. I have two 

brothers who live in other oceans, but one is seven inches 

shorter than I am, and the other several feet shorter. It's 




curious to talk about feet when we have n't any feet, is n't 
'itT 

"Seems so," acknowledged Trot. 

"I feel I have much to be proud of," continued Anko, in a 
dreamy tone; "my great age, my undisputed sway, and my 
exceptional length." 

61 



Chapter Five 



"I don't b'lieve I 'd care to live so long," remarked Cap'n 
Bill, thoughtfully. 

"So long as seven thousand four hundred and eighty-two 
feet, five inches and a quarter?" asked the Sea Serpent. 

"No; I mean so many years," replied the sailor. 

"But what can one do, if one happens to be a sea ser- 
pent*?" Anko inquired. 'There is nothing in the sea that can 
hurt me, and I cannot commit suicide because we have no 
carbolic acid, or firearms, or gas to turn on. So it is n't a 
matter of choice, and I 'd about as soon be alive as dead. It 
does not seem quite so monotonous, you know. But I guess 
I 've stayed about long enough; so I '11 go home to dinner. 
Come and see me, when you have time." 

'Thank you," said Trot; and Merla added: 

"I '11 take you over to his majesty's palace when we go 
out, and let you see how he lives." 

"Yes, do," said Anko; and then he slowly slid out of the 
hole, which immediately closed behind him, leaving the coral 
wall as solid as before. 

"Oh !" exclaimed Trot ; "King Anko forgot to tell us what 
the third pain was about." 

"So he did," said Cap'n Bill. 'We must ask him about 
that, when we see him. But I guess the ol' boy's mem'ry is 
failin', an' he can't be depended on for pertic'lars." 



62 




THE queen now requested her guests to recline upon couches, 
that they might rest themselves from their long swim and talk 
more at their ease. So the girl and the sailor allowed them- 
selves to float downward until they rested their bodies on two 
of the couches nearest the throne, which were willingly 
vacated for them by the mermaids who had occupied them 
until then. 

The visitors soon found themselves answering a great 
many questions about their life on the earth, for, although 
the queen had said she kept track of what was going on on the 
land, there were many details of human life in which all the 
mermaids seemed greatly interested. 

During the conversation several sea-maids came swim- 
ming into the room, bearing trays of sea apples and other 
fruit, which they first offered to the queen and then passed 

63 



The Sea Fairies 



the refreshments around to the company assembled. Trot 
and Cap'n Bill each took some, and the little girl found the 
fruits delicious to eat, as they had a richer flavor than any that 
grew upon land. Queen Aquareine was much pleased when 
the old sailor asked for more, but Merla warned him dinner 
would soon be served and he must take care not to spoil his 
appetite for that meal. 

"Our dinner is at noon, for we have to cook in the middle 
of the day, when the sun is shining," she said. 

"Cook!" cried Trot; "why, you can't build a fire in the 
water, can you'?" 

'We have no need of fires," was the reply. 'The glass 
roof of our kitchen is so curved that it concentrates the heat 
of the sun's rays, which are then hot enough to cook anything 
we wish." 

"But how do you get along if the day is cloudy, and the 
sun does n't shine?' inquired the little girl. 

'Then we use the hot springs that bubble up in another 
part of the palace," Merla answered. "But the sun is the 
best to cook by." 

So, it was no surprise to Trot when, about noon, dinner 
was announced and all the mermaids, headed by their queen 
and their guests, swam into another spacious room where a 
great, long table was laid. The dishes were of polished gold 
and dainty cut glass, and the cloth and napkins of fine gossa- 



Chapter Six 



mer. Around the table were ranged rows of couches for the 
mermaids to recline upon as they ate. Only the nobility and 
favorites of Queen Aquareine were invited to partake of this 
repast, for Clia explained that tables were set for the other 
mermaids in different parts of the numerous palaces. 




Trot wondered who would serve the meal, but her curi- 
osity was soon satisfied when several large lobsters came slid- 
ing into the room, backward, bearing in their claws trays 
loaded with food. Each of these lobsters had a golden band 
around its neck to show it was the slave of the mermaids. 

These curious waiters were fussy creatures and Trot found 

65 



The Sea Fairies 



much amusement in watching their odd motions. They were 
so spry and excitable that, at times, they ran against one an- 
other and upset the platters of food, after which they began 
to scold and argue as to whose fault it was, until one of the 
mermaids quietly rebuked them and asked them to be more 
quiet and more careful. 

The queen's guests had no cause to complain of the dinner 
provided. First the lobsters served bowls of turtle soup, 
which proved hot and deliciously flavored. Then came sal- 
mon steaks fried in nsh oil, with a fungus bread that tasted 
much like field mushrooms. Oysters, clams, soft-shell crabs 
and various preparations of sea foods followed. The salad 
was a delicate leaf from some seaweed that Trot thought was 
much nicer than lettuce. Several courses were served and the 
lobsters changed the plates with each course, chattering and 
scolding as they worked, and as Trot said, "doing everything 
backwards" in their nervous, fussy way. 

Many of the things offered them to eat were unknown to 
the visitors, and the child was suspicious of some of them; 
but Cap'n Bill asked no questions and ate everything offered 
him, so Trot decided to follow his example. Certain it is they 
found the meal very satisfying, and evidently there was no 
danger of their being hungry while they remained the guests 
of the mermaids. When the fruits came, Trot thought that 



66 



Chapter Six 



must be the last course of the big dinner, but, following the 
fruits were ice creams frozen into the shapes of flowers. 

"How funny," said the child, "to be eating ice cream at 
the bottom of the sea!" 

'Why does that surprise you 4 ?" inquired the Queen. 

"I can't see where you get the ice to freeze it," Trot 
replied. 

"It is brought to us from the icebergs that float in the 
northern parts of the ocean," explained Merla. 

"O' course, Trot; you orter thought o' that; Ldid," said 
Cap'n Bill. 

The little girl was glad there was no more to eat, for she 
was ashamed to feel she had eaten every morsel she could. 
Her only excuse for being so greedy was that "ev'rything 
tasted just splendid!" as she told the queen. 

"And now," said Aquareine, "I will send you out for a 
swim with Merla, who will show you some of the curious 
sights of our sea. You need not go far this afternoon, and 
when you return we will have another interesting talk 
together." 

So the blonde mermaid led Trot and Cap'n Bill outside 
the palace walls, where they found themselves in the pretty 
flower gardens. 

'I 'd feel all right, mate, if I could have a smoke," re- 



67 



t'l 



The Sea Fairies 



marked the old sailor to the child; "but that 's a thing as can't 
be did here in the water." 

'Why not?" asked Merla, who overheard him. 

"A pipe has to be lighted, an' a match would n't burn," he 
replied. 

'Try it," suggested the mermaid. "I do not mind your 
smoking at all, if it will give you pleasure." 

"It 's a bad habit I 've got, an' I 'm too old to break myself 
of it," said Cap'n Bill. Then he felt in the big pockets of his 
coat and took out a pipe and a bag of tobacco. After he had 
carefully filled his pipe, rejoicing in the fact that the tobacco 
was not at all wet, he took out his match box and struck a 
light. The match burned brightly and soon the sailor was 
puffing the smoke from his pipe in great contentment. The 
smoke ascended through the water in the shape of bubbles and 
Trot wondered what anyone who happened to be floating 
upon the surface of the ocean would think to see smoke com- 
ing from the water. 

'Well, I find I can smoke, all right," remarked Cap'n 
Bill; "but it bothers me to understand why." 

"It is because of the air space existing between the water 
and everything you have about you," explained Merla. "But 
now, if you will come this way, I will take you to visit some 
of our neighbors." 

They passed over the carpet of sea flowers, the gorgeous 

68 



Chapter Six 



blossoms swaying on their stems as the motion of the people 
in the water above them disturbed their repose, and presently 
the three entered the dense shrubbery surrounding the pal- 
aces. They had not proceeded far when they came to a clear- 
ing among the bushes, and here Merla paused. 

Trot and Cap'n Bill paused, too, for floating in the clear 
water was a group of beautiful shapes that the child thought 
looked like molds of wine jelly. They were round as a din- 
ner plate, soft and transparent, but tinted in such lovely hues 
that no artist's brush has ever been able to imitate them. 
Some were deep sapphire blue; others rose pink; still others a 
delicate topaz color. They seemed to have neither heads, eyes 
nor ears, yet it was easy to see they were alive and able to 
float in any direction they wished to go. In shape they re- 
sembled inverted flowerpots, with the upper edges fluted, and 
from the centers floated what seemed to be bouquets of 
flowers. 

"How pretty!" exclaimed Trot, enraptured by the sight. 

'Yes; this is a rare variety of jellyfish," replied Merla. 
'The creatures are not so delicate as they appear, and live 
for a long time unless they get too near the surface and the 
waves wash them ashore." 

After watching the jellyfish a few moments they followed 
Merla through the grove and soon a low chant, like that of an 
Indian song, fell upon their ears. It was a chorus of many 



Chapter Six 



small voices, and grew louder as they swam on. Presently a 
big rock rose suddenly before them from the bottom of the 
sea, rearing its steep side far up into the water overhead, and 
this rock was thickly covered with tiny shells that clung fast 
to its surface. The chorus they heard appeared to come from 
these shells, and Merla said to her companions : 

'These are the singing barnacles. They are really very 
amusing, and if you listen carefully you can hear what they 
say." 

So Trot and Cap'n Bill listened, and this was what the 
barnacles sang : 



u We went to topsy-turvy land to see a man-o'-war, 

And we were much attached to it, because we simply were; 

We found an anchor-ite within the mud upon the lea 

For the ghost of Jonahs whale he ran away and went to sea. 

Ok, it was awful! 

It was unlawful! 
We rallied round the flag in sevral millions; 

They could nt shake us; 

They had to take us; 
So the halibut and cod they danced cotillions." 

"What does it all mean?' asked Trot. 

"I suppose they refer to the way barnacles have of cling- 

70 



Chapter Six 



ing to ships," replied Merla; ''but usually their songs mean 
nothing at all. The little barnacles have n't many brains, so 
we usually find their songs quite stupid." 

"Do they write comic operas'?" asked the child. 

C 'I think not," answered the mermaid. 

'They seem to like the songs themselves," remarked 
Cap'n Bill. 

"Oh, yes; they sing all day long. But it never matters 
to them whether their songs mean anything or not. Let us go 
in this direction and visit some other sea people." 

So they swam away from the barnacle-covered rock and 
Trot heard the last chorus as she slowly followed their con- 
ductor. The barnacles were singing : 

"Ok, very well, then, 

I hear the curfew, 
Please go away and come some other day; 

Goliath tussels 

With Samson's muscles, 
Tet the muscles never fight in Oyster Bay." 

"It 's jus' nonsense!" said Trot, scornfully. 'Why don't 
they sing 'Annie Laurie,' or 'Home, Sweet Home,' or else 
keep quiet *?" 

'Why, if they were quiet," replied Merla, "they would n't 
be singing barnacles." 

71 



Chapter Six 



They now came to one of the avenues which led from the 
sea garden out into the broad ocean, and here two sword- 
fishes were standing guard. 

"Is all quiet?" Merla asked them. 

"Just as usual, your Highness," replied one of the guards. 
"Mummercubble was sick this morning, and grunted dread- 
fully; but he 's better now and has gone to sleep. King Anko 
has been stirring around some, but is now taking his after- 
dinner nap. I think it will be perfectly safe for you to swim 
out for a while, if you wish." 

"Who 's Mummercubble?" asked Trot, as they passed out 
into deep water. 

"He 's the sea pig," replied Merla. "I am glad he is 
asleep, for now we won't meet him." 

"Don't you like him?" inquired Trot. 

"Oh, he complains so bitterly of everything that he bores 
us," Merla answered. "Mummercubble is never contented 
or happy for a single minute." 

"I Ve seen people like that," said Cap'n Bill, with a nod 
of his head; "an' they has a way of upsettin' the happiest 
folks they meet." 

"Look out!" suddenly cried the mermaid. "Look out for 
your fingers ! Here are the snapping eels." 
'Who? Where?" asked Trot, anxiously. 

And now, they were in the midst of a cluster of wriggling, 

72 



Chapter Six 



darting eels which sported all around them in the water with 
marvelous activity. 

"Yes, look out for your fingers and your noses!" said one 
of the eels, making a dash for Cap'n Bill. At first the sailor 
was tempted to put out a hand and push the creature away, 
but remembering that his fingers would thus be exposed he 




remained quiet, and the eel snapped harmlessly just before 
his face, and then darted away. 

"Stop it!" said Merla; "stop it this minute, or I '11 report 
your impudence to Aquareine." 

"Oh, who cares?" shouted the Eels. "We 're not afraid 
of the mermaids." 

73 



he Sea Fairies 



"She '11 stiffen you all up again, as she did once before," 
said Merla, "if you try to hurt the earth people." 

"Are these earth people?" asked one. And then they all 
stopped their play and regarded Trot and Cap'n Bill with 
their little black eyes. 

'The old polliwog looks something like King Anko," said 
one of them. 

"I 'm not a polliwog!" answered Cap'n Bill, angrily. 
"I 'm a re-spec' able sailorman, an' I '11 have you treat me 
decent or I '11 know why. 

"Sailor!" said another. 'That means to float on the 
water not in it. What are you doing down here?" 

"I'm jes' a-visitin'," answered Cap'n Bill. 

"He is the guest of our queen," said Merla, "and so is this 
little girl. If you do not behave nicely to them you will surely 
be sorry." 

"Oh, that 's all right," replied one of the biggest eels, 
wriggling around in a circle and then snapping at a compan- 
ion, which as quickly snapped out of his way. 'We know 
how to be polite to company as well as the mermaids. We 
won't hurt them." 

"Come on, fellows; let's go scare old Mummercubble," 
cried another; and then in a flash, they all darted away and 
left our friends to themselves. 

Trot was greatly relieved. 

74 



Chapter Six 



"I don't like eels," she said. 

"They are more mischievous than harmful," replied 
Merla; "but I do not care much for them myself." 
"No," added Cap'n Bill; "they ain't respec'ful." 




75 




THE three swam slowly along, quite enjoying the cool 
depths of the water. Every little while they met with some 
strange creature or one that seemed strange to the earth 
people for although Trot and Cap'n Bill had seen many 
kinds of fish, after they had been caught and pulled from the 
water, that was very different from meeting them in their own 
element, "face to face/' as Trot expressed it. Now that the 
various fishes were swimming around free and unafraid in 
their deep-sea home, they were quite different from the gasp- 
ing, excited creatures struggling at the end of a fishline, or 
flopping from a net. 

Before long they came upon a group of large fishes lying 
lazily near the bottom of the sea. They were a dark color 
upon their backs and silver underneath, but not especially 
pretty to look at. The fishes made no effort to get out of 



Chapter Seven 



Merla's way and remained motionless, except for the gentle 
motion of their fins and gills. 

"Here," said the mermaid, pausing, "is the most aristo- 
cratic family of fish in all the sea." 

"What are they?" asked the girl. 

"Codfish," was the reply. "Their only fault is that they 
are too haughty and foolishly proud of their pedigree." 

Overhearing this speech one codfish said to another, in a 
very dignified tone of voice: "What insolence!" 

"Is n't it?" replied the other. There ought to be a law 
to prevent these common mermaids from discussing their 
superiors." 

"My sakes!" said Trot, astonished; "how stuck up they 
are, are n't they?" 

For a moment the group of fishes stared at her solemnly. 
Then one of them remarked in a disdainful manner : 

"Come, my dears, let us leave these vulgar creatures." 

"I'm not as vulgar as you are!" exclaimed Trot, much 
offended by this speech. "Where I came from we only eat 
codfish when there 's nothing else in the house to eat." 

"How absurd!" observed one of the creatures, arrogantly. 

"Eat codfish, indeed!" said another in a lofty manner. 

"Yes, and you 're pretty salty, too, I can tell you. At 
home you 're nothing but a pick-up !" said Trot. 

"Dear me!" exclaimed the first fish which had spoken; 

77 



The Sea Fairies 



"must we stand this insulting language and from a person 
to whom we have never been introduced?" 

"I don't need any interduction," replied the girl; "I've 
eaten you, and you always make me thirsty." 

Merla laughed merrily at this, and the codfish said, with 
much dignity : 

"Come, fellow aristocrats; let us go." 

"Never mind; we 're going ourselves," announced Merla, 
and followed by her guests the pretty mermaid swam away. 

"I 've heard tell of codfish aristocercy," said Cap'n Bill; 
"but I never knowed 'zac'ly what it meant afore." 

'They jus' made me mad, with all their airs," observed 
Trot; "so I gave 'em a piece of my mind." 

'You surely did, mate," said the sailor; "but I ain't sure 
they understand what they 're like when they 're salted an' 
hung up in the pantry. Folks gener'ly gets stuck-up 'cause 
they don't know theirselves like other folks knows 'em." 

'We are near Crabville now," declared Merla. "Shall 
we visit the crabs and see what they are doing*?" 

'Yes, let 's," replied Trot. 'The crabs are lots of fun. 
I 've often caught them among the rocks on the shore and 
laughed at the way they act. Was n't it funny at dinner 
time to see the way they slid around with the plates?" 

'Those were not crabs, but lobsters and crawfish," re- 
marked the mermaid. 'They are very intelligent creatures, 

78 



he Sea Fairies 



and by making them serve us we save ourselves much house- 
hold work. Of course, they are awkward and provoke us 
sometimes; but no servants are perfect, it is said, so we get 
along with ours as well as we can." 

'They 're all right," protested the child, "even if they did 
tip things over once in a while. But it is easy to work in a 
sea palace, I 'm sure, because there 's no dusting or sweeping 
to be done." 

"Or scrubbin'," added Cap'n Bill. 

'The crabs," said Merla, "are second cousins to the lob- 
sters, although much smaller in size. There are many families 
or varieties of crabs, and so many of them live in one 
place near here that we call it Crabville. I think you will 
enjoy seeing these little creatures in their native haunts." 

They now approached a kelp bed, the straight, thin stems 
of the kelp running far upward to the surface of the water. 
Here and there upon the stalks were leaves, but Trot thought 
the growing kelp looked much like sticks of macaroni, except 
they were a rich, red-brown color. 

It was beyond the kelp which they had to push aside as 
they swam through it, so thickly did it grow that they came 
to a higher level, a sort of plateau on the ocean's bottom. It 
was covered with scattered rocks of all sizes, which appeared 
to have broken off from big shelving rocks they observed near 



80 



Chapter Seven 



by. The place they entered seemed like one of the rocky 
canyons you often see upon the earth. 

"Here live the fiddler crabs," said Merla; "but we must 
have taken them by surprise, it is so quiet." 

Even as she spoke there was a stirring and scrambling 
among the rocks, and soon scores of light green crabs were 
gathered before the visitors. The crabs bore fiddles of all 
sorts and shapes in their claws, and one big fellow carried a 
leader's baton. The latter crab climbed upon a flat rock and 
in an excited voice called out: 

"Ready, now ready, good fiddlers. We '11 play Num- 
ber 19 Hail to the Mermaids. Ready! Take aim! Fire 
away!" 

At this command every crab began scraping at his fiddle 
as hard as he could, and the sounds were so shrill and un- 
musical that Trot wondered when they would begin to play 
a tune. But they never did; it was one regular mix-up of 
sounds from beginning to end. When the noise finally 
stopped the leader turned to his visitors and, waving his 
baton toward them, asked : 

"Well, what do you think of that?" 

"Not much," said Trot, honestly. "What 's it all about?" 

"I composed it myself!" said the Fiddler Crab. "But it 's 
highly classical, I admit. All really great music is an ac- 
quired taste." 

8l 



The Sea Fairies 



"I don't like it," remarked Cap'n Bill. "It might do all 
right to stir up a racket New Year's Eve, but to call that 
screechin' music " 

Just then the crabs started fiddling again, harder than 
ever, and as it promised to be a long performance they left 
the little creatures scraping away at their fiddles, as if for 
dear life, and swam along the rocky canyon until, on turning 
a corner, they came upon a new and different scene. 

There were crabs here, too many of them and they 
were performing the queerest antics imaginable. Some were 
building themselves into a pyramid, each standing on edge, 
with the biggest and strongest ones at the bottom. When 
the crabs were five or six rows high they would all tumble 
over, still clinging to one another, and, having reached the 
ground, they would separate and commence to build the 
pyramid over again. 

Others were chasing one another around in a circle, 
always moving backward or side wise, and trying to play 
"leapfrog" as they went. Still others were swinging on slight 
branches of seaweed, or turning cart wheels, or indulging in 
similar antics. 

Merla and the earth people watched the busy little crea- 
tures for some time before they were themselves observed; but 
finally, Trot gave a laugh when one crab fell on its back and 
began frantically waving its legs to get right-side-up again. 

82 



The Sea Fairies 



At the sound of her laughter they all stopped their play and 
came toward the visitors in a flock, looking up at them with 
their bright eyes in a most comical way. 

Welcome home!" cried one, as he turned a back somer- 
sault and knocked another crab over. 

"What 's the difference between a mermaid and a tad- 
pole?" asked another, in a loud voice, and without a pause 
continued : "why, one drops its tail and the other holds on to 
it. Ha, ha! Ho, ho! Hee-hee!" 

'These," said Merla, "are the clown crabs. They are 
very silly things, as you may already have discovered; but 
for a short time they are rather amusing. One tires of them 
very soon." 

'They 're funny," said Trot, laughing again. "It 's al- 
most as good as a circus. I don't think they would make me 
tired; but, then, I 'm not a mermaid." 

The clown crabs had now formed a row in front of them. 

"Mr. Johnsing," asked one, "why is a mermaid like an 
automobile 4 ?" 

"I don't know, Tommy Blimken," answered a big crab in 
the middle of the row. ''Why do you think a mermaid is like 
an automobile?" 

"Because they both get tired," said Tommy Blimken. 
Then all the crabs laughed, and Tommy seemed to laugh 
louder than the rest. 

8 4 



Chapter Seven 



"How do the crabs in the sea know anything 'bout auto- 
'bilesT asked Trot. 

'Why, Tommy Blimken and Harry Hustle were both 
captured once by humans and put in an aquarium," answered 
the mermaid. "But one day they climbed out and escaped, 
finally making their way back to the sea and home again. So 
they are quite traveled you see, and great favorites among 
the crabs. While they were on land they saw a great many 
curious things, and so I suppose they saw automobiles." 

'We did, we did!" cried Harry Hustle, an awkward crab 
with one big claw and one little one. "And we saw earth 
people with legs awfully funny they were; and animals 
called horses, with legs; and other creatures with legs; and 
the people cover themselves with the queerest things they 
even wear feathers and flowers on their heads, and " 

"Oh, we know all about that," said Trot; "we live on the 
earth ourselves." 

'Well, you 're lucky to get off from it and into the good 
water," said the Crab. "I nearly died on the earth; it was so 
stupid, dry and airy. But the circus was great. They held 
the performance right in front of the aquarium where we 
lived, and Tommy and I learned all the tricks of the tumblers. 
Hi ! Come on, fellows, and show the earth people what you 
can do!" 

At this the crabs began performing their antics again ; but 

85 



The Sea Fairies 



they did the same things over and over, so Cap'n Bill and 
Trot soon tired, as Merla said they would, and decided they 
had seen enough of the crab circus. So they proceeded to 
swim farther up the rocky canyon, and near its upper end 
they came to a lot of conch shells lying upon the sandy bot- 
tom. A funny looking crab was sticking his head out from 
each of these shells. 

"Here are the hermit crabs," said one of the mermaids. 
'They steal these shells and live in them, so no enemies can 
attack them." 

"Don't they get lonesome?" asked Trot. 

"Perhaps so, my dear. But they do not seem to mind 
being lonesome. They are great cowards, and think if they 
can but protect their lives there is nothing else to care for. 
Unlike the jolly crabs we have just left, the hermits are cross 
and unsociable." 

"Oh, keep quiet and go away!" said one of the hermit 
crabs, in a grumpy voice. "No one wants mermaids around 
here." Then every crab withdrew its head into its shell, and 
our friends saw them no more. 

'They 're not very polite," observed Trot, following the 
mermaid as Merla swam upward into the middle water. 

: 'I know, now, why cross people are called 'crabbed'," said 
Cap'n Bill. 'They 've got dispositions jes' like these 'ere 
hermit crabs." 

86 



The Sea Fairies 



Presently, they came upon a small flock of mackerel, and 
noticed that the fishes seemed much excited. When they saw 
the mermaid they cried out: 

"Oh, Merla! what do you think? Our Flippity has just 
gone to glory!" 

'When?" asked the mermaid. 

"Just now," one replied. 'We were lying in the water, 
talking quietly together when a spinning, shining thing came 
along and our dear Flippity ate it. Then he went shooting 
up to the top of the water and gave a flop and went to 
glory! Is n't it splendid, Merla?" 

"Poor Flippity!" sighed the mermaid. "I 'm sorry, for he 
was the prettiest and nicest mackerel in your whole flock." 

"What does it mean?" asked Trot. "How did Flippity 
go to glory?" 

"Why, he was caught by a hook, and pulled out of the 
water into some boat," Merla explained. "But these poor, 
stupid creatures do not understand that; and when one of 
them is jerked out of the water and disappears they have an 
idea he has gone to glory which means to them some un- 
known, but beautiful sea." 

"I 've often wondered," said Trot, "why fishes are foolish 
enough to bite on hooks." 

'They must know enough to know they 're hooks," added 
Cap'n Bill, musingly. 



Chapter Seven 



"Oh, they do," replied Merla. "I 've seen fishes gather 
around a hook and look at it carefully for a long time. They 
well know it is a hook, and that if they bite the bait upon it 
they will be pulled out of the water. But they are curious 
to know what will happen to them afterward, and think it 
means happiness, instead of death. So finally, one takes the 
hook and disappears, and the others never know what be- 
comes of him." 

"Why don't you tell 'em the truth?" asked Trot. 

"Oh, we do. The mermaids have warned them many 
times, but it does no good at all. The fish are stupid 
creatures." 

"But I wish I was Flippity," said one of the mackerel, 
staring at Trot with his big, round eyes. "He went to glory 
before I could eat the hook myself." 

"You 're lucky," answered the child. "Flippity will be 
fried in a pan for some one's dinner. You would n't like 
that, would you?" 

"Flippity has gone to glory!" said another, and then they 
swam away in haste to tell the news to all they met. 

"I never heard of anything so foolish," remarked Trot, as 
they swam slowly on through the clear blue water. 

"Yes; it is very foolish, and very sad," answered Merla. 
"But, if the fishes were wise, men could not catch them for 



89 



The Sea Fairies 



food, and many poor people on your earth make their living 
by fishing." 

"It seems wicked to catch such pretty things," said the 
child. 

"I do not think so," Merla replied, laughingly; "for they 
were born to become food for some one, and men are not the 
only ones that eat fishes. Many creatures of the sea feed 
upon them. They even eat one another, at times. And if 
none was ever destroyed they would soon become so numerous 
that they would clog the waters of the ocean, and leave no 
room for the rest of us. So, after all, perhaps it is just as well 
they are thoughtless and foolish." 

Presently they came to some round balls that looked much 
like balloons in shape and were gaily colored. They floated 
quietly in the water, and Trot inquired what they were. 

"Balloonfish," answered Merla. 'They are helpless 
creatures, but have little spikes all over them, so their enemies 
dare not bite them for fear of getting pricked." 

Trot found the balloonfish quite interesting. They had 
little dots of eyes and dots for mouths ; but she could see no 
noses, and their fins and tails were very small. 

'They catch these fish in the South Sea Islands and make 
lanterns of 'em," said Cap'n Bill. 'They first skin 'em, and 
sew the skin up again to let it dry, and then they put candles 
inside and the light shines through the dried skin." 

90 



Twins 

OONLTO 
OLORY 




Chapter Seven 



Many other curious sights they saw in the ocean that 
afternoon, and both Cap'n Bill and Trot thoroughly enjoyed 
their glimpse of sea life. At last Merla said it was time to 
return to the palace, from which she claimed they had not, 
at any time, been very far distant. 

'We must prepare for dinner, as it will soon begin to 
grow dark in the water," continued their conductor. So they 
swam leisurely back to the groves that surrounded the palaces, 
and as they entered the gardens the sun sank, and deep 
shadows began to form in the ocean depths. 





THE palaces of the mermaids were all aglow with lights as 
they approached them, and Trot was amazed at the sight. 

'Where did the lamps come from?" she asked their guide, 
wonderingly. 

'They are not lamps, my dear," replied Merla, much 
amused at this suggestion; "we use electric lights in our 
palaces, and have done so for thousands of years long be- 
fore the earth people knew of electric lights." 

"But where do you get 'em? 5 inquired Cap'n Bill, who 
was as much astonished as the girl. 

"From a transparent jellyfish which naturally emits a 
strong and beautiful electric light," was the answer. 'We 
have many hundreds of them in our palaces, as you will 
presently see." 

Their way was now lighted by small phosphorescent 

92 



Chapter Eight 



creatures scattered about the sea gardens and which Merla 
informed them were hyala^a, or sea glowworms. But their 
light was dim when compared to that of the electric jellyfish, 
which they found placed in clusters upon the ceilings of all 
the rooms of the palaces, rendering them light as day. 

Trot watched these curious creatures with delight, for 
delicately colored lights ran around their bodies in every 
direction in a continuous stream, shedding splendid rays 
throughout the vast halls. 

A group of mermaids met the visitors in the hall of the 
main palace, and told Merla the queen had instructed them 
to show the guests to their rooms as soon as they arrived. So 
Trot followed two of them through several passages, after 
which they swam upward and entered a circular opening. 
There were no stairs here, because there was no need of them, 
and the little girl soon found herself in an upper room that 
was very beautiful indeed. 

All the walls were covered with iridescent shells, polished 
til) they resembled mother-of-pearl, and upon the glass ceil- 
ing were clusters of the brilliant electric jellyfish, rendering 
the room bright and cheerful with their radiance. In one 
corner stood a couch of white coral, with gossamer draperies 
floating around it from the four high posts. Upon examining 
it, the child found the couch was covered with soft, amber 
sponges, which rendered it very comfortable to lie upon. In 

93 



The Sea Fairies 



a wardrobe she found several beautiful gossamer gowns, 
richly embroidered in colored seaweeds, and these Mayre 
was told she might wear while she remained the guest of the 
mermaids. She also found a toilet table with brushes, combs 
and other conveniences, all of which were made of polished 
tortoise-shell. 

Really, the room was more dainty and comfortable than 
one might suppose possible in a palace far beneath the surface 
of the sea, and Trot was greatly delighted with her new 
quarters. 

The mermaid attendants assisted the child to dress her- 
self in one of the prettiest robes, which she found to be quite 
dry and fitted perfectly. Then the sea-maids brushed and 
dressed her hair, and tied it with ribbons of cherry-red sea- 
weed. Finally they placed around her neck a string of pearls 
that would have been priceless upon the earth, and now the 
little girl announced she was ready for supper and had a good 
appetite. 

Cap'n Bill had been given a similar room, near Trot's; 
but the old sailor refused to change his clothes for any others 
offered him, for which reason he was ready for supper long 
before his comrade. 

'What bothers me, mate," he said to the little girl, as they 
swam toward the great banquet hall where Queen Aquareine 



94 



Chapter Eight 



awaited them, "is why we ain't crushed by the pressin' of the 
water agin us, bein' as we 're down here in the deep sea." 

"How 's that, Cap'n*? Why should we be crushed 4 ?" she 
asked. 

"Why, ev'r'body knows that the deeper you go in the sea 
the more the water presses agin you," he explained. "Even 
the divers in their steel jackets can't stand it very deep down. 
An' here we be, miles from the top o' the water, I 'spect, an' 
we don't feel crowded a bit." 

"I know why," answered the child, wisely. The water 
don't touch us, you see. If it did, it might crush us; but it 
don't. It 's always held a little way off from our bodies by 
the magic of the fairy mermaids." 

"True enough, Trot," declared the sailorman. 'What an 
idjut I was not to think o' that myself!" 

In the royal banquet hall were assembled many of the 
mermaids, headed by the lovely queen, and as soon as their 
earth guests arrived Aquareine ordered the meal to be served. 

The lobsters again waited upon the table, wearing little 
white caps and aprons which made them look very funny; 
but Trot was so hungry after her afternoon's excursion that 
she did not pay as much attention to the lobsters as she did to 
her supper, which was very delicious and consisted of many 
and made him yell for a minute, because it was hot and he 
courses. A lobster spilled some soup on Cap'n Bill's bald head 

95 



The Sea Fairies 



had not expected it, but the queen apologized very sweetly 
for the awkwardness of her servants, and the sailor soon for- 
got all about the incident in his enjoyment of the meal. 

After the feast ended they all went to the big reception 
room, where some of the mermaids played upon harps while 
others sang pretty songs. They danced together, too a 
graceful swimming-dance, so queer to the little girl that it 
interested and amused her greatly. 

Cap'n Bill seemed a bit bashful among so many beautiful 
mermaids, yet he was pleased when the queen offered him a 
place beside her throne, where he could see and hear all the 
delightful entertainment provided for the royal guests. He 
did not talk much, being a man of few words except when 
alone with Trot ; but his light blue eyes were big and round 
with wonder at the sights he saw. 

Trot and the sailorman went to bed early and slept 
soundly upon their sponge-covered couches. The little girl 
never wakened until long after the sun was shining down 
through the glass roof of her room, and when she opened her 
eyes she was startled to find a number of big, small and 
middle-sized fishes staring at her through the glass. 

'That 's one bad thing 'bout this mermaid palace," she 
said to herself; "it's too public. Ever' thing in the sea can 
look at you through the glass as much as it likes. I would n't 
mind fishes looking at me if they had n't such big eyes, an' 



Chapter Eight 



goodness me ! There 's a monster that 's all head ! And there 
goes a fish with a sail on its back; an' here 's old Mummer- 
cubble, I J m sure, for he 's got a head just like a pig." 

She might have watched the fishes on the roof for hours, 
had she not remembered it was late and breakfast must be 




ready. So she dressed, and made her toilet, and swam down 
into the palace to find Cap'n Bill and the mermaids politely 
waiting for her to join them. 

The sea maidens were as fresh and lovely as ever, while 
each and all proved sweet tempered and merry, even at the 



97 



The Sea Fairies 



breakfast table and that is where people are cross, if they 
ever are. During the meal the queen said : 

"I shall take you this morning to the most interesting part 
of the ocean, where the largest and most remarkable sea 
creatures live. And we must visit King Anko, too, for the 
sea serpent would feel hurt and slighted if I did not bring 
my guests to call upon him." 

That will be nice," said Trot, eagerly; but Cap'n Bill 
asked : 

"Is there any danger, ma'am*?" 

"I think not," replied Queen Aquareine. "I cannot see 
that you will be exposed to any danger at all, so long as I am 
with you. But we are going into the neighborhood of some 
fierce and even terrible beings, which would attack you at 
once did they suspect you to be earth people. So, in order 
to guard your safety, I intend to draw the Magic Circle 
around both of you before we start." 

"What is the Magic Circle?' asked Trot. 

"A fairy charm that prevents any enemy from touching 
you. No monster of the sea, however powerful, will be able 
to reach your body while you are protected by the Magic 
Circle," declared the Queen. 

"Oh, then, I '11 not be a bit afraid," returned the child, 
with perfect confidence. 



98 



Chapter Eight 



"Am I to have the Magic Circle drawn around me, too?" 
asked Cap'n Bill. 

"Of course," answered Aquareine. 'You will need no 
other protection than that, yet Princess Clia and I will both 
be with you. For to-day I shall leave Merla to rule our pal- 
aces in my place until we return." 

No sooner was breakfast finished than Trot was anxious 
to start. The girl was also curious to discover what the 
powerful Magic Circle might prove to be, but she was a little 
disappointed in the ceremony. The queen merely grasped 
her fairy wand in her right hand and swam around the child 
in a circle, from left to right. Then she took her wand in her 
left hand and swam around Trot in another circle, from right 
to left. 

"Now, my dear," said she, "you are safe from any creature 
we are liable to meet." 

She performed the same ceremony for Cap'n Bill, who was 
doubtful about the Magic Circle, because he felt the same 
after it as he had before. But he said nothing of his unbelief, 
and soon they left the palace and started upon their journey. 



99 




IT was a lovely day, and the sea was like azure under the 
rays of the sun. 

Over the flower beds and through the gardens they swam, 
emerging into the open sea in a direction opposite that taken 
by the visitors the day before. The party consisted of but 
four: Queen Aquareine, Princess Clia, Trot and Cap'n Bill. 

c 'People who live upon the land know only those sea 
creatures which they are able to catch in nets, or upon hooks, 
or those which become disabled and are washed ashore," re- 
marked the Queen, as they swam swiftly through the clear 
water. "And those who sail in ships see only the creatures 
who chance to come to the surface. But, in the deep ocean 
caverns are queer beings, that no mortal has ever heard of or 
beheld, and some of these we are to visit. We shall also see 



100 



Chapter Nine 



some sea shrubs and flowering weeds, which are sure to delight 
you with their beauty." 

The sights really began before they had gone very far 
from the palace, and a school of butterfly fish, having 
gorgeous colors spattered over their broad wings, was first to 
delight the strangers. They swam just as butterflies fly, with 
a darting, jerky motion, and called a merry "Good morning!" 
to the mermaids as they passed. 

'These butterfly fish are remarkably active," said the 
Princess, "and their quick motions protect them from their 
enemies. We like to meet them; they are always so gay and 
good-natured." 

'Why, so am I !" cried a sharp voice just beside them, and 

they all paused to discover what creature had spoken to them. 

"Take care," said Clia, in a low voice. "It 's an octopus." 

Trot looked eagerly around. A long, brown arm stretched 

across their way in front, and another just behind them; but 

that did not worry her. The octopus, himself, came slowly 

sliding up to them, and proved to be well worth looking at. 

He wore a red coat with brass buttons, and a silk hat was 

tipped over one ear. His eyes were somewhat dull and 

watery and he had a moustache of long, hair-like "feelers" 

that curled stiffly at the ends. When he tried to smile at 

them he showed two rows of sharp, white teeth. In spite of 

his red coat and yellow embroidered vest, his standing collar 

101 



The Sea Fairies 



and carefully tied cravat, the legs of the octopus were bare, 
and Trot noticed he used some of his legs for arms, as in one 
of them was held a slender cane, and in another, a handker- 
chief. 

"Well, well !" said the Octopus. "Are you all dumb? Or 
don't you know enough to be civil when you meet a 
neighbor?" 

'We know how to be civil to our friends," replied Trot, 
who did not like the way he spoke. 

'Well, aren't we friends, then?" asked the Octopus, in 
an airy tone of voice. 

"I think not," said the little girl. "Octopuses are horrid 
creatures." 

"Qctopi, if you please; octo/?z," said the monster, with a 
laugh. 

"I don't see any pie that pleases me," replied Trot, begin- 
ning to get angry. 

"Octopus means one of us ; two, or mor^ are called octo/?/," 
remarked the creature, as if correcting her speech. 

"I suppose a lot of you would be a whole bakery!" she 
said, scornfully. 

"Our name is latin. It was given us by learned scientists 
years ago," said the Octopus. 

"That 's true enough," agreed Cap'n Bill. "The learned 
scientists named ev'ry blamed thing they come acrost, an' 

103 



Chapter Nine 



gener'ly they picked out names as nobody could understand, 
or pernounce." 

"That is n't our fault, sir," said the Octopus. "Indeed, 
it 's pretty hard for us to go through life with such terrible 
names. Think of the poor little sea horse. He used to be 




a merry and cheerful fellow, but since they named him 'hip- 
pocampus' he has n't smiled once." 

"Let 's go," said Trot; "I don't like to 'sociate with octo- 
puses." 

'," said the creature, again correcting her. 



103 



The Sea Fairies 



'You 're jus' as horrid, whether you 're puses or pies," 
she declared. 

"Horrid!" cried the monster, in a shocked tone of voice. 

"Not only horrid, but horrible!" persisted the girl. 

"May I ask in what way?" he inquired, and it was easy to 
see he was offended. 

'Why, ev'rybody knows that octopuses are jus' wicked 
an' deceitful," she said. "Up on the earth, where I live, they 
call the Stannerd Oil Company an octopus, an' the Coal 
Trust an octopus, an' " 

"Stop, stop!" cried the monster, in a pleading voice. "Do 
you mean to tell me that the earth people, whom I have al- 
ways respected, compare me to the Stannerd Oil Company?" 

'Yes," said Trot, positively. 

That 's what they do," added Cap'n Bill, nodding his 
grizzled head. 

"Oh, what a disgrace! What a deep, direful, dreadful 
disgrace!" moaned the Octopus, drooping his head in shame; 
and Trot could see great tears rolling down his cheeks. 

"This comes of having a bad name," said the Queen, 
gently, for she was moved by the monster's grief. 

"It is unjust ! It is cruel and unjust !" sobbed the creature, 
mournfully. "Just because we have several long arms, and 
take whatever we can reach, they accuse us of being like 



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Chapter Nine 



like oh, I cannot say it ! It is too shameful too humiliat- 
ing!" 

"Come; let 's go," said Trot, again; so they left the poor 
octopus weeping and wiping his watery eyes with his hand- 
kerchief, and swam on their way. 

"I 'm not a bit sorry for him," remarked the child; "for 
his legs remind me of serpents." 

"So they do me," agreed Cap'n Bill. 

"But the octopi are not very bad," said the Princess, 
"and we get along with them much better than we do with 
their cousins the sea devils." 

"Oh. Are the sea devils their cousins?" asked Trot. 

'Yes ; and they are the only creatures of the ocean which 
none to-day, for we are going near to the dismal caverns 
we greatly fear," replied Aquareine. "I hope we shall meet 
where they live." 

'What are the sea devils like, ma'am?" inquired Cap'n 
Bill, a little uneasily. 

"Something like the octopus you just saw, only much 
larger and of a bright scarlet color, striped with black," an- 
swered the Queen. 'They are very fierce and terrible crea- 
tures, and nearly as much dreaded by the inhabitants of the 
ocean as is Zog, and nearly as powerful as King Anko 
himself." 



105 



The Sea Fairies 



"Zog! Who is Zog?" questioned the girl. "I haven't 
heard of him, before now." 

"We do not like to mention Zog's name," responded the 
Queen, in a low voice. "He is the wicked genius of the sea, 
and a magician of great power." 

"What 's he like?" asked Cap'n Bill. 

"He is a dreadful creature, part fish, part man, part beast 
and part serpent. Centuries ago they cast him off the earth 
into the sea, where he has caused much trouble. Once he 
waged a terrible war against King Anko, but the sea serpent 
finally conquered Zog, and drove the magician into his castle, 
where he now stays shut up. For if ever Anko catches the 
monster outside of his enchanted castle he will kill him, and 
Zog knows that very well." 

"Seems like you have your troubles down here, just as we 
do on top the ground," remarked Cap'n Bill. 

"But, I 'm glad old Zog is shut up in his castle," added 
Trot. "Is it a sea castle, like your own palaces'?" 

"I cannot say, my dear, for the enchantment makes it 
invisible to all eyes but those of its inhabitants," replied 
Aquareine. "No one sees Zog now, and we scarcely ever hear 
of him; but all the sea people know he is here, some place, 
and fear his power. Even in the old days, before Anko con- 
quered him, Zog was the enemy of the mermaids, as he was 
of all the good and respectable seafolk. But do not worry 



Chapter Nine 



about the magician, I beg of you, for he has not dared to do 
an evil deed in many, many years." 

"Oh, I 'm not afraid," asserted Trot. 

"I 'm glad of that," said the Queen. "Keep together, 
friends, and be careful not to separate, for here comes an 
army of sawfishes." 

Even as Aquareine spoke they saw a swirl and commotion 
in the water ahead of them, while a sound like a muffled roar 
fell upon their ears. Then swiftly there dashed upon them a 
group of great fishes, with long saws sticking out in front of 
their noses, armed with sharp hooked teeth, all set in a row. 
They were larger than the swordfishes and seemed more fierce 
and bold. But the mermaids and Trot, and Cap'n Bill 
quietly awaited their attack, and instead of tearing them with 
their saws, as they expected to do, the fishes were unable to 
touch them at all. They tried every possible way to get at 
their proposed victims, but the Magic Circle was all-powerful 
and turned aside the ugly saws; so our friends were not dis- 
turbed at all. Seeing this, the sawfishes soon abandoned the 
attempt and with growls and roars of disappointment swam 
away and were quickly out of sight. 

Trot had been a wee bit frightened during the attack, but 
now she laughed gleefully and told the queen that it seemed 
very nice to be protected by fairy powers. 

The water grew a darker blue as they descended into its 

107 



The Sea Fairies 



depths, farther and farther away from the rays of the sun. 
Trot was surprised to find she could see so plainly through 
the high wall of water above her; but the sun was able to 
shoot its beams straight down through the transparent sea, 
and they seemed to penetrate to every nook and crevice of 
the rocky bottom. 

In this deeper part of the ocean some of the fishes had a 
phosphorescent light of their own, and these could be seen far 
ahead, as if they were lanterns. The explorers met a school 
of argonauts going up to the surface for a sail, and the child 
watched these strange creatures with much curiosity. The 
argonauts live in shells, in which they are able to hide in case 
of danger from prowling wolf fishes; but otherwise they 
crawl out and carry their shells like humps upon their backs. 
Then they spread their skinny sails above them and sail away 
under water till they come to the surface, where they float 
and let the currents of air carry them along the same as the 
currents of water had done before. Trot thought the argo- 
nauts comical little creatures, with their big eyes and sharp 
noses, and to her they looked like a fleet of tiny ships. 

It is said that men got their first idea of boats, and of how 
to sail them, from watching these little argonauts. 



108 




IN following the fleet of argonauts the four explorers had 
risen higher in the water and soon found they had wandered 
to an open space that seemed to Trot like the flat top of a 
high hill. The sands were covered with a growth of weeds 
so gorgeously colored that one who had never peered beneath 
the surface of the sea would scarcely believe they were not 
the product of a dye shop. Every known hue seemed repre- 
sented in the delicate fern-like leaves that swayed softly to 
and fro as the current moved them. They were not set close 
together, these branches of magnificent hues, but were scat- 
tered sparsely over the sandy bottom of the sea, s^ that while 
from a distance they seemed thick, a nearer view found them 
spread out with ample spaces of sand between them. 

In these sandy soaces lay the real attractiveness of the 



no 



Chapter Ten 



place, for here were many of those wonders of the deep that 
have surprised and interested people in all ages. 

First were the starfishes hundreds of them, it seemed 
lying sleepily on the bottom, with their five or six points 
extended outward. They were of various colors, some rich 
and brilliant, others of dark brown hues. A few had wound 
their arms around the weeds, or were creeping slowly from 
one place to another, in the latter case turning their points 
downward and using them as legs. But most of them were 
lying motionless, and as Trot looked down upon them she 
thought they resembled stars in the sky on a bright night 
except that the blue of the heavens was here replaced by the 
white sand, and the twinkling diamond stars by the colored 
starfish. 

'We are near an island," said the Queen, "and that is why 
so many starfishes are here, as they love to keep close to 
shore. Also the little sea horses love these weeds and to 
me they are more interesting than the starfish." 

Trot now noticed the sea horses for the first time. They 
were quite small merely two or three inches high but had 
funny little heads that were shaped much like the head of a 
horse, and bright, intelligent eyes. They had no legs, though, 
for their bodies ended in tails which they twined around the 
stems of seaweeds to support themselves, and keep the cur- 
rents from carrying them away. 

ill 



The Sea Fairies 



Trot bent down close to examine one of the queer little 
creatures, and exclaimed: 'Why, the sea horses have n't any 
fins, or anything to swim with." 

"Oh, yes we have," replied the Sea Horse, in a tiny, but 
distinct voice. 'These things on the side of my head are 
fins." 

"I thought they were ears," said the girl. 

"So they are. Fins and ears at the same time," answered 
the little sea animal. "Also, there are small fins on our backs. 
Of course, we can't swim as the mermaids do, or even as 
swiftly as fishes; but we manage to get around, thank you." 

"Don't the fishes catch and eat you 1 ?" inquired Trot, 
curiously. 

"Sometimes," admitted the Sea Horse, "and there are 
many other living things that have a way of destroying us. 
But here I am, as you see, over six weeks old, and during that 
time I have escaped every danger. That is n't so bad, is it*?" 

"Phoo!" said a Starfish lying near, "I'm over three 
months old. You 're a mere baby, Sea Horse." 

"I'm not!" cried the Sea Horse, excitedly. "I'm full- 
grown, and may live to be as old as you are!" 

"Not if I keep on living," said the Starfish, calmly, and 
Trot knew he was correct in his statement. 

The little girl now noticed several sea spiders creeping 
around, and drew back because she did not think them very 

112 



Chapter Ten 



pretty. They were shaped not unlike the starfishes, but had 
slender legs and big heads with wicked looking eyes sticking 
out of them. 

"Oh, I don't like those things!" said Trot, coming closer 
to her companions. 

"You don't, eh?" said a big Sea Spider, in a cross voice. 
"Why do you come around here, then, scaring away my din- 
ner, when you 're not wanted?" 

"It is n't your ocean," replied Trot. 

"No; and it isn't yours," snapped the Spider. "But as 
it 's big enough for us both, I 'd like you to go away." 

"So we will," said Aquareine, gently, and at once she 
moved toward the surface of the water. Trot and Cap'n Bill 
followed, with Clia, and the child asked : 

'What island are we near?" 

"It has no name," answered the Queen, "for it is not in- 
habited by man, nor has it ever yet been discovered by them. 
Perhaps you will be the first humans to see this island. But 
it is a barren, rocky place, and only fit for seals and turtles." 

"Are any of them there now?" Cap'n Bill inquired. 

"I think so. We will see." 

Trot was astonished to find how near they were to the 
"top" of the ocean, for they had not ascended through the 
water very long when suddenly her head popped into the air, 
and she gave a gasp of surprise to find herself looking at the 



The Sea Fairies 



clear sky for the first time since she had started upon this 
adventure, by rowing into Giant's Cave. 

She floated comfortably in the water, with her head and 
face just out of it, and began to look around her. Cap'n Bill 
was at her side, and so were the two mermaids. The day was 
fair and the surface of the sea, which stretched far away as 
the eye could reach, rippled under a gentle breeze. They had 
risen almost at the edge of a small, rocky islet, high in the 
middle, but gradually slanting down to the water. No trees, 
or bushes, or grass grew anywhere about ; only rocks, gray and 
bleak, were to be seen. 

Trot scarcely noticed this at first, however, for the island 
seemed covered with groups of forms, some still and some 
moving, which the old sailor promptly recognized as seals. 
Many were lying asleep or sunning themselves; others crept 
awkwardly around, using their strong fins as legs or "pad- 
dles," and caring little if they disturbed the slumbers of the 
others. Once in a while, one of those crowded out of place 
would give a loud and angry bark, which awakened others 
and set them to barking likewise. 

Baby seals were there in great numbers, and were more 
active and playful than their elders. It was really wonderful 
how they could scramble around on the land, and Trot 
laughed more than once at their antics. 



114 



Chapter Ten 



At the edge of the water lay many huge turtles, some as 
big around as a wagon wheel and others much smaller in size. 
'The big ones are very old," said the Queen, seeing Trot's 
eves fixed on the turtles. 

"How old?' asked the child. 

"Hundreds of years, I think. They live to a great age, 
for nothing can harm them when they withdraw their legs and 
heads into their thick shells. We use some of the turtles for 
food, but prefer the younger ones. Men also fish for turtles 
and eat them, but, of course, no men ever come to this out-of- 
the-way place in the ocean, so the inhabitants of this little 
island know they are perfectly safe.' 

In the center of the island rose high cliffs, on top of which 
were to be seen great flocks of sea-gulls, some whirling in the 
air, while others were perched upon the points of rock. 

"What do the birds find to eat?' asked Cap'n Bill. 
'They often feed upon seals which die of accident or old 
age, and they are expert fishermen," explained Queen Aqua- 
reine. "Curiously enough, the seals also feed upon these 
birds, which they are often able to catch in their strong jaws, 
when the gulls venture too near. And then, the seals fre- 
quently rob the nests of eggs, of which they are very fond." 
I 'd like a few gulls' eggs now," remarked a big seal that 
lay near them upon the shore. Trot had thought him sound 



The Sea Fairies 



asleep, but now he opened his eyes to blink lazily at the group 
in the water. 

"Good morning," said the Queen. "Are n't you Chief 
Muffruff?" 

"I am," answered the old seal. "And you are Aquareine, 
the mermaid queen. You see I remember you, although you 
have n't been here for years. And is n't that Princess Clia? 
To be sure! But the other mermaids are strangers to me; 
especially the bald-headed one." 

"I 'm not a mermaid," asserted Cap'n Bill. "I 'm a 
sailor, jes' a-visitin' the mermaids." 

"Our friends are earth dwellers," explained the Queen. 

That's odd," said Muffruff. "I can't remember that 
any earth dwellers ever came this way before. I never travel 
far, you see, for I 'm chief of this disorderly family of seals 
that live on this island on it and off it, that is." 

'You 're a poor chief," said a big turtle lying beside the 
seal. "If your people are disorderly it is your own fault." 

Muffruff gave a chuckling laugh. Then, with a move- 
ment quick as lightning, he pushed his head under the shell 
of the turtle and gave it a sudden jerk. The huge turtle was 
tossed up on edge and then turned flat on its back, where its 
short legs struggled vainly to right its overturned body. 

There!" snorted the Seal, contemptuously. "Perhaps 



116 



The Sea Fairies 



you '11 dare insult me again in the presence of visitors, you 
old mud-wallower!" 

Seeing the plight of the turtle, several young seals came 
laughingly wabbling to the spot, and as they approached the 
helpless creature drew in his legs and head, and closed his two 
shells tightly together. The seals bumped against the turtle 
and gave it a push that sent it sliding down the beach like a 
toboggan, and a minute later it splashed into the water and 
sank out of sight. 

But that was just what the creature wanted. On shore 
the upset turtle was quite helpless ; but the mischievous seals 
saved him. For as soon as he touched the water he was able 
to turn and right himself, which he promptly did. Then he 
raised his head above the water and asked: 

"Is it peace, or war, Muffruflf*?" 
'Whichever you like," answered the Seal, indifferently. 

Perhaps the turtle was angry, for it ran on shore with 
remarkable swiftness, uttering a shrill cry as it advanced. At 
once all the other turtles awoke to life, and with upraised 
heads joined their comrade in the rush for the seals. Most of 
Chief Muffruff's band scrambled hastily down the rocks and 
plunged into the water of the sea, without waiting for the 
turtles to reach them; but the chief himself was slow in 
escaping. It may be he was ashamed to run while the mer- 
maids were watching, but if this was so he made a great mis- 

118 



Chapter Ten 



take. The turtles snapped at his fins and tail, and began 
biting round chunks out of them, so that Chief Muffruff 
screamed with pain and anger, and floundered into the water 
as fast as he could go. The vengeful turtles were certainly 
the victors, and now held undisputed possession of the island. 

Trot laughed joyously at the incident, not feeling a bit 
sorry for the old seal who had foolishly begun the battle. 
Even the gentle queen smiled as she said : 

'These quarrels between the turtles and seals are very 
frequent, but they are soon ended. An hour from now they 
will all be lying asleep together, just as we found them; but 
we will not wait for that. Let us go." 

She sank slowly beneath the water again, and the others 
followed after her. 




119 




'THE sun must be going under a cloud," said Trot, looking 
ahead. 

They had descended far into the ocean depths again 
further, the girl thought, than they had ever been before. 

"No," the Queen answered, after a glance ahead of them; 
"that is a cuttlefish, and he is dyeing the sea around him with 
ink, so that he can hide from us. Let us turn a little to the 
left, for we could see nothing at all in that inky water." 

Following her advice they made a broad curve to the left, 
and at once the water began to darken in that direction, too. 
'Why, there 's another of 5 em," said Cap'n Bill, as the 
little party came to a sudden halt. 

"So there is," returned the Queen, and Trot thought there 
was a little quiver of anxiety in her voice. 'We must go far 
to the right to escape the ink." 

12O 



Chapter Eleven 



So they again started, this time almost at a right angle to 
their former course, and the little girl inquired: 

"How can the cuttlefish color the water so very black?" 
'They carry big sacks in front of them, where they con- 
ceal the ink," Princess Clia answered. 'Whenever they 
choose, the cuttlefish are able to press out this ink, and it 
colors the water for a great space around them." 

The direction in which they were now swimming was 
taking them far out of their way. Aquareine did not wish to 
travel very far to the right, so, when she thought they had 
gone far enough to escape the inky water, she turned to lead 
her party toward the left the direction in which she did wish 
to go. At once, another cloud of ink stained the water, and 
drove them to the right again. 

"Is anything wrong, ma'am?" asked Cap'n Bill, seeing a 
frown gather upon the queen's lovely face. 

"I hope not," she said. "But I must warn you that these 
cuttlefish are the servants of the terrible sea devils, and from 
the way they are acting they seem determined to drive us 
toward the Devil Caves, which I wished to avoid." 

This admission on the part of their powerful protector, 
the fairy mermaid, sent a chill to the hearts of the earth 
people. Neither spoke for a time, but finally Cap'n Bill asked 
in a timid voice : 

"Had n't we better go back, ma'am*?" 

121 



The Sea Fairies 



'Yes," decided Aquareine, after a moment's thought. "I 
think it will be wise to retreat. The sea devils are evidently 
aware of our movements and wish to annoy us. For my part 
I have no fear of them, but I do not care to have you meet such 
creatures." 

But when they turned around to abandon their journey 
another inky cloud was to be seen behind them. They really 
had no choice but to swim in the only streak of clear water 
they could find, and the mermaids well knew this would lead 
them nearer and nearer to the caves of their enemies. 

But Aquareine led the way, moving very slowly, and the 
others followed her. In every other direction they were 
hemmed in by the black waters, and they did not dare to halt, 
because the inky fluid crept swiftly up behind them and drove 
them on. 

The queen and the princess had now become silent and 
grave. They swam on either side of their guests, as if to 
better protect them. 

"Don't look up," whispered Clia, pressing close to the 
little girl's side 

"Why not*?" asked Trot; and then she did exactly what 
she had been told not to do. She lifted her head and saw 
stretched over them a network of scrawny crimson arms, in- 
terlaced like the branches of trees in winter, when the leaves 
have fallen and left them bare. 

122 



Chapter Eleven 



Cap'n Bill gave a start and muttered "Land sakes!" for 
he, too, had gazed upward and seen the crimson network of 
limbs. 

"Are these the sea devils'?" asked the child, more curious 
than frightened. 

'Yes, dear," replied the Queen. "But I advise you to pay 
no attention to them. Remember, they cannot touch us." 

In order to avoid the threatening arms overhead, which 
followed them as they swam, our friends kept near to the 
bottom of the sea, which was here thickly covered with rough 
and jagged rocks. The inky water had now been left far 
behind, but, when Trot looked over her shoulder, she shud- 
dered to find a great crimson monster following closely after 
them, with a dozen long, snaky feelers stretched out as if 
to grab anyone that lagged behind. And there, at the side of 
Princess Clia, was another sea devil, leering silently with his 
cruel, bulging eyes at the pretty mermaid. Beside the queen 
swam still another of their enemies. Indeed, the sea devils 
had crept upon them and surrounded them everywhere ex- 
cept at the front, and Trot began to feel nervous and worried 
for the first time. 

Cap'n Bill kept mumbling queer words under his breath, 
for he had a way of talking to himself when anything "upsot 
him," as he would quaintly remark. Trot always knew he 
was disturbed or in trouble when he began to "growl." 

123 



The Sea Fairies 



The only way now open was straight ahead. They swam 
slowly, yet fast enough to keep a safe distance from the dread- 
ful creature behind them. 

"I 'm afraid they are driving us into a trap," whispered 
the Queen, softly; "but, whatever happens, do not lose cour- 
age, earth friends. Clia and I are here to protect you, and our 
fairy powers are sufficient to keep you from all harm." 

"Oh, I don't mind so very much," declared Trot, calmly. 
"It 's like the fairy adventures in storybooks, and I 've often 
thought I 'd like that kind of adventures, 'cause the story 
always turns out the right way." 

Cap'n Bill growled something just then, but the only 
words Trot could make out were, "never lived to tell the 
tale." 

"Oh, pshaw, Cap'n," she said; "we maybe in danger, right 
enough, an' to be honest I don't like the looks of these sea 
devils at all. But, 1 'm sure it 's no killing matter, for we 've 
got the fairy circles all around us." 

"Ha, ha!" laughed the monster beside her. ''We know 
all about the fairy circles, don't we, Migg 4 ?" 

"Ho, ho!" laughed the monster on the other side; "we do, 
Slibb, my boy; and we don't think much of fairy circles, 
either!" 

'They have foiled our enemies many a time," declared 
the Princess, with much dignity. 

124 



Chapter Eleven 



"Ha, ha!" laughed one; "that 's why we 're here now." 
"Ho, ho!" laughed the other; "we 've learned a trick or 
two, and we 've got you fast this time." 

Then all the sea devils those above and the one behind, 
and the two on the sides laughed all together, and their 
laughter was so horrible that it made even Trot shudder. 




But, now the queen stopped short, and the others stopped 
with her. 

"I will go no farther," she said, firmly, not caring if the 
creatures overheard her. "It is evident that these monsters 
are trying to drive us into some secret place, and it is well- 

125 



The Sea Fairies 



known that they are in league with Zog the Terrible, whom 
they serve because they are as wicked as he is. We must be 
somewhere near the hidden castle of Zog, so I prefer to stay 
here rather than be driven into some place far more danger- 
ous. As for the sea devils, they are powerless to injure us 
in any way. Not one of the thousand arms about us can 
possibly touch our bodies." 

The only reply to this defiant speech was another burst 
of horrible laughter; and now there suddenly appeared before 
them still another of the monsters, which thus completely 
hemmed them in. Then the creatures began interlacing their 
long arms or "feelers" until they formed a perfect cage 
around the prisoners, not an opening being left that was large 
enough for one of them to escape through. 

The mermaids and the girl and sailorman kept huddled 
close together, for, although they might be walled in by the 
sea devils, their captors could not touch them because of the 
protecting magic circles. 

All at once Trot exclaimed : 'Why, we must be moving !" 

This was startling news, but by watching the flow of the 
water past them they saw that the little girl was right. The 
sea devils were swimming, all together, and as the cage they 
were in moved forward our friends were carried with it. 

Queen Aquareine had a stern look upon her beautiful 
face. Cap'n Bill guessed from this look that the mermaid 

126 



Chapter Eleven 



was angry, for it seemed much like the look Trot's mother 
wore when they came home late to dinner. But however 
angry the queen might be, she was unable to help herself or 
her guests just now, or to escape from the guidance of the 
dreaded sea devils. The rest of the party had become sober 
and thoughtful, and in dignified silence they awaited the out- 
come of this strange adventure. 




127 




ALL at once it grew dark around them. Neither Cap'n Bill 
nor Trot liked this gloom, for it made them nervous not to be 
able to see their enemies. 

'We must be near a sea cavern, if not within one," whis- 
pered Princess Clia, and even as she spoke the network of 
scarlet arms parted before them, leaving an avenue for them 
to swim out of the cage. There was brighter water ahead, too, 
so the queen said, without hesitation : 

"Come along, dear friends; but, let us clasp hands and 
keep close together." 

They obeyed her commands and swam swiftly out of their 
prison and into the clear water before them, glad to put a 
distance between themselves and the loathesome sea devils. 
The monsters made no attempt to follow them, but they burst 



128 



Chapter Twelve 



into a chorus of harsh laughter which warned our friends that 
they had not yet accomplished their escape. 

The four now found themselves in a broad, rocky passage, 
which was dimly lighted from some unknown source. The 
walls overhead, below them and at the sides all glistened, as 
if made of silver, and in places were set small statues of 
birds, beasts and fishes, occupying niches in the walls and 
seemingly made from the same glistening material. 

The queen swam more slowly, now that the sea devils had 
been left behind, and she looked exceedingly grave and 
thoughtful. 

'Have you ever been here before?" asked Trot. 

'No, dear," said the Queen, with a sigh. 

'And do you know where we are*?" continued the girl. 

"I can guess," replied Aquareine. 'There is only one 
place in all the sea where such a passage as that we are in 
could exist without my knowledge, and that is in the hidden 
dominions of Zog. If we are indeed in the power of that fear- 
ful magician we must summon all our courage to resist him, 
or we are lost!" 

"Is Zog more powerful than the mermaids?" asked Trot, 
anxiously. 

"I do not know, for we have never before met to measure 
our strength," answered Aquareine. "But if King Anko 



"1 
"1 

Cl 



129 



The Sea Fairies 



could defeat the magician, as he surely did, then I think I 
shall be able to do so." 

"I wish I was sure of it," muttered Cap'n Bill. 

Absolute silence reigned in the silver passage. No fish 
were there; not even a sea flower grew to relieve the stern 
grandeur of this vast corridor. Trot began to be impressed 
with the fact that she was a good way from her home and 
mother, and she wondered if she would ever get back again to 
the white cottage on the cliff. Here she was, at the bottom 
of the great ocean, swimming through a big tunnel that had 
an enchanted castle at one end, and a group of horrible sea 
devils at the other ! In spite of this thought she was not very 
much afraid. Although two fairy mermaids were her com- 
panions, she relied, strange to say, more upon her tried and 
true friend Cap'n Bill, than upon her newer acquaintances to 
see her safely out of her present troubles. 

Cap'n Bill himself did not feel very confident. 

"I don't care two cents what becomes o' me," he told Prin- 
cess Clia, in a low voice, "but I 'm drea'ful worrited over our 
Trot. She 's too sweet an' too young to be made an end of 
in this 'ere fashion." 

Clia smiled at the speech. 

"I 'm sure you will find the little girl's end a good way 
off," she replied. Trust to our powerful queen, and be sure 
she will find some means for us all to escape uninjured." 

130 



The Sea Fairies 



The light grew brighter as they advanced, until finally 
they perceived a magnificent archway just ahead of them. 
Aquareine hesitated a moment whether to go on, or turn back; 
but there was no escaping the sea devils behind them, and she 
decided the best way out of their difficulties was to bravely 
face the unknown Zog, and rely upon her fairy powers to pre- 
vent his doing any mischief to herself or her friends. So she 
led the way, and together they approached the archway and 
passed through it. 

They now found themselves in a vast cavern, so great in 
extent that the dome overhead looked like the sky when seen 
from the earth. In the center of this immense sea cavern rose 
the towers of a splendid castle, all built of coral inlaid with 
silver, and having windows of clear glass. 

Surrounding the castle were beds of beautiful sea flowers, 
many being in full bloom, and these were laid out with great 
care in artistic designs. Goldfish and silverfish darted here 
and there among the foliage, and the whole scene was so 
pretty and peaceful that Trot began to doubt there was any 
danger lurking in such a lovely place. 

As they paused to look around them, a brilliantly colored 
gregfish approached and gazed at them curiously with his 
big, saucer-like eyes. 

"So Zog has got you at last!" he said in a pitying tone. 



132 



Chapter Twelve 



"How foolish you were to swim into that part of the sea where 
he is powerful." 

'The sea devils made us," explained Clia. 
'Well, I 'm sorry for you, I 'm sure," remarked the Greg, 
and with a flash of his tail he disappeared among the sea 
foliage. 

"Let us go to the castle," said the Queen, in a determined 
voice. 'We may as well boldly defy our fate as to wait until 
Zog seeks us out." 

So they swam to the entrance of the castle. The doors 
stood wide open and the interior seemed as well lighted as the 
cavern itself, although none of them could discover from 
whence the light came. 

At each side of the entrance lay a fish such as they had 
never seen before. It was flat as a doormat, and seemed to 
cling fast to the coral floor. Upon its back were quills, like 
those of a porcupine, all pointed and sharp. From the center 
of the fish arose a head shaped like a round ball, with a circle 
of piercing, bead-like eyes set in it. These strange guardians 
of the entrance might be able to talk and to tell what their 
numerous eyes saw, yet they remained silent and watchful. 
Even Aquareine gazed upon them curiously, and she gave 
a little shudder as she did so. 

Inside the entrance was a domed hall, with a flight of 
stairs leading to an upper balcony. Around the hall were 

133 



The Sea Fairies 



several doorways hung with curtains made of woven sea- 
weeds. Chairs and benches stood against the wall, and these 
astonished the visitors because neither stairs nor chairs seemed 
useful in a kingdom where every living thing was supposed 
to swim and have a fish's tail. In Queen Aquareine's palaces 
benches for reclining were used, and stairs were wholly un- 
necessary; but in the Palace of Zog the furniture and fittings 
were much like those of a house upon earth, and, except that 
every space was here filled with water instead of air, Trot 
and Cap'n Bill might have imagined themselves in a hand- 
some earthly castle. 

The little group paused half fearfully in the hall, yet so 
far, there was surely nothing to be afraid of. They were 
wondering what to do next, when the curtains of an archway 
were pushed aside and a boy entered. To Trot's astonishment 
he had legs, and walked upon them naturally and with per- 
fect ease. He was a delicate, frail looking little fellow, 
dressed in a black velvet suit with knee breeches. The bows 
at his throat and knees were of colored seaweeds, woven into 
broad ribbons. His hair was yellow, and banged across his 
forehead. His eyes were large and dark, with a pleasant, 
merry sparkle in them. Around his neck he wore a high ruff, 
but in spite of this Trot could see that below his plump cheeks 
were several scarlet-edged slits that looked like the gills of 
fishes, for they gently opened and closed as the boy breathed 

134 



Chapter Twelve 



in the water by which he was surrounded. These gills did not 
greatly mar the lad's delicate beauty, and he spread out his 
arms and bowed low and gracefully in greeting. 

"Hello," said Trot. 

'Why, I 'd like to," replied the boy, with a laugh, "but, 
being a mere slave, it is n't proper for me to hello. But it J s 
good to see earth people again, and I 'm glad you 're here." 

'We 're not glad," observed the girl; "we 're afraid." 

'You '11 get over that," declared the boy, smilingly. 
''People lose a lot of time being afraid. Once I was myself 
afraid, but I found it was no fun, so I gave it up." 

'Why were we brought here?" inquired Queen Aquareine, 
gently. 

"I can't say, madam, being a mere slave," replied the boy. 
"But, you have reminded me of my errand. I am sent to in- 
form you all that Zog the Forsaken, who hates all the world 
and is hated by all the world, commands your presence in his 
den." 

"Do you hate Zog, too?" asked Trot. 

"Oh, no," answered the boy. "People lose a lot of time 
in hating others, and there 's no fun in it at all. Zog may be 
hateful, but I 'm not going to waste time hating him. You 
may do so, if you like." 

'You are a queer child," remarked the Mermaid Queen, 
looking at him attentively. : 'Will you tell us who you are? 

135 



55 



The Sea Fairies 



"Once, I was Prince Sacho of Sacharhineolaland, which is 
a sweet country, but hard to pronounce," he answered. "But 
in this domain I have but one title and one name, and that is 
'Slave.' " 

"How came you to be Zog's slave?" asked Clia. 

'The funniest adventure you ever heard of," asserted the 
boy, with eager pride. "I sailed in a ship that went to pieces 
in a storm. All on board were drowned but me and I came 
mighty near it, to tell the truth. I went down deep, deep into 
the sea, and at the bottom was Zog, watching the people 
drown. I tumbled on his head and he grabbed and saved me, 
saying I would make a useful slave. By his magic power he 
made me able to live under water, as the fishes live, and he 
brought me to this castle and taught me to wait upon him, 
as his other slaves do." 

"Is n't it a dreadful, lonely life?" asked Trot. 

"No, indeed," said Sacho; "we haven't any time to be 
lonely, and the dreadful things Zog does are very exciting 
and amusing, I assure you. He keeps us guessing every min- 
ute, and that makes the life here interesting. Things were 
getting a bit slow an hour ago, but now that you are here I 'm 
in hopes we will all be kept busy and amused for some time." 

"Are there many others in the castle besides you and Zog?" 
asked Aquareine. 

"Dozens of us. Perhaps hundreds. I 've never counted 

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Chapter Twelve 



them/' said the boy. "But Zog is the only master; all the rest 
of us are in the same class, so there is no jealousy among the 
slaves." 

"What is Zog like?' Cap'n Bill questioned. 

At this the boy laughed, and the laugh was full of 
mischief. 




"If I could tell you what Zog is like it would take me a 
year," was the reply. "But I can't tell you. Every one has a 
different idea of what he 's like, and soon you will see him 
yourselves." 

"Are you fond of him?" asked Trot. 

"If I said yes, I 'd get a good whipping," declared Sacho. 

137 



The Sea Fairies 



"I am commanded to hate Zog, and being a good servant I 
try to obey. If anyone dared to like Zog I am sure he 'd be 
instantly fed to the turtles; so I advise you not to like him." 

"Oh, we won't," promised Trot. 

"But we 're keeping the master waiting, and that is also a 
dangerous thing to do," continued the boy. "If we don't 
hurry up Zog will begin to smile, and when he smiles there is 
trouble brewing." 

The queen sighed. 

"Lead the way, Sacho," she said. "We will follow." 

The boy bowed again, and going to an archway held aside 
the curtains for them. They first swam into a small anteroom 
which led into a long corridor, at the end of which was another 
curtained arch. Through this Sacho also guided them, and 
now they found themselves in a cleverly constructed maze. 
Every few feet were twists and turns, and sharp corners, and 
sometimes the passage would be wide, and again so narrow 
that they could just squeeze through in single file. 

"Seems like we 're gettin' further into the trap," growled 
Cap'n Bill. "We could n't find our way out o' here to save 
our lives." 

"Oh, yes we could," replied Clia, who was just behind 
him. "Such a maze may indeed puzzle you, but the queen 
or I could lead you safely through it again, I assure you. 
Zog is not so clever as he thinks himself." 

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The sailor, however, found the maze very bewildering, 
and so did Trot. Passages ran in every direction, crossing 
and recrossing, and it seemed wonderful that the boy Sacho 
knew just which way to go. But he never hesitated an in- 
stant. Trot looked carefully to see if there were any marks 
to guide him, but every wall was of plain, polished marble, 
and every turning looked just like all the others. 

Suddenly Sacho stopped short. They were now in a 
broader passage, but as they gathered around their conductor, 
they found further advance blocked. Solid walls faced them, 
and here the corridor seemed to end. 

"Enter!" cried a clear voice. 

"But we can't!" protested Trot. 

"Swim straight ahead," whispered the boy, in soft tones. 
'There is no real barrier before you. Your eyes are merely 
deceived by magic." 

"Ah, I understand," said Aquareine, nodding her pretty 
head. And then she took Mayre's hand and swam boldly for- 
ward, while Cap'n Bill followed holding the hand of Clia. 
And behold ! the marble wall melted away before them, and 
they found themselves in a chamber more splendid than even 
the fairy mermaids had ever seen before. 



139 




THE room in the enchanted castle which Zog called his 
"den," and in which the wicked sea monster passed most of 
his time, was a perfectly shaped dome of solid gold. The 
upper part of this dome was thickly set with precious jewels 
diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, which sparkled 
beautifully through the crystal water. The lower walls were 
as thickly studded with pearls, all being of perfect shape and 
color. Many of the pearls were larger than any which may be 
found upon earth, for the sea people know where to find the 
very best, and hide them away where men cannot discover 
them. 

The golden floor was engraved with designs of rare 
beauty, depicting not only sea life, but many adventures 
upon land. In the room were several large golden cabinets, 
the doors of which were closed and locked, and in addition to 

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the cabinets there were tables, chairs and sofas, the latter 
upholstered with softest sealskins. Handsome rugs of ex- 
quisitely woven seaweeds were scattered about, the colors of 
which were artistically blended together. In one corner a 
fountain of air bubbled up through the water. 

The entire room was lighted as brilliantly as if exposed 
to the direct rays of the sun, yet where this light came from 
our friends could not imagine. No lamp or other similar 
device was visible anywhere. 

The strangers at first scarcely glanced at all these beau- 
tiful things, for in an easy chair sat Zog himself, more won- 
derful than any other living creature, and as they gazed upon 
him their eyes seemed fascinated, as if held by a spell. 

Zog's face was the face of a man, except that the tops of 
his ears were pointed like horns and he had small horns in- 
stead of eyebrows, and a horn on the end of his chin. In spite 
of these deformities the expression of the face was not un- 
pleasant, or repulsive. His hair was carefully parted and 
brushed, and his mouth and nose were not only perfect in 
shape, but quite handsome. 

Only the eyes betrayed Zog and made him terrible to all 
beholders. They seemed like coals of glowing fire, and 
sparkled so fiercely that no one ever cared to meet their gaze 
for more than an instant. Perhaps the monster realized this, 



141 



The Sea Fairies 



for he usually drooped his long lashes over his fiery eyes to 
shut out their glare. 

Zog had two well shaped legs which ended in the hoofs of 
beasts, instead of feet, and these hoofs were shod with gold. 
His body was a shapeless mass covered with richly embroid- 
ered raiment, over which a great robe of cloth of gold fell in 
many folds. This robe was intended to hide the magician's 
body from view, but Trot noticed that the cloth moved con- 
stantly, in little ripples, as if what lay underneath would not 
keep still. 

The best features of which Zog could boast were his arms 
and hands, the latter being as well formed, as delicate and 
white as those of a well-bred woman. When he spoke, his 
voice sounded sweet and clear, and its tones were very gentle. 
He had given them a few moments to stare at him, for he was 
examining them, in turn, with considerable curiosity. 

'Well," said he, "do you not find me the most hateful 
creature you have ever beheld 4 ?" 

The queen refrained from answering, but Trot said, 
promptly : 

'We do. Nothing could be more horrider or more dis- 
gustin' than you are, it seems to me." 

'Very good; very good, indeed," declared the monster, 
lifting his lashes to flash his glowing eyes upon her. Then 



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he turned toward Cap'n Bill. "Man-fish," he continued, 
"what do you think of me*?" 

"Mighty little," the sailor replied. 'You orter be 
'shamed to ask sech a question, knowin' you look worse ner 
the devil himself." 

'Very true," answered Zog, frowning. He felt that he 
had received a high compliment, and the frown showed he 
was pleased with Cap'n Bill. 

But now Queen Aquareine advanced to a position in front 
of their captor and said : 

'Tell me, Zog; why have you trapped us and brought us 
here?' 

'To destroy you," was the quick answer, and the magician 
turned for an instant to flash his eyes upon the beautiful 
mermaid. "For two hundred years I have been awaiting a 
chance to get within my power some friend of Anko the Sea 
Serpent of Anko, whom I hate!" he added, smiling sweetly. 
'When you left your palace to-day my swift spies warned 
me, and so I sent the sea devils to capture you. Often have 
they tried to do this before, but always failed. To-day, act- 
ing by my command, they tricked you, and by surrounding 
you, forced you to the entrance of my enchanted castle. The 
result is a fine capture of important personages. I have now 
in my power the queen and princess of the fairy mermaids, 



The Sea Fairies 



as well as two wandering earth people, and I assure you I 
shall take great enjoyment in destroying you utterly." 

'You are a coward," declared the Queen, proudly. "You 
dared not meet us in the open sea." 

"No; I dare not leave this castle," Zog admitted, still smil- 
ing. "But here, in my own domain, my power is supreme. 
Nothing can interfere with my vengeance." 

'That remains to be seen," said Aquareine, firmly meet- 
ing the gaze of the terrible eyes. 

"Of course," he answered, nodding his head with a grace- 
ful movement. 'You will try to thwart me and escape. You 
will pit your fairy power against my powers of magic. This 
will give me great pleasure, for the more you struggle the 
greater will be my revenge." 

"But why should you seek revenge upon us?" asked Clia. 
'We have never harmed you." 

'That is true," replied Zog. "I bear you no personal ill 
will. But you are friends of my great enemy, King Anko, and 
it will annoy him very much when he finds that you have 
been destroyed by me. I cannot hurt the rascally old sea ser- 
pent himself, but through you I can make him feel my 
vengeance." 

"The mermaids have existed thousands of years," said the 
Queen, in a tone of pride. "Do you imagine the despised and 
conquered Zog has power to destroy them?" 

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Chapter Thirteen 



"I do not know," was the quiet answer. "It will be inter- 
esting to discover which is the more powerful." 

"I challenge you to begin the test at once, vile magician !" 
exclaimed Aquareine. 

'There is no hurry, fair Queen," answered Zog, in his 
softest tones. "I have been so many years in accomplishing 
your capture that it is foolish to act hastily now. Besides, I 
am lonely. Here, in my forced retirement, I see only those 
uninteresting earth mortals whom I have made my slaves, 
for all sea dwellers are forbidden to serve me save the sea 
devils, and they dare not enter my castle. I have saved many 
mortals from drowning and brought them here to people my 
castle, but I do not love mortals. Two lovely mermaids are 
much more interesting, and before I allow you to perish I 
shall have much amusement in witnessing your despair, and 
your struggles to escape. You are now my prisoners. By 
slow degrees I shall wear out your fairy powers and break 
your hearts, as well as the hearts of these earth dwellers who 
have no magic powers, and I think it will be a long time 
before I finally permit you to die." 

'That 's all right," said Trot, cheerfully. 'The longer 
I live the better I '11 be satisfied." 

"That 's how I feel about it," added Cap'n Bill. "I Wt 
get in a hurry to kill us, Zog; it '11 be such a wear an' tear on 



The Sea Fairies 



m 
your nerves. Jes' take it easy an' let us live as long as we 

can." 

"Don't you care to die?" asked the magician. 

"It 's a thing I never longed for," the sailor replied. 
'You see, we had no business to go on a trip with the mer- 
maids, to begin with. I 've allus heard tell that mermaids 
is dangerous, an' no one as met 'em ever lived to tell the tale. 
Eh, Trot?" 

"That 's what you said, Cap'n Bill." 

"So, I guess we're done for, one way 'r 'nother; an' it 
don't matter much which. But Trot 's a good child, an' 
mighty young an' tender. It don't seem like her time has 
come to die. I 'd like to have her sent safe home to her mother. 
So I 've got this 'ere propersition to make, Zog: If your magic 
could make me die twice, or even three times fer good meas- 
ure, why you go ahead an' do it an' I won't complain. All 
I ask is fer you to send this little girl safe back to dry land 
again." 

"Don't you do it, Zog!" cried Trot, indignantly, and 
turning to Cap'n Bill she added: "I 'm not goin' to leave you 
down here in all this mess, Cap'n, and don't you think it. If 
one of us gets out of the muddle we 're in, we '11 both get out; 
so don't you make any bargains with Zog to die twice." 

Zog listened to this conversation very carefully. 

'The dying does not amount to much," he said; "it is the 

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Chapter Thirteen 



thinking about it that hurts you mortals most. I 've watched 
many a shipwreck at sea, and the people would howl and 
scream for hours before the ship broke up. Their terror was 
very enjoyable. But when the end came they all drowned 
as peacefully as if they were going to sleep, so it did n't 
amuse me at all." 

"I 'm not worrying," said Trot. 

"Ner me," said Cap'n Bill. "You '11 find we can take 
what comes jes' as easy as anybody." 

"I do not expect to get much fun from you poor mortals," 
said Zog, carelessly. 'You are merely a side show to my 
circus a sort of dessert to my feast of vengeance. When 
the time comes I can find a hundred ways to kill you. My 
most interesting prisoners are these pretty mermaids, who 
claim that none of their race has ever yet died, or been de- 
stroyed. The first mermaid ever created is living yet and 
I am told she is none other than Queen Aquareine. So I have 
a pretty problem before me, to invent some way to destroy 
the mermaids, or put them out of existence. And it will re- 
quire some thought." 

"Also, it will require some power you do not possess," 
suggested the Queen. 

'That may be," replied Zog, softly; c 'but I am going to 
experiment, and I believe I shall be able to cause you a lot 
of pain and sorrow before I finally make an end of you. I 

147 



The Sea Fairies 



have not lived twenty-seven thousand years, Aquareine, 
without getting a certain amount of wisdom, and I am more 
powerful than you suspect." 

'You are a monster and a wicked magician," said the 
Mermaid Queen. 

"I am," agreed Zog; "but I cannot help it. I was created 
part man, part bird, part fish, part beast and part reptile, and 
such a monstrosity could not be otherwise than wicked. 
Everybody hates me, and I hate everybody." 
'Why don't you kill yourself?" asked Trot. 

"I J ve tried that, and failed," he answered. "Only one 
being in the world has power to destroy me, and that is King 
Anko, the sea serpent." 

'Then you 'd better let him do it," advised the little girl. 

"No; much as I long to die, I cannot allow King Anko the 
pleasure of killing me. He has always been my worst enemy, 
and it would be such a joy to him to kill me that I really 
cannot allow him. Indeed, I have always hoped to kill Anko. 
I have now been three thousand six hundred and forty-two 
years, eleven months and nine days figuring out a plan to 
destroy old Anko, and as yet I have not discovered a way." 

"I 'd give it up, if I were you," advised Trot. 'Don't 
you think you could get some fun out of trying to be good?" 

"No!" cried Zog, and his voice was not so soft as before. 
"Listen, Aquareine: You and your attendants shall be pris- 

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Chapter Thirteen 



oners in this castle until I can manage to stop you from liv- 
ing. Rooms will be placed at your disposal, and I wish you 
to go to them at once, as I am tired of looking at you." 

'You 're no more tired than we are," remarked Trot. 
"It 's lucky you can't see yourself, Zog." 




. I 



He turned his glowing eyes full upon her. 
"The worst of my queer body I keep concealed," he said. 
If ever you see it, you will scream with terror." 

He touched a bell beside him and the girl was surprised 
to find how clearly its tones rang out through the water. In 



149 



The Sea Fairies 



an instant the boy Sacho appeared and bowed low before his 
dreadful master. 

'Take the mermaids and the child to the Rose Chamber," 
commanded Zog; "and take the old man-fish to the Peony 
Room." 

Sacho turned to obey. 

"Are the outer passages well guarded?" asked the monster. 

'Yes; as you have commanded," said the boy. 

'Then you may allow the prisoners to roam at will 
throughout the castle. Now, go!" 

The prisoners followed Sacho from the room, glad to get 
away. The presence of this evil being had grown oppressive 
to them, and Zog had himself seemed ill at ease during the 
last few minutes. The robe so closely wound around his body 
moved jerkily, as if something beneath disturbed it, and at 
such times Zog shifted nervously in his seat. 

Sacho's thin little legs trotted through the water, and led 
the way into a different passage from the one by which they 
had entered. They swam slowly after him and breathed 
easier when they had left the golden domed chamber, where 
their wicked enemy sat enthroned. 

'Well, how do you like him?" asked Sacho, with a laugh. 

"We hate him!" declared Trot, emphatically. 

"Of course you do," replied Sacho. : 'But, you 're wast- 



150 



Chapter Thirteen 



ing time hating anything. It does n't do you any good, or 
him any harm. Can you sing?" 

"A little," said Trot; "but I don't feel like singing now." 
'You 're wrong about that," the boy asserted. "Any- 
thing that keeps you from singing is foolishness, unless it 's 




laughter. Laughter, joy and song are the only good things 
in the world." 

Trot did not answer this queer speech, for just then they 
came to a flight of stairs, and Sacho climbed up them, while 
the others swam. And now they were in a lofty, broad corri- 



The Sea Fairies 



dor having many doors hung with seaweed draperies. At 
one of these doorways Sacho stopped and said : 

"Here is the Rose Chamber, where the master commands 
you to live until you die. You may wander anywhere in the 
castle as you please ; to leave it is impossible. Whenever you 
return to the Rose Chamber you will know it by this design 
of roses, sewn in pearls upon the hangings. The Peony 
Room, where the man-fish is to live, is the next one far- 
ther on." 

'Thank you," replied Queen Aquareine. "Are we to be 
fed?" 

"Meals will be served in your rooms. If you desire any- 
thing, ring the bell and some of the slaves will be sure to 
answer it. I am mostly in attendance upon my master, but 
whenever I am at liberty I will look after your comfort 
myself." 

Again they thanked the strange boy, and he turned and 
left them. They could hear him whistle and sing as he re- 
turned along the passage. Then Princess Clia parted the cur- 
tains that her queen and companions might enter the Rose 
Chamber. 



152 




THE rooms Zog had given his prisoners were as handsome 
as all other parts of this strange, enchanted castle. Gold was 
used plentifully in the decorations, and in the Rose Chamber 
occupied by the mermaids, and Trot, golden roses formed a 
border around the entire room. The sea maidens had evi- 
dently been expected, for the magician had provided couches 
for them to recline upon, similar to the ones used in the mer- 
maid palaces. The frames were of mother-of-pearl and the 
cushions of soft, white sponges. In the room were toilet 
tables, mirrors, ornaments and many articles used by earth 
people, which they afterward learned had been plundered by 
Zog from sunken ships and brought to his castle by his allies, 
the sea devils. 

While the mermaids were examining and admiring their 
room, Cap'n Bill went to the Peony Room to see what it was 

153 



The Sea Fairies 



like, and found his quarters very cosy and interesting. There 
were pictures on the walls portraits of grave-looking por- 
poises, bashful seals, and smug and smiling walruses. Some 
of the wall panels were formed of mirrors and reflected clearly 
the interior of the room. Around the ceiling was a frieze of 
imitation peonies in silver, and the furniture was peony- 
shaped, the broad leaves being bent to form seats and couches. 

Beside a pretty dressing table hung a bell cord, with a 
tassel at the end. Cap'n Bill did not know it was a bell cord, 
so he pulled it to see what would happen and was puzzled 
to find that nothing seemed to happen at all, the bell being 
too far away for him to hear it. Then he began looking at the 
treasures contained in this royal apartment, and was much 
pleased with a golden statue of a mermaid, that resembled 
Princess Clia in feature. A silver flower vase upon a stand 
contained a bouquet of gorgeous peonies, "as nat'ral as life," 
said Cap'n Bill, although he saw plainly that they must be 
made of metal. 

Trot came in just then to see how her dear friend was 
located. She entered from the doorway that connected the 
two rooms, and said : 

"Isn't it pretty, Cap'n? And who'd ever think that 
awful creature Zog owned such a splendid castle, and kept 
his prisoners in such lovely rooms'?" 

"I once heard tell," said the sailor, "of a foreign people 

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Chapter Fourteen 



that sacrificed human bein's to please their pagan gods; an' 
before they killed 'em outright they stuffed the victims full 
o' good things to eat, an' dressed 'em in pretty clothes, an' 
treated 'em like princes. That 's why I don't take much com- 
fort in our fine surroundin's, Trot. This Zog is a pagan, if 
ever there was one, an' he don't mean us any good, you may 
depend on 't." 

: 'No," replied Trot, soberly; "I 'm sure he does n't expect 
us to be happy here. But, I 'm going to fool him and have 
just as good a time as I can." 

As she spoke they both turned around an easy thing to 
do with a single flop of their flexible tails and Cap'n Bill 
uttered a cry of surprise. Just across the room stood a perfect 
duplicate of himself. The round head, with its bald top and 
scraggly whiskers, the sailor cap and shirt, the wide panta- 
loons even the wooden leg each and every one were exact 
copies of those owned by Cap'n Bill. Even the expression 
in the light blue eyes was the same, and it is no wonder the 
old sailor stared at his "double" in amazement. But the next 
minute he laughed, and said : 

"Why, Trot, it 's me reflected in a mirror. But, at first, 
I thought it was some one else." 

Trot was staring, too. 

"Look, Cap'n!" she whispered; "look at the wooden leg." 

"Well, it 's my wooden leg, ain't it?" he inquired. 

155 



The Sea Fairies 



"If it is, it can't be a reflection in a mirror," she argued, 
"for you have n't got a wooden leg. You 3 ve got a fish's tail." 

The old sailor was & ^artled by this truth that he gave a 
great flop with his tail chat upset his balance, and made him 
keel a somersault in the water before he got right side up 
again. Then he found the other sailorman laughing at him, 
and was horrified to find the "reflection" advancing toward 
them, by stumping along on its wooden leg. 

"Keep away ! Git out, there !" yelled Cap'n Bill. "You 're 
a ghost the ghost o' me that once was an' I can't bear the 
sight o' you. Git out!" 

"Did you ring jes' to tell me to git out?" asked the other, 
in a mild voice. 

"I I didn't ring," declared Cap'n Bill. 
'You did; you pulled that bell cord," said the one-legged 

"Oh; did pullin 5 that thing ring a bell?' inquired the 
Cap'n, a little ashamed of his ignorance and reassured by 
hearing the "ghost" talk. 

"It surely did," was the reply; "and Sacho told me to an- 
swer your bell an' look after you. So I 'm a-lookin' after you." 

"I wish you would n't," protested Cap'n Bill. "I 've no 
use fer fer ghostses, anyhow." 

The strange sailor began to chuckle at hearing this, and 



156 





' 



'OU^L A GHOST ! 

: 







tmt " l **Jf [ 

flK 1 , 



s 1 



Chapter Fourteen 



his chuckle was just like Cap'n Bill's chuckle so full of 
merry humor that it usually made every one laugh with him. 
'Who are you?" asked Trot, who was very curious and 
much surprised. 

"I 'm Cap'n Joe," was the reply. "Cap'n Joe Weedles, 
formerly o' the brig 'Gladsome' an' now a slave o' Zog at the 
bottom o' the sea." 

"J J Joe Wee Weedles!" gasped Cap'n Bill, 
amazed; "Joe Weedles o' the 'Gladsome'! Why, dash my 
eyes, mate, you must be my brother!" 

"Are you Bill Weedles?" asked the other. And then he 
added : "But, no; you can't be. Bill was n't no merman. He 
were a human critter, like myself." 

"That's what 7 am," said Cap'n Bill, hastily; "I'm a 
human critter, too. I 've jes' borrered this fishtail to swim 
with while I 'm visitin' the mermaids." 

: 'Well, well," said Cap'n Joe, in astonishment; "who'd 
'a' thought it ! An' who 'd ever 'a' thought as I 'd find my long 
lost brother in Zog's enchanted castle, full fifty fathoms deep 
down in the wet, wet water!" 

: 'Why, as fer that," replied Cap'n Bill, "it 's you as is the 
long lost brother, not me. You an' your ship disappeared 
many a year ago, an' ain't never been heard of since ; while, as 
fer me, I 'm livin' on earth yet." 

'You don't look it, to all appearances," remarked Cap'n 

157 



The Sea Fairies 



Joe, in a reflective tone of voice. "But I '11 agree it 's many 
a year since I saw the top o' the water, an' I 'm not expectin' 
to ever tramp on dry land again." 

"Are you dead, or drownded, or what?" asked Cap'n Bill. 

"Neither one nor t'other," was the answer. "But Zog 
gave me gills, so 's I could live in the water like fishes do, an' 
if I got on land I could n't breathe air any more 'n a fish out o' 
water can. So I guess as long as I live I '11 hev to stay down 
here." 

"Do you like it?" asked Trot. 

"Oh, I don't objec' much," said Cap'n Joe. 'There ain't 
much excitement here, fer we don't catch a flock o' mermaids 
ev'ry day; but the work is easy an' the rations fair. I might 
'a' been worse off, you know, for when my brig was wrecked 
I 'd 'a' gone to Davy Jones's Locker if Zog had n't happened 
to find me an' made me a fish." 

'You don't look as much like a fish as Cap'n Bill does," 
observed Trot. 

"P'raps not," said Cap'n Joe; "but I notice Bill ain't got 
any gills, an' breathes like you an' the mermaids does. When 
he gets back to land he '11 have his two legs again, an' live in 
comfort breathin' air." 

"I won't have two legs," asserted Cap'n Bill, "for when 
I 'm on earth I 'm fitted with one wooden leg, jes' the same as 
you are, Joe." 

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Chapter Fourteen 



"Oh; I had n't heard o' that, Bill; but I 'm not surprised," 
replied Brother Joe. "Many a sailor gets to wear a wooden 
leg, in time. Mine 's hick'ry." 

"So 's mine," said Cap'n Bill, with an air of pride. "I 'm 
glad I Ve run across you, Joe, for I often wondered what had 
become of you. Seems too bad, though, to have you spend all 
your life under water." 

"What's the odds?" asked Cap'n Joe. "I never could 
keep away from the water since I was a boy, an' there 's more 
dangers to be met floatin' on it than there is soakin' in it. An' 
one other thing pleases me when I think on it : I 'm parted 
from my wife a mighty good woman with a tongue like a 
two-edge sword an' my pore widder '11 get the insurance 
money an' live happy. As fer me, Bill, I 'm a good deal 
happier than I was when she kep' scoldin' me from mornin' to 
night every minute I was home." 

"Is Zog a kind master?" asked Trot. 

"I can't say he 's kind," replied Cap'n Joe, "for he 's as 
near a devil as any livin' critter can be. He grumbles an' 
growls in his soft voice all day, an' hates himself an' every- 
body else. But I don't see much of him. There 's so many 
of us slaves here that Zog don't pay much attention to us, an' 
we have a pretty good time when the ol' magician is shut up 
in his den, as he mostly is." 

"Could you help us to escape?" asked the child. 

159 



The Sea Fairies 



;f Why, I don't know how," admitted Cap'n Joe. "There 's 
magic all around us, and we slaves are never allowed to leave 
this great cave. I'll do what I can, o' course; but Sacho is 
the boy to help you, if anyone can. That little chap knows 
a heap, I can tell you. So now, if nothin' more 's wanted, I 
must get back to work." 

'What work do you do?" Cap'n Bill asked. 

"I sew buttons on Zog's clothes. Every time he gets mad 
he busts his buttons off, an' I have to sew 'em on again. As 
he 's mad most o' the time, it keeps me busy." 

"I '11 see you again, won't I, Joe?" said Cap'n Bill. 

"No reason why you should n't if you manage to keep 
alive," said Cap'n Joe. "But you must n't forget, Bill, that 
Zog has his grip on you, an' I 've never known anything to 
escape him yet." 

Saying this the old sailor began to stump toward the door, 
but tripped his foot against his wooden leg and gave a swift 
dive forward. He would have fallen flat had he not grabbed 
the drapery at the doorway, and saved himself by holding 
fast to it with both hands. Even then he rolled and twisted 
so awkwardly before he could get upon his legs that Trot had 
to laugh outright at his antics. 

This hick'ry leg," said Cap'n Joe, "is so blamed light 
that it always wants to float. Agga-Groo, the goldworker, 
has promised me a gold leg, that will stay down ; but he never 

160 



The Sea Fairies 



has time to make it. You 're mighty lucky, Bill, to have a 
merman's tail, instead o' legs." 

"I guess I am, Joe," replied Bill; "for in such a wet coun- 
try the fishes have the best of it. But I ain't sure I 'd like this 
sort o' thing always." 

'Think o' the money you 'd make in a side show," said 
Cap'n Joe, with his funny chuckling laugh. Then he pounded 
his wooden leg against the hard floor, and managed to hobble 
from the room without more accidents. 

When he had gone, Trot said : 

"Are n't you glad to find your brother again, Cap'n Bill?" 

'Why, so-so," replied the sailor. "I don't know much 
about Joe, seein' as we have n't met before for many a long 
year; an' all I remember about our boyhood days is that we fit 
an' pulled hair most o' the time. But what worries me most is 
Joe's lookin' so much like me myself wooden leg an' all. 
Don't you think it 's rather cheeky an' unbrotherly, Trot?" 

"Perhaps he can't help it," suggested the child. "And, 
anyhow, he '11 never be able to live on land again." 

"No," said Cap'n Bill, with a sigh, "Joe 's a fish, now, an' 
so he ain't likely to be took for me by any of our friends on 
the earth." 



162 




WHEN Trot and Cap'n Bill entered the Rose Chamber they 
found the two mermaids reclining before an air fountain that 
was sending thousands of tiny bubbles up through the water. 
'These fountains of air are excellent things," remarked 
Queen Aquareine, "for they keep the water fresh and sweet, 
and that is the more necessary where it is confined by walls, as 
it is in this castle. But, now let us counsel together, and 
decide what to do in the emergency that confronts us." 

"How can we tell what to do, without knowing what J s 
going to happen*?" asked Trot. 

"Something 's sure to happen," said Cap'n Bill. 

As if to prove his words a gong suddenly sounded at their 
door, and in walked a fat little man clothed all in white, in- 
cluding a white apron and white cap. His face was round and 
jolly, and he had a big mustache that curled up at the ends. 

163 



The Sea Fairies 



'Well, well!" said the little man, spreading out his legs 
and putting his hands on his hips as he stood looking at them; 
"of all the queer things in the sea, you 're the queerest ! Mer- 
maids, eh?" 

"Don't bunch us that way!" protested Cap'n Bill. 

'You are quite wrong," said Trot; "I 'm a a girl." 

'With a fish's tail?" he asked, laughing at her. 

'That 's only just for a while," she said; "while I 'm in the 
water, you know. When I 'm at home on the land I walk just 
as you do an' so does Cap'n Bill." 

"But we have n't any gills," remarked the Cap'n, looking 
closely at the little man's throat; "so I take it we 're not as 
fishy as some others." 

"If you mean me, I must admit you are right," said the 
little man, twisting his mustaches. "I 'm as near a fish as a 
man can be. But you see, Cap'n, without the gills that make 
me a fish I could not live under water." 

'When it comes to that, you J ve no business to live under 
water," asserted the sailor. "But I s'pose you 're a slave and 
can't help it." 

"I 'm chief cook for that old horror, Zog. And that re- 
minds me, good mermaids or good people, or good girls and 
sailors, or whatever you are that I 'm sent here to ask what 
you 'd like to eat." 



164 



The Sea Fairies 



"Glad to see you, sir," said Cap'n Bill. "I 'm nearly 
starved, myself." 

"I had it in mind," said the little man, "to prepare a regu- 
lar mermaid dinner; but since you 're not mermaids " 

"Oh, two of us are," said the Queen, smiling. "I, my good 
cook, am Aquareine, the ruler of the mermaids, and this is the 
Princess Clia." 

"I 've often heard of you, your Majesty," returned the 
chief cook, bowing respectfully, "and I must say I 've heard 
only good of you. Now that you have unfortunately become 
my master's prisoners it will give me pleasure to serve you as 
well as I am able." 

'We thank you, good sir," said Aquareine. 

'What have you got to eat?" inquired Trot. "Seems to 
me I 'm hollow way down to my toes my tail, I mean and 
it '11 take a lot to fill me up. We have n't eaten a morsel since 
breakfast, you know." 

"I think I shall be able to give you almost anything you 
would like," said the cook. "Zog is a wonderful magician, 
and can procure anything that exists with no more effort than 
a wiggle of his thumb. But some eatables, you know, are 
hard to serve under water, because they get so damp that 
they are soon ruined." 

"Ah, it is different with the mermaids," said Princess Clia. 

'Yes; all your things are kept dry because they are sur- 

166 



Chapter Fifteen 



rounded by air. I 've heard how the mermaids live. But 
here it is different." 

'Take this ring," said the Queen, handing the chief cook 
a circlet which she drew from her finger. 'While it is in your 
possession the food you prepare will not get wet or even 
moist." 

"I thank your Majesty," returned the cook, taking the 
ring. "My name is Tom Atto, and I '11 do my best to please 
you. How would you like for luncheon some oysters on the 
half shell, clam broth, shrimp salad, broiled turtle steak and 
watermelon?" 

'That will do very nicely," answered the Queen. 
'Do watermelons grow in the sea?" asked Trot. 

"Of course; that is why they are called watermelons," 
replied Tom Atto. "I think I shall serve you a water ice, in 
addition to the rest. Water ice is an appropriate sea food." 

"Have some water cress with the salad," said Cap'n Bill. 

"I 'd thought of that," declared the cook. "Does n't my 
bill of fare make your mouths water?" 

"Hurry up and get it ready," suggested Trot. 

Tom Atto at once bowed and retired, and when they were 
alone, Cap'n Bill said to the queen : 

"Do you think, ma'am, we can manage to escape from Zog 
and his castle?" 

"I hope we shall find a way," replied Aquareine. 'The 

167 



The Sea Fairies 



evil powers of magic, which Zog controls, may not prove to 
be as strong as the fairy powers I possess; but of course I 
cannot be positive until I discover what this wicked magician 
is able to do." 

Princess Clia was looking out of one of the windows. 

"I think I can see an opening far up in the top of the 
dome," she said. 

They all hastened to the windows to look, and although 
Trot and Cap'n Bill could see nothing but a solid dome above 
the castle perhaps, because it was so far away from them 
the sharp eyes of Aquareine were not to be deceived. 

'Yes," she announced, "there is surely an opening in the 
center of the great dome. A little thought must convince us 
that such an opening is bound to exist, for otherwise the water 
confined within the dome would not be fresh or clear." 

"Then, if we could escape from this castle, we could swim 
up to the hole in the dome and get free !" exclaimed Trot. 

"Why, Zog has probably ordered the opening well 
guarded, as he has all other outlets," responded the Queen. 
"Yet it may be worth while for us to make the attempt to get 
back into the broad ocean this way. The night would be the 
best time, when all are asleep ; and surely it will be quicker 
to reach the ocean through this hole in the roof, than by 
means of the long, winding passages by which we entered. 



55 



168 



The Sea Fairies 



"But we will have to break out of the castle, in some 
way," observed Cap'n Bill. 

'That will not be difficult," answered Aquareine. "It 
will be no trouble for me to shatter one of these panes of 
glass, allowing us to pass out and swim straight up to the 
top of the dome." 

"Let 's do it now !" said Trot, eagerly. 

"No, my dear; we must wait for a good opportunity, 
when we are not watched closely. We do not wish the ter- 
rible Zog to thwart our plan," answered the Queen, gently. 

Presently, two sailor boys entered, bearing trays of food 
which they placed upon a large table. They were cheery- 
faced young fellows, with gills at their throats but had laugh- 
ing eyes, and Trot was astonished not to find any of the slaves 
of Zog weeping or miserable. Instead, they were as jolly and 
good-natured as could be, and seemed to like their life under 
the water. Cap'n Bill asked one of these boys how many 
slaves were in the castle, and the youth replied that he would 
try to count them and let him know. 

Tom Atto had, they found, prepared for them an excel- 
lent meal, and they ate heartily because they were really 
hungry. After luncheon Cap'n Bill smoked his pipe content- 
edly and they renewed their conversation, planning various 
ways to outwit Zog and make their escape. While thus en- 
gaged the gong at the door sounded and Sacho entered. 

170 



Chapter Fifteen 



"My diabolical master commands you to attend him," 
said the boy. 

'When?' asked Aquareine. 

"At once, your Majesty." 
'Very well; we will follow you," she said. 

So they swam down the corridors, following Sacho, until 
they again reached the golden domed room they had formerly 
visited. 

Here sat Zog, just as they had left him, seemingly; but 
when his prisoners entered the magician arose and stood upon 
his cloven feet, and then silently walked to a curtained 
archway. 

Sacho commanded the prisoners to follow, and beyond the 
archway they found a vast chamber that occupied the center 
of the castle and was as big as a ballroom. Zog, who seemed 
to walk with much difficulty because his ungainly body 
swayed back and forth, did not go far beyond the arched 
entrance. A golden throne was set near by, and in this the 
monster seated himself. 

At one side of the throne stood a group of slaves. They 
were men, women and children. All had broad gold bands 
clasped around their ankles, as a badge of servitude, and at 
each throat were the fish's gills that enabled them to breathe, 
and live under water. Yet every face was smiling and 



171 



The Sea Fairies 



serene, even in the presence of their dread master. In parts 
of the big hall were groups of other slaves. 

Sacho ranged the prisoners in a circle before Zog's throne, 
and slowly the magician turned his eyes, glowing like live 
coals, upon the four. 

"Captives," said he, speaking in his clear, sweet voice, "in 
our first interview you defied me, and both the mermaid 
queen and the princess declared they could not die. But if 







that is a true statement, as I have yet to discover, there are 
various ways to make you miserable and unhappy, and this 
I propose to do in order to amuse myself at your expense. 

172 



Chapter Fifteen 



You have been brought here to undergo the first trial 
of strength between us." 

None of the prisoners replied to this speech, so Zog turned 
to one of his slaves and said : 

"Rivivi, bring in the Yell-Maker." 

Rivivi was a big fellow, brown of skin, and with flashing 
black eyes. He bowed to his master and left the room by 




an archway covered with heavy draperies. The next moment 
these curtains were violently pushed aside and a dreadful sea 
creature swam into the hall. It had a body much like that 
of a crab, only more round and of a jet-black color. Its eyes 
were bright yellow balls set on the ends of two horns that 
stuck out of its head. They were cruel looking eyes, too, and 
seemed able to see every person in the room at the same time. 
The legs of the Yell-Maker, however, were the most 
curious part of the creature. There were six of them, slender 

173 



The Sea Fairies 



and black as coal, and each extended twelve to fifteen feet 
from its body, when stretched out in a straight line. They 
were hinged in several places, so they could be folded up, or 
extended at will. At the ends of these thin legs were im- 
mense claws shaped like those of a lobster, and they were real 
"nippers," of a most dangerous sort. 

The prisoners knew, as soon as they saw the awful claws, 
why the thing was called the "Yell-Maker," and Trot gave a 
little shiver and crept closer to Cap'n Bill. 

Zog looked with approval upon the creature he had sum- 
moned, and said to it : 

"I give you four victims the four people with fish's tails. 
Let me hear how loud they can yell." 

The Yell-Maker uttered a grunt of pleasure and in a flash 
stretched out one of its long legs toward the queen's nose, 
where its powerful claws came together with a loud snap. 
Aquareine did not stir; she only smiled. Both Zog and the 
creature that had attacked her seemed much surprised to find 
she was unhurt. 

"Again!" cried Zog; and again the Yell-Maker's claw 
shot out and tried to pinch the queen's pretty ear. But the 
magic of the fairy mermaid was proof against this sea-rascal's 
strength and swiftness, nor could he touch any part of 
Aquareine, although he tried again and again, roaring with 
anger like a mad bull. 

174 



The Sea Fairies 



Trot began to enjoy this performance, and as her merry, 
childish laughter rang out the Yell-Maker turned furiously 
upon the little girl, two of the dreadful claws trying to nip 
her at the same time. She had no chance to cry out, or jump 
backward; yet she remained unharmed. For the Fairy Circle 
of Queen Aquareine kept her safe. 

Now Cap'n Bill was attacked, and Princess Clia as well. 
The half-dozen slender legs darted in every direction, like 
sword thrusts, to reach their victims, and the cruel claws 
snapped so rapidly that the sound was like the rattling of 
castanets. But the four prisoners regarded their enemy with 
smiling composure, and no yell greeted the Yell-Maker's 
efforts. 

"Enough!" said Zog, softly and sweetly. 'You may re- 
tire, my poor Yell-Maker, for with these people you are 
powerless." 

The creature paused, and rolled its yellow eyes. 

"May I nip just one of the slaves, oh, Zog*?" it asked, 
pleadingly. "I hate to leave without pleasing your ears with 
a single yell." 

[ 'Let my slaves alone," was Zog's answer. 'They are here 
to serve me, and must not be injured. Go, feeble one!" 

"Not so !" cried the Queen. "It is a shame, Zog, that such 
an evil thing should exist in our fair sea." With this, she 
drew her fairy wand from a fold of her gown and waved it 

176 



Chapter F if teen 



toward the creature. At once, the Yell-Maker sank down 
unconscious upon the floor; its legs fell apart in many pieces, 
the claws tumbling in a heap beside the body. Then all grew 
withered and lost shape, becoming a pulpy mass, like gelatine. 
A few moments later the creature had melted away to nothing 




at all, forever disappearing from the ocean where it had 
caused so much horror and pain. 

Zog watched this destruction with surprising patience. 
When it was all over he nodded his head and smiled, and 
Trot noticed that whenever Zog smiled his slaves lost their 
jolly looks and began to tremble. 

177 



The Sea Fairies 



'That is very pretty magic, Aquareine," said the monster. 
"I, myself, learned the trick several thousand years ago, so 
it does not astonish me. Have you fairies nothing that is 
new to show me?" 

'We desire only to protect ourselves," replied the Queen, 
with dignity. 

'Then I will give you a chance to do so," said Zog. 
As he spoke the great marble blocks in the ceiling of the 
room, directly over the heads of the captives, gave way and 
came crashing down upon them. Many tons of weight were 
in these marble blocks, and the magician had planned to crush 
his victims where they stood. 

But the four were still unharmed. The marble, being 
unable to touch them, was diverted from its course, and when 
the roar of the great crash had died away Zog saw his intended 
victims standing quietly in their places, and smiling scorn- 
fully at his weak attempts to destroy them. 



178 




CAP'N BILL'S heart was beating pretty fast, but he did not 
let Zog know that. Trot was so sure of the protection of the 
fairy mermaids that she would not allow herself to become 
frightened. Aquareine and Clia were as calm as if nothing 
had happened. 

"Please excuse this little interruption," said Zog. "I 
knew very well the marble blocks could not hurt you. But 
the play is over for a time. You may now retire to your 
rooms, and when I again invite you to my presence I shall 
have found some better way to entertain you." 

Without reply to this threat they turned and followed 
Sacho from the hall, and the boy led them straight back to 
their own rooms. 

"Zog is making a great mistake," said Sacho, with a laugh. 

179 



The Sea Fairies 



"He has no time for vengeance, but the great magician does 
not know that." 

'What is he trying to do, anyway?" asked Trot. 

"He does not tell me his secrets, but I 've an idea he wants 
to kill you," replied Sacho. "How absurd it is to be plotting 
such a thing, when he might spend his time in laughing and 
being jolly! Isn't it, now?" 

"Zog is a wicked, wicked, creature!" exclaimed Trot. 

"But he has his good points," replied Sacho, cheerfully. 
'There is no one in all the world so bad that there is nothing 
good about him." 

"I'm not so sure of that," said Cap'n Bill. "What are 
Zog's good points?" 

"All his slaves were saved from drowning, and he is kind 
to them," said Sacho. 

'That is merely the kindness of selfishness," said 
Aquareine. 'Tell me, my lad, is the opening in the great 
dome outside, guarded?" 

'Yes, indeed," was the reply. 'You cannot hope to 
escape in that way, for the prince of the sea devils, who is the 
largest and fiercest of his race, lies crouched over the opening, 
night and day, and none can pass his network of curling 
legs." 

"Is there no avenue that is not guarded?" continued 
Aquareine. 

180 



Chapter Sixteen 



"None at all, your Majesty. Zog is always careful to be 
well guarded, for he fears the approach of an enemy. What 
this enemy can be, to terrify the powerful magician, I do not 
know ; but Zog is always afraid and never leaves an entrance 
unguarded. Besides, it is an enchanted castle, you know, and 
none in the ocean can see it unless Zog wishes him to. So it 
will be very hard for his enemy to find him." 

"We wish to escape," said Clia. : 'Will you help us, 
SachoT 

"In any way I can," replied the boy. 

"If we succeed, we will take you with us," continued the 
Princess. But Sacho shook his head, and laughed. 

"I would indeed like to see you escape Zog's vengeance," 
said he, "for vengeance is wrong and you are too pretty, and 
too good to be destroyed. But I am happy here, and have no 
wish to go away, having no other home or friends, other than 
my fellow slaves." 

Then he left them, and when they were again alone, 
Aquareine said: 

"We were able to escape Zog's attacks to-day, but I am 
quite sure he will plan more powerful ways to destroy us. 
He has shown that he knows some clever magic and perhaps 
I shall not be able to foil it. So it will be well for us to escape 
to-night, if possible." 



181 



he Sea Fairies 



"Can you fight and conquer the big sea devil up in the 
dome?" asked Trot. 

The queen was thoughtful, and did not reply to this ques- 
tion at once. But Cap'n Bill said, uneasily: 

"I can't abide them devil critters, an' I hopes, for my part, 
we won't be called on to tackle 'em. You see, Trot, we're 
in consider'ble of a bad mess, an' if we ever live to tell the 
tale" 

'Why not, Cap'n *?" asked the child. "We 're safe enough, 
so far. Can't you trust to our good friend the queen?" 

"She don't seem plumb sure o' things herself," remarked 
the sailor. 'The mermaids is all right an' friendly, mate, but 
this 'ere magic maker ol' Zog is a bad one, out 'n' out, an' 
means to kill us, if he can." 

"But he can't!" cried Trot, bravely. 

"I hope you 're right, dear. I would n't want to bet on 
Zog's chances, jes' yet, an' at the same time it would be 
riskin' money to bet on our chances. Seems to me it 's a case 
of luck which wins." 

"Don't worry, friend," said the Queen. "I have a plan 
to save us. Let us wait patiently until nightfall." 

They waited in the Rose Chamber a long time, talking 
earnestly together; but the brilliant light that flooded both 
the room and the great dome outside did not fade in the least. 

After several hours had passed away the gong sounded 

182 



The Sea Fairies 



and Tom Atto again appeared, followed by four slaves bear- 
ing many golden dishes upon silver trays. The friendly cook 
had prepared a fine dinner and they were all glad to find that, 
whatever Zog intended to do to them, he had no intention 
of starving them. Perhaps the magician realized that 
Aquareine's fairy powers, if put to the test, would be able 
to provide f i'd for her companions; but whatever his object 
may have been, their enemy had given them splendid rooms 
and plenty to eat. 

"Is n't it nearly night time?" asked the Queen, as Tom 
Atto spread the table with a cloth of woven seaweed and 
directed his men to place the dishes upon it. 

"Night!" he exclaimed, as if surprised. 'There is no 
night here." 

"Does n't it ever get dark?" inquired Trot. 

"Never. We know nothing of the passage of time, or of 
day and night. The light always shines just as you see it 
now, and we sleep whenever we are tired and rise again as 
soon as we are rested." 

'What causes the light?" Princess Clia asked. 

"It' s magic, your Highness," said the cook, solemnly. 
"It 's one of the curious things Zog is able to do. But you 
must remember all this place is a big cave, in which the castle 
stands, so the light is never seen by anyone, except those who 
live here." 

184 



Chapter Sixteen 



"But why does Zog keep his light going all the time?" 
asked the Queen. 

"I suppose it is because he himself never sleeps," replied 
Tom Atto. 'They say the master has n't slept for hundreds 
of years; not since Anko, the sea serpent, defeated him and 
drove him into this place." 




They asked no more questions, and began to eat their 
dinner in silence. Before long Cap'n Joe came in to visit his 
brother, and took a seat at the table with the prisoners. He 
proved a jolly fellow, and when he and Cap'n Bill talked 
about their boyhood days the stories were so funny that every- 
body laughed, and for a time forgot their worries. 

185 



The Sea Fairies 



When dinner was over, however, and Cap'n Joe had gone 
back to his work of sewing on buttons and the servants had 
carried away the dishes, the prisoners remembered their 
troubles and the fate that awaited them. 

"I am much disappointed," said the Queen, "to find there 
is no night here, and that Zog never sleeps. It will make 
our escape more difficult. Yet we must make the attempt, 
and as weare tired and a great struggle is before us, it will be 
best for us to sleep and refresh ourselves." 

They agreed to this, for the day had been long and ad- 
venturous , so Cap'n Bill kissed Trot and went into the Peony 
Room, where he lay down upon his spongy couch and soon 
fell fast asleep. 

The mermaids and Trot followed this example, and I 
think none of them was much worried, after all, because they 
quickly sank into peaceful slumber and forgot all the dangers 
that threatened them. 





"GOODNESS me !" exclaimed Trot, raising herself by a flirt 
of her pink-scaled tail and a wave of her fins; "is n't it dread- 
ful hot here 4 ?" 

The mermaids had risen at the same time, and Cap'n Bill 
came swimming in from the Peony Room in time to hear the 
little girl's speech. 

"Hot!" echoed the sailor, "why, I feel like the inside of 
a steam engine !" 

The perspiration was rolling down his round, red face, 
and he took out his handkerchief and carefully wiped it away, 
waving his fishtail gently at the same time. 

'What we need most in this room," said he, "is a fan." 

'What's the trouble, do you s'pose?' inquired Trot. 

"It is another trick of the monster Zog," answered the 
Queen, calmly. "He has made the water in our rooms boiling 

187 



The Sea Fairies 



hot, and if it could touch us we would be well cooked by this 
time. Even as it is, we are all made uncomfortable by breath- 
ing the heated air." 

'What shall we do, ma' am"?" the sailorman asked, with 
a groan. "I expected to get into hot water afore we 've done 
with this foolishness, but I don't like the feel o' bein' par- 
boiled, jes' the same." 

The queen was waving her fairy wand, and paid no atten- 
tion to Cap'n Bill's moans. Already, the water felt cooler 
and they began to breathe more easily. In a few moments 
more the heat had passed from the surrounding water alto- 
gether, and all danger from this source was over. 

'This is better," said Trot, gratefully. 

"Do you care to sleep again *?" asked the Queen. 

"No; I 'm wide awake, now," answered the child. 

"I 'm afraid if I goes to sleep ag'iri I '11 wake up a pot 
roast," said Cap'n Bill. 

"Let us consider ways to escape," suggested Clia. "It 
seems useless for us to remain here, quietly, until Zog dis- 
covers a way to destroy us." 

"But we must not blunder," added Aquareine, cautiously. 

'To fail in our attempt would be to acknowledge Zog's 

superior power, so we must think well upon our plan before 

we begin to carry it out. What do you advise, sir?" she asked, 

turning to Cap'n Bill. 

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Chapter Seventeen 



''My opinion, ma'am, is that the only way for us to escape 
is to get out o' here," was the sailor's vague answer. "How to 
do it is your business, seein' as I ain't no fairy myself, either 
in looks or in eddication." 

The queen smiled, and said to Trot : 
'What is your opinion, my dear?" 

"I think we might swim out the same way we came in," 
answered the child. "If we could get Sacho to lead us back 
through the maze, we would follow that long tunnel to the 
open ocean, and " 



C( 



'And there would be the sea devils waitin' for us," added 
Cap'n Bill, with a shake of his bald head. 'They 'd drive 
us back inter the tunnel, like they did the first time, Trot. It 
won't do, mate; it won't do." 

"Have you a suggestion, Clia?" inquired the Queen. 

"I have thought of an undertaking," replied the pretty 
princess; "but it is a bold plan, your Majesty, and you may 
not care to risk it." 

"Let us hear it, anyway," said Aquareine, encouragingly. 

"It is to destroy Zog himself, and put him out of the world 
forever. Then we would be free to go home, whenever we 
pleased." 

"Can you suggest a way to destroy Zog?" asked 
Aquareine. 



189 



The Sea Fairies 



"No, your Majesty," Clia answered. "I must leave the 
way for you to determine." 

"In the old days," said the Queen, thoughtfully, "the 
mighty King Anko could not destroy this monster. He suc- 
ceeded in defeating Zog, and drove him into this great cavern ; 
but even Anko could not destroy him." 

"I have heard the sea serpent explain that it was because 
he could not reach the magician," returned Clia. "If King 
Anko could have seized Zog in his coils he would have made 
an end of the wicked monster quickly. Zog knows this, and 
that is why he does not dare to venture forth from his retreat. 
Anko is the enemy he constantly dreads. But with you, my 
queen, the case is different. You may easily reach Zog, and 
the only question is whether your power is sufficient to de- 
stroy him." 

For a while, Aquareine remained silent. 

"I am not sure of my power over Zog," she said at last, 
"and for that reason I hesitate to attack him personally. His 
slaves, and his allies the sea devils, I can easily conquer; so 
I prefer to find a way to overcome the guards at the entrances, 
rather than to encounter their terrible master. But even the 
guards have been given strength and power by the magician, 
as we have already discovered; so I must procure a weapon 
with which to fight them." 

"A weapon, ma'am"?" said Cap'n Bill; and then he took 

190 



c 




he Sea Fairies 



a jackknife from his coat pocket and opened the big blade, 
afterward handing it to the queen. 'That ain't a bad 
weapon," he announced. 

"But it is useless in this case," she replied, smiling at the 
old sailor's earnestness. "For my purpose I must have a 
golden sword." 

'Well, there 's plenty of gold around this castle," said 
Trot, looking around her. "Even in this room there 's enough 
to make a hundred golden swords." 

"But we can't melt or forge gold under water, mate," the 
Cap'n said. 

'Why not? Don't you s'pose all these gold roses and 
things were made under water?" asked the little girl. 

"Like enough," admitted the sailor; "but I don't see 
how." 

Just then, the gong at their door sounded and the boy 
Sacho came in, smiling and cheerful as ever. He said Zog 
had sent him to inquire after their health and happiness. 

'You may tell him that his water became a trifle too warm, 
so we cooled it," replied the Queen. Then they told Sacho 
how the boiling water had made them uncomfortable while 
they slept. 

Sacho whistled a little tune, and seemed thoughtful. 

"Zog is foolish," said he. "How often have I told him 
that vengeance is but a waste of time. He is worried to know 

192 



Chapter Seventeen 



how to destroy you, and that is wasting more time. You are 
worried for fear he will injure you, and so you also are wast- 
ing time. My, my ! what a waste of time is going on in this 
castle!" 

"Seems to me that we have so much time it does n't 
matter," said Trot. 'What 's time for, anyhow 4 ?" 

'Time is given us to be happy, and for no other reason," 
replied the boy, soberly. 'When we waste time, we waste 
happiness. But there is no time for preaching, so I '11 go." 

"Please wait a moment, Sacho," said the Queen. 

"Can I do anything to make you happy 6 ?" he asked, smil- 
ing again. 

'Yes," answered Aquareine. 'We are curious to know 
who does all this beautiful gold work and ornamentation." 

"Some of the slaves here are goldsmiths, having been 
taught by Zog to forge and work metal under water," ex- 
plained Sacho. "In parts of the ocean lie many rocks filled 
with veins of pure gold and golden nuggets, and we get large 
supplies from sunken ships, as well. There is no lack of gold 
here, but it is not as precious as it is upon the earth, because 
here we have no need of money." 

'We would like to see the goldsmiths at work," announced 
the Queen. 

The boy hesitated a moment. Then he said : 

"I will take you to their room, where you may watch them 

193 



The Sea Fairies 



for a time. I will not ask Zog's permission to do this, for he 
might refuse. But my orders were to allow you the liberty 
of the castle, and so I will let you see the goldsmiths' shop." 

'Thank you," replied Aquareine, quietly; and then the 
four followed Sacho along various corridors until they came 
to a large room, where a dozen men were busily at work. The 
shop was flooded with the brilliant, unknown light. Lying 
here and there were heaps of virgin gold, some in its natural 
state and some already fashioned into ornaments and fur- 
niture of various sorts. Each man worked at a bench where 
there was a curious iron furnace in which glowed a vivid, 
white light. Although this workshop was all under water, 
and the workmen were obliged to breathe as fishes do, the 
furnaces glowed so hot that the water touching them was 
turned into steam. Gold, or other metal, held over a furnace 
quickly softened or melted, when it could be forged or molded 
into any shape desired. 

'The furnaces are electric," explained Sacho, "and heat 
as well under water as they would in the open air. Let me 
introduce you to the foreman, who will tell you of his work 
better than I can." 

The foreman was a slave named Agga-Groo, who was lean 
and lank, and had an expression more surly and unhappy than 
any slave they had yet seen. Yet he seemed willing to leave 
his work and explain to the visitors how he made so many 

194 



The Sea Fairies 



beautiful things out of gold, for he took much pride in this 
labor and knew its artistic worth. Moreover, since he had 
been in Zog's castle, these were the first strangers to enter his 
workshop, so he welcomed them in his own gruff way. 

The queen asked him if he was happy, and he shook his 
head and replied : 

"It is n't like Calcutta, where I used to work in gold before 
I was wrecked at sea, and nearly drowned. Zog rescued me 
and brought me here a slave. It is a stupid life we lead, doing 
the same things over and over every day; but perhaps it is 
better than being dead. I 'm not sure. The only pleasure I 
get in life is in creating pretty things out of gold." 

"Could you forge me a golden sword?" asked the Queen, 
smiling sweetly upon the goldsmith. 

"I could, madam; but I won't unless Zog orders me to 
do it." 

"Do you like Zog better than you do me?" inquired 
Aquareine. 

"No," was the answer. "I hate Zog." 

'Then won't you make the sword to please me and to 
show your skill?" pleaded the pretty mermaid. 

"I 'm afraid of my master. He might not like it," the 
man replied. 

"But he will never know," said Princess Clia. 

"You cannot say what Zog knows; or what he doesn't 

196 



Chapter Seventeen 



know," growled the man. "I can't take chances of offending 
Zog, for I must live with him always as a slave." 

With this he turned away and resumed his work, hammer- 
ing the leaf of a golden tulip. 

Cap'n Bill had listened carefully to this conversation, and 
being a wise old sailor, in his way, he thought he understood 
the nature of old Agga-Groo better than the mermaids did. 
So he went close to the goldsmith, and feeling in the pockets 
of his coat drew out a silver compass, shaped like a watch. 

"I '11 give you this, if you '11 make the queen the golden 
sword," he said. 

Agga-Groo looked at the compass with interest, and tested 
its power of pointing north. Then he shook his head, and 
handed it back to Cap'n Bill. 

The sailor dived into his pocket again and pulled out a 
pair of scissors, which he placed beside the compass on the 
palm of his big hand. 

"You may have them both," he said. 

Agga-Groo hesitated, for he wanted the scissors badly; 
but finally he shook his head again. Cap'n Bill added a piece 
of cord, an iron thimble, some fishhooks, four buttons, and a 
safety pin; but, still the goldsmith would not be tempted. 
So, with a sigh, the sailor brought out his fine, big jackknife, 
and at sight of this Agga-Groo's eyes began to sparkle. Steel 
was not to be had at the bottom of the sea, although gold was 
so plentiful. 

197 



The Sea Fairies 



"All right, friend," he said; "give me that lot of trinkets 
and I '11 make you a pretty gold sword. But it won't be any 
good except to look at, for our gold is so pure that it is very 
soft." 

"Never mind that," replied Cap'n Bill. "All we want 
is the sword." 

The goldsmith set to work at once, and so skillful was he 
that in a few minutes he had forged a fine sword of yellow 
gold, with an ornamental handle. The shape was graceful, 
and the blade keen and slender. 

It was evident to them all that the golden sword would 
not stand hard use, for the edge of the blade would nick and 
curl like lead; but the queen was delighted with the prize, 
and took it eagerly in her hand. 

Just then Sacho returned to say that they must go back 
to their rooms, and after thanking the goldsmith, who was so 
busy examining his newly-acquired treasures that he made 
no response, they joyfully followed the boy back to the Rose 
Chamber. 

Sacho told them that he had just come from Zog, who was 
still wasting time in plotting vengeance. 

'You must be careful," he advised them, "for my cruel 
master intends to stop you from living, and he may succeed. 
Don't be unhappy; but be careful. Zog is angry because you 
escaped his Yell-Maker, and the falling stones, and the hot 



The Sea Fairies 



water. While he is angry he is wasting time; but that will 
not help you. Take care not to waste any time yourselves." 

"Do you know what Zog intends to do to us next*?" asked 
Princess Clia. 

"No," said Sacho; "but it is reasonable to guess that, being 
evil, he intends evil. He never intends to do good, I assure 
you." 

Then the boy went away. 

"I am no longer afraid," declared the Mermaid Queen, 
when they were alone. 'When I have bestowed certain fairy 
powers upon this golden sword, it will fight its way against 
any who dare oppose us, and even Zog himself will not care 
to face so powerful a weapon. I am now able to promise you 
that we shall make our escape." 

"Good!" cried Trot, joyfully. "Shall we start now 1 ?" 

"Not yet, my dear. It will take me a little while to charm 
this golden blade so that it will obey my commands, and do 
my work. There is no need of undue haste, so I propose we 
all sleep for a time and obtain what rest we can. We must 
be fresh and ready for our great adventure." 

As their former nap had been interrupted, they readily 
agreed to Aquareine's proposal and at once went to their 
couches and composed themselves to slumber. When they 
were asleep the fairy mermaid charmed her golden sword, and 
then she also lay down to rest herself. 

200 




TROT dreamed that she was at home in her own bed; but the 
night seemed chilly and she wanted to draw the coverlet up 
to her chin. She was not wide awake, but realized that she 
was cold and was unable to move her arms to cover herself 
up. She tried, but could not stir. Then she roused herself 
a little more, and tried again. Yes; it was cold very cold! 
Really, she must do something to get warm, she thought. 
She opened her eyes, and stared at a great wall of ice in front 
of her. 

She was awake now, and frightened, too. But, she could 
not move because the ice was all around her. She was frozen 
inside of it, and the air space around her was not big enough 
to allow her to turn over. 

At once, the little girl realized what had happened. Their 
wicked enemy Zog had, by his magic art, frozen all the water 

20 1 



The Sea Fairies 



in their room while they slept, and now they were all im- 
prisoned and helpless. Trot and Cap'n Bill were sure to 
freeze to death in a short time, for only a tiny air space re- 
mained between their bodies and the ice, and this air was 
like that of a winter day when the thermometer is below 
zero. 

Across the room Trot could see the mermaid queen lying 
on her couch, for the solid ice was clear as crystal. Aquareine 
was imprisoned just as Trot was, and although she held her 
fairy wand in one hand and the golden sword in the other, 
she seemed unable to move either of them, and the girl re- 
membered that the queen always waved her magic wand to 
accomplish anything. Princess Clia's couch was behind that 
of Trot, so the child could not see her; and Cap'n Bill was 
in his own room, probably frozen fast in the ice, as the others 
were. 

The terrible Zog had surely been very clever in this last 
attempt to destroy them. Trot thought it all over, and de- 
cided that, inasmuch as the queen was unable to wave her 
fairy wand, she could do nothing to release herself or her 
friends. 

But in this the girl was mistaken. The fairy mermaid 
was even now at work, trying to save them, and in a few 
minutes Trot was astonished and delighted to see the queen 
rise from her couch. She could not go far from it, at first, 

202 



Chapter Eighteen 



but the ice was melting rapidly all around her ; so that grad- 
ually Aquareine approached the place where the child lay. 
Trot could hear the mermaid's voice sounding through the 
ice, as if from afar off; but it grew more distinct until she 
could make out that the queen was saying: "Courage, 
friends ! Do not despair, for soon you will be free." 

Before very long the ice between Trot and the queen had 
melted away entirely, and with a cry of joy the little girl 
flopped her pink tail and swam to the side of her deliverer. 

"Are you very cold?" asked Aquareine. 

"N not v v very!" replied Trot; but, her teeth chat- 
tered and she was still shivering. 

'The water will be warm in a few minutes," said the 
Queen. "But now I must melt the rest of the ice and liberate 
Clia." 

This she did in an astonishingly brief time, and the pretty 
princess, being herself a fairy, had not been at all affected 
by the cold surrounding her. 

They now swam to the door of Cap'n Bill's room and 
found the Peony Chamber a solid block of ice. The queen 
worked her magic power as hard as she could, and the ice 
thawed and melted quickly before her fairy wand. Yet when 
they reached the old sailor he was almost frozen stiff, and 
Trot and Clia had to rub his hands and nose, and ears very 
briskly to warm him up, and bring him back to life. 

203 



The Sea Fairies 



Cap'n Bill was pretty tough, and he came around in time 
and opened his eyes and sneezed, and asked if the blizzard 
was over. So the queen waved her wand over his head a few 
times to restore him to his natural condition of warmth, and 
soon the old sailor became quite comfortable and was able 
to understand all about the strange adventure from which 
he had so marvelously escaped. 

"I 've made up my mind to one thing, Trot," he said con- 
fidentially; "if ever I get out o' this mess I 'm in, I won't be 
an Arctic explorer, whatever else happens. Shivers an' shakes 
ain't to my likin' ? an' this ice business ain't what it J s some- 
times cracked up to be. To be friz once is enough fer any- 
body, an' if I was a gal like you I would n't even wear frizzes 
on my hair." 

'You have n't any hair, Cap'n Bill," answered Trot; "so 
you need n't worry." 

The queen and Clia had been talking together very 
earnestly. They now approached their earth friends, and 
Aquareine said : 

'We have decided not to remain in this castle any longer. 
Zog's cruel designs upon our lives and happiness are becom- 
ing too dangerous for us to endure. The golden sword now 
bears a fairy charm, and by its aid I will cut a way through 
our enemies. Are you ready and willing to follow me*?" 

"Of course we are !" cried Trot. 



204 



Chapter Eighteen 



"It don't seem 'zactly right to ask a lady to do the 
fightin'," remarked Cap'n Bill; "but magic ain't my strong 
p'int, and it seems to be yours, ma'am. So swim ahead, and 
we '11 wiggle the same way you do, an' try to wiggle out of 
our troubles.' 




"If I chance to fail," said the Queen, "try not to blame 
me. I will do all in my power to provide for our escape, and 
I am willing to risk everything, because I well know that to 
remain here will mean to perish in the end." 

'That 's all right," said Trot, with fine courage. "Let 's 
have it over with." 

205 



The Sea Fairies 



'Then we will leave here at once," said Aquareine. 

She approached the window of the room, and with one 
blow of her golden sword shattered the thick pane of glass. 
The opening thus made was large enough for them to swim 
through, if they were careful not to scrape against the broken 
points of glass. The queen went first, followed by Trot and 
Cap'n Bill, with Clia last of all. 

And now they were in the vast dome in which the castle 

* 

and gardens of Zog had been built. Around them was a clear 
stretch of water, and far above full half a mile distant 
was the opening in the roof guarded by the prince of the 
sea devils. 

The mermaid queen had determined to attack this 
monster. If she succeeded in destroying it with her golden 
sword the little band of fugitives might then swim through 
the opening into the clear waters of the ocean. Although this 
prince of the sea devils was said to be big and wise and 
mighty, there was but one of him to fight; whereas, if they 
attempted to escape through any of the passages, they must 
encounter scores of such enemies. 

"Swim straight for the opening in the dome!" cried 
Aquareine, and in answer to the command the four whisked 
their glittering tails, waved their fins, and shot away through 
the water at full speed ; their course slanting upward toward 
the top of the dome. 

206 




THE great magician Zog never slept. He was always watch- 
ful and alert. Some strange power warned him that his 
prisoners were about to escape. 

Scarcely had the four left the castle by the broken window 
when the monster stepped from a doorway below and saw 
them. Instantly he blew upon a golden whistle, and at the 
summons a band of wolf-fish appeared and dashed after the 
prisoners. These creatures swam so swiftly that soon they 
were between the fugitives and the dome, and then they 
turned and. with wicked eyes and sharp fangs began a fierce 
attack upon the mermaids and the earth dwellers. 

Trot was a little frightened at the evil looks of the sea 
wolves, whose heads were enormous, and whose jaws con- 
tained rows of curved and pointed teeth. But, Aquareine 
advanced upon them with her golden sword and every touch 

207 



The Sea Fairies 



of the charmed weapon instantly killed an enemy; so, that 
one by one the wolf-fish rolled over upon their backs and 
sank helplessly downward through the water, leaving the 
prisoners free to continue their way toward the opening in 
the dome. 

Zog witnessed the destruction of his wolves and uttered 
a loud laugh that was terrible to hear. Then the dread 
monster determined to arrest the fugitives himself, and in 
order to do this he was forced to discover himself in all the 
horror of his awful form a form he was so ashamed of and 
loathed so greatly that he always strove to keep it concealed, 
even from his own eyes. But it was important that his 
prisoners should not escape. 

Hastily casting off the folds of the robe that enveloped 
him Zog allowed his body to uncoil and shoot upward through 
the water, in swift pursuit of his victims. His cloven hoofs, 
upon which he usually walked, being now useless, were 
drawn up under him, while coil after coil of his eel-like body 
wriggled away like a serpent. At his shoulders two broad 
feathery wings expanded, and these enabled the monster to 
cleave his way through the water with terrific force. 

Zog was part man, part beast, part fish, part fowl, and 
part reptile. His undulating body was broad and thin, and 
like the body of an eel. It was as repulsive as one could well 



208 



The Sea Fairies 



imagine, and no wonder Zog hated it and kept it covered 
with his robe. 

Now, with his horned head and its glowing eyes thrust 
forward, wings flapping from his shoulders and his eely body 
ending in a fish's tail wriggling far behind him, this 
strange and evil creature was a thing of terror, even to the 
sea dwellers, who were accustomed to remarkable sights. 

The mermaids, the sailor and the child, one after another 
looking back as they swam onward toward liberty and safety, 
saw the monster coming and shuddered with uncontrollable 
fear. They were drawing nearer to the dome by this time, 
yet it was still some distance away. The four redoubled their 
speed, darting through the water with the swiftness of sky- 
rockets. But fast as they swam, Zog swam faster, and the 
good queen's heart began to throb as she realized she would 
be forced to fight her loathesome foe. 

Presently Zog's long body was circling round them like a 
whirlwind, lashing the water into foam and gradually draw- 
ing nearer and nearer to his victims. His eyes were no longer 
glowing coals they were balls of flame and as he circled 
around them, he laughed aloud that horrible laugh which was 
far more terrifying than any cry of rage could be. 

The queen struck out with her golden sword, but Zog 
wrapped a coil of his thin body around it and, wresting it 
from her hand, crushed the weapon into a shapeless mass. 

210 



Chapter Nineteen 



Then, Aquareine waved her fairy wand; but, in a flash the 
monster sent it flying away through the water. 

Cap'n Bill now decided that they were lost. He drew 
Trot closer to his side and placed one arm around her. 

"I can't save you, dear little mate," he said, sadly, "but 
we 've lived a long time together, an' now we '11 die together. 
I knew, Trot, when first we sawr them mermaids, as we 'd- 
we 'd " 



"Never live to tell the tale," said the child. "But never 
mind, Cap'n Bill; we 've done the best we could, and we 've 
had a fine time." 

"Forgive me! oh, forgive me!" cried Aquareine, despair- 
ingly. "I tried to save you, my poor friends, but " 

'What 's that?" exclaimed the Princess, pointing upward. 

They all looked past Zog's whirling body, which was 
slowly enveloping them in its folds, toward the round opening 
in the dome. A dark object had appeared there, sliding down- 
ward like a huge rope and descending toward them with 
lightning rapidly. They gave a great gasp as they recog- 
nized the countenance of King Anko, the sea serpent, its gray 
hair and whiskers bristling like those of an angry cat and the 
usually mild blue eyes glowing with a ferocity even more 
terrifying than the orbs of Zog. 

The magician gave a shrill scream at sight of his dreaded 
enemy, and abandoning his intended victims Zog made a 

211 



The Sea Fairies 



quick dash to escape. But nothing in the sea could equal the 
strength and quickness of King Anko when he was roused. 
In a flash the sea serpent had caught Zog fast in his coils, and 
his mighty body swept round the monster and imprisoned 
him tightly. 

The four, so suddenly rescued, swam away to a safer dis- 
tance from the struggle, and then they turned to watch the 
encounter between the two great opposing powers of the 
ocean's depths. Yet there was no desperate fight to observe, 
for the combatants were unequal. The end came before they 
were aware of it. Zog had been taken by surprise and his 
great fear of Anko destroyed all of his magic power. When 
the sea serpent slowly released those awful coils, a mass of 
jelly-like pulp floated downward through the water, with no 
remnant of life remaining in it no form to show it had once 
been Zog, the Magician. 

Then Anko shook his body, that the water might cleanse 
it, and advanced his head toward the group of four whom 
he had so opportunely rescued. 

"It is all over, friends," said he in his gentle tones, while 
a mild expression once more reigned on his comical features; 
"you may go home at any time you please, for the way 
through the dome will be open as soon as I get my own body 
through it." 

Indeed, so amazing was the length of the great sea serpent, 

212 



Chapter Nineteen 



that only a part of him had descended through the hole into 
the dome. Without waiting for the thanks of those he had 
rescued he swiftly retreated to the ocean above, and with 
grateful hearts they followed him, glad to leave the cavern 
where they had endured so much anxiety and danger. 




213 




TROT sobbed quietly, with her head on Cap'n Bill's shoulder. 
She had been a brave little girl during the trying times they 
had experienced, and never once had she given way to tears, 
however desperate their fate had seemed to be. But now 
that the one enemy in all the sea to be dreaded was utterly 
destroyed, and all dangers were past, the reaction was so 
great that she could not help having "just one good cry," as 
she naively expressed it. 

Cap'n Bill was a big sailorman, hardened by age and many 
adventures; but even he felt a "lump in his throat" that he 
could not swallow, try as hard as he might. Cap'n Bill was 
glad. He was mostly glad on Trot's account, for he loved 
his sweet, childish companion very dearly, and did not want 
any harm to befall her. 

They were now in the wide, open sea, with liberty to go 

214 



Chapter Twenty 



wherever they wished, and if Cap'n Bill could have "had his 
say" he would have gone straight home and carried Trot 
to her mother. But the mermaids must be considered. 
Aquareine and Clia had been true and faithful friends to 
their earth guests while dangers were threatening, and it 
would not be very gracious to leave them at once. Moreover, 
King Anko was now with them, his big head keeping pace with 
the mermaids as they swam, and this mighty preserver had a 
distinct claim upon both Trot and Cap'n Bill. The sailor felt 
that it would not be polite to ask to go home so soon. 

"If you people had come to visit me, as I invited you to 
do," said the Sea Serpent, "all this bother and trouble would 
have been saved. I had my palace all put in order to receive 
the earth dwellers, and sat in my den waiting patiently to 
receive you. Yet you never came at all." 

'That reminds me," said Trot, drying her eyes; "you 
never told us about that third pain you once had." 

"Finally," continued Anko, "I sent to inquire as to what 
had become of you, and Merla said you had been gone from 
the palace a long time, and she was getting anxious about 
you. Then I made inquiries. Every one in the sea loves to 
serve me except those sea devils and their cousins the octopi 
and it was n't long before I heard you had been captured 
by Zog." 

"Was the third pain as bad as the other two*?" asked Trot. 

215 



The Sea Fairies 



"Naturally, this news disturbed me and made me un- 
happy," said Anko; "for I well knew, my Aquareine, that the 
magician's evil powers were greater than your own fairy 
accomplishments. But I had never been able to find Zog's 
enchanted castle, and so I was at a loss to know how to save 
you from your dreadful fate. After I had wasted a good deal 
of time thinking it over, I decided that if the sea devils were 
slaves of Zog, the prince of the sea devils must know where 
the enchanted castle was located. 

"I knew this prince, and where to find him, for he always 
lay on a hollow rock, on the bottom of the sea, and never 
moved from that position. His people brought food to him 
and took his commands. So I had no trouble in finding this 
evil prince, and I went to him and asked the way to Zog's 
castle. Of course he would not tell me. He was even cross 
and disrespectful just as I had expected him to be; so I 
allowed myself to become angry and killed him, thinking he 
was much better dead than alive. But after the sea devil 
was destroyed, what was my surprise to find that all these 
years he had been lying over a round hole in the rock, and 
covering it with his scarlet body! 

"A light shone through this hole, so I thrust my head in 
and found a great domed cave underneath, with a splendid 
silver castle built at the bottom. You, my friends, were at 
that moment swimming toward me as fast as you could come, 

216 



Chapter Twenty 



and the monster, Zog, my enemy for centuries past, was close 
behind you. 

'Well, the rest of the story you know. I would be angry 
with all of you for so carelessly getting captured, had the 
incident not led to the destruction of the one evil genius in 
all my ocean. I shall rest easier and be much happier, now 
that Zog is dead. He has defied me for hundreds of years/' 

"But, about that third pain," said Trot. "If you don't 
tell us now, I 'm afraid that I '11 forget to ask you." 

"If you should happen to forget, just remind me of it," 
said Anko, "and I '11 be sure to tell you." 

While Trot was thinking this over the swimmers drew 
near to a great circular palace made all of solid alabaster, 
polished as smooth as ivory. Its roof was a vast dome, for 
domes seemed to be fashionable in the ocean houses. There 
were no doors or windows, but instead of these several round 
holes appeared in different parts of the dome, some being 
high up and some low down, and some in between. Out of 
one of these holes, which it just fitted, stretched the long, 
brown body of the sea serpent. Trot, being astonished at this 
sight, asked : 

"Did n't you take all of you when you went to the cavern, 
Anko?' 

"Nearly all, my dear," was the reply, accompanied by a 
cheerful smile, for Anko was proud of his great length; "but 

217 



The Sea Fairies 



not quite all. Some of me remained, as usual, to keep house 
while my head was away. But, I 've been coiling up ever 
since we started back, and you will soon be able to see every 
inch of me, all together." 

Even as he spoke his head slid into the round hole and, 
at a signal from Aquareine, they all paused outside and 
waited. 

Presently, there came to them four beautiful winged fishes 
with faces like doll babies. Their long hair and eyelashes 
were of a purple color, and their cheeks had rosy spots that 
looked as if they had been painted upon them. 

"His Majesty bids you welcome," said one of the doll 
fishes, in a sweet voice. "Be kind enough to enter the royal 
palace and our ocean monarch will graciously receive you." 

"Seems to me," said Trot to the queen, "these things are 
putting on airs. Perhaps they don't know we 're friends of 
Anko." 

'The king insists on certain formalities when anyone 
visits him," was Aquareine's reply. "It is right that his 
dignity should be maintained." 

They followed their winged conductors to one of the 
upper openings, and as they entered it, Aquareine said in a 
clear voice: "May the glory and power of the ocean king 
continue forever!" 

Then she touched the palm of her hand to her forehead 

218 



Chapter Twenty 



in token of allegiance, and Clia did the same; so Cap'n Bill 
and Trot followed suit. The brief ceremony being ended the 
child looked curiously around to see what the palace of the 
mighty Anko was like. 

An extensive hall, lined with alabaster, was before them. 
In the floor were five of the round holes. Upon the walls 
were engraved many interesting scenes of ocean life, all 
chiseled very artistically by the tusks of walruses, who, Trot 
was afterward informed, are greatly skilled in such work. A 
few handsome rugs of woven sea grasses were spread upon 
the floor; but otherwise the vast hall was bare of furniture. 

The doll-faced fishes escorted them to an upper room 
where a table was set, and here the travelers were invited to 
refresh themselves. As all four were exceedingly hungry 
they welcomed the repast, which was served by an army of 
lobsters in royal purple aprons and caps. 

The meal being finished they again descended to the hall, 
which seemed to occupy all the middle of the building. And 
now their conductors said: 

"His Majesty is ready to receive you in his den." 

They swam downward through one of the round holes in 
the floor and found themselves in a brilliantly lighted 
chamber, which appeared bigger than all the rest of the palace 
put together. In the center was the quaint head of King 
Anko, and around it was spread a great coverlet of purple 

219 



The Sea Fairies 



and gold woven together. This concealed all of his body 
and stretched from wall to wall of the circular room. 

'Welcome, friends!" said Anko, pleasantly. "How do 
you like my home?" 

"It 's very grand," replied Trot. 

"Just the place for a sea serpent, seems to me," said Cap'n 
Bill. 

"I 'm glad you admire it," said the King. "Perhaps I 
ought to tell you that from this day you four belong to me." 

"How 's that?" asked the girl, surprised. 

"It is a law of the ocean," declared Anko, "that whoever 
saves any living creature from violent death owns that crea- 
ture forever afterward while life lasts. You will realize 
how just this law is when you remember that had I not saved 
you from Zog, you would now be dead. The law was sug- 
gested by Captain Kid Glove, when he once visited me." 

"Do you mean Captain Kidd?" asked Trot, "because, if 
you do " 

"Give him his full name," said Anko. "Captain Kid 
Glove was " 

'There 's no glove to it," protested Trot. "I ought to 
know, 'cause I 've read about him." 

"Did n't it say anything about a glove?" asked Anko. 

"Nothing at all. It jus' called him Cap'n Kidd," replied 
Trot. 

220 



Chapter Twenty 



"She 's right, ol' man," added Cap'n Bill. 

"Books," said the Sea Serpent, "are good enough, as far 
as they go; but it seems to me your earth books don't go far 
enough. Captain Kid Glove was a gentleman pirate a kid- 
glove pirate. To leave off the glove and call him just Kidd 
is very disrespectful." 

"Oh ! you told me to remind you of that third pain," said 
the little girl. 

'Which proves my friendship for you," returned the Sea 
Serpent, blinking his blue eyes thoughtfully. "No one likes 
to be reminded of a pain, and that third pain was was " 

"What was it?' asked Trot. 

"It was a stomach ache," replied the King, with a sigh. 
'What made it?' she inquired. 

"Just my carelessness," said Anko. "I 'd been away to 
foreign parts, seeing how the earth people were getting along. 
I found the Germans dancing the german, and the Dutch 
making dutch cheese, and the Belgians combing their belgian 
hares, and the Turks eating turkey, and the Sardinians sar- 
donically pickling sardines. Then I called on the Prince of 
Whales, and" 

'You mean the Prince of Wales," corrected Trot. 

"I mean what I say, my dear. I saw the battlefield where 
the Bull Run but the Americans did n't, and when I got to 



221 



The Sea Fairies 



France I paid a napoleon to see Napoleon with his bones 
apart. He was " 

"Of course, you mean " Trot was beginning, but the 
king would not give her a chance to correct him this time. 

"He was very hungry for Hungary," he continued, "and 
was Russian so fast toward the Poles that I thought he 'd 
discover them. So, as I was not accorded a royal welcome, I 
took French leave and came home again." 

"But the pain" 

"On the way home," continued Anko, calmly, "I was a 
little absent-minded and ate an anchor. There was a long 
chain attached to it; and as I continued to swallow the an- 
chor I continued to eat the chain. I never realized what I had 
done until I found a shio on the other end of the chain. Then 
I bit it off." 

'The ship?" asked Trot. 

"No; the chain. I did n't care for the ship, as I saw it con- 
tained some skippers. On the way home the chain and an- 
chor began to lie heavily on my stomach. I 'did n't seem to 
digest them properly, and by the time I got to my palace, 
where you will notice there is no throne, I was thrown into 
liroes of severe pain. So I at once sent for Dr. Shark " 

'Are all your doctors sharks?" asked the child. 

'Yes; are n't your doctors sharks'?" he replied. 

'Not all of them," said Trot. 

222 



{C 



Chapter Twenty 



'That is true," remarked Cap'n Bill. "But when you 
talk of lawyers " 

"I'm not talking of lawyers," said Anko, reprovingly; 
"I J m talking about my pain. I don't imagine anyone could 
suffer more than I did with that stomach ache." 
"Did you suffer long?" inquired Trot. 
'Why, about seven thousand four hundred and eighty- 
two feet and " 



"I mean a long time." 

"It seemed like a long time," answered the King. "Dr. 
Shark said I ought to put a mustard poultice on my stomach; 
so I uncoiled myself and summoned my servants, and they 
began putting on the mustard plaster. It had to be bound all 
around me, so it would n't slip off, and I began to look like 
an express package. In about four weeks fully one-half of 
the pain had been covered by the mustard poultice, which 
got so hot that it hurt me worse than the stomach ache did." 

"I know," said Trot. "I had one, once." 

"One what?" asked Anko. 

"A mustard plaster. They smart pretty bad, but I guess 
they 're a good thing." 

"I got myself unwrapped as soon as I could," continued 
the King, "and then I hunted for the doctor, who hid himself 
until my anger had subsided. He has never sent in a bill, 
so I think he must be terribly ashamed of himself." 

223 



The Sea Fairies 



'You 're lucky, sir, to have escaped so easy," said Cap'n 
Bill. "But you seem pretty well now." 

'Yes, I 'm more careful of what I eat," replied the Sea 
Serpent. "But I was saying when Trot interrupted me, 
that you all belong to me, because I have saved your lives. 
By the law of the ocean you must obey me in everything." 

The sailor scowled a little at hearing this, but Trot 
laughed, and said: 

'The law of the ocean is n't our law, 'cause we live on 
land." 

"Just now you are living in the ocean," declared Anko, 
"and as long as you live here, you must obey my commands." 

'What are your commands?" inquired the child. 

"Ah; that 's the point I was coming to," returned the King, 
with his comical smile. 'The ocean is a beautiful place, and 
we who belong here love it dearly. In many ways it 's a nicer 
place for a home than the earth, for we have no sunstrokes, 
mosquitoes, earthquakes or candy shops to bother us. But I 
am convinced that the ocean is no proper dwelling place for 
earth people, and I believe the mermaids did an unwise thing 
when they invited you to visit them." 

"I don't," protested the girl. "We 've had a fine time; 
have n't we, Cap'n Bill V 

'Well, it 's been difFrent from what I expected," ad- 
mitted the sailor. 

224 



The Sea Fairies 



"Our only thought was to give the earth people pleasure, 
your Majesty," pleaded Aquareine. 

"I know; I know, my dear Queen; and it was very good 
of you," replied Anko. "But, still it was an unwise act, for 
earth people are as constantly in danger under water as we 
would be upon the land. So, having won the right to com- 
mand you all, I order you to take little Mayre and Cap'n Bill 
straight home, and there restore them to their natural forms. 
It 's a dreadful condition, I know, and they must each have 
two stumbling legs instead of a strong, beautiful fishtail; but 
it is the fate of earth dwellers, and they cannot escape it." 

"In my case, your Majesty, made it one leg," suggested 
Cap'n Bill. 

"Ah, yes; I remember. One leg, and a wooden stick to 
keep it company. I issue this order, my friends, not because 
I am not fond of your society, but to keep you from getting 
into more trouble in a country where all is strange and un- 
natural to you. Am I right, or do you think I am wrong 1" 

'You 're quite correct, sir," said Cap'n Bill, nodding his 
head in approval. 

"Well, I 'm ready to go home," said Trot. "But in spite 
of Zog, I 've enjoyed my visit, and I shall always love the 
mermaids for being so good to me." 

That speech pleased Aquareine and Clia, who smiled 
upon the child, and kissed her affectionatelv. 

226 



Chapter Twenty 



' 



'We shall escort you home at once," announced the 
Queen. 

"But before you go," said King Anko, "I will give you a 
rare treat. It is one you will remember as long as you live. 
You shall see every inch of the mightiest sea serpent in the 
world, all at one time!" 

As he spoke, the purple and gold cloth was lifted by un- 
seen hands and disappeared from view. And now Cap'n Bill 
and Trot looked down upon thousands and thousands of coils 
of the sea serpent's body, which filled all of the space at the 
bottom of the immense circular room. It reminded them of a 
great coil of garden hose, only it was so much bigger around, 
and very much longer. 

Except for the astonishing size of the Ocean King, the 
sight was not an especially interesting one; but they told old 
Anko that they were pleased to see him, because it was evident 
he was very proud of his figure. 

Then the cloth descended again and covered all but the 
head; after which they bade the king good-bye and thanked 
him for all his kindness to them. 

"I used to think sea serpents were horrid creatures," said 
Trot; "but now I know they are good and and and " 

"And big," added Cap'n Bill, realizing his little friend 
could not find another word that was complimentary. 



227 




AS they swam out of Anko's palace and the doll-faced 
fishes left them, Aquareine asked : 

'Would you rather go back to our mermaid home for a 
time, and rest yourselves, or would you prefer to start for 
Giant's Cave at once?" 

"I guess we 'd better go back home," decided Trot. 'To 
our own home, I mean. We 've been away quite a while, and 
King Anko seemed to think it was best." 

'Very well," replied the Queen. "Let us turn in this 
direction, then." 

'You can say good-bye to Merla for us," continued Trot. 
"She was very nice to us, an' 'specially to Cap'n Bill." 

"So she was, mate," agreed the sailor; "an' a prettier lady 
I never knew a even if she is a mermaid, beggin' your pardon, 
ma'am." 

228 



Chapter Twenty-one 

"Are we going anywhere near Zog's castle*?" asked the girl. 

"Our way leads directly past the opening in the dome," 
said Aquareine. 

'Then, let 's stop and see what Sacho and the others 
are doing," suggested Trot. 'They can't be slaves any longer, 
you know, 'cause they have n't any master. I wonder if 
they 're any happier than they were before?" 

'They seemed to be pretty happy as it was," remarked 
Cap'n Bill. 

"It will do no harm to pay them a brief visit," said Prin- 
cess Clia. "All danger disappeared from the cavern with the 
destruction of Zog." 

"I really ought to say good-bye to Brother Joe," observed 
the sailorman. "I won't see him again, you know, and I don't 
want to seem unbrotherly." 

'Very well," said the Queen, "we will reenter the cavern, 
for I, too, am anxious to know what will be the fate of the 
poor slaves of the magician." 

When they came to the hole in the top of the dome they 
dropped through it and swam leisurely down toward the cas- 
tle. The water was clear and undisturbed and the silver cas- 
tle looked very quiet and peaceful under the radiant light 
that still filled the cavern. 

They met no one at all, and passing around to the front 



229 



The Sea Fairies 



of the building they reached the broad entrance and passed 
into the golden hall. 

Here a strange scene met their eyes. All the slaves of 
Zog, hundreds in number, were assembled in the room; while 
standing before the throne formerly occupied by the wicked 
magician was the boy Sacho, who was just beginning to make 
a speech to his fellow slaves. 

"At one time or another," he said, "all of us were born 
upon the earth and lived in the thin air; but now we are all 
living as the fishes live, and our home is in the water of the 
ocean. One by one we have come to this place, having been 
saved from drowning by Zog, the Magician, and by him given 
power to exist in comfort under water. The powerful master 
who made us his slaves has now passed away forever, but we 
continue to live, and are unable to return to our native land, 
where we would quickly perish. There is no one but us to 
inherit Zog's possessions, and so it will be best for us to re- 
main in this fine castle and occupy ourselves as we have done 
before, in providing for the comforts of the community. Only 
in labor is happiness to be found, and we may as well labor 
for ourselves as for others. 

"But we must have a king. Not an evil, cruel master, like 
Zog, but one who will maintain order and issue laws for the 
benefit of all. We will govern ourselves most happily by 
having a ruler, or head, selected from among ourselves by 

230 



Chapter Twenty-one 

popular vote. Therefore, I ask you to decide who shall be 
our king, for only one who is accepted by all can sit in Zog's 
throne." 

The slaves applauded this speech, but they seemed puz- 
zled to make the choice of a ruler. Finally the chief cook 
came forward and said : 

"We all have our duties to perform, and so cannot spend 
the time to be king. But you, Sacho, who were Zog's own 
attendant, have now no duties at all. So it will be best for 
you to rule us. What say you, comrades^ Shall we make 
Sacho king?' 

"Yes, yes!" they all cried. 

"But I do not wish to be king," replied Sacho. "A king 
is a useless sort of person, who mer-ely issues orders for others 
to carry out. I want to be busy and useful. Whoever is king 
will need a good attendant, as well as an officer who will see 
that his commands are obeyed. I am used to such duties, hav- 
ing served Zog in this same way." 

"Who, then, has the time to rule over us?' asked Agga- 
Groo, the goldsmith. 

"It seems to me that Cap'n Joe is the proper person for 
king," replied Sacho. "His former duty was to sew buttons 
on Zog's garments; so now he is out of a job and has plenty of 
time to be king, for he can sew on his own buttons. What do 
you say, Cap'n Joe? 3 

231 



The Sea Fairies 



"Oh, I don't mind," agreed Cap'n Joe; "that is, if you all 
want me to rule you." 

We do!" shouted the slaves, glad to find some one will- 
ing to take the job. 

"But I '11 want a few pointers," continued Cap'n Bill's 
brother. "I ain't used to this sort o' work, you know, an' if 
I ain't properly posted I 'm liable to make mistakes." 

"Sacho will tell you," said Tom Atto, encouragingly. 
"And now I must go back to the kitchen and look after my 
dumplings, or you people won't have any dinner to-day." 

:c Very well," announced Sacho. "I hereby proclaim 
Cap'n Joe elected King of the Castle which is the Enchanted 
Castle no longer. You may all return to your work." 

The slaves went away well contented, and the boy and 
Cap'n Joe now came forward to greet their visitors. 

"We 're on our way home," explained Cap'n Bill, "an' 
we don't expec' to travel this way again. But it pleases me 
to know, Joe, that you 're the king o' such a fine castle, an' 
I '11 rest easier now that you 're well pervided for." 

"Oh, I 'm all right, Bill," returned Cap'n Joe. "It 's an 
easy life here, an' a peaceful one. I wish you was as well 
fixed." 

"If ever you need friends, Sacho, or any assistance or 
counsel, come to me," said the Mermaid Queen to the boy. 

"Thank you, madam," he replied. "Now that Zog has 

232 



The Sea Fairies 



gone, I am sure we shall be very safe and contented. But I 
shall not forget to come to you if we need you. We are not 
going to waste any time in anger, or revenge, or evil deeds; 
so I believe we shall prosper from now on." 

"I 'm sure you will," declared Trot. 

They now decided that they must continue their journey, 
and as neither Sacho nor King Joe could ascend to the top of 
the dome, without swimming in the human way, which was 
slow and tedious work for them, the good-byes were said at 
the castle entrance, and the four visitors started on their 
return. 

Trot took one last view of the beautiful silver castle from 
the hole high up in the dome, which was now open and un- 
guarded, and the next moment she was in the broad ocean 
again, swimming toward home beside her mermaid friends. 




234 




AQUAREINE was thoughtful for a time. Then she drew 
from her finger a ring a plain gold band, set with a pearl 
of great value and gave it to the little girl. 

"If at any period of your life the mermaids can be of ser- 
vice to you, my dear," she said, "you have but to come to the 
edge of the ocean and call 'Aquareine.' If you are wearing 
this ring at the time I shall instantly hear you and come to 
your assistance." 

'Thank you!" cried the child, slipping the ring over her 
own chubby finger, which it fitted perfectly. "I shall never 
forget that I have good and loyal friends in the ocean, you 
may be sure." 

Away and away they swam, swiftly and in a straight line, 
keeping in the middle water where they were not liable to 
meet many sea people. They passed a few schools of 

235 



The Sea Fairies 



fishes, where the teachers were explaining to the young ones 
how to swim properly, and to conduct themselves in a dig- 
nified manner; but Trot did not care to stop and watch the 
exercises. 

Although the queen had lost her fairy wand in Zog's 
domed chamber, she had still enough magic power to carry 
them all across the ocean in wonderfully quick time, and 
before Trot and Cap'n Bill were aware of the distance they 
had come the mermaids paused, while Princess Clia said : 

"Now we must go a little deeper; for here is the Giant s 
Cave, and the entrance to it is near the bottom of the sea." 

: 'What, already!" cried the girl, joyfully; and then 
through the darker water they swam, passing through the 
rocky entrance, and began to ascend slowly into the azure- 
blue water of the cave. 

"You 've been awfully good to us, and I don't know jus' 
how to thank you," said Trot, earnestly. 

'We have enjoyed your visit to us," said beautiful Queen 
Aquareine, smiling upon her little friend, "and you may easily 
repay any pleasure we have given you by speaking well of the 
mermaids when you hear ignorant earth people condemning 



us.' 



"I '11 do that, of course," exclaimed the child. 
"How 'bout changin' us back to our reg'lar shapes?" in- 
quired Cap'n Bill, anxiously. 

236 



The Sea Fairies 



That will be very easy," replied Princess Clia, with her 
merry laugh. "See! here we are at the surface of the water." 

They pushed their heads above the blue water and looked 
around the cave. It was silent and deserted. Floating gently 
near the spot where they had left it was their own little boat. 

Cap'n Bill swam to it, took hold of the side, and then 
turned an inquiring face toward the mermaids. 

"Climb in," said the Queen. 

So he pulled himself up and awkwardly tumbled forward 
into the boat. As he did so he heard his wooden leg clatter 
against the seat, and turned around to look at it wonderingly. 

"It's me, all right!" he muttered. "One meat one, an' 
one hick'ry one. That 's the same as belongs to me !" 

"Will you lift Mayre aboard?" asked Princess Clia. 

The old sailor aroused himself, and as Trot lifted up her 
arms he seized them and drew her safely into the boat. She 
was dressed just as usual, and her chubby legs wore shoes and 
stockings. Strangely enough, neither of them were at all 
wet, or even damp in any part of their clothing. 

"I wonder where our legs have been while we 've been 
gone?' mused Cap'n Bill, gazing at his little friend in great 
delight. 

"And I wonder what 's become of our pretty pink and 
green scaled tails !" returned the girl, laughing with glee, for 
it seemed good to be herself again. 

238 



Chapter Twenty-Two 

Queen Aquareine and Princess Clia were a little way off, 
lying with their pretty faces just out of the water, while their 
hair floated in soft clouds around them. 

"Good-bye, friends!" they called. 

"Good-bye!" shouted both Trot and Cap'n Bill, and the 
little girl blew two kisses from her fingers toward the 
mermaids. 

Then the faces disappeared, leaving little ripples on the 
surface of the water. 

Cap'n Bill picked up the oars and slowly headed the boat 
toward the mouth of the cave. 

"I wonder, Trot, if your ma has missed us," he remarked, 
uneasily. 

"Of course not," replied the girl. "She s s been sound 
asleep, you know." 

As the boat crept out into the bright sunlight they were 
both silent; but each sighed with pleasure at beholding their 
own everyday world again. 

Finally Trot said, softly: 

"The land 's the best, Cap'n." 

"It is, mate; for livin' on," he answered. 

"But, I 'm glad to have seen the mermaids," she added. 

"Well, so J m I, Trot," he agreed. "But, I would n't 'a' 
believed any mortal could ever 'a' seen 'em an' an' " 

Trot laughed merrily. 

239 



The Sea Fairies 



"An' lived to tell the tale!" she cried, her eyes dancing 
with mischief. "Oh, Cap'n Bill, how little we mortals know !" 
'True enough, mate," he replied; "but we're a-learnin' 
something ev'ry day." 








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