FictionForest

Chapter 7 – The Twin Islands

L. Frank BaumOct 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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The Island of Regos was ten miles wide and forty miles
long and it was ruled by a big and powerful King named
Gos. Near to the shores were green and fertile fields,
but farther back from the sea were rugged hills and
mountains, so rocky that nothing would grow there. But
in these mountains were mines of gold and silver, which
the slaves of the King were forced to work, being
confined in dark underground passages for that purpose.
In the course of time huge caverns had been hollowed
out by the slaves, in which they lived and slept, never
seeing the light of day. Cruel overseers with whips
stood over these poor people, who had been captured in
many countries by the raiding parties of King Cos, and
the overseers were quite willing to lash the slaves
with their whips if they faltered a moment in their
work.

Between the green shores and the mountains were
forests of thick, tangled trees, between which narrow
paths had been cut to lead up to the caves of the
mines. It was on the level green meadows, not far from
the ocean, that the great City of Regos had been built,
wherein was located the palace of the King. This city
was inhabited by thousands of the fierce warriors of
Gos, who frequently took to their boats and spread over
the sea to the neighboring islands to conquer and
pillage, as they had done at Pingaree. When they were
not absent on one of these expeditions, the City of
Regos swarmed with them and so became a dangerous place
for any peaceful person to live in, for the warriors
were as lawless as their King.

The Island of Coregos lay close beside the Island of
Regos; so close, indeed, that one might have thrown a
stone from one shore to another. But Coregos was only
half the size of Regos and instead of being mountainous
it was a rich and pleasant country, covered with fields
of grain. The fields of Coregos furnished food for the
warriors and citizens of both countries, while the
mines of Regos made them all rich.

Coregos was ruled by Queen Cor, who was wedded to
King Gos; but so stern and cruel was the nature of this
Queen that the people could not decide which of their
sovereigns they dreaded most.

Queen Cor lived in her own City of Coregos, which lay
on that side of her island facing Regos, and her
slaves, who were mostly women, were made to plow the
land and to plant and harvest the grain.

From Regos to Coregos stretched a bridge of boats,
set close together, with planks laid across their edges
for people to walk upon. In this way it was easy to
pass from one island to the other and in times of
danger the bridge could be quickly removed.

The native inhabitants of Regos and Coregos consisted
of the warriors, who did nothing but fight and ravage,
and the trembling servants who waited on them. King Gos
and Queen Cor were at war with all the rest of the
world. Other islanders hated and feared them, for their
slaves were badly treated and absolutely no mercy was
shown to the weak or ill.

When the boats that had gone to Pingaree returned
loaded with rich plunder and a host of captives, there
was much rejoicing in Regos and Coregos and the King
and Queen gave a fine feast to the warriors who had
accomplished so great a conquest. This feast was set
for the warriors in the grounds of King Gos’s palace,
while with them in the great throne room all the
captains and leaders of the fighting men were assembled
with King Gos and Queen Cor, who had come from her
island to attend the ceremony. Then all the goods that
had been stolen from the King of Pingaree were divided
according to rank, the King and Queen taking half, the
captains a quarter, and the rest being divided amongst
the warriors.

The day following the feast King Gos sent King
Kitticut and all the men of Pingaree to work in his
mines under the mountains, having first chained them
together so they could not escape. The gentle Queen of
Pingaree and all her women, together with the captured
children, were given to Queen Cor, who set them to work
in her grain fields.

Then the rulers and warriors of these dreadful
islands thought they had done forever with Pingaree.
Despoiled of all its wealth, its houses torn down, its
boats captured and all its people enslaved, what
likelihood was there that they might ever again hear of
the desolated island? So the people of Regos and
Coregos were surprised and puzzled when one morning
they observed approaching their shores from the
direction of the south a black boat containing a boy, a
fat man and a goat. The warriors asked one another who
these could be, and where they had come from? No one
ever came to those islands of their own accord, that
was certain.

Prince Inga guided his boat to the south end of the
Island of Regos, which was the landing place nearest to
the city, and when the warriors saw this action they
went down to the shore to meet him, being led by a big
captain named Buzzub.

“Those people surely mean us no good,” said Rinkitink
uneasily to the boy. “Without doubt they intend to
capture us and make us their slaves.”

“Do not fear, sir,” answered Inga, in a calm voice.
“Stay quietly in the boat with Bilbil until I have
spoken with these men.”

He stopped the boat a dozen feet from the shore, and
standing up in his place made a grave bow to the
multitude confronting him. Said the big Captain Buzzub
in a gruff voice:

“Well, little one, who may you be? And how dare you
come, uninvited and all alone, to the Island of Regos?”

“I am Inga, Prince of Pingaree,” returned the boy,
“and I have come here to free my parents and my people,
whom you have wrongfully enslaved.”

When they heard this bold speech a mighty laugh arose
from the band of warriors, and when it had subsided the
captain said:

“You love to jest, my baby Prince, and the joke is
fairly good. But why did you willingly thrust your head
into the lion’s mouth? When you were free, why did you
not stay free? We did not know we had left a single
person in Pingaree! But since you managed to escape us
then, it is really kind of you to come here of your own
free will, to be our slave. Who is the funny fat person
with you?”

“It is His Majesty, King Rinkitink, of the great City
of Gilgad. He has accompanied me to see that you render
full restitution for all you have stolen from
Pingaree.”

“Better yet!” laughed Buzzub. “He will make a fine
slave for Queen Cor, who loves to tickle fat men, and
see them jump.”

King Rinkitink was filled with horror when he heard
this, but the Prince answered as boldly as before,
saying:

“We are not to be frightened by bluster, believe me;
nor are we so weak as you imagine. We have magic powers
so great and terrible that no host of warriors can
possibly withstand us, and therefore I call upon you to
surrender your city and your island to us, before we
crush you with our mighty powers.”

The boy spoke very gravely and earnestly, but his
words only aroused another shout of laughter. So while
the men of Regos were laughing Inga drove the boat
we’ll up onto the sandy beach and leaped out. He also
helped Rinkitink out, and when the goat had unaided
sprung to the sands, the King got upon Bilbil’s back,
trembling a little internally, but striving to look as
brave as possible.

There was a bunch of coarse hair between the goat’s
ears, and this Inga clutched firmly in his left hand.
The boy knew the Pink Pearl would protect not only
himself, but all whom he touched, from any harm, and as
Rinkitink was astride the goat and Inga had his hand
upon the animal, the three could not be injured by
anything the warriors could do. But Captain Buzzub did
not know this, and the little group of three seemed so
weak and ridiculous that he believed their capture
would be easy. So he turned to his men and with a wave
of his hand said:

“Seize the intruders!”

Instantly two or three of the warriors stepped
forward to obey, but to their amazement they could not
reach any of the three; their hands were arrested as if
by an invisible wall of iron. Without paying any
attention to these attempts at capture, Inga advanced
slowly and the goat kept pace with him. And when
Rinkitink saw that he was safe from harm he gave one of
his big, merry laughs, and it startled the warriors and
made them nervous. Captain Buzzub’s eyes grew big with
surprise as the three steadily advanced and forced his
men backward; nor was he free from terror himself at
the magic that protected these strange visitors. As for
the warriors, they presently became terror-stricken and
fled in a panic up the slope toward the city, and
Buzzub was obliged to chase after them and shout
threats of punishment before he could halt them and
form them into a line of battle.

All the men of Regos bore spears and bows-and-arrows,
and some of the officers had swords and battle-axes; so
Buzzub ordered them to stand their ground and shoot and
slay the strangers as they approached. This they tried
to do. Inga being in advance, the warriors sent a
flight of sharp arrows straight at the boy’s breast,
while others cast their long spears at him.

It seemed to Rinkitink that the little Prince must
surely perish as he stood facing this hail of murderous
missiles; but the power of the Pink Pearl did not
desert him, and when the arrows and spears had reached
to within an inch of his body they bounded back again
and fell harmlessly at his feet. Nor were Rinkitink or
Bilbil injured in the least, although they stood close
beside Inga.

Buzzub stood for a moment looking upon the boy in
silent wonder. Then, recovering himself, he shouted in
a loud voice:

“Once again! All together, my men. No one shall ever
defy our might and live!”

Again a flight of arrows and spears sped toward the
three, and since many more of the warriors of Regos had
by this time joined their fellows, the air was for a
moment darkened by the deadly shafts. But again all
fell harmless before the power of the Pink Pearl, and
Bilbil, who had been growing very angry at the attempts
to injure him and his party, suddenly made a bolt
forward, casting off Inga’s hold, and butted into the
line of warriors, who were standing amazed at their
failure to conquer.

Taken by surprise at the goat’s attack, a dozen big
warriors tumbled in a heap, yelling with fear, and
their comrades, not knowing what had happened but
imagining that their foes were attacking them, turned
about and ran to the city as hard as they could go.
Bilbil, still angry, had just time to catch the big
captain as he turned to follow his men, and Buzzub
first sprawled headlong upon the ground, then rolled
over two or three times, and finally jumped up and ran
yelling after his defeated warriors. This butting on
the part of the goat was very hard upon King Rinkitink,
who nearly fell off Bilbil’s back at the shock of
encounter; but the little fat King wound his arms
around the goat’s neck and shut his eyes and clung on
with all his might. It was not until he heard Inga say
triumphantly, “We have won the fight without striking a
blow!” that Rinkitink dared open his eyes again. Then
he saw the warriors rushing into the City of Regos and
barring the heavy gates, and he was very much relieved
at the sight.

“Without striking a blow!” said Bilbil indignantly.
“That is not quite true, Prince Inga. You did not
fight, I admit, but I struck a couple of times to good
purpose, and I claim to have conquered the cowardly
warriors unaided.”

“You and I together, Bilbil,” said Rinkitink mildly.
“But the next time you make a charge, please warn me in
time, so that I may dismount and give you all the
credit for the attack.”

There being no one now to oppose their advance, the
three walked to the gates of the city, which had been
closed against them. The gates were of iron and heavily
barred, and upon the top of the high walls of the city
a host of the warriors now appeared armed with arrows
and spears and other weapons. For Buzzub had gone
straight to the palace of King Cos and reported his
defeat, relating the powerful magic of the boy, the fat
King and the goat, and had asked what to do next.

The big captain still trembled with fear, but King
Gos did not helieve in magic, and called Buzzub a
coward and a weakling. At once the King took command of
his men personally, and he ordered the walls manned
with warriors and instructed them to shoot to kill if
any of the three strangers approached the gates.

Of course, neither Rinkitink nor Bilbil knew how they
had been protected from harm and so at first they were
inclined to resent the boy’s command that the three
must always keep together and touch one another at all
times. But when Inga explained that his magic would not
otherwise save them from injury, they agreed to obey,
for they had now seen enough to convince them that the
Prince was really protected by some invisible power.

As they came before the gates another shower of
arrows and spears descended upon them, and as before
not a single missile touched their bodies. King Gos,
who was upon the wall, was greatly amazed and somewhat
worried, but he depended upon the strength of his gates
and commanded his men to continue shooting until all
their weapons were gone.

Inga let them shoot as much as they wished, while he
stood before the great gates and examined them
carefully.

“Perhaps Bilbil can batter down the gates, suggested
Rinkitink.

“No,” replied the goat; “my head is hard, but not
harder than iron.”

“Then,” returned the King, “let us stay outside;
especially as we can’t get in.”

But Inga was not at all sure they could not get in.
The gates opened inward, and three heavy bars were held
in place by means of stout staples riveted to the
sheets of steel. The boy had been told that the power
of the Blue Pearl would enable him to accomplish any
feat of strength, and he believed that this was true.

The warriors, under the direction of King Gos,
continued to hurl arrows and darts and spears and axes
and huge stones upon the invaders, all without avail.
The ground below was thickly covered with weapons, yet
not one of the three before the gates had been injured
in the slightest manner. When everything had been cast
that was available and not a single weapon of any sort
remained at hand, the amazed warriors saw the boy put
his shoulder against the gates and burst asunder the
huge staples that held the bars in place. A thousand of
their men could not have accomplished this feat, yet
the small, slight boy did it with seeming ease. The
gates burst open, and Inga advanced into the city
street and called upon King Gos to surrender.

But Gos was now as badly frightened as were his
warriors. He and his men were accustomed to war and
pillage and they had carried terror into many
countries, but here was a small boy, a fat man and a
goat who could not be injured by all his skill in
warfare, his numerous army and thousands of death-
dealing weapons. Moreover, they not only defied King
Gos’s entire army but they had broken in the huge gates
of the city — as easily as if they had been made of
paper — and such an exhibition of enormous strength
made the wicked King fear for his life. Like all
bullies and marauders, Gos was a coward at heart, and
now a panic seized him and he turned and fled before
the calm advance of Prince Inga of Pingaree. The
warriors were like their master, and having thrown all
their weapons over the wall and being helpless to
oppose the strangers, they all swarmed after Gos, who
abandoned his city and crossed the bridge of boats to
the Island of Coregos. There was a desperate struggle
among these cowardly warriors to get over the bridge,
and many were pushed into the water and obliged to
swim; but finally every fighting man of Regos had
gained the shore of Coregos and then they tore away the
bridge of boats and drew them up on their own side,
hoping the stretch of open water would prevent the
magic invaders from following them.

The humble citizens and serving people of Regos, who
had been terrified and abused by the rough warriors all
their lives, were not only greatly astonished by this
sudden conquest of their masters but greatly delighted.
As the King and his army fled to Coregos, the people
embraced one another and danced for very joy, and then
they turned to see what the conquerors of Regos were
like.

 

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