FictionForest

Chapter 11 – The Conquest of the Skeezers

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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Queen Coo-ee-oh dropped the rope, tottered and fell
headlong into the water, sinking beneath the surface,
while the Skeezers in the submarine assist her and only
stared at the ripples in the water where she had
disappeared. A moment later there arose to the surface
a beautiful White Swan. This Swan was of large size,
very gracefully formed, and scattered all over its
white feathers were tiny diamonds, so thickly placed
that as the rays of the morning sun fell upon them the
entire body of the Swan glistened like one brilliant
diamond. The head of the Diamond Swan had a bill of
polished gold and its eyes were two sparkling
amethysts.

“Hooray!” cried the Su-dic, dancing up and down with
wicked glee. “My poor wife, Rora, is avenged at last.
You made her a Golden Pig, Coo-ee-oh, and now I have
made you a Diamond Swan. Float on your lake forever, if
you like, for your web feet can do no more magic and
you are as powerless as the Pig you made of my wife!

“Villain! Scoundrel!” croaked the Diamond Swan. “You
will be punished for this. Oh, what a fool I was to let
you enchant me!

“A fool you were, and a fool you are!” laughed the
Su-dic, dancing madly in his delight. And then he
carelessly tipped over the other copper vessel with his
heel and its contents spilled on the sands and were
lost to the last drop.

The Su-dic stopped short and looked at the overturned
vessel with a rueful countenance.

“That’s too bad — too bad!” he exclaimed
sorrowfully. “I’ve lost all the poison I had to kill
the fishes with, and I can’t make any more because only
my wife knew the secret of it, and she is now a foolish
Pig and has forgotten all her magic.”

“Very well,” said the Diamond Swan scornfully, as she
floated upon the water and swam gracefully here and
there. I’m glad to see you are foiled. Your punishment
is just beginning, for although you have enchanted me
and taken away my powers of sorcery you have still the
three magic fishes to deal with, and they’ll destroy
you in time, mark my words.”

The Su-dic stared at the Swan a moment. Then he
yelled to his men:

“Shoot her! Shoot the saucy bird!”

They let fly some arrows at the Diamond Swan, but she
dove under the water and the missiles fell harmless.
When Coo-ce-oh rose to the surface she was far from the
shore and she swiftly swam across the lake to where no
arrows or spears could reach her.

The Su-dic rubbed his chin and thought what to do
next. Near by floated the submarine in which the Queen
had come, but the Skeezers who were in it were puzzled
what to do with themselves. Perhaps they were not sorry
their cruel mistress had been transformed into a
Diamond Swan, but the transformation had left them
quite helpless. The under-water boat was not operated
by machinery, but by certain mystic words uttered by
Coo-ee-oh. They didn’t know how to submerge it, or how
to make the water-tight shield cover them again, or how
to make the boat go back to the castle, or make it
enter the little basement room where it was usually
kept. As a matter of fact, they were now shut out of
their village under the Great Dome and could not get
back again. So one of the men called to the Supreme
Dictator of the Flatheads, saying:

“Please make us prisoners and take us to your
mountain, and feed and keep us, for we have nowhere to
go.”

Then the Su-dic laughed and answered:

“Not so. I can’t be bothered by caring for a lot of
stupid Skeezers. Stay where you are, or go wherever you
please, so long as you keep away from our mountain.” He
turned to his men and added: “We have conquered Queen
Coo-ee-oh and made her a helpless swan. The Skeezers
are under water and may stay there. So, having won the
war, let us go home again and make merry and feast,
having after many years proved the Flatheads to be
greater and more powerful than the Skeezers.”

So the Flatheads marched away and passed through the
row of palms and went back to their mountain, where the
Su-dic and a few of his officers feasted and all the
others were forced to wait on them.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t have roast pig,” said the Su-
dic, “but as the only pig we have is made of gold, we
can’t eat her. Also the Golden Pig happens to be my
wife, and even were she not gold I am sure she would be
too tough to eat.”

 

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