Authors: Enid Blyton
“Don't do that!” said Peter, astonished. Then he stared, even more astonished! Underneath the chair, clinging desperately to it, was the naughty little brownie who had peeped and pried outside the playroom!
“Look at that!” cried Mollie. “It's Nose-About, the tiresome brownie! He must have slipped into the playroom and clung to the underneath of the chair so that we couldn't see him. And he flew off with us, and tried to make the chair go where he wanted to.”
“And when we found the rainbow gold he wanted to go off to Brownie Mountain with it. That's where he lives, I expect,” said Peter. “It was his voice we kept hearing! He was underneath the seat of the chair all the time.”
“No wonder the chair took us to the Village of Gobbo, then,” said Chinky. “It knew he was under it and wanted him to be punished. Brownies, take him away. He's a nuisance.”
“No, no! Mercy, Mercy!” wept the little brownie. “Forgive me! I just wanted a ride, that's all. And when I saw the gold I thought I'd make the chair go to my home with it—then I'd be rich all my life.”
“You're very bad and you want punishing,” said Peter. “I'm not at all sorry for you.”
“One spanking every day for a month,” said one of the brownies, solemnly, clutching hold of the frightened brownie. “And he will never be allowed to go back home.”
The little brownie wailed loudly. “But my mother will miss me so. She loves me, she does really. I do lots of jobs for her. And my little sister loves me, too. I take her to school each day. Do, do let me go. I only wanted the gold for my mother.”
Mollie suddenly felt sorry for him. She knew how much her mother would miss her if she were taken away. And perhaps this naughty little brownie was quite good and kind at home.
She put her hand on the arm of one of the brownies. “Let him go, please. He's sorry now. He won't be bad again.”
“Oh, yes he will,” said the brownie. “His mother didn't spank him when she should, so he's growing into a perfect nuisance. We'll soon cure him.”
“No, no, no,” wailed the little brownie. “I'll tell my mother to smack me, really I will. Let me go. I want my mother, I do, I do.”
“How much will you charge us for letting him go?” asked Mollie, much to Peter's surprise.
The two brownies talked together about this. “Well,” said one at last, “our master, the Great Gobbo, is laying out some wonderful rose-gardens, but he hasn't enough money to finish them. We will let this brownie go if you pay us a fine of one thousand gold pieces. And that's cheap!”
“It isn't,” said Mollie. “Peter, help me to count out the gold in this crock. I don't think there are as many as a thousand pieces, though. We'll just see.”
They all began to count, the little brownie too. They counted one hundred—then two—then three and four and five—and, will you believe it, in that rainbow-crock there were exactly one thousand and one pieces of gold!
“There you are—a thousand pieces,” said Peter, handing them over. “We'll have the odd one—and the crock, too, because it will look nice on our play-room mantelpiece. Now can we go?”
“Yes, certainly,” said the brownies, delighted. “But we must warn this little brownie that next time the fine will be two thousand pieces! Goodbye!”
“Goodbye,” called everyone, and up went the wishing-chair into the air again. Where to next?
“Thank you,” said the small brownie, in a humble voice. “Thank you very much. Please drop me at Brownie Mountain, will you?”
“WELL, brownie, you were lucky to have a kind friend like Mollie to pay your fine,” said Chinky, who wasn't really very pleased about it at all. “Behave yourself, please—or I shall tell your mother all about you.”
The chair was a bit crowded now, with the two children, the brownie, and the pixie, and the empty crock as well. Peter had the one piece of gold that was left. He had put it into his pocket.
“I'll take you to the Land of Wishes if you like,” said the small brownie, humbly. He was very anxious to please them all now. “You can have as many wishes as you like this weekend because it's the Princess Peronel's birthday. I've an invitation ticket. Look.”
He pulled a rather crumpled ticket from his pocket. It certainly was an invitation.
“But it's for you, not for us,” said Peter.
“It says 'For Brownie Nose-About and Friends’,” said the brownie. “I'm Nose-About—and you're my friends, aren't you? Oh, please do say you are!”
“Well—all right, we're your friends then,” said Peter. “Mollie certainly was a friend to you in the Village of Gobbo! Chinky, shall we go to the Land of Wishes? I know quite a few wishes I'd like to wish!”
“Yes, let's go,” said Chinky. “Nose-About, you'd better tell the chair to go, because you're the only one that has the invitation.”
So, in rather an important voice, Nose-About told the chair where to go. “To the Land of Wishes, please,” he said. “To the Princess Peronel's birthday party.”
The chair gave a little creak and flew straight upwards. It was very dark now and stars were out in the sky. Mollie began to feel sleepy. She nodded her head and leaned against Peter. Peter nodded his head, too, and both of them slept soundly. Chinky and Nose-About kept guard. The chair flew all night long, for the Land of Wishes was a long, long way away.
The sun was up and the sky was full of light when at last the two children awoke. Below them was a land of flowers and lakes and streams and shining palaces. How lovely!
“Does everyone live in a palace here?” asked Mollie, marvelling at so many palaces.
“Oh, yes. It's easy enough to wish for one,” said Nose-About, peering down. “And then when you're tired of living in an enormous place with windows everywhere, you just wish for a rose-covered cottage. Would you like a palace for a bit? I'll wish you one!”
The chair flew downwards. It landed in a field of shining, star-like flowers. “Here we are,” said the brownie. “I'll wish for a palace to begin with—and then we can be princes and a princess, and go to the Princess Peronel's birthday party. I wish for a palace with one thousand and one windows!”
And silently and shimmeringly a tall, slender palace rose up around them. The sun shone in through hundreds of windows.
“I'll just count if there are a thousand and one,” said Nose-About.
“Oh no! We simply can't count up to a thousand and one all over again!” groaned Peter. “I say—look at the wishing-chair. It's standing on that platform there wishing it was a throne!”
“I wish it was a throne!” said Mollie at once. And dear me, the good old wishing-chair changed into a gleaming throne, with a big red velvet cushion on its seat and tassels hanging down its back. It looked very grand indeed.
Peter went and sat on it. “I wish I was a Prince!” he said. And to Mollie's enormous surprise her brother suddenly looked like a very handsome little prince, with a circlet of gold round his head and a beautiful cloak hanging from his velvet-clad shoulders. He grinned at Mollie. “Better wish yourself to be a Princess before I order you about!” he said. “I feel like giving a whole lot of orders! Where's my horse? Where are my dogs? Where are my servants?”
Well, before very long Mollie was a Princess, and looked quite beautiful in a dress that swept the ground and twinkled with thousands of bright jewels as she walked. Chinky wished himself a new suit and a new wand. Nose-About still felt very humble so he didn't wish for anything for himself but only things for the others.
He wished for horses and dogs and cats and servants and ice-creams and everything he could think of.
“I think we've got enough dogs, Nose-About,” said Peter at last. “And I'd rather not have any more ice-creams. I feel rather as if I'd like a good breakfast. All the clocks you wished for have just struck nine o'clock. I feel hungry.”
The brownie wished for so much porridge and bacon and eggs that there was enough for the cats and dogs too. The servants had taken the horses out of the palace, which made Mollie feel more comfortable, because when the brownie had first wished for them they kept galloping round the enormous room. She was afraid of being knocked over.
That was a most exciting morning. When the children got into the way of wishing there was no end to the things they thought of!
“I feel like snowballing! I wish for plenty of snow!” said Peter, suddenly. And outside the palace windows fell the snowflakes, thick and fast. There was soon enough for a game. It was very easy to wish the snow away when they were tired of snowballing and wish for something else—an aeroplane they could fly, or a train they could drive.
“I wish this would last all over our weekend,” sighed Mollie. “I'm enjoying it so.”
“Well—I suppose it will,” said Peter, “now you've wished it, the wish will come true. But what about Mother? She won't like it if we stay away all the time.”
“I'll wish her here, then,” said Mollie. But Peter wouldn't let her.
“No. Don't,” he said. “If she's with Granny she wouldn't like leaving her—and it would upset Granny to see Mother suddenly disappear. We'll just enjoy ourselves here, and then try and explain to Mother when we get home.”
The Princess's party was wonderful. It began at four o'clock that afternoon, and lasted till past midnight. There was a birthday cake that was so very big it took six little servants to cut it into slices. One hundred candles burned on it! How old Peronel must be!
“A hundred years old is young for a fairy,” said Chinky. “See how beautiful the Princess still is.”
She certainly was. Peter wished hard for a dance with her—and at once she glided over to him, and danced as lightly as a moth. “Now I can say I've danced with a princess!” thought Peter, pleased.
The next day came and slid away happily. Then the next day and the next. The children grew used to having every single wish granted.
“A big chocolate ice at once!” And hey presto, it came. “A tame lion to ride on!” There it was, purring like a cat. “Wings on my back to fly high above the trees!” And there they were, fluttering strongly, carrying Mollie high in the air. What a truly lovely feeling.
On that fourth day the children didn't wish quite so many things. “Tired of wishing?” asked Chinky, who hadn't really wished many things. “Ah—people always get tired of wishes coming true after a time.”
“I can't seem to think of any more,” said Peter.
keep thinking of Mother,” said Mollie. “I do so hope she isn't worried about us. We've got to go back home today, Peter—do you realise that? It's the day we have to go back to school. It's a pity we've had so little time at home. We shall hardly have seen Daddy and Mother at all.”
“Oh goodness—how the weekend has flown,” said Peter. “I wanted to do quite a lot of things at home, too. I wanted to get out my electric train—and didn't you want to take your dolls out just once in their pram, Mollie?”
“Yes. I did,” said Mollie. “Oh dear—I do wish we had the weekend in front of us still, so that we could enjoy being at home, too! I feel as if we've rather wasted it now. Peter, I think we ought to go back. We've a train to catch, you know. We mustn't be late back for school.”
“All right. Chinky, we'd better change the throne back to the wishing-chair,” said Peter. “Wish for its wings, will you? They've gone, but a wish will bring them back, in the Land of Wishes!”
It did, of course. As soon as the throne had changed back into the wishing-chair they knew so well, Chinky wished for the wings to grow—and they sprouted out gaily, at once, looking bigger than ever.
“You coming, Nose-About?” said Peter to the little brownie.
“No. I'm going back home to my mother,” he said. “Goodbye. Thank you for being kind to me.”
“Well, you've certainly repaid our kindness!” said Mollie. “I've never had such a wonderful time in my life. Now—are we all ready? Wishing-chair, home, please, as fast as you can!”
It was a long, long way back from the Land of Wishes. They all three went sound asleep, and the chair was careful not to jolt them at all in case they fell off. It flew down to the playroom at last, and went in gently at the door. It tipped out Mollie and Peter on to their mattresses, and Chinky on to his cushion. The crock that had contained the rainbow gold tipped out, too, and fell on to the carpet. Luckily it didn't break.
The children groaned a little, and then slept on soundly, curled up on their mattresses. The chair stood still. Its red wings disappeared gradually. It was just a chair.
And then there came a loud knocking at the door, and a loud voice, too.
“Master Peter! Miss Mollie! How late you are sleeping! Haven't you had your breakfast yet? Your mother has telephoned to say that Granny is much better and she'll be home to lunch. Isn't that good news?”
The children woke up with a jump and stared at Mrs. Williams' smiling face. She was looking in at the door. Peter sat up and rubbed his eyes.
“Well, I declare!” said Mrs. Williams. “You are not in your night-things! You don't mean to say you didn't go to bed properly last night? Do wake up. It's half-past ten already!”
“Half-past ten?” said Mollie, amazed “What day is it, Mrs. Willy?”
“Saturday, to be sure!” said Mrs. Williams, surprised. “You came home yesterday, that was Friday—and so today's Saturday!”
“But—but surely it's Tuesday or perhaps even Wednesday,” said Mollie, remembering the wonderful weekend in the Land of Wishes. “Aren't we due back at school?”
“Bless us all, you're asleep and dreaming!” said Mrs. Williams. “Well, I must be getting on with my work. It's Saturday morning, half-past ten, and your mother will be home for lunch. Now—do you understand that?”
And off she went, quite puzzled. She hadn't seen Chinky on the cushion. He was still fast asleep!
Mollie looked at Peter and her eyes shone. “Peter, oh Peter!” she said, “do you remember that I wished we had the weekend in front of us still? Well, that wish has come true, too. We've had the weekend once in our palace—and now we're going to have it all over again at home. Could anything be nicer!”
“Marvellous!” said Peter, jumping up. “Simply marvellous! Wake up, you lazy old Chinky. We've good news for you. It's not Tuesday—it's only Saturday!”