More Wishing-Chair Stories (2 page)

BOOK: More Wishing-Chair Stories
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The Prince opened the door, and the chair flew out at once.

“I told the chair to go to the Dear-Me Goblin's cave,” said Chinky. “I hope it knows the way.”

It did! It flew to a hill that looked dark and lonely in the starlit night; but as soon as the chair had flown inside a big cave, and come to earth there, the children exclaimed in delight. The inside of the cave shone with a golden light, though there was no lamp of any sort to be seen.

“That's why it's called the Golden Hill,” said Merry. “The whole of the hill shines like gold inside. So plenty of goblins live here because they are mean fellows, you know, and are only too pleased to live in a hill where they do not need to buy candles by which to see!”

The children and Chinky explored the golden cave. There was a passage leading away into the heart of the hill, and the four of them walked down it, able to see everything quite clearly.

Along the passage were many doors of all colours. Each door had a little notice on it, giving the name of the goblin who lived there. The children looked at them all, but could not see the name of Dear-Me. At last they came to the end door, and that had no name on at all.

“This must be Dear-Me's cave,” said Merry. “It's the only one left!”

So they knocked, and the door opened. A queer-looking goblin poked out his head. He wore a wastepaper basket for a hat, and had a pencil in his mouth at which he kept puffing as if it were a pipe!

“Hallo!” he said.

“Hallo!” said Chinky. “What is your name?”

“It's on the door,” said the goblin. “I've forgotten what it is.”

“But it isn't on the door,” said Peter. “There is no name there at all.”

“Oh,” said the goblin. “Well, come in, whilst I think of it.”

They all went in. There was a large and cosy room made out of the cave behind the door. A fire glowed in one corner, and a small bed stuck out of the other. There was a table in the middle, and two or three stools stood here and there. There was no lamp, for the curious golden light shone here too.

“Is your name Dear-Me?” asked Chinky.

“Of course it is,” said the goblin. “Everyone knows that!”

“Well, you didn't seem to know it,” said Merry.

“Only because it wasn't on the door,” said the goblin. “What have you all come for?”

“Well, we wanted to know if you have the map that shows the hill on which the Green Enchanter lives,” said Chinky.

“Yes, I have,” said Dear-Me. “But, dear me! I couldn't tell you where it is at the moment!”

“Did you put it in a safe place?” asked the Prince.

“Of course!” said the goblin. “But it is always so difficult to remember safe places, isn't it?”

“Well, tell us one of your safe places, and we'll look there,” said Mollie.

“It might be in that drawer,” said the goblin, pointing to a drawer in the kitchen table. Mollie opened it, and then stared in the greatest surprise. It was full of pea-pods, turned brown and dry!

“Dear me!” said the goblin. “So that's where those pea-pods went to last summer. Well, look in the teapot, then, and see if the map's there.”

“In the teapot!” said Peter, thinking the goblin must be quite mad. However, he looked in the teapot on the dresser, and found it full of safety-pins. The goblin was so pleased to see them.

“I couldn't think where I'd put those pins!” he said.

“You know, buttons are always coming off my clothes and I have to pin them up such a lot. So I bought a whole crowd of safety-pins and thought I'd better keep them somewhere safe in case I lost them. So I put them in the teapot—and then I couldn't remember where they were.”

“Tell us another of your hiding-places,” begged Chinky patiently.

“You might look in the boot-box,” said the goblin.

They all looked for it.

“Where is the boot-box?” asked Peter at last. “Have you put that in a safe place too?”

“Oh, no,” said the goblin. “Now let me think. Yes! I remember now—when the laundry came, the carrier wanted the basket back, so I put the clean clothes into the boot-box.”

“You do think of some surprising ideas!” said Merry. “I don't suppose the washing will be clean any longer. I suppose this is it, under the mangle.”

He pulled out a dirty old box in which clean shirts and collars were stuffed—but except for some old potatoes at the bottom, there was nothing else in the box at all.

“I suppose you use the boot-box for your vegetables as well,” said Chinky, shaking the potatoes about.

“Oh, are there some potatoes there?” cried the goblin, pleased. “I'll cook them for my dinner then. I was just going out to buy some, but I couldn't find my hat.”

Chinky, Merry, and the children stared at the wastepaper basket on the goblin's head. “Well,” said Chinky, “you've got something on your head—we thought it was meant for a hat.”

The goblin took the basket off and looked at it in surprise.

“It's my waste-paper basket!” he said. “Now how did that get there? I spent all the morning looking for it.”

“Is this your hat?” asked Chinky, picking up something stuffed full with old newspapers.

“Dear me, yes!” said the goblin, pleased. “I must have mistaken it for the basket. I do get into such muddles sometimes. I have so much to do, you know.”

“What do you have to do?” asked Mollie curiously.

“Oh—there's getting up—and having meals—and dressing—and dusting—and going to bed,” said the goblin. “That reminds me—it's time for something to eat. Will you have a bit of cherry-pie?”

He darted to a cupboard, opened it, and brought out a pie; but as he went to put it on the table he fell over the waste-paper basket, and smash! the pie fell to the floor and the red juice flowed out on to the carpet!

“Dear me!” said the goblin. “That's the end of the pie, I'm afraid. Well, it wasn't a very good pie. Now, what shall I wipe up the mess with?”

He went to the cupboard and caught up the piece of paper that lined the shelf. He was just about to mop up the mess with it when Chinky gave a cry. “Wait!” The pixie took the paper from him and shouted loudly “It's the map! Look! Fancy the goblin using it to line a shelf with! Just the sort of thing he would do!”

At that moment another goblin came rushing into the room, crying, “Your chair's flapping its wings!”

“We must go!” shouted Chinky, “or our chair will leave us behind! Goodbye, Dear-Me! Thanks for all the help you didn't give!”

Out they all ran and flung themselves into the chair. Prince Merry had the map safely in his pocket. To think how nearly they had lost it!

“Home, chair!” cried Peter, and off it went!

The Adventure of the Green Enchanter

PETER, Mollie, Prince Merry, and Chinky the pixie all looked eagerly at the dirty old map.

“See!” said Chinky, pointing. “There is the Enchanter's Hill. I will tell the wishing-chair how to get there as soon as it grows its wings again.”

“Then we will rescue Sylfai!” cried Merry.

“You can live here with Chinky,” said Mollie, looking round the playroom. “I will bring you an old rug, Prince. Let us know when the chair grows its wings again.”

But a dreadful thing happened when the chair next grew its pretty red wings and flapped them in the playroom—for Peter was in bed with a cold! When Chinky came climbing up the window to peep into the bedroom (the playroom was at the bottom of the garden, you remember), Mollie was ready to go—but Peter was much too sneezy and snuffly, and he was sure that his mother would be very angry if she came and found him gone. So it was decided that Mollie, Merry, and Chinky should go alone, and Merry promised to look after Mollie. They all said goodbye to Peter and left him. He felt very sad and lonely.

The chair was anxious to fly off. Mollie sat in the seat with Chinky squeezed beside her. The Prince flew near them, holding on occasionally when the chair went very-fast.

“To the Green Enchanter's Hill!” cried Chinky to the chair. “Go by way of the rainbow, and then over the snowy mountains of Lost Land.”

The chair flapped steadily up into the air. The sun shone out. Then there came a big cloud, and rain fell. The sun shone through the rain and made a glorious rainbow. At once the chair flew towards it, higher and higher into the air.

It came to the topmost curve of the glittering rainbow. It balanced itself there—and then, WHOOOOOOooosH! It slid all the way down it! What a slide that was! Mollie held her breath, and Merry's hair flew out behind him!

They slid down to the bottom of the rainbow, and then the chair flew steadily on towards some high mountains, whose snowy tops stood up through the clouds.

“There's Lost Land!” cried Chinky, pointing. “If we got lost there, there'd be no finding us again.”

“Ooh!” said Mollie, shivering. “I hope the chair doesn't go down there.”

It didn't. It flew on and on. Presently a big mountain-top loomed up in the distance, sticking its green head up through the clouds.

“The Green Enchanter's Hill!” cried Chinky, in delight. “We haven't taken long! Now, we must be careful. We don't want the Enchanter to know we're here.”

The chair flew downwards. It came to a beautiful garden. It settled down on the ground in a sheltered corner, where high hedges grew all round. Nobody could possibly see them there.

“Now, how can we rescue the Princess?” asked Chinky.

“She and I know a song that our pet canary whistles at home,” whispered the Prince. “If I whistle it, she will answer if she hears it, and then we shall know where she is.”

He pursed up his lips and began to whistle just like a singing canary. It was wonderful to hear him. “When he had whistled for half a minute, he stopped and listened—and, clear as a bird, there came an answering song, just like the voice of a singing canary!

“That's Sylfai!” said Prince Merry joyfully. “Come on—let's go towards the whistling. It's over there.”

He and the others crept round the tall hedge and looked about. Stretching in front of them was a small bluebell wood, and in the midst of it, gathering bluebells, was a dainty little Princess!

“Sylfai!” cried Merry, and ran to her. She hugged him and then looked around her nervously.

“The Green Enchanter is somewhere near,” she whispered. “He hardly ever leaves me. How are you going to rescue me, Merry?”

“We have a magic wishing-chair behind the hedge,” whispered back Merry. “Come along, Sylfai. Come with me, and with Mollie and Chinky. They are my good friends”

The four hurried out of the wood to the hedge; but when they reached it, they stopped—for they could hear an angry voice shouting loudly “Come here, chair, I tell you! Come here!”

BOOK: More Wishing-Chair Stories
8.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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