Authors: Enid Blyton
“It is the Enchanter, who has found your chair!” whispered Sylfai frightened. “Now what shall we do?”
Mollie and the others peeped through the hedge—and they saw a very strange sight! The Enchanter was trying to catch hold of the chair, and it wouldn't let him! Every time he came near it, the chair spread its red wings and flapped away from him. Then it settled down and waited till the angry Enchanter ran at it again. Once more it spread its wings and dodged away.
And then suddenly a most dreadful and surprising thing happened! The chair, tired of dodging the Enchanter, suddenly flew straight up into the air, made for the clouds—and disappeared!
“It's gone without us!” said Merry, in dismay. “Whatever shall we do now?”
“Quick!” cried Sylfai, in fright. “The Enchanter will come to look for me, and he'll find you three too. Then he'll make you all prisoners, and it will be dreadful!”
“Where can we hide?” said Mollie, looking round.
“There's an old hollow tree in the wood,” said Sylfai, and she ran with them to the middle of the wood. She showed them an enormous oak tree, and in a trice the Prince had climbed half-way up, and was pulling Mollie up. They slipped inside the big hollow, and waited for Chinky to join them. He soon came.
The Prince poked his head out and called to Sylfai: “Can't you join us, Sylfai?”
“Sh!” said the Princess. “The Enchanter is coming!”
Sure enough, a loud and angry voice came sounding through the wood.
“Sylfai! Where are you, Sylfai! Come here at once!”
“I'll see you when I can!” whispered the Princess. “All right, I'm coming!” she called to the Enchanter, and the three in the tree heard the sound of her feet scampering off.
They looked at one another.
“Whatever are we to do?” groaned Chinky. “I don't see how in the world we are to escape now our chair is gone! We
in a fix!”
PETER lay in bed, wishing very much that he could have gone off in the wishing-chair with the others. He dozed for a little while, and then woke up feeling so much better that he decided to get up. He jumped out of bed and ran to the window to see what sort of afternoon it was.
And, as he looked out of the window, he saw something that made him stare very hard indeed! He saw something strange flying high up in the sky—not a bird—not an aeroplane—not a balloon! What could it be?
It came down lower—and then Peter saw that it was the magic wishing-chair!
“But it's empty!” said Peter to himself, feeling very much afraid. “Where are the others? Oh dear, I do so hope that the Green Enchanter hasn't caught them! However will they escape, if the wishing-chair has come back without them?”
He dressed quickly, watching the wishing-chair as it came down to earth and flew in at the open door of the playroom at the bottom of the garden. He slipped downstairs and ran to the playroom. The chair was there, making a curious noise as if it were out of breath!
“Wait a minute, chair, before you make your wings disappear!” cried Peter, flinging himself into the seat. “You must fly back again to Mollie and the others! Do you hear? I don't know where they are—but you must go to them, for they will be in a great fright without you!”
The chair made a grumbling, groaning sort of noise. It was tired and didn't want to fly any more. But Peter thumped the back of it and commanded it to fly.
“Do you hear me, chair? Fly back to Mollie!” he ordered.
The chair flapped its wings more quickly and flew out of the door with a big sigh. It flew steadily upwards, found a rainbow and slid down it, much to Peter's delight. Then it came to the Lost Land, and Peter saw the snowy tops of the mountains sticking up through the clouds, just as the others had done. The chair was very tired as it flew over these mountains, and, to Peter's dismay, it began to fly downwards as if it meant to rest itself on one of the summits.
“You mustn't do that!” cried Peter. “No one is ever found again if they go to the Lost Land.”
But the chair took no notice. It flew down to a snowy peak and settled itself there. Almost at once Peter spied some bearded gnomes coming up the mountain towards them, and he knew they were going to catch and keep him and the chair. He jumped off the chair, picked it up, and waved it in the air until it started flapping its wings again. Then the little boy jumped into it, and up they flew once more, leaving the disappointed gnomes behind them.
“This is my own adventure!” thought Peter. “But it's lonely, having adventures all by myself.”
At last he saw the green peak of the Enchanter's high hill poking up through the clouds. Down flew the chair to the castle on the top. It came to rest in the very same place where it had rested before—in the sheltered place between high hedges. Peter jumped off and looked round. He thought it would be a good idea to tie the chair up, as Chinky had once done before—then it couldn't fly away without him. So he tied a string from its leg to the hedge, then left it.
As he was creeping round the hedge he saw a little figure running nearby. It was the Princess Sylfai, though he did not know it. He gave a low whistle, meaning to ask her if she knew where his friends were. She heard him and looked round. When she saw him, she gave a scream, for she did not know who he was.
“I say! Don't be frightened! Come here!” cried Peter. But she ran away all the faster. So Peter gave chase, thinking that he really must catch her and ask her if she knew where Mollie and the others were. The little fairy raced along, panting, and disappeared into the bluebell wood.
She ran to the hollow tree where Mollie, Prince Merry, and Chinky the Pixie were hiding, and called for help.
“There's an enemy after me!” she panted. Prince Merry heard his sister calling for help, and he at once climbed out of the hollow tree and drew his sword. He would kill the enemy!
Sylfai ran to him, and pointed behind her. “He is coming!” she panted. “Hide behind this tree, Merry and jump out at him as he runs by!”
So Merry hid behind the tree, waiting, his sword drawn. Peter came up, panting and puffing, wondering where the little fairy had gone.
“Now I've got you!” shouted Prince Merry in his fiercest voice, as Peter ran by the tree behind which he was hiding. He pounced at the surprised boy with his sword ready to strike—and then stopped in amazement!
“Peter!” he cried. “I nearly wounded you! How did you get here?”
“I came in the wishing-chair!” said Peter. “I saw it come home alone, and I was afraid something had happened to you all. So I made it come back again. I saw this little fairy and wanted to ask her where you all were, but she ran away.”
“This is my sister, Princess Sylfai,” said Merry, “and this, Sylfai, is Peter. Hie, Mollie and Chinky! Come out! Here's Peter—and he's got the wishing-chair!”
“What's all this NOISE!” an angry voice suddenly shouted. “Sylfai! WHERE ARE YOU?”
“There's the Green Enchanter!” said Sylfai, in dismay. “What shall we do?”
“Run for the chair!” cried Peter. “Come on!”
All five of them ran out of the wood towards the hedge behind which the chair was tied—but will you believe it, when they crept round the hedge, there was the Enchanter sitting in their chair, a wicked grin on his face, waiting for them to come!
“Peter! Chinky! There's only one thing to do!” whispered Merry desperately. “We'll run at him, tip him off the chair, and, before he knows what is happening, we'll be off into the air. Mollie and Sylfai, keep by us!”
Then, with a loud whoop, Peter, Chinky, and the Prince hurled themselves at the astonished Enchanter, tipped up the chair, and sent him sprawling on his face! The Prince quickly picked up the Enchanter's cloak and wound it tightly two or three times round the angry man's head, so that he could not speak or see!
Whilst the Enchanter was trying to unwrap himself, Mollie and Sylfai squeezed into the chair. Chinky sat on one arm, and Peter sat on the other. Merry cut the rope, and cried, “Home, Chair!” It rose up swiftly into the air, with Merry guiding it, flying beside it.
“We're safe!” cried Merry. “Thank you, Peter, for daring to come on an adventure by yourself!”
THE wishing-chair had not grown its wings for a long time. Chinky and the children had become quite tired of waiting for another adventure. Mollie thought perhaps the magic had gone out of it, and it might be just an ordinary chair now. It was most disappointing
It was a lovely fine day, and Peter wanted to go for a walk. “Come with us, Chinky,” he said. “It’s no use staying in the playroom with the chair. It won’t grow its wings today!”
So Chinky the pixie squashed his pointed ears under one of Peter’s old caps, put on an old overcoat of Peter’s, and set out with the children. Jane the housemaid saw them going, and she called after them :
“If you’re going out, I shall give the playroom a good clean out. It hasn’t been done for a long time.”
“All right!” called back Mollie. “We won’t be home till dinner-time.”
They had a lovely walk, and ran back to the playroom about dinner-time. It did look clean. Jane was just finishing the dusting. Chinky waited outside, for he did not want to be seen. But suddenly Peter turned pale, and said, “Oh, where’s the chair? Mollie, where’s the chair?”
“Oh, do you mean that old chair?” said Jane, gathering up her brushes. “An old, old man came for it. He said it had to be mended, or something. He took it away.”
She went up to the house, leaving the two children staring at each other in dismay. Chinky ran in, and how he stared when he heard the news!
“I know who the old man must have been!” he cried. “It’s old Bone-Lazy, who lives at the foot of Breezy Hill. He hates walking, so I expect he thought he’d get hold of our wishing-chair if he could. Then he’d be able to go everywhere in it!”
“How can we get it back?” asked Mollie, almost in tears.
“I don’t know,” said Chinky. “We’ll have a try anyhow. Come back here after dinner, and we’ll go to his cottage.”
So after their dinner the two children ran back to their playroom. They found a most astonishing sight. There was no Chinky there—only an old woman, dressed in a black shawl that was drawn right over her head!
“Who are you?” asked Mollie. Then she gave a cry of surprise—for, when the old woman raised her head, Mollie saw the merry face of Chinky the pixie!
“This disguise is part of my plan for getting back our magic chair,” explained Chinky. “Now I want you to go with me to Bone-Lazy’s cottage, and I shall pretend to fall down and hurt myself outside. You will run up and help me to my feet—then you will help me to Bone-Lazy’s cottage, knock at the door, and explain that I’m an old lady who needs a drink of water and a rest.”
“And whilst we’re in the cottage we look round to see if our chair is there!” cried Peter. “What a marvellous plan!”
They set off. Chinky took them through a little wood they never seemed to have seen before, and, when they came out on the other side of it, they were in country that looked quite different! The flowers were brighter, the trees were full of blossom, and brilliant birds flew here and there!
“I never knew it was so easy to get to Fairyland!” said Mollie, in surprise.