More Wishing-Chair Stories (5 page)

BOOK: More Wishing-Chair Stories
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“I'll take your names, I'll take your names!” he yelled in a temper.

He scribbled furiously in his notebook—and Mollie laughed so much that she nearly fell off her goose.

“He doesn't know our names—and he's trying to write with his rubber!” she giggled. “Oh dear! What a topsy-turvy creature!”

Peter was delighted to see Chinky and Mollie again. The two geese took them to the playroom door, cackled goodbye to Chinky, and flew off down to the farm.

The wishing-chair stood in the corner. Its wings had disappeared. It looked very forlorn indeed. It knew it was in disgrace.

Chinky turned it round the right way again. “We'll forgive you if you'll behave yourself next time!” he said.

The chair creaked loudly. “It's sorry now!” grinned Chinky. “Come on—what about a game of ludo before you have to go in?”

The Chair Runs Away Again

ONE afternoon Mollie, Peter, and Chinky were in the playroom together, playing at Kings and Queens. They each took it in turn to be a King or a Queen, and they wore the red rug for a cloak, and a cardboard crown covered with gold paper. The wishing-chair was the throne.

It was Peter’s turn to be King. He put on the crown and wound the red rug round his shoulders for a cloak. He did feel grand. He sat down in the wishing-chair and arranged the cloak round him, so that it fell all round the chair and on to the floor too, just like a real king’s cloak.

Then Mollie and Chinky had to curtsy and bow to him, and ask for his commands. He could tell them to do anything he liked.

“Your Majesty, what would you have me do today?” asked Mollie, curtsying low.

“I would have you go and pick me six dandelions, six daisies, and six buttercups,” said Peter, grandly, waving his hand. Mollie curtsied again and walked out backwards, nearly falling over a stool as she did so.

Then Chinky asked Peter what he was to do for him. “Your Majesty, what would you have me do?” he said, bowing low.

“I would have you go to the cupboard and get me a green sweet out of the bottle there,” said Peter commandingly. Chinky went to the cupboard. He couldn’t see the bottle at first. He moved the tins about and hunted for it. He didn’t see what was happening behind him!

Peter didn’t see either. But what was happening was that the wishing-chair was growing its wings— under the red rug that was all around its legs! Peter sat in the chair, waiting impatiently for his commands to be obeyed—and the chair flapped its red wings under the rug and wondered why it could not flap them as easily as usual!

Mollie was in the garden gathering the flowers that Peter had ordered. Chinky was still hunting for the bottle of sweets. The wishing-chair flapped its wings harder than ever—it suddenly rose into the air, and flew swiftly out of the door before Peter could jump out, and before Chinky could catch hold of it. It was gone!

“Hie, Mollie, Mollie!” yelled Chinky in alarm. “The wishing-chair’s gone—and Peter’s gone with it!”

Mollie came tearing into the playroom. “I saw it!” she panted. “Oh, why didn’t Peter or you see that its wings had grown? Now, it’s gone off with Peter, and we don’t know where!”

“We didn’t see its wings growing because the red rug hid its legs!” said Chinky. “It must have grown them under the rug and flown off before any of us guessed!”

“Well, what shall we do?” asked Mollie. “What will happen to Peter?”

“It depends where he’s gone,” said Chinky. “Did you see which way the chair went?”

“Towards the west,” said Mollie. “Peter was yelling and shouting like anything—but he couldn’t stop the chair.”

“Well, we’d better go on a journey of our own,” said Chinky. “I’ll catch Farmer Straw’s two geese. They won’t like it much—but it can’t be helped. We must go after Peter and the chair somehow!”

He ran off down to the farm. Presently Mollie heard the noise of flapping wings, and down from the sky came Chinky, riding on the back of one of the geese, and leading the other by a piece of thick string. The geese hissed angrily as they came to the ground.

“They are most annoyed about it,” said Chinky to Mollie. “They only came when I promised them that I wouldn’t let Farmer Straw take them to market next week.”

“Ss-ss-ss-ss!” hissed the big geese, and one tried to peck at Mollie’s fat legs. Chinky smacked it.

“Behave yourself!” he said. “If you peck Mollie I’ll change your beak into a trumpet, and then you’ll only be able to toot, not cackle or hiss!”

Mollie laughed. “You do say some funny things, Chinky,” she said. She got on to the goose’s back. Up in the air it went, flapping its enormous white wings.

“We’ll go to the cloud castle first of all,” said Chinky. “The fairies there may have seen Peter going by and can tell us where they think the chair might have been going.”

So they flew to an enormous white cloud that towered up into the sky. As they drew near it Mollie could see that it had turrets, and was really a cloud castle. She thought it was the loveliest thing she had ever seen.

There was a great gateway in the cloud castle. The geese flew through it and landed in a misty courtyard. Mollie was just going to get off when Chinky shouted to her.

“Don’t get off, Mollie—you haven’t got cloud-shoes on and you’d fall right through to the earth below!”

Mollie stayed on her goose. Small fairies dressed in all the colours of the rainbow came running into the courtyard, chattering in delight to see Mollie and Chinky. They wore cloud-shoes, rather like big flat snow-shoes, and with these they were able to step safely on the cloud that made their castle.

“Come in and have some lemonade!” cried the little folk. But Chinky shook his head.

“We are looking for a boy in a flying chair,” he said. “Have you see him?”

“Yes!” cried the fairies, crowding round the geese, who cackled and hissed at them. “He passed about fifteen minutes ago. The chair had red wings and was flying strongly towards the west. Hurry and you may catch it up!”

“Thank you!” cried Chinky. He shook the string reins of his goose, and he and Mollie flew up into the air once more, and went steadily westwards.

“There is a gnome who lives in a tall tower some miles westwards,” said Chinky. “It is so tall that it sticks out above the clouds. We will make for there, and see if he has seen anything of Peter and the wishing-chair.”

The geese flew on, cackling to one another. They were still in a bad temper. Chinky kept a look out for the tall tower—but Mollie saw it first. It looked very strange. It was sticking right through a big black cloud, and, as it was made of bright silver, it shone brilliantly.

There was a small window at the top. It was open. The geese flew down to the window-sill and Chinky stuck his head inside.

“Hie, gnome of the tower! Are you in?”

“Yes!” yelled a voice. “If that is the baker leave me a brown loaf, please.”

“It isn’t the baker!” shouted Chinky. “Come on up here!”

“Well, if it’s the butcher, leave me a pound of sausages!” yelled the voice.

“It isn’t the butcher!” shouted back Chinky, getting cross. “And it isn’t the milkman or the grocer or the newspaper boy or the fishmonger either!”

“And it isn’t the postman!” cried Mollie. “It’s Chinky and Mollie!”

The gnome was surprised. He climbed up the many steps of his tower till he came to the top. Then he put his head out of the window and gaped in amazement to see Mollie and Chinky on their two geese.

“Hallo!” he said. “Where do you come from?”

“Never mind that,” said Chinky. “We’ve come to ask you if you’ve seen a boy on a flying chair.”

“Yes,” said the gnome at once. “He passed about twenty minutes ago. I thought he was a king or something because he wore a golden crown. He was going towards the land of the Scally-Wags.”

“Oh my!” said Chinky in dismay. “Are you sure?”

“Of course I am,” said the gnome, nodding his big head. “I thought he was the baker coming at first.”

“You think every one’s the baker!” said Chinky, and he jerked the reins of his goose. “Come on, goose! To the land of the Scally-Wags.”

The geese flew off. The gnome climbed out on the window-sill and began to polish his silver tower with a big check duster.

“Does he keep that tower polished himself?” said Mollie in surprise. “Goodness, it must keep him busy all the week!”

“It does,” said Chinky, grinning. “Because as soon as he’s done it all and reached the top, the bottom is dirty again and he has to begin all over again!”

“Chinky, you didn’t sound very pleased when you knew that Peter and the chair had gone to the Land of the Scally-Wags,” said Mollie. “Why weren’t you?”

“Well, the Scally-Wags are horrid people,” said Chinky. “You see, to that land go all the bad folk of Fairyland, Goblin-Land, Brownie-Town, Pixie-Land, Gnome-Country, and the rest. They call themselves Scally-Wags, and they are just as horrid as they sound. If Peter goes there he will be treated like a Scally-Wag, and expected to steal and tell fibs and behave very badly. And if he doesn’t, they will say he is a spy and lock him up.”

“Oh, Chinky, I do think that’s horrid,” said Mollie in dismay. “Peter will hate being in a land like that.”

“Well, don’t worry, I dare say we shall be able to rescue him all right,” said Chinky—though really he had no idea at all how to save Peter. Chinky himself had never been to the Land of Scally-Wags before!

The geese cackled and hissed. They were getting tired. Chinky hoped they would be able to go on flying till they reached Scally-Wag Land. Mollie leaned over and looked down.

“Look, Chinky,” she said. “Is that Scally-Wag Land? Do you see those houses down there—and that funny railway line—and that river with those ships on?”

“Yes,” said Chinky, “that must be Scally-Wag Land. Down, geese, and land there!”

The geese flew downwards. They landed by the river, and as soon as Chinky and Mollie had jumped off, the two geese paddled into the water and began to swim. Chinky tied their strings to a post, for he was afraid they might fly off.

A Scally-Wag ran up to him.

“Where do you come from?” he asked. “Are you messengers from anywhere?”

“No,” said Chinky. “We’ve come to look for someone who came to this land by mistake. We want to take him back.”

“No one leaves this land once they are here,” said the Scally-Wag. “I believe you are spies!”

“Indeed we are not!” said Mollie. The Scally-Wag drew a whistle from his belt and blew on it loudly. Chinky looked alarmed. He caught hold of Mollie’s hand.

“Run!” he said. “If they think we are spies they will lock us up!”

Off went the two, running at top speed, with the angry Scally-Wag after them. They didn’t know where they were going! They only knew that they must run and run!

The Land of Scally-Wags

MOLLIE and Chinky ran down the river-path, the Scally-Wag shouting after them. “Spies!” he called. “Stop them! Spies!”

Chinky dragged Mollie on and on. They were both good runners. Another Scally-Wag, hearing the first one shouting, tried to stop Chinky—but the pixie gave him a fierce push and he toppled into the river, splash! How he spluttered and shouted! That gave Chinky an idea.

He squeezed through a hedge and pulled Mollie after him. Then he lay in wait for the shouting Scally-Wag. As soon as he was through the hedge Chinky gave him a push too—and into the river he went, head-first, squealing like a rabbit! Mollie couldn’t help laughing, for he seemed all arms and legs. The water wasn’t deep, so he couldn’t drown—but dear me, how he yelled!

“Come on, Mollie,” said Chinky. “We seem to be behaving just as badly as Scally-Wags, pushing people into the river like this!”

They ran on. They seemed to run for miles. They asked every Scally-Wag they met if he had seen a little boy in that land, but nobody had. They all shook their heads and said the same thing.

“There is no little boy in this land.”

“Well, it’s really very peculiar,” said Chinky to Mollie. “He must be somewhere here!”

“I say, Chinky, I’m getting so hungry,” said Mollie. “Aren’t you?”

“Yes, very,” said Chinky. “Let’s knock at this cottage door and see if they will give us something to eat.”

So he knocked—rat-a-tat-tat. The door opened and a sharp-eyed little goblin looked out.

“What do you want?” he asked.

“We are hungry,” said Mollie. “Could you give us anything to eat?”

“Look!” said the goblin, pointing down the lane to where a baker’s cart was standing, full of loaves. “Go and take one of the baker’s loaves. He’s gossiping somewhere. He won’t miss one!”

“But we can’t do that!” said Mollie in horror. “That’s stealing!”

“Don’t be silly,” said the goblin, looking at her out of his small, sharp eyes. “You don’t mind stealing, do you? I’ve never met a Scally-Wag who minded stealing yet! I’ll steal a loaf for you if you are afraid of being caught!”

He set off towards the cart, keeping close by the hedge so that he wouldn’t be seen. Mollie and Chinky stared at one another in dismay.

“Chinky, what horrible people live in this land,” said Mollie. “Stop him! We can’t let him steal like that. I would never eat any bread that had been stolen.”

“Let’s warn the baker,” said Chinky. But before they could find him, the goblin had sneaked up to the little cart and had grabbed a new loaf. Then back he scurried to Mollie and Chinky and gave them the loaf, grinning all over his face.

BOOK: More Wishing-Chair Stories
3.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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