Authors: Enid Blyton
The door was thrown open and in came a tall and grandly dressed Prince. He swept off his feathered hat and bowed to Chinky. Chinky bowed back. The door shut.
Chinky and the Prince began to talk.
“I was on my way through your kingdom,” said the Prince, “and thought that I would come to exchange spells with you. I have here a spell that will change all the weeds in a garden into beautiful flowers. Would you care to exchange that for a spell of your own?”
“No, thank you,” said Chinky. “I have no weeds in my garden. It would be of no use to me.”
“Well,” said the Prince, bringing out a bag embroidered with little golden suns, “here is another spell, really most useful. Put a bit of the shell in this bag into an egg-cup and say ‘Toorisimmer-loo-loo,’ and you will see a beautiful new-laid egg appear. You can have it for your breakfast. There is enough shell in here to make one hundred thousand eggs.”
“I can’t bear eggs for breakfast,” said Chinky. “Show me something else.”
“Well, what about this,” said the Prince. He showed Chinky a strange little cap with three red berries on it. “Put this cap on and you will know immediately who are your enemies and who are not, for the three red berries will wag about when enemies are before you.”
“I know who are my enemies and who are not without wearing any cap,” said Chinky. “It’s no good to me! You have no spells at all that are of any use, Prince!”
“Well, what spells have you?” asked the Prince rather impatiently.
Chinky waved his hand in the air and a most delicious smell stole all around. It seemed like honeysuckle one minute—like roses the next—like carnations the next— then like sweet-peas—so that all the time you were sniffing and smelling in delight. The Prince was most excited.
“That is a most unusual spell,” he said. “I should like that to take home to my Princess. She would be pleased.”
“Well, I will give it to you if you will give me a spell that is useful to me,” said Chinky. “Can you, for instance, make wings grow on this throne of mine?”
The Prince looked at the wishing-chair and rubbed his hand down its legs.
“Yes,” he said at once. “I can easily do that. If I am not mistaken that throne of yours was once a flying chair! I will work the flying spell on it!”
He took from his pocket a little blue tin. He took off the lid and dug his finger into the tin. Mollie saw that his finger was covered with green and yellow ointment. The Prince smeared it down the legs of the chair. Then he stood back and chanted a curious magic song. The children and Chinky watched in excitement. They saw the familiar red buds come—and break out into feathers! The chair was growing its wings! It spread them out—it flapped them and a draught came!
“Quick!” shouted Chinky, jumping on to the top of the chair’s back, “get in, Mollie and Peter. We can fly off, now!”
But the Prince gave a shout and snatched Chinky’s cardboard crown from his head.
“You are not a real king!” he cried. “Your crown is only cardboard! Stop! Soldiers, soldiers! Come here at once!”
The big door burst open. In came the soldiers and stared in amazement at the chair holding the two children and the pixie.
“Home, chair, home!” yelled all three in the chair. “Fly out of the window!”
The chair rose into the air, kicked out at the Prince, and knocked him over. Peter kicked out at the soldiers and knocked their helmets off! The chair flew out of the window and up into the air. Hurrah! They were leaving the Land of the Scally-Wags—and a good thing too, for, as Peter said, they stood a good chance of becoming as bad as Scally-Wags themselves if they stayed there very much longer—pushing people into rivers, kicking them over, and banging their hats over their noses!
“But I quite enjoyed being a bit of a Scally-Wag for once,” said Chinky, as the chair flew in at the playroom.
“It was a good thing for me that we had been playing at Kings and Queens before the chair flew to the Land of Scally-Wags,” said Peter. “It was jolly nice every one thinking I was a king, I can tell you!”
CHINKY was reading by himself in the playroom, curled up on the couch. He was waiting for Mollie and Peter to come and play with him. They were going to set out the railway lines all over the room, and run the two engines round and round. It would be fun, Chinky thought.
He listened for the two children to come along. Soon he heard them. But they were not running merrily along as usual. They were coming slowly. Chinky wondered if anything had happened. Usually the children only walked slowly if they had been in disgrace, or were sad about something. He ran to the door and looked out.
Yes—it was Mollie and Peter—but they did look miserable. Chinky ran to them and took their hands.
“What’s the matter?” he cried. “Have you been punished for something?”
“No,” said Peter. “But Mother has just told us some bad news.”
“What?” cried Chinky.
“She has told us that Mollie and I are to go away to school,” said Peter.
“But you go to school now,” said Chinky, puzzled. “You like school.”
“Yes, but this is a new school—it is called, a boarding-school,” said Mollie. “We go there and live there— sleep there, have our meals there, and everything! We shan’t be able to pop down to our playroom and play with you, Chinky.”
The pixie stared at the two children in dismay. “But won’t you ever come back again?” he asked. “Won’t you ever see your mother and father even?”
Peter laughed. “Oh, yes,” he said. “We shall see them often. We shall come home for holidays and at half-term too. So it isn’t really so bad, I suppose. But it means we shan’t be able to see you every day as we do now, Chinky. You will have to wait many weeks before we come back again.”
“Oh dear!” said Chinky. “I do hate the idea of that! But perhaps it will be a good thing because, you know, my mother is rather lonely living by herself in Fairyland. I ought to go and live with her a bit. Then I could come and live with you in the holidays, couldn’t I?”
“Yes,” said Peter. “But I say, Chinky—what about the wishing-chair? We can’t leave it here by itself. It might fly away and not come back.”
“Or get stolen by someone,” said Mollie.
“Yes, that’s true,” said Chinky. “Well, I think I’d better take it home with me, don’t you? My mother will keep it safely for us till we need it. We will see that it doesn’t fly off.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Peter.
“When are you going to school?” asked Chinky.
“Tomorrow,” said Mollie. “I am going to a girls’ school and Peter is going to a boys’ school. We shall miss one another dreadfully. But I expect it will be fun to live with lots of other children.”
“Perhaps the wishing-chair will grow its wings once more before we have to say goodbye to it,” said Peter. “But anyway, we’ll go off adventuring in the holidays when they come. And, oh, Chinky! I suppose you couldn’t come in the chair to school one night? It would be so exciting!”
“I’ll see,” said Chinky. “I don’t want the other children to know about the wishing-chair—and they would see it if I came.”
“Look!” said Mollie suddenly. “The chair is growing its wings! It must have heard what we were saying. It wants to take us on a last adventure. Come on, you two, get in!”
Chinky sat in his usual place, on the back of the chair. Mollie and Peter squeezed into the seat. The chair flapped its wings strongly and flew off into the air. Up it flew and up, and went due south.
“We haven’t been this way before,” said Chinky, peering down. “We pass over some strange lands hereabouts, I know. Chair, you are not to go down anywhere here. We might find it difficult to get away.”
The chair obeyed Chinky. It flew on, keeping quite high. The children leaned over the arms to see what they were passing. They saw that they must be flying over Giantland, for the people looked very big and tall. Some of the giants saw them and waved to them to come down. But the chair flew on. It came to yet another land.
This was a peculiar-looking place. The people seemed to have no legs, but rolled about here and there on their round, fat little bodies.
“That’s the land of Rollabouts,” said Chinky, pointing. “I once went there when I was little, and dear me, how I kept falling over those Rollabouts. They will keep rolling in between your feet!”
Mollie laughed. She thought she would like to fly down and see the Rollabouts—but the chair kept on, flying strongly.
“Now what is this land, I wonder?” said Chinky, looking down. “Oh, my word! I know! It’s where the Chatterboxes live! Dreadful people, they are! They talk all the time, and simply won’t let you get a word in!”
“I don’t like chatterboxes,” said Peter. “They are dull and tiresome, and just talk about themselves all the time. Oh, I say, Chinky! The chair’s going down!”
“Keep up, chair!” commanded Chinky. The chair swung itself upwards. But the Chatterboxes had seen it and they called to it.
“Hie, chair, chair, chair! Come on down here! We’ve lots to say to you, and we’d like to hear all your adventures, and see your wonderful wings, and . . .”
“And, and, and!” said Chinky. “They’ll go on talking for ever!”
The Chatterboxes grew angry when they saw that the chair was not coming down. One of them ran indoors and fetched a long rope. He rolled it round in rings on his arm. Then, taking careful aim, he threw it up at the chair, as a cowboy throws a lasso. The loop of rope fell right round the chair. The Chatterbox gave a yell of delight. He pulled the rope tightly. Chinky and the children were caught neatly, for the rope was round them, too!
The Chatterbox began to haul on the rope, and although the chair flapped its wings as hard as it could and tried to fly upwards, there was no help for it —it had to come down! Bump! It was down on the ground.
The Chatterboxes undid the rope, talking all the time. “You should have come down when we called you! You see, you had to come down anyhow! Where were you going to? Where did you come from? What are your names?”
“My name is Chinky,” began the pixie—but the Chatterboxes did not want to listen to anything. They just went on talking, all of them at once.
“They sound like the monkey-house at the zoo!” said Peter in despair.
“LISTEN, CHATTERBOXES! LET US GO ON OUR JOURNEY!” Peter shouted as loudly as he could — but the Chatterboxes took no notice. They pulled the two children and Chinky along to a little cottage, saying, “You must come and have some lemonade! You must have some biscuits!”
“Oh, well,” said Peter to Mollie. “I can always do with lemonade and biscuits. I don’t like leaving the chair behind, though. I say, Chatterboxes, can we bring the chair with us?”
“Oh yes, we will send someone back to fetch it,” said the little folk. “You go, Lollipop! You go, Twisty! You go, Knobbly!”
Lollipop, Twisty, and Knobbly all began to tell why they didn’t want to go—and in the end nobody went at all. They were most annoying little people, all talk and nothing else!
They sat down in the little kitchen, and went on talking, whilst the children and Chinky waited patiently for the lemonade and biscuits. But everyone wanted to talk, and no one fetched anything to eat or drink.
“You know, when we saw your chair we thought ‘What a wonderful thing!’ And we did want to see it and see you too, so we called you, but you wouldn’t come down, and then we had to lasso you, and you came down, and what nice people you are, and we are so pleased to have you here, and to give you lemonade and biscuits, and to be your friends, and listen to all you have to tell us of your wonderful adventures, and.. .”
“Oh, do be quiet for a minute,” said Mollie, putting her hands over her ears. “You go on and on and on.”
“And what about some lemonade and biscuits,” said Chinky.
“Oh yes, lemonade and biscuits, of course you shall have some, and we will all have some, too!” cried the Chatterboxes. “How nice it is to have you here eating and drinking with us, and telling us all your adventures, and sharing your wonderful journeys, and . . .”
“Well, we haven’t told you anything so far!” said Peter, getting annoyed. “I say, Chinky, let’s get back to our chair. I’m tired of waiting here for lemonade and biscuits that don’t come!”
They pushed aside the silly little Chatterboxes and went to get their chair—but it was gone! They saw it high in the sky, a little black speck, flying away to the north!
“Bother!” said Chinky crossly. “Now we’ve got to go back by train! Do get away, Chatterboxes, and don’t talk so loudly in my ears all the time. You make me quite deaf!”
“Hurry!” called Mollie. “There’s a train over there in that station!” The three ran fast, with the stupid Chatterboxes chattering hard behind them all the time, saying something about lemonade and biscuits!
They jumped into the train, and only just in time too! It was a funny train—a wooden one, with open trucks. In Chinky’s carriage there was a hedgehog, a Chatterbox, and a mole who was fast asleep.
The Chatterbox was talking as usual. The hedgehog spread out his prickles and pricked him. The Chatterbox looked at him angrily.
“Every time you open your mouth I shall prick you,” said the hedgehog in a hoarse, cross voice. The Chatterbox glared at him, but didn’t dare to say another word.