Cruise of the Little Dipper Page 19

“Heigh-ho!” he cried, when he stood once more aboard the Little Dipper, “are you asleep or awake down there in the hold?”

“Awake!” cried one voice.

“Asleep!” murmured all the others.

“Then wake up, for we must flee! We have one day of grace and then Shag will pursue us: Heave the anchors and hoist the sails!”

So he raised the trap-door of the hold, and the Shrimps climbed out, looking very shamefaced and small, as well they might; and in a few minutes, the Little Dipper was under sail.

When the Rock was well out of sight and the Little Dipper making good speed, Birdling gave the wheel to the first mate and decided to open the oyster-locket. It took three Shrimps and the captain himself to move the heavy band of tin that held the two half-shells together. But at last, they fell apart—and what do you suppose was inside?

A perfect little bedroom, all wrought of finest gold, with a canopy-bed of rosy silk and a tiny chair and table and even a dresser—and in the bed, on pillows of down, lay the young Fairy Prince! When the locket opened and the light shone into his room, he rubbed his eyes and said: “What time is it?”

“Time to go home,” replied Birdling. “Don’t be afraid, for we are taking you there.”