Cruise of the Little Dipper Page 20

They gave him some witch-hazel bread and a drink of honey-dew, and one of the Shrimps was appointed to tell him stories to pass the time. The young Prince was cheerful and well- behaved and every one who saw him loved him at once. He had yellow curls and bright,
laughing eyes, and clothes made of flower- petals, that made Birdling feel very plain in his rough coat of mullen-leaves.

Everybody aboard the Little Dipper was perfectly happy, so they quite forgot that to¬ morrow morning Shag would pursue them with his soldiers. Imagine their terror when they woke up at sunrise in a raging storm that made th e waves dash over the very mast of their boat! They could hear Shag howling at the bottom of the Deep Sea, and as he whisked his tail he made more and more bubbles and white- caps come up. The white-caps pursued the Little Dipper like ranks of horsemen.

The young prince, hidden under Birdling’s mullen-coat, began to tremble and cry, for he was dreadfully afraid of Shag.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Birdling. “I’m sure we will reach the Fairy Islands very soon now, and then we will besafe.”

“But where are the Fairy Islands? Where are they?” queried the young prince, scanning the sea with his bright eyes. “I don’t see them, and I am so frightened!”

Birdling had just been hit on the head by a hailstone, but he pretended it did not hurt.

“You mustn’t be frightened,” he said cheerfully. “I’ll whistle you a tune if you’ll stop crying.” And he began to whistle as though he did not mind the storm at all.

As he whistled, the sea became calm and began to shimmer with a thousand lovely colors —and out of the rippling waters rose three snow-capped mountains surrounded on every side by sunny green plains. He had found the Fairy Islands!