It was night before they reached the Little Dipper. She looked very forlorn, lying a bit sideways, sails furled and decks covered with sand. Worst of all, a whole brotherhood of Shrimps had set up housekeeping in her hold, and not even at the point of Bumble’s bayonet would they move out. They wore little coats of mail that made them quite indifferent to a mere bumble-bee’s sting.
“But you must move out,” pleaded Birdling, standing on the deck and shouting down into the hold. “I want to go to the Fairy Islands, and I simply must have my ship.”
“Going to the Fairy Islands?” echoed the Shrimps. “That’s a long trip, without food or water aboard and without a crew!”
“Oh, well lay in food and water soon enough,” said Bumble, who sat in the rigging. “As for a crew—”
“Let us be the crew,” cried the Shrimps.
“We’re not clever, but we’re really very obedient and faithful. We don’t want to spoil your trip, Birdling, but we don’t want to move, either; there are very few houses along the beach, and none as nice as this. Let us be your crew!”
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“But then I’ll have to pay you,” said Birdling, “and I have no money. Shall I pay you with music? I’ll whistle one tune for every Shrimp once a week.” “It’s a bargain,” replied th…