• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Chapter XIV
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Altemus' young people's library ; no. 52
Title: The sleepy king
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086659/00001
 Material Information
Title: The sleepy king a fairy tale
Series Title: Altemus' young people's library
Physical Description: viii, 9-232 p. : front., illus. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hopwood, Aubrey, 1863-
Henry Altemus Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: H. Altemus company
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publication Date: 1900
 Subjects
Subject: Fairy tales -- 1900   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1900   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1900   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1900
Genre: Fairy tales   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Aubrey Hopwood and Seymour Hicks; with seventy-seven illustrations.
General Note: Includes publisher's catalog.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086659
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001629975
oclc - 05314468
notis - AHQ4741
lccn - 00005978 //r

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
    List of Illustrations
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Chapter I
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Chapter II
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Chapter III
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Chapter IV
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Chapter V
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    Chapter VI
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
    Chapter VII
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Chapter VIII
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Chapter IX
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
    Chapter X
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
    Chapter XI
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
    Chapter XII
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
    Chapter XIII
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    Chapter XIV
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
    Advertising
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text


































































Sleepy KingI-f'oftisPece.
"MY LITTLE QUEEN," HE SAID.













ALTE.'\iS' YOL'iNG PC'PLL'S LIERARY


TwlE SLEEPY KING

A FAIRY TALE
L',

ALIBREY HOP\'(OD can, SEYI'OUR HICKS

I n iE', ECNT' -L. L N ILLUJSTRRATIONS

S .r. :. t h :'rr \ilr. l i iJ ,:, jr ,V

Pt-i [_ eu'i-- Lnil
HENRY' ALTE."\l-., CO.\PANY
'i

.1, ,I













LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


My Little Queen................................ Frontispiece
PAGE
Tempting rows of great fat geese and plump plucked turkeys
hung side by side .................................... 9
And a clown with a painted face, who had springs inside him,
and who could balance his hat on his foot............... 11
When she spied a fat, little old gentleman hurrying along
toward her....................................... 17
And Mrs. Hearty-that was the landlady's name-asked her
to come in......................................... 21
And the first thing Bluebell saw was two little heads side by
side on the pillow............. .. .......... ...... .. 23
Bluebell rubbed her eyes and looked again .................. 27
And the weathercock was gold, and at each of the corners
there was a huge dragon.............................. 29
On the highest step of all stood the Reigning King him-
self................... ........................... 33
She walked around the marble basin, and fed the gold-fish from
baskets that were hung up beside the fountains.......... 35
She found a nice cozy little arbor with a chair and table
inside it ............................................ 37
She heard a sound of laughter and chattering voices coming
from the forest....... ............... .... .... ....... 39
The Fairy of the Forest.............. ............ ...... 41
1-Sleepy King (iii)







iv LIST OW ILLVST.RAT.IONS.
PAGE
One of them was short and very fat, with round red cheeks
and little puffy eyes like a pig; and the other was very
long and thin ..................................... 45
It's a girl," said the fat boy. "And a cat," said the thin
boy .......... .... .... ........... .................. 47
And she saw that her friend Peter was yawning as if he did
not think them worth his notice...................... 49
At the same moment he received a box on the ears that made
his head spin and brought tears into his eyes........... 53
'It's the King of the Bull-frogs opening Parliament," said
Blob.......................... ...................... 61
As they walked off into the forest again, a crowd of little
brownies came racing past them with newspapers on their
arms .................................. ........... 65
Huge Black Bats and Owls came flapping and booting over
their heads ......................................... 69
The Yellow Dwarf ....................................... 71
And Peter the cat, with his tail drooping dejectedly, trotted
along behind, evidently rather disgusted with the whole
thing ................ .......................... 75
And among their branches birds of the most wonderful
plumage were singing all the songs she had ever heard... 76
There were salmon, and whitebait, and little pink prawns, and
mackerel, and turbot, and fat red lobsters............. 77
To the little girl's surprise it kept getting larger and larger
until it was so big that twenty people could easily have
sat round it......................................... 79
Then Blib picked three large crocuses from the pattern of the
carpet...................... ........................ 81
And they both sat still and looked at Bluebell .............. 85






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. V
PAGE
On looking up amongst its branches she saw a very large white
bird sitting there and looking down at her.............. 89
Bluebell and the owl............................... ...... 91
So she selected a placid old gray-haired lady rabbit, who was
seated under the shadow of a dock leaf, and addressed her
very politely................... ..................... 97
The black rabbit ......................................... 99
There was once a little Bunny, and he lived in Rabbit
Land.............................................. 103
Peter the cat stalked solemnly in front of them with his tail
very high in the air. .............................. 107
This time it was a most magnificent procession that came into
view, and it was headed by the Brownies' Band in full
uniform ....................... .................... 117
Immediately behind the band there came marching, two and
two, all the animals that lived in Noah's Ark and several
more besides....................................... 119
Next in order came Aladdin, with a wonderful electric lamp
in his hand.......................................... 121
Then followed Jack the Giant Killer, with a fly paper on his
hat covered with gigantic bluebottles ................. 122
But the twins had not only sneaked away behind the trunk of
the Magic Oak: they were doing their best to hide under
the shadow of a large toadstool ...................... 127
At the third kick the trunk flew open like a door, and Blue-
bell saw that there was a staircase inside it, carpeted
with red baize................ .................... 129
They walked all round the dragon at a respectful distance, and
tried to peer over his shoulder into the interior of the
Magic Oak. Fido growled and showed his teeth........ 133







V1 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE
The rabbits sat up on their hind legs and clapped their front
paws whenever Peter seemed to have an advantage ...... 135
At the end of three minutes, when both the animals were
panting, and covered with foam and dust, a golden
pheasant pulled out his watch fiom his pocket and called
"Time ". ................... ................... 137
Bluebell descends the Magic Stairs ...................... 141
As they raced and hurried and danced round and round the
pillars, they jingled like thousands of tiny money bags... 143
Seated on a golden throne, fast asleep, was an old, old man
with long white hair and a white beard that flowed down
over his knees on to the ground...................... 145
He reached out his hand to a pile of golden sovereigns, but the
next moment he dropped them in surprise ............ 147
They went up two or three steps to get clear of the crowd, and
the fat boy made a speech to the little imps............. 149
"Wake up, your Majesty said the little girl again......... 151
He led the way, walking very slowly and leaning upon his
jewelled sceptre, with his long beard gathered up and
tucked away under his arm...................... ...... 158
Bluebell came next, carrying a little bag which contained
the three golden presents.......................... ... 159
Then he led her to the passage of the little mushroom growers,
who each have an allotted number of mushrooms to plant
every night when all the world has gone to sleep........ 161
The twins gorged and guzzled away as hard as ever they could
go, and when their wonderful appetites began to show
signs of wearing out, they threw cakes at Peter the cat by
way of amusing themselves ........................ 165







LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Vll
PAGE
A Deputation of all the Animals was drawn up, awaiting to
receive them ...... .... ............ .............. 167
The King of the Bullfrogs was as civil as ever, for he sat up
and took off his crown to Bluebell as soon as he caught
sight of her.............. ...................... 171
They walked through the garden where the little girl had fed
the gold-fish; and Peter the cat, who had not seen them
before, took the very greatest interest in them........... 173
A little golden-haired girl happened to catch sight of the group
in the doorway. She stopped short, with her blue eyes
and her little mouth wide open with surprise, and pointed
to them ................................ ............. 177'
The others stopped dancing, and the whole crowd came flocking
to the doorway....................................... 179
The fat boy winked at the assembled company............... 181
And the Regent, who acted as the master of the ceremonies,
took up his position by the king's side, with a huge roll of
parchment in his hand .............................. 189
The band struck up a lively military marih, and away went the
soldiers round the Christmas tree, marching two and two
in splendid time and step, as though they had been drilled
to do it all their lives............................... 191
He was presently led out by the ear by one of the royal pages,
a big lump of cake in his hand and his mouth full....... 193
Blib, in the meantime, had succeeded in crawling round behind
the band........... ............................. 195
The woolly dogs ran round and barked; the cows wagged their
heads and "mooed," and the jack-in-the-boxes jumped
and grinned all round the tree.......................... 197
Puss in the corner with a real cat.......................... 199






Viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

He wore a gorgeous suit of crimson velvet, and shoes withP
diamond buckles, and by his side there hung a sword with
a magnificent jewelled hilt........................... 205
Instead of the richest man in the world, he had become a
penniless crossing-sweeper....................... .... 207
The golden present became a blacking-box, and the thin boy's
tweed suit a dirty, tattered, ragged old uniform of the
Shoeblack Brigade................................. 211
The shabby frock gave place to a wonderful gown of white
satin and real lace. The tumbled hair was dressed upon
the top of the head and surmounted by a tiara of
diamonds and three white feathers .................... 213
The Regent, buttoning a fur coat about his neck............ 217
She found herself sitting in the rickety chair in her garret in
Drury Lane, with Peter the cat by her side, and the
glimmer of the dying fire before her ................... 221
And on the pavement beside the carriage door stood the long
thin footman with a face like Blib ................... 225
And there was a very stately gentleman in black clothes, whom
they afterwards discovered was the butler ; and there were
three tall footmen, exactly like the one who sat upon the
box-seat of the carriage ................................ 227
And they pulled crackers and put on the paper caps which they
found inside them, and each of the little girls had a sip of
champagne to wish each other a merry Christmas in.... 228
And all the children in the street gathered round to see them
start, and Mrs. Hearty cried when she bid her little lodger
good-by ............................................ 229
Bluebell and her little sisters in their new home............. 231
Finis................... .............. ..................... 232












TEMPTING ROWS OF GREAT FAT GEESE AND PLUMP
PLUCKED TURKEYS HUNG SIDE BY SIDE.


THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER I.

IT was Christmas Eve in London, and the streets
were white with freshly fallen snow. All the shop
windows were dressed in holiday clothes of ever-
greens and bright red berries, and lighted up as
brightly as ever they could be.
Tempting rows of great fat geese and plump
plucked turkeys hung there side by side, waiting
to be bought and taken away for to-morrow's
dinner; and the busy shopmen were hard at work
running in and out, making up parcels for the
(9)


710ro,
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~Ft~





THE SLEEPY KING.


people who had money enough to pay for them,
and watching that the poor ones did not steal any-
thing. Because there are lots of poor people in
London who never have any Christmas dinner at
all, unless they can manage to steal one and run
away with it, and if you are very hungry this is a
great temptation.
On the pavement, outside those lovely windows,
there were crowds of poor people looking in and
envying the rich ones who could buy whatever
they wanted. But the biggest crowd of all was
one that had collected outside a toy shop in the
Strand. There were such wonderful things in that
window: great big dolls with golden hair, and
eyes that opened and shut; horses and woolly dogs
that moved their heads and walked about when
you wound them up; and a clown with a painted
face, who had springs inside him, and who could
balance his hat on his foot, and kick it up and
catch it on his head.
All the little children who stood and looked in
at him through the plate-glass window were in love
with that clown, and they would have been quite
disappointed if any one had bought him and taken
him away. But he must have been very expensive;
because, often as the shopwoman came and took
him down and made him work, she never found a
customer for him; and he always came back to his






THE SLEEPY KING.

place, right in the middle of the window.


11

And


AND A CLOWN WITH A PAINTED FACE, WHO HAD SPRINGS INSIDE HIM AND WHO
COULD BALANCE HIS HAT ON HIS FOOT.

every time he came back, his little friends on the
pavement outside laughed and nodded to him; and





THE SLEEPY KING.


his merry painted face looked as if he quite enjoyed
the joke.
One of his admirers was a little flower-girl with
a pretty white face, and a frock that was much too
thin for that cold night. The little bare legs and
feet beneath her ragged petticoat were blue with
cold : and she had no hat to cover the masses of
long fair hair that hung far down her back; for
she was very poor. In the basket which she car-
ried on her arm were half a dozen bunches of
violets, and as many boxes of matches, which she
was trying to sell.
The people who passed up and down the Strand
knew her quite well by sight, and they had chris-
tened her "Bluebell," after her favorite flower,
although that was not her real name. She was
such a gentle, pretty little thing, that sometimes
they stopped to buy a bunch of violets, or a box of
matches, which they did not really want; just
because they were sorry for her and knew that she
was quite different from the 1,I-..wir children who
throng the London streets.
But sometimes there were nights when she could
not sell anything at all; and when a gruff police-
man, new to the beat, would tell her to move on.
And then poor little Bluebell was very unhappy;
because she was an orphan, and she had two tiny
sisters who lived with her in a garret in Drury






THE SLEEPY KING.


Lane; and she was obliged to earn the money which
paid their rent and kept them neat and tidy.
Now, on that Christmas Eve, Bluebell was very
miserable indeed; because she had been obliged to
spend all her little savings in buying the flowers to
fill her basket; and she knew that unless she could
succeed in selling them, she would have no money
to pay her rent, and the little sisters would have to
go without their dinner on Christmas day.
She had given them their supper in the garret
an hour ago, and made up a nice bright fire with
two wooden blocks, which a friendly old night-
watchman had given her, from the street where
they were laying down a new wood pavement.
Then she had put the children to bed, and gone
out in the hope of finding a customer for her flowers;
because she was haunted by a fear that she would
find two tiny stockings hanging up on the bed-rail
when she got home, just in case Santa Claus had
time to look in and put something inside them.
So Bluebell stopped for a minute to nod to her
friend the clown in the toy shop window; then she
shouldered her basket, and trudged away along the
Strand through the slushy snow, looking up into
the faces of the passers-by to see whether they
looked as if they would help her.
But for a long time nobody would buy anything
at all. People don't want violets on snowy nights,





THE SLEEPY KING.


and they won't even take their hands out of their
pockets to buy a box of matches. The little girl
walked bravely along; she was used to cold and
unkindness; wondering how she could manage to
pay that rent, and thinking of the splendid things
she would buy for the little sisters if only she were
rich enough. Now and then she stopped to warm
herself on the grating of a cook-shop window; but
the smell of frizzling sausages and potatoes made
her so hungry that she was forced to hurry on again.
And all the time she was watching with eager eyes
for her little friend Dicky the shoeblack, with
whom she was wont to share her childish troubles;
and even, when times were bad with one of them,
a meager supper.
Dicky was quite a character in his way, for he
had a mania for reading every scrap of newspaper
which came within his reach, though much of what
he read must have been far beyond his understand-
ing. And it was no uncommon sight to see the
little pair, huddled up close together for warmth,
in the shelter of a friendly doorway, while Dicky
the shoeblack gravely spelled out the news for Blue-
bell's edification, with his own comments upon it.
He went steadily from one end of the paper to the
other, working through the news of the day, the
racing accounts, and even the political speeches,
some of which puzzled them both immensely.





THE SLEEPY KING.


But to-night Dicky was nowhere to be seen, for
Bluebell tried all his favorite haunts in vain.
The hour was growing late when she spied a
very smart carriage, with a beautiful pair of bay
horses, standing beside the pavement. On the
box-seat was a very fat coachman with a silver-
mounted whip in his hand, and a few yards off a
very tall, thin footman stood upon the pavement,
waiting impatiently for his master. The carriage
looked so warm and comfortable that Bluebell ven-
tured to peep into it. There was nobody inside,
but a thick fur rug lay upon the cushions.
"Now then," said a harsh voice at her elbow,
"move on. This ain't your carriage, is it?"
Bluebell looked up quickly, and met the eye of
the thin footman.
"Perhaps she'd like a ride," said the fat coach-
man sarcastically, as he winked at his companion
and flicked at her with his whip.
"More likely she wants to steal the rug," said
the footman, as the little girl hurried away.
She had not gone very far when she spied a fat
little old gentleman hurrying along towards her,
with a fur coat buttoned up about his ears, and a
round red face with a pair of gold spectacles
perched upon his nose. He didn't exactly walk,
he trotted ; and as he trotted he muttered to him-
self little broken sentences that Bluebell could not





THE SLEEPY KING.


catch. But there was something about the red face
and the little twinkling eyes behind the spectacles
that looked kind and good-natured. So Bluebell
held up her basket to him, and offered him a bunch
of violets.
The little old gentleman stopped quite suddenly
in his trot and looked into her face.
"Eh, what?" he said, "violets, my dear, violets?
What should I do with violets, eh, what?"
"Please, sir, you might wear them," said Blue-
bell, timidly.
"Might wear them. Oh, yes, I might wear
them," answered the little old gentleman. He
peered at her through his spectacles for a minute;
then he went on, "Cold night, little girl, cold night!
Much too late for you to be out. Run away home
to bed, home to bed, eh, what?"
His voice was like the rest of him, short and
jerky; but so kind that Bluebell took courage.
"I can't go home, sir, till I have sold my flowers,"
she said.
All right, little girl, all right; I'll buy them.
Buy them all; how much ?"
"Only a penny a bunch, sir."
"A penny a bunch, penny a bunch Much too
little, eh, what?" said the old gentleman, and
began fumbling in his pockets.
Bluebell looked at him in surprise; she thought





THE r1.1 rI' JUNG It
lie was laugh-
ing at her. But
he was a me- --
thodical old I
gentleman, and
he pulled out a
fat leather
purse and
peeped into it.
Then he looked
at her again,
and jerked out:
"Wh a t' s -
your am e,
little girl, and
where do you
live ?"
Then Blue-
bell, who had
quite got over
her fear of him,
told him her
address; and d .
lie seemed so
much interest-
ed that she
w e n t on to WHEN SHE SPIED A FAT, LITTLE OLD GENTLEMAN HURRY-
speak o f the ING ALONG TOWARDS HER.
little sisters, of the rent she could not pay, and the





THE SLEEPY KING.


Christmas dinner she wanted to buy. And the
little old gentleman nodded his funny head and
peered at her through his spectacles. Then he
wrote down something on a piece of paper and took
out a small bright coin from his purse, which he
slipped into her hand.
"Please, sir, you haven't taken the violets,"
Bluebell said.
Then the old gentleman spluttered and chuckled
inside his fur collar, and took one bunch from her
basket and patted her on the shoulder.
"Just one for a keepsake, eh, what?" he said.
"Good night, Bluebell; take care of your little
sisters."
And he trotted away up the street, while the
flower-girl opened her hand where the coin he had
given her was clutched tight. She had made sure
it was a sixpence, but all of a sudden the light of
a street lamp fell upon it, and then she saw it was
gold. So she knew that the old gentleman must
have made a mistake, and she ran up the street
after him so fast that she was quite out of breath
when she caught him up.
"Please, sir," she said, "it isn't a sixpence."
The old gentleman stopped and chuckled again.
"No, my dear," he said, "it's twenty sixpences.
Mind you don't have them stolen. Now then,
run away home to bed, eh, what ? And away he





THE SLEEPY KING.


went up the street until he reached the carriage
with the bright bay horses. The footman slammed
the door and climbed up on to the box, and away
went the carriage into the whirling snow, leaving
the little girl so surprised that she did not know
what to do next. Ten shillings! Bluebell had
never had so much money of her own in all her
life.
But it did not take her long to make up her mind
what to do, and she knew she would have to make
haste before the shops were shut up for the night.
So she hurried into one little shop after another,
and came out with tiny parcels in her hand, which
contained the makings of a lovely Christmas dinner
for to-morrow. And she did not spend much of
her money, because children who live in Drury
Lane know how to buy things cheaper than you or
I would ever dream of, and a clever little house-
keeper can buy a whole Christmas feast for a shil-
ling.
And last of all Bluebell walked boldly into the
big toy-shop in the Strand, where the clown lived
in the window, and she bought three presents.
One was a doll, one was a little toy violin, and the
other was a box of colored lights.
When she came out again, she hunted high and
low once more for Dicky the shoeblack, but without
success, and so she hurried home as fast as her little
2--Seepy King





THE SLEEPY KING.


bare legs would carry her. And when she got
there she went straight to the door of the landlady's
room and knocked on it. And Mrs. Hearty-that
was the landlady's name-asked her to come in and
sit down. And when Bluebell had told her all
about the old gentleman, and the ten shillings he
had given her, Mrs. Hearty said :
You are a good little girl, my dear, and I am
going to give you a Christmas present too."
For Mrs. Hearty was quite a kind old landlady,
and she knew that the flower-girl always paid her
regularly every week. So she gave her a kiss, and
handed her back the money that Bluebell owed
her. And she said that if Bluebell would leave
her parcels down-stairs, she would help her to cook
the children's Christmas dinner in her own kitchen.
And the little flower-girl went up-stairs to her own
garret, and thought that was the happiest Christ-
mas Eve she had ever known.
In that little room up-stairs the fire was burning
nice and bright; because wooden pavement blocks
have lots of tar in them, and they last quite a long
time. And the first thing Bluebell saw was two
little heads side by side on the pillow, and on the
rail at the foot of the bed there were two tiny
stockings hanging up, just in case Santa Claus had
time to come and fill them. Beside the fireplace





THE SLEEPY KING.


sat the other occupant of the garret, the children's
favorite, Peter the
cat.
Now Bluebell
knew quite well
that the children
were only pre-
tending, for they [
were much too ex-
cited to go to sleep
before she came
home. But they
kept their eyes
tight shut; so she
pretended too.
And she put the
doll into one stock-
ing, and the toy
violin into the
other, and she
filled up the toes
with little sugar i
animals that had / s a
bright red eyes /
and tongues; and /
then she pinned AND MRS. HEARTY-THAT WAS THE LANDLADY'S
the box of colored NAME-ASKED HER TO COME IN.
lights between the two, because that was to be
lights between the two, because that was to be





THE SLEEPY KING.


divided between them. And when she had finished,
the children couldn't pretend any more, so they just
sat up in bed and looked at those lovely stockings
with big round eyes. And Bluebell laughed, and
told them to look and see what Santa Claus had
sent them.
Then there was all the fun of unpacking the
presents; and they found that the doll had clothes
that took off, and the fiddle made real music when
you pulled the bow across the strings; and they
were all as happy as ever they could be. But the
box of colored lights they decided to keep till the
morning, so as to make fireworks on Christmas
Day. And they tasted the sugar animals with the
red eyes, and they chattered and laughed until
Bluebell told them it was really time to go to
sleep.
Then they begged for a story, and they promised
to lie down again and keep quiet if she would only
read them one. So at last Bluebell took up a
ragged old story-book, with its cover torn away,
and its pages all thumbed and dog-eared. It was
a book of fairy tales, and the children knew them
quite well by heart, but they were never tired of
hearing them over and over again.
Bluebell sat down on the rickety chair beside the
fireplace, where Peter the cat shared the warmth
with her, and she turned over the leaves till she





THE SLEEPY KING.


came to the story of the Sleeping King. And this
was what she read-
Once upon a time, in a country miles and


AND THE FIRST THING BLUEBELL SAW WAS TWO LITTLE HEADS
SIDE BY SIDE ON THE PILLOW.


miles across the sea, there lived a king. He was a
very, very rich king; and he had all the money
he wanted, to do whatever he liked with, and much
more besides. He lived in a beautiful castle, where





THE SLEEPY KING.


all the chairs and tables were made of gold. But
of all his subjects there was not one who loved him,
because he was so greedy and avaricious that he
never gave away a single penny to the poor.
"And the longer he lived the more he hoarded
up his money; until at last he became such a miser
that a good fairy, who knew all about the poor
people who were starving in his kingdom, deter-
mined to punish him for his greed.
"So one night she went to his home, and she
spirited him away to a great deep cave that lay
under the grounds of his castle, and there she laid
a spell upon him. In that hidden cave he was to
remain and to sleep, with all his gold and riches
piled around him, until he should be found and
wakened by a little child.
"And by his side, amongst the gold and the
jewels, the fairy left a golden present, to be given
by the king to that lucky child who should wake
him up and lead him back again to his lost king-
dom.
"When his subjects found that he had vanished,
they set to work to seek high and low for their
king; because, although they hated him, they
knew that the castle and all that it contained was
his. But, search as they might, they could not
find him.
"And so a hundred years went by, and all the





THE SLEEPY KING.


people who had known him died and were buried.
But they told their children the story, and another
generation set to work to hunt for the vanished
king. And another hundred years came and went,
but no one ever found the fairy's secret hiding-
place, and so the miser king slept on and on- "
Just when Bluebell got to this part of the story
a peal of bells began to ring from the church out-
side, and she knew that it was Christmas morning.
She looked at the bed, and there, on the pillow,
two little heads were nestled close together fast
asleep. And while Bluebell listened to the chim-
ing bells and looked into the dying fire, a very
strange thing happened.
The fireplace widened and widened out, and the
smoldering embers piled themselves up one above
the other, until they made a flight of stairs that
led straight up to the back of the chimney, where
a large black door gradually appeared.
And while Bluebell watched it in wonderment,
some great big letters came twinkling out of the
darkness, one by one, like the advertisements she
had often seen appear on the walls in Trafalgar
Square. She read them out aloud, until the I "
was dotted and the sentence finished. And this
was what she saw-
TO THE CASTLE OF THE SLEEPY
KING.





26 THE SLEEPY KING.

Bluebell rubbed her eyes and looked again, but
the letters never changed. She turned to the bed,
to make sure that her little sisters were fast asleep.
Then she thought of the golden present which the
fairy had left for that lucky child who should wake
up the sleeping king.
And she walked straight up the staircase to the
big black door, turned the handle, and went
through.
























































" Bluebell rubbed her eyes and looked again."





THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER II.

BLUEBELL found herself standing in a great forest
that stretched far away for miles behind her. The
trees in it were the largest she had ever seen, much
bigger than those in Hyde Park, and their branches
spread out on each side of them like the branches
of a Christmas tree. The ground was white with
snow, but it was not in the least like the dirty
slushy snow that she was accustomed to in London.
It was thick and cotton-woolly, and it did not even
make her feet wet. She picked some up in her
hand and found that it was quite warm, and made
a lovely snowball.
But the strangest thing of all was that Bluebell,
though she had never been there before in her life,
seemed to be quite at home in this great forest with
the warm woolly snow; for she knew, without any
one telling her, that she was in the kingdom of the
Sleepy King. Perhaps that was because she had
read the story so often in the tattered fairy book,





THE SLEEPY KING.


and shown her little sisters the pictures of it. She
felt just a little lonely at first, and she would
have liked to have her friend Dicky the shoe-
black with her. Or
even Peter the cat
would have been a
companion.
But since she was
there by herself, she =
made up her mind to -
see everything that -
was to be seen, and
to set about finding at L
once the hiding-place .-
where te S e e py
King had been shut
up for two hundred
years. So she walked
along till she came to
the edge of the forest;
and there, straight in AND THE WATERCOCK WAS GOLD, AND AT
EACH OF THE CORNERS THERE WAS A HUGE
front of her, she saw DRAGON.
a great castle.
It was a most wonderful building, with hundreds
and hundreds of windows in it, and a flight of
marble steps that led up to its great doors, which
had hinges made of gold and were all studded with
jewels that glittered and twinkled in the sun. The





THE SLEEPY KING.


chimneys were made of silver, and the weathercock
was gold, and at each of the four corners there
was a huge dragon carved out of marble, with dia-
mond eyes.
In front of it there was a beautiful garden, with
yew trees all round it, cut into the shapes of all the
animals in a Noah's Ark. There were lions, and
elephants, and tigers, and peacocks with spreading
tails, and rabbits and guineapigs. And there were
fountains that sent up showers of rainbow-colored
lights; and the water in them was quite warm, so
as not to freeze the gold-fish that swam about in
the marble basins underneath.
It was all so beautiful that Bluebell sat down on
the trunk of a fallen tree to look at it; and while
she sat there, the doors of the castle were thrown
open, and six heralds walked down the marble
steps, two at a time. They had silver trumpets in
their hands, and when they blew upon them the
music sounded like a peal of church bells on a
Christmas morning.
Directly the trumpets blew, crowds of peasants
came hurrying out of the wood, each one with a
shovel or pickaxe on his shoulder, and they
made their way towards the castle doors. Some of
them passed quite close to Bluebell; but they did not
seem to notice her, so she sat quite still and waited
to see what would happen next. When they were





THE SLEEPY KING.


all gathered round the marble steps, the heralds
blew their trumpets again, and all the peasants took
off their hats and knelt down on one knee. Blue-
bell stood up to see whom they were bowing to;
and there, on the highest step of all, stood the
reigning king himself.
He was a fat little gentleman, with a red face
and gold spectacles, and he was dressed in a long
purple robe that reached down to his heels, trimmed
with fur and braided all over with gold. On his
head was a crown of jewels, and in his right hand
he held a scepter. When he spoke his voice was
so distinct that Bluebell could hear him quite dis-
tinctly.
"Have you found the secret hiding-place of the
sleeping king, my ancestor?" he asked. "Eh,
what ?"
And all the peasants answered:
"No, your Majesty. We have searched the
forest for miles and miles around, but we can find
no trace of it."
Then the king said :
You must search again to-morrow, and the next
day, and the next. You must go on searching till
every foot of my dominions has been tried, because
all the treasures of my kingdom are buried with
my ancestor, and my orders are that they shall be
found. For the royal coffers are nearly empty;






THE SLEEPY KING.


and how can I help the poor people of my king-
dom while all that gold lies idle and useless? Eh,
what?" he concluded with a jerk.
And Bluebell thought what a strange thing it
must be to own that wonderful castle, and still not
to have money enough to do exactly what you
wanted. She was only a little girl, and she did not
know that even kings sometimes cannot get what
they require. But she liked this king because his
first thought was for his poor subjects; and his face
was very like one she had seen before.
Then the chief of the peasants answered the king
and said:
"May it please your Majesty, the Fairy of the
Forest, who cast the spell, decreed that your royal
ancestor could only be led back to his dominion by
the hand of a little child.
And the king answered:
"To-day every child within my kingdom has
been bidden to the castle, where a great Christmas
tree is ready and waiting for them. It may be
that one of them may find that secret hiding-place
which you have sought so long in vain."
The heralds blew their trumpets again, and all
the peasants trooped away to their homes. Then
the king and his servants went into the castle, and
the great doors were shut.
When everything was quiet, Bluebell ventured























"On the highest step of all stood the Reigning King himself."
(33.)


4li-


~i~41





THE SLEEPY KING.


out of the forest into the garden, and began to ex-
amine it. She walked round the marble basins,
and fed the gold-fish from baskets of bread crumbs
that were hung up beside the fountains. And she
found that the flower beds were filled with violets,
and crocuses, and hyacinths, and bluebells; and
that was a very curious thing, because it was









hi
CROWDS OF PEASANTS CAME HURRYING OUT OF THE WOOD, EACH ONE WITH A
SHOVEL OR PICKAXE ON HIS SHOULDER.

winter and the snow was on the ground. But the
royal gardener was a very clever man, and he had
learned how to warm his garden with hot water
pipes, so that the flowers should grow there all the
year round.
Then Bluebell remembered what the king had
said about the Christmas tree, and she wondered
whether, if she went up and knocked at the front






THE SLEEPY KING.


door, she would be allowed to go in and see it.
She was half inclined to try, because the king had


























SHE WALKED ROUND THE MARBLE BASIN, AND FED THE GOLD-FISH FROM
BASKETS THAT WERE HUNG UP BESIDE THE FOUNTAINS.

such a kind face that she thought he would not
refuse her. But when she looked at her shabby
5-Sleepy King





THE SLEEPY KING.


frock, she grew rather ashamed of it, for she re-
membered the dresses of the children whom sie
had seen in London on their way to Christmas
parties. Then she determined to wait until the
others arrived; for she was a wise little flower-girl,
and she did not care to go where she was not
wanted. So she found a. nice cosy little arbor with
a chair and table inside it, and she sat down there,
quite out of sight herself, and waited.
In a few minutes the great doors of the castle
opened again, and this time Bluebell could see
right through them into the hall. It was bril-
liantly lighted up with thousands and thousands of
colored lamps, and in the middle of it there stood
the largest Christmas tree that ever was seen. The
branches of it spread from one side of the hall to
the other, and the top of it went right up to the
ceiling; and it was covered all over with lighted
candles, yellow, and pink, and blue, and green,
but the funniest thing about it was that there were
not any presents on it.
Instead, they were arranged on tables all round
the hall, and it seemed to Bluebell that every toy
she had ever seen in the London shop windows was
collected there. While she was wondering why
they put them on the tables instead of the branches
of the Christmas tree, she heard a sound of laugh-
ter and chattering voices coming from the forest.





THE SLEEPY KING.


Then there came down the road and across the
garden, where the snow had all been swept away
on either side, troops and troops of children; boys


SHE FOUND A NICE COSY LITTLE ARBOR WITH A CHAIR AND TABLE INSIDE IT.

and girls dressed in smart fur coats and capes that
made Bluebell more than ever ashamed of her own
shabby frock.
The path through the garden led quite close to
the arbor, so that she could see and hear them dis-





THE SLEEPY KING.


tinctly as they passed, and they had no eyes.except
for the lighted tree in the castle hall, and none of
them even noticed the lonely little girl.
But that was nothing new to Bluebell, because
she had often watched the rich children in London
driving past her in their carriages on their way to
the pantomimes and Christmas parties, but none of
them had ever stopped to look at the ragged little
flower-girl on the pavement with her basket of
violets. So she just sat still and watched, until the
last of them had gone up the marble steps that led
into the castle. Then two heralds came out and
put up a big-notice board with "House Full" written
upon it, just as she had often seen them do outside
the theatres in the Strand.
After that Bluebell got up and walked back
again towards the forest, wondering more than ever
how she was to set about finding the hiding-place
of the Sleepy King. And as she went along, she
heard a curious rustling noise amongst the branches
of the big trees above her head. It grew louder
and louder, till it sounded like the tinkling of a
thousand little silver bells. Bluebell looked up
into the trees to see where the sound came from,
but there was nothing visible there. Then she
heard a little peal of laughter, and, turning to see"
what it meant, she found herself face to facewith
a real live fairy.





THE SLEEPY KING. 39
She was the
prettiest littlecrea-
ture you can im-
agine, with lovely
golden hair like
the finestspun silk,
and a frock that
sparkled and glit-
tered in the sun.
She carried a
white wand in her
hand, with a bright
light twinkling on
the top of it, and
she looked exactly
as if she had step-
ped out of a pic-
ture book. Blue-
bell was not inl the
least frightened of
her; only she had
never spoken to a ,
fairy before, and
she did not quite',
know how s he
ought to begin. ( I
But the fairy spoke
first.
Welcome to
WelSome HE HEARD A SOUND OF LAUGHTER AND CHAT-
my kingdom, little TEARING VOICES COMING FROM THE FOREST.






THE SLEEPY KING.


Bluebell," she said. "I have been waiting for you
for many years, and there is a great task in store for
you. For you are the child, of all the children in the
world, whom I have chosen to awaken the Sleeping
King. I am the Fairy of the Forest who cast the
spell upon him, and to-day I am to send you those
who shall guide you to his hiding-place. What-
ever you may see or hear, do not be frightened or
led away from the path which you must follow;
for I shall be close at hand to help you, though
you will not be able to see me."
"I wish you would come with me yourself,"
Bluebell said. "I am afraid I shall be rather
frightened, if I am to go with strangers I have
never seen before."
But the fairy smiled and answered:
"A year ago, little Bluebell, I sent one of my
messengers to you, although you never knew it. He
came to you in the form of a starving cat, and
you called him Peter. He crept in at your garret
window when you were only a little half-starved
flower-girl; because I wanted to try you and see
how you would receive him. You greeted him as a
friend, and to-day you will find him a. true friend
indeed. All the kindness that you have shown to
him he will repay you a thousandfold."
And while the little girl was thinking how won-
derful these things were, the fairy waved her wand
and called "Peter," very softly.






THE SLEEPY KING.


Then, from behind one of the great forest trees,
Peter the cat came bounding out. And he was so
pleased to see his little mistress again, that he





















THE FAIRY OF THE FOREST.

purred and arched his back, and rubbed his soft
fur against Bluebell's hand, and rolled over and
over in the warm woolly snow; which meant, in





THE SLEEPY KING.


cat language, that he was just as glad as she was to
meet again. When they had greeted each other,
the fairy spoke again.
"As soon as I have gone," she said, "you will
follow the path that leads yonder, through the
forest, to the Enchanted Glade, and Peter the cat
will be your companion. Before you have jour-
neyed far, you will meet two naughty schoolboys,
the only children in all these dominions who are
not present at the great king's Christmas tree.
You will tell them that you have seen and spoken
to the Fairy of the Forest, and that her orders are
that they shall lead you straight to the Magic Oak."
"But if they are naughty schoolboys," answered
Bluebell, "perhaps they won't do what they are
told."
"They cannot help it," said the fairy; "how-
ever much they may wish to disobey my orders,
they cannot fight against the spell which I have
laid upon them. Follow them wherever they lead
you until you reach the Magic Oak, and leave the
rest with me. But I warn you not to turn aside,
however great you may find the temptation. If
you fancy yourself in danger, remember that I am
near you, and that Peter the cat is your protector.
And now, good-bye, little Bluebell; when we meet
again, you shall earn your reward."
The fairy waved her wand again, and from all





THE SLEEPY KING. 43

the forest trees above their heads came the same
sound of music which Bluebell had heard before.
And, as it grew louder and louder, the fairy waved
her wand once more, and she floated away up into
the air, higher and higher and higher, until she
became a tiny speck in the blue sky above, like a
bright little twinkling star that you sometimes see
at sunset on a winter evening.
But Bluebell did not feel at all lonely now, be-
cause she had her old friend Peter the cat by her
side. She kissed him on his furry nose, to make
sure that he was really there, and he said Miau "
two or three times to show that he understood what
was expected of him.
And then the two set forth together to seek the
Magic Oak, the secret hiding-place of the Sleeping
King.





THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER III.

THEY had not gone very far before Bluebell
heard some one shouting in the distance; and as
the sound approached, she could make out the voices
of two boys singing the chorus of a song. They
sang very loud and very badly, as though each one
was trying to drown the other's voice, and the re-
sult was so unpleasant that even Peter the cat put
up his back and hissed in his throat, to show that
he objected.
But the noise came nearer and nearer, until at
last the two boys themselves appeared round a turn
in the forest path, and Bluebell thought they were
the most curious pair she had ever seen.
One of them was short and very fat, with round
red cheeks and little puffy eyes like a pig; and the
other was very long and thin, with a white face
and long hair, and big ears that stuck out on each
side of his head. But they were both dressed ex-
actly in the same way, which made them look all
the more curious.





THE SLEEPY KING.


They wore tweed jackets and knickerbockers,
and white Eton collars; but while the fat boy's
head bulged
out above his
coat like an ONE OF THEM WAS SHORT
overgrown tur- AND VERY FAT, WITH
p, te tn FOUND RED CHEEKS
nip, the thin AND LITTLE PUFFY
boy's legs stuck EYES LIKE A PIG; AND
out below his THE OTHER WAS VERY
k n ic k er LONG AND THIN.
bockers li k e
two long thin
sticks of black
sealing- w a x.
The fat boy
carried in his
hand the joints I
of a fishing rod,
and the thin
boy's clothes
were dripping
with water
from head to
foot, but this ~_
did not seem I#
to cause him -
the slightest
inconvenience. Perhaps he was used to it. But the






THE SLEEPY KING.


strangest thing of all was their extraordinary like-
ness to the fat coachman and the thin footman
who belonged to the carriage in the Strand.
When they caught sight of Bluebell, the boys
both stopped singing, and stared at her for a moment
in silence. Then they burst out laughing, and
stood pointing at her, one with a long, thin finger,
the other with a fat and podgy hand.
"It's a girl !" said the fat boy.
"And a cat!" said the thin boy. "Let us snow-
ball them."
They stooped down and gathered up some of the
warm, woolly snow; and Bluebell would have been
rather frightened, but just at that moment she
heard the same whispering noise among the tree-
tops, which she now knew to be fairy music. And
the snowballs did not hurt in the least, for they
never reached their mark at all; but dispersed into
the air in little feathery clouds that floated away
like soap bubbles.
As soon as the boys found that they were not
doing any harm, they gave up their amusement, as
mischievous boys generally do; and they came a
little closer to examine Bluebell and Peter the cat.
The fat boy spoke first, and Bluebell noticed that
he always winked at his brother when he said
anything that he thought was funny; and she re-





THE SLEEPY KING.


membered that she had seen grown-up people in
London do the same
thing.
"What is your
name?" asked the fat
boy abruptly.
"Bluebell," answered
the flower-girl.
Don't tell lies," said
the thin boy. "Blue-
bell isn't a name; it's a
flower."
"I'm called after a
flower," she began tim-
idly, but the fat boy in-
terrupted her.
"She says she's a
cauliflower!" he an-
nounced, with a wink at
his brother, and the \
pair burst out laughing.
"I said nothing of
the sort," Bluebell pro-
tested. "I told you I
took my name from a
flower." "IT'S A GIRL," SAID THE FAT BOY. "AND
A CAT," SAID THE THIN ROY.
"Then go and re-
turn it before you get into trouble," said the fat boy.






THE SLEEPY KING.


"People who take things that don't belong to them
go to the police station, and come to a bad end."
The two schoolboys joined hands and danced
round in a circle, singing:
Him as takes what isn't his'n,
When he's cotched gets sent to prison."
It seemed to the little flower-girl that it was
quite useless to argue with them, and she saw that
her friend Peter was yawning as if he did not
think them worth his notice. So she waited
patiently until they grew tired of their occupation
before she said with dignity:
"I think that you are very rude little boys."
"It doesn't much matter what you think," an-
swered the thin boy. "You're only a girl."
And Bluebell reflected that if these two were
average specimens, she was not at all sorry she
wasn't a boy. But she did not say so, because she
was a wise little person, and she wanted to change
the conversation to something pleasanter. She
decided that the fat boy's face looked more good-
tempered than his brother's, so she addressed her
next remark to him.
"You haven't told me your names yet," she
said.
"Blob!" said the fat boy, and gave his com-
panion a wink.





THE SLEEPY KING.


"Blib!" said the thin boy, and shut up his
mouth with a snap.
They then both burst out laughing again, and
Bluebell thought that she had never seen any one


AND SHE SAW THAT HER FRIEND PETER WAS YAWNING AS IF HE DID NOT THINK
THEM WORTH HIS NOTICE.

so easily amused. But their answers were so silly
that she was obliged to protest.
Oh, come now," she said. "You're talking
nonsense. Those aren't names at all."





THE SLEEPY KING.


"If they aren't names," answered the fat boy,
"perhaps you will kindly tell us what they are."
"And if you can't tell us what they are," con-
tinued the thin boy, "perhaps you will be good
enough to explain how you know that they aren't
names."
"Well, I never heard of any one being called
by them before," said Bluebell.
"Of course you haven't," retorted the thin boy.
" If you had they would belong to somebody else;
and if we had taken them, we should be thieves,
like you!"
There did not seem to be any satisfactory an-
swer to that, so Bluebell asked:
Do you really mean that I am to call you Blib
and Blob when I speak to you ?"
"Nobody asked you to speak to us," said the fat boy.
"I can't help it," Bluebell suggested. "There's
no one else to speak to."
Then there's no reason for you to speak at all,"
said the thin boy.
At this point it seemed that the conversation was
likely to come to an end; for the boys were evidently
not inclined to be friendly, and the girl did not see
much amusement in the rudeness of their remarks.
She was wondering how on earth to introduce the
subject of the Forest Fairy, when the boy who
called himself Blob asked a question.





THE SLEEPY KING.


"What are you doing in the forest?" he said.
"You're a stranger, and strangers have no business
here without our permission."
Then Bluebell saw her opportunity, for she was
quite sure that, when she told them her errand, the
two naughty boys would be impressed with her
importance.
"I have come here to find the secret hiding-place
of the Sleeping King," she announced.
But her remarks seemed to amuse this extraor--
dinary pair more than anything else that had been
said, for they laughed as though it were the best
joke they had ever heard.
"She's come to find the Sleeping King; ha, ha!"
laughed Blob.
"The Sleeping King; ha, ha! echoed Blib.
And they went into such fits of laughter that they
had to lie down and roll about in the snow before
they could think of anything else to say.
At last the fat boy, who had laughed till his eyes
were full of tears, found breath enough to speak.
"Do you know how long he's been asleep?" he
asked.
More than two hundred years," answered Blue-
bell promptly.
"And you suppose that you are going to find
him, and wake him up ?" went on the thin boy.
"I'm quite sure I am," she answered confidently.
4-Sleepy King -





THE SLEEPY KING.


"And what's more, you two boys have been sent
here to show me the way."
Who told you that? asked Blob sharply.
"The Fairy of the Forest told me," Bluebell
answered.
How can we possibly show you the way," said
Blib, when we don't know it ourselves ?"
"You know the way to the Magic Oak," re-
plied Bluebell. "And that is where you have got
to take me."
At the mention of the Magic Oak the boys
stopped laughing, and their faces grew so serious
that the flower-girl wondered what could be the
matter. The thin boy spoke first, and his teeth
chattered so much that Bluebell thought he must
have caught cold from standing about in his wet
clothes; but when she looked carefully, she noticed
that they were quite dry again. But his eyes were
very wide open, and he kept looking over his
shoulder as if he were afraid.
"Who said we were to go to the Magic Oak?"
he asked.
"The Fairy of the Forest said so," Blubell an-
swered."
"Then we just won't," said the fat boy. "Will
we, Blib?"
And Blib answered promptly, Not much!"
Now Bluebell began to be rather sorry for these






THE SLEEPY KING.


two big boys when she saw how really frightened
they were; and she wondered whether they were

AT THE SAME MOMENT HE
RECEIVED A BOX ON THE
EARS THAT MADE HIS
HEAD SPIN AND BROUGHT
TEARS INTO HIS EYES.




























only cowards, or whether there was some real
danger about the Magic Oak. Then she remem-





THE SLEEPY KING.


bered what her friend the fairy had told her, and
she patted Peter the cat on the head just to restore
her own courage, and made up her mind to set
the boys a good example. So she said, quite
boldly :
You'll have to go, whether you like it or not,
and the sooner we start the better. Because, you
know, you aren't disobey the fairy's orders."
The thin boy looked all round him, to make
quite sure that they were alone; then he pretended
to be very brave indeed.
"I don't care that for the fairy's orders!" he
announced. And when he said "that" he put out
his tongue and snapped his fingers.
At the same moment he received a box on the
ears that made his head spin and brought tears
into his eyes. He stared about him in astonish-
ment, to see who it was that had hit him, but
there was no one except the other two children in
sight.
The fat boy was roaring with laughter; so the
thin one walked up to him with his face very red
and his fists doubled; for naughty boys are very
fond of laughing at other people, but they don't
like to be laughed at themselves.
"What did you do that for?" said Blib.
"Do what?" said Blob.
Box my ears," said Blib.






THE SLEEPY KING.


"I didn't," said Blob.
"Then who did?"
"I don't know. Perhaps she did." And Blob
pointed at Bluebell and winked as usual.
"I never touched him," said the little girl in-
dignantly. But I expect it was a punishment
for speaking rudely about the fairy."
What did I say ?" asked Blib.
And the fat boy repeated:
I don't care that for the fairy's orders."
And he put out his tongue and snapped his
fingers exactly as his brother had done. But the
words were scarcely out of his mouth before he too
received a sounding box on the ears which made
him jump.
This time Blib roared with laughter, because he
had set a trap for his brother, and he was delighted
to see how easily Blob had fallen into it. But
when the fat boy squared his fists and marched
up to the thin boy, Bluebell thought it was time
to interfere.
Don't you think it would be wiser," she said,
"if you were to show me the way, instead of quar-
reling with one another ?"
And the two boys, who were by this time rather
cowed, came to the conclusion that she was right.
So, after a little discussion as to who should lead
the way, it was decided that the three children





56 THE SLEEPY KING.

should walk side by side, with Bluebell in the
middle; and that they should keep quite close
together, whatever happened. And Peter the cat,
with his tail straight up in the air, walked solemnly
along behind them.
Before they had gone a hundred yards, the snow
all round them began to melt and disappear,
until at last there was not a sign of it left, and all
the grass and the trees were as green as if it had
been the middle of summer.
Bluebell considered that a very curious thing,
and she asked the fat boy what he thought of it.
It means," said Blob solemnly, "that somebody
is going to make things very warm for us."





THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER IV.

AFTER that, the children walked a little way in
silence, the two boys looking carefully about them
to see whether there was any danger, and Bluebell
wondering more than ever what extraordinary ad-
ventures were in store for her. The first novelty
of the companionship soon wore off, and she was
struck, more than ever, by the absurd likeness of
the two boys to the coachman and footman whom
she had seen on the old gentleman's carriage in the
Strand. She wondered vaguely whether they could
possibly be any relations. Being a little girl, she
was naturally the first to speak.
"Why didn't you go to the Christmas tree at the
castle?" she asked.
"Why didn't you ? said Blib.
"Well, you see, I wasn't invited," Bluebell
answered. "They didn't even know I was here."
"We didn't go because we were invited," re-
marked Blob, as if that were quite conclusive.
"It doesn't seem a very good reason- Blue-





THE SLEEPY KING.


bell was beginning, when the thin boy interrupted
her.
"It is an excellent reason. They had no busi-
ness to invite us. We ought to have invited them."
"But the castle belongs to the king," said Blue-
bell.
"It doesn't," answered Blib. "It belongs to us.
He's a usurper!"
The little girl thought for a minute.
"I'm not quite sure that I know what a usurper
is," she said.
"Look it out in the dictionary," replied Blib.
But I haven't got a dictionary."
"Then don't look it out," retorted Blib.
"A usurper," remarked the fat boy slowly, "is a
person who appropriates something that does not
belong to him. You're one, because you took your
name from a flower; he's one, because lie took our
throne from us. But he isn't a real king, he's only
a regent."
"She doesn't know what a regent is," said Blib.
"Oh, yes, I do," Bluebell replied. "It's the
name of a street in London."
"Don't try to be funny," snapped Blib.
"I'm not," she answered.
"I know you're not. I said, Don't try to be.' "
Bluebell was silent for a minute or two, while
she thought over their remarks. Then she asked:





THE SLEEPY KING.


"If the castle belongs to you, why don't you go
and claim it. ? "
"Because we're twins," said Blob.
"Well, I don't see that that makes much differ-
ence," Bluebell answered.
"You would if you were a twin," said Blib.
"We don't know which of us is the oldest; so we
can't decide who ought to occupy the throne."
"Then why don't you both occupy it?" she
asked, for she thought that would really be a very
simple solution of the difficulty.
Because," said the. fat boy solemnly, it's only
a small throne. It wouldn't hold two. And I
wish you wouldn't ask so many questions."
So Bluebell stopped talking, and began to look
about her. Although they were walking quite
slowly, the country seemed to slip along past them
at an extraordinary pace, and she was quite sure
that they must be miles and miles away from the
castle already. The forest trees went racing by
one after the other like the telegraph poles outside
the windows of a railway carriage.
And suddenly in the distance she saw a great big
sheet of water sparkling in the sun, and on the
surface of it were great broad leaves of water-lilies.
Something was moving about amongst them, though
the children were still too far off to make out dis-
tinctly what it was. But the forest slipped away






THE SLEEPY KING.


so fast that they very soon reached the lake, and
then Bluebell saw that it was alive with bullfrogs.
One of them, who wore a crown upon his funny
little head, climbed solemnly up on a large water-
lily leaf, and croaked very loudly.
"It's the King of the Bullfrogs opening Parlia-
ment," said Blob. "Come into the Strangers' Gal-
lery and we'll listen to the debate."
They made their way on to a little hillock which
looked down upon the lake, and in front of them
was a small shrubbery where the branches were in-
terlaced in a sort of lattice-work, so that they had
to peep through the grating. But the King of the
Bullfrogs saw them, for he stood up on his hind legs
and took off his crown, very politely, to Bluebell.
And the little girl made her best courtesy in
return.
Then the debate began, and she thought it was
a very stupid one. First one old bullfrog and then
another stood up in his place on a water-lily leaf
and croaked for a time by himself. Then the rest
took up a sort of chorus, and Bluebell perceived
that they were divided into two parties. The bull-
frogs on the right-hand side of the pond applauded
everything that one of their own number said;
while the bullfrogs on the left objected and inter-
rupted. And it seemed to the little girl that this
was rather a silly way of discussing things. But






THE SLEEPY KING.


that was probably because she could not understand
a single word they said.


"IT'S THE KING OF THE BULLFROGS OPENING PARLIAMENT," SAID BLOB.

"What are they talking about ? she asked Blib.
"About the crisis," answered the thin boy.
"What is a crisis ? asked Bluebell.






THE SLEEPY KING.


"A thing they have in the East, of course,"
said Blib. "How ignorant you are."
Then the fat boy chimed in. "They are dis-
cussing a frontier rising of the tadpoles," he an-
nounced. "The tadpoles have signed a treaty with
the water-rats, and they are trying to annex the
northeast corner of the pond, which belongs to the
bullfrogs. The bullfrogs object, and so they're
going to fit out an expedition to punish their ene-
mies, and they want to increase their navy."
"They seem to have more than their fair share
of the pond already," said Bluebell.
"Of course they have; that's why they want
more," answered Blib.
And the little girl thought that was a very
curious answer ; but it reminded her of the things
that Dicky the shoeblack used to read to her from
the papers, which she had never been able to un-
derstand. So she waited for a little, to see what
would be the result of all the croaking, and made
up her mind not to ask any more questions.
But suddenly she noticed a tremendous com-
motion amongst a party of bullfrogs collected to-
gether. on a water-lily leaf of their own, which
looked like a small green island. They were all
croaking at once, and they seemed to be very ex-
cited. She asked the fat boy who they were and
what they wanted.





THE SLEEPY KING.


"They don't know what they want," said
Blob. "But they're asking for a Parliament of
their own, and they intend to call it Home Rule."
"Will they get it ? said Bluebell eagerly, for
these noisy little people seemed rather more amusing
than the rest.
"You wait and see," answered Blib.
And at the same moment the king gave an
order; and suddenly the little green island dis-
appeared under the water, and stayed there for
several minutes. When it came up again, it was
quite empty.
"What has become of them all ? Bluebell
asked.
What would become of you, if you were held
under water for five minutes ?" asked Blib.
Well, I should probably be drowned. But I
think that's rather an unkind way to treat them,"
she answered.
"It's the only way to treat them,"said the fat
boy. But Bluebell was quite sorry for her little
friends on the green island, and she asked no
more questions until the King of the Bullfrogs
suddenly stood up in his place and took off his
crown to her again. Then he dived into the
water, and all the rest followed his example.
"We can go now," said Blob. "The sitting's
over."





THE SLEEPY KING.


"But what have they decided ?" she asked, for
she thought that surely, after all that croaking,
this was rather a tame ending.
"They haven't decided anything," answered
Blob. "They never do."
"Then what do they meet for?" she asked.
"To hear each other croak, of course," said
Blib. "Come on, it's time for us to be off."
So the children got up and walked away, with
Peter the cat behind them, and Bluebell said:
"I don't call that very amusing."
"It isn't meant to be amusing," remarked the
fat boy. It's politics "
As they walked off into the forest again, a crowd
of little brownies came racing past them with news-
papers on their arms. They were extraordinary
little people, not much bigger than mice, and they
were all shouting at the top of their voices.
"Extra special. Rising of the tadpoles. Deci-
sion of the Government."
And Bluebell listened to them in astonishment,
though the two boys took no notice whatever.
"But you told me they hadn't decided any-
thing," she said to the fat boy.
"No more they have," he answered.
Then why do the newspapers say they have ?"
she asked.
"Because they're newspapers! And you're the





THE SLEEPY KING. 60

most ignorant little girl I
ever saw," retorted Blib.
Well, I've never been in '
such an ex-
traordinary






"And that's not
A saying much," said
Blob. "You'll see
4 stranger things than
1 that before you're
much older."
And so she did;
for suddenly there
came marching along
j through the forest a
procession of water-
Srats, hundreds
Sand hundreds
strong, strut-
ting along on
their hind legs,
AS THEY WALKED OFF INTO THE FOREST AGAIN, A CROWD wi th a big
OF LITTLE BROWNIES CAME RACING PAST THEM WITH
NEWSPAPERS ON THEIR ARMS.





THE SLEEPY KING.


brass band in front of them. Over their heads they
waved banners, and when Bluebell stopped to see
what was written on them, she read:
"Down with the bullfrogs. Down with every-
body."
Their leader was a sleek, well-fed rat, who rode
upon a piebald guinea-pig, and when he caught
sight of Bluebell he gave orders to some of his
followers, who came and rattled money-boxes in
front of the children.
"Don't you give them anything," said Blob.
"They're humbugs."
"What are they trying to do ?" asked Blue-
bell.
"They are a procession of the unemployed," ex-
plained Blib, "and they are pretending that they
want work. But they don't really, they only want
money.
When the rat on the guinea-pig's back heard
that, he was very angry, and he came riding up to
Bluebell quite fiercely.
"If you don't give me money, little girl, I'll
bite you," he said.
But Bluebell remembered what the Fairy of the
Forest had said to her, and she turned to Peter the
cat.
"Send him away, Peter," she cried. And the
words were scarcely out of her mouth, when the





THE SLEEPY KING.


cat sprang into the middle of the procession.
Then there was such a squeaking and scurrying as
never was seen before. Away went the leader on
the guinea-pig, and away went all his followers,
racing in every direction through the forest, and
dropping their beautiful banners as they ran.
Peter the cat did not chase them very far, but
when he came back to his mistress he was grin-
ning from ear to ear as though lie enjoyed the joke,
and there was not a single rat in sight. Then
Bluebell stooped and picked up one of the fallen
banners, and to her surprise its shape and color
changed directly she held it in her hand to some-
thing soft and round, with red and white specks
on it.
"Why, it's a mushroom," said Bluebell.
"Rot," said Blib. "It's a silly old fungus, that's
all. I say, it's going to rain."
And while he spoke the sky grew gradually
blacker and blacker, until everything was quite
dark; and the wind came whistling and shrieking
through the tops of the bending trees. Straight
away in front of them the children could see the
rain streaming down as if some one had pulled the
string of a shower-bath, but, curiously enough, the
place where they were standing was quite dry.
Then out of the blackness of the forest came a
5-Seepy King





THE SLEEPY KING.


roar and rattle of thunder, and a bright flash of
lightning. Bluebell was rather frightened.
Don't you think we had better go in ?" she
asked, because she had often heard grown-up
people say that it was not safe to be out in a thun-
der-storm under the trees.
There's no inn to go to," said Blob.
"And it's all your own fault for bringing us
here," added Blib. "The only thing we can do is
to get on as fast as we can."
So the children hurried along into the darkness,
and Bluebell noticed that though the sky grew
blacker, and the wind howled more fiercely than
ever, the rain kept a little way in front, and not a
single drop fell upon them. But the storm grew
worse and worse, the rain hissed through the leaves,
the thunder roared, and the lightning flashed on
every side.
And suddenly out of the darkness came a sound
of bellowing and roaring, as if all the animals in
the Zoological Gardens had got out at once, and
were having a fight amongst themselves. Huge
black bats and owls as big as umbrellas came flap-
ping and hooting over'their heads, and the children
held each other's hands, and did not dare even to
speak. And if they had, they could not have
heard each other, for the noises were quite deafen-
ing.









































"Huge Black Bats and (6WN Caine flapping and hooting over their heads."
(69)





THE SLEEPY KING.


But all of a sudden there came a lull, and a
thousand little bright lights gleamed out from a
hollow behind them. And in less than a minute
the hollow was filled with tiny sprites, who danced
backwards and forwards among the trees; and it
seemed to Bluebell as if a rainbow had suddenly
come to life, and the pieces of it were running
about and enjoying themselves.
They looked so bright and pretty that the little
girl wanted to run down and join them, but the
two boys held her back.
"Don't you have anything to do with them,"
said Blob. "They are the servants of the Yellow
Dwarf, and they will lead you into danger. Those
are the Will-o'-the-Wisps."
"But they are so pretty," said Bluebell. "I'm
quite sure they wouldn't do me any harm. And
I don't believe you can ever find your way through
that dark forest in front of us."
"Where there's a will there's a way," said the
fat boy solemnly. "You come along with us."
"Where there's a will there's a wisp," said the
thin boy. "And where there's a wisp there's
danger. You come along with us to the Magic
Oak."
Directly he mentioned the Magic Oak, a strange
thing happened. The Will-o'-the-Wisps suddenly
disappeared, and, there was a tremendous flash of
.........-''






THE SLEEPY KING.


lightning straight in front of them. A huge forest
tree burst open from top to bottom, and in the
hollow of the trunk appeared the most hideous
little man that ever was seen.


THE YELLOW DWARF.


A faint blue light hung all round him, like the
color of a snap-dragon dish when you put salt in
it, and he was as yellow as a guinea from top to toe.
His head was about four sizes too large for him;
and he only had one eye, which glared from the
middle of his forehead like an angry policeman's






THE SLEEPY KING.


bull's-eye lantern. His hands and feet looked as
if they had been made for a giant, and fastened by
mistake to his hunchbacked little body ; and his
mouth stretched right across his face, like an india-
rubber tobacco pouch. He glared angrily at the
children for a minute; then the tree shut up with
a bang, and everything was dark again.
"What an ugly little monster," said Bluebell, as
soon as she could speak.
"Take care what you say about him," said
Blib. "He'll never forgive you."
"I'm not afraid of him," said Bluebell boldly.
"And I don't suppose I shall ever see him again."
"Oh, won't you !" laughed Blib. "You don't
know who he is."
"And I don't care," said Bluebell.
"Then I'll tell you," remarked Blob. "That is
the Yellow Dwarf who lives in the Magic Oak,
and we're on our way to call upon him !"





THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER V.

Now, it is all very well to say that you are not
in the least afraid of a thing you have never seen,
and to laugh at other people who are afraid; but
when you are suddenly brought face to face with a
little deformity as hideous as the Yellow Dwarf was,
it is quite a different matter.
When Bluebell heard that she was on her way
to visit the little monster who guarded the Magic
Oak, and realized what he looked like, she had a
good mind to give up the expedition altogether and
turn back. But turning back was not so easy as it
sounds. In the first place, she knew that she would
probably lose her way in the storm and the dark-
ness of the forest; and in the second, she remem-
bered that she would be disobeying the fairy's
orders. She felt half inclined to sit down and cry,
only she was ashamed of showing the two boys that
she was frightened, so she put on as bold a face as
she could, and pushed steadily forward.





THE SLEEPY KING.


Meanwhile, it seemed rather a curious thing that
they were going in the opposite direction from the
place where the Yellow Dwarf had appeared,
since the boys said that they were on their way
to call upon him. But so many curious things
kept on happening that she had scarcely time to
think about it.
The storm was still raging on every side of them,
and the rain falling faster than ever, and the path
along which the children were making their way
grew steeper and more stony at every step. And
it was so overgrown with brushwood and brambles
that the little girl found her ragged frock torn and
frayed at every step, while the thorns pricked and
scratched her poor little bare feet and hands.
There was not even room for them all three to
walk side by side; so Bluebell hurried on in front,
with the boys following her in silence; and Peter the
cat, with his tail drooping dejectedly, trotted along bc-
hind, evidently rather disgusted with the whole thing.
But suddenly, just as it seemed to Bluebell that
it was impossible to go any further, she found her-
self on the brow of the hill, and saw the gleam of
sunlight through the thick branches. She forced
her way eagerly through the brushwood which held
her back, and emerged into an open space. And
the sight she saw was so wonderful that it almost
took her breath away.






THE SLEEPY KING.


Oh, boys," she cried. Isn't it lovely ? "
The thin boy looked carefully all round him be-
fore he answered.
"It might be worse," he announced.


AND PETER THE CAT, WITH HIS TAIL DROOPING DEJECTEDLY, TROTTED ALONG
BEHIND, EVIDENTLY RATHER DISGUSTED WITH THE WHOLE THING.

"On the other hand," said the fat boy solemnly,
" it might be better. And if the Yellow Dwarf did
not live in it, it would."
"Never mind about the Yellow Dwarf," said
Bluebell breathlessly. Tell me where we are."
In the Enchanted Glade," said Blib.





THE SLEEPY KING.


"I think it's the most beautiful place in the whole
world," the little girl answered.
"That," remarked Blob, "is an exaggeration.
You haven't seen the whole world, and what's more
you're never likely to."
But Bluebell took no
notice of him, for she
was far too much taken
up with the wonderful
scene in front of her. It
was a lovely place, just
like a picture out of a
pantomime, and the con-
trast to the black stormy
forest behind them made
it seem even more gor-
geous than it really was.
The trees, instead of
S' being all one monoton-
Sous green, were colored
gold, and 'brown, and
Spink; and, among their
AND AMONG THEIR BRANCHES BIRDS OF and, among their
THE MOST WONDERFUL PLUMAGE WERE. branches, birds of the
SINGING ALL THE SONGS SHE HAD EVER most wonderful plumage
HEARD.
were singing all the
songs she had ever heard, like the piping bull-
finches Dicky had once shown her in a shop near
the Seven Dials, Peacocks strutted about in the






THE SLEEPY KING.


sunlight; and golden pheasants, far more splendid
than the one in the Zoological Gardens, paraded
about without taking the slightest notice of the


THERE WERE SALMON, AND WHITEBAIT, AND LITTLE PINK PRAWNS, AND
MACKEREL, AND TURBOT, AND FAT RED LOBSTERS.

children. Then there were white rabbits chasing
one another under the trees, and a wonderful little
waterfall chattering and bubbling over a rocky
cascade into a beautiful clear stream below.






THE SLEEPY KING.


And the stream itself was the most wonderful
thing of all, for it was crowded full of all the fish
that generally live on marble slabs, with blocks of
ice, in the Bond Street shop windows. There were
salmon, and whitebait, and little pink prawns, and
mackerel, and turbot, and fat red lobsters that
made Bluebell wish that Dicky the shoeblack was
with her. For Dicky had once told her that lob-
sters only lived in the sea, and that they did not
turn red until they had been boiled; and now that
she knew he must have been mistaken, she was
very anxious to tell him so.
Right in the middle of the Enchanted Glade
there grew a huge tree, much bigger than all the
others, with long branching roots stretching away
in every direction, and covered with the softest
green moss. The children made their way to it
and sat down in the shade, while Peter the cat
stroked his whiskers and purred contentedly.
And the ground was not in the least like or-
dinary ground, which is generally all one color;
but it was worked out in patterns like a beautiful
carpet, with flowers of every shade and color mak-
ing figures on a green background of grass. And
in Fairyland you can get spring flowers to grow
at the same time as autumn tints upon the trees,
which is a great advantage in landscape gardening.
After all the noise and blackness of the forest,





THE SLEEPY KING.


it seemed so pretty and peaceful that it was some
minutes before Bluebell remembered the object
which had brought them there. When it occurred
to her she said:


TO THE LITTLE GIRL'S SURPRISE IT KEPT GETTING LARGER AND LARGER UNTIL
IT WAS SO BIG THAT TWENTY PEOPLE COULD EASILY HAVE SAT ROUND IT.

"I wonder where the Magic Oak is. Do you
think we are near it ?"
We'll go and look for it after dinner," answered
Blib, as though it were the most natural thing in






THE SLEEPY KING.


the world to suppose that they had only come there
for a picnic.
I don't see what we are going to eat," said Blue-
bell. "We haven't brought any provisions with us."
Little girls should be seen and not heard," re-
marked the fat boy. "You can help to lay the
cloth."
And he produced from his pocket a nice clean
white handkerchief, carefully folded up. One
corner of it he gave to Bluebell, and the other he
held himself. To the little girl's surprise it kept
getting larger and larger until it was so big that
twenty people could easily have sat round it, and
she ventured to suggest that they had better not
undo any more of it.
Why ? asked Blib.
"Because it is quite large enough already," she
answered. And besides, he'll never be able to
put a tablecloth of that size into his pocket again
when we've finished with it."
"Pockets," remarked the fat boy solemnly, "were
never intended to hold tablecloths."
"As far as that goes," said Bluebell, handker-
chiefs were never intended to eat off."
She thought that was rather a good answer, for
she was a logical little person; but Blob only winked
slowly at his brother.
"May I ask," he said, "who is going to. eat off a
handkerchief?"






THE SLEEPY KING.


"Well, it looks as if we were," replied Blue-
bell.
"You can't always go by looks," said Blib.
Appearances are generally deceptive," added


THEN BLIB PICKED THREE LARGE CROCUSES FROM THE PATTERN OF THE CARPET.

Blob. And he stooped and picked three large
dock leaves which were growing close to where they
sat.
"What do you think those are ?" he inquired.






THE SLEEPY KING.


"They are leaves," answered Bluebell.
"They aren't," said Blob. "They're plates."
As he spoke he laid them down upon the cloth, and
sure enough they changed into three white china
plates.
Then Blib picked three large crocuses from the
pattern of the carpet.
"You think those are flowers," he said. But
you're wrong, they're glasses."
He placed them on the cloth beside the plates,
and Bluebell saw that he was right.
Next, the two boys proceeded to gather a lot of
little dry twigs, and directly they put them on the
tablecloth the twigs changed to knives and forks
and spoons.
"Now," remarked the thin boy, "the table's laid,
and it's your turn. Where's our dinner ? "
I'm sure I don't know," said Bluebell. "I
never saw a table laid like that before. Can't you
get the dinner the same way as you got the plates
and things ? "
"We could," responded Blib, but we've done
our share already."
"Men," announced Blob, "provide the furniture.
Women have to do the housekeeping."
By this time Bluebell was getting accustomed
to their extraordinary remarks, and she was ready
with her answer.






THE SLEEPY KING.


"I'm not a woman," she replied. I'm only a
little girl."
In that case," said the fat boy, "you had
better make haste and grow up, or you will proba-
bly starve."
"I know how we might get our dinner," said
Bluebell, who was rather pleased with the idea of
a picnic. "The water is full of fish, and you have
got a rod with you. You might go and catch
some."
"Pigs might fly," remarked the thin boy.
"But they don't," added his brother.
And they both sat still and looked at Bluebell
as though they had not the slightest intention of
acting on her advice.
"All right," she said. 'Then we'll go without
dinner. I'm not very hungry, so I don't much
care."
She was really rather disappointed, but she
thought it was wiser not to say so. And it was
quite the best thing she could have done, for no
sooner did those curious twins find that she was
not particularly anxious, than they immediately
changed their minds. They got up and busied
themselves with the joints of their fishing rod, and
as soon as they had put it together they prepared
to start off.
"Where are you going ? said Bluebell.
6-Sleepy King






THE SLEEPY KING.


"To catch fish for dinner," answered Blib.
"I thought you said you weren't," Bluebell re-
marked.
"I didn't! retorted Blib. "I said that pigs
might fly."
"Well, that means the same thing," said Blue-
bell.
"It doesn't," answered Blib. "To say that pigs
might fly cannot possibly mean that we don't in-
tend to catch fish."
"Any more than to talk about flying fish would
mean that we were going pig sticking," added his
brother.
"I don't see any use in arguing," said the little
girl, who was growing rather tired of them.
"Then don't argue!" answered the boys to-
gether.
"All right, I won't," she replied gently. "I'll sit
here and wait until you come back. But don't stay
away too long, or we shall never get to the Magic
Oak at all."
"You'll probably get there quite soon enough,"
answered Blib.
"Perhaps sooner than you expect," put in Blob.
"By the way, we'll take Peter the cat with us, if
you don't want him."
"Why? asked Bluebell.
"In case we get lost in the glade. Cats can al-






















































"And they both sat still and looked at Bluebell."





THE SLEEPY KING.


ways find their way back to the place they started
from. Boys can't."
"He could if we were in London," answered
Bluebell eagerly, for she had a great opinion of
Peter, who was really a very clever cat. But it's
different here, you see, because I'm not at home."
"Then make yourself at home," said the fat boy,
winking at his brother. "And don't talk so much."
Peter the cat, who had been asleep in the sun,
woke up and looked at his mistress to see if she
approved. Probably he had heard something
about fish, which all good cats have a weakness for.
And when Bluebell patted his head and told him
he might go, he really seemed quite pleased, and
walked off with the twins as though he quite real-
ized the responsibility of his position. For cats
understand a great deal more than people give them
credit for, and'the air of Fairyland has a wonder-
ful effect in sharpening their wits.
As soon as they were out of sight, Bluebell sat
down again on the thick moss by the trunk of the
great tree and looked about her. She was not at
all sorry to get rid of the schoolboys for a short
time, because their silly remarks and arguments
were beginning to get a. little monotonous. And be-
sides, she wanted to think over all the won derful things
that had happened to her since she started off on
her journey to the kingdom of the Sleepy King.





THE SLEEPY KING. 87

She was not at all afraid to be left alone now,
because the Enchanted Glade was so bright and
sunny, and she knew that Peter the cat would not
stay away too long.
And while she sat there alone, some very curious
things happened to her. But they were so different
from the things that happen to ordinary little girls
in every-day life, that they must have a new
chapter all to-themselves.





THE SLEEPY KING.


CHAPTER VI.

"WHO are you ? said a voice.
Bluebell started and looked all round to see
where the sound came from, but to her surprise
there was nobody in sight. So she came to the
conclusion that she must have been mistaken, and
as there was no one to speak to, she did not feel
called upon to answer.
"Who are you ? said the voice again.
"I can't see you- Bluebell began.
"You can hear me," answered the voice. "That
ought to be quite enough."
This time the little girl discovered that the sound
came from the tree above her head, and on looking
up amongst its branches she saw a very large white
bird sitting there and looking down at her. It was
a curious bird with an exceedingly solemn expres-
sion and very big eyes, which it opened and shut
one at a time, and it kept on yawning as though it
were very sleepy.
"Please," asked Bluebell, "are you a parrot ?"






THE SLEEPY KING.


"No," answered the bird. "Are you ?"
"Certainly not. I'm a little girl. But I thought
a parrot was the only bird that talked."


















ON LOOKING UP AMONGST ITS BRANCHES SHE SAW A VERY LARGE WHITE BIRD
SITTING THERE AND LOOKING DOWN AT HER.

"Nonsense," said the bird sleepily. "You are
talking yourself."
"But I'm not a bird," answered Bluebell.
"You are. You're a little goose."
"I don't think that's very funny," replied Blue-
bell ; "and besides, I've heard it before."





THE SLEEPY KING.


"You'll probably hear it again," was the solemn
answer, "unless you grow wiser. I'm an owl."
It put its head on one side and puffed itself out
into a great white ball. Then it yawned again and
snapped its beak.
"What do you think of me? it asked.
Bluebell thought it would be as well to conciliate
it, so she tried to make a civil remark.
"I think your white feathers are lovely," she
answered.
"Bosh !" remarked the owl.
"I beg your pardon," answered the little girl
politely. "What did you say?"
"Bosh!" repeated the owl. "What are you
doing here ? "
"I want to find the Magic Oak," she said.
"No, you don't," answered* the owl. "That's
just where you're mistaken."
Oh, but indeed I do," said the little girl ear-
nestly. I've come a very long way to look for it.
Perhaps you can tell me where it is?"
"Perhaps I can," answered the owl. "But I
won't."
"Then I think it's rather unkind of you,"
Bluebell said indignantly.
"You can think whatever you like," retorted the
owl. "It doesn't make the slightest difference to me."
It puffed its feathers out again, blinked solemnly-





THE SLEEPY KING. 91

and shut its eyes as though it intended to go to




























BLUEBELL AND THE OWL.
sleep. But Bluebell thought it would be a great





THE SLEEPY KING.


pity to lose any opportunity of learning anything
about the Magic Oak, and the hiding-place of the
Sleepy King whom she had come so far to find,
so she determined to try again.
"Please, Mr. Owl- she began.
"Shut up," replied the bird with a yawn. "Don't
you see that I want to go to sleep ? "
"If you will answer one question," said the
little girl, I won't disturb you any more; though
I think you might spend your time better than
sleeping in broad daylight."
What's your question? asked the owl.
"Do you know the Yellow Dwarf? said Bluebell.
"Of course I do," snapped the owl. "I'm his
private secretary."
"You don't seem to do much work," replied
Bluebell.
"I don't get much pay," retorted the owl.
"Then I shouldn't stay with him," remarked
the little girl.
"Nobody asked you to," said the owl. "Mind
your own business, and I'll attend to mine."
"That is exactly what I want to do," she said.
"My business is to find the Magic Oak and to
wake up the Sleepy King."
It isn't," said the owl. He doesn't want to
wake, he wants to sleep. So do I; so do yo,,.
We all want to sleep. Good-night I"





THE SLEEPY KING.


But Bluebell had no intention of being put off
so easily. She remembered that the schoolboys
had told her the Yellow Dwarf was in charge of
the Magic Oak, and if this foolish bird was really
his private secretary, she argued that it must be in
a position to give her some valuable information.
So she called out boldly:
"I don't intend to let you go to sleep until you
give me an answer. Where is the Magic Oak? "
The owl opened one eye very slowly, then the
other, yawned solemnly and cleared his throat.
"This is the Magic Oak," he said deliberately.
Bluebell sprang to her feet in surprise.
Do you mean to say you are sitting on it ?"
she asked.
"Yes," replied the bird sleepily. "But it isn't an
egg.
"I never said it was," answered Bluebell eagerly.
"You implied it," retorted the owl. "I'm a
bird, and birds sit on eggs."
"But if this is the Magic Oak," continued Blue-
bell, ignoring his last remark, "the hiding-place of
the Sleepy King is underneath it."
"Just so," answered the owl. "The Magic Oak
is divided, as you will observe, into several stories.
They are all let out at present in furnished flats.
The Sleeping King occupies the basement; the
Yellow Dwarf lives on the first floor; I have






THE SLEEPY KING.


apartments on the second; and a nightingale is the
tenant of the topmost branches. That is why he
is called the Attic Bird."
Bluebell did not understand what he meant, but
she waited to see if he had anything more to
say.
"There are some more stories," he added with a
tremendous yawn. "But I am much too sleepy to
tell them."
"How am I to get down to the basement?"
asked the little girl.
"I'm sure I don't know," replied the owl.
"You'll probably have to burrow, like the rabbits.
Go and ask them. Don't worry me."
And he proceeded to curl himself up into a ball,
put his head under his wing, and in another minute
he was snoring loudly. Bluebell made one or two
ineffectual efforts to attract his attention, but she
soon found that it was no use, and gave it up in
despair. However, she was very well pleased with
the information he had given her, for she thought
it would be a great piece of news to be able to tell
the boys that she had found the Magic Oak all by
herself. She walked carefully round the tree and
examined it on every side, but she could find no
trace of an opening or doorway of any kind in
its trunk.
She wondered whether Peter the cat would be





THE SLEEPY KING.


able to go down a rabbit hole and investigate for
her; when she suddenly remembered what the owl
had said, and she determined to apply to the rab-
bits themselves. For she reflected that if a bird
was able to speak, it was more than probable that
the rabbits could do the same; and she noticed that
they kept popping in and out of their burrows all
round the place where she stood, and they proba-
bly knew of some secret staircase which would lead
to the spot she was so anxious to discover.
So she selected a placid old gray-haired lady
rabbit, who was seated under the shadow of a dock-
leaf, and addressed her very politely.
"Could you kindly tell me," she asked, "the
way to the hiding-place of the Sleepy King ?"
"My dear," answered the rabbit, "I shall be
very pleased to be of any use to you, though, in a
general way, I don't care about little girls. And
if you ask me the reason of that, I should be
obliged to unfold a tale which is a very long one.
In referring to my tale, I allude to my story, not
to the little white appendage with which nature has
provided me; though, in a. general way, I prefer
short tails to long ones, and I am sure you will be
pleased to -learn that they are to be very generally
worni this season.
"I am very glad to hear that," said Bluebell
civilly. "But I am anxious to.find.the way---





THE SLEEPY KING.


"I was just coming to that, my dear," broke in
the rabbit leisurely, "when you interrupted me.
And though, in a general way, I prefer to talk
rather than to listen, there are occasions when in-
terruptions are not so rude as they seem. And if
you ask me the reason of that, I should say that if
no one ever interrupted any one else, some people
would go on talking all day long. And just think,
my dear, what a terrible thing that would be.
The rabbit shook her gray head dolefully, and
looked as if she were going to cry, and Bluebell
felt quite sorry for her.
"I hope I haven't said anything to make you
unhappy," she began.
"It isn't so much what you lhve said, my dear,
as what you have left unsaid," the rabbit answered.
"And though, in a general way, the things that
people leave unsaid are wiser than the things they
say, you will agree with me that there are some
people who find the greatest difficulty in making
their meaning clear to other people. And if you
ask me the reason of that, I should say that it is
probably accounted for by the fact that they don't
know themselves. I hope you follow me, my dear."
"That is just what I want to do," said Bluebell,
who was getting quite bewildered. "If you could
show me-"
"My dear," interrupted the rabbit, "there are a






THE SLEEPY KING.


great many things that I could easily show you, be-
cause I am very much older than you are; although,
perhaps, you would not think so to look at me. And
though, in a general way, young people nowadays


SO SHE SELECTED A PLACID OLD GRAY-HAIRED LADY RABBIT, WHO WAS SEATED
UNDER THE SHADOW OF A DOCK-LEAF, AND ADDRESSED HER VERY POLITELY.

know very much more about everything than their
elders do, owing to Board schools and such like,
you will admit that the longer we live the more we
learn. And if you ask me the reason of that- "




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