Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 The little sea-girl
 Tony in the sea
 Tony in trouble
 Abysmal depths
 The little old man
 The Imps in the salt plain
 Patty and pearl
 The Pixies' cave
 The dark valley
 The valley of goblins
 The valley of the monster
 Merman's country
 The blue iris
 The country of the seals
 The sad meeting
 Just in time
 Happy ever after
 Back Cover

Title: A world beneath the waters, or, Merman's country
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083196/00001
 Material Information
Title: A world beneath the waters, or, Merman's country
Alternate Title: Merman's country
Physical Description: 4, 159, 4 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bancks, G
Crow ( Illustrator )
Cassell & Company ( Publisher )
Belle Sauvage Works ( Printer )
Publisher: Cassell and Company, Limited
Place of Publication: London ;
Paris ;
Manufacturer: La Belle Sauvage
Publication Date: 1895
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Goblins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aquatic animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mermaids -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mermen -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Ocean -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Fantasy literature -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
France -- Paris
Australia -- Melbourne
Statement of Responsibility: with forty-four original illustrations by "Crow".
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083196
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002221830
notis - ALG2060
oclc - 79710365

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    The little sea-girl
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Tony in the sea
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Tony in trouble
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Abysmal depths
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    The little old man
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    The Imps in the salt plain
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Patty and pearl
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
    The Pixies' cave
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    The dark valley
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    The valley of goblins
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    The valley of the monster
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    Merman's country
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    The blue iris
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    The country of the seals
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    The sad meeting
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
    Just in time
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
    Happy ever after
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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S 37








S 120







' LOOK look what a funny thing that is in the
sea, Patty! What do you think it can be ? "
But Patty could not even guess, for although
she had lived all her life by the side of the sea,
she had never before seen anything just like the
round dark object that was bobbing up and down,
and rolling about in the bright moonlight a little
way from the shore.
The two children, a boy and girl, belonged to
the little fishing village up on the cliff above, and
were quite used to wander along that wild rocky
coast by themselves, even at night. They had
been this evening to carry fishing lines down
to their father's boat, and were on the way


home when the object in the sea attracted their
"It's coming in nearer, Tony," cried the little
That it is," said the boy; "let us hide
behind the rocks and watch."
They had not been watching for more than a
few moments before something very extraordinary
happened. When the dark object had rolled into
shallow water, it suddenly stood upright, and
then ran to some low rocks a short distance from
the sea. There it threw off from around it a
long loose garment, and sat down. The moon
was shining so brightly that the children could
see quite distinctly.
"Why, it's a girl!" cried the boy, and sure
enough it was-a pretty little girl with long-dark
hair that hung half-way down to her feet. And
presently she began to sing in a low sweet voice.
The children watched her with equal interest and
astonishment, but so anxious were they to hear
what it was she was singing, and to observe her
every movement, that they were not sufficiently
careful to keep themselves concealed. The little
stranger evidently caught a glimpse of them, for

"It, suddenly stood upright, and then ran to some low rocks" (p. 2).


she hurriedly rose, wrapped her cloak around her,
and in a very few moments had dived into the
sea. Spellbound, the children watched to see her

rise again to the surface, but she appeared no
"She can't be like other children, Tony,"
said the girl, "or she would be drowned. Do



you think she can be one of the mermaids that
father says live in the sea?"
"Maybe," said Tony, for in that cloak of
hers folks would hardly know whether she were
girl or fish."
Many a time after that night the children
came to the same spot, hoping that they would
see the little girl again, but were continually
disappointed. At last, one evening, when they
were returning home along the sands, they saw a
dark object lying in a shallow pool near some
rocks, which at first sight looked like a little heap
of seaweed.
"Why, I do believe it is the little sea-girl's
cloak," exclaimed Patty.
"That it is," said Tony, picking it up, and
turning it over and over. "Why, it's a creature's
skin, with a fish's tail."
What will you do with it? Patty presently
asked, after they had thoroughly inspected it
inside and out.
"Take it home," replied Tony, tucking it
under his arm and marching off.
They had proceeded, however, but a short
distance, when who should they see running


towards them, like a little fury, but the pretty
Oh, you wicked children," she cried, almost
breathless, "that belongs to me. Don't you know
it's wrong to steal? Give it to me directly."
Tony promptly sat down on the skin, and
Patty picked up a large piece of seaweed with
which, if necessary, to keep the excited little
creature at bay.
It's not stealing," retorted Tony, "to pick
up things on the sea-shore; and, besides, you
should not leave your clothes about like that, if
you don't want to lose them."
And we are not going to give you the thing
back," chimed in Patty, unless you tell us who
you are, and where you live, and everything we
want to know."
The little sea-girl looked so determined that
the children almost expected that she would fly at
them and endeavour by force to regain possession
of her garment. What was their surprise then to
hear her suddenly burst into the merriest laughter,
for she was really one of the sweetest-tempered
girls that ever lived, and it was quite impossible
for her to be angry even for two minutes.


"Oh," she cried, "you did look so serious
that I could not help laughing!"
Patty threw away her piece of seaweed, and
Tony proceeded to get up from the ground.
"Of course we did not mean to steal it, and
we should most likely have given it up at once,
only you did not ask us very politely."
"Besides," added Patty, "we wanted to
know who you were. Now, Tony will give you
the skin, and then let us sit down on the rocks
and talk."
This proposition being readily agreed to, they
all sat down, and before very long Tony and
Patty had learnt a good deal about their new
friend. She really was a little mermaid, and
lived down in the sea. Her name was Pearl.
She had many times before been out on the shore
by moonlight, and had seen the children, although
they had not noticed her.
But why do you wear that funny dress ?"
asked Patty.
"Why, that's my seal-skin," said Pearl.
" We cannot live in the water without a seal-
skin. All our people wear them when they are
swimming in the sea."


Look here suddenly exclaimed Tony, after
deeply meditating for a few minutes, do you
mean to say that when you have got this thing on
you can swim right down into the sea without
being drowned ?"
"Of course you can," said Pearl.
Then I'm going to try, if you will please
lend it to me. You can stop here with Patty till
I come back."
Pearl began to look very grave, and did not at
first seem at all disposed to agree to this proposi-
tion. But Tony was quite bent upon making the
experiment, and so she at last consented to lend
him her seal-skin, and helped him to put it on.
She gave him many instructions and cautions;
while Patty, with tears in her eyes, implored
him not to be away very long; and then they
watched him run across the sands and plunge
into the sea.

TONY was a brave boy, and could swim like a
fish; so he dived down and then went straight
ahead. How odd it seemed to be swimming
under the water But he was not a bit afraid,
and saw such strange and curious things that he
only regretted that Patty was not there to see
them too, and Pearl to tell him all about them.
He soon found himself passing over a vast
sandy plain, covered here and there with low
rocks, on which grew a great number of curious
plants. Many of them were the seaweeds he had
so often picked up on the shore, but they looked
so different growing in the water that he did not
recognize them. Numbers of little creatures were
swimming about among them, and indeed, big
ones too, for once he caught sight of a great sea-
lizard with eyes as big as tea-cups. But it did
not take any notice of Tony, for it was having
its supper, making sad havoc among a shoal of
little fish.


As Tony swam on, larger and larger rocks

appeared, till they rose high up on all sides of
him, and he by-and-by found himself in a wild


but beautiful valley.
Sea-grass covered the
ground and many of
the rocks, while on all
sides grewlovely plants,
with leaves of the most
brilliant hues-scarlet,
purple, and green.
There were a great
many fish too, of all
sorts and shapes, and
various kinds of shell
fish walking about;. but
what attracted Tony's
attention more than all
were the sea-anemones.
Many of the rocks
were nearly covered
with these strange and
beautiful creatures.
There were big ones
and little ones, pink
and blue and white.
lHe watched them
waving their arms

"He saw such strange and curious things" (p. 10).


about, and noticed how cleverly they caught the
little shrimps, and tucked them into their mouths.
But Tony did more than stare with all his
eyes-he listened with all his ears, for by this
time he had made the wonderful discovery
that he could understand the language of all the
creatures round him.
Presently a large pink anemone attracted his
attention, for it was surrounded by a family of
little ones, who were all stretching out their tiny
arms, and making such a clamouring in anemone
language that he could not help hearing what they
said. Ma, tell us a tale ; Ma, tell us a tale! "
they were all shouting. Tony drew a little
nearer, and listened, and then he heard the old
mother tell her little ones the following story:-

When all our race, in ages past,
Were free the seas to roam,
An errant dame, her foe, at last
Encountered far from home.

"'Alas,' she cried, and tried to hide,
The Squid it is, I see,
There's not a doubt he'll find me out,
And then he'll murder me.'


"He glowered about, and found her out,
Then quickly bit and tore,
Till she, in fifty little bits,
Was scattered on the floor.

" But strange to say, the fragments they
Began at once to grow,
Till fifty sea-anemnones
Were sitting in a row.

" The Squid, he squiggled and he squirmed,
And begged to be excused;
But 'tis not meet that I repeat
The language which he used.

" In truth, full sore, he did implore,
And on his knees did fall,
But round him poured the hungry horde,
And ate him, skin and all."


"Ha! ha! ha !" laughed the little anemones;
and then they caught sight of Tony, and pointed

all their tiny arms at him, crying out, Ma, is
that a Squid ? May we eat him up ? "
Tony did not wait to hear any more, but swam
away; and it now occurred to him that he ought


- _


to have turned back again long ago. But the
fact was that fresh objects of interest kept attract-
ing his attention. Just at this moment an extra-
ordinary creature, like a great blue mushroom,

came sailing along, only instead of a stalk it had
a number of long streamers which it kept flapping
about forthepurpose of catching anysmall creatures
that came near. When it caught sight of Tony,


it shut up like an umbrella, and sank on the
ground till he had gone by. He soon noticed a
great many more of them, of different colours
and shapes. There were also creatures who threw
out very long streamers like fishing lines, and he
was much astonished to see how cleverly they
caught the little fish with them.
Presently a large Hermit Crab came shuffling
along, dragging after him a whelk shell, in which
his tail was carefully packed away. Such a
fussy old fellow he seemed.
"How do you do ?" he said to Tony; "don't
you find it chilly without a shell of any sort for
your tail? To tell you the truth," he added, I
am just on the look-out for a fresh one. The
shell I have now is nearly worn out. There are
holes in it, and the cuttle-fish have discovered
this, and prick my tail when I am asleep. You
see my tail is soft, and it hurts. But it is so
difficult to meet with a house that just suits one;
they are either too small, or too big, or they have
somebody else in, whom it is difficult to turn out.
Of course, when one has a delicate tail, one can't
live out of doors like a common vulgar cray-


I have'nt a tail of my own," said Tony, look-
ing down at the end of the seal-skin. This one
was lent to me by somebody else. But," he
added, I have always lived in a house."

WHILE the Hermit Crab was talking, Tony sat
down with his back to the rocks, but he had
hardly done so when ever so many long, cold,
slippery arms came winding themselves round
him, and then they lifted him quite off his feet.
Never in all his life had he felt so terribly fright-
ened and uncomfortable. The horrible arms
drew him slowly up, and began to tuck him into
an immense mouth; but just at this moment a
monster crab -a crab that was bigger than Tony
himself, and whose claws were powerful enough
to pinch a man's head off-came crawling down
the rocks behind. In another moment it had
seized hold of one of Tony's legs, and drawn him
away from the horrible mouth. The fact was he
wanted to eat him himself, and so he dragged him
along seeking for a quiet corner, when, fortunately
for Tony, the crab caught sight of something
which he thought he should like better, and so


let him go. Then Tony saw that, without no-
ticing it, he had sat. down within reach of a giant

sea anemone, a monstrous creature like a great
green gourd. Now he swam off as fast as he
could, determined to make his way back to the
shore as quickly as possible.

He had not gone very far, however, before he
found himself entangled in a number of threads
which wound round and round him. Moreover,
they stung him wherever they touched his face
or hands, causing great pain and afterwards
numbness, so that he felt himself becoming gradu-
ally powerless. He soon found that the threads
belonged to some of the creatures he had before
observed, only they were far larger ones. In a
short time he was quite unable to struggle any
more, and he then felt that he was being dragged
through the water.
For a very long way they drew him on, many
miles it seemed to Tony, till he thought that all
hope was gone of ever finding his way home again.
At last they stopped, and then he found that they
were drawing in the lines. He shut his eyes
and expected in a very few minutes that he would
be devoured. But a very strange thing happened,
for by-and-by, finding that the lines had
slackened, he opened his eyes and discovered that
their owners had mysteriously disappeared.
But he soon perceived, at a little distance, a
gigantic creature with a horse's head and a body
like a serpent, who was licking his lips, and rolling


-- his eyes
.- about, as if
_- --. on the look-
-- outforsome-
thing more
.-" to eat, and
S- --~~- -. it immedi-
9' .ately occur-
S' red to Tony
S-that this
must have
S. devoured
/ his strange
captors, and
/ thus set him
Sfr e e. So
S- ever, was he
of being
"- himself eat-
----. en up, and
-- -.... --.-- anxious to
discover a
-\ -- safe hiding-
1,. ,

place, that he swam headlong, and quite ex-
nausted, into the first hole in the rocks that he
could find, and which proved to be the entrance
to a large cave. In he tumbled, right on the
top of something soft and slippery. This
turned out to be an immense Cod-fish, who
immediately shook him off with a whish which
quite took his breath away, and then glared at
him as though she meant to eat him up.
"I beg your pardon," gasped Tony, "but I
did not know you were there."
Well, don't you come down on me like that
again," said the Cod-fish in a very wheezy voice
and a, great passion, or I'll box your gills for
you." But she'was really a very good-natured
old fish, and never bore malice against anyone,
except fishermen; and of course she did not guess
that Tony was a fisherman's boy, or she would
have eaten him up on the spot.
As it was, she soon calmed down, and inquired
if he were "on the feed." "I'Because, if you
are," said the Cod-fish, "'I can show you as good
a bit of ground for Sand Grubs as you'd ever want
to find."
Tony hastened to assure her that he was not


" on the feed," but would be grateful to be allowed
to rest awhile.
Well, this is my house," she said, "and
you are welcome to lie here. But the children
will be home presently, and there is not much
peace for anyone when they are in. You've been
chased, I suppose," she continued; never you
try to out-swim sharks, but look out for a hiding-
place. I had a pretty near shave of being
caught myself a little while back, but that was the
Blue Monkeys. They're worse than sharks for
cunning. You take my advice and keep clear
of them."
Of course, it did not occur to Tony that the
Cod-fish meant the fishermen in their blue jerseys.
So he thanked her, and said he would be sure to
keep out of the way of the Blue Monkeys.
And well you may," wheezed the old Cod,
"they were the death of my grandmother and
several more of our family. If ever I'm lucky
enough to get one of them in a corner, won't I
pick his bones "

SHORTLY after this, quite a commotion began in
the water round the cave, and presently what
looked like a long silver stream began to pour in
from outside. Tony soon found out that it
was the children coming home. What a tribe of
them there was, to be sure Hundreds of thou-
sands, Tony thought there must be. And how
they did frisk about But at last they began to
settle down, and before long, most of them were
lying on the surface of the rocks, or on the
"Look here! presently said the Cod-fish;
"I'm going to leave you in charge of the child-
ren while I swim out for a few minutes." And
off she swam.
She had only been gone a moment or two
before the long ugly head of a great Sea-pike
appeared at the entrance. What a whisking
about there was among the young cod fry, in
their frantic efforts to hide! In rushed the


Sea-pike, and began to suck them into his big
mouth, till scarcely any were left. Then he came
up to Tony, and said-
And, pray, who are you ?"
"I'm Tony, sir," said the boy, "and I'm
minding the children."
Are you indeed ? said the Pike.
"And," continued Tony, "whatever I'm to
say when the Cod-fish comes home, I don't
"Well, if you take my advice," said the Pike,
"you won't wait till she comes home. If
you do, she will say you've eaten them, and then
she'll eat you."
"Yes, I'd better go," said Tony; and he
added, I should like to get back to the shore,
but I don't know the way."
Oh! if that's what you want," exclaimed
the Pike, I'll take you straight there. Jump
on my back."
The wicked old fish only meant to play him a
trick, but he said it so seriously, and Tony was so
anxious to get home that he quite believed him,
and jumped on his back, glad to think he had
found so obliging a friend.

" The Pike, all of a sudden, slipped him off backwards" (p. 31).


Away swam the Pike at a rate that took
Tony's breath away. On he went, so far, that at
last the boy thought he must be getting nearly
home, when they suddenly came to the brink of
a most awful precipice. Over they went, and
then down, down, down.
It seemed a vast abyss without a bottom.
Tony was dreadfully frightened; and more
frightened still, when the Pike, all of a sudden,
slipped him off backwards, and swam away
Down sank Tony, for he had now no power
to swim, and he just dropped through the water
like a stone. It seemed to him as though he kept
falling for many hours, deeper and deeper into
those awful depths, but he was really unable to
take any account of time.
At last he reached the ground, and then he
lay for a long time without power to move.
When he was sufficiently recovered to raise him-
self up, he found that it was no longer such an
easy matter for him to swim, but that it was here,
in fact, far less tiring to walk. The water seemed
quite different somehow. It was much clearer
and thinner, and he could see a great deal plainer


than before. He almost felt that he was in a new
world, and so far, far away from the shore,
where he had left Patty and Pearl, that he quite
despaired of ever seeing them again.
He now began to look about him. There
was no sand, but there were a great many rocks,
many of which were covered with the strangest
plants. Some were like long ribbons which kept
winding and unwinding themselves. There were
numbers of creatures in shells, scallops and cow-
ries, and many others, some so large that Tony
could not have .lifted them. There were Cuttle-
fish, too, who walked about on their heads, and a
great many Star-fish of brilliant hues, deep red,
violet, and orange, which twisted themselves about
into the most fantastic shapes. Directly the
latter caught sight of Tony, there seemed to be
quite a commotion among them. They twisted
themselves into queerer shapes than ever, and
on all sides of him he heard their shrill little
voices singing.
" You think we're littlefish because we're living in the
B sea, e sh ow e reaso w .
But you are wrong, and you shall know the reason why.


Although we do not twinkle, each a little star
Who fell into the ocean from the sky.

" We have asked the crabs and lobsters
if they could not take us back,
But they say it is too far for them
to crawl ;
We have asked the sea-birds also,
and the fishes, but, alack!
'It is much too far,' they answer
one and all.

"For years and years we've waited
for a little boy like you,
We were certain you'd be coming
For there's no one else down here who
knows exactly what to do.
Please pick ts up and put
us in the sky."

are we,



Poor Tony felt quite embarrassed at this sin-
gular request of the Star-fish. He would have
been very glad to help them if he had known
how, but he really did not; and as they seemed
to be getting very excited, he thought the best
plan would be to run away-so he did so as fast
as he could. For a long while, however, he heard
their shrill little voices crying to him to come
back, and he could not help feeling sorry that he
was not able to do what they asked him, because
they seemed so very disappointed.
Presently he was astonished to see in the
distance what appeared to be a village of round
He made his way towards them, wondering
very much what sort of people lived there.
When he came quite close to them, how-
ever, he was very puzzled. There was one long
straggling street, and a good many houses scat-
tered about besides. But they were such funny
houses! They did not appear to have any doors
or windows, and were built of some material the
nature of which Tony could not even guess. But
what he was most surprised at was that he saw no
people about. It seemed to be a deserted village.


After he had walked all round several of the
houses without being able to find an entrance, he
went close up to one of them, and shouted as loudly
as he could, Please will you let me in, and give
me something to eat?" But he could make
nobody hear.
And no wonder, for although Tony did not
guess it, they were really enormous bell-shaped
sponges, growing, contrary to the habit of most
of their species, downwards.
He was much disappointed, for besides being
very hungry, he hoped to have found someone
who would be able to tell him the way home.
He did ask some of the creatures he met from
time to time, but they had never heard of the
fishing village, and only laughed at him, as
though he had asked the way to the moon.
He kept walking on, wondering very much
what he had better do. He found something to
eat at last, for he began to taste the various plants
which he saw the creatures round him eating, and
was agreeably surprised to find some of them
very good. But he could find no one to tell him
the way home.
At length it occurred to him that his best plan

would be to try and reach Merman's country, for
he felt sure that there they would be able to tell
him how to get home. So he began at once to
inquire the way. Everyone knew of this coun-
try, but the funny thing was that everyone told
him something different. One said he must go
this way, and another that, so that he became
quite confused.

BY-AND-BY he saw in the distance what he at
first supposed to be a mountain. As he drew
nearer to it, however, it presented the appearance
of an immense heap of stones and shells; but on
coming quite close he was astonished to find
that it was a building, from the highest points of
which rose several turrets and towers. There
were long terraces of loose shells, one above
another, leading up to a large gate which was
wide open. It was in fact an immense palace,
built up entirely of loose materials, not only of
stones and shells, but of coral, and gold, and
ivory, and even pearls and precious stones. All
the treasures of the ocean seemed to have been
gathered together there.
He made his way up to the gate, and walked
through. What a strange place it was! Here
were more terraces leading up to another gate,
wide open like the last. Through this he also
passed, getting higher and higher, and further


into the interior of the great edifice. At last lie
came to a gate that was shut. He was hesitating
whether or not to turn back, when he noticed a
number of comical tiny manikins hurrying hither
and thither, up and down the steps. Some of
them shouted out in shrill little voices, "Why
don't you ring the bell ? "
So he rang the bell, and it made such a
tremendous clanging that he would have run
away in a fright, but the door almost immediately
opened, and a queer little voice cried out, "Come
So Tony walked in. He found himself in a
vast hall-so large indeed that he could scarcely
see across it, or to the roof of it. The walls and
floor consisted entirely of the same loose materials
which he had noticed outside, and it was quite
empty, excepting that in the centre, perched on
the top of a gilt stool, was the funniest little old
man, with a frilled cap on his head, which tied
under the chin. He did not seem able to get off
the stool, or even to turn himself round, but
directly Tony came up to him he said, in a
finikin little voice-
I'm very glad you have come to see me.

wi J

"It was in fact an immense palace (p. 37).



Everybody should come to see
me. I may as well tell you at
once that I am the cleverest man
that ever lived, and I know
Everything ? exclaimed
Tony, rather aghast.
Well, yes, I may say
everything," said the little old
Tony felt very glad indeed
to think that he had found this
wonderful old man.
"Yes, little boy," he con-
tinued, "people think a great
deal of me because I'm so clever.
See what a house they have made
me. I have lived here for
thousands of years, but at first
I had only a heap of cockle
shells to live on. Then every-
body brought me something-
shells, coral, pearls, anything
they had; and that is how, my
house was built. It was all


because I was thought so'much of. And it really
is a wonderful thing to know everything and
always be able to prove that you are right.
For instance, although I have never seen a dog,
or a pig, or a cat, I know all about them. Ask
me any question, and you will see."
"Please, sir, what is a dog like?" said
A dog, little boy, is an animal with a nose
at one end of him and a tail at the other. He
wags his nose when he is pleased, and barks with
his tail."
But, sir-- began Tony.
Now don't contradict me, little boy, but
listen. I happen to know that dogs always wag
their noses, and bark with their tails. Therefore
I'm right, and you're wrong. That's logic."
Tony was puzzled, because he had a dog at
home, and knew that it wagged its tail and did
not bark with it, so that he could not help think-
ing at first that the little old man must have made
a mistake. But what could he say after the sage
had proved to him that he was right?
The old man continued: "It is possible that
you may not be aware of the fact, but I may tell


you that the world is resting on the back of a
I've often wondered what it stood on," said
Tony, and I am very glad to know."
"There are some people nowadays," con-
tinued the oldman, "who explainit differently, but
they are quite wrong. I know it rests on a turtle."
"But howo do you know?" said Tony, with
great admiration.
The little old man smiled again, and presently
said, Well, I will tell you the secret. It is
because my great-grandmother told me."
"And is that how you know everything?"
asked Tony, a little doubtfully.
"Yes," said the sage, "of course it is. I
hope you always pay attention to what your
great-grandmother tells you. But is there any-
thing now that you would like to ask me ? "
"Oh, yes," said the boy eagerly, and he asked
if he could tell him the way home. But directly
he mentioned the name of the village, the little
old man exclaimed, There isn't such a place."
It was of no use Tony protesting that he had
lived there all his life.
I've never heard of it," said the little man,

"therefore there isn't such a place. Besides, I'm
quite sure if there had been, my great-grand-
mother would have mentioned it, so there is
nothing more to be said."
"Please, then, can you tell me the way to
Merman's country? asked Tony.
Certainly I can, my boy. Why, one reason
why I live here is to tell people the way to
Merman's country. It is a very pleasant place
to live in, and I should live there myself if I did
not live here. I am glad you came to me, for I
doubt whether anyone else could have directed
you. It is a dreadfully difficult and dangerous
journey, and though I am afraid you will never
get there, I can tell you the way. You must
know that between that country and this, lie three
great valleys, which are almost'impassable, owing
to the dangers and difficulties which have to be
surmounted in them. The first is buried in such
intense darkness that scarcely anyone can find
their way through it. The second is full of hob-
goblins which frighten everybody back; and in
the third lives a terrible monster who eats up
nearly every living creature who ventures into
the valley."


There isn't any other way, is there?" asked
Tony timidly.
No," said the old man, "if there had been
my great-grandmother would have told me. Now
you had better start. When you leave my house
you must keep straight on till you come to the
Salt Plain. Cross this, and you will then enter
the first of the three valleys."
The little man tinkled a bell, and some mani-
kins appeared.
Show the gentleman out," he said. Then
he nodded his head by way of adieu, and Tony
followed the manikins across the great hall.
When they reached the door, instead of open-
ing it, they all stood in a circle round him,
holding out their tiny hands, and crying, You
mustpay us."
"But I have not any money," said Tony.
"All I have is in my money-box at home."
The manikins seemed at first to be quite at a
loss as to what could be done under these circum-
stances, and looked at each other so solemnly that
Tony could scarcely help laughing.
You ought to have brought your money-box
with you," squeaked one of them.


"You had better go back and fetch it," said
"We really cannot open the door till we've
been paid," said a third.
At last, when they found that Tony really
had nothing to give them, they said, Well, we
cannot let you out at the front door, you will
have to go by the back way."
And so they led him a long way round, till
they came to the rear of the building, and at last
reached the back door. It was a very narrow
one, so narrow that he could only just squeeze
Mind you keep straight on," squeaked the
manikins, as Tony was saying good-bye to them;
" be sure you keep straight on." And then they
slammed the door.

THE boy found himself in an extremely narrow
passage formed by very precipitous rocks. He
followed this road for a long way, and could not
help thinking that the injunction to keep straight
on was quite unnecessary, for there was no possi-
bility of turning to the right or the left.
At last he came out into a vast plain composed
entirely of salt. Hie set out at once to cross this
plain. There were a good many rocks, but they,
like the ground, were formed of salt.. He noticed
numerous caverns, too, in which were a number
of living things, including a great many Sea-
urchins-strange creatures, all over prickles.
Some of the rocks, which had been honeycombed
all over by past generations of urchins, presented
a very curious appearance.
All of a sudden a queer little imp leapt from
behind the rocks, and stood on tip-toe, peering
up at Tony. It was about the size of a small
monkey, with a pinched-up little face, eyes as


sharp as needles, whiskers like a cat, and a coat
that looked like yellow plush.
"You must come and be introduced to the
tribe," he said in a very shrill voice. "Be good
enough to follow me."
Then he walked on before, looking round now
and then to see that Tony was following. They
soon came to a large cavern in the salt rocks,
where the tribe was assembled to the number of
several hundred. The imps immediately formed
a large circle round Tony, apparently for the
convenience of conversation.
"We are glad you are come to live with
us," cried several voices; we are very pleasant
people to live with."
But he hasn't any whiskers cried one of
them, jumping on Tony's knees, the better to
examine his cheeks. I don't know whatever
you'll do without whiskers, because they are so
useful to smell with when you don't want to use
your nose."
"He ought to sing a song! cried another of
"Yes," shouted all of them together, "he
must sing a song "


But Tony, for the life of him, could not think
of anything to sing, and so was much relieved
when a little imp in the background got up and
offered to take his place. This proposition did
not at first meet with general approval, but they
finally agreed, after a great deal of chattering, to
accept the substitute.


A Fish, they say, espied one day
A Sponge upon the spree.
My friend," he said, I pray thee stay,
And let us have some tea."

The little tales that folks repeat,
Of course, are always true,
So you mnay tell to everyone
What I am telling you.

No word the sombrous Sponge he spoke,
But when the tea was brewed,
He said, "I'll have my little joke,
Although you'll think me rude."
cHonus.-The little tales, etc.


"Pray drink, friend Sponge, and come i'go. I'."
I'll take some more," he said.
(Their teapot, I may here explain,
Was just the ocean bed.)
cHonus.-The little tales, etc.

Then spake the Sponge, 'll undertake
To drink more tea than you."
His friend replied, No boast I'll make,
But see what I can do."
CHORUS.-The little tales, etc.

The Fish he drank, and drank, and drank ;
But when i:., said *..... .-.....
The Sponge he'd '7 1:. .7 his little prank,
And drained the ocean dry!


Although the tales that people tell
Are .. 1i always true,
P. 7,,!;. ;,, I.. '7 better not repeat
What I am telling you.

When the song was done they all stood on
their heads and screamed with delight. They


also insisted upon Tony standing on his head, and
screaming as loudly as he could.
Then one of them cried out, "You haven't
told us your name."
Tony is my name," said the boy, but
that's short for Anthony."
"Well, Anthony, you will have to learn all
our names, and there are four hundred and
twenty-three of us. However you'll do it, I don't
know. Your best plan will be to keep saying
them over whenever you are not eating or
"By-the-by," cried out another, "how many
times a day do you have dinner when you are at
home? "
"Why, only once, of course," said Tony.
"Only once !" shrieked the imps. Why,
we have dinner every quarter of an hour, and
oftener than that on birthdays "
"No wonder he hasn't any whiskers cried
And no wonder he can't sing," cried another.
And no wonder he's such a little chap for his
age," shouted a third.
"He'd better have some dinner at once,"
E 2


said another. What will you have, Anthony ?
Jelly-fish broiled, or toasted sponge ? "

"I really could not eat anything just now,"
said Tony.
"Ah screamed one of the imps, "Anthony's
not well-he must have a pill."
Everyone agreeing that this was advisable,
the pill was forthwith produced. It was about the

size of an orange, and all over prickles, and
looked suspiciously like a sea-urchin, Tony
Now you must open your mouth," cried the
And fortunately for Tony, they were so intent
upon getting him to open his mouth, that the pill
embraced the opportunity to walk away. And
then the imps were so anxious to find the pill
again, that Tony was able to slip out of the
cavern without being noticed, which he was very
glad to do, for he wanted to be getting on his


PATTY and Pearl sat on the rocks very patiently
for some time waiting for Tony to come back to
them. By-and-by they began to wonder why
he was so long, and then to fear that something
must have happened to prevent his return.
Pearl was evidently getting very uneasy, and
Patty knew that by this time her parents would
be feeling anxious about her and Tony. She
felt sure that her father would be coming to look
for them if she did not go home soon, and yet how
could she go without Tony?
What shall we do ? she cried at last, while
the tears began to fall very fast.
Pearl did not cry, but she was very sorry for
Patty, and also that she had consented to let
Tony have the seal-skin. She did not fear that
he would be drowned, but she knew that all kinds
of things might happen to prevent his coming
back. At last they both agreed that it would be
best for Patty to go home.


And do you really think that we shall never
see him again? she asked.
"Oh, dear no said Pearl. "Now listen
to me. I will stop here till the morning, but
during the daytime I shall hide in the rocks.
As soon as the moon shines to-morrow night, you
must come to me here; and if Tony has not
returned by that time we will go and find him."
When the moon shone the next night, Patty
came to the spot where she had left Pearl, and
found her waiting there. She cried very much,
for Tony had not come back, and her parents
were in great distress at his disappearance, and
had been searching along the shore all day for
Pearl at once began to explain what she
thought it would be best to do.
It is of no use," she said, to sit here doing
nothing, so we must go and find him. But then
it will be impossible for us to do that without two
seal-skins. And therefore the sooner we set out
to get these the better."
It was a long time before Patty could make
up her mind to go with Pearl, and leave her
parents without even saying good-bye. But


then she thought how happy they would be when
she and Tony came back together, and so she at
length told Pearl that she was ready to go with
They set out along the sea-shore in a northerly
direction, and as they walked along, Pearl told
her that she knew that seal-skins had sometimes
been hidden by her people in secret places on
the sea-coast, and that she hoped they might be
fortunate enough to find some, although she was
afraid it might not be an easy matter.
Sometimes as they went along, Pearl would
stoop down nearly to the ground, especially when
they came to the little pools among the low rocks.
Patty could not think at first why she did this,
but after a while she found out that she was
listening to what the little crabs said, for of
course she could understand their language.
And she explained to Patty that she was anxious
to find out from them if any of her people had
been seen on the coast lately. But she could not
hear that they had.
They walked a long way, but did not come
to any houses, for it was in the far north, and
there were no more fishing villages for very many

"' It's a Pixie,' whispered Pearl" (p. 59).


miles. The shore became very wild and rocky,
and the cliffs steep and rugged, and even Patty,
who was accustomed to the wild northern scenery,
could not help thinking that it all looked, in the
moonlight, very weird and awful.
By-and-by they sat down to rest, and Patty
was just beginning to fall asleep, when Pearl
caught her arm and pointed to a rugged projection
of rock quite close to them. On the top of this
was seated a queer-looking little creature, like a
very small child, with the face of a squirrel, and
feet like those of a goat. She was dressed in a
little cloak and tiny red cap.
It's a Pixie," whispered Pearl, and perhaps
she will help us."
In another moment the little creature had
sprang to the ground and come up close to the
Is there anything I can do to help you? "
she said; "if so, do not hesitate to tell me."
Pearl explained that they were very anxious
to find some seal-skins.
It is most fortunate that you have met with
me," said the Pixie. Many years ago some of
your people left several seal-skins with my grand-


mother to take care of, and never came back for
them. She hid them in a cave, and I am the only
living being now who knows where they are."
How fortunate that we have met you! ex-
claimed both the children.
Well, you must follow me," said the Pixie;
and she led them for some little distance under
the cliffs, and presently they came to an opening
in the rocks through which they passed, and
found themselves in a large cave.
"Now," said the Pixie, turning round, "I
must explain. There is a passage leading from
this cave to the secret hiding-place, but it is
haunted by evil Pixies, and I shall not be able
to take you very far without giving them some-
thing to allow us to pass. What can you let me
have first?" said the little creature, eying them
all over.
"I think perhaps that would do," she added,
indicating that she meant Patty's cap.
Patty did not at all like the idea of parting
with'her cap, but Pearl pointed out that it would
be of no use to her in the sea when they got their
seal-skins, so she gave it to the Pixie, who, after
disappearing for a few minutes, returned without


the cap, and then led the way through an
opening at the far end of the cave, into a passage
or tunnel in the rocks. It was very narrow,
but of considerable height.
Along this they walked for some distance,
when the Pixie again turned round and said,
" Now I shall want something more, please."
This time Pearl gave up a coral necklace
which she wore, and the Pixie disappeared as
before for a few minutes.
Then they took a turn to the right and set
off again. For the most part the passage was
quite dark, but now and then a little light was
shed from narrow openings in the rock far above
them. Before long the Pixie stopped again and
asked for something more. And this she did so
many 'times that, at last, they had given up to
her everything they could possibly spare. And
then she said she must cut off Patty's hair. Patty
was very unwilling to let her do this, but the
Pixie said-
"We have now almost reached the secret
cave. I shall not have to ask you for anything
else, and it would be a pity to turn back without
the seal-skins." And so she allowed her to cut


it off, for they were very anxious to get the
Soon they came to a large cave which had a

narrow opening at the top, like a very long
chimney, and through which a tiny streak of


moonlight came. Directly they entered this cave
the Pixie disappeared up the opening, and by-
and-by they could hear her laughing at the
top. Some more Pixies seemed to join her there,
and the children could hear them all chuckling
together. After a time the laughter died away,
and then they began to feel sure that they had
been cheated by one of the wicked Pixies.
They were dreadfully disappointed, and sat
down on the ground for a long time quite in
despair, but they saw no more of the Pixie.
"We must find our way back to the sea-
shore," said Pearl at last. And so they began to
retrace their steps. But they soon found this to
be quite hopeless. They had passed, in coming,
a great many cross passages, and so before long
they completely lost their way. They wandered
on and on, having no idea in what direction they
were going, till they came to another cave, which
like the last was dimly lighted from above by a
glimmering of moonlight.
They were much surprised to find here, on a
ledge of rock, some oat cakes and several jars
containing what they supposed to be water.
It was possible, they thought, that the food


had been placed there by good Pixies for people
who had lost their way, and as they were very
hungry they sat down and ate the cakes. Then

Patty tilted one of the jars to drink some water,
but the moment the liquid had touched her lips
she dropped it, and spluttered very much, for it
burnt her mouth.
At this moment they heard a tramping,


sounding at first a long way off, and coming
gradually nearer. They were very frightened,
and hid themselves in a dark corner. As the
tramping came nearer and nearer, their hearts
beat very fast, and they felt- almost afraid to
Presently the glimmering moonlight showed
the terrified girls that a party of rough-looking
men, laden with packages, had entered the cave.
They put their burdens down on-the floor, and
almost immediately afterwards one of them
stumbled over the jar which Patty had dropped,
and which had really contained some strong spirit
which the men had left there.
They were very angry to find that it was all
spilt, and from what they said the children
gathered that they supposed it to be the Pixies
who had been playing them a trick.
Pixies or Nixies," cried one of the men, who
seemed to be in a great rage, "I'll wring their
necks if I catch them."

BY-AND-BY the men lay down on the floor, and
it was soon evident by their snoring that they
wereall asleep. The girls, however, were far too
terrified to stir, but before they had time to think
much about what would be best for them to do,
two Pixies appeared in the cave. They approached
the girls, grimacing, and pointing to the men.
Then they came quite close, and whispered in
Patty's ear, Who broke the jar? Who's going
to have her neck wrung? "
They then got behind her and pinched her so
hard that she could scarcely help screaming, but
she knew that if she did she would wake the
Then they pulled Pearl's ears, and bit the tips
of her fingers. And when they found that they
could not make either of them cry out, they said,
" We will pinch the men and wake them up, and
then we shall see who will have their necks
wrung !"


But just at this moment several more Pixies
appeared, upon which the others scampered away
as fast as they could. The children perceived at
once that these had more human faces than the
others, and they rightly guessed that they were
some of the good sort.
They beckoned to the girls to get up and
follow them, which they did as noiselessly as
possible, for fear of waking the men.
When they were safely out of the cave,
which was really the hiding-place of a band of
smugglers, they told their new friends how they
had been served by the wicked Pixies, and asked
them if they could help them to get some seal-
They said: "Your best plan will be to go
straight to the Seals' country. There is a road
through these rocks which will take you there
in about twelve days. We will show you the
Then the good Pixies led them into another
and wider passage, and said, "You must follow
this road, and take every seventh turning to the
right. And we will give you this little ring.
When you see a wicked Pixie, you must look at


her through it with one eye, and say three times,
distinctly, and without taking breath-

"'Hixie, Pixie, think of ime,
Six thick thistle sticks I see.'
If you are able to do this, she will fall asleep for
twelve hours."
For many days the children kept walking on,
always taking the seventh turning to the right.
They often met with good Pixies, who gave them
food to eat, and whenever the wicked ones
appeared, they looked at them with one eye
through the ring, and said, without taking
Hixie, Pixie, think of me,
Six thick thistle sticks I see;"
and then they always fell down fast asleep.
But, at last, one day when a wicked Pixie
had suddenly sprung into their path, Patty was
in such a hurry to look through the ring and
repeat the words, that she was quite unable to
pronounce them distinctly. She began something
"Hiskie, Pishkie !"
and then she stopped and stared helplessly


through the ring. She did manage, at last, to
get out-
"Thix sick sistle thicks,"
but that was all.
Oh, how the Pixies did laugh at her! Pearl
seized the ring, but could not get the words out
any better than Patty.
Then some more Pixies came, and laughed
very much, and in a few minutes so great a
number had appeared that the girls were quite
surrounded by them. There were so many of
them, in fact, that, little as they were, they were
able to quite overpower the children. They took
away the ring, and succeeded in fastening their
hands behind them.
Then they led them a long way till they came
to a very large cavern. Here there was an
immense number of Pixies, for it was where they
lived. There was such a laughing and chattering
going on that Patty and Pearl were quite
bewildered. The Pixies untied their hands and
said, "Now you will have to work for us. You
must clean up, and cook the dinner, and see to
the children, and anything else you are wanted
to do. You had better clean up first."


They gave Patty a little wisp of straw for a
brush, and an oyster shell for a dustpan, and told
her to sweep up the floor. And then they handed

'V ~ -
IC /7;
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L 1.
1;1' ~:I':I!
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Pearl what looked
like a mulberry leaf,
and said she must
wipe the walls down.
They worked
away for a long time,
while the Pixies
grumbled very much
at them for getting
on so slowly. At
last they said, "Now
it's time to cook the
dinner, so you must
get up early in. the
morning and finish
cleaning." They
brought in a great
number of little fish

no bigger than minnows, and said the girls must
scale and clean every one of them.
Then they dragged in a big sack full of what
they called sand-shrimps, to be boiled. But


when the girls emptied them out they all ran
away, over the floor and up the walls. The
Pixies were very angry, and said they must catch
them all again. Not one of them, however,
offered to help, and the sand-shrimps ran so fast,
and jumped out of the pot again so often, that
when dinner-time came they had only captured
about half-a-dozen, and scarcely begun to prepare
the little fish.
In fact the poor girls had no rest from
morning to night, for the Pixies grumbled and
scolded all day, and would hardly let them have
anything to eat. In the evening there were all
the children, more than a hundred of them, to
wash, to put to bed, and sing to sleep. What a
business that was, to be sure! As fast as one
went to sleep, another woke up, and if their
backs were turned for a moment, twenty or thirty
of them would jump out of bed and hide, and
sometimes they all cried and screamed together.
They were, in fact, the most disagreeable children
one could possibly have to do with. They were
always whining, crying, or quarrelling.
One day, when the girls were dusting down
the walls, they came upon the following verses


scratched on the rock, but by whom written
there was nothing to show, though attempts had
evidently been made to efface the writing.


A Fay one day,
She came this way
To visit Pixie land :
She said there was
A I1.: or two
She did not understand.

Will you," said she,
Explain to me,
What makes you whine and cry?"
"How can we,
When we scarcely ever
Know the reason why?'

With much to make you happy,
A discontented lot?"
"Because there is
So much besides'
We want, and yet have not."


Again, you snap
And snarl call 1I,,
And tease and quarrel too "
Well, yes, of course,
But that's because
We've nothing else to do."

Then said the F', ,
"I'll say good-day,
Because it's very plain,
-That they
Who happily would live,
Must not with you remain."

Patty and Pearl could not help feeling how
rejoiced they would be to say Good-day" to
them, like the Fay, and be off. And they were
indeed always on the look-out for a chance to
make their escape.
The Pixies very often went out, leaving the
girls behind, but when they did this, they always
fastened the door of the cave so securely that
they could not possibly get away.
One day, after they had been a long time in
the cave, the Pixies went out, and a few who


remained at home began, as usual, to torment
and laugh at the girls. One of them, who was
sitting on a ledge of rock far out of reach, to
tease them, held up the ring so that they might
see it.
It suddenly occurred to Patty that very
possibly it did not matter who .held the ring for
the charm to work. So she quietly waited till
she caught sight of the Pixie through it, and then
repeated the rhyme three times.
She had no sooner done this than the Pixie
fell down to the ground fast asleep. Patty
instantly seized the ring, and as soon as any of
the other Pixies came near her, she looked at
them through it, repeating the words, and they,
one after another, tumbled down asleep till they
lay in a little heap on the floor.
Then she and Pearl placed themselves behind
the door of the cave. By-and-by some of
the other Pixies came home. They had no
sooner entered than they also tumbled down
on the floor asleep, for the girls looked at
them all through the ring and repeated the
They stood at the door all day, and the heap


of sleeping Pixies grew bigger and bigger, till
they had all come home, and were all fast asleep.
Then the girls made haste and ran out of
the cave, and soon left it a long way behind

WHEN Tony escaped from the Imps' cavern he
ran as fast as he could, and had already gone a
considerable distance before he stopped to look
behind him.. As he could then see nothing of
the imps, he resumed his journey more leisurely.
After a time the country grew very wild and
rocky, and mountains of red crag rose up on
either side. It gradually became more and more
gloomy, so that he felt sure that he was getting
near to the dark valley.
Here he was greatly surprised at overtaking
an old woman and. a little boy. The woman was
wrinkled, white-haired, and bent, and looked so
very, very old that Tony at first thought she
must be the little old man's great-grandmother.
He soon found that they, like himself, were
journeying to Merman's country. They had
also been told of the three valleys, and were very
fearful that they would not succeed in passing
through them. Tony was glad to be allowed to


travel with them, although he did not think the
old woman particularly pleasant.
They now seemed to be descending lower
and lower, until it became so gloomy that they

.. ---=

could scarcely see at all. Still darker and darker
it grew, till at last it was quite impossible to
distinguish any object, however near. Their
courage by this time was sorely tried; the little
boy, indeed, who was one of those foolish
children who are afraid of the dark, even in their


own beds at home, would have turned back and
run away, had he not been dragged on by the
old woman, who was his grandmother.
The darkness had now, in fact, become so
intense that they felt completely lost, and it was
impossible to tell whether they were keeping
straight on or walking round and round.
By-and-by a murmuring sound reached their
ears, which they soon found to be voices talking,
and very croaky little voices they were; but
although they now came quite close to them, it
was impossible to discover what sort of creatures
they belonged to. So they called out, "Please
can you tell us the way out of this valley?
We want to go to Merman's country."
But the creatures, whoever they were, only
laughed. So Tony shouted out again, We are
quite lost in the darkness, and do not know
which way to go."
"Well, what does that matter?" cried the
voices. "It does not matter where you are so
long as you're happy."
"But we are not happy," replied the old
woman; "and we want to go to Merman's


What's the use of going to Merman's country
when you can live here and be happy ? We are
But it's so dark," said Tony; we cannot
see anything.`"
"What do you. want to see anything for?"
retorted the voices. It's much best not to see.
It's just because we can't see that we're happy.
If there are nasty things about, it doesn't matter,
because we can't see them; and for the same
reason we can pretend that there are as many
nice things as we like. You may depend upon
it the only way to be happy and comfortable is
to live in a dark place like this."
As they found it was of no use to talk to the
invisible creatures, they began to move on.
They soon became aware, however, that they
were following them, but .they left off chattering
and began to sing, the chorus being taken up
on all sides.

If as blithe yoa'd be cs wue,
And are i.. i. 7., for c spree,
Through our ... 7. darlk and sombre, you swhidd roam.


And before you go ,,, ,.',,
We are certain you will say,
" What a pleasant place is this to make one's home "

If you ever go away,
We are certain you will say,
" What a pleasant place was that to make one's home "

Oh, isn't it a lark
To be always in the dark,
Where you cannot tell a foeman from a friend;
Where mistakes you cannot see,
And that we're all we ,,l,.it to be,
You have nothing else to do but to pretend.

No, you will not go away,
For we're certain you will say,
"In this pleasant place I wish my days to end."

The creatures continued to follow them for a
long way, but after a time they grew tired of
singing, and left them.
What dreadful work it was groping their way
in the terrible darkness! Sometimes they knocked


themselves against the rocks, and at others got
entangled in the long clinging weeds.
Once, when they were lying down on the
ground to rest, Tony was just dropping off into
a doze, and beginning to dream that he was back
on the sea-shore, and that Patty and Pearl were
very glad to see him, when he suddenly started
up with a cry.
The fact was that something had crept down
the back of his neck, and felt very uncomfortable.
He succeeded, however, in finding it, and it
turned out to be a small fish like an eel.
Tony held it in his hand, uncertain for the
moment what to do with it.
"Kill it," said the old woman. "Nasty
thing, it is very likely venomous."
I beg your pardon," said the little eel, in
its own language, which of course they were able
to understand, but I never bite, and I do assure
you that it was quite accidentally that I disturbed
the little boy. He was lying on the top of my
house, and I swam down his back by mistake."
"Kill it," said the old woman impatiently;
" it's only telling stories."
But Tony could not help remembering how


glad he was to escape from the great crab, and
besides, he was really a kind-hearted boy, so he
threw the little eel away into the darkness, un-
harmed. The old woman called him a stupid
boy, but he felt glad that he had not killed the
little creature, for it had really done him no
After this, they had been groping about in
the dark for what seemed to them a very long
time, and they were almost tired out and quite
in despair, when Tony found that a little voice
which he fancied he had heard before, was
whispering close to his ear, and then something
cold and slippery touched his face.
"I'm the little eel," said the voice, that you
did not kill; perhaps I can help you."
"We want. to get out of this dark valley,"
said Tony eagerly; but he did not quite see how
the little creature would be likely to help them.
I think," said the eel, I may be able to
assist you, if you will follow me."
"Follow a nasty little reptile!" exclaimed
the old woman who heard what was said, "indeed
I will not! "
SI'm not a reptile, ma'am," said the eel,


"I'm a fish. Not a very large one, to be sure,
but sometimes little people can help big ones."
You are not likely to be able to help me,"
retorted the old woman, and I believe you're
telling stories."
Tony was very undecided for some time what
to do. He thought the old woman was unreason-
ably prejudiced, and he could not help feeling
himself disposed to follow the little eel. At last,
after hesitating for a long while, he decided to
leave the old woman, which he was really not
sorry to do, for she was very disagreeable.
The tiny fish swam just in front of him, and
he was presently equally astonished and delighted
to find it throw out from the extremity of its
body a bright gleam of light, of the same nature
as that of the glow-worm, only more powerful,
and quite sufficient to illumine the water all
round them for some distance. It was one of
those curious phosphorescent creatures which
inhabit the lowest depths of the sea, -and are able,
like the glow-worm on land, to shed at will, this
beautiful light around them.
There," said the little eel, now we shall
get on better. I do not think you will regret


having followed me. In a dark world like this
people who have not lamps in their own tails

must not be above following those who have, even
if they are only little eels."
The tiny creature now explained to Tony that


somewhere about the centre of the valley was the
entrance to a road beneath the ground, which
would lead him out of this valley into the next
one. -It told him that when once found, he would
have no difficulty in following it, for it was
illuminated by the same kind of light as that
which he possessed. "We must now," it con-
tinued, "endeavour to discover the entrance to
this road."
Long and patiently did they search, with the
aid of the little lamp, and they were at length
rewarded by the discovery of the following in-
scription, carved over the entrance to a passage
in the rocks-
To the Road of Light.
Here the little eel, after assuring Tony that
he would now no longer require his assistance,
swam away.

TONY at once entered the passage. It led him
down beneath the ground, with many twisting
and turnings, but at last he found himself in a
blaze of light.
Before him was a wide road stretching
through a forest of great plants, giant sea-weeds,
cacti, and fern trees, the under surface of the
leaves of all of which emitted the most beautiful
phosphorescent light. There were also many
plants like mushrooms, the heads of which from
the under surface shone with the same light.
To and fro, among the foliage, there passed
numbers of living creatures, most of whom, like
the little eel, carried their own lamps; while the
ground was covered with the finest grass, every
blade of which added another gleam to the
dazzling illumination.
As Tony walked along, he passed objects more
and more strange and beautiful. In many places
the thick foliage was tangled together and hung


in great festoons. There were crystalline rocks
too, covered with lovely luminous moss, and in

which were caves, the walls of which sparkled and
gleamed with the most gorgeous tints.
Sometimes he caught sight of the strange
creatures which inhabited them; sea-mice, cov-
ered with bristles and gorgeously coloured with
ever-changing hues; enormous beetles too, as big


as himself, with eyes like balls of fire, and of
which he was at first very much frightened.
There were numbers of smaller ones also,
as well as little scorpions and crabs, many of
which seemed to be very busy writing in the
insides of small shells, with which the ground
was strewn.
There were a great many tiny moles too, who
burrowed in the ground, and turned up little hills
of sand that glistened like diamond dust.
After Tony had followed this road for a con-
siderable distance, he noticed that the plants and
animals which emitted the light, became fewer
and fewer, so that the illumination grew less
brilliant, till at length there was very little light
at all, and the road began to widen out into what
he rightly guessed was the Valley of Goblins.
Here he found himself in a kind of twilight.
What a cold weird place it seemed Poor Tony
could not help a very uncomfortable feeling
creeping over him. High mountains towered on
all sides, whose summits he could just distinguish
in the gloomy light, and which cast long shadows
across the valley. Great jagged masses of rock
were scattered about on all sides, and, had it not


been for a sort of rough highway that traversed
the valley, it would have been almost impassable.


No graceful plants or seaweeds grew here, but
the most grotesque and extraordinary shrubs, like
monkey trees. On the long straggling arms of



these were to be seen enormous sea-spiders, weav-
ing their webs, with which to catch the creatures
on which they fed.
Tony had hardly entered this place when he
was terrified by a loud mocking laugh, which
seemed to come from the mountains, and echo
again and again on all sides of the valley, and
which ended in a great wail that might have been
heard for many miles. He stood still, and felt
very much as though he would like to run away.
However, after a time the laughing and wailing
ceased, but he heard many other queer sounds.
He had proceeded some little distance along
the high road, and was just beginning to think
that he was getting on tolerably well, when he
was startled by a loud hissing sound, and on
looking up, he beheld before him, barring the
way, a frightful goblin.
The poor boy was terribly frightened, and
ran back along the road, the goblin following him
for some distance before it disappeared. Not
for a considerable time could he summon up
courage to start again, and then he had gone but
a very short way, before a number of queer little
urchins with long ears, and wings like bats, made

" Only shadows which had no possible power to harm him" (p. 94).

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