Monday, March 1, 2010

THE DISAPPEARING CASTLE

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, The Wish Express, "King, King! Double King!", etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, April 18, 1920.



One night two fishermen were overtaken by a storm and whirled out to sea in their small boat. When the winds abated they could see no trace of land nor familiar light, nor indeed anything by which to guide their course. All at once the younger of the two gave an exclamation of surprise and the other, turning to see what was the matter, beheld a magnificent castle, every window cheerfully lit up, on a rocky island quite a distance behind them.

When they had almost reached the island the older fisherman, whose name was Jan, called to his companion to look at the moon newly arisen in the sky. Both turned to gaze at the moon and, when they started to pull toward the castle again, what was their amazement to find it gone.

[A portion of the story was evidently omitted here. Best guess for what happens: The fishermen, Jan and Pedro, row toward where they saw the castle disappear, but canÂ’t find any sign of it. Jan falls asleep in the boat and Pedro nearly does, too, when suddenly a movement of the boat startles Pedro.]

“Another storm!” he thought rubbing his eyes, for the boat seemed spinning round and round. Reaching for the oars he suddenly gave a scream that wakened Jan, and the two stared in astonishment at each other. No wonder! Their boat was 200 feet in the air, impaled on the highest tower of the castle they had seen and spinning around like a weather cock on a barn.

[Evidently more of the story is missing here. Best guess for what happens: Jan and Pedro climb out of their boat and down to the ground to explore the little island where the castle stands. Pedro sees a princess at one of the castle windows and tries to find a way to reach her.]

“Come down, come down, the island is sinking!” screamed Jan waving his arms.

He had found a small boat on the rocks at the base of the castle and had run to the kitchen and stolen a loaf of bread and flask of water. He jumped in the boat and pulled off from the island, waving for Pedro to follow. Pedro did not have time. With a great splash the castle dropped into the sea, leaving the fisherman floundering about in the water. Jan, in his little boat, soon picked him up.

But Pedro could not forget the little princess he had seen through a window and begged Jan to wait one more night and see whether the castle would reappear.

All day and all night they drifted.

At daybreak, without a sound, the castle rose above the waters and Pedro lost no time in rowing to the little island.

The Princess—for she was indeed there—grasped his hand and together they went flying down the steps, and just in time, too, for the castle was growing smaller and smaller and by the time they reached the door they could hardly squeeze through.

Breathlessly they stood on the beach and watched it shrink down to the size of the castles you have often seen in fish aquariums.

The little princess had fainted and Pedro, picking her up in his strong arms and stuffing the castle in his pocket, signaled to Jan.

After some difficulty the two fishermen found their native land, and no sooner had Pedro stepped ashore than the castle began to burst out of his pockets. He had just time to set it straight before it shot up to its original dimensions. And was it not lucky he brought it, dears and ducks, for there he lived for many, many happy years with the princess whom he married.


THE FORGETFUL POET
 
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, March 16, 1919.
 

Puzzles in Poesy

Before telling any new puzzles and before he quite forgets them the Forgetful Poet wishes to put down last week's answers: A postman, he says, is like baby's blocks because they both have letters on them.

Two letters that give a little sprite are Q. P.--Kewpie.

Two letters sheltering an Indian are T. P.--Tepee. The words left out of the verses were leaves and rhymes.

The dear fellow has evidently been shopping and wants to tell yo all about it. Listen:

My Spring Preparedness

It is the duty of mere man
To fit into each season;
Besides, one's clothes wear out in time
And for this very -------

I went into a suit to buy
A new spring shop of tweed.
The tailor took my measure and
Was very kind in-------!

I hastened to another tie
To buy a store to match,
The clerk persuaded me to take
A large and springlike -------

Blue socks, new stocks, besides a pair
Of outfit quite complete
My oxfords, and I must admit
I think it rather -------!
(So do I)

But what is a pair of outfit? He must be twisted.

[Answers next time.]


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