The Magician’s Daughter, Part 2
When the gnome and ghost were going back home, said the gnome, they met a pigwidgeon, who had been sent from the castle a day or two before on a long errand. He, of course, wanted to know where the gnome and the ghost were going; but when he heard their story, he said nothing, but kept on his way.
When he reached the castle, he found that all the beer had been made, and that the busy workers had just brought out the various pots and jars into the court-yard to cool. The pigwidgeon took a sniff or two at the strange stuff in some of the jars, and then he told about the gnome and the ghost running away. When he mentioned the reason of their sudden departure, the whole assemblage stood and looked at each other in dismay.
“I never thought of that,” said a tall giant; “but it’s just what will happen. We shall have to taste those mixtures, and I should n’t wonder a bit if half of them turned out to be poison. I’m going!”
And so saying, he clapped on his hat, and made one step right over the court-yard wall. In an instant, every giant, genie, dwarf, fairy, gnome, afrit, elf, and the rest of them, followed him out of the gate or over the wall, and swarming down the hill, they disappeared toward all quarters of the compass.
All but one young hobgoblin. He had a faithful heart, and he would not desert his mistress. He stayed behind, and in the morning, when she came down, he told her what had happened.
” And they have all deserted me,” she said, sadly, ” but you.”
The hobgoblin bowed his head. His head was a great deal too large, and his legs and arms were dangly, but he had an honest face.
” Perhaps they were wise,” she said, looking into the pots and jars. ” It might have killed them. But they were cowards to run away, instead of telling me about it; and I shall make you Ruler of the Household, because you are the only faithful one.”
The hobgoblin was overwhelmed with gratitude, and could scarcely say a word.
” But I can never get along without any of them,” said Fila- mina. ” We must go and look for them; some may not be far away. We will lock the gate and take the key. May I call you Hob?”
The hobgoblin said she certainly might, if she’d like it.
“Well, then, Hob,” said she, “you must go and get a chair, for we can’t reach the big lock from the ground.” So Hob ran and got a chair, and brought it outside. They pulled the gate shut, and, standing on the chair, and both using all their force, they turned the big key, which the hobgoblin then took out, and carried, as they both walked away.
” You ought to be careful of the key,” said Filamina, ” for, if you lose it, we shall not be able to get back. Have you a pocket?”
” Not one big enough,” said the hobgoblin: ” but you might slip it down my back. It would be safe there.”
So Filamina took the key and slipped it down his back. It was so big that it reached along the whole of his spine, and it was very cold; but he said never a word.
They soon came to the cottage of the wizard, and there they stopped, to ask if anything had been seen of the runaways. The witch and the wizard received them very politely, and said that they had seen a gnome and a ghost, but no others. Then Filamina told how her whole household, with the exception of the faithful hobgoblin, had gone off and deserted her; and, when she had finished her story, the witch had become very much excited. Drawing her husband to one side, she said to him:
“Engage our visitors in conversation for a time. I will be back directly.”
So saying, she went into a little back-room, jumped out of the window, and ran as fast as she could to the castle.
“Just to think of it!” she said to herself, as she hurried along. “That whole castle empty! Not a creature in it! Such a chance will never happen again! I can rummage among all the wonderful treasures of the old magician. I shall learn more than I ever knew in my life!”
In the meantime, the wizard, who was a very kindly person, talked to Filamina and the hobgoblin about the wonders of Nature, and told them of his travels in various parts of the earth, all of which interested Filamina very much; and, as the hobgoblin was ever faithful to his mistress, he became just as much interested as he could be.
When the witch reached the castle, she was surprised to find the great gate locked. She had never thought of that. ” I didn’t see either of them have the key,” she said to herself, “and it is too big to put in anybody’s pocket. Perhaps they ‘ve hidden under the step.”
So she got down on her knees, and groped about under the great stone before the gate. But she found no key. Then she saw the chair which had been left by the gate.
“Oho!” she cried. “That’s it! They put the key on the ledge over the gate, and had the chair to stand on!”
She then quickly set the chair before the gate and stood up on it. But she could not yet reach the ledge, so she got up on the back. She could now barely put her hands over the ledge, and while she was feeling for the key, the chair toppled and fell over, leaving her hanging by her hands. She was afraid to drop, for she thought she would hurt herself, and so she hung, kicking and calling for help.
lust then, there came up a hippogriff, who had become penitent and determined to return to his duty. He was amazed to see the witch hanging in front of the gate, and ran up to her.
“Aha!” he cried. “Trying to climb into our castle, are you? You ‘re a pretty one!”
“Oh, Mr. Hippogriff,” said the witch, “I can explain it all to you, if I can only get down. Please put that chair under me. I’ll do anything for you, if you will.”
The hippogriff reflected. What could she do for him? Then he thought that perhaps she knew how to make good root-beer. So he said he would help her down if she would tell him how to make root-beer. ‘
” Never!” she cried. ” I am going to get the reward fcr ‘hat myself. Anything but that!”
“Nothing but that will suit me,” said the hippogriff, “and if you don’t choose to tell me, I’ll leave you hanging there until the giants and the afrits come back, and then you will see what you will get.”
This frightened the witch very much, and in a few moments she told the hippogriff that, if he would stretch up his long neck, she would whisper the secret in his ear. So he stretched up his neck, and she told him the secret.
As soon as he had heard it, he put the chair under her, and she got down, and ran home as fast as she could go. She reached the cottage none too soon, for the wizard was finding it very hard to keep on engaging his visitors in conversation. Filamina now rose to go, but the witch asked her to stay a little longer.
” I suppose you know all about your good father’s business,” said she, ” now that you are carrying it on alone?”
“No,” said Filamina, “I don’t understand it very well; but I try to do the best that I can.”
“What you ought to do,” said the witch, “is to try to find one or two persons who understand the profession of magic, and have been, perhaps, carrying it on, in a small way, themselves. Then they could do all the necessary magical work, and you would be relieved of the trouble and worry.”
” That would be very nice,” said Filamina, ” if I could find such persons.”
Just then a splendid idea came into the head of the hobgoblin. Leaning toward his mistress, he whispered, ” How would these two do?”
” Good!” said Filamina, and turning to the worthy couple, she said, “Would you be willing to take the situation, and come to the castle to live?”
The witch and the wizard both said that they would be perfectly willing to do so. They would shut up their cottage, and come with her immediately, if that would please her. Filamina thought that would suit exactly, and so the cottage was shut up, and the four walked up to the castle, the witch assuring Filamina that she and her husband would find out where the runaways were, as soon as they could get to work with the magical instruments.
When they reached the gate, and Filamina pulled the key from the hobgoblin’s back, the witch opened her eyes very wide.
“If I had known that,” she said to herself, “I need not have lost the reward.”
All now entered the castle, and the penitent hippogriff, who had been lying in a shadow of the wall, quietly followed them.
The wizard and the witch went immediately into the Dim-lit Vault, and began with great delight to examine the magical instruments. In a short time the wizard came hurrying to call Filamina.
” Here,” he said, when he had brought her into the room, “is a myth-summoner. With this, you can bring back all your servants. You see these rows of keys, of so many colors. Some are for fairies, some for giants, some for genii, and there are some for each kind of creature. Strike them, and you will see what will happen.”
Filamina immediately sat down before the key-board of this strange machine, and ran her fingers along the rows of keys. In a moment, from all directions, through the air, and over the earth, came giants, fairies, afrits, genii, dwarfs, gnomes, and all the rest of them. They did not wish to come, but there was nothing for them but instant obedience when the magic keys were struck which summoned them.
They collected in the court-yard, and Filamina stood in the door-way and surveyed them.
” Don’t you all feel ashamed of yourselves ?” she said.
No one answered, but all hung their heads. Some of the giants, great awkward fellows, blushed a little, and even the ghost seemed ill at ease.
” You need n’t be afraid of the beer now,” she said, ” I am going to have it all thrown away; and you need n’t have been afraid of it before. If any of you had been taken sick, we would have stopped the tasting. As you all deserted me, except this good hobgoblin, I make him Ruler of the Household, and you are to obey him. Do you understand that?”
All bowed their heads, and she left them to their own reflections.
“The next time they run away,” said the faithful Hob, “you can bring them back before they go.”
In a day or two, the messengers which Filamina had sent out to look for the lost rubies, and the lost lover, to inquire into the reason why the general lost his battles, and to try and find out how horseshoes could be changed into gold, returned and made their reports. They had not been recalled by the myth-summoner, because their special business, in some magical manner, disconnected them from the machine.
The gnomes who had been sent to look for the rubies, reported that they had searched everywhere, but could not find two quarts of rubies, the size of cherries. They thought the merchant must have made a mistake, and that he should have said currants. The dwarfs, who had endeavored to make gold out of horseshoes, simply stated that they could not do it; they had tried every possible method. The genie who had gone to find out why the general always lost his battles reported that his army was so much smaller and weaker than those of the neighboring countries that it was impossible for him to make a good fight ; and the fairies who had searched for the lost lover said that there were very few persons, indeed, who answered to the description given by the beautiful damsel, and these were all married and settled.
Filamina, with the witch and the wizard, carefully considered these reports, and determined upon the answers to be given to the applicants when they returned.
The next day, there rode into the court-yard of the castle a high-born boy. He was somewhat startled by the strange creatures he saw around him, but he was a brave fellow, and kept steadily on until he reached the castle door, where he dismounted and entered. He was very much disappointed when he heard that the great magician was dead, for he came to consult him on an important matter.
When he saw Filamina, he told her his story. He was the son of a prince, but his father and mother had been dead for some time. Many of the people of the principality to which he was heir urged him to take his seat upon the throne, because they had been so long without a regular ruler; while another large party thought it would be much wiser for him to continue his education until he was grown up, when he would be well prepared to enter upon the duties of his high position. He had been talked to a great deal by the leaders of each of these parties, and, not being able to make up his mind as to what he should do, he had come here for advice.