Nobody can tell how far the Twins went down the Golden Ladder before they dared to stop. It may have been an hour or two hours before they began to get so tired that it seemed they could go no further, no matter what might happen. They looked up at the Ladder down which they had come, and, to their great surprise, they could no longer see the top of it; the sides of the rocky walls seemed to come together above them, just as they still did below them. It seemed to them that they were in the middle of the world. They did not dare to try to climb back again, for they were too tired. They also feared to go any further down, because that took them further away from their mother and from the only sort of world which they had ever known. As they realized the situation into which their eagerness had brought them, they both began to cry.
This was a very sad situation for the Twins, but it shows how very hard it always is to get into the secret places where the Fairies live. If it is not hard in one way, it always is in another. Just at this time, however, help came to Zuzu and Lulu in a way which they did not expect. The Enchanted Banjo began to play a tune of a very cheerful sort, which ran something like the following words, as nearly as can be told:
THE JEALOUS JUMPING JACK
There was a Jealous Jumping Jack That told the other Toys: "None of you has my clever knack— You're only good for noise." The Humming Top, the Horn, the Drum, The Bell, and Talking Doll, He told: "You screech and clang and hum— You can not jump at all!" They looked at him in great surprise And did not answer back, And then great rage began to rise Within the Jumping Jack. "Now, look at me!" he cried, and humped, And pulled his legs 'way down, Then gave a spring and madly jumped Away, out of Toytown. The Horn blew loud, the Red Top hummed, The Talking Doll called: "Stop!" The Bell rang, and the gay Drum drummed, But still he would not drop. The Jumping Jack jumped on and on Although for him they yearned; They know not where 'tis he has gone— He never has returned. They say—but I don't think it's true— That little girls and boys Sometimes grow rudely jealous, too, As do some foolish Toys.
Zuzu and Lulu were very much encouraged at hearing the Banjo once more, and so they dried their tears.
“Cheer up, my young friends,” said the Banjo, “and look about you. To me it seems very strange that Twins with Royal Hereditary Hair should not be able to see the resting-place cut here in the rock.”
Zuzu and Lulu both looked about them, and there, in the face of the rocky wall along which the Golden Ladder hung suspended, they saw a little room or cave, and to this there led from the Ladder a sort of platform made up of rungs or rounds. Very quickly they stepped over this short horizontal ladder and sat down in the shade of the chamber into which they stepped.
“Dear me,” said Lulu, “my arms are tired. I don’t believe I could have carried this basket another minute.”
“And my feet,” said Zuzu, “are nearly cut in two by the rounds of the Ladder. This Dragon’s leg is very heavy, and, now that I think of it, I don’t see why I carried it at all, for when one stops to reason it out, there seems very little use in the wooden leg of a Dragon for any one but the Dragon itself. Let us leave it here and take it up when we go back.”
“That would be a sensible thing,” said Lulu. “I think it also would be very sensible if we ate our lunch now, for then the basket would be much lighter.”
They ate their lunch, which tasted very good, as they were hungry after their long climb.
“Now,” said Zuzu, “let us ask the Enchanted Banjo to play for us again, and perhaps that will make our hearts lighter also, and then we shall certainly climb very easily.”
So now they placed the two pieces of the Banjo together again and it began to play for them a lively air, which had in it some strange things which they had not hitherto heard.
HOW THE BIRDS LEARN TO SING
Once on a time, long, long ago I went to singing-school Where all the wee birds in a row Learned to obey each rule; The teacher was a Parrot wise For he alone could talk— He flapped his wings and blinked his eyes And scolded at the Hawk. And the Crow and the Wren And the little Fat Hen And the Sparrow and Thrush and Jay Were taught how the notes Should come from their throats In quite the particular way. The Parrot taught the Dove to coo, The little Chicks to cheep, The Owl to screech and sing "Too whoo!" The Whippoorwill to weep; He taught the Lark to run the scales And trill with great delight; He had a class of Baby Quails That whistled at "bob-white!" And the Hen learned to "cluck;" "Quack-quack" sang the Duck; Till the Parrot at last called "Hush!" And the echoes all rang, When the Bobolink sang, A duet with the little Brown Thrush. Now when I hear the Robin's song, Or Humming Bird's soft note, Or hear a carol sweet and strong From the Canary's throat, I smile, and sometimes beat the time For very well I know How each one learned his music's chime While standing in a row. When the Crow and the Wren And the little Fat Hen And the Sparrow and Thrush and Jay Were taught how the notes Must come from their throats In quite the particular way.