The three now sat in a row and were not unhappy, for their hearts felt very light. At last the Banjo said: “My young friends, it is not true that I am a Fairy, although I have told you that I was born in Fairy-land and that my parents were good Fairies as well. Now, I did not like to say much to you before this time, although the truth is that had you not taken me with you to the Fairy Valley, I could not have gone there at all.”
“How, then, did you come to leave the Valley of the Fairies?” asked Lulu.
“Once, long ago,” replied the Enchanted Banjo, “I was taken up to earth by a Black Fairy and left hanging upon a tree, where I was found by the King of Gee-Whiz, and later given to his Private Secretary, who always had to make music every day for his Majesty. There was no way in which I could escape, and, indeed, I was always treated kindly, as you know. Now, I will try to see whether I have forgotten all the speech of the Fairy Valley. I need not say that it is fortunate that you brought me along, because, certainly, if you came through the act of a bad Fairy, you would not be welcome in the Valley, and there is no telling what might happen were I not there. But now, if you will put me together once more and press very lightly upon the strings, I will try to talk in what is known as the Diamond language, very small and bright and clear and precious; because that is the way the voice of a Fairy sounds, as nearly as any one can describe it.”
So now they put the two pieces of the Banjo together again very gently and pressed very lightly upon the strings, and very softly the Banjo began to play as they had never heard it play before; and, indeed, its voice did sound like a diamond or some other precious stone, as nearly as they could describe it.
THE BUMBLEBEE EXPRESS
Ho! The Bumblebee Express! How it buzzes through the air Till before you even guess Where you are, why, you are there! Stopping at the hollyhocks For a load of honey freight; At the sweet pea and the phlox Where the other shipments wait. Then away, away it goes! With a zip and zum and zoom With a halt beside the rose And a stop at Clover Bloom. Hurry, Fred and Tom and Bess Don't you want to take a ride On the Bumblebee Express To the orchard's other side? Will it hold you? Goodness, yes But you can not have a seat In the Bumblebee Express If you are not good and sweet.
Hardly had the last note of this Fairy summons died away, when there came a soft, whirring sound below them.
“Look!” cried Lulu. They peered over the edge of the room in the rock far down along the Golden Ladder; and there, approaching them rapidly, they saw a bright light. A faint click came along the Ladder, as one may sometimes hear the rails click when a railway train is far away. Rapidly this light grew more distinct, and almost at once, with a whizz and a whir about as loud as ordinarily may be heard across a room, but which in that place sounded very much louder, there drew up at the edge of the chamber a strange and wonderful little coach, such as perhaps no Twins in the world ever saw before.
It was made of a walnut shell for a body, although the shell was traced with lines of silver and gold. It had a canopy over the top, made of such gossamer as blows upon the air of evenings. Within it were two seats, each as large as a silver dime, and there was another seat or high box for the coachman. The coachman was a small blue grasshopper, who sat very erect and straight upon his seat and drove with wonderful skill, holding tight to the lines, which were made of single strands of silk. The most wonderful of all was the team which drew this little Fairy coach, for such at once they saw it was. Its horses were nothing in the world but great golden bumblebees, with black and yellow bodies, with fuzzy legs and large, bright, dark eyes, which shone so clearly that no other lamps were needed for the coach. Indeed, it had been their eyes which the Twins saw as they leaned over the edge; and it was their strange, steady buzzing which had made the noise they heard—a very busy and pleasant sound when bumblebees are going as fast as these had been. They panted a little as the coachman pulled them up and drove slowly into the little room in the rocky wall where the Twins were sitting. The latter looked at the Fairy coach with delight, for it was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen in all their lives. At first they did not know whether there was any one about the coach but the driver, but now there stepped down a footman, about as large as a green house-fly and much resembling one. With a deep bow, he swung open the door in the side of the coach as though inviting the Twins to enter. As he did this, the driver tightened up his reins and the golden harness of the bumblebee horses jingled and jangled and tinkled as they began to toss their heads and champ at their bits, eager to start.
“Dear me,” said Lulu, “isn’t this the sweetest little coach in all the world? How fine it must be to be a Fairy and ride in such a coach as this!”
“What is this, Banjo,” asked Zuzu, “and where has it come from?”
“You must be an extraordinarily ignorant person,” said the Enchanted Banjo, “not to recognize Queen Zulena’s own private coach, the Bumblebee Express. But why do you wait? Why don’t you get into the coach? You see the footman is waiting for you.”
“Get in?” said Zuzu. “Why, how could we?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Lulu. “It is not big enough for a kitten, let alone Twins of our age.”
“You are quite mistaken,” said the Enchanted Banjo. “Her Majesty, the good Queen Zulena, has sent for you. Do not try to understand everything in the world, for you are still young and there are many things which you do not know. So do as I say and step in at once.”
To their great surprise, they stepped through the door with perfect ease and found there was plenty of room and to spare upon the seats.
While they were settling themselves for the ride the Enchanted Banjo sang:
HOW THE FAIRIES SING
You can hear the Fairies sing Just as plain as anything, If you wait Till the breeze at twilight blows Breaths of perfume from the rose At the gate. Then it is you may hear words Sweeter than the songs of birds, Fair and fine, Soft and sweet and low and clear— No such words as yours, my dear, Nor as mine. But the speech they use is quaint, Whispery, and very faint, Yet it swells As it drifts, now high, now low, Borne in echoes to and fro Like to bells. Once you hear the speech of them You will know each word a gem New and bright, For it seems to sway and shake As the jewels do that break Into light.