“Good Queen,” said Zuzu to the Fairy Monarch Zulena, when the Bumblebee Express had finally brought them back again to the Fairy city of Almalena, “there is something which perhaps you have forgotten, or which at least you have not mentioned for some time.”
“And pray what is that?” asked the Fairy Queen.
“Why, we have all of us quite forgotten the poor King, who has lost his shadow.”
“Indeed, I have not,” said the Queen Zulena; “but, as I have told you, I can only show you where the Wicked Fairy lives who took the shadow. As that is something belonging to the country of the Island, I have only partial power over it. If I should seize upon this shadow and take it to the palace, there is no one there whom it would fit; and as to taking it up the Golden Ladder myself, that is quite out of the question. If I did that I should be called a very forward Queen indeed; so upon the whole I hardly know what to do about it, except to take you upon a visit to the home of the Wicked Fairy Gobo.”
“If it be true that the Wicked Fairy has also taken the White Cricket,” said Lulu, “then the King can not telephone you any more.”
“That is true!” said the Fairy Queen; and to their great surprise she broke out weeping, the first time that any such thing had ever happened in all her life. “I have not heard from the King for many days,” she said; “and now I know that he can never telephone me again, because certainly the White Cricket which I gave him has been taken away by this Wicked Fairy.”
“But,” said Lulu, who also wept at seeing the good Queen in trouble, “why can we not find this Wicked Fairy and ask whether he has these things? Perhaps we can get them back again. I could carry the White Cricket in my pocket, and Zuzu could carry the shadow, if it were not too large, and so we could manage in some way to get back up the Golden Ladder, even if your Majesty could not send us in the Bumblebee Express.”
“Could you do that, my dears?” said the Fairy Queen, “would you be so good as to do these kind things for me?”
“Certainly,” said Lulu, “we should be glad to. We do not want to go away from you, for this is the loveliest place we have ever seen in all our lives, but mamma will be anxious about us before long; and since you, too, would like the poor King to have back his shadow again, perhaps you would not mind if we go back for a time. We will come again whenever you telephone and ask us to do so; for you must know that we have thrones near the King, and he tells us everything he does. We should like you to get us past the Dragon, for we might not be able to get off the Dragon’s leg so easily the next time; and if we did not, there might be all sorts of trouble.”
“But what shall I do without you, my dears?” said the Fairy Queen. “I wanted you to join my dear little pages, Fofo and Fifi, at my throne; then I should have had four pages—two boys and two girls—and with the most beautiful hair in all the world. I love you so much, my dears, that I can not bear to have you go away.”
“In my opinion,” said Zuzu thoughtfully, “the best way would be for you and the King to make some sort of arrangement about the Dragon and the Golden Ladder. In that case it might be easy to turn the two kingdoms into one. And what is the use of having two thrones, one here and one there, if one will do quite as well?”
As she heard these words the face of the Fairy Queen was wreathed in smiles. “How I love you, my dear boy!” said she. “But, alas!” she added with a sigh, “that is impossible, I fear. Although I can give wishes to others outside my kingdom, when I wish anything for myself outside my kingdom, I have no power.”
“But,” cried Lulu gleefully, “here are our two Wishing Wands, given us by the King, and each of them has a wish left unwished. Will not these two wishes be enough? See, we shall wish just as you wish, because you have been so good to us.”
“Ah! my children,” said the Fairy Queen, trembling with eagerness, “be careful what you say. Pray do not wish for anything until I have had time to think! Tell me, my dears, when you are back in the country of the King whence you came hither, will you then wish the wish which I wish also?”
“Truly we will!” they both said in reply.
“Then I will whisper it to you,” said the Fairy Queen; “but you must not tell any one until you have reached the palace of the King, and then you may wish it out plain and strong; and I pray all the Fairies that obey me to help that wish to come true, for in that case I myself would always be very happy and contented.”
So then the Fairy Queen Zulena bent over and whispered in their ears the wish that was in her heart.
“Now then,” said Zuzu, “let us go to the mountain of the Wicked Fairy and find the King’s shadow.”
“Very good,” said the Queen, “that is excellent wisdom, and we shall all start at once.” So once again they stepped into the Fairy coach, and the good Queen told the coachman to drive beyond the forest to the mountain where dwelt Gobo, the Wicked Fairy.
The driver cracked his whip, the golden harness rattled and tinkled, and the wheels of the dainty coach began to whir as the steady buzz of the bumblebees in flight began.