The Widow Pickle asked the stranger to allow her to examine the Banjo, and he did so willingly. About this time, the Twins, Lulu and Zuzu, ran into the room; and very soon they were leaning at their mother’s knee, with their chins in their hands, ready to listen to the music. At first, the stranger did not look at them intently, but when he did so he started back with an exclamation of surprise. At that moment, also, something strange seemed to happen in the Banjo. The Widow Pickle looked down at it suddenly. She felt the strings move beneath her fingers. At this, she arose and almost flung the instrument upon the table. To her great surprise, it began playing gaily and cheerfully, just as well, and, indeed, perhaps better, than it would have done had it been operated by the Widow Pickle herself. The song which the Banjo sang was something like this:
MALAZITE BLUE AND CORAZINE GREEN O, Malazite Blue and Corazine Green! Such wonderful colors I never have seen, Except, in the sky At a million miles high Is the Malazite Blue for delighting the eye. And Corazine Green is splendidly fair When tinting the ringlets and curls of your hair— It comes, if you please, From the leaves of the trees When they are made bright by the brush of the breeze. Oh, barrels and barrels of Malazite Blue, And barrels of Corazine Green, it is true Are used every year Just to keep the sky clear And to tint all the leaves when they have to appear.
“Well, I never heard anything in the world like that,” said the Widow Pickle. “An Enchanted Banjo, that can play by itself! Surely, this house is haunted, my children, since your poor father died! But what a situation for a lone widow to be in here in a great city, with blue- and green-haired Twins, an utter stranger, and an Enchanted Banjo, which plays by itself, and sings about the peculiar hair of my dear Twins! I always said that your poor dear father, although good, was not a practical man.”
She looked at the Banjo as it lay upon the table. To her great surprise, she saw it take itself apart before her eyes. It lay there in two pieces, the neck quite apart from the head. Of course, in that position it ceased playing, and, indeed, one could have expected nothing else, for even an Enchanted Banjo can not play when it is in two pieces.