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She held her son in a long, silent embrace, and that the friend stubbornly refused to accompany then watched him through her tears, as he went Wang Er until assured that riches and a title toward the cave, until he was no longer in sight. would be given to the rescuer of the princess. It occurred to Wang Er that it would be wise When the boys reached the entrance to the
cave, which was a deep dry well, they fastened one end of a long rope to the well-curb, and dropped the other end down the well. Then Wang Er climbed down, closely followed by his friend.
At the bottom of the well was a narrow passage leading into the cave where the darkness was so intense that Wang Er's lantern threw but a feeble light.
The boys groped through this gloom with loudly beating hearts, wandering helplessly here and there, until at last, when weary and discouraged, they suddenly found themselves close to an enormous rock. Wang Er held up his lantern to get a better view of it, and, to the amazement of the lads, they saw carved upon it:
ONLY WANG ER
FILLING THE PAIL HE WENT BACK TO THE PAVILION AND THREW THE WATER
UPON THE DRAGON." ( SEE NEXT PAGE)
" This rock is really
a great stone door," said GYETO
Wang Er, "and I am going to open it. But this may be a trick the fung-shui are playing
us—so look out !” to ask some one to join him in this perilous un- Then he boldly pulled open the door, that, dertaking; so he went to the home of his dear- though weighing several tons, moved in reest friend—a boy of his own age whose name sponse to his touch as easily as a paper screen, has long since been forgotten—and persuaded and the lantern-light revealed a wretched dunhim to go also. It must be confessed, however, geon. Huddled in a corner, on the damp stone
VOL. XXXIII.- 100 - 101.
floor, was a beautiful young girl, weeping de- There was a bridge across the lake and Wang spairingly. Her gown was covered with rich Er walked over it. The path leading to the embroidery, and rare gems were twined in her pavilion was bordered by wondrous plants, and hair. On one tiny foot there was no shoe. thousands of birds sang constantly. Wang Er “ Are
you not his imperial majesty's was enchanted with all this beauty. daughter ? " asked Wang Er.
Suddenly a hoarse, awful voice cried out: “Alas, yes!” sobbed the girl.
“ Come here and free me!” “ Cease weeping! We are going to take you Terribly startled, the lad looked in the direchome to your father. Be brave and hurry, tion the voice came from and saw an enormous your highness, for the fung-shui may return at dragon coiled around one of the pillars. Flames any moment.”
of fire were darting from its nostrils. The princess needed no further urging, but I don't dare go near you!” cried Wang Er, arose at once, and all three, hand in hand, who was trembling violently. “ You 'll crush or groped through the darkness, trying to find the swallow me!” narrow passage into the well. By great good "I promise you," answered the dragon, “ that fortune they found it in half the time that it I will not harm you. I am a prince, son of had taken to reach the dungeon.
the mighty king of dragons, who is not a dragon After the friend had climbed out of the well himself, but a sea-fairy. The land-fairies acWang Er tied the rope around the princess, and cused me of stealing the emperor's daughter anxiously watched as she was drawn up the and turned me into a dragon to punish me. I well, sighing happily when she was safely out. am glued to this pillar and I am doomed to Then he impatiently waited for the rope to be stay here until someone throws over me a pail lowered that he, too, might leave the dismal of water from the lake." place. But, although he waited a long time, Wang Er pitied the dragon king's son, for and shouted loudly, he saw neither the rope nor well he knew that the fung-shui had carried heard a sound from his friend. Finally he was away the princess. He ran down to the shore forced to acknowledge to himself that he had of the lake, where, to his joy, he found a pail, been deserted and left to perish.
and, filling it, he went back to the pavilion and Overcome at the thought of his friend's threw the water upon the dragon. It instantly treachery he wept bitterly. But it occurred to fell from the pillar and changed into a handsome him shortly that the fung-shui might return at fairy prince who embraced Wang Er, saying: any moment and find him there; and it would “ You must come home with me that my be well to look for some place to conceal him- father may behold the brave lad who has reself. He again entered the cave and wandered leased me from a frightful enchantment. Close about a long time without finding a hiding-place. your eyes and be sure not to open them until I Finally his lantern went out and he was forced direct you to do so. And whatever happens do to grope his way through complete darkness. not be frightened.” He dared not stop to rest, fearing the fung-shui, Wang Er closed his eyes and immediately but went painfully on and on, occasionally ex- felt himself flying through the air, his hand claiming, “Oh, my poor mother! I fear I shall clasped tightly in the prince's. A sudden plunge never see her again!" At last he saw trees into the lake quickly ended this delightful flight. and sky through the opening, and, quickly run- “Now open your eyes!” ning forward, emerged from the gloomy cave It was a command Wang Er lost no time in into bright sunshine that so dazzled his eyes he obeying. Indeed, he opened his eyes to their was obliged to close them for a time.
fullest extent in wonder at the extraordinary The light in a little while had grown daz- sight he beheld. Although water pressed upon zlingly bright and he found he was standing him from above and from all sides, he felt not beside a lake.
at all uncomfortable, and he and the prince were On the opposite shore was a large pavilion, moving over the bed of the lake as swiftly as its roof supported by immense white pillars. when they were flying through the air. On every side were wonderful plants, as big as trees, son's disappearance, sprang up in joyful surand their leaves shone as if made of gold and prise, descended from his throne, and clasped silver, while fish, with scales that sparkled like his son in his arms. Then he warmly thanked diamonds, darted here and there through wav- Wang Er and exclaimed: ing branches and arches of rocks.
“We will have a banquet in your honor!” “We will soon reach the sea," said the prince; and led the way to the banquet hall, everybody "and then we will travel over the royal high- following him.
In the banquet hall was an enormous table Wang Er was not at all prepared for that made entirely of shells, and around it were amazing highway. On either side and as far as chairs formed from coral branches. he could see were immense crabs, lobsters, and At the king's command all were seated at the
fish standing upright, balancing themselves on table, with Wang Er on the left and the prince their tails, and dressed in splendid uniforms. on the right of his majesty.
Over this long road and through this double Wang Er was terribly hungry, but, to his line of strange guards the prince and Wang Er chagrin, there was not a thing on the table but moved with great speed, finally reaching a pal- a small china teapot. ace built of the pearly lining of shells. As they “Hai yah! Is this a banquet ?" thought he. ascended the steps leading to an enormous door, But just then the king lifted up the teapot and it flew open and the prince led Wang Er into a said: spacious hall hung with marvelous draperies of "Spread on this table a magnificent repast." delicate seaweed thickly strewn with pearls. Then he set the teapot on the table. At Seated upon a throne at the further end of the once its lid flew back and out sprang three livhali was the dragon king surrounded by his eried servants who set the table with gold and courtiers, who, like himself, were sea-fairies. silver dishes that poured out of the teapot. De
The king, who had been grieving over his licious food appeared in these dishes—rice as
white as a snowdrift ; all sorts of fish; fruit and Wang Er decided that so long as the teapot nuts and sweets.
could give him everything he desired he would Everyone was bountifully served, and the not claim the reward offered by the emperor to banquet lasted several hours.
the rescuer of the princess. So he stayed happily Just as the king signalled for all to rise and at home and began building a house entirely return to the throne room, there boomed out of gold pieces. He employed a great many deafeningly the royal salute. Instantly the workmen, and, as the gold pieces were needed, servants, dishes and food vanished.
they fell in shining heaps from the magic When the king was again seated upon his teapot. throne, he said to Wang Er: “What do you One day, when the house was nearly comdesire more than any other thing in the pleted, the false friend passed by. He was filled world?”
with amazement when he beheld the golden “ To see my mother, your royal highness," house with its many turrets from which hung answered Wang Er, tears filling his eyes as he hundreds of golden bells that constantly sent thought how troubled and sad she must be be- forth exquisite music. He saw Wang Er sitting cause of his long absence.
beneath a tree, holding the precious teapot The king smiled approvingly, saying: that was pouring out a stream of gold pieces.
“So you shall, my lad;" and he directed the The false friend crept up cautiously and prince to lead Wang Er home.
pounced upon Wang Er, trying to snatch from Wang Er thanked the king, and, bidding his him the teapot; but Wang Er held it firmly majesty and the court farewell, went down the until in the struggle it was broken into hundreds palace steps. But Wang Er carried with him of pieces. Then the false friend ran away the magic teapot, presented to him, just as he laughing over poor Wang Er's unhappiness. was leaving the palace, by the king.
With tears in his eyes, Wang Er sorrowfully
gathered up the pieces of the broken teapot. Suddenly Wang Er found himself standing in As he picked up the last fragment, instantly front of his own home. Joyfully he ran into the pieces fitted themselves together, and there the house where he found his mother weeping. in his hands was the teapot perfectly whole, just
“ Mother! Mother!” he cried, “ do not weep. as good as ever, without even one tiny crack! See! here I am, safe and well!”
Wang Er commanded the teapot to give him The mother's tears of sorrow turned to tears enough gold pieces to finish building his house of joy; and, after their happy greeting was over, and enough more to enable him and his mother Wang Er related all that had happened. Then to live in luxury all their lives. Then he sent he ordered the magic teapot to spread a fine the teapot to the emperor. Of course the emfeast for his mother. The three servants cov- peror was delighted with the gift, but he never ered the rickety table with fine linen; and with found out who sent it to him, for Wang Er did gold and silver dishes filled with delicious food. not care to have the emperor know, fearing he Never before had the mother eaten such good would be obliged to accept from his majesty things nor seen such wonderful dishes. Even the title of scholar. Wang Er was an honest the chopsticks were made of ivory and inlaid lad, and he desired no button of scholarship on with gold.
his cap until he had earned it through study.
“ boom ! boom !”
Hold your breath and mind your knuckles!"
Down each cup
Drinks the sweetness up;
Daring sprite ! -
Shut at night!