The Box Wood

Even so, Kabumpo was not fast enough, and as the immense black charger
with its tail and mane curling like smoke, its fiery nostrils flashing
flames a foot long, came galloping upon them, Randy flung himself face
down on the ground to escape its burning breath. The most terrifying
thing about the black steed was the complete silentness of its coming.
Its metal-shod feet struck the earth without making a sound, giving
Kabumpo such a sense of unreality he could not believe it was true, nor
move another step. In consequence, as the enormous animal swirled to
a halt before him, a dozen darting flames from its nostrils set fire to
the load of hay on his back, enveloping him in a hot and exceedingly
dangerous bonfire.

Now thoroughly aroused, Kabumpo leapt this way and that, and Randy,
unmindful of his own danger, jumped up and tried to beat out the
fire with his cloak. But the hay blazed and crackled and the Elegant
Elephant would certainly have been roasted like a potato, had he not
reared up on his hind legs and let the whole burning burden slide
from his back. Scorched and infuriated, his royal robes burned and
blackened, Kabumpo backed into a handy brook and sat down, from which
position he glared with positive hatred at his prancing adversary. But
a complete change had come over this strange and unbelievable steed;
his nostrils no longer spurted flames and as Randy plumped down beside
Kabumpo, deciding this was the safest spot for both of them, the lordly
creature dropped to its knees and touched its forehead three times to
the earth.

“Away, away! You big meddlesome menace!” panted the Elegant Elephant,
throwing up his trunk. “Begone, you good-for-nothing hay burner!”

“But, Kabumpo,” pleaded Randy, as the horse, paying no attention to the
Elegant Elephant’s angry screeches, began throwing little puffs of red
smoke into the air, “he’s trying to give us a message. LOOK!”

“Hail and salutations!” The words floated out smoothly and ranged
themselves in a neat line. “I hereby acknowledge you as my master! I
can flash fire from the eye, the nose and the mouth; but you–you flash
fire from the whole body! Hail and salutations from Thun, the Thunder
Colt. Yonder rests my Mistress Planetty, Princess of Anuther Planet!
Who are you, great-and-much-to-be-envied spurter of fire?”

“Sky writing!” gasped Randy. “Oh, Kabumpo, how’re we going to
answer? He did not hear your scolding. I don’t believe he can hear
at all. Fire spurter! Ho, ho! And HOW are you going to keep up that
reputation?”

“I’m not!” grunted Kabumpo, but in a much less savage voice, for he was
almost completely won over by the Thunder Colt’s flattery. “Hmmm-hhh,
let me see, now, couldn’t we signal to the silly brute? There he stands
looking up in the air for an answer.”

“Well,” Randy said, “with your trunk and my arms we could form any
number of letters, so–”

“This is Kabumpo, Elegant Elephant of Oz. I am Randy, King of Regalia.”

With infinite pains and patience the two spelled out the message.
Puzzled at first, then seeming to understand, Thun’s clear yellow eyes
snapped and twinkled with interest. Tossing his smoky mane, he puffed a
single word into the air. “Come!” Then away he flashed at his noiseless
gallop.

“Shall we?” cried Randy, jumping out of the creek, for he was curious
to know more about the Thunder Colt and to meet the Princess of Anuther
Planet. “Are you cooled off? Did the water put you out?”

“Oh, I’m put out all right,” grumbled Kabumpo, lurching up the bank.
“Very put out and in splendid shape to meet a Princess, I must say.”

“Come on, you don’t look so bad,” urged Randy, tugging impatiently at
his tusk, while Kabumpo himself endeavored to wring the water out of
his robe with his trunk. “Even without any trappings or jewels at all,
you’d stand out in any company. There’s nobody bigger or handsomer than
you, Kabumpo! Know it?”

“HAH!” The Elegant Elephant let go his robe and gave Randy a quick
embrace. “Then what are we waiting for, little Braggerwagger?”

Tossing the young monarch lightly over his shoulder, the Elegant
Elephant started after the Thunder Colt, moving almost as smoothly and
silently as Thun himself. Without one look behind, Thun had disappeared
into a green forest, and how cool and delicious it seemed to Randy
and Kabumpo after the dry desert lands they had been traversing.
Flashing in and out between the tall trees, the Thunder Colt led them
to an ancient oak, set by itself in a little clearing. Here, leaning
thoughtfully against the bole of the tree, stood the little Princess of
Anuther Planet.

Kabumpo, recognizing royalty at once when he saw it, lifted his trunk
in a grave and dignified salute. Randy bowed, but in such a daze of
surprise and admiration he scarcely knew he was bowing. The small
figure under the oak was strange and beautiful beyond description,
giving an impression both of strength and delicacy. Planetty was
fashioned of tiny meshed links, fine as the chain mail worn by medieval
knights, of a metal that resembled silver, but which at the same time
was iridescent and sparkling as glass. Yet the Princess of Anuther
Planet was live and soft as Randy’s own flesh-and-bone self. Her eyes
were clear and yellow like Thun’s; her hair, a cascade of gossamer
net, sprayed out over her shoulders and fell half-way to her feet.
Planetty’s garments, trim and shaped to her figure, were of some
veil-like net, and, floating from her shoulders, was a cloak of larger
meshed metal thread almost like a fisherman’s net.

“Highnesses, Highness! Oh, very high Highnesses!” Prancing lightly
before her, Thun puffed his announcement importantly into the air.
“Here you see Kabumpty, Nelegant Nelephant of Noz, and Sandy, King of
Segalia.”

“Oh, my goodness! He has us all mixed up,” worried Randy in a whispered
aside to Kabumpo, whose ears had gone straight back at the dreadful
name Thun had fastened upon him.

“Never mind, I too am mixed up. Everything down here is too perfectly
lettling.”

“Oh, you can speak?” Leaning forward, Randy gazed delightedly down at
the little metal maiden. He had been afraid at first she would use the
same sky-writing talk as Thun.

“But surely,” smiled Planetty, each word striking the air with the
distinctness of a silver bell, so that Randy was almost as interested
in the tune as in the sense. “Only the creature folk on Anuther Planet
are without power of speech or sound making. They must go soft and
silently. That is the lenith law.”

“And a good law, too,” observed Kabumpo, looking resentfully up at the
Thunder Colt’s fading message. “Permit me to introduce myself again.
Your Highness, I am Kabumpo, Elegant Elephant of Oz, and this is Randy,
King of Regalia, which is also in Oz.”

“Oz?” marveled Planetty, lifting her spear-like silver staff, whose
tip, ending in three metal links, fascinated Randy. “Is this, then,
the Planet of Oz? And what are those, and these, and this?” In rapid
succession the little Princess touched a cluster of violets growing
round the base of the oak, a moss-covered rock and the tall tree itself.

“Why, flowers, rocks and a tree,” laughed Randy. “Surely you must have
flowers, trees and rocks on Anuther Planet.”

“No, no, nothing like this–all these colors and shapes. Everything on
my planet is flat and greyling.” The metal maiden raised her hands, as
she searched for the right words to explain Anuther Planet. “It is all
so different with us,” she confessed, dropping her arms to her side.
“Yonder, we have zonitors; not trees, but tall shafts of metal to which
we fasten our nets when we sleep or rest. Underfoot we have network of
various sizes and thicknesses with here and there sprays of vanadium.
In our vanadium springs we freshen and renew ourselves, and without
them we stiffen and cease to move.”

With one finger pressed to his forehead, Randy tried to visualize
Planetty’s strange greyling world, but Kabumpo, ever more practical,
inquired sharply:

“And how often must you refresh and renew yourselves, Princess?”

“Every sonestor in the earling,” answered the Princess with a bright
nod.

Thun, tiring of a conversation he could not hear, had cantered off to
investigate a rabbit, and Randy, sliding to the ground, came over to
stand nearer to this strange little Princess.

“Kabumpo and I do not understand all those words,” he told her gently.
“‘Sonestor–earling’–what do they mean?”

“Why, a sonestor,” trilled Planetty, throwing back her head and showing
all of her tiny silver teeth, “is one dark, one light, one dark, one
light, one dark, one light, one dark, one light, one dark, one light,
one dark, one light, one dark, one light, and earling is when you waken
from ret.”

“Help!” shuddered Kabumpo shaking his ears as if he had a bee in them.

“I know what she means,” crowed Randy, snapping his fingers gleefully.
“A sonestor on Anuther Planet is the same as a week here; all those
lights and darks are days, and earling is the morning and ret is rest!”

“Then, do you realize,” worried Kabumpo, as Planetty looked
questioningly from one to the other, “that if this little lady and her
colt are separated from their vanadium springs for a week, they will
become stiff, motionless statues? And that–” the Elegant Elephant
looked the pretty little Princess first up and then down. “That would
be a great pity! We must help them back to Anuther Planet as soon as we
can, my boy.”

“Yes, yes, that is what you must do,” Planetty clapped her small
silvery hands and blew a kiss to the elephant. “If Thun had just not
jumped on that thunderbolt!”

“Jumped on a thunderbolt, did he?” A reluctant admiration crept into
Kabumpo’s voice. The Princess nodded so emphatically her long, lovely
hair danced and shimmered round her face like a cloud shot with
starlight.

“You see,” she went on gravely, “we were on our way to a zorodell.”
Kabumpo and Randy exchanged startled glances, but, realizing there
would be many odd words in Planetty’s language, did not interrupt her.
“And half-way there,” continued Planetty calmly, “a dreadful storm
overtook us. A bright flash of lightning frightened Thun, and though
I signaled for him to stop, he sprang right up on a huge glowing
thunderbolt that had fallen across the netway, and it fell and fell and
fell–bringing us to where we now are.”

“Well, that’s one way of going places,” commented Kabumpo, swinging his
trunk from side to side.

“But how can we find Anuther Planet when none of us fly?” demanded
Randy anxiously. “It must be miles above this country, for think how
fast and far thunderbolts fall when they fall.”

“Now you’ve forgotten the Red Jinn,” boomed Kabumpo, winking meaningly
at the young King, for at Randy’s words the little Princess had covered
her face with her hands and three yellow jewels had trickled through
her fingers. “Jinnicky can help Planetty and Thun go any place they
wish,” insisted Kabumpo in his loud challenging bass. “Come, Princess,
summon your fire-breathing steed, and we will travel on to the most
powerful wizard in Ev.”

“Ev? Wizard? Oh, how gay it all sounds.” Planetty’s voice rang out
merrily as Christmas bells. With a lively skip she tapped her staff
three times on the ground, and Thun, though out of sight, came
instantly bounding back to his little mistress. Vaulting easily upon
his back, the Princess of Anuther Planet lifted her staff, and Kabumpo,
picking up Randy, started away like a whole conquering army.

“Is there any way you can signal to your mount to trot ahead?” inquired
Kabumpo, looking down sideways at the Thunder Colt, whose breath was
blowing hot and uncomfortable against his side. “Let Thun be the
vanguard,” he suggested craftily. “When I trumpet once, turn him left;
at two, turn right; at three, he must halt.”

“Oh, fine,” approved Planetty, tapping out the message with her heel on
the Thunder Colt’s flank. “That will be simply delishicus.”

Thun evidently agreed with her, for, tossing his smoky mane, he
cantered to a position just ahead of the Elegant Elephant, at which
Kabumpo heaved a huge sigh of relief. He did not wish to hurt Thun’s
feelings, neither did he wish to catch fire again.

“Here travel Thun, the Thunder Colt, Planetty, Princess of Anuther
Planet; Kabumpty of Noz; and Slandy, King of Segalia! Give way, all ye
comers and goers, and arouse me not, for I am a seething mass of molten
metal!”

“Is he really?” marveled Randy, gazing up at the fiery message floating
like a banner over their heads. Planetty nodded absently, her interest
so taken up with the wild flowers below, the blue sky above, and the
wide-armed, lacy-leafed trees of this ancient forest she could not bear
to turn her head for fear of missing something. On her own far-away
metal planet, skies were grey and leaden, and the various levels of
slate and silver strata arranged in stiff and net-like patterns. The
gay colors of this bright new world simply delighted her, and Randy and
Kabumpo she considered beings of rare and singular beauty. The word
she used to herself when she thought of them was “netiful,” which is
Anuther way of saying beautiful.

“A wonder that high-talking Thomas couldn’t get a name straight once
in a while!” complained Kabumpo out of one corner of his mouth, as
Thun’s sentence spiraled away in thin pink smoke.

“Oh, what difference does it make?” laughed Randy. “I think ‘Kabumpty’
is real cute.”

“CUTE!” raged the Elegant Elephant with such a fierce blast Planetty
promptly turned Thun to the left.

“Now see what you’ve done,” snickered Randy, giving Kabumpo’s ear a
mischievous tweak. “They think you want them to go left.”

“As a matter of fact, I do,” snapped Kabumpo grumpily. “We must go east
through Ix and then north to Ev.”

“Puzzling and more puzzling,” murmured Planetty, looking round at the
Elegant Elephant. “Where are all these curious places, Bumpo dear? I
thought all the time we were in Noz. Did you not tell us you were the
Big Bumpo of Noz?”

Randy peered rather anxiously over Kabumpo’s ear to see how he was
taking this second nickname, but he need not have worried. The “dear
Bumpo,” spoken in the metal maid’s ringing tones, fell like a charm
on Kabumpo’s ruffled feelings. And, fairly oozing complacency and
importance, he began to explain his own and Randy’s real names and
countries, hoping Planetty would straighten them out in her own head,
if not in Thun’s.

“You are right,” he started off sonorously. “Randy and I both live in
the Land of Oz, a great oblong country entirely surrounded by a desert
of burning sand. But in Oz there are many, many Kingdoms: first of all,
the four large realms, the Gilliken Country of the North, the Quadling
Country of the South, the Empire of the Winkies in the East, and the
Land of the Munchkins in the West. Each of these Kingdoms has its own
sovereign; but all are under the supreme rule of Ozma, a fairy Princess
as lovely as your own small self, and Ozma lives in an Emerald City in
the exact center of Oz.”

Kabumpo paused impressively while Planetty’s eyes twinkled merrily at
his delicate flattery. “Now Randy and I hail from the north Gilliken
Country of Oz,” proceeded the Elegant Elephant, moving along as he
spoke in a grand and leisurely manner. “I come from the Kingdom of
Pumperdink, and Randy from the Regal little realm of Regalia. Only
yesterday I arrived in Regalia to visit Randy, and we are now on our
way to the castle of the Red Jinn, as I think I told you before. If we
were in Oz, my dear–” Kabumpo rather lingered over the “dear”–“Ozma
and her clever assistant, the Wizard of Oz, would quickly transport you
to Anuther Planet with the magic belt. But, you see, we are not in Oz,
for the same storm that overtook you and Thun overtook us, and hurled
us across the Deadly Desert to this Kingdom of Ix, where we all now
find ourselves. Fortunately, too, for otherwise we might never have met
a Princess from Anuther Planet.”

The little Princess nodded in bright agreement.

“So–” continued Kabumpo, picking a huge tiger-lily and holding it out
to her, “as it is too difficult to travel back to the Emerald City of
Oz, we will take you with us to the Wizard of Ev, whose castle is on
the Nonestic Ocean in the country adjoining Ix.”

“And a wizard is what?” Planetty turned almost completely round on her
black charger, smiling teasingly over the tiger-lily at Kabumpo.

“Why, a wizard–er–a wizard–” The Elegant Elephant fumbled a bit
trying to find the right words to explain.

“A wizard is a person who can do by magic what other people cannot do
at all,” finished Randy neatly.

“Magic?” Planetty still looked puzzled.

“Oh, never mind all the words,” comforted Kabumpo, flapping his ears
good naturedly, “you’ll soon see for yourself what they all mean, and
I’m sure Jinnicky will be charmed to do his best tricks for you and
send you back in fine and proper style to your own planet.”

“Yes, Jinnicky can do almost anything,” boasted Randy, taking off his
crown and setting it back very much atilt, “and he’s good fun too.
You’ll like Jinnicky.”

“As much as Big Bumpo?” Planetty rolled her soft eyes fondly back at
the Elegant Elephant, and Randy, feeling an unaccountable twinge of
jealousy, wished she would look at him that way.

“Oh, maybe not so much as Kabumpo; of course, there’s nobody like
HIM–but pretty much as much,” declared the young King loyally.

“But I like everything down here,” decided Planetty, leaning forward to
tickle Thun’s ear with the lily. “It’s all so nite and netiful.”

“So now we know what we are,” whispered Randy under his breath
to Kabumpo. “And wait till Jinnicky sees us traveling with a
fire-breathing Thunder Colt and the Princess of Anuther Planet. Oh,
don’t we meet important people on our journeys, Kabumpo?”

“Well, don’t they meet US?” murmured the Elegant Elephant, increasing
his speed a little to keep up with Thun. “Though I wouldn’t call this
colt important myself. How is he any better than an ordinary horse? His
breath is hot and dangerous, and it’s not much fun traveling with a
deaf and dumb brute who burns everything he breathes on.”

“Oh, he’s not so dumb,” observed Randy. “Look at the way he leaped over
that fallen log just now, and think how useful he’ll be at night to
blaze a trail and light the camp fires.”

“Hadn’t thought of that,” admitted Kabumpo grudgingly. “I guess he
would show up pretty well in the dark, and I suppose that does make him
trail blazer and lighter of the fires for this particular expedition.
Ho, HO! KERUMPH! And between you and me and the desert, this expedition
had better move pretty fast and not stop for sightseeing. Suppose these
two Nuthers had that vanadium shower at the beginning of the week
instead of the middle, that would give them only about two more days to
go? Great Goosefeathers! I’d hate to have ’em stiffen up on us half-way
to Jinnicky’s. I might carry the Princess, but what would we do with
the colt?”

“Let’s not even think of it,” begged Randy with a little shudder.
“Great Goopers! Kabumpo, I hope Jinnicky will be at home and his magic
in good working order and powerful enough to send them back or keep
them here if they decide to stay.”

“If they decide to stay?” Kabumpo looked sharply back at his young
rider. “Why should they?”

“Well, Planetty said she liked it down here, you heard her yourself
a moment ago, and I thought maybe–” Randy’s face grew rosy with
embarrassment.

“Ha, Ha! So that’s the way the wind lies!” Kabumpo chuckled
soundlessly. “Well, I wouldn’t count on it, my lad,” he called up
softly. “She probably has some nite Planetty Prince waiting for her up
yonder, and will fly away without so much as a backward glance. And as
for Jinnicky being at home–why shouldn’t he be at home? And as for his
magic not being powerful enough–why shouldn’t it be powerful enough?
He was in fine shape and form when I saw him in the Emerald City three
years ago. By the way, why weren’t you at that grand celebration? I
understood Ozma invited all the Rulers of the Realm.”

“Uncle Hoochafoo did not want me to leave,” sighed Randy. “He thinks a
King’s place is in his castle.”

“I wonder what he thinks now?” said Kabumpo, trumpeting three times,
for Thun was racing along too far ahead of them.

“Probably has all the wise men and guards running in circles to find
me,” giggled Randy, immediately restored to good humor. “And say, when
I do get back, old Push-the-Foot, I’M going to be KING and everything
will be very different and gay. Yes, there’ll be a lot of changes in
Regalia,” he decided, shaking his head positively. “Why, all those dull
receptions and reviewings would tire a visitor to tears.”

“Ho, Ho! So you’re still expecting her to visit you?” Waving his
trunk, Kabumpo called out in a louder voice. “Not so fast there,
Princess; hold Thun back a bit. We might run into danger and we should
all keep together on a journey. Besides,” Kabumpo cleared his throat
apologetically, “Randy and I must stop for a bite to eat.”

Planetty’s eyes widened, as they always did at strange words and
customs, but she tugged obediently at Thun’s mane and the Thunder
Colt came to an instant halt. Randy himself tried to coax the little
Princess to eat something, but she was so upset and puzzled by the
idea, he finally desisted and tried to share his bread and eggs with
Kabumpo. But the Elegant Elephant generously refused a morsel, knowing
Randy had little enough for himself, and lunched as best he could from
the shoots of young trees and saplings. Thun was so interested when
Kabumpo quenched his thirst at a small spring that he too thrust his
head into the bubbling waters, but withdrew it instantly and with such
an expression of pain and distress Randy concluded that water hurt the
Thunder Colt as much as fire hurt them. He was quite worried till the
flames began to spurt from Thun’s nostrils, for he was afraid the water
might have put out Thun’s fire and hastened the time when he should
lose all power of life and motion.

“Do you do this often?” inquired Planetty, as Randy tucked what was
left into one of Kabumpo’s small pockets.

“Eat?” Randy laughed in spite of himself. “Oh, about three times a
day–or light,” he corrected himself hastily, remembering Planetty had
so designated the daytime. “I suppose that vanadium spray or shower
keeps you and Thun going, the way food does Kabumpo and me?”

Planetty nodded dreamily, then, seeing Kabumpo was ready to start, she
tapped Thun with her silver heels and away streaked the Thunder Colt,
Kabumpo swinging along at a grand gallop behind him.

“Strange we have not passed any woodsmen’s huts, nor seen any wild
animals,” called Randy, jamming his crown down a little tighter to
keep it from sailing off. “Hi! Watch out, there old Push-a-Foot!
There’s a wall ahead stretching away on all sides and going up higher
than higher. What’s a wall doing in a forest? Perhaps it shuts in the
private shooting preserve of Queen Zixie herself. Say–ay–I’d like to
meet the Queen of this country, wouldn’t you?”

“No time, no time,” puffed the Elegant Elephant, giving three short
trumpets to warn Planetty to halt Thun. “Great Grump! whoever built
this wall wanted to shut out everything, even the sky. Can’t even get a
squint of the top, can you?”

“Is this the great Kingdom of Ev?” asked Planetty, who had pulled Thun
up short and was looking at the wooden wall with lively interest.

“No, no, we’re not nearly to Ev.” The Elegant Elephant shook his head
impatiently. “Back of this wall lives someone who dotes on privacy, I
take it, or why should he shut himself in and everyone else out? Now,
then, shall we cruise round or knock a hole in the wood? I don’t see
any door, do you, Randy?”

“No, I don’t.” Standing on the elephant’s back, Randy examined the
wall with great care. “Why, it goes for miles,” he groaned dolefully.
“Miles!”

“Then we’ll just bump through.” Backing off, Kabumpo lowered his head
and was about to lunge forward when Randy gave his ear a sharp tweak.

“Look!” he directed breathlessly. “Look!” While they had been talking,
Thun had been sniffing curiously at the wooden wall and now a whole
round section of it was blazing merrily. “Hurray! He’s burned a hole
big enough for us all to go through,” yelled the young King gleefully.
“Come ON!”

Vexed to think the Thunder Colt had solved the difficulty so easily,
and worried lest the whole wall should catch fire, Kabumpo signaled
for Planetty to precede him. But he need not have worried about Thun’s
firing the wall. The Thunder Colt had burned as neat a hole in the
boards as a cigarette burns in paper, and while the edges glowed a bit,
they soon smouldered out, leaving a huge circular opening. So, without
further delay, Kabumpo stepped through, only to find himself facing the
most curious company he had seen in the whole course of his travels.

“Why! Why, they’re all in boxes!” breathed Randy, as a group with
upraised and boxed fists advanced upon the newcomers.

“Chillywalla! Chillywalla!” yelled the Boxers, their voices coming
muffled and strange through the hat-boxes they wore on their heads.

“Chillywalla, Chillywalla, Chillywalla!” echoed Planetty, waving
cheerfully at the oncoming host.

“Shh-hh, pss-st, Princess, that may be a war cry,” warned Randy,
drawing his sword and swinging it so swiftly round his head it
whistled. Thun, too astonished to move a step, stood with lowered
head, his flaming breath darting harmlessly into the moist floor of the
forest.

“Chillywalla! Chillywalla! Chillywalla!” roared the Boxers, keeping a
safe distance from Kabumpo’s lashing trunk. “Chillywalla! CHILLYWALLA!”
Their voices rose loud and imploring. As Randy slid off the Elegant
Elephant’s back to place himself beside Planetty, a perfectly enormous
Boxer came clumping out of the Box Wood to the left.

“Yes! Yes?” he grunted, holding on his hat-box as he ran. When he
caught sight of the travelers, he stopped short, and, not satisfied
with peering through the eyeholes in his hat-box, took it off
altogether and stood staring at them, his square eyes almost popping
from his square head. “Box their ears, box their ears! Box their heads
and arms and rears! Box their legs, their hands and chests, box that
fire plug ‘fore all the rest! An IRON box!” screamed Chillywalla, as
Thun, with a soundless snort, sent a shower of sparks into a candy
box bush, toasting all the marshmallows in the boxes. “Oh, aren’t you
afraid to go about in this barebacked, barefaced, unboxed condition?”
he panted, “exposed to the awful dangers of the raw outer air?”

Chillywalla hastily clapped on his hat box, but not before Randy
noticed that his ears were nicely boxed, too. Without waiting for an
answer to his question, the Boxer, with one shove of his enormous boxed
fist, pushed Thun under a Box Tree. Planetty had just time to leap
from his back when Chillywalla shook a huge iron box loose and it came
clanking down over the Thunder Colt. It was open at the bottom, and
Thun, kicking and rearing underneath, jerked it east and west.

“He’ll soon grow used to it,” muttered Chillywalla, jabbing a dozen
holes in the metal with a sharp pick he had drawn from a pocket in his
box coat. “Now, then, who’s next? Ah! What a lovely lady!” Chillywalla
gazed rapturously at the Princess from Anuther Planet, then clapping
his hands, called sharply: “Bring the jewel boxes for her ears, flower
boxes for herself, a bonnet box for her head, candy boxes for her
hands, slipper boxes for those tiny silver feet. Bring stocking boxes,
glove boxes, and hurry! HURRY!”

“Oh, PLEASE!” Randy put himself firmly between Planetty and the
determined Chillywalla. “The outer air does not hurt us at all, Mister
Chillywalla; in fact, we like it!”

“Just try to find a box big enough for me!” invited Kabumpo, snatching
up the little Princess and setting her high on his shoulder.

“I think I have a packing box that would just fit,” mused the Chief
Boxer, folding his arms and looking sideways at the Elegant Elephant.

“Pack him up, pack him off, send him packing!” chattered the other
Boxers, who had never seen anything like Kabumpo in their lives and
distrusted him highly. But Chillywalla himself was quite interested in
his singular visitors and inclined to be more than friendly.

“Better try our boxes,” he urged seriously, as he took the pile of
bright cardboard containers an assistant had brought him. “Without
bragging, I can say that they are the best boxes grown–stylish, nicely
fitting and decidedly comfortable to wear.”

“Ha, ha!” rumbled Kabumpo, rocking backward and forward at the very
idea. “Mean to tell me you wear boxes over your other clothes and
everywhere you go?”

“Certainly.” Chillywalla nodded vigorously. “Do you suppose we want to
stand around and disintegrate? What happens to articles after they are
taken out of their boxes?” he demanded argumentatively. “Tell me that.”

“Why,” said Randy, thoughtfully, “they’re worn, or sold, or eaten, or
spoiled–”

“Exactly.” Chillywalla snapped him up quickly. “They are worn out;
they lose their freshness and their newness. Well, we intend to save
ourselves from such a fate, and we do,” he added complacently.

“You’re certainly fresh enough,” chuckled Kabumpo with a wink at Randy.

“But might not these boxes be fun to wear?” inquired Planetty, looking
rather wistfully at the bright heap the Boxer Chief had intended for
her.

“No, No and NO!” rumbled Kabumpo positively. “No boxes!”

“As you wish.” Chillywalla shrugged his shoulders under his cardboard
clothes box. “Shall I unbox the horse?”

“Better not,” decided Randy, looking anxiously at the sparks issuing
from the punctures in Thun’s box. “But perhaps you would show us the
way through this–this–”

“Box Wood,” finished Chillywalla. “Yes, I will be most honored to
conduct you through our forest. And you may pick as many boxes as you
wish, too,” he added generously. “I’d like to do something for people
who are so soon to spoil and wither.”

“Ha, ha! Now, I’m sure that’s very kind of you,” roared Kabumpo, wiping
his eyes on the fringe of his robe. “And I think it best we hurry
along, my good fellow. Ho, whither away? It would never do to have a
spoiled King and Princess and a bad horse and elephant on your hands.”

“Oh, if you’d ONLY wear our boxes!” begged Chillywalla, almost ready
to cry at the prospect of his visitors spoiling on the premises. Then
as Kabumpo shook his head again, the Big Boxer started off at a rapid
shuffle, anxious to have them out of the woods as soon as possible.
Thun, during all this conversation, had been kicking and bucking under
his iron box, but now Planetty tapped out a reassuring message with
her staff and the Thunder Colt quieted down. On the whole, he behaved
rather well, following the signals his little mistress tapped out, and
pushing the iron box along without too much discomfort or complaint,
though occasional indignant and fiery protests came puffing out of his
iron container.

Randy considered the journey through the Box Wood one of their gayest
and most entertaining adventures. The woodmen, in their brightly
decorated boxes, shuffled cheerfully along beside them, stopping now
and then to point with pride to their square box-like dwellings set at
regular intervals under the spreading boxwood trees. The whole forest
was covered by an enormous wooden box that shut out the sky and gave
everything an artificial and unreal look. It was in one side of this
monster box that Thun had burned the hole to admit them. Randy and
Planetty, riding sociably together on Kabumpo’s back, picked boxes
from branches of all the trees they could reach, and it was such fun
and so exciting they paid scarcely any attention to the remarks of
Chillywalla. Even the Elegant Elephant snapped off a box or two and
handed them back to his royal riders.

“Oh, look!” exulted Randy, opening a bright blue cardboard box. “This
is just full of chocolate candy.”

“Oh, throw that trash away,” advised Chillywalla contemptuously.
“We think nothing of the stuff that grows inside, it’s the boxes
themselves we are after.”

“But this candy is good,” objected Randy after sampling several pieces.
“And mind you, Kabumpo, Planetty has just picked a jewel box full of
real chains, rings and bracelets.”

“Oh, they are netiful, netiful,” crooned the Princess of Anuther
Planet, hugging the velvet jewel box to her breast.

“Keep them if you wish,” sniffed Chillywalla, “but they’re just rubbish
to us. When we pick boxes we toss the contents away.”

“Now, that’s plain foolishness,” snorted Kabumpo, aghast at such a
waste, as Randy picked a pencil box full of neatly sharpened pencils
and Planetty a tidy sewing kit fitted out with scissors, needles and
spools of thread. The thimble was not quite ripe, but as Planetty had
never stitched a stitch in her royal life, she did not notice nor care
about that. Indeed, before they came to the other side of the Box
Wood, she and Randy were sitting in the midst of a high heap of their
treasures, and Kabumpo looked as if he were making a lengthy safari,
loaded up and down for the journey.

Randy had stuffed most of the boxes into big net bags Kabumpo always
brought along for emergencies, and these he tied to the Elegant
Elephant’s harness. There were bread boxes packed with tiny loaves
and biscuits, cake boxes stuffed with sugar buns and cookies, stamp
boxes, flower boxes, glove boxes, coat and suit boxes. Last of all,
Randy picked a Band Box and it played such gay tunes when he lifted
the lid, Planetty clapped her silver hands, and even Kabumpo began to
hum under his breath. Traveling through the Box Wood with kind-hearted
Chillywalla was more like a surprise party than anything else. To
Planetty it was all so delightful, she began to wonder how she had ever
been satisfied with her life on Anuther Planet.

“Are all the countries down here as different and happy as this?” she
asked, fingering the necklace she had taken from the jewel box. “All
our countries are greyling and sad. No birds sing, no flowers grow, and
people are all the same.”

“Oh, just wait till you’ve been to OZ,” exclaimed Randy, shutting
the band box so he could talk better. “Oz countries are even more
surprising than this, and wait till you’ve seen Ev and Jinnicky’s Red
Glass Castle!”

“You’ll never reach it,” predicted Chillywalla, shaking his hat box
gloomily. “You’ll spoil in a few hours now, especially the big one,
loaded down with all that stuff and rubbish. Throw it away,” he begged
again, looking so sorrowful Randy was afraid he was going to burst out
crying. “Toss out that rubbish and wear our boxes before it is too
late!”

“Rubbish!” Randy shook his finger reprovingly at the Boxer. “Why, all
these things are terribly nice and useful. If we go through enemy
countries, we can placate the natives with cakes and cigars, and if
we go through friendly countries, we’ll use the suits and flowers
and candy for gifts. Really, you’ve been a great help to us, Mr.
Chillywalla, and if you ever come to Regalia, you may have anything in
my castle you wish!”

“Are there any boxes in your castle?” Chillywalla peered up at Randy
through the slits in his hat box.

“Not many,” admitted Randy truthfully. “You see, in my country we keep
the contents and throw the boxes away.”

“Throw the boxes away!” gasped Chillywalla, jumping three times into
the air. “Oh, you rogues! You rascals! You–YOU BOXIBALS! Lefters!
Righters! Boxers all! Here! Here at once! Have at these Box-destroying
savages!”

“Now see what you’ve done,” mourned Kabumpo, as hundreds of the Boxers,
heeding Chillywalla’s call, darted out of their dwellings and came
leaping from behind the box bushes and trees. “You’ve started a war!
That’s what!”

“Box them! Box them good!” shrieked Chillywalla, raining harmless
blows on Kabumpo’s trunk with his boxed fists. A hundred more boxed
both Thun and the Elegant Elephant from the rear, and so loud and angry
were their cries Planetty covered her ears.

“Too bad we have to leave when everything was so pleasant,” wheezed
Kabumpo. “But never mind, here’s the other side of the Box Wood.
Flatten out, youngsters, and I’ll bump through.”

And bump through he did, with such a splintering of boards it sounded
like an explosion of cannon crackers. Thun, at three taps from
Planetty, bumped after him, and before the Boxers realized what was
happening they were far away from there.

“I’ll soon have that box off you!” panted Kabumpo. And putting his
trunk under Thun’s iron box, he heaved it up in short order, screaming
shrilly as he did, for the Thunder Colt’s breath had made the metal
uncomfortably hot.

“I thank you, great and mighty Master!” Thun sent the words up in a
perfect shower of sparks. “Let us begone from these noxious boxers.”

“Oh, they’re not so bad,” mused Randy, as Planetty signaled for Thun to
go left. “Just peculiar. Imagine keeping the boxes and throwing away
all the lovely things inside. And imagine a country where everything
grows in boxes!” he added, standing up to wave at Chillywalla and his
square-headed comrades, who were looking angrily through the break in
the side of their wall.

“Good-bye!” he called clearly. “Good-bye, Chillywalla, and thanks for
the presents!”

“Boxibals!” hissed the Boxer Chief and his men, shaking their fists
furiously at the departing visitors.

“And that makes us no better than cannibals, I suppose,” grunted
Kabumpo, looking rather wearily at the stretch of forest ahead. He had
rather hoped to find himself in open country.

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