In the Red Jinn’s Castle

“KABUMPO! Kabumpo! Randy! Oh, my mercy me!” Rolling to his feet,
Jinnicky tottered over to the hearth and, encountering Ginger half-way
there, clasped his faithful Bell Boy to his shiny glass bosom. “As soon
as that bell rang I knew everything was going to be better,” he puffed.
“And I rather expected Ginger, but YOU! Why, my dear old Gaboscis,
fancy meeting YOU here!”

“But I don’t fancy it at all,” grunted Kabumpo, placing the sleeping
Princess gently down on the fisherman’s bench and glancing disgustedly
round the mean little hut. “How in Ev did you ever happen to be in
such a place, how did you get here and where in Oz are we, anyway?”

“Oh, Jinnicky, are you really all right?” Grasping the little Wizard by
both arms, Randy examined him carefully from top to toe. “Kabumpo and I
came to see you, and instead of you, there was Gludwig in your castle.
He told us you were at the bottom of the sea, and after first trying to
destroy us with his army, he flung us into the castle basement. There
we found Ginger sealed up in a big drum and we let him out, and after
awhile, in a way I cannot figure out at all, we find ourselves here.
How did it happen?”

“Why, Ginger brought you, of course.” Releasing the little black boy
from his tight embrace, Jinnicky planted a huge kiss on his ebony
forehead, and with a flashing grin the slave of the bell vanished into
space. “Don’t worry! He’s always going, but he’ll come back any time
I ring the bell. You must all have been touching Ginger when the bell
rang, so naturally when Ginger answered the bell he brought you right
along.”

“Nothing natural about it,” fumed Kabumpo, drawing his trunk wearily
across his forehead.

“But you haven’t told us how YOU got here,” said Randy, bending over
Planetty to see that she had made the trip without coming to any harm.

“And what is that, pray?” demanded the little Jinn, eyeing the sleeping
Princess with round astonished eyes. “Something you brought me for a
present? A pretty little idol you’ve stolen from some heathen temple?
My, mercy me! What a beauty it is! I’ll mount it on a ruby pedestal and
worship it all the rest of my days!”

“Oh, no, Jinnicky, no!” Randy’s voice broke and he could not utter
another word, try as he would. In puzzled concern the Red Jinn turned
to Kabumpo.

“She’s not a present, but she’s an idol all right–Randy’s idol–and
he intends to spend the rest of his life worshiping her, if I read
the signals aright,” said Kabumpo dryly. “There you see the Princess
of Anuther Planet, old boy, and up to an hour ago she was as live and
bright and happy as any of us.”

“But what happened to her? Oh, my, mercy me, another mystery!” Jinnicky
clasped his hands in genuine distress.

“Well, you tell us what happened to you, and then we’ll tell you what
happened to her and us,” offered Kabumpo. “That is, if we don’t die of
hunger first.”

“Hunger?” Jinnicky swallowed four times in rapid succession. “Oh, my,
mercy me and us! You do not even know the meaning of the word! I have
not eaten a bite for seven months! But, har, har, har! That is all
over now. With my magic dinner bell right at hand, why should anyone
be hungry? Four dinners and at once,” beamed the Red Jinn, ringing it
smartly. “See, my dear, I’ve not even forgotten you.” Jinnicky leaned
down to stroke Nina, who had hidden behind the hearth brush when so
many strangers came dropping into the hut. “This valiant Nonagon Puss
fought bravely in my defense and has thereby earned herself a place in
my heart and castle for all the rest of her nine natural lives.”

“But first you must get back your castle,” said Kabumpo as Jinnicky
began dancing up and down the room, the miserable cat hugged tightly in
his arms. Even Randy had to smile at that. No one could be around the
little Jinn and stay sorrowful, and worried as he was over Planetty and
Thun, the young King could not help feeling that now they were together
everything was going to turn out right. Some how and way Jinnicky would
help them.

“Isn’t this like old times?” he beamed, bustling around like a busy
host as Ginger, with four enormous trays balanced on his head, flashed
down, set an appetizing dinner before each of the company and melted
away like smoke up the chimney. For Nina, he had brought nine saucers
of cream and some minced chicken. For Kabumpo, a huge bowl of assorted
nuts and another bowl of cut raw vegetables, each bowl capable of
replenishing itself, so that there was enough for even an elephant. For
Randy and Jinnicky there were the finest of roast duck dinners. So,
forgetting their mean surroundings and Gludwig’s wickedness, the three
Royal Wayfarers fell to and ate with an abandon and gusto that would
have astonished their own castle-holds and footmen. Nina, lapping up
her rich and plenteous viands, seemed to grow fat and content before
their very eyes. And while they dined, Jinnicky explained how he had
been tricked by Gludwig, pulled out of the sea by Bloff and then
nearly shaken out of his jar by the surly fisherman, who at the same
time had shaken out the bell and brought him assistance.

“Where is he? Wait till I get my trunk on him,” raged Kabumpo, glancing
sharply round the nine-sided shack. Jinnicky, on his part, when he
discovered how Gludwig had treated his friends and visitors, was no
less enraged and indignant.

“Used my very own patented trap floor on you, did he? Hah! wait–I’ll
fix him!” Beating his small hands angrily together, Jinnicky’s eyes
burned with a bright red hatred.

“Yes, we were floored, all right,” admitted the Elegant Elephant,
pushing away his two bowls, for at last he had had enough, and while
Randy and the Red Jinn were finishing their suppers he told the whole
story of their journey through Oz and Ev and Ix, of their meeting with
Planetty and Thun and the sad fate that had overtaken these loyal
comrades in the Red Castle when they could no longer avail themselves
of their own Vanadium Springs.

“Vanadium?” murmured the Red Jinn, resting his head in his chubby
hands. “I believe I could make a substitute for that. Why, in my
laboratory–”

“Yes, but this isn’t your laboratory,” sighed Randy, “and how ever
are we to get off this nine-sided island if all the fishermen are as
hateful as Bloff?”

“Har! har! har! Now that is the least of our troubles.” Jinnicky waved
airily to the owner of the cottage whose glum face had just appeared in
the window. “Ginger shall carry us back, as easily as he carries the
trays! First I shall ring the dinner bell, then when Ginger appears, I
shall hang on to his coat; you, Randy, must hang on to me and Kabumpo,
bless his big heart, shall hang on to you, being careful to hold the
Princess of this Other Planet in his trunk. Oh, my, mercy me! I’d
almost forgotten the cat.”

Scooping up Nina, Jinnicky waited till the Elegant Elephant had lifted
Planetty in his trunk, then, taking the silver bell from his sleeve, he
gave it a cheerful tinkle.

“Ho, this!” puffed the little Jinn, blowing a kiss to the glowering
fisherman–“this is the finest place to leave I’ve ever left in my
whole life. Oh, my, mercy me! You and us! Here’s Ginger! Hold on,
everybody! We’re OFF!”

And they were, sailing along as smoothly behind the little slave of the
bell as if they weighed nothing at all, and leaving Bloff running in
frantic circles round his hut–for he was now more convinced than ever
that this was a nightmare or that, worse still, he had taken entire
leave of his wits and senses.

While Jinnicky and his friends had been having all these ups and
downs and hair-raising experiences, Gludwig had passed an exceedingly
pleasant and profitable evening. As his enemies had dropped into the
cellar of the castle, the silver staff of Planetty missing him by a
wide margin had fallen harmlessly at his feet. Gludwig’s army had had
much to say of this terrible weapon, and picking it up, he turned it
gloatingly over and over in his hands. It is true that he had all of
Jinnicky’s treasures and possessions, but in his whole seven months
in the castle he had not discovered a way to use any of the Red Jinn’s
magic, nor been able to cast a single spell or transformation. This had
taken half the zest out of his victory. But here, he had a simple and
easily managed magic weapon–or had he?

Frowning suddenly, Gludwig wondered whether it only worked for the
silver war maiden who had used it so disastrously against his men.
Well, he would quickly find that out. Stepping to the door, he whistled
for the huge hound that guarded the outer passageway. As it came
bounding to his side he hurled the silver staff at its head. As the
staff struck, the hound’s progress was instantly arrested and instead
of a live dog, he had a life-sized bronze with a look in the eyes that
made even Gludwig turn away. But the staff did work! As it returned to
his black hand, Gludwig hurried out of the throne room, rushing here
and there about the castle to cast the staff again and again at his
unsuspecting aids and servants.

“Are you mad?” hissed Glubdo, coming upon his brother in the act
of petrifying a small boot boy. “If you continue in this reckless
fashion–who will do the work or wait upon us?”

“Oh, I’ve only tried it on a dozen or so,” said Gludwig, holding
the staff jealously behind his back. “Mind you don’t overstep your
authority, brother, or I might be tempted to use it on you.”

Chuckling wickedly at Glubdo’s shocked expression, Gludwig mounted
to his own quarters and hastily throwing off his clothes, curled up
in Jinnicky’s sumptuous ruby trimmed four poster. He was too weary
to descend to the cellar and deal with his enemies, and resolving to
finish them off the first thing in the morning, the miserable imposter
fell asleep, Planetty’s magic staff clutched tightly in his hands.

While he slumbered, strange things were happening below stairs, for
just as the clock in the tower tolled two Ginger noiselessly set his
royal passengers down in the deserted throne room and vanished away
with a flashing smile.

Snapping on a ruby lamp, the Red Jinn looked around him with a long
sigh of content. Motioning for Kabumpo to place the sleeping Princess
on his comfortable cushioned throne, he tiptoed about, touching one
after another of his possessions.

“Where do you suppose he is?” whispered Randy, treading close behind
him.

“I don’t suppose, I know,” Jinnicky whispered back. “Where would he be
but in my own royal bed? Come along; we’ll take him by surprise and the
ears and throw him out of the window. Careful now, boys, step softly!
Confound the black-hearted scoundrel! He’s been using the silver staff.”

Sorrowfully the little Jinn paused before the statue of his favorite
dog.

“Never mind,” comforted Randy. “When you find a way to restore Planetty
she’ll find a way to undo this mischief, and you know you still have
Nina.”

“Yes,” said Jinnicky, placing the Nonagon cat tenderly on a red
cushion. “Come on, then, we’ll creep up on him. Nobody’s around,
nobody’s on guard, this should be easy.” Stepping softly up the broad
stair, Kabumpo as lightly as any of them, the three made their way to
Jinnicky’s vast bed room.

“Leave him to me,” begged the Elegant Elephant in a fierce whisper.
“I’ll wring his neck with my own trunk.”

“No, wait–I’ll ring my dinner bell,” puffed Jinnicky, “and have Ginger
carry him to the other side of the Nonestic Ocean.”

“Even that wouldn’t be far enough,” muttered Randy, tiptoeing over to
the bed. “If we just knew where he had hidden Planetty’s staff we could
turn him into a big brass monkey, for that’s just what he looks like.”

“Ho! I do, do I?” The unexpected interruption made them all jump.
Gludwig, wakened by Kabumpo’s first whisper, had lain silently watching
from beneath his long lashes. Now tossing back the silk covers, he
sprang up, throwing the staff straight at Randy’s heart.

“Now let’s see what you’ll turn to,” he panted savagely.

Too startled to move or act, Kabumpo and Jinnicky watched in fascinated
horror as the staff struck. And strike it did, but instead of
petrifying Randy, the rod passed like a flash of lightning through
the young King’s body and returned to Gludwig’s hand, leaving Randy
live and lively as ever he was, lively enough in fact to leap forward,
snatch the dangerous weapon and bring it down hard on his red-wigged
head. With a thud that splintered Jinnicky’s best bed, Gludwig fell
back.

“Hah! What did I tell you?” exclaimed Randy, and indeed the former
holder of the castle in his petrified condition looked as much like a
brass monkey as Randy had said he would.

“Oh, my, mercy me! Oh, my! Oh, me!” With trembling fingers the Red Jinn
began to feel Randy all over. “With my own eyes I saw that staff go
through you, lad, yet here you are–no mark–no statue. I declare I,
I’m–” With tears running down his nose, Jinnicky embraced Randy over
and over.

“Out of that bed with you!” screamed Kabumpo, “OUT!” And winding his
trunk round the rigid Gludwig, he flung him violently out of the
window. As the image fell with a resounding clunk into the vegetable
garden below, the Elegant Elephant sank on his haunches and mopped his
brow with one of the red silk bed sheets.

“Never–never do I hope to live through such a moment again,” he
groaned, blowing his trunk explosively. “I thought you were frozen and
done for, my boy–done for!” Rocking to and fro, Kabumpo blinked the
tears out of his eyes.

“I don’t understand yet why I wasn’t,” admitted Randy, wriggling out of
Jinnicky’s grasp and touching the spot where the staff had struck him.

“Someone or something was protecting you,” declared the little Jinn,
nodding his head like a mandarin. “Do you carry any charms or talismans
against evil, my boy?”

“Not a one.” Turning out his pockets, Randy displayed a collection of
knives, rubber bands, coins and the other odds and ends that a man
usually stores in his pockets. Among the strange assortment were two
small squat jars and on these Jinnicky pounced with a triumphant little
crow.

“Why, Randy Spandy Jack a Dandy, you have two bottles of my best weapon
turning elixir! How did you happen to have them?”

“Those?” Randy squinted down at the bottles in positive mystification.
“Oh, I must have picked them up in the cellar–of course I did, I
remember distinctly now.”

“Oh, glory be! Glory me! Har, har, har! Am I a good wizard or am I a
good wizard? And to think you should have happened on the very thing
you’d be needing.” Jinnicky danced in exuberant circles.

“Sh–hush! Somebody’s coming.” Crowding all his belongings back into
his pocket, Randy turned in alarm. Half the courtiers and servants were
crowded into the doorway. And when they saw Jinnicky and his friends
instead of Gludwig in the Royal Apartment they began to back away in
chagrin and embarrassment.

“Oh, it’s all right,” Jinnicky waved airily. “You threw in your
fortunes with the wrong man, that’s all! You’ll find Gludwig below in
the cabbages. But I forgive you! I forgive you!” he added impulsively
as his former mine workers began to stammer apologies and excuses. “Go
back to your beds now, but see that breakfast is on time and hot and
appetizing.”

With an impatient nod of his head, Jinnicky dismissed them and, looking
very downcast and crest-fallen, they hurried away.

It was a long time before the Red Jinn and his rescuers could bring
themselves to retire. There was so much to talk of, to wonder over
and to plan. But finally, even Randy acknowledged that he was sleepy,
and confident that Jinnicky would find some way to help Planetty and
Thun in the morning, he curled up on a small red sofa and fell into a
peaceful slumber. As for Kabumpo, he stretched out on the floor and
Jinnicky, not caring to occupy a bed so recently slept in by Gludwig,
made himself comfortable on a bear rug beside the Elegant Elephant,
enjoying the first real rest he had had in seven long months.

Word of his return had quickly spread through the Red Jinn’s vast
dominions, and when Jinnicky and his guests descended next morning a
whole loyal black legion were cheering from the courtyard and lined up
along the shore. After Gludwig had seized the castle and enslaved the
household, the rest of the natives had fled for their lives, refusing
to stay or acknowledge the red-wigged imposter as their ruler. Now that
Jinnicky was restored and safely at home again, their joy knew no
bounds. Appearing briefly on one of the castle balconies, the Red Jinn
made one of his best and merriest speeches, telling of his experiences
and assuring his faithful flock that Gludwig was gone and would trouble
them no more. To prove his statement, he pointed to the fallen figure
in the cabbage patch. Glubdo, fearing Jinnicky’s anger, had already
left for an unknown destination, and now there was nothing to be done
but restore the Kingdom to its former cheerful status and prosperity.

While the Red Jinn, Kabumpo, Randy and Nina breakfasted happily on the
terrace, a willing delegation marched off to the ruby mines to release
Alibabble, the courtiers and servants from their long servitude. The
miners who had taken their place in the castle and army were only
too willing to return to the mines, for with Jinnicky back in power
their hours were short, their wages high and each miner had his own
cozy cottage and garden. The petrified miners who had served in the
army that issued out to capture Randy and Kabumpo were stood along
the highways to act as sign posts and also as warnings to all of the
hard fate awaiting those who lent their ears to treachery and their
arms to rebellion. Randy could hardly contain himself while all these
necessary matters were attended to. The young monarch spent nearly all
his time arranging and rearranging the cushions on Jinnicky’s throne,
where Planetty still lay in complete beauty and insensibility. Kabumpo
was almost as bad, pacing anxiously between the throne and the terrace
where Thun had been carried by fifty interested blacks.

“Even if I cannot bring them back to life and activity, they are a
handsome addition to any castle,” puffed Jinnicky, sinking down at last
on one of his red lacquer sofas and fanning himself rapidly with his
lid. “Oh, my mercy me! Don’t look at me that way, my boy! Of course
I’ll do my best and double best. But suppose my best is not good
enough?”

“Oh, it will be,” declared Kabumpo, giving the Red Jinn a little pat
on the back with his trunk. “I’ll bet on your red magic any day in the
year. Look at the way that elixir saved Randy from the magic staff.
Where is Planetty’s staff, by the way–sort of dangerous to leave it
about!”

“It’s locked up safely in my iron cabinet,” said Jinnicky, closing one
eye. “So you really think I’m good, old Gaboscis–better even than the
Wizard of Oz, eh?”

“Oh, much,” asserted the Elegant Elephant, wagging his head positively.

“All right, then, leave me–leave me,” begged the Red Jinn, fairly
pushing them out of the throne room. “I’ve ordered all my magic
brought to me here, and here I’ll stay till this pretty little
Princess and her charger come out of this metal trance. My, mercy me!
Trance–entrance–entrancing. Oh, har, har, har! I’ve an idea there, my
boys!” Bouncing off the sofa, Jinnicky skipped over to the Princess of
Anuther Planet.

“Oh, Kabumpo! Do you think he really has?” whispered Randy, as he and
the Elegant Elephant hurried through the door of the throne room and
closed it softly behind them.

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