BELIEVE YOU MUST BE THE ONLY PERSON IN ALL THE WORLD WHO CAN FLY

Bud and Meg had plenty to occupy them in looking over and admiring their
new possessions. First they went to the princess’s rooms, where Fluff
ordered her seven maids to spread out all the beautiful gowns she had
received. And forty of them made quite an imposing show, I assure you.
They were all dainty and sweet and of rich material, suitable for all
occasions, and of all colors and shades. Of course there were none with
trains, for Margaret, although a princess, was only a little girl; but
the gowns were gay with bright ribbons and jeweled buttons and clasps;
and each one had its hat and hosiery and slippers to match.

After admiring the dresses for a time, they looked at Bud’s new
clothes—twenty suits of velvets, brocades, and finely woven cloths. Some
had diamonds and precious gems sewn on them for ornaments, while others
were plain; but the poorest suit there was finer than the boy had ever
dreamed of possessing.

There were also many articles of apparel to go with these suits, such as
shoes with diamond buckles, silken stockings, neck laces, and fine
linen; and there was a beautiful little sword, with a gold scabbard and
a jeweled hilt, that the little king could wear on state occasions.

However, when the children had examined the gowns and suits to their
satisfaction, they began looking for other amusement.

“Do you know, Fluff,” said the boy, “there isn’t a single toy or
plaything in this whole palace?”

“I suppose the old king didn’t care for playthings,” replied Fluff,
thoughtfully.

Just then there was a knock at the door, and Aunt Rivette came hobbling
into the room. Her wrinkled old face was full of eagerness, and in her
hands she clasped the purse of golden coins the lord high purse-bearer
had given her.

“See what I’ve got!” she cried, holding out the purse. “And I’m going to
buy the finest clothes in all the kingdom! And ride in the king’s
carriage! And have a man to wait upon me! And make Mammy Skib and
Mistress Kappleson and all the other neighbors wild with jealousy!”

[Illustration: “AFTER ADMIRING THE DRESSES FOR A TIME, THEY LOOKED AT
BUD’S NEW CLOTHES.”]

“I don’t care,” said Bud.

“Why, you owe everything to me!” cried Aunt Rivette. “If I hadn’t
brought you to Nole on the donkey’s back, you wouldn’t have been the
forty-seventh person to enter the gate.”

“That’s true,” said Meg.

But Bud was angry.

“I know it’s true,” he said; “but look here, you mustn’t bother us. Just
keep out of our way, please, and let me alone, and then I won’t care how
many new dresses you buy.”

“I’m going to spend every piece of this gold!” she exclaimed, clasping
the purse with her wrinkled hands. “But I don’t like to go through the
streets in this poor dress. Won’t you lend me your cloak, Meg, until I
get back?”

“Of course I will,” returned the girl; and going to the closet, she
brought out the magic cloak the fairy had given her and threw it over
Aunt Rivette’s shoulders. For she was sorry for the old woman, and this
was the prettiest cloak she had.

[Illustration: “ALMOST BEFORE SHE KNEW IT, AUNT RIVETTE HAD DESCENDED TO
THE ROOF OF THE ROYAL STABLES.”]

So old Rivette, feeling very proud and anxious to spend her money, left
the palace and walked as fast as her tottering legs would carry her down
the street in the direction of the shops. “I’ll buy a yellow silk,” she
mumbled to herself, half aloud, “and a white velvet, and a purple
brocade, and a sky-blue bonnet with crimson plumes! And won’t the
neighbors stare then? Oh, dear! If I could only walk faster! And the
shops are so far! I wish I could fly!”

Now she was wearing the magic cloak when she expressed this wish, and no
sooner had she spoken than two great feathery wings appeared, fastened
to her shoulders.

The old woman stopped short, turned her head, and saw the wings; and
then she gave a scream and a jump and began waving her arms frantically.

The wings flopped at the same time, raising her slowly from the ground,
and she began to soar gracefully above the heads of the astonished
people, who thronged the streets below.

“Stop! Help! Murder!” shrieked Rivette, kicking her feet in great
agitation, and at the same time flopping nervously her new wings. “Save
me, some one! Save me!”

“Why don’t you save yourself?” asked a man below. “Stop flying, if you
want to reach the earth again!”

This struck old Rivette as a sensible suggestion. She was quite a
distance in the air by this time; but she tried to hold her wings steady
and not flop them, and the result was that she began to float slowly
downward. Then, with horror, she saw she was sinking directly upon the
branches of a prickly-pear tree; so she screamed and began flying again,
and the swift movement of her wings sent her high into the air.

So great was her terror that she nearly fainted; but she shut her eyes
so that she might not see how high up she was, and held her wings rigid
and began gracefully to float downward again.

By and by she opened her eyes and found one of her sleeves was just
missing the sharp point of a lightning-rod on a tower of the palace. So
she began struggling and flopping anew, and, almost before she knew it,
Aunt Rivette had descended to the roof of the royal stables. Here she
sat down and began to weep and wail, while a great crowd gathered below
and watched her.

[Illustration: “‘HELP! GET A LADDER!’ WAILED THE OLD WOMAN.”]

“Get a ladder! _Please_ get a ladder!” begged old Rivette. “If you
don’t, I shall fall and break my neck.”

By this time Bud and Fluff had come out to see what caused the
excitement; and, to their amazement they found their old aunt perched
high up on the stable roof, with two great wings growing out from her
back.

For a moment they could not understand what had happened. Then Margaret
cried:

“Oh, Bud, I let her wear the magic cloak! She must have made a wish!”

“Help! Help! Get a ladder!” wailed the old woman, catching sight of her
nephew and niece.

“Well, you _are_ a bird, Aunt Rivette!” shouted Bud, gleefully, for he
was in a teasing mood. “You don’t need a ladder! I don’t see why you
can’t fly down the same way you flew up.” And all the people shouted:
“Yes, yes! The king is right! Fly down!”

Just then Rivette’s feet began to slip on the sloping roof; so she made
a wild struggle to save herself, and the result was that she fluttered
her wings in just exactly the right way to sink down gradually to the
ground.

“You’ll be all right as soon as you know how to use your wings,” said
Bud, with a laugh. “But where did you get ’em, anyhow?”

“I don’t know,” said Aunt Rivette, much relieved to be on earth again,
and rather pleased to have attracted so much attention. “Are the wings
pretty?”

“They are perfectly lovely!” cried Fluff, clapping her hands in glee.
“Why, Aunt Rivette, I do believe you must be the only person in all the
world who can fly!”

“But I think you look like an overgrown buzzard,” said Bud.

Now it happened that all this praise, and the wondering looks of the
people, did a great deal to reconcile Rivette to her new wings. Indeed,
she began to feel a certain pride and distinction in them; and, finding
she had through all the excitement retained her grasp on the purse of
gold, she now wrapped the magic cloak around her and walked away to the
shops, followed by a crowd of men, women, and children.

As for the king and Princess Fluff, they returned to the palace and
dressed themselves in some of their prettiest garments, telling Jikki to
have two ponies saddled and ready for them to ride upon.

“We really _must_ have some toys,” said Meg, with decision; “and now
that we are rich, there is no reason why we can’t buy what we want.”

“That’s true,” answered Bud. “The old king hadn’t anything to play with.
Poor old man! I wonder what he did to amuse himself.”

They mounted their ponies, and, followed by the chief counselor and the
lord high purse-bearer in one of the state carriages, and a guard of
soldiers for escort, they rode down the streets of the city on a
pleasure-jaunt, amid the shouts of the loyal populace.

By and by Bud saw a toy-shop in one of the streets, and he and Fluff
slipped down from their ponies and went inside to examine the toys. It
was a well-stocked shop, and there were rows upon rows of beautiful
dolls on the shelves, which attracted Margaret’s attention at once.

“Oh, Bud,” she exclaimed, “I must have one of these dollies!”

“Take your choice,” said her brother, calmly, although his own heart was
beating with delight at the sight of all the toys arranged before him.

“I don’t know which to choose,” sighed the little princess, looking from
one doll to another with longing and indecision.

“We’ll take ’em all,” declared Bud.

“All! What—all these rows of dollies?” she gasped.

“Why not?” asked the king. Then he turned to the men who kept the shop
and said:

“Call in that old fellow who carries the money.”

When the lord high purse-bearer appeared, Bud said to him:

“Pay the man for all these dolls; and for this—and this—and this—and
this!” and he began picking out the prettiest toys in all the shop, in
the most reckless way you can imagine.

[Illustration: “‘WE’LL TAKE ’EM ALL,’ DECLARED BUD.”]

The soldiers loaded the carriage down with Meg’s dolls, and a big cart
was filled with Bud’s toys. Then the purse-bearer paid the bill,
although he sighed deeply several times while counting out the money.
But the new king paid no attention to old Tillydib; and when the
treasures were all secured the children mounted their ponies and rode
joyfully back to the palace, followed in a procession by the carriage
filled with dolls, and the cart loaded with toys, while Tullydub and
Tillydib, being unable to ride in the carriage, trotted along at the
rear on foot.

Bud had the toys and dolls all carried upstairs into a big room, and
then he ordered everybody to keep out while he and Fluff arranged their
playthings around the room and upon the tables and chairs, besides
littering the floor so that they could hardly find a clear place large
enough for some of their romping games.

“After all,” he said to his sister, “it’s a good thing to be a king!”

“Or even a princess,” added Meg, busily dressing and arranging her
dolls.

They made Jikki bring their dinner to them in the “play-room,” as Bud
called it; but neither of the children could spare much time to eat,
their treasures being all so new and delightful.

Soon after dusk, while Jikki was lighting the candles, the chief
counselor came to the door to say that the king must be ready to attend
the royal reception in five minutes.

“I won’t,” said Bud. “I just won’t.”

“But you _must_, your Majesty!” declared old Tullydub.

“Am I not the king?” demanded Bud, looking up from where he was
arranging an army of wooden soldiers.

“Certainly, your Majesty,” was the reply.

“And isn’t the king’s will the law?” continued Bud.

“Certainly, your Majesty!”

“Well, if that is so, just understand that I won’t come. Go away and let
me alone!”

“But the people expect your Majesty to attend the royal reception,”
protested old Tullydub, greatly astonished. “It is the usual custom, you
know; and they would be greatly disappointed if your Majesty did not
appear.”

“I don’t care,” said Bud. “You get out of here and let me alone!”

“But, your Majesty—”

The king threw a toy cannon at his chief counselor, and the old man
ducked to escape it, and then quickly closed the door.

“Bud,” said the princess, softly, “you were just saying it’s great fun
to be a king.”

“So it is,” he answered promptly.

[Illustration: “THE KING THREW A TOY CANNON AT HIS CHIEF COUNSELOR.”]

“But father used to tell us,” continued the girl, trying a red hat on a
brown-haired doll, “that people in this world always have to pay for any
good thing they get.”

“What do you mean?” said Bud, with surprise.

“I mean if you’re going to be the king, and wear fine clothes, and eat
lovely dinners, and live in a palace, and have countless servants, and
all the playthings you want, and your own way in everything and with
everybody—then you ought to be willing to pay for all these pleasures.”

“How? But how _can_ I pay for them?” demanded Bud, staring at her.

“By attending the royal receptions, and doing all the disagreeable
things the king is expected to do,” she answered.

Bud thought about it for a minute. Then he got up, walked over to his
sister, and kissed her.

“I b’lieve you’re right, Fluff,” he said, with a sigh. “I’ll go to that
reception to-night, and take it as I would take a dose of medicine.”

“Of course you will!” returned Fluff, looking up at him brightly; “and
I’ll go with you! The dolls can wait til to-morrow. Have Jikki brush
your hair, and I’ll get my maids to dress me!”

Old Tullydub was wondering how he might best explain the king’s absence
to the throng of courtiers gathered to attend the royal reception, when,
to his surprise and relief, his Majesty entered the room, accompanied by
the Princess Fluff. The king wore a velvet suit trimmed with gold lace,
and at his side hung the beautiful jeweled sword. Meg was dressed in a
soft white silken gown, and looked as sweet and fair as a lily.

The courtiers and their ladies, who were all wearing their most handsome
and becoming apparel, received their little king with great respect, and
several of the wealthiest and most noble among them came up to Bud to
converse with him.

But the king did not know what to say to these great personages, and so
the royal reception began to be a very stupid affair.

Fluff saw that all the people were standing in stiff rows and looking at
one another uneasily, so she went to Bud and whispered to him.

“Is there a band of musicians in the palace?” the king inquired of
Tellydeb, who stood near.

“Yes, your Majesty.”

“Send for them, then,” commanded Bud.

Presently the musicians appeared, and the king ordered them to play a
waltz. But the chief counselor rushed up and exclaimed:

“Oh, your Majesty! This is against all rule and custom!”

“Silence!” said Bud, angrily. “_I’ll_ make the rules and customs in this
kingdom hereafter. We’re going to have a dance.”

“But it’s so dreadful—so unconventional, your Majesty! It’s so—what
shall I call it?”

“Here! I’ve had enough of this,” declared Bud. “You go and stand in that
corner, with your face to the wall, till I tell you to sit down,” he
added, remembering a time when his father, the ferryman, had inflicted a
like punishment upon him.

Somewhat to his surprise, Tullydub at once obeyed the command, and then
Bud made his first speech to the people.

“We’re going to have a dance,” he said; “so pitch in and have a good
time. If there’s anything you want, ask for it. You’re all welcome to
stay as long as you please and go home when you get ready.”

This seemed to please the company, for every one applauded the king’s
speech. Then the musicians began to play, and the people were soon
dancing and enjoying themselves greatly.

Princess Fluff had a good many partners that evening, but Bud did not
care to dance—he preferred to look on; and, after a time, he brought old
Tullydub out of his corner, and made the chief counselor promise to be
good and not annoy him again.

“But it is my duty to counsel the king,” protested the old man,
solemnly.

“When I want your advice I’ll ask for it,” said Bud.

While Tullydub stood beside the throne, looking somewhat sulky and
disagreeable, the door opened and Aunt Rivette entered the
reception-room. She was clothed in a handsome gown of bright-green
velvet, trimmed with red and yellow flowers, and the wings stuck out
from the folds at her back in a way that was truly wonderful.

Aunt Rivette seemed in an amiable mood. She smiled and curtsied to all
the people, who stopped dancing to stare at her, and she even fluttered
her wings once or twice to show that she was proud of being unlike all
the others present.

[Illustration: “ONE SCREAMED ‘MURDER!’ AND THE OTHER ‘HELP!’”]

Bud had to laugh at her, she looked so funny; and then a mischievous
thought came to him, and he commanded old Tullydub to dance with her.

“But I don’t dance, your Majesty!” exclaimed the horrified chief
counselor.

“Try it; I’m sure you can dance,” returned Bud. “If you don’t know how,
it’s time you learned.”

So the poor man was forced to place his arm about Aunt Rivette’s waist
and to whirl her around in a waltz. The old woman knew as little about
dancing as did Tullydub, and they were exceedingly awkward, bumping into
every one they came near. Presently Aunt Rivette’s feet slipped, and she
would have tumbled upon the floor with the chief counselor had she not
begun to flutter her wings wildly.

So, instead of falling, she rose gradually into the air, carrying
Tullydub with her; for they clung to each other in terror, and one
screamed “Murder!” and the other “Help!” in their loudest voices.

Bud laughed until the tears stood in his eyes; but Aunt Rivette, after
bumping both her own head and that of the chief counselor against the
ceiling several times, finally managed to control the action of her
wings and to descend to the floor again.

As soon as he was released, old Tullydub fled from the room; and Aunt
Rivette, vowing she would dance no more, seated herself beside Bud and
watched the revel until nearly midnight, when the couriers and their
ladies dispersed to their own homes declaring that they had never
enjoyed a more delightful evening.