THE BARLEY MILL

By the time the three Musicians appeared before the King and Queen, the
entertainment was at an end, and only the few people who waited to see
the donkey riding of Rolie Polie remained in the park.

Upon Mr. Poodle hearing that Rolie Polie proposed to give a
performance, he hurried off to find the little clown, and put an end
to his plans. “There is no telling, your Honor,” he said to the Mayor,
“what that little clown of mine may do; he is apt to be up to all kinds
of tricks, and if he once gets astride his donkey and tries to perform
in this park, something serious is sure to happen.” {76}

When the Master of Ceremonies told the King about the three Musicians,
King Tommy said: “So three strolling players have come! well, that is
good. We will hear what kind of music they can play. Bid them tune up
and say to them, we are listening and desire the best selection which
they know how to render.”

The Master delivered the King’s command. Then the three whispered
together, after which they made believe to tune their instruments, and
began to play.

Well, perhaps the three were Musicians and perhaps the noise the horns
made was called music, but it sounded no better than the howling of
three cats; indeed, it sounded even worse.

“Hold!” cried King Tommy, as he placed a finger in each ear. “Stop,
stop, we have had enough of that music! If there is no other tune you
can play better than this one, you had best be going, for we can’t
stand any more.”

“There is another tune we can play!” cried the big one; and quick as a
wink he and the other two threw away their horns and thrust their hands
under their coats.

Now what tune it was the three Musicians were going to play, I can do
no more than guess; for no sooner did they get their hands inside their
coats, than around the corner of a booth came Rolie Polie, driving his
little donkey in a white and red chariot. The tooting of the horns had
been too much for the donkey, and now the little clown could do nothing
to check its wild gallop as it tore past the people and straight
towards the three Musicians. One loud bray it gave; then a kick to
the right and another to the left, and down went all three Musicians
tumbling heels over head in the dust. {77}

[Illustration: Stop!]

{78}

Musicians, did I say? Well, they were musicians no longer, for beneath
the torn and tumbled coat of each there might now be seen a broad belt
holding big pistols and a keen edged cutlass.

“The three Buccaneers from Grumbletown!” yelled the Mayor. “Capture
them quickly!”

Big Bill was on his feet in a moment. “We are discovered, we are
discovered!” he cried. “Every man run for his life!”

Hardly were these words off his tongue, when the three were scurrying
across the park and had no sooner reached the Arch of Welcome, than two
of them bounded to the back of Coal Black, while Big Bill jumped into
the saddle of Snow White, and away they rode like the wind.

The captain and soldiers followed quickly, but there was no chance of
the Buccaneers being overtaken, for not a horse in Toyville could ever
catch Coal Black and Snow White, even with Coal Black carrying double.

“Which way did the Buccaneers ride?” asked Tommy of the captain as soon
as the soldiers returned.

“Your Majesty,” answered the captain, saluting the King, “they are
headed for Grumbletown.”

“Grumbletown?” cried the Mayor. “Then we must look for trouble: Their
King will probably declare war.”

“We must post our guards and call out the army,” said King Tommy. “If
the King of Grumbletown makes an attack, he will find us ready.”

“Is there danger of war, Tommy?” asked Helen, who had been listening to
the talk of the King and Mr. Poodle. “Because if there is, I think I
would like to go home again. I don’t like battles.” {79}

“Don’t be afraid,” said Tommy. “You can go up to the Castle and stay;
nothing will harm you there, and it won’t take me long when I have the
Toyville army at my back, to defeat the soldiers of Grumbletown.”

Helen could see quite plainly that the Mayor and the captains liked
to hear their King talking that way, and thought him very brave. She
thought Tommy was brave too, when he spoke all those big words; so she
said: “May we go up to the Castle now, Tommy?”

“Yes,” said Tommy. “Mr. Mayor will you please lead the way?”

“I will be glad, indeed, to do so” answered the Mayor; “and in any
event, I think the people at the Castle are ready, by this time, to
serve their banquet.”

“A banquet?” said Helen. “Are we to have a banquet? Won’t that be
lovely!”

This was the second time Rolie Polie’s tricks had proved lucky for
everybody, and it made the little clown quite a hero. But, although,
he received an urgent invitation to attend the banquet at the castle,
he preferred to stroll about a little with the Miller of Dee, who had
invited him to see the sights of the town, and later to luncheon at the
Barley Mill.

King Tommy at first was not inclined to give his consent to this plan,
for he had been seriously considering a reward for Rolie Polie, which
he intended bestowing at the banquet. Thinking the reward could wait,
however, he gave the desired permission.

Then the King and Queen stepped into the royal coach, and followed by
the Lords and Nobles, who also were in fine coaches, started for the
Castle. Out of the park they {80} went, along the broad boulevard,
past the barracks of the cavalry, and on through winding, shady
streets; coming at last to the gateway at the entrance of the Castle
Park.

When the Buccaneers arrived in Grumbletown and Red Beard heard what
they had to tell, he began to make new plans. “Yo, ho, my husky lads!”
said he; “so the boy King of Toyville wasn’t clever enough to capture
you, was he? You hoisted sail and made a safe passage out of the
harbor, did you? Well these are two fine craft you have brought along,
and no mistake about that; we will find safe anchorage for them in our
own city of Grumbletown.”

Red Beard meant Snow White and Coal Black, when he spoke of the two
craft. He talked in that way to the {84} three Buccaneers, because
once having been a pirate captain, that is the kind of language he
liked best to use.

After a few minutes of thought, Red Beard spoke again.

“Listen, my hearties,” said he, “I have a new scheme to unfold to you.
We can’t afford to have a boy and girl ruling in Toyville. Do I speak
the truth, now?”

“Aye, aye, aye!” answered the three Buccaneers.

“’Tis well,” said Red Beard. “I see you are listening, and I say, ’tis
well.” As he spoke, he tapped with his knuckles the butt of a pistol
that was sticking out of his belt. “No, we can’t afford to let those
Toy people have a boy and girl for their King and Queen. They will
teach them too much skill and too many tricks, and soon make them so
clever that it will mean the end of Grumbletown. Do I speak the truth,
my bonny babies?”

“Aye, aye, aye!” answered the three Buccaneers.

“’Tis well, I see you listen,” said Red Beard; and again he tapped the
butt of his big pistol. “Now I will give you my new plan: soldiers and
cannon are all right for Kings that are used to ruling on land, but for
a King that once was a pirate captain, give us a good smart ship and
some stout rogues to man her, and that’s the way to win, say I. What
ho, my hearties?”

“Aye, aye, aye!” cried the three Buccaneers.

“What do you say the King of Toyville will be doing just now?” asked
Red Beard. “He will be eating his fine banquet up at the Castle with
his Queen, won’t he? Well, then, now is the time to act, say I. Let
someone go and spread the word in Toyville of a big battle, and tell
the Toy people about how their soldiers have been attacked and how
hundreds have been made prisoners.” {85}

“When the King and his Nobles up at the Castle hear of this, what
will they do? What will they do, I say? Listen, my sea dogs, and I
will tell you what King Tommy and his Nobles will do. They will mount
their horses and ride out into the hills, and take all the soldiers
with them. And how about Queen Helen? Will any soldiers be left at the
Castle to protect the Queen? No, my husky darlings, no one will be left
to protect the Queen. So, I say, now is our time to act; King Tommy and
his soldiers will be too clever for us; we can’t fight them, but we
can capture the Queen, and after that it won’t take long before we can
strike up a bargain with the King. Are you listening, my three little
lambs?”

“Aye, aye, aye!” cried the three Buccaneers.

“But,” grumbled Red Beard, as he took a hitch at his belt and let his
sword jingle against the barrel of his pistol, “when we are rid of the
King, how are we going to find a way to capture the Queen? that’s what
I say. How are we going to capture the Queen?”

No one answered for almost a minute. Then Long Jim stepped into the
room; the crafty courtier had arrived just in time to hear the King’s
question, and, being a clever one, this is the way he answered:

“If our noble King will permit me to speak, I will tell the Buccaneers
the plan I think our noble and kind King was about to unfold to them.”

“You may tell them my plan, old Oily Tongue,” replied Red Beard, for
that is the name he had for Long Jim.

Of course, Long Jim knew the King didn’t really have any plan, and he
just pretended, when he offered to tell what it was, because he thought
that would please Red {86} Beard, who wanted to be thought very
clever. Red Beard, however, knew the smooth ways of Long Jim, and that
is why he called the crafty courtier “Oily Tongue.”

“Most kind and gentle Buccaneers,” said the courtier, “the King’s plan
is this: he wishes you to take your pirate ship, the Black Rover,
and sail through the River into the Lake at Toyville, where you are
to await developments. Before night comes, you will have the Queen
captive.”

“Aye, aye, aye!” answered the three Buccaneers, marching off to their
ship, in which they soon were sailing down the river towards the Lake
of Toyville.

After the departure of the three Buccaneers, Long Jim and Red Beard
put their heads together, and to everything Long Jim said, the King
kept nodding approval, until in the end, Long Jim bowed good day to Red
Beard, and putting on his feathered cap, he too, set forth for Toyville.

Travelling through the hills by a secret passage, Long Jim reached
Toyville and entered the city without its once being discovered that
he was one of the enemy. As he went through the streets, he stopped to
speak first to one person and then to another, dropping a word here and
there, which very soon made the people turn pale with fright and hurry
into their houses, where they quickly barred both doors and windows.

On reaching the Castle Tommy and Helen had been filled with surprise
and wonder at its marvellous beauty. The decorations were all so rich
and so appropriate, that they could not refrain from expressions of the
warmest admiration. The Lords and Ladies, too, said they had never seen
anything quite so beautiful.

The Prime Minister met the King and Queen, and when he had presented
them with the Castle, in the name of the happy people of Toyville, he
announced that the banquet was ready to be served. {90}

After the King and Queen had changed their dusty, travel stained
clothes for the pretty robes that had been prepared for them, the Lords
and Ladies, led by their Majesties, entered the Royal Dining Room,
where were a number of little tables laden with all manner of good
things. Here the decorations were even more beautiful than in any other
room of the Castle, and when the company were seated in the quaint
chairs at the tables and partaking of the fine banquet that was served
for them, one and all felt that in no way could they have been blessed
with a more gracious Queen, or a more perfect hostess.

The first course, as it always should be, was ice cream, served in many
fanciful shapes and of the most delicious flavors. With the ice cream
there was served cake—light, feathery and perfectly cooked; with just
the right amount of egg, not a bit too much sugar, and flavored to the
point of nicety.

There were many kinds of cake served, so that everybody might have the
special kind which was best liked. After the cake course, there were
cream puffs, luscious eclairs, thin, delicate sugar wafers, candies,
fruits, nuts and every dainty confection which could be imagined.

The Queen, remembering what she had been told about the candy fruit in
the orchard, that it wouldn’t make them ill, as city candy did at home,
very thoughtfully told her guests that each might have two helpings of
everything, or even three, or four, if they desired.

Mr. Poodle, thinking it would be a rare treat to the Toy people to
have something from the city over the hills, reminded the Queen of the
chicken sandwiches and the {91} two rosy red apples. He said these had
come safely through the hills, and had been delivered at the Castle by
the driver of the express wagon.

The Queen hurriedly sent for the sandwiches and the apples. When these
were cut up and served to the guests, everyone spoke of them in the
highest terms of praise, and said that never before had they tasted
quite such a nice dessert.

It was as plain as it could be that everyone had spoken the truth, for
when the banquet was finished, not as much as one single crumb of the
dessert could be found on the plates.

During the progress of the banquet, Long Jim, as we already know, had
been busy spreading his news in the streets of the city.

It didn’t take long for this news to travel, I can tell you; and just
as the King and Queen and their guests were about to rise from the
tables, there was a big commotion in the Castle; and through the open
windows were heard the cries of alarm in the town.

Then the Major Domo came hurriedly into the Royal Dining Room and
announced that the city had been attacked by the army of Grumbletown.

As may well be imagined, there was now great excitement in the Castle,
and especially, among the Ladies. The Queen turned anxiously to the
King. “Is there going to be a war?” she asked, “because I don’t want a
war; battles are awfully scarey.”

“Don’t be afraid, Helen,” said King Tommy. “Nothing will harm you.
It won’t take us long, with the fine army of Toyville, to drive the
enemy out of the hills and back to {92} their own Grumbletown.” Then
mounting a chair, and being quickly surrounded by the House Guards, he
cried: “There is no time to be lost; every man will be needed among the
defenders to-day; let every man buckle on his sword and follow me!”

The Mayor also jumped up on a chair. “A cheer for Toyville!” he cried;
“long may it prosper! Three cheers for our brave and noble King; long
may he reign!”

Everybody joined in the cheering, the sweet voices of the ladies
mingling pleasantly with the strong, lusty shouts of the men.

But no time had been lost by the cheering; for all the while the
attendants were busy buckling on the swords and fetching helmets and
shields. Meanwhile, the neighing and stamping of horses in the court
outside the Castle, indicated that the grooms also were busy, and
already had the strong, noble steeds waiting for the brave and fearless
riders.

When the King and his companions reached the streets, they found
everything in commotion, with brave soldiers galloping here and there,
and frightened faces peering out of the windows of the houses.

“Ha, ha, ha!” chuckled Long Jim when he saw the King depart; “I tell
you, I am a clever one! That’s the time I fooled the King of Toyville!
And now there is no time to lose; the Queen is in the Castle without
any guards, and the three Buccaneers in the _Black Rover_ will be
waiting out on the lake.” With his face twisted in a wicked grin the
crafty courtier now entered the gates and went through the quiet,
deserted court yard, where presently, with a rap, tap, tap, he stood
waiting at the front door of the Palace. {93}

Meanwhile, King Tommy and his companions rode to the barracks of the
cavalry. As might have been anticipated, it took hard, quick work to
get out all the soldiers, cannons and ammunition wagons, and to issue
orders so that everything would go smoothly. But the King was equal to
the task, and before long, the sound of galloping cavalry, tramping
infantry, and rumbling wheels of cannons and ammunition wagons, told
the frightened Toy people that the troops were hurrying off to the
hills and to the defense of the realm.

[Illustration: In the Windows.]

When King Tommy had issued all his orders and arranged every little
detail, he mounted a fine war horse, and asking Mr. Poodle to ride with
him, the two with the King’s Guards set forth at a fast gallop for the
front. But {94} when they came to the hills where the horses were
obliged to walk, the King found time to do a little thinking. The most
he had to think about was the coming battle, but some of the time he
thought of Helen, and wondered if she would be frightened upon hearing
the cannon roaring, and if she would really be safe in the Castle.
He wished now that he had left more guards at the Castle. “I will be
glad,” he thought, “when the war is over, and I can go back again to
Helen.”

The roads were now one mass of hurrying troops, all in bright colored
uniforms, with the sun glistening on the polished gun barrels and on
the officers’ swords. The King noticed how willingly the big horses
tugged at their heavy loads, and how the drivers never used their
whips, but always spoke kindly to them.

Upon reaching the front, they found many cannons mounted on the hills,
and company upon company of soldiers waiting in battle array, but never
a sign anywhere of the enemy.

“Have you sent out scouts?” asked the King to the Commanding General.

“Yes, your Majesty,” answered the General; “and all report that none of
the enemy can be found.”

“That is strange,” said the King. “How about the prisoners, have you
rescued them?”

“There have been no prisoners taken, your Majesty,” answered the
General; “neither has there been any attack made upon our outposts.”

[Illustration: The Artillery]

While the King and the General were talking, another scout came to
report. “My General,” said the scout, “I have ridden to the very
walls of Grumbletown, where I was {96} told by a peasant that the
Grumbletown army has not ventured outside the gates of their city.”

While this scout was reporting, another came riding up as fast as his
horse could gallop.

[Illustration: A Scout]

“My General,” cried the second scout, “I have come from the high hills
yonder. There is a ship entering the Lake of Toyville. It is the
pirate ship from Grumbletown, called the _Black Rover_ manned by the
Buccaneers.”

“We have been tricked!” cried the King. “We have left the Castle
unguarded, and the Queen without protection. The Queen will be made
captive! We must ride to her rescue!”

“To the Queen’s rescue! To the Queen’s rescue!” cried an officer of the
King’s Guard; and, shaking the reins over their horses’ necks, a great
company of riders led by the King and Mr. Poodle went galloping back to
Toyville.

Before Long Jim had time to give a second rap, tap, tap, the front door
of the Castle opened and a servant in royal livery stood ready to usher
the crafty courtier into the Audience Hall.

“You may announce to Her Majesty the Queen, that I come from the King
with a very important message,” said Long Jim.

The servant departed. “Ha, ha, ha,” chuckled Long Jim, “I certainly am
a clever one! I told the man to tell the Queen I had a message from the
King, but I didn’t tell him it was from the King of Grumbletown; and he
thinks it {100} is from his own King. He does not know what a clever
one I am and how I can fool all of them, but he will find out very
soon.”

“Her Majesty will give you an audience,” announced the servant, as he
returned. Then, he conducted Long Jim to the Royal Parlors, where the
Queen sat surrounded by her Ladies.

“Your Majesty,” said Long Jim, addressing the Queen, after taking off
his hat and bowing courteously, “the King sends you greeting, and begs
to inform you that the army of Grumbletown is being held in check and
has even been driven back in some places. He wished me to say to you
that there is no danger at present, and he hopes you and these noble
Ladies will have a good time and enjoy yourselves. He suggests that you
might find it a pleasure to go for a sail on the lake.”

The Queen was much pleased at this message. She clapped her hands and
said: “O, I dearly love to go sailing! If it pleases the Ladies to do
so, we will go at once.”

The Ladies said they certainly would enjoy taking a sail on the
beautiful lake.

But though the Ladies spoke this way, all in truth were quite a little
afraid, and wondered if it were wise for them to venture out of the
Castle, with the army of Grumbletown so near the city; they were sure,
however, the King would not have sent such a message unless he knew the
outing to be perfectly safe.

When the Queen and her Ladies had gone to their apartments to dress in
their yachting costumes, Long Jim took a careful survey of the room to
see that there was nobody near, then he broke into a villainous laugh.
“I have {101} fooled them now,” he said. “King Red Beard will reward me
for this. I tell you, I am a clever one,—too clever for these numskulls
in Toyville! When their King comes home and finds his Queen gone, won’t
he tear around and be angry though! And won’t he be twice as angry when
he learns she has been betrayed into the hands of the Buccaneers of
Grumbletown! Big Bill, the captain of the Buccaneers, will say I am a
clever one too, when he sees the boat bearing the Queen and her fine
Ladies sailing away out on the lake. It won’t take Big Bill long to
run his fine ship, the _Black Rover_, that flies the black flag, right
alongside of the Queen’s boat, and then in about two jiffies he will
have the Queen and her Ladies made captive. I tell you I am a clever
one to plan all this! Ha, ha, ha! yes, I certainly am a clever one!”

That was a long speech for the crafty courtier to make, and he had
but little breath left when he finished, so that his laugh at the end
didn’t ring nearly so loud as it did at the beginning. Lucky for his
wicked plans that his laugh wasn’t so loud either, for he had hardly
finished when he heard the Queen and the Ladies returning.

Bowing again very courteously, Long Jim said: “It is the King’s wish
that I escort the Queen and the Ladies to the lake. Is this also the
Queen’s wish?”

The Queen answered that the ladies and herself would certainly be
pleased to comply with the King’s wishes, and, as it was yet early in
the afternoon, she had no doubt that all would have a very pleasant
sail, and thoroughly enjoy their outing.

Long Jim thanked the Queen and said he was sure the sail would prove
very entertaining. {102}

When Long Jim said that, if the Queen had but glanced at his face, she
would have seen an expression, sly and crafty enough to frighten her;
for the entertainment which he meant was of a kind that would not prove
very safe for the Queen.

The Queen, however, had no suspicions, so, telling Long Jim they were
now ready to start, the little company left the Castle and set forth
for the lake. Laughing and chatting merrily, with never a thought of
danger, they came presently to the Royal Boat Landing.

Two trained sailors rowed them to the _Royal Yacht_, now riding at
anchor a little way from the shore. After assisting the last Lady to
step aboard, Long Jim ordered the sail hoisted, when, a gentle breeze
filling the canvas, the trim boat cut a way through the silver tipped
ripples, and sped rapidly out on the lake.

Long Jim was such a good sailor that Queen Helen could not help
remarking to her companions the pleasure it gave her to see the boat
handled so skilfully. The Ladies said it pleased them, too, for now
they felt perfectly safe and had not the least particle of fear of
anything happening to cause danger, or to mar the enjoyment of such a
nice afternoon, and such a delightful sail.

Long Jim chuckled to himself when he heard this conversation, for he
thought, “I guess these Ladies would sing a new tune if they knew how
this sail is going to end, and the Queen would certainly think I am a
clever one if she knew how I have kept the boat headed right up the
lake towards the river, and all the while with the sail set so not one
of them can see that black pirate ship just beyond the bend.” {103}

But if Queen Helen and her Ladies did not see the pirate ship, the
Buccaneers saw their ship, and now ran up their long black flag; and
steering a course for the mouth of the river, drew the sail taut, so
as to catch every particle of the breeze and went scudding out of the
river into the lake, laying their course straight for the _Royal Yacht_.

“Down with the helm!” cried Big Bill. “Run out the cannon, take careful
aim, I will touch the fuse, and we will put a round shot across their
bow, that will make them stop, I think. Then we can run alongside and
board their vessel. Every man to his post! There now, are you ready?”

“All ready!” yelled the two Buccaneers. “Fire!”

No sooner was the word uttered than there sprang from the mouth of the
cannon a flash of flame, followed by a great puff of black smoke and a
mighty rumbling roar, like thunder. Then skipping through the water,
not ten feet before the bow of the _Royal Yacht_ went the big ball,
sending up sheets of spray which spattered the deck of the yacht and
even reached the little group seated in the cockpit.

The Queen and her Ladies screamed with fright, which certainly was no
more than natural, for they were taken very much by surprise. Before
any of them could utter one single word, Long Jim threw over the helm
and headed the yacht into the wind so that in a moment it lost headway
and drifted with the sail flapping useless in the breeze.

Meanwhile, the pirate ship drew rapidly nearer, and presently swung
about and came alongside. The Buccaneers then threw grappling irons on
to the deck of the yacht, and lashed the two boats together. {104}

“Ha, ha, ha! We have them now!” laughed Big Bill. “Come, my little
birds, which one is your Queen?”

Not one of the Ladies answered Big Bill. No one would be so disloyal as
to betray the Queen, and none of the Ladies, at least none of the Royal
Ladies, would ever stoop so low as to speak to a pirate.

Long Jim quickly stepped forward. “This is the Queen,” he said as he
pointed to Helen. “Take her and don’t bother with the others. That
cannon shot of yours is sure to alarm the whole town, and we will have
to make rapid work of it, if we get away safely. You were a stupid old
noodle head to make such a noise.”

Big Bill scowled and drew his pistol when Long Jim said this.

“A stupid old noodle head, am I? Well, that shows how much you know
about pirating. Did you ever hear of a pirate capturing a ship without
firing a shot across her bow? Answer that now, if you can.”

But Long Jim, when he looked into the muzzle of the pistol, didn’t care
to say any more, so he jumped across to the deck of the pirate ship and
left Big Bill, who was not long in capturing Helen.

When Long Jim said the shooting of the cannon would alarm the whole
town he told but the truth. It did more than that however, for it
warned King Tommy and Mr. Poodle that it was the lake and not the
castle to which their company must ride, thus saving them much valuable
time. What a clatter the horses did make galloping through the town;
out of one street and into another they went, all the while willingly
straining in every muscle to attain the utmost speed of which they were
capable, seemingly realizing the great anxiety of their riders. King
Tommy rode at the head of the column, his sword in his fist, his head
thrown back and his hair blowing in the {108} breeze, while he shouted
words of encouragement to his followers, bidding them keep stout hearts
and strong arms for the defence of the city, and the rescue of their
Queen.

When presently the little company came to the lake, the good horses
bore them almost into the water before their mad gallop could be
checked; and then only by pulling the fiery steeds back on their
haunches were the brave riders saved from getting a good ducking.

It was the work of only a moment to dismount. What to do next the King
did not quite know, for already those on the pirate craft were casting
off their grappling irons, and as soon as the _Black Rover_ could get
free from the _Royal Yacht_, with a piping breeze filling her sails she
would soon reach the mouth of the river, when all hope of capture would
be lost. Being such a cunningly built craft, and drawing so little
water, under the skilful handling of the Buccaneers, the tortuous bends
of the river would be navigated through shallow and twisting channels
where no other ship could follow.

“If we only had a gunboat,” said the King, “I could go into the conning
tower and direct the shots, so as to rake that pirate ship fore and
aft, and in about a minute sink her.”

“Yes, that would no doubt be the right thing to do,” said Mr. Poodle,
“provided there are no captives aboard. But—”

“Do you think they have captured Queen Helen?” said Tommy, never once
realizing how he had interrupted the words of Mr. Poodle. “See! There
are ladies in the _Royal Yacht_ waving to us. Every man to the rescue!”

Row boats were now quickly boarded, and with stout men tugging most
manfully at the oars, were made to skip over the water at no slow rate,
and so reached the _Royal_ {109} _Yacht_ before the _Black Rover_ had
sailed over half the distance to the river. It could now be seen with
one glance that the Queen had been captured, and even this was not
required, as the ladies were excitedly calling the news the moment the
boats came within hailing distance.

[Illustration: Off to the Yacht.]

King Tommy and Mr. Poodle were the first to reach the abandoned yacht,
and without waiting for the others, they sprang quickly to the sail and
the helm, and soon had the boat headed for the river and chasing the
pirates’ craft.

The _Royal Yacht_ was a good sailer, and under some conditions might
have overhauled the _Black Rover_. But now, King Tommy saw such a task
to be hopeless and that the Buccaneers would enter the river before
there was any chance of their being overtaken. The only hope lay in
a shot from the yacht cannon, and as this meant danger to {110} the
Queen, it was no sooner thought of than abandoned. Meanwhile the _Black
Rover_ had reached the mouth of the river, and Big Bill, in glee at
his successful capture of the Queen and no less successful escape from
the King, trained his brass cannon on the fast approaching yacht and
fired a parting shot. Buccaneers are usually fine shots, but from a
careless aim, due probably to excitement, the cannon ball went wide,
never coming within yards of doing any harm. This it did do, however:
it showed to the King the danger of continuing the pursuit, especially
when fear of hitting the Queen made it unwise to return the fire.

By this time the _Black Rover_ had reached the first bend in the river.
Once past that there would be no hope of rescuing the Queen. The
Buccaneers were again training their cannon on the approaching yacht,
this time with a more determined aim, and Tommy, as he stood manfully
at the helm, felt for the first time that he had been beaten, and for
the safety of the ladies aboard the yacht he should keep out of range
of the next shot. Quickly throwing over the helm, he allowed the yacht
to head up into the teeth of the wind, and gave up the chase. Hardly
had the yacht changed her course before there was a flash and a boom
from the deck of the _Black Rover_, and a big shot plowed through the
water only a few feet astern, drenching King Tommy with a sheet of
spray. But for this quick maneuver, the _Royal Yacht_ would undoubtedly
have been hit below the water line and sunk.

When the Buccaneers now saw that the chase had been abandoned they
waved their hats and shouted in wildest glee, and the next minute,
reaching the bend in the river, were lost to sight behind the
overhanging trees.

As King Tommy headed the _Royal Yacht_ to the wind and gave up the
chase, the ladies, almost with one voice, begged of him not to abandon
the rescue of the Queen. But upon thinking how near their boat had come
to being sunk by the shot from the cannon on the deck of the _Black
Rover_, they realized that the King had chosen the only course possible.

Tommy now held a consultation with Mr. Poodle. In their hurried talk
neither one could present a plan which promised success, or even held
any hope. Meanwhile, the _Black Rover_ being out of sight and there now
existing {114} no danger from the cannon shots, the yacht was again
headed for the river, though what would be gained by this course the
King for a moment could not see.

During this activity on board the yacht, there had been no less
activity on the land, for the sound of the firing had brought a great
gathering of people to the shore of the lake, to the roofs of houses
and to every high point from which might be had a good view.

Now, as has been told, Rolie Polie had gone off to see the town and
have luncheon with the Miller of Dee. Thus it happened that when the
Buccaneers fired their first cannon shot, the little clown was sitting
at the door of the mill, watching the great wheel turn and the barley
corns go bobbing up and down in the hopper.

“Oh, ho, Rolie Polie,” cried the Miller of Dee; “there must be a battle
out on the lake! Come in and tend the mill a minute, while I go up on
the roof and see what is causing all this firing!”

Rolie Polie jumped quickly to his feet, and didn’t say no to that
proposition, I can tell you, for he thought it would be great sport
to tend the mill. Presently the Miller of Dee was telling him to turn
this lever this way, and that lever another way, and to be sure not to
touch the third lever, and then the mill would grind, or stop grinding,
and all would be well. “Be sure, Rolie Polie, not to touch the third
lever,” finally cautioned the Miller, as he went hurrying out of the
door.

After Rolie Polie had tended the mill for a while, he too began to
wonder what was happening out on the lake. “I will shut off the mill,”
said he, “and get up on the roof and see.” {115}

“Now, was it this lever the Miller said to turn, or that one, or the
third one?” wondered Rolie Polie. Then he pushed down a lever, and no
sooner had it turned than Rolie Polie heard a great rushing and roaring
which nearly shook the mill from off its foundations.

“Oh, Rolie Polie!” cried the Miller’s wife, scaring her cat from its
nap in the sun, as she ran hurriedly into the mill, “What have you
done? What have you done? The gates to the dam are open and the water
is tearing wildly through the mill brook. We must turn the lever again
and shut the gates!”

But, work as hard as they could, the gates would not budge one inch,
and presently the Miller was heard calling loudly: “Shut the gates!
Shut the gates!”

Rolie Polie began to shake and tremble. “I think it is time for me to
go and hide,” he said. “There is no telling what the Miller might do.”
Then off he hurried and soon had tucked himself in a corner behind some
meal bags.

“Shut the gates! Shut the gates!” yelled the Miller, as he bounded
through the open door and ran across the mill to the levers. But for
all his hard tugging, the Miller of Dee never closed the gates even one
particle. Then he went outside and called for help, and presently there
was no less than a dozen stout Toy people tugging at the lever, which
little by little, as the pressure of the water grew less, began to turn
and finally shut the gates.

“It is a fine mess this little clown has made for us now,” said the
Miller. “He deserves to have a good birch twig laid upon his back,
only, of course, that is against the laws of Toyville, and besides
he is such a jolly little fellow, it would be a shame to give him a
whipping.” {116}

While the little Miller of Dee was talking this way, Rolie Polie, now
much frightened, kept creeping further into his nook behind the barley
bags.

[Illustration]

If he had not been so intent upon hiding he would have heard the Miller
laugh and say that: “Perhaps the little clown was not after all much to
blame, for he hadn’t had much experience at mill tending.” That was the
way it was with the Toy people; they never could be cross with anybody,
or, at least, they could not be cross for long.

Rolie Polie did not hear the Miller say this though, but what he did
hear was an approaching throng in the street. These, with shouts and
cries of: “Who opened the gates? Who opened the gates?” were now almost
at the mill.

[Illustration: The Levers.]

As for the little Miller, he too heard the cry. “Oh me, oh my!” said
he, “this certainly looks threatening for Rolie {117} Polie; and
really the fault was not so much his as mine. I should never have left
the mill in his care.” The next {118} minute the Miller of Dee stepped
briskly to the open door. “I am the one for whom you are looking,” said
he.

Whatever the Miller of Dee expected would happen when he made the
announcement, I do not know, but of this much I am certain, that which
did happen was without doubt a big surprise.

“The Miller of Dee! the Miller of Dee! Hurrah for the Miller of Dee!”
cried the throng as they rushed forward; and, taking hold of the little
Miller, twined a wreath of roses about his shoulders and placed him on
the back of Rolie Polie’s donkey.

“To the Castle!” they cried; and off they started.

It was as much as two minutes before the little Miller could get enough
breath to speak. “Why am I being taken to the Castle? Why is this
wreath about my neck? And why do you cheer?” he asked.

“Listen!” cried one of the Toy people to his companions. “The Miller of
Dee asks why we cheer! Why shouldn’t we cheer? Hurrah for the Miller of
Dee, who opened the gates of the dam and let the water out of the lake,
so the pirate ship was left high and dry in the river!”

When, at last, the noise had subsided enough for the little Miller to
be heard, he asked: “Is that what has really happened? Has the pirate
boat been captured and has Queen Helen been rescued?”

“Yes,” answered the Toy people; “Queen Helen has been rescued, and all
due to the Miller of Dee.”

“No,” answered the little Miller, “the honor is not mine; I did not
open the gates. They were opened by the little clown. Turn back, my
fellow Toy people, this wreath of roses is for Rolie Polie.”