Rinkitink In Oz
The Deserted Island
All through that terrible night Prince Inga remained hidden in his tree. In the morning he
watched the great fleet of boats depart for their own country, carrying his parents and his
countrymen with them, as well as everything of value the Island of Pingaree had
Sad, indeed, were the boy's thoughts when the last of the boats had become a mere speck
in the distance, but Inga did not dare leave his perch of safety until all of the craft of the
invaders had disappeared beyond the horizon. Then he came down, very slowly and
carefully, for he was weak from hunger and the long and weary watch, as he had been in
the tree for twenty-four hours without food.
The sun shone upon the beautiful green isle as brilliantly as if no ruthless invader had
passed and laid it in ruins. The birds still chirped among the trees and the butterflies
darted from flower to flower as happily as when the land was filled with a prosperous and
Inga feared that only he was left of all his nation. Perhaps he might be obliged to pass his
life there alone. He would not starve, for the sea would give him oysters and fish, and the
trees fruit; yet the life that confronted him was far from enticing.
The boy's first act was to walk over to where the palace had stood and search the ruins
until he found some scraps of food that had been overlooked by the enemy. He sat upon a
block of marble and ate of this, and tears filled his eyes as he gazed upon the desolation
around him. But Inga tried to bear up bravely, and having satisfied his hunger he walked
over to the well, intending to draw a bucket of drinking water.
Fortunately, this well had been overlooked by the invaders and the bucket was still
fastened to the chain that wound around a stout wooden windlass. Inga took hold of the
crank and began letting the bucket down into the well, when suddenly he was startled by
a muffled voice crying out:
"Be careful, up there!"
The sound and the words seemed to indicate that the voice came from the bottom of the
well, so Inga looked down. Nothing could be seen, on account of the darkness.
"Who are you?" he shouted.
"It's I -- Rinkitink," came the answer, and the depths of the well echoed: "Tink-i-tink-i-
tink!" in a ghostly manner.
"Are you in the well?" asked the boy, greatly surprised.
"Yes, and nearly drowned. I fell in while running from those terrible warriors, and I've
been standing in this damp hole ever since, with my head just above the water. It's lucky
the well was no deeper, for had my head been under water, instead of above it -- hoo,
hoo, hoo, keek, eek! -- under instead of over, you know -- why, then I wouldn't be talking