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The Sea Fairies

5. The Sea-Serpent
Just then Trot happened to look up at the glass roof and saw a startling sight. A big head
with a face surrounded by stubby gray whiskers was poised just over them, and the head
was connected with a long, curved body that looked much like a sewer pipe.
"Oh, there is King Anko," said the Queen, following the child's gaze. "Open a door and
let him in, Clia, for I suppose our old friend is anxious to see the earth people."
"Won't he hurt us?" asked the little girl with a shiver of fear.
"Who, Anko? Oh no, my dear! We are very fond of the sea serpent, who is king of this
ocean, although he does not rule the mermaids. Old Anko is a very agreeable fellow, as
you will soon discover."
"Can he talk?" asked Trot.
"Yes indeed."
"And can we understand what he says?"
"Perfectly," replied the Queen. "I have given you power, while you remain here, to
understand the language of every inhabitant of the sea."
"That's nice," said Trot gratefully.
The Princess Clia swam slowly to one of the walls of the throne room where, at a wave of
her hand, a round hole appeared in the coral. The sea serpent at once observed this
opening and the head left the roof of glass only to reappear presently at the round hole.
Through this he slowly crawled until his head was just beneath the throne of Queen
Aquareine, who said to him:
"Good morning, your Majesty. I hope you are quite well?"
"Quite well, thank your Majesty," answered Anko; and then he turned to the strangers. "I
suppose these are the earth folks you were expecting?"
"Yes," returned the Queen. "The girl is named Mayre and the man Cap'n Bill."
While the sea serpent looked at the visitors, they ventured to look at him. He certainly
was a queer creature, yet Trot decided he was not at all frightful. His head was round as a
ball, but his ears were sharp-pointed and had tassels at the ends of them. His nose was
flat, and his mouth very wide indeed, but his eyes were blue and gentle in expression.
The white, stubby hairs that surrounded his face were not thick like a beard, but scattered
and scraggly. From the head, the long, brown body of the sea serpent extended to the hole