When they reached the neat frame cottage which stood on a high
bluff a little back from the sea and was covered with pretty green
vines, a woman came to the door to meet them. She seemed motherly
and good, and when she saw Button-Bright, she exclaimed, "Goodness
me! Who's this you've got, Trot?"
"It's a boy I've just found," explained the girl. "He lives way
off in Phillydelphy."
"Mercy sakes alive!" cried Mrs. Griffith, looking into his
upturned face. "I don't believe he's had a bite to eat since he
started. Ain't you hungry, child?"
"Yes," said Button-Bright.
"Run, Trot, an' get two slices o' bread-an'-butter," commanded
Mrs. Griffith. "Cut 'em thick, dear, an' use plenty of butter."
"Sugar on 'em?" asked Trot, turning to obey.
"No," said Button-Bright. "Just bread-an'-butter's good enough
when you're hungry, and it takes time to spread sugar on."
"We'll have supper in an hour," observed Trot's mother briskly,
"but a hungry child can't wait a whole hour, I'm sure. What are you
grinning at, Cap'n Bill? How dare you laugh when I'm talking? Stop
it this minute, you old pirate, or I'll know the reason why!"
"I didn't, mum," said Cap'n Bill meekly. "I on'y—"
"Stop right there, sir! How dare you speak when I'm talking?"
She turned to Button-Bright, and her tone changed to one of much
gentleness as she said, "Come in the house, my poor boy, an' rest
yourself. You seem tired out. Here, give me that clumsy
"No, please," said Button-Bright, holding the umbrella
"Then put it in the rack behind the door," she urged.
The boy seemed a little frightened. "I—I'd rather keep it with
me, if you please," he pleaded.
"Never mind," Cap'n Bill ventured to say, "it won't worry him so
much to hold the umbrella, mum, as to let it go. Guess he's afraid
he'll lose it, but it ain't any great shakes, to my notion. Why,
see here, Button-Bright, we've got half-a-dozen umbrellas in the
closet that's better ner yours."
"Perhaps," said the boy. "Yours may look a heap better, sir,
but—I'll keep this one, if you please."
"Where did you get it?" asked Trot, appearing just then with a
plate of bread-and-butter.
"It—it belongs in our family," said Button-Bright, beginning to
eat and speaking between bites. "This umbrella has been in our
family years, an' years, an' years. But it was tucked away up in
our attic an' no one ever used it 'cause it wasn't pretty."
"Don't blame 'em much," remarked Cap'n Bill, gazing at it
curiously. "It's a pretty old-lookin' bumbershoot." They were all
seated in the vine-shaded porch of the cottage—all but Mrs.
Griffith, who had gone into the kitchen to look after the
supper—and Trot was on one side of the boy, holding the plate for
him, while Cap'n Bill sat on the other side.
"It is old," said Button-Bright. "One of my
great-great-grandfathers was a Knight—an Arabian Knight—and it was
he who first found this umbrella."
"An Arabian Night!" exclaimed Trot. "Why, that was a magic
night, wasn't it?"
"There's diff'rent sorts o' nights, mate," said the sailor, "an'
the knight Button-Bright means ain't the same night you mean.
Soldiers used to be called knights, but that were in the dark ages,
I guess, an' likely 'nough Butt'n-Bright's great-gran'ther were
that sort of a knight."
"But he said an Arabian Knight," persisted Trot.
"Well, if he went to Araby, or was born there, he'd be an
Arabian Knight, wouldn't he? The lad's gran'ther were prob'ly a
furriner, an' yours an' mine were, too, Trot, if you go back far
enough; for Ameriky wasn't diskivered in them days."
"There!" said Trot triumphantly. "Didn't I tell you,
Button-Bright, that Cap'n Bill knows ever'thing?"
"He knows a lot, I expect," soberly answered the boy, finishing
the last slice of bread-and-butter and then looking at the empty
plate with a sigh. "But if he really knows ever'thing, he knows
about the Magic Umbrella, so I won't have to tell you anything
"Magic!" cried Trot with big, eager eyes. "Did you say MAGIC
"I said 'Magic.' But none of our family knew it was a Magic
Umbrella till I found it out for myself. You're the first people
I've told the secret to," he added, glancing into their faces
"Glory me!" exclaimed the girl, clapping her hands in ecstacy.
"It must be jus' ELEGANT to have a Magic Umbrel!"
Cap'n Bill coughed. He had a way of coughing when he was
suspicious. "Magic," he observed gravely, "was once lyin' 'round
loose in the world. That was in the Dark Ages, I guess, when the
magic Arabian Nights was. But the light o' Civilization has skeered
it away long ago, an' magic's been a lost art since long afore you
an' I was born, Trot."
"I know that fairies still live," said Trot reflectively. She
didn't like to contradict Cap'n Bill, who knew "ever'thing."
"So do I," added Button-Bright. "And I know there's magic still
in the world—or in my umbrella, anyhow."
"Tell us about it!" begged the girl excitedly.
"Well," said the boy, "I found it all out by accident. It rained
in Philadelphia for three whole days, and all the umbrellas in our
house were carried out by the family and lost or mislaid or
something, so that when I wanted to go to Uncle Bob's house, which
is at Germantown, there wasn't an umbrella to be found. My
governess wouldn't let me go without one, and—"
"Oh," said Trot. "Do you have a governess?"
"Yes, but I don't like her. She's cross. She said I couldn't go
to Uncle Bob's because I had no umbrella. Instead she told me to go
up in the attic and play. I was sorry 'bout that, but I went up in
the attic, and pretty soon I found in a corner this old umbrella. I
didn't care how it looked. It was whole and strong and big, and
would keep me from getting wet on the way to Uncle Bob's. So off I
started for the car, but I found the streets awful muddy, and once
I stepped in a mud-hole way up to my ankle. 'Gee!,' I said, 'I wish
I could fly through the air to Uncle Bob's.'
"I was holding up the open umbrella when I said that, and as
soon as I spoke, the umbrella began lifting me up into the air. I
was awful scared at first, but I held on tight to the handle, and
it didn't pull very much, either. I was going pretty fast, for when
I looked down all the big buildings were sliding past me so swift
that it made me dizzy, and before I really knew what had happened
the umbrella settled down and stood me on my feet at Uncle Bob's
"I didn't tell anybody about the wonderful thing that had
happened, 'cause I thought no one would believe me. Uncle Bob
looked sharp at the thing an' said, 'Button-Bright, how did your
father happen to let you take that umbrella?' 'He didn't,' I said.
'Father was away at the office, so I found it in the attic an' I
jus' took it.' Then Uncle Bob shook his head an' said I ought to
leave it alone. He said it was a fam'ly relic that had been handed
down from father to son for many generations. But I told him my
father had never handed it to me, though I'm his son. Uncle Bob
said our fam'ly always believed that it brought 'em good luck to
own this umbrella. He couldn't say why, not knowing its early
history, but he was afraid that if I lost the umbrella, bad luck
would happen to us. So he made me go right home to put the umbrella
back where I got it. I was sorry Uncle Bob was so cross, and I
didn't want to go home yet, where the governess was crosser 'n he
was. I wonder why folks get cross when it rains? But by that time
it had stopped raining—for awhile, anyhow—and Uncle Bob told me to
go straight home and put the umbrella in the attic an' never touch
"When I was around the corner, I thought I'd see if I could fly
as I had before. I'd heard of Buffalo, but I didn't know just where
it was, so I said to the umbrella, 'Take me to Buffalo.' Up in the
air I went, just as soon as I said it, and the umbrella sailed so
fast that I felt as if I was in a gale of wind. It was a long, long
trip, and I got awful tired holding onto the handle, but just as I
thought I'd have to let go, I began to drop down slowly, and then I
found myself in the streets of a big city. I put down the umbrella
and asked a man what the name of the city was, and he said
"How wonderful!" gasped Trot. Cap'n Bill kept on smoking and
"It was magic, I'm sure," said Button-Bright. "It surely
couldn't have been anything else."
"P'raps," suggested Trot, "the umbrella can do other magic
"No," said the boy. "I've tried it. When I landed in Buffalo I
was hot and thirsty. I had ten cents car fare, but I was afraid to
spend it. So I held up the umbrella and wished I had an ice-cream
soda, but I didn't get it. Then I wished for a nickel to buy an
ice-cream soda with, but I didn't get that, either. I got
frightened and was afraid the umbrella didn't have any magic left,
so to try it I said 'Take me to Chicago.' I didn't want to go to
Chicago, but that was the first place I thought of, and I soon saw
this was going to be another long journey, so I called out to the
umbrella, 'Never mind. Stop! I guess I won't go to Chicago. I've
changed my mind, so take me home again.' But the umbrella wouldn't.
It kept right on flying, and I shut my eyes and held on. At last I
landed in Chicago, and then I was in a pretty fix. It was nearly
dark, and I was too tired and hungry to make the trip home again. I
knew I'd get an awful scolding, too, for running away and taking
the family luck with me, so I thought that as long as I was in for
it, I'd better see a good deal of the country while I had the
chance. I wouldn't be allowed to come away again, you know."
"No, of course not," said Trot.
"I bought some buns and milk with my ten cents, and then I
walked around the streets of Chicago for a time and afterward slept
on a bench in one of the parks. In the morning I tried to get the
umbrella to give me a magic breakfast, but it won't do anything but
fly. I went to a house and asked a woman for something to eat, and
she gave me all I wanted and advised me to go straight home before
my mother worried about me. She didn't know I lived in
Philadelphia. That was this morning."
"This mornin'!" exclaimed Cap'n Bill. "Why, lad, it takes three
or four days for the railroad trains to get to this coast from
"I know," replied Button-Bright. "But I didn't come on a
railroad train. This umbrella goes faster than any train ever did.
This morning I flew from Chicago to Denver, but no one there would
give me any lunch. A policeman said he'd put me in jail if he
caught me begging, so I got away and told the umbrella to take me
to the Pacific Ocean. When I stopped I landed over there by the big
rock. I shut up the umbrella and saw a girl sitting on the rock, so
I went up and spoke to her. That's all."
"Goodness me!" said Trot. "If that isn't a fairy story, I never
"It IS a fairy story," agreed Button-Bright. "Anyhow, it's a
magic story, and the funny part of it is, it's true. I hope you
believe me, but I don't know as I'd believe it myself if it hadn't
been me that it happened to."
"I believe ev'ry word of it!" declared Trot earnestly.
"As fer me," said Cap'n Bill slowly, "I'm goin' to believe it,
too, by'm'by, when I've seen the umbrel fly once."
"You'll see me fly away with it," asserted the boy. "But at
present it's pretty late in the day, and Philadelphia is a good way
off. Do you s'pose, Trot, your mother would let me stay here all
"Course she would!" answered Trot. "We've got an extra room with
a nice bed in it, and we'd love to have you stay just as long as
you want to, wouldn't we, Cap'n Bill?"
"Right you are, mate," replied the old man, nodding his bald
head. "Whether the umbrel is magic or not, Butt'n-Bright is
Mrs. Griffith came out soon after and seconded the invitation,
so the boy felt quite at home in the little cottage. It was not
long before supper was on the table and in spite of all the
bread-and-butter he had eaten Button-Bright had a fine appetite for
the good things Trot's mother had cooked. Mrs. Griffith was very
kind to the children, but not quite so agreeable toward poor Cap'n
Bill. When the old sailorman at one time spilled some tea on the
tablecloth, Trot's mother flew angry and gave the culprit such a
tongue-lashing that Button-Bright was sorry for him. But Cap'n Bill
was meek and made no reply. "He's used to it, you know," whispered
Trot to her new friend, and indeed, Cap'n Bill took it all
cheerfully and never minded a bit.
Then it came Trot's turn to get a scolding. When she opened the
parcel she had bought at the village, it was found she had selected
the wrong color of yarn, and Mrs. Griffith was so provoked that
Trot's scolding was almost as severe as that of Cap'n Bill. Tears
came to the little girl's eyes, and to comfort her the boy promised
to take her to the village next morning with his magic umbrella, so
she could exchange the yarn for the right color.
Trot quickly brightened at this promise, although Cap'n Bill
looked grave and shook his head solemnly. When supper was over and
Trot had helped with the dishes, she joined Button-Bright and the
sailorman on the little porch again. Dusk had fallen, and the moon
was just rising. They all sat in silence for a time and watched the
silver trail that topped the crests of the waves far out to
"Oh, Button-Bright!" cried the little girl presently. "I'm so
glad you're going to let me fly with you way to town and back
tomorrow. Won't it be fine, Cap'n Bill?"
"Dunno, Trot," said he. "I can't figger how both of you can hold
on to the handle o' that umbrel."
Trot's face fell. "I'll hold on to the handle," said
Button-Bright, "and she can hold on to me. It doesn't pull hard at
all. You've no idea how easy it is to fly that way after you get
used to it."
"But Trot ain't used to it," objected the sailor. "If she
happened to lose her hold and let go, it's goodbye Trot. I don't
like to risk it, for Trot's my chum, an' I can't afford to lose
"Can't you tie us together, then?" asked the boy.
"We'll see, we'll see," replied Cap'n Bill, and began to think
very deeply. He forgot that he didn't believe the umbrella could
fly, and after Button-Bright and Trot had both gone to bed, the old
sailor went out into the shed and worked a while before he, too,
turned into his "bunk." The sandman wasn't around, and Cap'n Bill
lay awake for hours thinking of the strange tale of the Magic
Umbrella before he finally sank into slumber. Then he dreamed about
it, and waking or dreaming he found the tale hard to believe.