The Enchanted Island of Yew - L. Frank Baum - ebook

The Enchanted Island of Yew ebook

L. Frank Baum

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The Island of Yew is set at some undisclosed place in the Earth’s global ocean – „in the middle of the sea.” A fairy has become bored with her life, and convinces some young girls to transform her into a human boy so she can go on fast and furious adventures. Transformed, he is Prince Marvel, but he keeps his fairy powers, as they might prove handy in a world where you will quite likely encounter giants, dwarves, wizards, rowdy robber gangs, talking dragons, damsels in distress, and overgrown hedges. He takes as a sidekick a dedicated masochist, which is just one of the ways the author keeps things interesting. Full of magic, and fairies and evil hearted villains, this a good read for young adults with a love of gentle adventure stories. „The Enchanted Island of Yew” is a 1903 children’s book, a fantasy written by L. Frank Baum. It is not an Oz book, though materials in it show a clear relationship and resemblance with Baum’s most famous fantasy country.

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Liczba stron: 186

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Contents

1. Once On a Time

2. The Enchanted Isle

3. The Fairy Bower

4. Prince Marvel

5. The King of Thieves

6. The Troubles of Nerle

7. The Gray Men

8. The Fool-Killer

9. The Royal Dragon of Spor

10. Prince Marvel Wins His Fight

11. The Cunning of King Terribus

12. The Gift of Beauty

13. The Hidden Kingdom of Twi

14. The Ki and The Ki-Ki

15. The High Ki of Twi

16. The Rebellion of The High Ki

17. The Separation of The High Ki

18. The Rescue of The High Ki

19. The Reunion of The High Ki

20. Kwytoffle, the Tyrant

21. The Wonderful Book of Magic

22. The Queen of Plenta

23. The Red Rogue of Dawna

24. The Enchanted Mirrors

25. The Adventurers Separate

26. The End of the Year

27. A Hundred Years Afterward

1. “Once on a Time”

I am going to tell a story, one of those tales of astonishing adventures that happened years and years and years ago. Perhaps you wonder why it is that so many stories are told of “once on a time”, and so few of these days in which we live; but that is easily explained.

In the old days, when the world was young, there were no automobiles nor flying-machines to make one wonder; nor were there railway trains, nor telephones, nor mechanical inventions of any sort to keep people keyed up to a high pitch of excitement. Men and women lived simply and quietly. They were Nature’s children, and breathed fresh air into their lungs instead of smoke and coal gas; and tramped through green meadows and deep forests instead of riding in street cars; and went to bed when it grew dark and rose with the sun–which is vastly different from the present custom. Having no books to read they told their adventures to one another and to their little ones; and the stories were handed down from generation to generation and reverently believed.

Those who peopled the world in the old days, having nothing but their hands to depend on, were to a certain extent helpless, and so the fairies were sorry for them and ministered to their wants patiently and frankly, often showing themselves to those they befriended.

So people knew fairies in those days, my dear, and loved them, together with all the ryls and knooks and pixies and nymphs and other beings that belong to the hordes of immortals. And a fairy tale was a thing to be wondered at and spoken of in awed whispers; for no one thought of doubting its truth.

To-day the fairies are shy; for so many curious inventions of men have come into use that the wonders of Fairyland are somewhat tame beside them, and even the boys and girls can not be so easily interested or surprised as in the old days. So the sweet and gentle little immortals perform their tasks unseen and unknown, and live mostly in their own beautiful realms, where they are almost unthought of by our busy, bustling world.

Yet when we come to story-telling the marvels of our own age shrink into insignificance beside the brave deeds and absorbing experiences of the days when fairies were better known; and so we go back to “once on a time” for the tales that we most love–and that children have ever loved since mankind knew that fairies exist.

2. The Enchanted Isle

Once there was an enchanted island in the middle of the sea. It was called the Isle of Yew. And in it were five important kingdoms ruled by men, and many woodland dells and forest glades and pleasant meadows and grim mountains inhabited by fairies.

From the fairies some of the men had learned wonderful secrets, and had become magicians and sorcerers, with powers so great that the entire island was reputed to be one of enchantments. Who these men were the common people did not always know; for while some were kings and rulers, others lived quietly hidden away in forests or mountains, and seldom or never showed themselves. Indeed, there were not so many of these magicians as people thought, only it was so hard to tell them from common folk that every stranger was regarded with a certain amount of curiosity and fear.

The island was round–like a mince pie. And it was divided into four quarters–also like a pie–except that there was a big place in the center where the fifth kingdom, called Spor, lay in the midst of the mountains. Spor was ruled by King Terribus, whom no one but his own subjects had ever seen–and not many of them. For no one was allowed to enter the Kingdom of Spor, and its king never left his palace. But the people of Spor had a bad habit of rushing down from their mountains and stealing the goods of the inhabitants of the other four kingdoms, and carrying them home with them, without offering any apologies whatever for such horrid conduct. Sometimes those they robbed tried to fight them; but they were a terrible people, consisting of giants with huge clubs, and dwarfs who threw flaming darts, and the stern Gray Men of Spor, who were most frightful of all. So, as a rule, every one fled before them, and the people were thankful that the fierce warriors of Spor seldom came to rob them oftener than once a year.

It was on this account that all who could afford the expense built castles to live in, with stone walls so thick that even the giants of Spor could not batter them down. And the children were not allowed to stray far from home for fear some roving band of robbers might steal them and make their parents pay large sums for their safe return.

Yet for all this the people of the Enchanted Isle of Yew were happy and prosperous. No grass was greener, no forests more cool and delightful, no skies more sunny, no sea more blue and rippling than theirs.

And the nations of the world envied them, but dared not attempt to conquer an island abounding in enchantments.

3. The Fairy Bower

That part of the Enchanted Isle which was kissed by the rising sun was called Dawna; the kingdom that was tinted rose and purple by the setting sun was known as Auriel, and the southland, where fruits and flowers abounded, was the kingdom of Plenta. Up at the north lay Heg, the home of the great barons who feared not even the men of Spor; and in the Kingdom of Heg our story opens.

Upon a beautiful plain stood the castle of the great Baron Merd–renowned alike in war and peace, and second in importance only to the King of Heg. It was a castle of vast extent, built with thick walls and protected by strong gates. In front of it sloped a pretty stretch of land with the sea glistening far beyond; and back of it, but a short distance away, was the edge of the Forest of Lurla.

One fair summer day the custodian of the castle gates opened a wicket and let down a draw-bridge, when out trooped three pretty girls with baskets dangling on their arms. One of the maids walked in front of her companions, as became the only daughter of the mighty Baron Merd. She was named Seseley, and had yellow hair and red cheeks and big, blue eyes. Behind her, merry and laughing, yet with a distinct deference to the high station of their young lady, walked Berna and Helda–dark brunettes with mischievous eyes and slender, lithe limbs. Berna was the daughter of the chief archer, and Helda the niece of the captain of the guard, and they were appointed play-fellows and comrades of the fair Seseley.

Up the hill to the forest’s edge ran the three, and then without hesitation plunged into the shade of the ancient trees. There was no sunlight now, but the air was cool and fragrant of nuts and mosses, and the children skipped along the paths joyously and without fear.

To be sure, the Forest of Lurla was well known as the home of fairies, but Seseley and her comrades feared nothing from such gentle creatures and only longed for an interview with the powerful immortals whom they had been taught to love as the tender guardians of mankind. Nymphs there were in Lurla, as well, and crooked knooks, it was said; yet for many years past no person could boast the favor of meeting any one of the fairy creatures face to face.

So, gathering a few nuts here and a sweet forest flower there, the three maidens walked farther and farther into the forest until they came upon a clearing–formed like a circle–with mosses and ferns for its carpet and great overhanging branches for its roof.

“How pretty!” cried Seseley, gaily. “Let us eat our luncheon in this lovely banquet-hall!”

So Berna and Helda spread a cloth and brought from their baskets some golden platters and a store of food. Yet there was little ceremony over the meal, you may be sure, and within a short space all the children had satisfied their appetites and were laughing and chatting as merrily as if they were at home in the great castle. Indeed, it is certain they were happier in their forest glade than when facing grim walls of stone, and the three were in such gay spirits that whatever one chanced to say the others promptly joined in laughing over.

Soon, however, they were startled to hear a silvery peal of laughter answering their own, and turning to see whence the sound proceeded, they found seated near them a creature so beautiful that at once the three pairs of eyes opened to their widest extent, and three hearts beat much faster than before.

“Well, I must say you DO stare!” exclaimed the newcomer, who was clothed in soft floating robes of rose and pearl color, and whose eyes shone upon them like two stars.

“Forgive our impertinence,” answered the little Lady Seseley, trying to appear dignified and unmoved; “but you must acknowledge that you came among us uninvited, and–and you are certainly rather odd in appearance.”

Again the silvery laughter rang through the glade.

“Uninvited!” echoed the creature, clapping her hands together delightedly; “uninvited to my own forest home! Why, my dear girls, you are the uninvited ones–indeed you are–to thus come romping into our fairy bower.”

The children did not open their eyes any wider on hearing this speech, for they could not; but their faces expressed their amazement fully, while Helda gasped the words:

“A fairy bower! We are in a fairy bower!”

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