The White Pearl guided Inga truly
in his pursuit of the boat of King Gos, but the boy
had been so delayed in sending his people home to
Pingaree that it was a full day after Gos and Cor landed
on the shore of the Wheeler Country that Inga’s
boat arrived at the same place.
There he found the forty rowers guarding
the barge of Queen Cor, and although they would not
or could not tell the boy where the King and Queen
had taken his father and mother, the White Pearl advised
him to follow the path to the country and the caverns
of the nomes.
Rinkitink didn’t like to undertake
the rocky and mountainous journey, even with Bilbil
to carry him, but he would not desert Inga, even though
his own kingdom lay just beyond a range of mountains
which could be seen towering southwest of them.
So the King bravely mounted the goat, who always grumbled
but always obeyed his master, and the three set off
at once for the caverns of the nomes.
They traveled just as slowly as Queen
Cor and King Gos had done, so when they were about
halfway they discovered the King and Queen coming
back to their boat. The fact that Gos and Cor
were now alone proved that they had left Inga’s
father and mother behind them; so, at the suggestion
of Rinkitink, the three hid behind a high rock until
the King of Regos and the Queen of Coregos, who had
not observed them, had passed them by. Then they
continued their journey, glad that they had not again
been forced to fight or quarrel with their wicked enemies.
“We might have asked them, however,
what they had done with your poor parents,”
“Never mind,” answered
Inga. “I am sure the White Pearl will guide
For a time they proceeded in silence
and then Rinkitink began to chuckle with laughter
in the pleasant way he was wont to do before his misfortunes
came upon him.
“What amuses Your Majesty?” inquired the
“The thought of how surprised
my dear subjects would be if they realized how near
to them I am, and yet how far away. I have always
wanted to visit the Nome Country, which is full of
mystery and magic and all sorts of adventures, but
my devoted subjects forbade me to think of such a
thing, fearing I would get hurt or enchanted.”
“Are you afraid, now that you are here?”
“A little, but not much, for
they say the new Nome King is not as wicked as the
old King used to be. Still, we are undertaking
a dangerous journey and I think you ought to protect
me by lending me one of your pearls.”
Inga thought this over and it seemed
a reasonable request.
“Which pearl would you like to have?”
asked the boy.
“Well, let us see,” returned
Rinkitink; “you may need strength to liberate
your captive parents, so you must keep the Blue Pearl.
And you will need the advice of the White Pearl, so
you had best keep that also. But in case we should
be separated I would have nothing to protect me from
harm, so you ought to lend me the Pink Pearl.”
“Very well,” agreed Inga,
and sitting down upon a rock he removed his right
shoe and after withdrawing the cloth from the pointed
toe took out the Pink Pearl the one which
protected from any harm the person who carried it.
“Where can you put it, to keep it safely?”
“In my vest pocket,” replied
the King. “The pocket has a flap to it and
I can pin it down in such a way that the pearl cannot
get out and become lost. As for robbery, no one
with evil intent can touch my person while I have
So Inga gave Rinkitink the Pink Pearl
and the little King placed it in the pocket of his
red-and-green brocaded velvet vest, pinning the flap
of the pocket down tightly.
They now resumed their journey and
finally reached the entrance to the Nome King’s
caverns. Placing the White Pearl to his ear, Inga
asked: “What shall I do now?” and
the Voice of the Pearl replied: “Clap your
hands together four times and call aloud the word ‘Klik.’
Then allow yourselves to be conducted to the Nome
King, who is now holding your father and mother captive.”
Inga followed these instructions and
when Klik appeared in answer to his summons the boy
requested an audience of the Nome King. So Klik
led them into the presence of King Kaliko, who was
suffering from a severe headache, due to his revelry
the night before, and therefore was unusually cross
“I know what you’ve come
for,” said he, before Inga could speak.
“You want to get the captives from Regos away
from me; but you can’t do it, so you’d
best go away again.”
“The captives are my father
and mother, and I intend to liberate them,”
said the boy firmly.
The King stared hard at Inga, wondering
at his audacity. Then he turned to look at King
Rinkitink and said:
“I suppose you are the King
of Gilgad, which is in the Kingdom of Rinkitink.”
“You’ve guessed it the first time,”
“How round and fat you are!” exclaimed
“I was just thinking how fat
and round you are,” said Rinkitink. “Really,
King Kaliko, we ought to be friends, we’re so
much alike in everything but disposition and intelligence.”
Then he began to chuckle, while Kaliko
stared hard at him, not knowing whether to accept
his speech as a compliment or not. And now the
nome’s eyes wandered to Bilbil, and he asked:
“Is that your talking goat?”
Bilbil met the Nome King’s glowering
look with a gaze equally surly and defiant, while
Rinkitink answered: “It is, Your Majesty.”
“Can he really talk?” asked Kaliko, curiously.
“He can. But the best thing
he does is to scold. Talk to His Majesty, Bilbil.”
But Bilbil remained silent and would not speak.
“Do you always ride upon his
back?” continued Kaliko, questioning Rinkitink.
“Yes,” was the answer,
“because it is difficult for a fat man to walk
far, as perhaps you know from experience.
“That is true,” said Kaliko.
“Get off the goat’s back and let me ride
him a while, to see how I like it. Perhaps I’ll
take him away from you, to ride through my caverns.”
Rinkitink chuckled softly as he heard
this, but at once got off Bilbil’s back and
let Kaliko get on. The Nome King was a little
awkward, but when he was firmly astride the saddle
he called in a loud voice: “Giddap!”
When Bilbil paid no attention to the
command and refused to stir, Kaliko kicked his heels
viciously against the goat’s body, and then
Bilbil made a sudden start. He ran swiftly across
the great cavern, until he had almost reached the
opposite wall, when he stopped so abruptly that King
Kaliko sailed over his head and bumped against the
jeweled wall. He bumped so hard that the points
of his crown were all mashed out of shape and his
head was driven far into the diamond-studded band
of the crown, so that it covered one eye and a part
of his nose. Perhaps this saved Kaliko’s
head from being cracked against the rock wall, but
it was hard on the crown.
Bilbil was highly pleased at the success
of his feat and Rinkitink laughed merrily at the Nome
King’s comical appearance; but Kaliko was muttering
and growling as he picked himself up and struggled
to pull the battered crown from his head, and it was
evident that he was not in the least amused.
Indeed, Inga could see that the King was very angry,
and the boy knew that the incident was likely to turn
Kaliko against the entire party.
The Nome King sent Klik for another
crown and ordered his workmen to repair the one that
was damaged. While he waited for the new crown
he sat regarding his visitors with a scowling face,
and this made Inga more uneasy than ever. Finally,
when the new crown was placed upon his head, King
Kaliko said: “Follow me, strangers!”
and led the way to a small door at one end of the
Inga and Rinkitink followed him through
the doorway and found themselves standing on a balcony
that overlooked an enormous domed cave so
extensive that it seemed miles to the other side of
it. All around this circular cave, which was
brilliantly lighted from an unknown source, were arches
connected with other caverns.
Kaliko took a gold whistle from his
pocket and blew a shrill note that echoed through
every part of the cave. Instantly nomes began
to pour in through the side arches in great numbers,
until the immense space was packed with them as far
as the eye could reach. All were armed with glittering
weapons of polished silver and gold, and Inga was amazed
that any King could command so great an army.
They began marching and countermarching
in very orderly array until another blast of the gold
whistle sent them scurrying away as quickly as they
had appeared. And as soon as the great cave was
again empty Kaliko returned with his visitors to his
own royal chamber, where he once more seated himself
upon his ivory throne.
“I have shown you,” said
he to Inga, “a part of my bodyguard. The
royal armies, of which this is only a part, are as
numerous as the sands of the ocean, and live in many
thousands of my underground caverns. You have
come here thinking to force me to give up the captives
of King Gos and Queen Cor, and I wanted to convince
you that my power is too mighty for anyone to oppose.
I am told that you are a wizard, and depend upon magic
to aid you; but you must know that the nomes are
not mortals, and understand magic pretty well themselves,
so if we are obliged to fight magic with magic the
chances are that we are a hundred times more powerful
than you can be. Think this over carefully, my
boy, and try to realize that you are in my power.
I do not believe you can force me to liberate King
Kitticut and Queen Garee, and I know that you cannot
coax me to do so, for I have given my promise to King
Gos. Therefore, as I do not wish to hurt you,
I ask you to go away peaceably and let me alone.”
“Forgive me if I do not agree
with you, King Kaliko,” answered the boy.
“However difficult and dangerous my task may
be, I cannot leave your dominions until every effort
to release my parents has failed and left me completely
“Very well,” said the
King, evidently displeased. “I have warned
you, and now if evil overtakes you it is your own
fault. I’ve a headache to-day, so I cannot
entertain you properly, according to your rank; but
Klik will attend you to my guest chambers and to-morrow
I will talk with you again.”
This seemed a fair and courteous way
to treat one’s declared enemies, so they politely
expressed the wish that Kaliko’s headache would
be better, and followed their guide, Klik, down a
well-lighted passage and through several archways
until they finally reached three nicely furnished
bedchambers which were cut from solid gray rock and
well lighted and aired by some mysterious method known
to the nomes.
The first of these rooms was given
King Rinkitink, the second was Inga’s and the
third was assigned to Bilbil the goat. There was
a swinging rock door between the third and second
rooms and another between the second and first, which
also had a door that opened upon the passage.
Rinkitink’s room was the largest, so it was here
that an excellent dinner was spread by some of the
nome servants, who, in spite of their crooked shapes,
proved to be well trained and competent.
“You are not prisoners, you
know,” said Klik; “neither are you welcome
guests, having declared your purpose to oppose our
mighty King and all his hosts. But we bear you
no ill will, and you are to be well fed and cared
for as long as you remain in our caverns. Eat
hearty, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you.”
Saying this, he left them alone and
at once Rinkitink and Inga began to counsel together
as to the best means to liberate King Kitticut and
Queen Garee. The White Pearl’s advice was
rather unsatisfactory to the boy, just now, for all
that the Voice said in answer to his questions was:
“Be patient, brave and determined.”
Rinkitink suggested that they try
to discover in what part of the series of underground
caverns Inga’s parents had been confined, as
that knowledge was necessary before they could take
any action; so together they started out, leaving
Bilbil asleep in his room, and made their way unopposed
through many corridors and caverns. In some places
were great furnaces, where gold dust was being melted
into bricks. In other rooms workmen were fashioning
the gold into various articles and ornaments.
In one cavern immense wheels revolved which polished
precious gems, and they found many caverns used as
storerooms, where treasure of every sort was piled
high. Also they came to the barracks of the army
and the great kitchens.
There were nomes everywhere countless
thousands of them but none paid the slightest
heed to the visitors from the earth’s surface.
Yet, although Inga and Rinkitink walked until they
were weary, they were unable to locate the place where
the boy’s father and mother had been confined,
and when they tried to return to their own rooms they
found that they had hopelessly lost themselves amid
the labyrinth of passages. However, Klik presently
came to them, laughing at their discomfiture, and
led them back to their bedchambers.
Before they went to sleep they carefully
barred the door from Rinkitink’s room to the
corridor, but the doors that connected the three rooms
one with another were left wide open.
In the night Inga was awakened by
a soft grating sound that filled him with anxiety
because he could not account for it. It was dark
in his room, the light having disappeared as soon
as he got into bed, but he managed to feel his way
to the door that led to Rinkitink’s room and
found it tightly closed and immovable. Then he
made his way to the opposite door, leading to Bilbil’s
room, to discover that also had been closed and fastened.
The boy had a curious sensation that
all of his room the walls, floor and ceiling was
slowly whirling as if on a pivot, and it was such an
uncomfortable feeling that he got into bed again, not
knowing what else to do. And as the grating noise
had ceased and the room now seemed stationary, he
soon fell asleep again.
When the boy wakened, after many hours,
he found the room again light. So he dressed
himself and discovered that a small table, containing
a breakfast that was smoking hot, had suddenly appeared
in the center of his room. He tried the two doors,
but finding that he could not open them he ate some
breakfast, thoughtfully wondering who had locked him
in and why he had been made a prisoner. Then he
again went to the door which he thought led to Rinkitink’s
chamber and to his surprise the latch lifted easily
and the door swung open.
Before him was a rude corridor hewn
in the rock and dimly lighted. It did not look
inviting, so Inga closed the door, puzzled to know
what had become of Rinkitink’s room and the
King, and went to the opposite door. Opening
this, he found a solid wall of rock confronting him,
which effectually prevented his escape in that direction.
The boy now realized that King Kaliko
had tricked him, and while professing to receive him
as a guest had plotted to separate him from his comrades.
One way had been left, however, by which he might escape
and he decided to see where it led to.
So, going to the first door, he opened
it and ventured slowly into the dimly lighted corridor.
When he had advanced a few steps he heard the door
of his room slam shut behind him. He ran back
at once, but the door of rock fitted so closely into
the wall that he found it impossible to open it again.
That did not matter so much, however, for the room
was a prison and the only way of escape seemed ahead
Along the corridor he crept until,
turning a corner, he found himself in a large domed
cavern that was empty and deserted. Here also
was a dim light that permitted him to see another
corridor at the opposite side; so he crossed the rocky
floor of the cavern and entered a second corridor.
This one twisted and turned in every direction but
was not very long, so soon the boy reached a second
cavern, not so large as the first. This he found
vacant also, but it had another corridor leading out
of it, so Inga entered that. It was straight and
short and beyond was a third cavern, which differed
little from the others except that it had a strong
iron grating at one side of it.
All three of these caverns had been
roughly hewn from the rock and it seemed they had
never been put to use, as had all the other caverns
of the nomes he had visited. Standing in
the third cavern, Inga saw what he thought was still
another corridor at its farther side, so he walked
toward it. This opening was dark, and that fact,
and the solemn silence all around him, made him hesitate
for a while to enter it. Upon reflection, however,
he realized that unless he explored the place to the
very end he could not hope to escape from it, so he
boldly entered the dark corridor and felt his way
cautiously as he moved forward.
Scarcely had he taken two paces when
a crash resounded back of him and a heavy sheet of
steel closed the opening into the cavern from which
he had just come. He paused a moment, but it
still seemed best to proceed, and as Inga advanced
in the dark, holding his hands outstretched before
him to feel his way, handcuffs fell upon his wrists
and locked themselves with a sharp click, and an instant
later he found he was chained to a stout iron post
set firmly in the rock floor.
The chains were long enough to permit
him to move a yard or so in any direction and by feeling
the walls he found he was in a small circular room
that had no outlet except the passage by which he had
entered, and that was now closed by the door of steel.
This was the end of the series of caverns and corridors.
It was now that the horror of his
situation occurred to the boy with full force.
But he resolved not to submit to his fate without a
struggle, and realizing that he possessed the Blue
Pearl, which gave him marvelous strength, he quickly
broke the chains and set himself free of the handcuffs.
Next he twisted the steel door from its hinges, and
creeping along the short passage, found himself in
the third cave.
But now the dim light, which had before
guided him, had vanished; yet on peering into the
gloom of the cave he saw what appeared to be two round
disks of flame, which cast a subdued glow over the
floor and walls. By this dull glow he made out
the form of an enormous man, seated in the center
of the cave, and he saw that the iron grating had
been removed, permitting the man to enter.
The giant was unclothed and its limbs
were thickly covered with coarse red hair. The
round disks of flame were its two eyes and when it
opened its mouth to yawn Inga saw that its jaws were
wide enough to crush a dozen men between the great
rows of teeth.
Presently the giant looked up and
perceived the boy crouching at the other side of the
cavern, so he called out in a hoarse, rude voice:
“Come hither, my pretty one.
We will wrestle together, you and I, and if you succeed
in throwing me I will let you pass through my cave.”
The boy made no reply to the challenge.
He realized he was in dire peril and regretted that
he had lent the Pink Pearl to King Rinkitink.
But it was now too late for vain regrets, although
he feared that even his great strength would avail
him little against this hairy monster. For his
arms were not long enough to span a fourth of the giant’s
huge body, while the monster’s powerful limbs
would be likely to crush out Inga’s life before
he could gain the mastery.
Therefore the Prince resolved to employ
other means to combat this foe, who had doubtless
been placed there to bar his return. Retreating
through the passage he reached the room where he had
been chained and wrenched the iron post from its socket.
It was a foot thick and four feet long, and being
of solid iron was so heavy that three ordinary men
would have found it hard to lift.
Returning to the cavern, the boy swung
the great bar above his head and dashed it with mighty
force full at the giant. The end of the bar struck
the monster upon its forehead, and with a single groan
it fell full length upon the floor and lay still.
When the giant fell, the glow from
its eyes faded away, and all was dark. Cautiously,
for Inga was not sure the giant was dead, the boy
felt his way toward the opening that led to the middle
cavern. The entrance was narrow and the darkness
was intense, but, feeling braver now, the boy stepped
boldly forward. Instantly the floor began to sink
beneath him and in great alarm he turned and made a
leap that enabled him to grasp the rocky sides of
the wall and regain a footing in the passage through
which he had just come.
Scarcely had he obtained this place
of refuge when a mighty crash resounded throughout
the cavern and the sound of a rushing torrent came
from far below. Inga felt in his pocket and found
several matches, one of which he lighted and held
before him. While it flickered he saw that the
entire floor of the cavern had fallen away, and knew
that had he not instantly regained his footing in
the passage he would have plunged into the abyss that
lay beneath him.
By the light of another match he saw
the opening at the other side of the cave and the
thought came to him that possibly he might leap across
the gulf. Of course, this could never be accomplished
without the marvelous strength lent him by the Blue
Pearl, but Inga had the feeling that one powerful
spring might carry him over the chasm into safety.
He could not stay where he was, that was certain,
so he resolved to make the attempt.
He took a long run through the first
cave and the short corridor; then, exerting all his
strength, he launched himself over the black gulf of
the second cave. Swiftly he flew and, although
his heart stood still with fear, only a few seconds
elapsed before his feet touched the ledge of the opposite
passageway and he knew he had safely accomplished the
Only pausing to draw one long breath
of relief, Inga quickly traversed the crooked corridor
that led to the last cavern of the three. But
when he came in sight of it he paused abruptly, his
eyes nearly blinded by a glare of strong light which
burst upon them. Covering his face with his hands,
Inga retreated behind a projecting corner of rock and
by gradually getting his eyes used to the light he
was finally able to gaze without blinking upon the
strange glare that had so quickly changed the condition
of the cavern. When he had passed through this
vault it had been entirely empty. Now the flat
floor of rock was covered everywhere with a bed of
glowing coals, which shot up little tongues of red
and white flames. Indeed, the entire cave was
one monster furnace and the heat that came from it
Inga’s heart sank within him
as he realized the terrible obstacle placed by the
cunning Nome King between him and the safety of the
other caverns. There was no turning back, for
it would be impossible for him again to leap over
the gulf of the second cave, the corridor at this
side being so crooked that he could get no run before
he jumped. Neither could he leap over the glowing
coals of the cavern that faced him, for it was much
larger than the middle cavern. In this dilemma
he feared his great strength would avail him nothing
and he bitterly reproached himself for parting with
the Pink Pearl, which would have preserved him from
However, it was not in the nature
of Prince Inga to despair for long, his past adventures
having taught him confidence and courage, sharpened
his wits and given him the genius of invention.
He sat down and thought earnestly on the means of
escape from his danger and at last a clever idea came
to his mind. This is the way to get ideas:
never to let adverse circumstances discourage you,
but to believe there is a way out of every difficulty,
which may be found by earnest thought.
There were many points and projections
of rock in the walls of the crooked corridor in which
Inga stood and some of these rocks had become cracked
and loosened, although still clinging to their places.
The boy picked out one large piece, and, exerting
all his strength, tore it away from the wall.
He then carried it to the cavern and tossed it upon
the burning coals, about ten feet away from the end
of the passage. Then he returned for another
fragment of rock, and wrenching it free from its place,
he threw it ten feet beyond the first one, toward the
opposite side of the cave. The boy continued this
work until he had made a series of stepping-stones
reaching straight across the cavern to the dark passageway
beyond, which he hoped would lead him back to safety
if not to liberty.
When his work had been completed,
Inga did not long hesitate to take advantage of his
stepping-stones, for he knew his best chance of escape
lay in his crossing the bed of coals before the rocks
became so heated that they would burn his feet.
So he leaped to the first rock and from there began
jumping from one to the other in quick succession.
A withering wave of heat at once enveloped him, and
for a time he feared he would suffocate before he
could cross the cavern; but he held his breath, to
keep the hot air from his lungs, and maintained his
leaps with desperate resolve.
Then, before he realized it, his feet
were pressing the cooler rocks of the passage beyond
and he rolled helpless upon the floor, gasping for
breath. His skin was so red that it resembled
the shell of a boiled lobster, but his swift motion
had prevented his being burned, and his shoes had
thick soles, which saved his feet.
After resting a few minutes, the boy
felt strong enough to go on. He went to the end
of the passage and found that the rock door by which
he had left his room was still closed, so he returned
to about the middle of the corridor and was thinking
what he should do next, when suddenly the solid rock
before him began to move and an opening appeared through
which shone a brilliant light. Shielding his eyes,
which were somewhat dazzled, Inga sprang through the
opening and found himself in one of the Nome King’s
inhabited caverns, where before him stood King Kaliko,
with a broad grin upon his features, and Klik, the
King’s chamberlain, who looked surprised, and
King Rinkitink seated astride Bilbil the goat, both
of whom seemed pleased that Inga had rejoined them.