Read STORY VII - LULU AND THE GOLD FISH of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

Well, here we are again, after a rest over night, and all ready for another story, I suppose.  Let me see, it was to be about the fairy prince and Alice Wibblewobble — no, hold on there, I’m wrong.  I know it.  Lulu and the gold fish; to be sure!  Well, here we go.  Now, of course, I could make this about the fairy prince — in fact, he has something to do with this story — but as the gold fish has more, I put her name at the top.

Lulu Wibblewobble, the little duck girl, who could throw stones almost as straight as a boy, was swimming around the pond near the pen where she lived.  It was a nice, warm, sunshiny day, and Lulu wanted to do something, but she didn’t just know what.  Jimmie, her brother, was off playing with Bully, the frog, and Alice, her sister, was straightening out her feathers in the back parlor bedroom, where a piece of tin could be used for a looking glass.

All at once Lulu’s mamma called to her: 

“Lulu, I want you to go to the store to get some acorn meal and a yeast cake.  I am going to set bread to-night.  Hurry, now, that’s a good girl.”

“All right, mamma,” answered Lulu, and she steered herself around, just like a motorboat in the water, and started for the store, paddling as hard as she could.

She had not gone very far, with the little ripples and waves chasing each other across the pond, before she saw something swimming close beside her.  Lulu looked down, and what do you think she saw?  Well, you might guess, but then again, you might not, so I’ll tell you.  It was a gold fish.

Oh, it was such a beautiful gold fish, with red and silvery spots and streaks, and a long, feathery tail that looked like lace in the water.

“Hello!” exclaimed Lulu; “I didn’t know you lived here.”

“Oh, yes,” answered the fish.  “I have lived here for some time, but, you see, during the cold weather I stay down in the mud.  However, as it is now spring, I have come up, and I am going to play around all summer.”

“That’s nice,” remarked Lulu.  “What’s your name?”

“My name is Fannie Tail,” replied the fish.  “You see I got that name because my tail is shaped like a fan, but most persons just call me Fan Tail.  You may, if you like.”

“All right,” agreed Lulu.  “I will.  My name is Lulu, but you may call me Lu, if you wish.”

“Good,” answered the fish, turning a double somersault in the water and wiggling her right fin as if trying to shake hands.  “Now we are well acquainted.  And may I ask where you are going?”

So Lulu told the fish girl about having to go to the store, and Fan seemed quite pleased to hear it.  The two swam on together for some distance, the fish just under the water and Lulu on top.  Pretty soon Lulu asked Fan where she was going, and the gold fish replied: 

“I am going to the drug store for some sweet flag root for the fairy prince,” and once more the fish girl turned a double somersault and opened her mouth wide, for she had a cold in her head, in consequence of being so wet.  But as it is very difficult to write a story and make a gold fish talk as if she had a cold in the head, I have decided to make Fan talk just ordinarily.  You never would have known anything about the cold if I hadn’t mentioned it, so it’s just as well.

“Pardon me,” said Lulu, just like a telephone girl, “but did I understand you to say you were going for some sweet flag root for the fairy prince?”

“Yes,” answered Fan Tail, “that’s what I said.”

“But!” cried Lulu.  “A fairy prince!  I never knew there were fairies in this pond!”

“Neither did lots of other persons,” replied Fan.  “It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you.  And, another thing.  There is something strange about this fairy prince.  Do you promise never to tell?”

“Yes,” answered Lulu.  “Cross my heart I’ll never tell,” and she lifted one leg out of the water and crossed her heart as well as she could.

“Then,” said the gold fish in a whisper, “If you will come with me I will show you the fairy prince.  That is, after I go to the drug store for him.  But mind, it’s a great secret.”

So the two swam on together, but Lulu felt sad.  And the reason she felt sad was this:  Her sister Alice, who was very romantic — that is, she continually wanted things to happen that never could happen — Alice always had wished to see a fairy prince.  Now, unless Fan would let Lulu tell the secret, Alice would never see a prince.  And to think he was right in the same pond with her!  Oh, it’s dreadful to have a secret you can’t tell even to your own sister, I think.

Lulu sighed so that she made quite a wave in the pond, and when the fish saw this she knew something was the matter.  So she asked Lulu what it was, and Lulu told her how Alice was just crazy to see a fairy prince, and had been dreaming of one for ever and ever so long.

“And I’ve promised not to tell,” ended Lulu.  “Poor Alice!  How disappointed she will be not to see a real, live fairy!”

“Well, perhaps it is too bad,” admitted Fan Tail, and she sneezed so hard that the water flew up in a spray, just like a fountain.  “Perhaps I shall let you off from your promise,” the gold fish went on.  “Yes, I think you may bring Alice to see the fairy prince.”

“And Jimmie?  Jimmie’s my brother.  I know he would love to see him, too.  May he come?”

“Yes, you may bring Jimmie also.  But mind, I don’t want you to be disappointed.  Most fairy princes are disappointing, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Oh, that will be all right,” spoke Lulu, now quite happy again.  “May I bring them this afternoon?”

“Oh!  I suppose so, but no one else, mind.  You see the fairy prince is rather bashful.”

So Lulu promised she would bring no one else, and she hurried to the store and back again.  Fan Tail, the gold fish, went to the drug store for the sweet flag root for the fairy prince, and on the way she stubbed her nose against a stone, which made her cold in the head worse than ever; but of course we have nothing to do with that except to feel sorry for her.

When Lulu got home she was so excited she dropped the yeast cake in the pond, and it would have gotten all wet only it was wrapped in tin-foil.  Then she told Alice and Jimmie about the fairy prince she was going to see, but, as this story is too long already, I must stop, and in case the postman does not blow his whistle too loud and scary, I shall have the pleasure, to-morrow night, of telling you about the fairy prince.  And I hope you won’t be disappointed.