Read STORY XI - ALICE WIBBLEWOBBLE’S ENCHANTED CASTLE of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

Alice Wibblewobble had made up her mind to find out more about the fairy prince.  She couldn’t believe he was only a mud turtle.  She felt sure he was merely in that form until some one came along, pronounced the magical words, or sprinkled the magical water on him, or did something else, to change him back again.

“I think I will have another talk with him,” she said.  “Perhaps, if I go all alone, he will tell me what to do.  Oh, wouldn’t it be perfectly lovely if I could change him into a king with a golden-diamond-ruby crown.  Yes, I certainly shall go.”

So Alice swam off up the pond, in the direction the gold fish had once led Lulu and Jimmie and her.

Well, Alice went on and on and on, for ever so long, but she couldn’t seem to find the place where the mud turtle fairy prince lived.  She saw the green rushes hanging over the water’s edge, she saw the bright ripples, just like diamonds that might be in a king’s crown, and she heard the birds singing; but there was no mud hole where the fairy prince lived.

“Oh dear!” exclaimed Alice.  “I’m afraid I’m lost.”

“What?  Lost in this beautiful place?” asked a voice just above her head, and, looking up, Alice saw a dear little yellow bird sitting on a tree over the water.

“Yes,” said Alice, and a tear came into her eye, and ran down her yellow bill.  “I am lost.  I can’t find the fairy prince.”

“Oh, that is too bad,” said the little yellow bird.  “I don’t just know what a fairy prince is, but it must be dreadful not to be able to find one when you want to.  Do not feel badly, however.  I can take you to an enchanted castle, if that will do.”

“Oh, can you?” cried Alice.  “That will be lovely.  I had almost as soon see an enchanted castle as a fairy prince.  Is it a really, truly one?”

“Oh, yes,” answered the bird.  “It certainly is.  It is the most beautiful place in all the world.  Come, and I will show you.”

Then Alice felt delighted, and she walked out of the water, and waddled along on the land.  The bird flew along, going slowly, so as not to get ahead of Alice.  On and on they went, over green fields, and through the woods, until, pretty soon, they came to a place where the bird stopped.

“We are near the enchanted castle,” he said.  “But you must be very careful.”

“Why?” asked Alice.

“Oh, because every once in a while a lot of water spouts up out of the castle, and it might drown you, if you were not careful.”

“Oh, I don’t mind water,” answered Alice.

Then they went on a little farther, and, in a short time, oh, perhaps about as long as it takes you to peel an orange, and put some salt on it, they came to a most beautiful place.  I wish you could have seen it!  At first Alice thought the rainbow had fallen from the sky, there were so many colors.  There was red and green and blue and orange and violet and yellow and pink and purple and even some of that skilligimink color, that once turned Sammie Littletail sky-blue-pink.

Then the little duck girl saw that the colors were all from different flowers that smelled just like mamma’s perfume bottles.  Next, as she walked on a little farther, she saw a great pile of stones high in the air, and, around the bottom of the pile was a big basin of water, not quite as large as the pond at the ducks’ pen, but nearly, Green vines and flowers were growing in and out among the stones, and birds were flying here and there, singing.

“This,” said the little yellow bird, “is the enchanted castle.  I live here all summer, and so do all my friends.  Sometimes we bathe in the water, and sometimes we hide under the flowers.  Then, when the water spouts up out of the top of the castle we all fly away.”

And just then, what should happen but that some water began to spurt, then and there, right out of the top of that big pile of stones.  Up, up it went, in a spray, spreading out at the tops like an umbrella in a rain storm, and the drops fell with a splash into the basin below.  Then Alice Wibblewobble cried out!

“Why, this isn’t an enchanted castle at all!”

“No?” asked the yellow bird, putting its head on one side, so as to see better.  “Why, we always call this our enchanted castle; always.”

“No,” answered Alice.  “It is only a fountain in a stone pile in somebody’s flower garden.  I’ve seen one before, near our house.”

“Well, it looks like an enchanted castle,” said the bird, “and I’m sure it’s just as pretty as one.  Isn’t it as good as your fairy prince?”

“Well,” replied the little duck girl.  “I suppose it is.  But it’s only water, such as I swim in.”

“Oh, do you swim?” asked the bird.  “Do please show me how.  I’ve always wanted to learn.”

So, though Alice was disappointed about the enchanted castle, she got in the little pond at the foot of the fountain, and swam around.  The water spurted up in the air and fell all over her, but she didn’t mind that.  All the birds gathered around to watch, and even the flowers nodded their heads, they were so delighted.

“Oh, I’m sure we never can learn to swim,” said the yellow bird, as Alice went around again.  “It is much too difficult.”

Then, all of a sudden, something happened.  A boy and a girl came running down the gravel walk to the fountain.  The little girl had yellow hair, just like a daffodil, and as soon as she saw Alice she cried out:  “Oh, Norman!  Come quick!  Here is a lovely duck!  I hope we can keep it!”

That frightened Alice very much, especially as the boy tried to grab her.  So she sprang out of the water and ran and hid under some bushes where the children couldn’t find her, and as soon as she could, she went back the way she had come, into the pond, and started to swim home.

And on the way a fox chased her and a big hawk tried to swoop down, and grab her, but she managed to get away.  She was all tired out when she got home, and when Jimmie and Lulu asked her where she had been she told them all her adventures.

“Well,” said Jimmie, when his sister had finished, “I think I would rather see that enchanted castle than the fairy prince again.  Will you take us there some day, Alice?”

“Perhaps,” she said, but before they made that trip something else happened, which you shall hear about to-morrow night if I find a green popcorn ball with a pink ribbon on it.  It’s a story of a visit to Grandpa Wibblewobble’s house.