Short Stories » Septimus

Though this event, and her duty, did not allow her absence from a place where, indeed, her presence seemed so necessary, yet she could not long contain her feelings on behalf of little Septimus, and her impatience to hear some news of him. So soon, therefore, as she thought her little people could go on tolerably well without her, she departed, with the hope of satisfying her curiosity, and of gratifying her fondness for the young prince. That she might not be perceived by the genii and fairies, who are continually traversing the middle region of the air, she took to her little post-chaise, which she care- fully closed on all sides, providing herself with her wand and other articles of fairy ism, above all not forgetting the invisible water ; then, having ordered her six flying lizards to use great speed, she arrived in a few minutes at a short distance from the Inaccessible island. She alighted, dismissed her chaise, and rubbing herself over with the water just named, she overcame, without being seen, obstacles which, but for this liquid would have successfully opposed her entrance. Gangan had, in order to prevent genii and fairies from entering her island, surrounded it with a treble enclosure, formed by a rapid torrent, the waters of which rolled over rocks which they had split with their violence, tearing up trunks of trees and dashing the fragments in the waves. The shores of this isle were defended by twenty-four dragons of enormous size ; and the flames which they vomited at the sight of fairies or genii reached to the clouds, and, uniting, formed an impenetrable wall of fire.

The Fairy of the Fields had hardly been seeking for intelligence as to the fate of Septimus above an hour, when chance afforded her the most favourable opportunity in the world ; she saw coming towards her Gangan, accompanied by a Dive, for she was only served by evil genii, and her countenance appeared inflamed with passion, and she spoke very vehemently. Profiting by her invisibility, the Fairy of the Fields, resolved to listen, when she heard Gangan speak to her companion nearly as follows : " Yes, my dear Barbarec, you see me in despair ; I am about to lose for ever the largest king- dom of the universe. The ungrateful mother of Petard has died without even a desire to be reconciled with me ; nor is that all, she has bound her subjects by an oath, not only never to receive at my hands a successor to her crown, but even to restore the throne to her son, or to one of her grandsons. I tried to win the people by my kindness, but found everywhere an inveterate hatred against me ; they refused my gifts, which they looked on as equally perfidious and treasonable, and they have decided by an unanimous and formal resolution on following the queen's direction, by depriving me of a throne on which I had reckoned to place my niece. It shall not, however, be long ere this ungrateful people feel the effects of my just anger; and, to begin with the principal causes of my disgrace, take from my stables one of my largest griffins, fly to the Isle of Bambine, seize the brothers and sisters of Septimus, and bring them here. Myself will undertake to carry off Petard and Gilletta, and when they are brought together, I will transform the king and his queen into rabbits and their children into terriers.

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