King Rinkitink and the Trials of Prince Bobo
An Addendum to King Rinkitink
By Joe Bongiorno
(With a little help from L. Frank Baum)
Special thanks to Andrew Heller!
Note: This takes place between chapters 23 and 24 of King Rinkitink, prior to his return to his own kingdom
It was unfortunate for King Kitticut that the final group of ships that had arrived at Pingaree were those of the wicked King and Queen of Regos and Coregos. Having returned to their islands and discovered the loss of their slaves and treasures, they set sail in a fury, bent on the utter destruction of the Pingareese people.
Exasperated by the recent events, King Kitticut and King Rinkitink had paid the lookout’s warning no mind, assuming the ships to be more royal families looking to claim their lost kings. But when the first cannonballs, equipped by the nomes, fired from King Gos’s ship, they took notice. Standing up in alarm they ran to the nearest window to see a large fleet of dark ships amassed around the western coast of the island.
“I’ve been a fool,” muttered King Kitticut.
“Having considerable experience in that area,” said Rinkitink, “I can assure you that is untrue. But all is not lost. Do you yet have the pearls about your person?”
“Yes, and with them I can safeguard my family and friends, so long as we are in direct contact, but of this attack by sea, there is nothing I can do to prevent the ruination of Pingaree and the loss of many lives.”
“But look,” squealed Rinkitink, pointing his finger to the west. “There is yet hope, for Bilbil has not abandoned us!”
The two kings ran out once again to the shore, and with them came Queen Garee, Prince Inga, Zella, her mother Onna, and father Nikobob (who they refused to call King Woodie the Third, much to his relief), along with many other pearl fishers and farmers who were really kings. When Nikobob got sight of Kings Kitticut and Rinkitink, he ran over to them. “With only twenty-three boats, they are no match for King Gos’s fleet.”
“Oh my brave and poor Bilbil!” fretted Rinkitink before composing himself.
“What I don’t understand is where Gos attained so many ships,” said Zella pensively, “I thought we took all of them when we departed Regos.”
“We did,” said Prince Inga, dismayed at the realization of his error. “What I failed to do was destroy the remaining ships on Coregos. The queen had her own fleet.”
“Do not blame yourself for having compassion, my son,” consoled King Kitticut. “You had not wanted to deprive them of a means of honest trade.”
“Alas, my compassion may prove our undoing,” said the prince.
“If it is any consolation,” said his father, “I would have done the same. It is because we have hearts that we are not like our cruel adversaries.”
Ever watchful, Zella raised her arm towards their would-be saviors. “Why are the ships from Goatee not moving?”
Everyone looked out to watch to see if such was true, and indeed their fleet had remained in the distance while the warships of Coregos were drawing ever near.
“They must have realized they are outmatched,” sighed King Kitticut. “Perhaps it is for the best. There is no need for them to be destroyed along with us.”
“Impossible!” said Rinkitink. “Bilbil, shrink back from defending his friends? Never!”
“But he is no longer Bilbil,” said Inga. “He is Duke Bilbon now, and has responsibilities to his people. Do not blame him, dear Rinkitink. He must think of them first. We can and will fight them ourselves!”
“Oh dear!” exclaimed Rinkitink, who didn’t hold out much hope a nation of kings and former kings would be of much help.
“Wait!” said Nikobob. “There is more going on here than meets the eye.”
The former king-cum-charcoal-burner’s words proved true, as the waves of the sea were suddenly now rolling and pitching, and the sky was turning densely dark. For a brief moment, one could see what appeared to be a gigantic form undulating beneath the sea foam.
“What new horror comes upon us?” exclaimed a frightened Rinkitink.
A horror had indeed come, but not for Pingaree. The waves lashed and churned, and out of them emerged hundreds of forms of mer-folk, their iridescent scales glistening in the ever dimming light. Still, the ships from Coregos did not turn around, though they now pitched and heaved upon the angry waves. King Kitticut had ordered a spyglass brought to him, and through it he could see King Gos and Queen Cor standing at the helm of their ship, railing at the storm in utter defiance of the sea fairies that swam in the waters around them.
An exquisite mermaid then arose before them, beautiful beyond description, but terrible to look upon, for her visage was marked by wrath and grief. “That is Aquareine,” said King Kitticut to the others, who jockeyed for a chance to see through the spyglass. “It was she who gave my ancestor the pearls so long ago.” Those on the shore of Pingaree could not hear her words, but it was clear from their reaction that the King and Queen would not be swayed from their deadly purpose. Then as quickly as she appeared, the Mermaid Queen departed back into the sea.
Canons continued to fire, but now they were aimed at the waters and those within in. “Now you see, Kitticut, what I had meant,” said Rinkitink, as somberly as he could muster. “Those are fools.”
The battle did not last long, for at that very moment, a giant serpentine head arose from the depths of the sea, terrifying beyond all comprehension and filled with the wrath of the great ocean deep. It rose to a fearful height and dashed its enormous body upon the ships of Coregos. The cruel warriors of the Twin Islands, now forced to face one even crueler than they, leapt off their boats in droves, but once in the water they were taken down into the darkness of the sea by the water maids that awaited them. The Great Sea-Serpent, King Anko, for that is who it was, turned his attention to King Gos and Queen Cor upon the helm of their ship, and in an instant they were no more; their ruined husk of a ship sank like a stone into the unfathomable depths.
In the hours that followed, everyone learned much of what had occurred, and a great feast was prepared for all. The goats of Goatee came ashore, though Duke Bilbon insisted that all but he and two other goats, Osvaldo and Stumpins—who he deemed well-enough behaved—remain on the beach while the three of them entered the palace.
After many introductions and hearty discussions, including numerous songs, stories and jokes by King Rinkitink—which Stumpins found oddly amusing, to the bewilderment of the Duke—Bilbon finally got around to explaining their presence. While departing southwest to their home out past Octagon Island, the goats of Goatee had spied a large fleet sailing down from the northwest. When Bilbon saw the flags of Coregos, he knew his friends were in trouble and ordered his flotilla to immediately turn around. Now that he was again their acting ruler, they dared not disobey him, but when they arrived they were stopped by a pair of Sea Fairies, who leapt out of the water to get their attention, and warned: “Do not sail any further, good Sons of Capra, for though you are noble and true, you are to stay out of this battle, for this is a conflict between the Fairy Rulers of the Nonestic and the wicked King and Queen of the Twin Islands.” Though it pained him to not come to the aid of his friends, he obeyed the voice of the Sea Fairies and did not interfere. A great storm had soon erupted before them and by the time the battle had ended, not a single ship of Coregos remained.
“I had thought that the fairy mermaids played a role in the destruction of the marauders when they invaded Pingaree long ago when I was a boy,” said King Kitticut. “Now I know it is true. I cannot say I’m sorry to see them go, for they had brought much suffering to the islands of the Nonestic.”
“King Anko gave them a warning long ago,” said a resonant female voice that startled everyone. “They refused to heed it.” The speaker was a tall, elegantly dressed and beautiful woman with auburn hair and a fluted crown upon her head, who might have passed for a fairy herself if the history books of Pingaree did not clearly identify her as the famous Glinda the Good. Besides her stood another impossibly beautiful, but much younger-looking woman with a pale gown and unusual belt clasped about her waist; her dark wavy hair, set off by ringlet curls, was decorated with bright red poppies on either side of her head that were connected by a golden headband. This was the famous Ozma of Oz.
“Our sincerest apologies, King Kitticut and Queen Garee, for our intrusion,” said Princess Ozma.
“The ruler of Oz and her friends are always welcome here,” said Queen Garee when she saw her husband remained speechless.
“We understand that you have had many shocks this day,” said Ozma, “and we don’t wish to burden you with yet another, but there is a matter that has been brought to our attention that has required us make this unannounced visit to your Kingdom.”
“We are honored beyond our worth by Your Majesty’s visit,” said the King, gathering his wits. “As my wife wisely stated, you are more than welcome to our humble island. Please have a seat and share some food and drink with us.” Although Ozma and Glinda declined, the King and Queen had the servants bring plates and utensils and various succulent dishes and beverages to augment those already strewn about the table. “Is this about the many royals from Oz who have chosen to hide here in Pingaree?”
Ozma looked at Glinda with a sly smile, but the latter said somberly, “No, I’m afraid it’s not.”
“The former rulers of the various kingdoms in Oz are free to abdicate if they so choose,” explained Ozma. “It has been a barely concealed secret for some time that kings who find their duties too taxing come to Pingaree for a life of peace and quiet.”
“It was certainly a secret for Pingaree! Hee, hee, hee, eek-keek, keek, keek! Ho-ho hoo…” laughed King Rinkitink uproariously.”
“So that is why you chose to escape here!” said Bilbil, now Duke Bilbon. “I should have known it had nothing to do with your trade in pearls.”
“Well… you see…” stammered Rinkitink.”
“It is unusual to see a talking animal outside of Oz,” said Ozma, sparing the embarrassed king. “We have not had the pleasure of encountering the honorable goats of Goatee before.”
While this speech made Osvaldo and Stumpins perk up, Bilbon said, “If you had, you’d know it’s not much of a pleasure.”
“Do you recall much of your years spent in Goatee?” asked Glinda.
“I do,” he exclaimed. “The constant disagreements, bickering, gossip, silent treatment, rude language, all left for me to deal with. Yes, I remember all that for sure. It’s why I left.”
“And before that?” she pressed.
“Well…” now it was the goat’s turn to stammer. “I don’t know… I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Why are you asking me this?”
“As we said earlier,” began Ozma, “we don’t mean to bring another shock upon you, but we were visited by a delegation from the Royal Family of Boboland.”
“Why, that’s just south of my kingdom, along the coast!” stated Rinkitink. “A good family, the Aurora’s! Did you know Queen Evraline of Ev was once a Princess of Boboland? Shame about their loss, though.”
“I’ve never heard of them!” said Bilbon.
“What was there loss?” asked Prince Inga.
“After a lengthy and arduous journey,” began Glinda, “the king’s brother, who is now serving as Duke of Boboland, came to us not long ago. Having heard of our rescue of the Royal Family of Ev, he arrived urgently hoping we could help locate the Royal Family of Boboland. It appears that over the last decade they have been disappearing. At first it was assumed that the king and queen had abdicated, as a note had been left indicating as much. Then, the young prince vanished, and it was assumed he simply didn’t wish to rule, as he was known to be somewhat… short-tempered. But when the royal princesses vanished, he knew something was amiss. The Duke suspects the wicked magician, Botai, who was once the Royal Wizard of Boboland, for he long held a grudge against the Royal Family.”
“We know what became of the Prince,” added Ozma, “and it is for this reason that we are here.”
At this, Osvaldo became visibly discomfited and arose from his seat. “As fascinating as this story is, it is a human affair, and we are rather late in returning to our own kingdom.”
“Why are you acting so strange?” asked Bilbon. “You seem as guilty as King Gos himself. What have you done?”
“Nothing, your majesty,” he replied, but it was clear he was disturbed. “It’s just…”
“Just what?!” roared Bilbon. “Speak, you old goat!”
“You were found as an orphaned goat on our island,” he finally said. “We did not know where you came from or who your sires were. It is not in the nature of goats to abandon their young, and many assumptions were made. You were brought before the reigning Duke and Duchess, and though you had no memory of your past, you were raised as their own, for they’d had no other. In a short time, you proved both loyal and wise and, most-importantly, even-tempered.” At this, Rinkitink couldn’t help but laugh, but Bilbon didn’t even have the heart to glare at him, so disturbed was he by this account. “Then, when your adoptive parents retired, you were the natural choice to be made the next Duke, and you ruled us wisely and well until the day you escaped.”
“I’m afraid his account his true,” said Ozma gently. “We have a powerful tool known as the Magic Picture, which revealed that you are in fact Prince Bobo of Boboland, and although your uncle has done an admirable job of ruling, he feels it is your rightful place to rule your country, at least until such a time as your parents are restored.”
“Are you sure they’re not hiding out here?” asked Prince Inga. “There are plenty who are!”
“In that case, the Magic Picture would have showed them to us,” said Ozma. “I suspect they may still be in Boboland.”
“If this is to be, then let it be done, for I am weary of kings and goats alike. How am I to be disenchanted?”
“I am not yet certain,” said Glinda. “Without the evil magician at hand, I will have to work something out, but I do ask that you come with us to Oz for that.”
“Only if I may accompany him!” stated Rinkitink. “After all, he is…er, was… my royal steed… and my friend.”
“Of course,” said Glinda.
“I’m sorry, your Majesty,” said Pinkerbloo, “But I’m afraid I cannot allow that. You have been away for far too long already.”
“You are right, of course, good Pinkerbloo,” the King of Gilgad said, uncharacteristically somber, “I have been irresponsible. I have thought too much of my own pleasure, and not enough of the well-being of my subjects, and I promise you that is all going to change. But I also cannot leave Bilbil during this most important time. Allow me this last indulgence, and I promise you will have a king like never before!”
Pinkerbloo was stunned by this speech, for never before had he heard his king speak in such a way, and with such candor. “Very well, your highness. We insist, however, upon coming with you.”
“Why, I wouldn’t dream of going without you, my good Pinkandblue!”
“Duke Bilbon,” said Osvaldo, “Although, we now know that you are not a true goat, yet you are in the form of a superior race and much needed in your… our kingdom. Would you abandon us so easily?”
“There are no superior or inferior races,” Bilbon said testily. “But no, I would not abandon you. In fact, I already know who my successor will be.”
“Do not say it,” said Osvaldo.
“Hee-hee, hoo hoo, heek-eek, eek!”
“Not now, Rinkitink,” scolded Bilbon, but without ire. “Yes, Osvaldo, I mean you. You spent years search for me. Why? It is because you think I have a uniquely warm and friendly temperament. Well, the truth is that so do you! The citizens of Goatee might have been too blind to recognize it, but you will make an excellent Duke.”
“I… I don’t know what to say,” he replied.
“Well, that’s a good start anyway,” said Bilbon. “So, I suppose it’s off to Oz to get disenchanted?”
“Whenever you’re ready,” said Ozma.
“No time like the present, I suppose.”
As everyone got up to make plans for departure, Queen Garee felt a prick of sadness, “How quickly it all passes,” she said to her son and Zella. “As mad and exhausting as these days of rejoicing have been, I fear I shall miss them.”
“As will I,” agreed Inga. “But I trust there are yet many good days ahead for us.”
“For my part, I still wonder if I will wake up back in my bed on Regos,” said Zella. “Not a week ago, I thought fairies and talking animals and transformations were only to be found in children’s books. What little I knew then!”
“You are not alone in that,” said Inga. “It took the White Pearl to tell me never to question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.”
At last, the hour of parting had arrived and the King of Gilgad and Ruler of the Dominion of Rinkitink was escorted—along with his old goat Bilbil—by a grand procession to his boat and seated upon his golden throne. The rowers of the fifty boats paused, with their glittering oars pointed into the air like gigantic uplifted sabres, while the people of Pingaree—men, women and children, but especially King Kitticut, Queen Garee, Nikobob, Prince Inga and Princess Zella—stood upon the shore shouting a royal farewell to the jolly King.
Then came a sudden hush, while Rinkitink stood up and, with a bow to those assembled to witness his departure, sang the following song, which he had just composed for the occasion.
“Farewell, dear Isle of Pingaree—
The fairest land in all the sea!
No living mortals, kings or churls,
Would scorn to wear thy precious pearls.
“King Kitticut, ‘tis with regret
I’m forced to say farewell; and yet
Abroad no longer can I roam
When fifty boats would drag me home.
“Good-bye, my Prince of Pingaree;
A noble King some time you’ll be
And long and wisely may you reign
And never face a foe again!”
They cheered him from the shore; they cheered him from the boats; and then all the oars of the fifty boats swept downward with a single motion and dipped their blades into the purple-hued waters of the Nonestic Ocean.
As the boats shot swiftly over the ripples of the sea, Ozma touched the Magic Belt worn around her waist, and the ships blinked out of sight, appearing far away in Lake Quad, near the Emerald City of Oz. Admiring the view, Rinkitink then turned to his friend and asked anxiously:
“How did you like that song, Bilbil—I mean Bilbon—I mean Bobo? Is it a masterpiece, do you think?
And the goat that was his loyal friend replied with a smile:
“Like all your songs, dear Rinkitink, the sentiment far excels the poetry.”
See Return to Boboland for the further adventures of Rinkitink and Bobo!