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HOME > Children's Novel > Adventures in Wallypug-Land > CHAPTER I.HOW I WENT TO WHY.
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 For some time past I have been the guest of his the Wallypug at his palace in the mysterious kingdom of Why—a country so that even now I am only just beginning to get used to my strange surroundings and stranger neighbors. Imagine, if you can, a place where all of the animals not only talk, but take an active part in the government of the land, a place where one is as likely as not to receive an invitation to an evening party from an , or is expected to escort an elderly in to dinner; where it is quite an everyday occurrence to be called upon by a hen with a brood of young chickens just as you are sitting down to tea, and be expected to take a lively interest in her account of how the youngest chick passed through its latest attack of the “pip.”  
In such a country, the unexpected is always happening, and I am continually being startled in the streets at being addressed by some dangerous-looking quadruped, or an impertinent bird, for I must say that as a class the birds are the most of all the inhabitants of this strange land. There is in particular one old crow, a most objectionable personage, and a cockatoo who is really the most violent and ill-natured bird that I have ever been acquainted with.
She takes a very active interest in Parliamentary affairs, and is a strong supporter of woman’s wrongs.
“Every woman has her wrongs,” she declares, “and if she hasn’t she ought to have.”
You will naturally wish to know how I reached this strange country, and will, no doubt, be surprised when I tell you how the journey was .
One morning a few weeks since, I received a letter from his Majesty the Wallypug asking me to visit him at his palace at Why, in order to assist him in establishing some of our social customs and methods of government, which he had so greatly admired during his visit to England, and which he was desirous of imitating in his own land. A little packet was enclosed in the letter, bearing the words, “The shortest way to Why. This side up with anxiety.” “Well,” I thought, “I suppose they mean ‘This side up with care,’” and was very carefully to open the packet when a of wind rushed in at the window, and blowing open the paper wrapper, the contents—a little white powder—in all directions. Some particles flew up into my eyes, and caused them to smart so violently that I was obliged to close them for some time till the pain had gone, and when I opened them again, what do you think? I was no longer in my study at home, but out on a kind of heath in the brilliant sunshine, and miles from a house of any kind. A finger-post stood a little way in front of me, and I could see that three roads met just here. Anxiously I hurried up to the post to see where I was. One arm , “To Nowhere.” “And I certainly don’t want to go there,” I thought; the other one was , “To Somewhere,” which was decidedly a little better, but the third one said, “To Everywhere Else.”
“And, good gracious me,” I thought, “that’s not much use, for I don’t know in the least now which of the last two roads to take.” I was puzzling my brain as to what was the best thing to be done, when I happened to look down the road leading to “Nowhere,” and saw a curious-looking little person running towards me. He had an enormous head, and apparently his arms and legs were attached to it, for I could see no trace of a body. He was flourishing something in his hand as he ran along, and as soon as he came closer I discovered that it was his card which he handed to me with a polite bow and an extensive smile, as soon as he got near enough to do so.
is what I read.
The little man was still smiling and bowing, so I held out my hand and said:
“How do you do, sir? I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. Perhaps you can be good enough to tell me—”
The little man nodded violently.
“To tell me where I am,” I continued.
Mr. Nobody looked very wise, and after a few moments’ thought smiled and nodded more violently than ever, and simply pointed his finger at me.
“Yes, yes,” I cried, rather impatiently; “of course I know that I’m here, but what I want to know is, what place is this?”
The little fellow knitted his brows, and looked very thoughtful, and finally staring at me sorrowfully, he slowly shook his head.
“You don’t know?” I inquired.
He shook his head again.
“Dear me, this is very sad; the poor man is evidently dumb,” I said, half aloud.
Mr. Nobody must have heard me, for he nodded violently, then resuming his former smile, he bowed again, and turning on his heels ran back in the direction of Nowhere, stopping every now and then to turn around and nod and smile and wave his hand.
“What a remarkable little person,” I was just saying, when I heard a voice above my head calling out:
“Man! man!”
I looked up and saw a large crow perched on the finger-post. He had a newspaper in one claw, and was gravely regarding me over the tops of his spectacles.
“Well! what are you staring at?” he remarked as soon as he caught my eye.
“Well, really,” I began.
“Haven’t you ever seen a crow before?” he interrupted.
“Of course I have,” I answered rather angrily, for my surprise at hearing him talk was fast giving way to indignation at his insolent tone and manner.
“Very well, then, what do you want to stand there at me in that absurd way for?” said the bird. “What did he say to you?” he continued, jerking his head in the direction in which Mr. Nobody had disappeared.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Very well, then, what was it?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” said I.
“Why, stupid, you said Nobody and nothing, didn’t you, and as two negatives make an affirmative that means he must have said something.”
“I’m afraid I don’t quite understand,” I said.
“Ignorant ostrich!” remarked the crow contemptuously.
“Look here,” I cried, getting very indignant, “I will not be spoken to like that by a bird!”
“Oh, really! Who do you think you are, pray, you ridiculous biped? Where’s your hat?”
I was too indignant to answer, and though I should have liked to have asked the name of the place I was at, I not to hold any further conversation with the insolent bird, and walked away in the direction of “Somewhere,” pursued by the sound of mocking laughter from the crow.
I had not gone far, however, before I perceived a curious kind of carriage coming towards me. It was a sort of rickshaw, and was by a kangaroo, who was jerking it along behind him. A large ape sat inside, hugging a carpet bag, and holding on to the dashboard with his toes.
“Let’s pass him with contempt,” I heard one of them say.
“All right,” was the reply. “Drive on.”
“I say, Man,” called out the Ape, as they passed, “we’re not taking the slightest notice of you.”
“Oh, aren’t you? Well, I’m sure I don’t care,” I replied rather crossly.
The Kangaroo stopped and stared at me in , and the Ape got out of the rickshaw and came towards me, looking very indignant.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked, striking an attitude.
“No, I don’t,” I replied, “and what’s more, I don’t care.”
“But I’m a person of consequence,” he .
“You are only an ape or a monkey,” I said firmly.
“Oh! I can clearly see that you don’t know me,” remarked the Ape pityingly. “I’m Oom Hi.”
“Indeed,” I said unconcernedly. “I am afraid I’ve never heard of you.”
“Never heard of Oom Hi,” cried the Ape. “Why, I am the inventor of Broncho.”
“What’s that?” I asked. “Good gracious! what ignorance,” said the Ape; “here, go and fetch my bag,” he whispered to the Kangaroo, who ran back to the rickshaw and returned with the carpet bag.
“This,” continued Oom Hi, taking out a bottle, “is the article; it is called ‘Broncho,’ and is excellent for coughs, colds, and affections of the throat; you will notice that each bottle bears a label stating that the mixture is prepared according to my own formula, and bears my signature; none other is genuine without it. The Wallypug, when he returned from England and heard that I had invented it, declared that I must be a literary genius.”
“A what!” I exclaimed.
“A literary genius,” repeated the Ape, .
“Why, what on earth has cough mixture to do with literature?” I inquired.
“I don’t know, I’m sure,” admitted Oom Hi, “but the Wallypug said that in England any one who invented anything of that sort was supposed to possess great literary talent.”
“The Wallypug!” I exclaimed, suddenly remembering. “Am I anywhere near his Kingdom of Why, then?”
“Of course you are; it’s only about a mile or two down the road. Are you going there?” inquired Oom Hi.
“Well, yes,” I answered. “I’ve had an invitation from his Majesty, and should rather like to go there, as I’m so near.”
“His Majesty; he—he—he, that’s good,” laughed the Kangaroo. “Do you call the Wallypug ‘his Majesty’?” he asked.
“Of course,” I replied, “he is a king, isn’t he?”
“A kind of king,” corrected Oom Hi. “You don’t catch us calling him ‘your Majesty,’ I can tell you though, one animal is as good as another here, and if anything, a little better. If you are going to Why, we may as well go back with you, and give you a lift in the rickshaw.”
“You’re very kind,” I said, gratefully.
“Not at all, not at all; jump in,” said Oom Hi.
“Hold on a moment,” said the Kangaroo. “It’s his turn to pull, you know.”
“Of course, of course,” said the Ape, getting into the vehicle; “put him in the !”
“What do you mean?” I expostulated.
“Your turn to pull the rickshaw, you know; we always take turns, and as I have been dragging it for some time it’s your turn now.”
“But I’m not going to pull that thing with you two animals in it. I never heard of such a thing,” I declared.
“Who are you calling an animal?” demanded the Kangaroo, sulkily. “You’re one yourself, aren’t you?”
“Well, I suppose I am,” I admitted. “But I’m not going to draw that thing, all the same.”
“Oh, get in, get in; don’t make a fuss. I suppose I shall have to take a turn myself,” said Oom Hi, grasping the handles, and the Kangaroo and myself having taken our seats we were soon traveling down the road. The Kangaroo turned out to be a very pleasant companion after all, and when he found out that I came from England told me all about his brother, who was a professional , and had been to London and made his fortune as the Boxing Kangaroo. He was quite delighted when I told him that I had seen notices of his performance in the papers. We soon came in sight of a walled city, which Oom Hi, turning around, informed me was Why. And on reaching the gate he gave the rickshaw in charge of an old turtle, who came up, and each of the animals taking one of my arms, I was led in triumph through the city gates to the Wallypug’s palace, several creatures, including a motherly-looking goose and a little gosling, taking a lively interest in my progress, while a giraffe in a very high collar craned his neck through a port-hole to try and get a glimpse of us as we passed under the portcullis.

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