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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andrew Lang > Fairy tale "Drakestail"

Drakestail

And `Quack, quack, quack.' Drakestail is off again, singing and spruce as before. A little farther he meets his sweetheart, my friend River, wandering quietly in the sunshine.

`Thou, my cherub,' says she, `whither so lonesome, with arching tail, on this muddy road?'

`I am going to the King, you know, for what he owes me.'

`Oh! take me with thee!'

Drakestail said to himself: `We can't be too many friends.' . . . `I will,' says he, `but you who sleep while you walk will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat--go into my gizzard and I will carry you.'

`Ah! happy thought!' says my friend River.

She takes bag and baggage, and glou, glou, glou, she takes her place between friend Fox and my friend Ladder.

And `Quack, quack, quack.' Drakestail is off again singing.

A little farther on he meets comrade Wasp's-nest, manoeuvring his wasps.

`Well, good-morning, friend Drakestail,' said comrade Wasp's- nest, `where are we bound for so spruce and fresh?'

`I am going to the King for what he owes me.'

`Oh! take me with thee!'

Drakestail said to himself, `One can't have too many friends.' . . . `I will,' says he, `but with your battalion to drag along, you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, go into my throat--get into my gizzard and I will carry you.'

`By Jove I that's a good idea!' says comrade Wasp's-nest.

And left file! he takes the same road to join the others with all his party. There was not much more room, but by closing up a bit they managed. . . . And Drakestail is off again singing.

He arrived thus at the capital, and threaded his way straight up the High Street, still running and singing `Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?' to the great astonishment of the good folks, till he came to the King's palace.

He strikes with the knocker: `Toc! toc!'

`Who is there?' asks the porter, putting his head out of the wicket.

` 'Tis I, Drakestail. I wish to speak to the King.'

`Speak to the King! . . . That's easily said.

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