King Anko To The Rescue

: The Sea Fairies

The great magician Zog never slept. He was always watchful and

alert. Some strange power warned him that his prisoners were about

to escape.

Scarcely had the four left the castle by the broken window when the

monster stepped from a doorway below and saw them. Instantly he blew

upon a golden whistle, and at the summons a band of wolf-fish

appeared and dashed after the prisoners. These creatures swam so
swiftly that soon they were between the fugitives and the dome, and

then they turned and with wicked eyes and sharp fangs began a fierce

attack upon the mermaids and the earth dwellers.

Trot was a little frightened at the evil looks of the sea wolves,

whose heads were enormous, and whose jaws contained rows of curved

and pointed teeth. But Aquareine advanced upon them with her golden

sword, and every touch of the charmed weapon instantly killed an

enemy, so that one by one the wolf-fish rolled over upon their backs

and sank helplessly downward through the water, leaving the

prisoners free to continue their way toward the opening in the dome.

Zog witnessed the destruction of his wolves and uttered a loud laugh

that was terrible to hear. Then the dread monster determined to

arrest the fugitives himself, and in order to do this he was forced

to discover himself in all the horror of his awful form, a form he

was so ashamed of and loathed so greatly that he always strove to

keep it concealed, even from his own view. But it was important that

his prisoners should not escape. Hastily casting off the folds of

the robe that enveloped him, Zog allowed his body to uncoil and

shoot upward through the water in swift pursuit of his victims. His

cloven hoofs, upon which he usually walked, being now useless, were

drawn up under him, while coil after coil of his eel-like body

wriggled away like a serpent. At his shoulders two broad, feathery

wings expanded, and these enabled the monster to cleave his way

through the water with terrific force.

Zog was part man, part beast, part fish, part fowl, and part

reptile. His undulating body was broad and thin and like the body of

an eel. It was as repulsive as one could well imagine, and no wonder

Zog hated it and kept it covered with his robe. Now, with his horned

head and its glowing eyes thrust forward, wings flapping from his

shoulders and his eely body--ending in a fish's tail--wriggling far

behind him, this strange and evil creature was a thing of terror

even to the sea dwellers, who were accustomed to remarkable sights.

The mermaids, the sailor and the child, one after another looking

back as they swam toward liberty and safety, saw the monster coming

and shuddered with uncontrollable fear. They were drawing nearer to

the dome by this time, yet it was still some distance away. The four

redoubled their speed, darting through the water with the swiftness

of skyrockets. But fast as they swam, Zog swam faster, and the good

queen's heart began to throb as she realized she would be forced to

fight her loathesome foe.

Presently Zog's long body was circling around them like a whirlwind,

lashing the water into foam and gradually drawing nearer and nearer

to his victims. His eyes were no longer glowing coals, they were

balls of flame, and as he circled around them, he laughed aloud that

horrible laugh which was far more terrifying than any cry of rage

could be. The queen struck out with her golden sword, but Zog

wrapped a coil of his thin body around it and, wrestling it from her

hand, crushed the weapon into a shapeless mass. Then Aquareine waved

her fairy wand, but in a flash the monster sent it flying away

through the water.

Cap'n Bill now decided that they were lost. He drew Trot closer to

his side and placed one arm around her. "I can't save you, dear

little mate," he said sadly, "but we've lived a long time together,

an' now we'll die together. I knew, Trot, when first we sawr them

mermaids, as we'd--we'd--"

"Never live to tell the tale," said the child. "But never mind,

Cap'n Bill, we've done the best we could, and we've had a fine


"Forgive me! Oh, forgive me!" cried Aquareine despairingly. "I tried

to save you, my poor friends, but--"

"What's that?" exclaimed the Princess, pointing upward. They all

looked past Zog's whirling body, which was slowly enveloping them in

its folds, toward the round opening in the dome. A dark object had

appeared there, sliding downward like a huge rope and descending

toward them with lightning rapidly. They gave a great gasp as they

recognized the countenance of King Anko, the sea serpent, its gray

hair and whiskers bristling like those of an angry cat, and the

usually mild blue eyes glowing with a ferocity even more terrifying

than the orbs of Zog.

The magician gave a shrill scream at sight of his dreaded enemy, and

abandoning his intended victims, Zog made a quick dash to escape.

But nothing in the sea could equal the strength and quickness of

King Anko when he was roused. In a flash the sea serpent had caught

Zog fast in his coils, and his mighty body swept round the monster

and imprisoned him tightly. The four, so suddenly rescued, swam away

to a safer distance from the struggle, and then they turned to watch

the encounter between the two great opposing powers of the ocean's

depths. Yet there was no desperate fight to observe, for the

combatants were unequal. The end came before they were aware of it.

Zog had been taken by surprise, and his great fear of Anko destroyed

all of his magic power. When the sea serpent slowly released those

awful coils, a mass of jelly-like pulp floated downward through the

water with no remnant of life remaining in it, no form to show it

had once been Zog, the Magician.

Then Anko shook his body that the water might cleanse it, and

advanced his head toward the group of four whom he had so

opportunely rescued. "It is all over, friends," said he in his

gentle tones, while a mild expression once more reigned on his

comical features. "You may go home at any time you please, for the

way through the dome will be open as soon as I get my own body

through it."

Indeed, so amazing was the length of the great sea serpent that only

a part of him had descended through the hole into the dome. Without

waiting for the thanks of those he had rescued, he swiftly retreated

to the ocean above, and with grateful hearts they followed him, glad

to leave the cavern where they had endured so much anxiety and