The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, January 30, 1904, Page 16, Image 16

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Remarkable Experiences of a
: Small Boy Who "Was Really
Very Bright, and Thought
; He Knew Everything
Queer Beings Surrounded Him,
.Took Him to , Unheard-oK
Lands and Talked About :
Unknovm Things
O SCAR COOPER was the smartest boy in
the Tillage of Sprops. He was the lest
speller and pronouncer and stood at the
head of all the others in classes at school
He was neve? known to make an error, and ever
the teachers sometimes gated at him with a sort of
awe, as if they suspected that he was more than
human, for teachers can make mistakes as well as
other people. But they never caught Oscar, making:
one. ' ;".-'".'
Well, when he at last won the great prize for
; spelling and pronouncing, which was given by the
Honorable Charley Fortner, the richest man in
Sprops, he was so elated that he walked home with
the prize as if oii air. The prize was a grand one;
nothing less than a gigantio dictionary a foot thick,
containing about a million words and a half mil
lion pictures, and it was all the boy could carry, too.
He was so proud of his triumph that he scarcely
saw the other boysi who, of course, loved him dear
ly, because he was so clever. He had spelled down"
the whole school, and it swelled his little head until
"he thought he was a wonder;. When he reached
home and displayed the prize to his parents they
simply held their breath as they looked at him and
jut; ov - ' v
"I wish they had given me a telescope or an ,
clectrio battery, for I hardly think this prize is
exactly suited to me. Borne other boy may need it ,
far more than I, for, really I think a dictionary is
not a necessity to a boy that knows as much as I. I
guess I already" know every word in the book, al
though it is so ponderous. I apprehend that 111
have but scant use for it. .'.
' te0K, there may be a few old-fashioned words In
It that you don't know," said his proudf ather, "but
hot many." - '-' .
"I hardly' presume so," replied Oscar, conceit
edly. "I guess Tve got them all in my cranium.
My vocabulary ia truly Cyclopean.";
''It certainly is," exclaimed Mamma Cooper. "I
never saw anything like it in my life."
, Oscar ate his dinner with the air of a college
. professor at Commencement time, and afterward
he remained at home to 6 how all comers the great
prize, at which all gazed with awe and astonish
ment, for, it certainly, was an immense dictionary
; and cost all of fifteen dollars ; y.: ,
. .Then, when he went to bed he carried Ms treas-
tire upstairs and laid it on a table in his bedroom.
One would suppose that during all this time ho
would have' opened and examined the great book,
but he Vaa too busy telling everybody how ha had
spelled down all competitors at school to even peep
within its covers, and he got into bed with his head
still inflated with his own marvelous cleverness and
Boon went to sleep. '
After a time a slight noise in the room awoke
him with a start. The moon was pouring into the
room a blaze of bright winter light that showed
plainly every object about him, and as he looked
around to see what had awakened him he saw that
the dictionary was partly open and something wat
emerging from between the thick leather covers.
What it was he could not see. ' .
Then his astonished eye caught light of many
tiny figures moving briskly about on the floor, and
in another instant be recognized them as letters1. .
The whole alphabet was scurrying aboujt on the
fcarpet like ants. The letters were about as tall aa
one of his fingers, and he saw them plainly. They
seemed to be playing some sort of game, but he
" eoon' saw: that they wereTTapidly f orming-words,-eome
short, some of immense length, like boys play
ing "snap the whip;" words that stretched across
the rug beside his bed, and were partly lost in the
shadows, -He spelled "parallelopipedon, "elee
mosynary" and "enchyridion" quite easily," as they
formed before him like a regiment of soldiers.
. He forgot about the shapeless thing between the
'dictionary covers until he raised his eyea and saw
p number of shadowy forms standing about his bed-
feide, m ;;.
' These were most astonishing; there were some
(tvho seemed to be men, but their nerves, arteries'
und other organs were quite visible, and, besides
that, they were covered from head to foot with tiny
numbers. One man's head was marked off like a
map in colors, with a name in each space. One was
all veins and nothing else, and suddenly he saw a
ekeleton with every bone numbered, but in the air
about it were the names of all the bones corespond
Ing to these numbers.
Another skeleton appeared beside him, but this
bne showed a, rear view. Then Oscar saw a great
ox with all the parts, as butchers cut up their meat,
marked off on his hide and labeled, after which a
bird appeared similarly inscribed, and then a horse
decorated in the same manner.
But all these people and animals seemed like
mere phantoms, as unreal as shadows themselves,
which was but natural, of course, as, in fact, they
' do not exist, but are merely pictures in tho die
' tionary, made to instruct us in the different parts
, of animals, men and birds. But this Oecar did not
know then, and as they gathered about him he be
gan to tremble, lie was about to cover his head
with the bedclothes when he saw another figure.
This one was real and actual, standing out against
the background of shadow forms like a living man.
- Oscar felt a sort of relief when he saw him. Ho
was tall and bearded, his black' eyes flashed under
heavy brows, and he wore a long silken robe beneath
which Oscar detected an occasional gleam of a suit
of shining,' golden-inlaid armor. He strode to the
bedside, brushing aside the letters and disturbing
their manoeuvres very much, and after looking at
Oscar very fiercely for a space, he said in a deep,
bell-like voice: '
"You are the smartest and most accomplished
boy, I understand, in all Sprops. Do you recognize
. WO 4 i W-v7 s:
How, as this waa certainly the very -first time
Oscar had ever seen a man who wore armor it is
not surprising that he should reply at once :
"No, sir. ; I have never had the pleasure of see
ing you before." V ' rf' ;.
"Ah, perhaps not,. On reflection, I hould not
expect you to know me at sight, but I will help you
, out I am a Tetrarch. Now, of course, you know all
about mel'- ..:, --J,
;..v r:.w, A.;:, r..U- Ji '.C... ;
-"""Ji ' ' '
- '
"I am sorry," replied Oscar, "but I am as much
in the dark as ever."
"Certainly you're in the dark; 1 didn't bring a
toroh, but I am in the light of the moon and per
fectly easy to see. Do you mean to say that you '
do noi even know what a Tetrarch. is I" -
"I never heard of one before," said Oscar, sharp
ly. "Is that a foreign word?" ,
"Certainly not. . If you are so smart you should
know that," said the Tetrarch testily. "I am afraid
you are really an ignoramus."
"You are the first that ever saidl that," answered
xOscar. "Go and ask my teacher! Huhi"
"I will test you," said the tall man, gTavely,, "be
fore I decide." He-then held out a small circuHr
piece of shining shell that was suspended from his
neck by a leathern band, and asked :
"What is itt Tell me its name." -
Oscar looked blankly at the shell ornament, and
then looked again. To save his life he couldn't tell
what it was. It was not a locket nor a medal, and
fianlly he stammered: "I I .think perhaps it's a .
Bort of charm or talisman?" .
- ."Perhaps it's a fiddlestick," shouted the
Tetrarch. "Perhaps it's a tiddledewink. Tell me
its name, oh boy that doesn't need a dictionary.
That's all I require of ,you."
Oscar was obliged to confess that he had never
seen such an object, and could not give its name.
The Tetrarch snorted:
"Baht Just as I expected! And you call your-
self bright and clever! I'll tell you its name! It's
a" RunteerthatVwhat it isrand I got it front an
Indian chief. Bah!"
"How should I know that!" grumbled Oscnr.
"It's in the dictionary!" shouted Tetrarch, an
grily. "That's why!" ; V,.-V . r.
All the shadowy forms in the rear seemed to grin
and poke each other in the place where their ribs
would have been had they been illustrated complete
ly, and the animals hopped around in glee at Oscar's
discomfiture. ; v;
"Have you ever seen a 'seismograph or a
, Suniak' or a 'natatorium' or a 'joug or a 'chryso
T prase I" added the Tetrarch, frowning terribly.
"Of course not," replied Oscar, after a long
ARY!" roared the angry old man, standing over the
bed in a most threatening manner. "Why don't you
know them!"
"Gee !" exclaimed Oscar, falling into the school
boy's slang without thinking, "I haven't looked into
it yet!"
"Hal And yet you presumed that you would
have but scant use for it ! But I am not yet through
with you. If you, with all the learning of which
you have boasted,-can answer a few questions, just
a few fairly easy ones that I will propound, I will
let you go; but fail and you are doomed!"
"What business have you to ask me any ques
tions!" cried Oscar, trying to brave it out "You
ain't my teacher 1"
"I am a Tetrarch, the mighty ruler of millions,
and who dares dispute my right to ask anything,
even riddles and conundrums, if I wish! Not you,
I am sure, for I am here to punish and not take
impudence from you !"
Oscar trembled, for the Tetrarch's eyes were ter
rible to see as he glared down at the frightened lad.
Then he added, slowly:
"Now, I will give you a chance to redeem your
self. Toll me, and tell(me in plain, simple words',
how to use the ealtrops." j
Oscar looked at him blankly. '
"Caltrops! I I don't think I ever heard of it
What is it!"
The Tetrarch frowned. Then he said:
"Never mind. I see that you are utterly ignorant'
regarding caltrops." '
"Oh, I suppose it's some kind of drug. Of course,
as I am no druggist, I don't know it," replied Oscar,
. "Caltrops are instruments of war, ignoramus 1"
shouted the Tetrarph "Now tell me how to catch a
mantis 1" ...
Oscar had no answer ready.
"Can you do it with a calash or with an aneu
rism!" demanded the angry man.
"I suppose so," replied the boy in a low tone. "I
don't know." . i ,
"A calash, idiot, is a tort of carriage and a man
tis is a bug," retorted the Tetrarch, sneering. "Oh,
my! but you are a scholar! Hero's another for you,
an easy one, too! What is a Saint Rupert's Drop!"
Oscar shook his head in silence. He did not,
know. He was beginning to perceive what a fool
he had been, but he was not quite ready to admit it
The Tetrarch asked:
"Is it possible that they have never shown you
those little glass drops that turn into dust at a
touch! How odd!" ,
"That's in the upper classes, I guess," mumbled
Oscar. "Or maybo in college."
"Pooh! Every boy should know about Saint
Rupert's Drops! But tell me this: What's a Bun
der!" V
"A blunder? That's what I made, I suppose"
began Oscar. r
"A BUNDER t" roared the Tetrarch. "B-U-N-D-E-R
Oscar shook with fear.
"What's a caique, then!" asked his tormentor.
Oscar was speechless as he tried to think whether
he had ever heard either of these words, an! the
Tetrarch, burning toward the dictionary, shouted:
"Hi, there. Bring me the bunder directly. Yes,
and also the caique. I-will give him his choice of
either, and we will sail with him to the farthermost
Limbo. I don't suppose you even know what a
Limbo is, ch!" he added, returning to the bedside.
Before Oscar could reply, lol two boats, bolh of
strange and outlandish shapes, sailed up to the bed.
One was long, narrow, pointed, with ten oars ; the
other shorter, with a house or cabin and a great tri
angular sail.
"This," said the Tetrarch, pointing to the sailing-craft,
"is a Bunder, a Bombay Bunder, and this
is a Caique from the Boaphorus, and both, as you
no doubt perceive, from out of the dictionary. Now
we will prove to you that you have use for it, ad we
will take a sail in one of these boats. You can take
your choice!"
Oscar cried: "I won't go with you! Mammal
Papa! Help! Help I"
The Tetrarch smiled calmly. Then he said :
"Come. I am waiting. Choose 1"
; Neither of his parents answering to his call for
help, Oscar's heart sank, but he tried to gain time
by pretending to examine both boats carefully. Af
ter a few moments the-Tetrarch said:
"I will wait no longer! In with youl"
- ' He seized the boy and dragged him out of bed.
Oscar tried to struggle, but the mail-clad warrior,
of course, was far too strong for him, and he was
deposited in the boat with a bump. The Bunder
was the craft selected by the Tetrarch, and as soon
as the ancient ruler took his seat a gentle wind
sprang up from the direction of the washstand and
the vessel moved slowly across the carpet All the
figures in the room ranged themselves in line and
stood gazing at them as the boat nfoved away, leav
ing them behind as if on a shore, and finally, as
the Bunder seemed to penetrate the wall of the bed
room, they all faded away and vanished in the dis
tance. ... '
The Tetrarch seized the long, tiller and steered
forth into the night calmly, but poor Oscar's heart
beat like a trip hammer as he .looked out of the side
of the cabin over the moonlit water, the wuves of
which already rocked the craft, and saw! his home
fade. away. Then came a cloud over tlie moon, and
all was completely dark; nothing was seen nor heard
but the constant' lap, lap, lap of the waves against
the bow of the Bunder, but the sail waa bellied out
by a strong breeze and she rushed along rapidlv,
bearing Osear-where! . ' .V;-. " . -;
Out came the moon again, and he felt a little
easier. Once in a while some great fish would rise
to the surface and peer up at them with eyes like
gig-lamps, and the Tetrarch would make a remark
like this : ' ':' "vy ";i " ' iV!
"Ah, there's an Arapaima! Never saw such a
large one 1" or Hello I Look at the Blanquillol, Isn't
, he a beauty? And there's a Gizzard-shad 1 Strange to
see them here! I see, too,' a hippocampus floating
along, . and just beneath him a John-dory I See
"You know all these fish, do you not?" he asked,
turning to Oscar, who was staring hard at the queer
fish. The boy made no reply, for he had no time, as
tho Tetrarch talked along just as if he were alone.
As some birds appeared flying by he exclaimed :
"See! ' Yonder comes a quetzal! My! my! and
there's a roller, also ! And bless my souL I see a pair
' of hoopoos and drongo! This is wonderful! Did
you' ever see a bramblingl There'a one overhead.
Also a Chacalacal And upon, zoy word there is i
f -.
Lory, otherwise called a Turacou! What a splendid
exhibition of birds, and probably all for your bene
fit, because you must know them all so well! Per
haps you can tell me the name of this brilliant ore
that's approaching us so fast! Ah, still obstinately
silent! Well, that's an Ortolan, and a fine one, too'"
Thus ho went on, and it seemed 4o Oscar that
every bird that hejaad never heard of was coming
along to torture and shame him. : . v -
He wondered now how he could have imagined
that he knew anything, as he began to discover so
many things of which he was totally ignorant.'
The Tetrarch asked him to state the difference"
between cirrus clouds and cumulus ones; he re
quired him to tell whether he noticed the phos
phorescence of the water, and demanded him to say,
why salt water was heavier than fresh, Poor Oscar's
head was swimming, when suddenly his tormentor
shouted: - V
"Land ahead, and it surely Is, the coast of Coro
mandel! You know that coast well, I suppose, my
learned geographer, the cleverest boy in Sftrops!"
Oscar Lad heard of it, but I do not blame him
for forgetting it under such trying circumstances.
He wondered how the "Tetrarch always managed to
light oh names and places with which he was un
familiar; light on them unfailingly' and never by
any chance give him an opportunity, of showing
that he knew something, at least This was the most
uncanny thing of all the annoying circumstances,
and ho gazed at the coast, with a frown, although ho
would otherwise have been glad to see any foreign
land. ' ;: ' 1 " "' -! -
"Where is the Coromandel Coast?" asked the
Tetrarch, with the air of a school teacher.
"Don't know !" snapped Osoar.
"Hoighty toighty ! Dear Dear ! How perplexing t
I did hope you knew that much. You are truly the
most densely ignorant lad I have ever met Here
are other interesting places. Observe them." " ; "
The Bunder shot along so fast that the shores
rushed past like a fast moving panorama. Strange
trees, tall pagodas and obelisks were silhouetted
against the dark blue sky, their edges shining in the
' moonlight as if they had been tut out of paper card
board and stood up there to confuse him, and he
could not tell the name of a single thing he saw.
Here was a mosque at the water's edge, its gilded
dome rising like a huge orange above tho dark green
palms, but he could not tell it from an ice-houe.
Yonder a slender minaret reared its straight abaft
upward above rounded housetops, but he did not re-'
call its name.-Suddenly the Tetrarch said :
"Hello ! We are already in the Caramnassa, ard
I never noticed that we had even got into the
Ganges. Know anything about this river ?"
Of course, Oscar didn't; who on earth would re
member that name except a school teacher who
has to know everything! The boat sped on.-
"We are in Kalahandi now," said the steersman.
"Here's where ,the deadly hamadryad rears its. aw'ul
head to strike some unwary traveler through the
jungle.'! . ' " '
"I suppose that's a snake," guessed Oscar,
doubtfully. - -
"Right for once; but can you spell it?"
Oscar "couldn't, and didn't even try. The
Tetrarch sniffed disdainfully. Then he continued:
, "Now we are in Bah-dur-garh. Where arc wo"
, . x' "Oh, what's the use!" moaned Oscar, dejectedly.
"Don't you know we've been in India all thin
time! Well, as I see you know litUe about the Ori
ent we will g6 elsewhere." ' .
. The Bunder kept right along, shooting through
the water like an arrow, and in a few minutes Oscer
, saw tall marble columns and great buildings rearing
up above - solemn, ' waving cypress trees, and the
shore all covered with myrtle. -High mountains,
snow-topped, showed in the background, and all
these, too, lopked like things cut from paper. Men
in white garments, such as he had aert in pictures,
were roaming about beneath the trees and tcitinjt
poems to one another, men crowned with ivy and
violets and bearded strangely.
"Ah, dear old Hellas!", cried the Tetrarch! "I
..have not seen it in a thousand years. You know
Now, if he had i aid "dear old Greece," Oscar
would have, recognized it at once, but fHelW' was
a new one to hinv He made not reply, and the
Tetrarch added ; 1 i
"There's a fine statue of Hjraklea, Isn't it J", .
V 'Looka like HerculesA" said Oscar, examining it
"I have seen a picture like that. , , -
"It's; all the same Herakles is Greek."- . --
"Everything you say is Greek to me I" sighed
the boy. . . " ; .
- i "YonSef walks old Aesculapius, and behind him
strides "the great Hilo who, carried an ox on hia
shoulders. JFine gentleman is Milo. Of tourse you
are familiar with the tale V '
Oscar was, getting so mad that he was quite- ,
ready ; to jump overboard,, when the boat's prow
touched the shore and the Tetrarch sprang out.
"Come," said he, "and we will soon settle jour
'. fate." . '
He led Oscar -toward, a group of men under a
tree," and when he reached them he said: , ;
' "Oh, philosophers, and seers of mighty Greece, I
bring to you a strange and wonderful being, a boy
who boasts tha he knows It all and yet has never
looked into the dictionary." -"
' They glared at hiiq in silence.
- . "What think 'you; great Pericles, and you, oh,
, Socrates , of. such a wonder V
"I do , not understand you," replied Socrates
, while Pericles stared in proud amazement. "If you
will kindly explain what you are talking about I ,
will answer you, although I have not the pleasure of
your acquaintance." . " v , - .
"Why, just as I say. This boy never saw tie in-' ' .
6ide of a dictionary!"
"Well, neither have I," answered Socrates.
"What on earth, is a dictionary!"
"Great Eblisl" exclaimed the Tetrarch. "I for-'
got. They were not invented in your' time. Excuse
me." He hurried away with ; Oscar, who was de
lighted at. his discomfiture,and.who had a feeling
of kindness for Socrates that he would have liked to
express. ; ' -V''
Up through the cypress groves they went until
at last they came to an immense circular depression"
between the hills. - Around its level bottom, where a
few scraggly cedar trees were growing, were ranged
row after row of stone benches, and its resemblanco
to a circus struck Oscar instantly. It was very old,
as he saw at once, for many ancient trees grew be
tween the stone seats, which were crumbled and
shattered in many places. The Tetrarch stopped
and said: . ... . '
' "This is the stadium. What is a stadium!" ,
"A circus," replied Oscar, at a guess.
: "Right, -and now-you will see a circus that "will ;
surprise you ! In yonder amphitheatre you will face
three animals from the dictionary you despise, three
noble beasts, who, if you' do not at once recoirnise
them and name, them properly, will tear you limb,,
. from limb!" ' . -:. .-...::
Oscar shuddered and began- to cry. The Tetrarch "
added: -., : ! ; . -.',,. ': ."
- ' "I will help you out just a little bit I will tell
you the names of the three, but will not reveal which
is which1. That you must discover for yourself, if
you do not know them. They are the Epyornis, the
Hanuman and the Koodoo." ' "
lie conducted the boy into the centre of the
amphitheatre and said: "Here I leave you to yovr
own resources. If you can't name the three animals
you are a goner, sure. Be careful, and look slurp!
Also, farewell!" ' . '
"But who are all these?" cried Oscar, seeing for
the first time that suddenly all the seats Were filled
with every sort of creature. Not only were all man- -ner
of men in every sort of costume sitting hero, as
: well as an immense number of unknown animals.
but queer instruments, machines, vehicles, boats and
plants were there, thousands of them! , 1 : .
" "These are the things in the dictionary that you
don't know!" replied the Tetrarch, grinning ma
liciously. "They are here to see your finish! Here
come the awful three, and I must leave."
He skipped nimbly away, but when Oscar tried
to follow he found a stone wall several feet high he
fore him, -and it went all around the circus, too.
lie saw that there was no exit and as he looked
- there sprang into, the arena three monstrous forms,
6ne that of an immense bird, the Epyornis, the next
that of a bearded monkey, Jhe Hanuman, and then
the horned Koodoo, a great, deer-like creature with
glittering eyes. They all advanced slowly toward
him, while the spectators leaned forward eagerly.
Then the Hanuman shouted:
"Who are we! Who are we!
We are the dreadf uj unknown Three!
. Wheel Wheel Whoop! Whoopee!" "
Pacar knew them not: he had never even heard
of one of them, and they saw it at once. All threu
crouched for a spring, each eye gleaming with hun
gry malice. Oscar shrank back against, the stone
wall and shivered in dread, while an icy perspiration .
broke out upon his white forehead.
; Then, as the giant bird's long neck and Lead
were raised, and the great monkey dashed forward,
he leaped aside to avoid their rush." A mighty leap it
was, and when he struck the hard stone of the arena
the shock seemed to shatter every bono in his body,
but instantly the fearful assailants vanished like so
much femoke. .
He rubbed his eyes. . AH the vast audience had '
also vanished and the sun was shining. -Then ho
Baw that he was lying on the floor of his bedroom,
and there stood his father at the open dictionary
with a most astonished look on his face.
"What's the matter!" he asked. "Is that the way
you get out of bed every morning, like a bird falling
out of a neat!" .-, ,. .',
- Oscar looked around confused, and then he real
ized that it had been a dream. He stood up and his -father
"I've been looking in the dictionary to find out
.how to spell "separate." Can't remember whether
it's an 'a' or an 'e' in the middle. Which is it!" ;
To this day Mr. Cooper will never get over tha
amazement which ; overcame him when Oscar re
plied: I' uSt::'t;--"V :' ,
"I can't remember. Let's both look for itt"
After that he was the humblest boy in the
school, and, strange to say, that day he really began '
. to learn things and to know what studying really
means, and when he told me the story he said ho .
was awfully glad that the Tetrarch. had captured
him, for, after all, ha half believes it reallv hap
pened. ' . JVALT'McDOUGALL.