The Villain, who couldn’t swim at all, jumped in after them and all he did was to make matters worse.
Jackie Tar tried to tell them what to do, but they were too startled to pay any attention to him. So in he plunged and swam to them, for he was a very good swimmer.
When he reached them they were all floundering about, so he dived down and came up in the midst of them.
“Put your hands gently on my shoulders,” he ordered, “and don’t weigh down or you will push me under.”
And when they had done this he looked about, but the raft was nowhere to be seen except for a few pieces of wood drifting about.
They were about a mile from shore, which is a pretty good swim for one man alone, but here he was with three others who couldn’t swim one stroke.
But Jackie Tar was a brave sailor. Besides, he thought, “Here is a chance for me to show Kernel Cob that he is not the only brave person in the world.”
“Pull off your coat,” he shouted to the Villain, and the Villain pulled it off.
“Now tie one of the sleeves about my foot,” he cried, and it was done. “Now each of you catch hold of the jacket and hang on for dear life and I’ll see if I can pull you to shore.”
So he started swimming, and little by little he neared the land, swimming with a strong stroke until he brought them safely to the beach.
You may think he was tired, but not so, for when they got up on their feet, and walked ashore, he simply knocked his heels together and danced a hornpipe and sang:
“A sailor’s life’s the life for me.”
And they sat upon the shore until Jackie Tar had finished his song about the Sailor’s Life, and by that time their clothing was pretty well dried out from their swim, so they got up and wandered toward the city and it wasn’t an easy thing to do, for they had a lot of bridges to cross and they had no boat.
“I think the best thing to do,” said the Villain, “is to find a toy-store, for there some doll can tell us what to do.”
So they kept an eye out for a toy-store, and pretty soon they found one.
“I’d better go in alone,” said Kernel Cob, “because I’m the bravest and have a sword and can fight if any trouble arises.”
“Aye, aye, skipper,” said Jackie Tar.
So Kernel Cob crept very carefully into the shop and very lucky he did so, for the shopkeeper was there although he was asleep.
On a shelf stood a row of soldiers.
And Kernel Cob saluted them and said, “I am Kernel Cob of the United States Army,” at which the soldiers gave him three cheers.
“My friends and I,” said Kernel Cob, “are looking for the South Pole, where we hope to find Jackie and Peggs’ motheranfather, and I thought maybe you could help us.”