Sniff-gobble-gulp! Was there ever such haste and excitement? Sara jumped up and down with delight, and everybody in the Garden laughed. As for the Snimmy, he was quite overcome, and began to shed gum-drops of joy.
“For once he’s had a full meal,” said his wife, grimly indulgent. As for Sara, she ran off, laughing, to tell Jimmy how funny he had looked.
The Plynck waked up from her first nap and rustled her fragrant plumes.
“Was that Sara?” she asked of her Echo.
“Of course,” said the Echo. “You’ve been asleep.”
“Then it wasn’t Sara this morning—the strange child with the tears?”
Her more practical Echo shrugged her wings. “Go explain to her,” she said to the Teacup.
So the little Teacup, very glad to be safe at home again, fluttered up to her place beside her mistress; and they talked about Sara and her strange adventures far into the night.
You would have followed the Snoodle, too, if he had wagged himself at you in that delightful, insinuating fashion, rolled over and over across your foot, and then gone frisking down the path, looking back beguilingly over his shoulder.
So of course Sara did, as soon as she had properly disposed of her dimples. She went skipping along so eagerly that she did not notice that it was an entirely different path—neither pink nor curly—until she had gone through a new arch in the hedge and found herself in the meadow, with the Equine Gahoppigas, all saddled and bridled, waiting for her.
She had known from the first, just from his general expression, that the Snoodle was going to lead her to something interesting; but she was not prepared for this.
It was clear, of course, that she was expected to ride the creature; but what it was she could not at first make out. It was about the size of a large hobby-horse, and, in respect to its beautiful, wavy mane and tail, much resembled it. Otherwise, it was exactly like a grasshopper. And it was rearing and snorting in a most alarming manner. As Sara stood considering, however, she caught a backward look out of its wild eyes that said, “Oh, come on; it’s all a joke.”
So Sara took her seat in the saddle. Just as she gathered up the reins the Snoodle leaped up behind her—exactly as the trained dog in the circus leaps up behind the monkey on the big Newfoundland. (Only, don’t fall into the error of thinking that the Snoodle was a dog; you remember his mother was a snail.)
It was a novel and exhilarating sensation to Sara (that means the way you feel when you shoot the chutes at the Park) to go bounding through the sunny air on the back of the Gahoppigas. The soft wind whistled through her hair, and blew past her so strongly that she was not even conscious of the Snoodle’s drawback, though he sat so close to her. At the end of every leap the Gahoppigas rested for an instant upon a daisy head, and Sara saw that the heads of these daisies were as big as her own.