And at that the populace went wild. You never saw such a change come over a nation of people in your life. They showered attentions upon Sara until she was so delighted that she scarcely knew how to deport herself. They proclaimed her a heroine; they brought a sort of sedan chair, borne, not by the common cabbage butterflies who usually carried them, but by a Chrysophanus hypophlaeas and a Lavatera assurgentiflora. And when they had put her into it they carried her at the head of a procession to the royal gardens behind the palace, where no mortal had ever entered; and there they crowned her with flowers which have no name in our language, but which the butterflies call tinnulalia. And they fed her—not with butter this time—but with honey-dew. They fanned her with their enormous wings (as big as peacocks’) and hovered over her, and murmured compliments in her ears, until it was hard for her to believe that they were the same lovely but supercilious race who had received her so coolly in the morning. And when, suddenly, the temple-gong sounded, and the Equine Gahoppigas, saddled and bridled, and champing his bit, appeared at the entrance to the royal gardens, they all took out their cobweb handkerchiefs and wept bitterly.
And, indeed, Sara was loth to go; for this strange land was an enchanting place when its people were kind. But she saw that it was growing late; and, as the shadows began to lengthen, she suddenly remembered that she had followed the Snoodle away without telling anybody. She was certainly older than the Snoodle; he was so young and irresponsible. Ought she not to have told the Snimmy’s wife? Perhaps he was running away!
So she gathered up the reins and saw him leap safely up behind her; then she turned to wave good-by to the Butterfly Country and its strange, changeable, elegant inhabitants. And as long as she could see anything she watched the pulsing, many-colored wings waving regretfully over the royal garden with the strange flowers.
The ride home through the cool of the evening was as delightful as the morning’s ride had been; but not quite so breathless and exciting, because it seemed to Sara by this time quite natural to ride upon a Gahoppigas. But when she slid off her charger at the entrance of the Plynck’s Garden her ears were assailed by an unspeakable clamor of mournful sound; it sounded a little like a Swiss yodler with a broken heart, and a little like a dog howling because the yodler was singing. And it went “Snoodle-oodle-oodle-ooo!!” And Sara knew, with a sinking heart, that it was the Snimmy’s wife lifting up her voice in lamentation for her lost child.
Therefore, for the first time, she was a little afraid to go into the Garden. But she had already been so brave that day that she had rather contracted the habit; so she drew a long breath, and, saying calmly, “Come, Snoodle!” she walked straight up to the pool.
And such a clamor of rejoicing as arose at their appearance! The Plynck was so surprised that she crowed like a rooster; and then apologized to everybody (half-laughing and half-crying) for being so unladylike. The Teacup fluttered, the Snimmy sniffed; and the Snimmy’s wife—that grim, undemonstrative woman—rushed out from the prose-bush and gathered her darling, and Sara, too, to her heart.