“That shows how much you know about logic. This island has been here ever since early this morning, hasn’t it? And it’s just as big as it was, isn’t it? An island is an island and the water won’t melt it unless it’s hot—like a lump of sugar in a cup of coffee. You’ve got to stir it up to melt it. Is North America corroding? Or Coney Island? Is this island any smaller than it was?”
“No, it isn’t, and that’s the funny part,” said Townsend. “We’ve explored the coast but we haven’t explored the depths. Let’s have that little shovel a minute, will you?”
The ice cream soda argument was not a good one at all, for no lump of ice cream ever remained long intact where Pee-wee was. Whether it melted or not, it disappeared. And why this freakish little island did not rapidly dissolve was a mystery.
By all the laws it should have melted away, leaving the deserted tree to topple over and form a new obstruction to boating. But there it was floating more easily as the tide rose, with apparently no intention of allowing itself to be absorbed by the surrounding waters. It is true that a belt of muddy water bordered its wild and forbidding coast and that its shore line was of a consistency suitable for the making of mud pies, but its body seemed as solid and resistant as a rock.
Pee-wee always claimed that it was he and he alone who discovered the mysterious secret of Merry-go-round Island; he and he alone who penetrated its unknown depths. In this bold exploration a courageous sardine sandwich played an important part and out of sheer gratitude Pee-wee, from that time forward, was ever partial to sardine sandwiches, regarding them with tender and grateful affection.
He was standing near the apple tree holding the traffic sign like a pilgrim’s banner beside him and, as has been told, eating a banana with the other hand. That fact is well established. Little he thought that when Roly Poly, delving into a paper bag that was in a grocery box, handed him a sardine sandwich, it would mark an epoch in scout history.
In order to accept the proffered refreshment, Pee-wee was compelled either to relinquish the traffic sign or the banana. One moment of frantic consideration held him, then in a burst of inspiration he plunged the metal standard deep into the ground, and took the sardine sandwich in his free hand. The printed cross-piece on the traffic sign joggled around so that just as he plunged his mouth into the sandwich the word GO made an appropriate announcement to his comrades. It is hard to say what might have happened if Townsend Ripley had not turned the sign so that it said STOP just as Pee-wee consumed the last mouthful.
“Isstrucsmlikewood,” ejaculated Pee-wee, consuming the last mouthful. “Issoundlkbo—boards!”
Billy was quick to raise the bar of the traffic sign and plunge it down again. It was certainly no tentacle of root that the probing bar struck, but something hard, yet ever so slightly yielding, something which gave forth a hollow sound.