“Did you ever eat any of that kid’s hunter’s stew?” Townsend asked as he rowed.
“Did we?” said Roy. “It’s the best thing I know of if you want to stay home from school.”
“It’s kind of queer,” said Townsend.
“Oh, yes, mysterious,” said Warde.
“Let’s talk of something pleasant,” said Roy.
“Well, I’m pretty hungry, too,” said Townsend.
“We’ll soon be there,” said Warde. “We had something of a scare, didn’t we?”
“All’s well that ends well,” said Townsend.
“Oh, sure,” said Roy, “only you don’t end so well after eating hunter’s stew. We should worry, we’ll have all the stuff pretty soon now. Narrow escape, hey? Oh, boy, it would have been terrible to lose all that stuff. It looked like an altar, didn’t it?”
“It’ll look like a vacuum when we get through with it,” said Warde.
“Do you think we can get it all in the boat?”
“If we can’t, we’ll tow the icing cakes behind,” said Roy. “What I’m thinking fond thoughts about is the ice cream.”
“Same here,” said Townsend.
“Same here,” said Warde.
And meanwhile the man in the moon winked down at Pee-wee.
IN THE GLARE OF THE SEARCH-LIGHT
Now the tide is a funny thing, especially in a small suburban river. The banks of a river being for the most part sloping, the river bed is narrower at the bottom than at the top. You don’t have to wear glasses to see that. That is why the tide, as it recedes, runs faster and faster; because during the last hour or two of its recession it flows in narrower confines. This has been the settled policy of nature for many centuries, and it was so ordered for the benefit of Pee-wee Harris.
When the Merry-go-round Island floated leisurely against the Skybrow lawn the tide had been flowing out for about an hour. When this same rechristened island broke loose disguised as an earthly paradise, the tide was in a great hurry. And when the earthly paradise caught upon the flats the little remaining water was running as if it were going to catch a train.
Rapidly, ever so rapidly, the water slid down off the flats to join the hurrying water in the channel. And, presto, all of a sudden there was the Isle of Desserts high and dry surrounded by an ocean of oozy mud while the river, narrowed to a mere brook, rushed in its channel some fifty feet distant. And there you are.
That is why the man in the moon (who knows all about the tides) winked at Pee-wee. At least, I suppose that is why he winked.
You could not have reached the Isle of Desserts with a boat or with snow-shoes or with stilts or with anything except an airplane. Swimming to it was out of the question. Shouting and screaming to it was feasible, of course. Radio operations were conceivable. But reach it no one could. The adventurer would have been swallowed in mud. This safe isolation would continue for a couple of hours and then the playful water would come rippling in again spreading a glinting coverlet over the flats once more and lifting the island upon its swelling bosom.