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"Why not take the old fellow along and let him try, Sir? Our course was northward, anyway. I seem to remember hearing something, when I was attached to the Home Fleet, about an old chap in the west counties who had some strange powers with beasts and birds. I have no doubt this is he. Dolittle, he was called. He seems harmless enough. There's just a chance he may be of some assistance to us. The natives evidently trust him or the woman wouldn't have come with himyou know how scared they are of putting to sea with a white man."

"What's that?" asked Gub-Gub, pointing to the thermometer.

Presently Dab-Dab could be heard messing about in the mud below, bravely trying to get breakfast ready under difficult conditions.

In silence they all waitedthe animals now, for the moment, reawakened and full of interest. The Doctor had visions of his enormous friend moving through the slime of centuries at the bottom of the lake, hunting for some souvenir of the great civilization that passed away with the Flood. He hoped that he would bring a book or something with writing on it.

PROLOGUE

"Your Majesty," said the Doctor, "I have now a plan to provide your country with an excellent service of foreign mails if you will agree to what I suggest."

The next night, when they were again seated around the veranda after supper, the Doctor asked: "Now, who's going to tell us a story to-night? Didn't Gub-Gub say he had one for us?"

"'What's that for?' I asked.

Presently John Dolittle's mouth filled with water and he began to splutter and gurgle and Jip was really frightened. But just as the Doctor's eyes were closing and he seemed too weak to swim another stroke a curious thing happened. Jip felt something come up under the water, right beneath his feet, and lift him and the Doctor slowly out of the sea, like the rising deck of a submarine. Up and up they were lifted, now entirely out of the water. And, gasping and sprawling side by side, they gazed at one another in utter astonishment.

"'Pst!' I whispered to the wife"

And then the land birds, particularly those that live on berries, were very helpful to the Doctor in telling him by letter if the Winter was going to be a hard one or not in their particular country. And he used to write to farmers all over the world, advising them whether they could expect a sharp frost, a wet Spring or a dry Summerwhich, of course, helped them in their farming tremendously.

"Humph!" murmured the Doctor, as he thoughtfully brushed the toast crumbs off the bed clothes. "But why did they pick you to bring the message?"

"At last!" he muttered. "Let's hope I'm not too late!"

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2021-06-16 22:01:53 [潍坊市网友]

"Ah, England!" cried Gub-Gub sentimentally. "What is there more beautiful in life than the heart of a young lettuce in the Spring?"

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [通化市网友]

"Now, my idea, Speedy, is this," said the Doctor. "Regular foreign mails are difficult for the Fantippo post office because so few boats ever call there to bring or take the mails. Now, how would it be if you swallows did the letter carrying?"

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [崇左市网友]

The Doctor's pets found it quite thrilling to go through the mail that arrived each day to see if there were any letters for them. At the beginning of course there wasn't much. But one day Quip had returned from Puddleby with an answer to the Doctor's letter to the Cats'-Meat-Man. Mr. Matthew Mugg had written (through his wife) that he had hung the letter for Cheapside on an apple tree in the garden where the sparrow would surely see it when he arrived. The windows of the house were all right, he wrote; but the back door could do with a coat of paint.

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2021-06-16 22:01:53 [芜湖市网友]

So then the King, who was a persevering man, said that Fantippo should have its post office, anyway. And he sent to England for hundreds of postmen's uniforms and caps. And when these arrived he dressed a lot of black men up in them and set them to work as postmen.

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [阳泉市网友]

Such a roaring trade was done in this way that the King set the stamp printing presses to work more busily than ever, so that a whole new set of Fantippo stamps should be ready for sale by the time the same ship called again on her way home to England.

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [甘孜州网友]

They reached Nyam-Nyam's village about six o'clock in the evening and the old chief prepared a supper for his guests. There was very little to eat at it, however. And the Doctor was again reminded how poor these people were.

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [内江市网友]

"In popped the head of an enormous snake"

2021-06-16 22:01:53 [海口市网友]

"Look here," he said: "You know I've been asked for stories by mail. The creatures around the North Pole wanted some light reading for the long winter nights. I'm going to start an animals' magazine for them. I'm calling it The Arctic Monthly. It will be sent by mail and be distributed by the Nova Zembla branch office. So far, so good. But the great problem is how to get sufficient stories and pictures and articles and things to fill a monthly magazineno easy matter. Now listen, if I tell you animals a story to-night, you'll have to do something to help me with my new magazine. Every night when you want to amuse yourselves we'll take it in turns to tell a story. That will give us seven stories right away. There will be only one story printed each monththe rest of the magazine will be news of the day, a medical advice column, a babies' and mothers' page and odds and ends. Then we'll have a Prize Story Competition. The readers shall judge which is the best; and when they write to us here and tell us, we'll give the prize to the winner. What do you say?"