Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Wardrobe Pressure: Episode Three: Cair Paravel by A.J. Hall

“We can’t take him back into GERTI like that. He’ll never fit through the locker door. And he’ll smash the whole plane into smithereens if we try.”

“And then there’s Teresa. History is not precisely littered with examples of successful relationships between princesses and dragons. Even ¡Hola! will have a struggle putting an upbeat spin on that one. Looking on the bright side, though, if we did get him back to Fitton, it could give him quite a boost in his day job. The adverts practically write themselves. ‘Why settle for a man with a van, when you could have a dragon with a wagon?’”

“Both of you, just stop. Martin’s feeling bad enough about all this without you two going on and on and on.”

“Since when, Arthur, did you become the dragon whisperer?”

“You can tell what he’s feeling, just from looking at him. Look at the miserable way he’s hunching his wings.”

“Dear heavens, the boy’s right. There’s no mistaking that. He’s even nodding.”

“One of life’s cheery little ironies: in a place where every last rabbit has an opinion, and no scruples about voicing it, Martin the Magic Dragon can understand English but not talk himself.”

“Ah! Well, I was thinking about that, and I don’t think that’s as much of a problem as we thought it was. Skip can blow out flame in really, really accurate bursts — we were practising earlier, on the beach — “

“That explains those uncanny patches of fused sand. For a moment back there I wondered if we’d stumbled into a glass-blowers’ convention.”

“So I suddenly thought, if he can flame in long and short bursts, he can talk to me in Morse code!”

“Have you not spotted, Arthur, one major flaw in this otherwise sound, if distinctly pyrotechnic, plan? You don’t know any Morse code.”

“No, I thought of that, too. You see, I don’t know Morse but Skip does. He’s brilliant at it.”

“Arthur, one cannot help feeling that the essential concept of ‘communication’ may have somewhat passed you by.”

“Oh, this is making my head hurt. Martin, take Arthur a very long way away while Douglas and I tackle Aslan on the best way to de-dragon you.”

“Assuming, I suppose, that Martin wishes to be de-dragoned? I mean, for all the practical disadvantages of his shape, it does come with integral wings. And we are talking about the man — person, I mean — who wanted to be a plane until he was six, after all.”

“Ouch! Martin! That scalds! And there’s no need for tears, you silly — thing. We get the message. No more dragon. Very well. Aslan will sort things out. At least, he will if he knows what’s good for him. Just you see.”

“Oh, I could strangle that lion! If he created Narnia, then he created the rules and if he created the rules then he could try bending them occasionally. Sending us off on a flight across an uncharted ocean with no pilotage information, no air-traffic control, no radio, only the amount of food and water we can store on dragon-back, only the sketchiest hints about what our actual mission is and no promise there’ll be a cure for Martin at the end of it — that’s not a plan, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

“Or, alternatively, a very convoluted allegory about faith and belief.”

“It’s not an allegory; it’s a catastrophe. Poor Martin’s almost run out of flame, he’s been trying so hard to express his objections.”

“Quite a firework display, yes. Luckily, I think the Narnians attributed it to an over-enthusiastic attempt to join in the victory celebrations. Good job none of them know Morse.”

“Well, for once, I agree with him. One doesn’t have to be a compulsive stickler to note the issues with an aircraft where, given one ill-timed burp, everyone aboard gets barbecued.”

“As I said, Carolyn, perhaps that’s Aslan’s point. Abandon slavish adherence to a book of rules in favour of a leap of faith.”

“Dear God, if that’s what that self-important fur rug is up to, he’s even dafter than I thought. So on the one hand the rules are pre-determined and can’t be altered, and then on the other, it’d be beneath him to actually explain them. But somehow, provided we give it our best guess and trust in him it’ll all come right in the end. Try telling that to some of the ornamental statuary I’ve found dotted across the Narnian countryside over the last few days.”

“Oh, Mum, it’ll be brilliant. Just like doing a proper flight. Except now, instead of GERTI, we’ve got a dragon — and it’s Martin! And the destination’s a surprise!”

“Do you know, I always though Magical Mystery Tour was the weakest Beatles’ album. You can hear the underlying divisions between the Fab Four leaching through the music.”

“Douglas, I’m warning you. Any manifestation of figurative language in my presence and I shall not be responsible for my actions. So buzz off. Make yourself useful. Find us a helpful whale or something and see if you can find something out about where we’re going.”

“And who may this be?”

“Carolyn, meet Alberta. Alberta, this is Carolyn.”

“Mum, Douglas, that’s brilliant! I knew they had massively big squirrels and things in Narnia, but I’ve never realised they had ginormous seagulls as well!”

Seagull? And who do you think you’re talking to, you great pink sardine?”

“Ah yes. Alberta, I may have failed to mention Arthur. Arthur, Alberta is an albatross. A resident of the deep and pathless oceans. I asked Mr Beaver to swim out into the estuary to have a word with the mer-people, and they passed the word to the dolphins, and one of the dolphins found Alberta.”

“Narnian mass communications at their finest, I see.”

“I’m here, aren’t I?”

“Indeed you are. And we all very much hope you’re going to tell us about the lands to the east of here.”

“Lands? I don’t hold with lands. Nasty, dry, overcrowded things. No fish. Full of idiots with crossbows. I hate people.”

“I suspected when we first met that you and Carolyn would get on like a house on fire.”

“Douglas, keep out of this. Ms Alberta, as you may have gathered, I am regrettably encumbered with a lazy pilot who demands sleep and an aircraft — dragon, I mean — who requires refuelling at regular intervals.”

“As, indeed, does your pilot.”

“Douglas, I won’t tell you again. As you can imagine, it probably isn’t the best idea for us to land in large centres of population. Especially not ones where the inhabitants have cross-bows and may get trigger happy at the sight of a large dragon descending on them.”

“Oh, then I know just what you’re looking for. Lovely pair of islands. Two hundred leagues ENE of the Lone Islands. Used to have humans living on them. They all left, for some reason. Lovely nesting site, if you can be bothered with that sort of thing. Anything of a tail wind, you’ll be there in a jiffy.”

“Well. Thanks goodness that’s over. I’ll never complain about GERTI’s accommodation again. I’m not sure I’ll be able to sit down properly for months. Even the sand dunes are starting to catch me in some unfortunate places. Dear God, I thought that flight would never end.”

“Quite. It appears albatrosses measure the ‘jiffy’ by other standards than our pedestrian human ones. You know, if we were going to open Narnian Dragon Flights Incorporated, our passengers’ comfort is our first priority is not the slogan I’d choose.”

“Don’t be absurd, Douglas. It was bad enough listening to Arthur drivelling on about that. I only put up with it because Martin seemed to find it soothing. And in the circumstances, if one of us had to be driven distracted, for once I thought it had better be me. But you know perfectly well we can’t run a dragon airline, given we’ve come here specifically to get Martin changed back.”

“That would put something of a crimp into the business plan, yes. Also — a point which I’m sure must have crossed your mind during the journey — if we do get him changed back we’ll be sitting on an uninhabited island over a thousand miles from Narnia with no means of transport. Not the best conditions in which to start a commercial airline. Though I grant you, if you did bring it off, it would guarantee you a place on the Narnian motivational business speaker circuit for many decades to come.”

“What? Douglas, why didn’t you mention this earlier?”

“I assumed you’d worked it out for yourself. And that the reason you kept schtum was because you didn’t fancy antagonising a ten-tonne lizard with an integral foundry.”

“Douglas, you’re talking about Martin. He’s not — he’s not that kind of dragon. He’s a softy. If there’s a reverse of killer instinct, then that’s what he has. In spades.”

“That’s what I thought. Before I saw him dismember a Sea-Serpent in a minor spat over a shoal of tuna.”

“I’d never understood your passion for sushi before, Douglas, but a day and a half under a tropical sun on less than a pint of water is enough to make anyone a believer. Martin showed considerable initiative. To say nothing of nerve. I’d never have thought he had it in him.”

“Quite. That bloodbath wasn’t the action of a tame dragon. Ah, Martin! And Arthur. Back already? And with a full load of firewood, too. Well, while you’re getting the fire lit I’ll just take a turn along the beach and admire the sunset through that rock arch. What a shame I left my camera behind in GERTI.”

“Douglas! Are you awake?”

“Well, I wasn’t, until someone shouted in my ear.”

“Then you’re awake now. Good. Look, it’s important. Martin’s gone.”

“Gone? Gone where?”

“As you so eloquently pointed out yesterday, Martin’s a ten-tonne fire-breathing flying monster. He goes where he likes. But what’s worrying me is that Arthur has also gone. Quite some time ago, judging by his blankets.”

“What? Look, Carolyn, if you’re afraid Martin has decided to take Arthur as a pre-breakfast snack —”

“I wasn’t, until you raised the possibility. Douglas, do you suppose either of them could have heard us, last night? They were awfully close before you spotted them. And you did mention that you thought Martin’s hearing has been sharper, since he got dragonified, or whatever you call it.”

“I have had suspicions to that effect, yes. You’re afraid Martin may have vanished in a puff of smoke?”

“Well, not literally. Nothing’s singed. But yes. I’m afraid he may have rushed off and done something silly. And there’s so much more scope for being silly in his current form.”

“And then, of course, there’s Arthur. Whose capacity for being silly has never been limited by physics. We’d better start looking for them right now. Now, where could one hide a ten tonne flying lizard and a twelve stone idiot on an island twice the size of the Isle of Wight? I suppose one could start by concealing the twelve stone idiot inside the —”

“Douglas, stop being facetious. I’m worried. Suppose the dragonish half of Martin’s nature has — taken charge, or something.”

“Well, Martin may be a dragon at present, but he is also Martin. That means, even if he has been possessed by his dragonish side, that dragon will be doing things by the book. What about those ominous-looking crags up there which are no doubt riddled with caverns, potholes and underground chambers of all descriptions? To a dragonish stickler, they look like the perfect place for a lair.”

“They look like an accident waiting to happen, to me. I’ll get the oil lantern. And the rope. We may need it.”

“Hang on a minute — look up slope. Surely that’s someone waving to us? Forget the lantern, Carolyn. Just come on.”

Whenever I feel afraid/I hold my head erect/And whistle a happy tune/So no one will suspect/I’m afraid… Yoo-hoo. Anyone there? Oh, well. Chin up. Mum or Douglas is bound to turn up soon. When I’m shivering in my shoes —

“Arthur? Arthur?”

“Skip? SKIP! That’s brilliant. I kept telling myself I wasn’t lost, whatever it looked like, and it turns out I was right. And you aren’t lost, either, because now I’m here. We’ve found each other! And what’s even more brilliant, you can talk again!”

“That’s because I’m not a dragon any more. I had a sort of — dream, I suppose you’d call it — that if I could get into these caves I’d find a cure for being a dragon. And I did, in a complicated sort of way. That is, I met this lion who tore my dragon skin off me and threw me into a swimming pool. Only then I had to find my own way out, and human eyes aren’t nearly as good as dragon eyes at seeing in the dark. But what are you doing here?”

“I followed you from the beach. I thought you might want some company. Only then I got sort of lost in the tunnels. It was really dark, and really confusing and I did sort of start to wonder, what if I never got out and no-one found me until I’d turned into a skeleton? So I thought I’d better start singing Mrs Dimont’s happy song. At school, she said we always ought to sing the happy song whenever things felt like they were getting too much for us. So I did. And it worked!”

“Arthur, ssh a moment. Can you hear something?”

“You mean that sort of jangling, scraping noise behind us? It’s a funny thing, but it sounds just like you did earlier, when your tail was dragging over the loose stones and stuff on the floor and your claws kept making that sort of clicking noise. It made it super-easy to follow you. At least, until the noises stopped. Mind you, though I say it myself, I always did have a knack for tracking. Akela told Mum, just before I left Cubs, that I brought ‘a unique approach’ to woodcraft. Though, come to think of it, she might just have meant that thing with the haystack.”

“Arthur, I said ‘ssh’.”

“When you listen to it properly, it doesn’t sound quite so much like a dragon, does it, Skip?”

“As a matter of fact, it sounds exactly like a dragon. And it’s getting louder by the second. Look at the glow. That’s not light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the flames of an oncoming dragon. My life in a nutshell.”

“Skip, what do we do now?”

“This side tunnel here’s only about five feet high. There’s no way any dragon can get inside it. Get as far down it as you can. It’s really difficult to flame round corners. I’ve tried.”

“But what about you?”

“I’m going to try to talk to it. I may not be a dragon any more, but I know how dragons think.”

“But, Skip —”


“Arthur, now! Down the side tunnel! And, whatever you hear, don’t stop and don’t turn round.”

“So, Martin, if I understand you correctly, this suspiciously familiar-looking lion who didn’t bother to give his name decided to take his blue-white aura home the moment you’d scrambled out of the swimming pool and got dressed? Leaving you in the pitch-black amid a labyrinth of tunnels? And then first you encountered Arthur and then a previously unsuspected second dragon?”

“I said it at the outset and I stand by it. I could strangle that lion.”

“Mm. I rather see your point. ‘Aslan: terrible sense of timing or terrible sense of humour?’ Up there with the problem of pain as one of the great theological questions of all time. What then?”

“The other dragon came round the corner. I knew it was going to flame, of course; it’s exactly the right procedure —”

“Martin! Don’t tell me you whiled away those long flights between islands thinking up a complete AFM for dragons?”

“Well, what else could I do? It wasn’t as if I could play ‘Brians of Britain’ or ‘Businesses that sound like Bond villains’ along with the rest of you. So I yelled at Arthur to run down the side passage while I tried to talk to it.”

Talk to it? What on earth did you say?”

“I can’t remember properly. It may have been ‘If you want to stop being a dragon, listen to me.’”

“Good grief, that makes you sound like a one man Sally Army.”

“I think that’s what the dragon thought, too. Anyway, it began to glow even brighter — I’d nowhere to run to, because it was blocking the tunnel Arthur had gone down — and I just had time to wonder whether, if you die in Narnia you just never get back to the real world at all, or if Teresa would come onto GERTI and find my charred remains —”

“Martin. No-one could blame you for having morbid thoughts in the circumstances, but spare us the details, please.”

“Anyway, you could see it was doing its best, but only a dull, pathetic spurt of flame came out.”

“A dragon who, if it had not read Freud, certainly ought to have done.”

“Douglas, kindly shut it. There are quite enough unchecked allegories flapping around here as it is, without throwing symbolism into the mix. What did the dragon do then?”

“Its fire went out altogether. I didn’t dare do anything for a minute or two — I wondered if it could be shamming — but I realised I couldn’t hear anything; not the smallest gasp of breath. So I walked forward and touched it and it was chilling already. Its heart must have failed at the very moment I shouted at it.”

“I could make an obvious remark about your conversational style here, but I’m afraid you’d find it — well, obvious. Also, I’ve found the several weeks in which you haven’t been able to talk at all surprisingly dull.”

“Douglas. I never suspected you cared.”

“Can I break in on this frankly nauseating exhibition of mutual sycophancy? What then?”

“I felt a breeze on my cheek — it occurred to me that perhaps it’d been blowing all along and I’d just got myself in too big a state to notice it —”

“No, Martin. That’s exactly what Aslan wants you to think.”

“Anyway, I could feel a breeze and smell the sea, so I followed my nose and after about two turns of the passage I came out onto the beach, through that cave in the cliff up there. And you two were just a short way down-slope, so I waved.”

“And what about Arthur?”

“What about me, Mum?”

“Arthur, my heart, where did you spring from? You nearly startled me to death.”

“Oh, I’ve been here for ages. I just came up quietly when Martin was explaining about how he got to be de-dragoned. I didn’t want to interrupt, because he’s not had a chance to talk for so long. Also, I was hoping he’d explain how he got dragoned in the first place. Because that would be really interesting.”

“Yes, Martin. That would be interesting.”

“Oh, it’s not. Not at all.”

“Ah, but I think it is.”

“Yes, Martin, I’d been wondering about that myself. You slipped away from the Beavers’ cottage — I can hardly blame you for that; when I realised I was being lectured on gender essentialism by an outsized guinea-pig in pince-nez I very nearly bolted out into the blizzard myself — and the next time you appeared you were a dragon.”

“Wearing, I might add, a very fetching gold captain’s hat, which I note seems no longer to be decorating your head.”

“It fell off. Into the water. When I stopped being a dragon. Anyway, enough about me. Arthur, how did you get out of the tunnels? You couldn’t have followed me out the way I came; you’d never have shifted the dragon corpse.”

“No, I didn’t. I kept on going down the side tunnel. It went a really, really, long way back into the mountain. And it was quite rough underfoot. I stumbled and fell a couple of times. But after a bit it stopped being so dark. I’d got to a place where there were sort of luminous toadstools growing on the side of the tunnel walls. And then the passage widened out and turned into a big cave with a lake in it, and there was this little bloke sitting on a rock in the middle of the lake singing a song about fish.”


“Oh, yes. From what I could gather, he was really, really keen on fish. Even keener than Douglas. So I shouted, ‘Hi, it’s me, Arthur! From MJN Air.’”

“I don’t see why you had to draw attention to yourself at all. The last person you’d met in those caves was a dragon and the person before that was me, and I’d only just stopped being a dragon.”

“Well, this bloke didn’t look anything like a dragon. He was only about four foot high, to begin with, and he’d got almost no teeth. Anyway, I had to say something. I couldn’t just let him go on singing to himself without knowing there was someone listening to him, it’d have been rude.”

“Is this another thing you were taught on your course on understanding people in Ipswich?”

“No. It’s what Poggsy told me when I caught her singing Abba to her Appaloosa. She was really cross when she found out I’d been listening.”

“So, you having politely made your presence felt, what happened next?”

“He swam across the lake to where I was standing and started talking to me. Except I think he must have been living there on his own a really, really long time, and it had sent him a bit peculiar.”

“You, Arthur, being so uniquely qualified to judge that.”

“Well, not to sound boastful or anything, but actually I think I am. Anyway, it was pretty obvious. You see, he kept sort of talking to himself. From what I could make out, a long time ago he and his friend had gone out fishing and then his friend drowned or something and he’d been stuck here ever since. And what’s worse, it had all happened on his birthday. Imagine having something that awful happen on your birthday.”

“A concatenation of appalling coincidences, certainly.”

“Anyway, he must have been really lonely, because after a bit he suggested we play a game. But he didn’t seem to know any of the games I did —”

“It doesn’t seem quite the best conditions for a quick round of ‘Yellow Car’, certainly.”

“I know lots more games than that. ‘Travelling Lemon’ and ‘Passenger Derby’, just for starters. I’m really good at both those. But it turned out he hadn’t heard of them, either. So we agreed it would be simplest just to play a guessing game.”

“Were there, by any chance, stakes involved?”

“Not really. I mean, he did promise to show me out if I won, but he’d have done that anyway. It’d have been rude not to. And he said he’d eat me if he won. I expect he was joking about that. But he did get really angry when he didn’t guess my question after three goes. He started yelling I’d cheated — it reminded me a bit of Martin, that time he lost the Camembert to Douglas for the twenty-seventh time in a row —”


“If I recall correctly, it was thirty eight times. But do go on.”

“Well, in the middle of him shouting and yelling, he suddenly realised he’d lost something, and started looking for it and panicking. Normally I’d have offered to stay and help look, but he’d been so nasty I thought I wouldn’t bother. And it turned out I was right, because after a minute or so he yelled ‘You stole it! Thief, thief!’ and came chasing right after me. It was really scary — I thought he was going to catch me lots of times, and I don’t know why he didn’t, but somehow I kept on managing to dodge him, and eventually I spotted daylight through a crack in the cave wall and just managed to squeeze through it and here I am. Anyway, Martin, you were going to tell us how you got dragoned.”

“Yes, Martin, you were, weren’t you? Are we to assume it involved sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with dragonish thoughts in your heart?”

“No. Nothing like that at all. But I’d better go back to the start. You see, Douglas, I wasn’t entirely straight with you when I explained about Arthur the first time. After the Seattle trip I didn’t leave the aerodrome, like I told you. I did hang about until Arthur left and I did open the cockpit locker.”

“And there, I take it, you entered Narnia and encountered the White Witch? And she enchanted you and then enticed you to lure us all to Narnia for her nefarious purposes?”

“Nope. I never got into Narnia at all. I never even saw it. I was in so much of a state my eyes just shut tight of their own accord. But I felt a cold blast of air and smelt pine forests. So I slammed the door shut, and then, after few seconds I was ashamed of myself, so I opened my eyes and pulled the cockpit locker door open again. Only it was just the same locker as it always is. So I thought I must have imagined it all. Only I kept having dreams. And I didn’t dare mention them in case you all thought I was going mad, and stopped me flying —”

“Unless your madness took the form of asking for a salary, I don’t suppose Carolyn would even notice, still less care.”

“I resent that remark. MJN Air prides itself on the care it takes of all its staff. Even those with wings, scales and unfortunately incendiary digestive tracts.”

“Look, I’m sorry about — “

“Martin. Shut it. Please. Except when it comes to answering my questions. Did you make up that entire conversation with Arthur about the phonetic alphabet?”

“Not exactly. I’d dreamt it the night before, and it occurred to me that it would be a really good way of getting you to listen about Narnia without having to explain I’d suspected for weeks and said nothing. But when we actually got into Narnia I started to feel worse and worse. I knew we’d meet Aslan sooner or later and he’d have something to say about it. Then, when we were eating with the Beavers, I suddenly thought of the really big mistake I’d made. We couldn’t defeat the White Witch, and it was all my fault.”

“Leaving aside the minor point that, in fact, we defeated the White Witch in rather splendid style, all things considered, what mistake?”

“Teresa. Obviously if I’d done things properly in the first place, Aslan would have worked it so Teresa was with us when we opened the cockpit locker for the second time, and we’d all be in Narnia together. So we would fit the prophecy properly.”

“Hardly. There are only four thrones, not five.”

“Yes, but I don’t want to be a king in Narnia. I wanted to — look, Douglas, Carolyn, don’t laugh — but I wanted to start the Narnian Flying Corps. To begin with, there’s all these flying creatures — owls and eagles and bats, and I overheard someone say there used to be flying horses and there might be some still, in remote parts of the country. And dwarf technology is certainly up to balloons and hang-gliders and I thought, powered flight only needed a push and sufficient resources —”

“So you left the cottage in order to go back to GERTI and bring Teresa to join us? Following which you planned on starting the Narnian aviation revolution?”

“Yes, but it all went wrong. Once I got into the woods, I had no idea which way to find GERTI; the snow had covered our tracks. And I was sure I could hear wolves howling. So it seemed like a godsend when I stumbled across a cave. And the odd thing was, the further I went back into it, the lighter it got. There was this sort of yellow glow rising from the back of the cave. As I got closer to it, the light started to get brighter and brighter. And then the cave floor just sort of — ended. I almost walked off the edge. I only saved myself by grabbing a jutting outcrop of rock and pulling myself back literally by my fingernails —”

“Convenient outcrop, that. Almost, one might say, a godsend.”

“But my hat fell over the edge in the process. So I crawled to the edge and leaned over, and about ten feet below me was a lake. It had really clear water; I could see right to the bottom which was simply covered in gold things — sculptures of animals and birds, mostly. That’s where the glow was coming from. And there, right on top of the heap, was my hat. And it looked the same colour as the other things, but of course I assumed that was just an effect of the light.”

“Ah! A suspicion which has been fluttering around the back of my mind crystallises. Have you actually read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?”

“Well, not the whole way through. To be honest, I threw it across the room half way through chapter one. The way Lucy and Edmund ganged up on Eustace got to me. It was exactly like the way Caitlin and Simon used to rib me endlessly about The Look and Learn Book of Flight.”

“Much becomes clear. So what then?”

“I remembered I’d still got a fishing line and hook in my pocket, from when we’d been out with Mr Beaver before dinner. So I started fishing for my hat —-“

“And that, I suppose, was how you realised it had turned into solid gold?”

“Yes. I hooked it out, eventually — the fishing line turned into gold wire, too — and I sat there holding it, and it sort of dawned on me that I was literally sitting on a gold mine.”

“More like a Midas mine, really. One supposes the animal and bird ‘sculptures’ — “

“Ugh! Douglas, that’s horrible!”

“One does wonder what Aslan could have been thinking when he put it there, certainly.”

“And the difference from the rest of Narnia, then? Anyway, Martin, do go on.”

” I remembered how snooty some of Teresa’s set were to me at the Taj Mahal, and I sort of thought ‘With this, I’d be richer than all of them put together.’ I wanted to go and find Teresa, and show her first, before telling the rest of you. And I needed the hat, to prove it, otherwise she’d think I was joking. So I put it on and went to the front of the cave, only it was snowing even harder so I sat down to wait for it to clear, and I suppose I must have dozed off. And when I woke up, I was a dragon. And the hat was jammed between my sort of horn things, and I couldn’t shake it off.”

“Wow. That all sounds really awful.”

“Oh, it was. Most of the time. But, on the other hand, well, I suppose in one way I did get my wings —”

“Look, Douglas! That rock arch you mentioned yesterday. There’s a lion in it, and he’s beckoning — well, I think that’s what he’s doing with his front paw, anyway.”

“And look what’s behind his head! It’s GERTI’s cockpit. We’re almost home!”

“Well, that seems to wrap up all the loose ends nicely. Oh, except for one teeny little question. Terribly unimportant, I suppose, but it’s been niggling at me. Arthur, what have you got in your pocket?”