THE RAINBOW BOOK
divide and wait until the royal procession of three had passed through.
At last they came to a great object ahead which turned out to be a sunken ship, and the children heard the Fish-King say: " Welcome, my dears, to my home ! I hope your visit to ' The Billows ' will please you." They eagerly assured him it would, for they felt certain they were going to have a jolly time.
On board everything was most snug and trim; and in the large saloon he led his two little guests to one end of the long table, where they found biscuits, tinned meats, jam, and other nice things, which they enjoyed very much, whilst their host looked on with a satisfied expression.
" Now will you take a cup of something ?" he asked—and seemed relieved when they declined with thanks. " I'm a seatotaller myself," he observed ; " I don't drink like a fish, nor go in for cups."
" I'm glad we said ' No, thank you,'" whispered Dulcie to Cyril, who nodded assent. " Why are you so sad, Mr. Fish-King?" she asked when she had satisfied her hunger, and she stroked his great flabby hand.
He didn't answer for a moment, then trying to twist up his mouth into a smile he said as he roused himself: " I fear I'm somewhat glum for a birthday party, but I've had so many of them; besides, I'm