“it occurred to Abu Ali, as he lay trussed and helpless, that the Button-Nosed Tortoise’s spell should have broken by now” (Langley, 105).
It opens with Prince Tintac Ping Foo and Prince Rubdub Ben Thud are having a terrible time of hauling the Magic Carpet across the desert.
I have to admit, as petulant as the Princes are, they are some of the more amusing parts of the back. I wouldn’t like them if they were actual people, but their dialogue and their phraseology is just kind of funny. Especially Tintac Pin Foo.
First in the seventh chapter when his sputtering about astigmatism and such things because he can’t believe his eyes. And here, when Small Slave comes running back from the Land of Green Ginger to inform the Princes that:
“‘No! Your rival, Abu Ali,’ answered Small Slave swiftly. ‘He’s here before you! Asleep! And he’s no longer alone! He has accomplices with him — a small fat man and a mouse! Both asleep also! Fate has delivered them into our hands, Master! There’s nothing for it but!’
‘What ghastly bad grammar!’ cried Ping Foo with a shudder. ‘A sentence without syntax is like an egg without salt.’” (101-2).
How can I completely dislike someone who gets shudders from bad grammar? He’s such a hoot to me.
I gotta love Small Slave’s growing impatience with the Princes. Good for him. He’s a smart guy. He shouldn’t be putting up with them.
And apparently Rubdub might not like eggs? (He also might have a tendency of mixing up words. he does that when he tries to command the Carpet to take him to Sulkpot’s home, and here when he keeps mixing up words with “egg”.)
In fact, all three of them — Tintac, Rubdub, and Small Slave start exchanging “egg” for other words once Abu Ali, Boomalakka Wee and the Mouse are tied up. The fact that they kept saying “egg” made me wonder if the Phoenix Birds were going to show up and help Abu Ali. They didn’t. But I’m curious to see if they appear again or offer any assistance.
The sun rises and Abu Ali is still nicely trussed up and wondering where the Magician is, as the spell was supposed to be broken at dawn.
I have a hunch that Abu Ali was supposed to literally go to the Magician for the spell to be completely broken, since he specifically asks Abu Ali to “‘be good enough to call on me just after sunrise?’” (94). So, I’m really intrigued to see what’s become of the Magician.
And now more on why the Mouse is awesome.
Instead of falling asleep “from sheer exasperation”, she nibbles through her muzzle on her nose and then gnaws through Abu Ali’s bonds. Because she’s awesome, resourceful, and “made of sterner stuff” (106).
When she does, the story informs me that she had “a gentleman friend who had run away to sea” and who has never written back, though “she still nursed hope of a letter of apology from him” (106).
But when she frees Abu Ali, he “swept her up in his arms and kissed her on both cheeks” (106). The gesture was so sweet! Its nice to see her getting real appreciation. She deserves it.
So they’re free but then things really get bad:
“‘We can never get out of here!’ he cried in manly aggravation.
‘Of course we can! Why ever not?’ cried the Mouse.
‘Because we’re miles up in the air!’ lamented Abu Ali. ‘The Land of Green Ginger’s on it’s travel again, and it’s going the wrong way!’” (107).
- what’s “manly aggravation”? Can aggravation really be masculine or feminine?
- is the Magician human again and is he sending the Land of Green Ginger where he wants? What if he’s not really good? More likely, the spell isn’t broken and the Land of Green Ginger is just wandering like usual.
- OH MY GOD! Abu Ali’s in real trouble! I’m actually anxious about what’s going to happen to him.
- superciliously: adj.
- conniptions: n.
Tintac: “‘What ghastly bad grammar!’” (101-2).
Langley, Noel. The Land of Green Ginger. Jeffrey, NH: David R. Godine Publisher, 1975. Print.