A little farther along and he meets his sweetheart, friend River. "There my cherub, why is my handsome so lonesome on this muddy road?"
"I am going to see the King for what he owes me." "Oh, take me with thee!" said friend River.
Drakestail said to himself, "One can't have too many friends." "I will," said he. "But you who sleep while you walk will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat, go into my gizzard, and I will carry you."
"Ah, happy thought!" said friend River. She takes bag and baggage, and glop, glop, glop, she takes her place between friend Fox and friend Ladder. Then "Quack, quack, quack," Drakestail is off again singing as before.
A little farther along he meets comrade Wasp's Nest, maneuvering his wasps. "Well, good morning Drakestail," said comrade Wasp's Nest, "Where are we bound for so spruce and fresh?"
"I am going to see the King for what he owes me."
"Oh, take me with thee!" said friend Wasp's Nest. Drakestail said to himself, "One can't have too many friends." "I will," said he. "But with your battalion to drag along, you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat, go into my gizzard, and I will carry you."
"By Jove, that's a good idea!" said comrade Wasp's Nest. He took the same road to join the other with all his party. Drakestail was off singing, "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?"
He arrived at the capital, and threaded his way straight up High Street till he came to the King's palace. He strikes the door with the huge knocker. "Who is there?" asks the porter, putting his head out of the wicket.
"Tis I, Drakestail. I wish to speak to the King."
"Speak to the King! That's easily said! The King is dining, and will not be disturbed."
"Tell him that it is I, and he knows well why I must see him."
The porter shut his wicket and went up to tell the King, who was just sitting down to dinner with a napkin round his neck with all his ministers. "Good, good!" said the King, laughing, "I know what it is! Make him come in, and put him with the turkeys and chickens."