John Dough and the Cherub/Chapter 19
After the conversation with the soldier, Chick went back to the hall of the castle and told John Dough and Para Bruin what the man had said. "They all expect a wise and just ruler, who is not made of flesh and blood," reported the little one; "so I guess it's up to you, John, to run this island." "I'm surprised," said Para Bruin, "that they do not prefer a king who is made of pure rubber and can bounce. But if they want John Dough instead of me I'm willing to yield in his favor." "You shall be my Chief Counselor," replied John; "only I reserve the right to act as I please in case I do not like your counsels." "That is entirely fair and reasonable," declared Para Bruin, "and I thank you for the honor you have conferred upon me." "I'm going to be Head Booleywag," said Chick, gravely. "What's that?" asked John. "It's the one that rules the ruler," said the smiling Cherub. "So just behave yourselves--you and your Chief Counselor -- and you'll both find I know my business." Thereupon the child led John Dough to the King's attiring-room, and hunted in the closets until a fine ermine robe and a crown and scepter were discovered. The crown was a little tarnished from lack of use, but the jewels in it still sparkled brightly; so the bear set it upon John's gingerbread head and put the scepter in his right hand. Chick folded the ermine robe around him in such a way that his missing left hand was not noticed, and then they led the gingerbread man to the great hall and placed him in the royal throne. He might have looked more dignified had not his nose been badly chipped and his left glass eye so loose in its socket that it rolled every way but the right way; however, the robe concealed the fact that his shirt-front was soiled and cracked, and that several lozenge-buttons had broken off during his recent adventures. But kingly robes and a kingly crown cover many defects, and when Para Bruin and the Cherub stood back and took a critical look at their friend they felt quite proud of his regal appearance. When all had been made ready and John was seated in the throne, Chick went to the west door of the castle hall and threw it open, and at the same time Para Bruin opened wide the east door. Then, together, they cried out to the people: "The King has come! Enter his castle, all ye Hilanders and Lolanders, and greet the new ruler in a fitting manner!" So the tall and slender people trooped in at one door and the short and fat people trooped in at the other; and all gazed with awe and reverence at the strange form of the gingerbread king, who was surely not flesh and blood, and might easily be a wise and just ruler. There was no disputing the fulfillment of the prophecy; so all bowed humbly before John, whom Chick introduced to his subjects in a shrill, childish voice as "King Dough the First, ruler of the Twin Kingdoms of Hiland and Loland." Afterward there was feasting and rejoicing in both cities, and John made a royal procession on both sides of the great wall, being everywhere received with shouts of enthusiastic joy. The gingerbread man proved a very successful ruler; and as neither he nor Para Bruin ate anything and Chick returned to a diet of oatmeal and cream, the King's expenses were very light, and he was not obliged to tax his people to support his royal state. One of the first laws he made was that no one in the two nations should eat gingerbread that was more than three days old, under pain of death; this prevented his ever being in danger when he traveled in either land. Another thing he did was to engage a fat little woman of Loland to make and bake him a new gingerbread hand, having five excellent fingers at the end of it. Also she made gingerbread patches to fit his broken ear and his crumbled nose and his damaged heel, as well as some lovely new coattails, and when the hand and all these patches were placed where they belonged, John drank the cordial contained in the silver flask that the Beaver Fairy had given him, and at once the new gingerbread became a part of his body, and he was as perfect as the day he had left Monsieur Jules' bake-shop. The woman also repaired his frosting and fastened some new lozenge-buttons to his waistcoat, after which John presented so neat and respectable an appearance that all his people were very proud of him. Para Bruin also became a great favorite in the two cities, and the tall and short folks loved to watch him stand upon the high wall that divided the two nations, from which he would leap to the ground and immediately bound back again to his station on the wall. He was always good-natured and cheerful, quite winning the hearts of the Hilanders by poking fun at the Lolanders, and afterward delighting the Lolanders by jeering at the Hilanders. So Para Bruin's life was a happy one, and for countless years he remained the close friend and companion of King Dough the First, the popular and worthy ruler of Hiland and Loland. The Records of the Kingdom say very little of Chick's later history, merely mentioning the fact that the King's most valuable assistant was the Head Booleywag, who grew up to be the especial favorite of all the inhabitants of the island. But, curiously enough, the Records fail to state whether the Head Booleywag was a man or a woman.