The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 40

concluded,
addressing the American with a leer.

"I'm after no one," replied Barney. "I tell you I'm a stranger, and
I lost my way in your infernal mountains. All I wish is to be set
upon the right road to Tann, and if you will do that for me you
shall be well paid for your trouble."

The giant, Yellow Franz, had come quite close to Barney and was
inspecting him with an expression of considerable interest.
Presently he drew a soiled and much-folded paper from his breast.
Upon one side was a printed notice, and at the corners bits were
torn away as though the paper had once been tacked upon wood, and
then torn down without removing the tacks.

At sight of it Barney's heart sank. The look of the thing was all
too familiar. Before the yellow one had commenced to read aloud from
it Barney had repeated to himself the words he knew were coming.

"'Gray eyes,'" read the brigand, "'brown hair, and a full,
reddish-brown beard.' Herman and Friedrich, my dear children, you
have stumbled upon the richest haul in all Lutha. Down upon your
marrow-bones, you swine, and rub your low-born noses in the dirt
before your king."

The others looked their surprise.

"The king?" one cried.

"Behold!" cried Yellow Franz. "Leopold of Lutha!"

He waved a ham-like hand toward Barney.

Among the rough men was a young smooth-faced boy, and now with wide
eyes he pressed forward to get a nearer view of the wonderful person
of a king.

"Take a good look at him, Rudolph," cried Yellow Franz. "It is the
first and will probably be the last time you will ever see a king.
Kings seldom visit the court of their fellow monarch, Yellow Franz
of the Black Mountains.

"Come, my children, remove his majesty's sword, lest he fall and
stick himself upon it, and then prepare the royal chamber, seeing to
it that it be made so comfortable that Leopold will remain with us a
long time. Rudolph, fetch food and water for his majesty, and see to
it that the silver plates and the golden goblets are well scoured
and polished up."

They conducted Barney to a miserable lean-to shack at one side of
the clearing, and for a while the motley crew loitered about
bandying coarse jests at the expense of the "king." The boy,
Rudolph, brought food and water, he alone of them all evincing the
slightest respect or awe for the royalty of their unwilling guest.

After a time the men tired of the sport of king-baiting, for Barney
showed neither rancor nor outraged majesty at

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