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and of which you will learn some particulars by and by.
Having arranged this matter, the Minstrel hastened back to the Batrachian camp, where he arrived some time before the Stork made his appearance : so that he was able to make all his plans known to the entire company before the usurper was announced.
Rana himself, with his mandolin across his shoulder and his sword upon his thigh, was seated on a sort of dais beneath a canopy of lily-leaves, and the Keeper of the late King's Conscience, who was now weeping for the death of his Master, sat by his side. The Minstrel could see the deceitful, turned-up eye of Madam Duck amongst the leaves a little way off; but of that he took no notice, except to throw a handful of sand in that direction with such an accurate aim, that he heard a dismal croak as her head was moved to the other side.
The Stork came unattended, which he explained by saying that the Owls had gone forward to prepare his temporary residence at the next city, where he intended to lodge with them in the tower of the church, to which he was attached before he joined the army.
He was received with grave politeness; but, in answer to all his inquiries, was told that the deputation could do nothing at present, but would wait on him at his own quarters in two days. As this decision was made known to him by Rana, he asked what authority the Minstrel held amongst them, and approached with such a bold and truculent air that the Batrachians set up a shout,
and said: “Whoever does harm to Rana the Troubadour, shall never be our King.”
Madam Duck was heard to give a loud croak of surprise ; but the Stork, who saw he had gone too far, said he hoped he should see the celebrated Rana at his quarters with the rest of the Deputation ; for the Stork Family had ever loved minstrels; and his friends the Owls had heard of the great Batrachian who was known as the Dutch Nightingale.
Rana only bowed in reply, for he was too indignant at the Stork's treachery to speak; but the rest of the Batrachians burst into peals of laughter the moment their guest was out of hearing, and long after he had gone on his way sounds of suppressed merriment arose from the pool into which they had sprung to hide their unseemly mirth.
Now Rana had seen among the Batrachians one of his old pupils to whom he used to give lessons at Slosh. He was a very accomplished singer, this pupil, and a well-grown fellow enough, with some wit, and a good deal of discretion; and our Troubadour took him apart the day after their meeting with the Stork, and devoted the whole morning to teaching him a tune upon the mandolin; for he had determined to send him back to Batrachia as a minstrel, that he might sing a song to the people in the streets, and so rouse the popular feeling against the Stork and his allies.
Somebody once said: “Let me make the songs for a nation and I care not who makes the laws," by which he meant that a good stirring ballad set to a catching tune, and sold for a penny, is likely to have more effect than an Act of Parliament for which people don't care twopence.
Now Rana had composed a grandly political and grossly personal ballad, and set it to a new tune, which has since become well known, and he sent out his former pupil to sing it in the streets at Toppititti, and other parts of Frogland. This is that portion of the ballad which has been preserved, although it is stated by the learned Popo Lorum Fizz in his learned work on the Archæology of Batrachia that several pungent stanzas have been entirely lost.
I'll tell you a story without any talk,
To the land of Ba-tra-chi-a.
When it happened to come in his way.
When he reigned in Ba-tra-chi-a.
As the King of Ba-tra-chi-a.
For the leader who governed this sensible band,
With the Stork in Ba-tra-chi-a.
But a Minstrel Batrachian walking about,
In despite of all they could say.
Yes, what do you think that this Minstrel had found,
Had the Stork in a regular way.
Yes, but quite in a casual way.
And now he goes
when the weather permits,
That are there thrown out of the way.
And he lives in a garret high up in the air,
And so go to sleep all day.
And so though a nod's no more use than a wink
(This is instrumental) Come, do you think so ?-eh?
How Rana asked the Mandibles to help him to save the Prince of Batrachia,
and how he helped them in return.
song, which was very soon sung and played
all over Batrachia, and was afterwards set upon the barrel organs, and brought out at concerts and music halls, had an enormous effect; such an effect, indeed, that the minstrel to whom Rana had taught it, and who went everywhere about the kingdom singing and playing, made a very handsome fortune by selling copies of the words; and soon had so many pupils to learn the mandolin that he set up a fashionable pumpkin carriage, with a sleek pair of thorough-bred moles to take him