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Chances are you've heard this old tale in one form or another; Wahl's telling, at least, is livelier than Betsy Bang's Indian version in The Old Woman and the Rice Thief (p. 101, J-19). Here Drakestail the duck sets out to see the king, who owes him money; and on the way he picks up his friend Fox, his ""girlfriend"" Lady Ladder (an actual ladder, with shoes on one end and a plumed hat on the other), his ""sweetheart"" Madam River, and General Waspnest with his army of wasps--all of whom make themselves small and ride along in Drakestail's gizzard. ""Quack, quack, quack! When will I get my money back?"" sings Drakestail; but the king, instead of paying him, tries to do him in. This of course is where all Drakestail's friends emerge, overpowering the king and his footmen (who ""leaped out the window and were killed"" justlikethat). And though Drakestail never gets his money because the king has spent it all, he is crowned king by the people, who come along and find him on the throne. Barton does his daffy best to personify Drakestail's friends and pep up the action in the castle. A brisk easy reader, but not a story to remember.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1978
Publisher: Greenwillow