CHAPTER SEVEN

All the pirates were running around in confusion. Madame X was yelling orders. Thug was trying to make the pirates listen to Madame X. Instead of listening, the pirates just ran around some more and got into everybody's way. Nobody was paying any attention to the prisoners.

So they jumped overboard.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Jumping overboard was really easy.

Swimming to the island was not!

Stuart knew how to swim. He had learned from his mother. She had insisted that even gardeners might need to swim sometimes.

Captain Brannigan knew how to swim a little. It was either doggie-paddle or drown. He doggie-paddled towards the island.

Felix didn't know how to swim at all.

“Help!” Felix shouted. “Help! I can't swim!”

“Kick your feet!” yelled Stuart helpfully. He saw Felix kick his feet. “Move your arms!” he shouted next. Felix waved his arms and slapped against the water. He moved forward just a little. He was swimming! Sort of. “And hurry!”

Stuart swam hard and reached the beach first. Gasping and choking, he crawled up onto the warm, dry sand. “We made it!” he yelled, then choked and coughed again. He stood up when he had caught his breath. “Come on, Captain! Felix, hurry up! I don't think they're following us yet.”

Stuart pulled the captain out of the water and they both turned to help Felix.

“Felix! Quick, come on!” yelled Captain Brannigan.

Felix waved his arms in the water and kicked his feet even harder. He turned in circles, then drew closer to the beach. “I'm coming... Captain!” he choked a yell. “I'm... coming!”

Then a huge wave scooped Felix up. “Woooo!” he cried. The wave surged over them, soaking Captain Brannigan and Stuart, and dropping Felix right onto the beach.

Stuart raced over. “Felix! Are you all right? You look half drowned.”

Felix groaned. “I'm not half drowned, I'm all drowned!” he announced.

Captain Brannigan pulled Felix to his feet. “Well, undrown yourself!” he ordered. “We have a treasure to find.”

“But Captain,” Stuart protested, “we don't even know if we're on the right island yet. How can we... be sure... that....” Stuart stopped talking. He watched Felix. Felix seemed to be looking at something. “Felix?”

“Oh,” Felix said, as if he finally understood something important.

“What is it?” Stuart asked.

Felix pointed. “It's a sign. See, right over there.”

Captain Brannigan squinted. “A sign? Well, what's it say?”

Felix started to read from the sign. “It says: `Welcome to The Island of Em. Buccaneer Pirate Henry S. Morgenstern, Owner.'”

Stuart's mouth opened wide in surprise. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “This really is the right island!”

Captain Brannigan jumped up and down. “We made it! We made it!” he sang in excitement. “Quick, Stuart, get out that map! The treasure must be around here somewhere!”

Stuart reached inside his shirt for the map, but Felix stopped him.

“Wait, there's more on the sign,” said Felix. “It's in the small print at the bottom: `Congratulations - you found the island. The hard part is over. If searching for the Morgenstern Treasure, start at the big coconut tree over yonder, then look at the map. Good luck. Your host, Morgie.'”

“Morgie?” Captain Brannigan said in disbelief. “He wants to be called Morgie?” He squinted more at the sign.

Stuart squinted at something moving in the ocean. It looked like a small boat bobbing in the waves. “Oh, no! It's Madame X!”

“And Thug!” said the captain.

“And my bird!” added Felix with a smile.

The toucan flew ahead of the boat and landed happily on Felix's head.

“Squawk!” it said. Felix grinned happily.

Stuart wasn't so happy to see the bird. “The bird will lead them right to this beach! Madame X knows where we are!” Stuart grabbed the captain. “Find the coconut tree. Fast!” He looked around at all the trees. There must have been a hundred different trees just near the beach. “Coconut, coconut, which one of these trees is coconut?” he asked frantically. “There are trees all over the place!”

Captain Brannigan squinted again, then calmly pointed at a tree. “Big coconut tree, right over there.” He started walking towards the tree.

Stuart wasn't convinced. “Are you sure? We have to be sure! We can't start the treasure hunt from the wrong tree! They all look alike to me.”

“Oh, he's sure,” Felix said with confidence. “After all, he's a farmer.”

“What's that got to do with it?” shouted Stuart.

“Well,” said Felix, “he's one part cow farmer, and the other part tree farmer.” He patted his bird and smiled. “Now let's go! We're off to find a treasure!"

Go on to Chapter 8.


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