The king's stilts;
(Random House, Aug. 16, 1939)
The King's Stilts tells the story of King Birtram of Binn, who dedicates himself to safeguarding his kingdom, which lives in a precarious existence. It is surrounded by water, which is held back from flooding the land by a ring of dike trees, which are in turn subject to attack from flocks of nizzards. To protect the kingdom, a legion of Patrol Cats is organized to keep the nizzards at bay, and King Birtram sees to their care personally. When not attending to his royal duties, the King enjoys himself with a rigorous cavorting on his personal red stilts, which distresses his minister Lord Droon. When Droon manipulates the King's page boy Eric to steal and hide the stilts, the King grows depressed and begins to neglect his duties. As a result, the Patrol Cats become less vigilant, and soon the nizzards make headway in eating away the dike trees. Seeing the results of his actions, Eric resolves to return the stilts to the King and succeeds in doing so despite Lord Droon's efforts to stop him. King Birtram then summons the energy to mobilize the Patrol Cats to fight off the nizzards and save the kingdom. Lord Droon is imprisoned and forced to eat nizzard every day while Eric is rewarded with his own pair of red stilts, joining the King on his outings.