Chapter V The Island Come True

Feeling that Peter was on his way back, the Neverland had again woke
into life. We ought to use the pluperfect and say wakened, but woke is
better and was always used by Peter.
In his absence things are usually quiet on the island. The fairies
take an hour longer in the morning, the beasts attend to their
young, the redskins feed heavily for six days and nights, and when
pirates and lost boys meet they merely bite their thumbs at each
other. But with the coming of Peter, who hates lethargy, they are
all under way again: if you put your ear to the ground now, you
would hear the whole island seething with life.
On this evening the chief forces of the island were disposed as
follows. The lost boys were out looking for Peter, the pirates were
out looking for the lost boys, the redskins were out looking for the
pirates, and the beasts were out looking for the redskins. They were
going round and round the island, but they did not meet because all
were going at the same rate.
All wanted blood except the boys, who liked it as a rule, but
to-night were out to greet their captain. The boys on the island vary,
of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and
when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter
thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting
the twins as two. Let us pretend to he here among the sugarcane and
watch them as they steal by in single file, each with his hand on
his dagger.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 5}
They are forbidden by Peter to look in the least like him, and
they wear the skins of bears slain by themselves, in which they are so
round and furry that when they fall they roll. They have therefore
become very sure-footed.
The first to pass is Tootles, not the least brave but the most
unfortunate of all that gallant band. He had been in fewer
adventures than any of them, because the big things constantly
happened just when he had stepped round the corner; all would be
quiet, he would take the opportunity of going off to gather a few
sticks for firewood, and then when he returned the others would be
sweeping up the blood. This ill-luck had given a gentle melancholy
to his countenance, but instead of souring his nature had sweetened
it, so that he was quite the humblest of the boys. Poor kind
Tootles, there is danger in the air for you to-night. Take care lest
an adventure is now offered you, which, if accepted, will plunge you
in deepest woe. Tootles, the fairy Tink who is bent on mischief this
night is looking for a tool, and she thinks you the most easily
tricked of the boys. ‘Ware Tinker Bell.
Would that he could hear us, but we are not really on the island,
and he passes by, biting his knuckles.
Next comes Nibs, the gay and debonair, followed by Slightly, who
cuts whistles out of the trees and dances ecstatically to his own
tunes. Slightly is the most conceited of the boys. He thinks he
remembers the days before he was lost, with their manners and customs,
and this has given his nose an offensive tilt. Curly is fourth; he
is a pickle, and so often has he had to deliver up his person when
Peter said sternly, “Stand forth the one who did this thing,” that now
at the command he stands forth automatically whether he has done it or
no. Last come the Twins, who cannot be described because we should
be sure to be describing the wrong one. Peter never quite knew what
twins were, and his band were not allowed to know anything he did
not know, so these two were always vague about themselves, and did
their best to give satisfaction by keeping close together in an
apologetic sort of way.
The boys vanish in the gloom, and after a pause, but not a long
pause, for things go briskly on the island, come the pirates on
their track. We hear them before they are seen, and it is always the
same dreadful song:
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 10}

“Avast belay, yo ho, heave to,
A-pirating we go,
And if we’re parted by a shot
We’re sure to meet below!”
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 15}

A more villainous-looking lot never hung in a row on Execution dock.
Here, a little in advance, ever and again with his head to the
ground listening, his great arms bare, pieces of eight in his ears
as ornaments, is the handsome Italian Cecco, who cut his name in
letters of blood on the back of the governor of the prison at Gao.
That gigantic black behind him has had many names since he dropped the
one with which dusky mothers still terrify their children on the banks
of the Guadjomo. Here is Bill Jukes, every inch of him tattooed, the
same Bill Jukes who got six dozen on the Walrus from Flint before he
would drop the bag of moidores; and Cookson, said to be Black Murphy’s
brother (but this was never proved), and Gentleman Starkey, once an
usher in a public school and still dainty in his ways of killing;
and Skylights (Morgan’s Skylights); and the Irish bo’sun Smee, an
oddly genial man who stabbed, so to speak, without offence, and was
the only Non-conformist in Hook’s crew; and Noodler, whose hands
were fixed on backwards; and Robt. Mullins and Alf Mason and many
another ruffian long known and feared on the Spanish Main.
In the midst of them, the blackest and largest jewel in that dark
setting, reclined James Hook, or as he wrote himself, Jas. Hook, of
whom it is said he was the only man that the Sea-Cook feared. He lay
at his ease in a rough chariot drawn and propelled by his men, and
instead of a right hand he had the iron hook with which ever and
anon he encouraged them to increase their pace. As dogs this
terrible man treated and addressed them, and as dogs they obeyed
him. In person he was cadaverous and blackavized, and his hair was
dressed in long curls, which at a little distance looked like black
candles, and gave a singularly threatening expression to his
handsome countenance. His eyes were of the blue of the
forget-me-not, and of a profound melancholy, save when he was plunging
his hook into you, at which time two red spots appeared in them and
lit them up horribly. In manner, something of the grand seigneur still
clung to him, so that he even ripped you up with an air, and I have
been told that he was a raconteur of repute. He was never more
sinister than when he was most polite, which is probably the truest
test of breeding; and the elegance of his diction, even when he was
swearing, no less than the distinction of his demeanour, showed him
one of a different caste from his crew. A man of indomitable
courage, it was said of him that the only thing he shied at was the
sight of his own blood, which was thick and of an unusual colour. In
dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of
Charles II, having heard it said in some earlier period of his
career that he bore a strange resemblance to the ill-fated Stuarts;
and in his mouth he had a holder of his own contrivance which
enabled him to smoke two cigars at once. But undoubtedly the
grimmest part of him was his iron claw.
Let us now kill a pirate, to show Hook’s method. Skylights will
do. As they pass, Skylights lurches clumsily against him, ruffling his
lace collar; the hook shoots forth, there is a tearing sound and one
screech, then the body is kicked aside, and the pirates pass on. He
has not even taken the cigars from his mouth.
Such is the terrible man against whom Peter Pan is pitted. Which
will win?
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 20}
On the trail of the pirates, stealing noiselessly down the war-path,
which is not visible to inexperienced eyes, come the redskins, every
one of them with his eyes peeled. They carry tomahawks and knives, and
their naked bodies gleam with paint and oil. Strung around them are
scalps, of boys as well as of pirates, for these are the Piccaninny
tribe, and not to be confused with the softer-hearted Delawares or the
Hurons. In the van, on all fours, is Great Big Little Panther, a brave
of so many scalps that in his present position they somewhat impede
his progress. Bringing up the rear, the place of greatest danger,
comes Tiger Lily, proudly erect, a princess in her own right. She is
the most beautiful of dusky Dianas and the belle of the
Piccaninnies, coquettish, cold and amorous by turns; there is not a
brave who would not have the wayward thing to wife, but she staves off
the altar with a hatchet. Observe how they pass over fallen twigs
without making the slightest noise. The only sound to be heard is
their somewhat heavy breathing. The fact is that they are all a little
fat just now after the heavy gorging, but in time they will work
this off. For the moment, however, it constitutes their chief danger.
The redskins disappear as they have come like shadows, and soon
their place is taken by the beasts, a great and motley procession:
lions, tigers, bears, and the innumerable smaller savage things that
flee from them, for every kind of beast, and, more particularly, all
the man-eaters, live cheek by jowl on the favoured island. Their
tongues are hanging out, they are hungry to-night.
When they have passed, comes the last figure of all, a gigantic
crocodile. We shall see for whom she is looking presently.
The crocodile passes, but soon the boys appear again, for the
procession must continue indefinitely until one of the parties stops
or changes its pace. Then quickly they will be on top of each other.
All are keeping a sharp look-out in front, but none suspects that
the danger may be creeping up from behind. This shows how real the
island was.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 25}
The first to fall out of the moving circle was the boys. They
flung themselves down on the sward, close to their underground home.
“I do wish Peter would come back,” every one of them said nervously,
though in height and still more in breadth they were all larger than
their captain.
“I am the only one who is not afraid of the pirates,” Slightly said,
in the tone that prevented his being a general favourite, but
perhaps some distant sound disturbed him, for he added hastily, “but I
wish he would come back, and tell us whether he has heard anything
more about Cinderella.”
They talked of Cinderella, and Tootles was confident that his mother
must have been very like her.
It was only in Peter’s absence that they could speak of mothers, the
subject being forbidden by him as silly.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 30}
“All I remember about my mother,” Nibs told them, “is that she often
said to father, ‘Oh, how I wish I had a cheque-book of my own!’ I
don’t know what a cheque-book is, but I should just love to give my
mother one.”
While they talked they heard a distant sound. You or I, not being
wild things of the woods, would have heard nothing, but they heard it,
and it was the grim song:

“Yo ho, yo ho, the pirate life,
The flag o’ skull and bones,
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 35}
A merry hour, a hempen rope,
And hey for Davy Jones.”

At once the lost boys- but where are they? They are no longer there.
Rabbits could not have disappeared more quickly.
I will tell you where they are. With the exception of Nibs, who
has darted away to reconnoitre, they are already in their home under
the ground, a very delightful residence of which we shall see a good
deal presently. But how have they reached it? for there is no entrance
to be seen, not so much as a large stone, which if rolled away would
disclose the mouth of a cave. Look closely, however, and you may
note that there are here seven large trees, each with a hole in its
hollow trunk as large as a boy These are the seven entrances to the
home under the ground, for which Hook has been searching in vain these
many moons. Will he find it to-night?
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 40}
As the pirates advanced, the quick eye of Starkey sighted Nibs
disappearing through the wood, and at once his pistol flashed out. But
an iron claw gripped his shoulder.
“Captain, let go!” he cried, writhing.
Now for the first time we hear the voice of Hook. It was a black
voice. “Put back that pistol first,” it said threateningly.
“It was one of those boys you hate. I could have shot him dead.”
“Ay, and the sound would have brought Tiger Lily’s redskins upon us.
Do you want to lose your scalp?”
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 45}
“Shall I after him, captain,” asked pathetic Smee, “and tickle him
with Johnny Corkscrew?” Smee had pleasant names for everything, and
his cutlass was Johnny Corkscrew, because he wriggled it in the wound.
One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after
killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.
“Johnny’s a silent fellow,” he reminded Hook.
“Not now, Smee,” Hook said darkly. “He is only one, and I want to
mischief all the seven. Scatter and look for them.”
The pirates disappeared among the trees, and in a moment their
captain and Smee were alone. Hook heaved a heavy sigh, and I know
not why it was, perhaps it was because of the soft beauty of the
evening, but there came over him a desire to confide to his faithful
bo’sun the story of his life. He spoke long and earnestly, but what it
was all about Smee, who was rather stupid, did not know in the least.
Anon he caught the word Peter.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 50}
“Most of all,” Hook was saying passionately, “I want their
captain, Peter Pan. ‘Twas he cut off my arm.” He brandished the hook
threateningly. “I’ve waited long to shake his hand with this. Oh, I’ll
tear him!”
“And yet,” said Smee, “I have often heard you say that hook was
worth a score of hands, for combing the hair and other homely uses.”
“Ay,” the captain answered, “if I was a mother I would pray to
have my children born with this instead of that,” and he cast a look
of pride upon his iron hand and one of scorn upon the other. Then
again he frowned.
“Peter flung my arm,” he said, wincing, “to a crocodile that
happened to be passing by.”
“I have often,” said Smee, “noticed your strange dread of
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 55}
“Not of crocodiles,” Hook corrected him, “but of that one
crocodile.” He lowered his voice. “It liked my arm so much, Smee, that
it has followed me ever since, from sea to sea and from land to
land, licking its lips for the rest of me.”
“In a way,” said Smee, “it’s a sort of compliment.”
“I want no such compliments,” Hook barked petulantly. “I want
Peter Pan, who first gave the brute its taste for me.”
He sat down on a large mushroom, and now there was a quiver in his
voice. “Smee,” he said huskily, “that crocodile would have had me
before this, but by a lucky chance it swallowed a clock which goes
tick tick inside it, and so before it can reach me I hear the tick and
bolt.” He laughed, but in a hollow way.
“Some day,” said Smee, “the clock will run down, and then he’ll
get you.”
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 60}
Hook wetted his dry lips. “Ay,” he said, “that’s the fear that
haunts me.”
Since sitting down he had felt curiously warm. “Smee,” he said,
“this seat is hot.” He jumped up. “Odds bobs, hammer and tongs, I’m
They examined the mushroom, which was of a size and solidity unknown
on the mainland; they tried to pull it up, and it came away at once in
their hands, for it had no root. Stranger still, smoke began at once
to ascend. The pirates looked at each other. “A chimney!” they both
They had indeed discovered the chimney of the home under the ground.
It was the custom of the boys to stop it with a mushroom when
enemies were in the neighbourhood.
Not only smoke came out of it. There came also children’s voices,
for so safe did the boys feel in their hiding-place that they were
gaily chattering. The pirates listened grimly, and then replaced the
mushroom. They looked around them and noted the holes in the seven
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 65}
“Did you hear them say Peter Pan’s from home?” Smee whispered,
fidgeting with Johnny Corkscrew.
Hook nodded. He stood for a long time lost in thought, and at last a
curdling smile lit up his swarthy face. Smee had been waiting for
it. “Unrip your plan, captain,” he cried eagerly.
“To return to the ship,” Hook replied slowly through his teeth, “and
cook a large rich cake of a jolly thickness with green sugar on it.
There can be but one room below, for there is but one chimney. The
silly moles had not the sense to see that they did not need a door
apiece. That shows they have no mother. We will leave the cake on
the shore of the Mermaids’ Lagoon. These boys are always swimming
about there, playing with the mermaids. They will find the cake and
they will gobble it up, because, having no mother, they don’t know how
dangerous ’tis to eat rich damp cake.” He burst into laughter, not
hollow laughter now, but honest laughter. “Aha, they will die!”
Smee had listened with growing admiration.
“It’s the wickedest, prettiest policy ever I heard of!” he cried,
and in their exultation they danced and sang:
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 70}

“Avast, belay, when I appear,
By fear they’re overtook,
Nought’s left upon your bones when you
Have shaken claws with Cook.”
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 75}

They began the verse, but they never finished it, for another
sound broke in and stilled them. It was at first such a tiny sound
that a leaf might have fallen on it and smothered it, but as it came
nearer it was more distinct.
Tick tick tick tick!
Hook stood shuddering, one foot in the air.
“The crocodile!” he gasped, and bounded away, followed by his
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 80}
It was indeed the crocodile. It had passed the redskins, who were
now on the trail of the other pirates. It oozed on after Hook.
Once more the boys emerged into the open; but the dangers of the
night were not yet over, for presently Nibs rushed breathless into
their midst, pursued by a pack of wolves. The tongues of the
pursuers were hanging out; the baying of them was horrible.
“Save me, save me!” cried Nibs, falling on the ground.
“But what can we do, what can we do?”
It was a high compliment to Peter that at that dire moment their
thoughts turned to him.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 85}
“What would Peter do?” they cried simultaneously.
Almost in the same breath they cried, “Peter would look at them
through his legs.”
And then, “Let us do what Peter would do.”
It is quite the most successful way of defying wolves, and as one
boy they bent and looked through their legs. The next moment is the
long one, but victory came quickly, for as the boys advanced upon them
in this terrible attitude, the wolves dropped their tails and fled.
Now Nibs rose from the ground, and the others thought that his
staring eyes still saw the wolves. But it was not wolves he saw.
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 90}
“I have seen a wonderfuller thing,” he cried, as they gathered round
him eagerly. “A great white bird. It is flying this way.”
“What kind of a bird, do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Nibs said, awestruck, “but it looks so weary, and as
it flies it moans, ‘Poor Wendy.'”
“Poor Wendy?”
“I remember,” said Slightly instantly, “there are birds called
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 95}
“See, it comes!” cried Curly, pointing to Wendy in the heavens.
Wendy was now almost overhead, and they could hear her plaintive
cry. But more distinct came the shrill voice of Tinker Bell. The
jealous fairy had now cast off all disguise of friendship, and was
darting at her victim from every direction, pinching savagely each
time she touched.
“Hullo, Tink,” cried the wondering boys.
Tink’s reply rang out: “Peter wants you to shoot the Wendy.”
It was not in their nature to question when Peter ordered. “Let us
do what Peter wishes,” cried the simple boys. “Quick, bows and
{CHAPTER_V ^paragraph 100}
All but Tootles popped down their trees. He had a bow and arrow with
him, and Tink noted it, and rubbed her little hands.
“Quick, Tootles, quick,” she screamed. “Peter will be so pleased.”
Tootles excitedly fitted the arrow to his bow. “Out of the way,
Tink,” he shouted, and then he fired, and Wendy fluttered to the
ground with an arrow in her breast.