Part Six

New Popsipetel

Jong Thinkalot had not ruled over his new kingdom for more than a couple of days before my notions about kings and the kind of lives they led changed very considerably. I had thought that all that kings had to do was to sit on a throne and have people bow down before them several times a day. I now saw that a king can be the hardest-working man in the world—if he attends properly to his business.

From the moment that he got up, early in the morning, till the time he went to bed, late at night—seven days in the week—John Dolittle was busy, busy, busy. First of all there was the new town to be built. The village of Popsipetel had disappeared: the City of New Popsipetel must be made. With great care a place was chosen for it—and a very beautiful position it was, at the mouth of a large river. The shores of the island at this point formed a lovely wide bay where canoes—and ships too, if they should ever come—could lie peacefully at anchor without danger from storms.

In building this town the Doctor gave the Indians a lot of new ideas. He showed them what town-sewers were, and how garbage should be collected each day and burnt. High up in the hills he made a large lake by damming a stream. This was the water-supply for the town. None of these things had the Indians ever seen; and many of the sicknesses which they had suffered from before were now entirely prevented by proper drainage and pure drinking-water.