Chapter 7 Summary
The Royal Banquet
Milo and Tock arrive at the royal palace, a place that looks like a giant book standing on end with the door at the bottom of the binding. Inside, they hurry down a long hallway glittering with chandeliers and mirrors. They are late and the banquet hall is full of people talking and arguing loudly. Gold plates and linen napkins line the long table, and an attendant stands behind each chair. On the wall is the royal coat of arms with the royal flags of Dictionopolis on each side.
Milo recognizes many of the guests from the marketplace. The letter man is explaining the history of the W to some people, while the Spelling Bee and the Humbug are in a corner arguing about nothing. Officer Shrift is walking around the room pronouncing everyone guilty; he brightens when he sees Milo and exclaims that time passes quickly.
The banquet-goers are relieved to see the tardy guests, as everyone has been waiting for them. The Humbug informs Milo that he is the guest of honor and must of course choose the menu. Milo is surprised but willing; as he thinks about that, a page announces the arrival of King Azaz the Unabridged. He is a large man and “settles his great bulk onto the throne” as he tells everyone to sit.
King Azaz is the largest man Milo has ever seen. His gray beard reaches his waist and he wears a signet ring, a small crown, and a robe embroidered with the letters of the alphabet. He asks about the boy and the dog, and Milo introduces himself and Tock before thanking the king for inviting them to the banquet and complimenting him on his palace. The king asks the boy what he can do to entertain them, but Milo has nothing to offer.
The king says Milo is quite an ordinary little boy, especially compared to his cabinet members, who can “make mountains out of molehills,” “split hairs,” “make hay while the sun shines,” “leave no stone unturned,” and “hang by a thread.” All Milo can do is count to a thousand, but the king says they never use numbers in his kingdom unless it is absolutely necessary.
When asked what he would like to eat, Milo remembers his mother’s advice to eat lightly when one is a guest, so that is what he suggests: a light meal. Waiters arrive carrying large serving platters; when Milo lifts the covers, light dances everywhere. The Humbug says that while this is a beautiful meal, it is not particularly filling. The king claps his hands, the platters are removed, and Milo suggests a square meal...
(The entire section is 674 words.)