North winds had come and gone. The April showers were over. May buds had bloomed and the June sun was shining pleasantly when Dr. Dolittle finally returned to his own land.
He didn’t go straight to Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. First, he traveled through the country in a gypsy wagon with the Pushmi-Pullyu and stopped at all the circuses. They hung up a big sign that read, “Come and see the miraculous two-headed creature from Africa. Admission: sixty cents.”
The animals stayed inside until the doctor received sixty cents and let the people in with a smile. Dab-Dab grumbled at the doctor because he let the children in secretly for free. The circus people asked the doctor to sell them the strange creature; they would pay a lot of money for it. But the doctor always shook his head and said, “No. The Pushmi-Pullyu will never be locked up in a cage. He will always be free to come and go, just like you and me.”
They had many adventures during this wandering life, but the doctor and the animals found it very ordinary after everything they had seen and done in distant lands. At first, it was fun to be part of a circus, but after a few weeks, they became terribly tired of it and longed to go home. But many people came to the wagon and all paid sixty cents admission, so the doctor and his animals kept going for a while.
And one fine day, when the hollyhocks were in full bloom, the doctor gave up the gypsy life and returned to Puddleby-on-the-Marsh as a wealthy man, to live in the small house with the big garden.
The old lame horse in the stable was happy to see him. The swallows, who now had nests with young ones, were also glad they were back. And Dab-Dab was happy to go back to the house she knew so well, although it needed a good cleaning. Spider webs hung everywhere. And after Jip showed off his golden collar to the haughty collie who lived nearby, he came back and started running through the garden like crazy, looking for bones he had buried long ago. Gub-Gub started digging for a horseradish that was a meter tall.
The doctor went to the sailor who had lent him the boat, and he bought two new ships for him and a rubber doll for his baby.
He also paid the grocer’s bill for the food he had borrowed for the trip to Africa. He bought another piano and let the white mice live in it because they found the desk drawer too drafty. Even when the doctor had filled the old piggy bank, he still had money for three more large piggy banks.
“Money,” he said, “is terribly annoying. But it’s nice not to have to worry about it.”
“Yes, that’s true,” said Dab-Dab, who was roasting muffins for tea.
When winter came and the snow flew against the kitchen window, the doctor and his animals, after dinner, sat around a big warm fire. The doctor read to them from his books.
Far away in Africa, the monkeys in the palm trees said to each other, “I wonder what the good man is doing now, there in that distant land. Do you think he’ll ever come back?”
And Polynesia called from the vines, “I think he will and I hope he will!”
And then the crocodile growled at them from the black mud of the river, “I’m sure he’ll come back, but now you must go to sleep.”