Full text Dorothy and the Wizard of oz ( c.1908)
A Faithful Record of Their Amazing Adventures in an Underground World; and How with the Aid of Their Friends Zeb Hugson, Eureka the Kitten, and Jim the Cab-Horse, They Finally Reached the Wonderful Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
"Royal Historian of Oz"
--To My Readers-- 1. The Earthquake 2. The Glass City 3. The Arrival of the Wizard 4. The Vegetable Kingdom 5. Dorothy Picks the Princess 6. The Mangaboos Prove Dangerous 7. Into the Black Pit and Out Again 8. The Valley of Voices 9. They Fight the Invisible Bears 10. The Braided Man of Pyramid Mountain 11. They Meet the Wooden Gargoyles 12. A Wonderful Escape 13. The Den of the Dragonettes 14. Ozma Uses the Magic Belt 15. Old Friends are Reunited 16. Jim, the Cab-Horse 17. The Nine Tiny Piglets 18. The Trial of Eureka, the Kitten 19. The Wizard Performs Another Trick 20. Zeb Returns to the Ranch
To My Readers
It's no use; no use at all. The children won't let me stop tellingtales of the Land of Oz. I know lots of other stories, and I hope totell them, some time or another; but just now my loving tyrants won'tallow me. They cry: "Oz--Oz! more about Oz, Mr. Baum!" and what can Ido but obey their commands?
This is Our Book--mine and the children's. For they have flooded mewith thousands of suggestions in regard to it, and I have honestlytried to adopt as many of these suggestions as could be fitted into onestory.
After the wonderful success of "Ozma of Oz" it is evident that Dorothyhas become a firm fixture in these Oz stories. The little ones alllove Dorothy, and as one of my small friends aptly states: "It isn't areal Oz story without her." So here she is again, as sweet and gentleand innocent as ever, I hope, and the heroine of another strangeadventure.
There were many requests from my little correspondents for "more aboutthe Wizard." It seems the jolly old fellow made hosts of friends inthe first Oz book, in spite of the fact that he frankly acknowledgedhimself "a humbug." The children had heard how he mounted into the skyin a balloon and they were all waiting for him to come down again. Sowhat could I do but tell "what happened to the Wizard afterward"? Youwill find him in these pages, just the same humbug Wizard as before.
There was one thing the children demanded which I found it impossibleto do in this present book: they bade me introduce Toto, Dorothy'slittle black dog, who has many friends among my readers. But you willsee, when you begin to read the story, that Toto was in Kansas whileDorothy was in California, and so she had to start on her adventurewithout him. In this book Dorothy had to take her kitten with herinstead of her dog; but in the next Oz book, if I am permitted to writeone, I intend to tell a good deal about Toto's further history.
Princess Ozma, whom I love as much as my readers do, is againintroduced in this story, and so are several of our old friends of Oz.You will also become acquainted with Jim the Cab-Horse, the Nine TinyPiglets, and Eureka, the Kitten. I am sorry the kitten was not as wellbehaved as she ought to have been; but perhaps she wasn't brought upproperly. Dorothy found her, you see, and who her parents were nobodyknows.
I believe, my dears, that I am the proudest story-teller that everlived. Many a time tears of pride and joy have stood in my eyes whileI read the tender, loving, appealing letters that came to me in almostevery mail from my little readers. To have pleased you, to haveinterested you, to have won your friendship, and perhaps your love,through my stories, is to my mind as great an achievement as to becomePresident of the United States. Indeed, I would much rather be yourstory-teller, under these conditions, than to be the President. So youhave helped me to fulfill my life's ambition, and I am more grateful toyou, my dears, than I can express in words.
I try to answer every letter of my young correspondents; yet sometimesthere are so many letters that a little time must pass before you getyour answer. But be patient, friends, for the answer will surely come,and by writing to me you more than repay me for the pleasant task ofpreparing these books. Besides, I am proud to acknowledge that thebooks are partly yours, for your suggestions often guide me in tellingthe stories, and I am sure they would not be half so good without yourclever and thoughtful assistance.
L. FRANK BAUM
1. The Earthquake
The train from 'Frisco was very late. It should have arrived atHugson's Siding at midnight, but it was already five o'clock and thegray dawn was breaking in the east when the little train slowly rumbledup to the open shed that served for the station-house. As it came to astop the conductor called out in a loud voice:
At once a little girl rose from her seat and walked to the door of thecar, carrying a wicker suit-case in one hand and a round bird-cagecovered up with newspapers in the other, while a parasol was tuckedunder her arm. The conductor helped her off the car and then theengineer started his train again, so that it puffed and groaned andmoved slowly away up the track. The reason he was so late was becauseall through the night there were times when the solid earth shook andtrembled under him, and the engineer was afraid that at any moment therails might spread apart and an accident happen to his passengers. Sohe moved the cars slowly and with caution.
The little girl stood still to watch until the train had disappearedaround a curve; then she turned to see where she was.
The shed at Hugson's Siding was bare save for an old wooden bench, anddid not look very inviting. As she peered through the soft gray lightnot a house of any sort was visible near the station, nor was anyperson in sight; but after a while the child discovered a horse andbuggy standing near a group of trees a short distance away. She walkedtoward it and found the horse tied to a tree and standing motionless,with its head hanging down almost to the ground. It was a big horse,tall and bony, with long legs and large knees and feet. She couldcount his ribs easily where they showed through the skin of his body,and his head was long and seemed altogether too big for him, as if itdid not fit. His tail was short and scraggly, and his harness had beenbroken in many places and fastened together again with cords and bitsof wire. The buggy seemed almost new, for it had a shiny top and sidecurtains. Getting around in front, so that she could look inside, thegirl saw a boy curled up on the seat, fast asleep.
She set down the bird-cage and poked the boy with her parasol.Presently he woke up, rose to a sitting position and rubbed his eyesbriskly.
"Hello!" he said, seeing her, "are you Dorothy Gale?"
"Yes," she answered, looking gravely at his tousled hair and blinkinggray eyes. "Have you come to take me to Hugson's Ranch?"
"Of course," he answered. "Train in?"
"I couldn't be here if it wasn't," she said.
He laughed at that, and his laugh was merry and frank. Jumping out ofthe buggy he put Dorothy's suit-case under the seat and her bird-cageon the floor in front.
"Canary-birds?" he asked.
"Oh no; it's just Eureka, my kitten. I thought that was the best wayto carry her."
The boy nodded.
"Eureka's a funny name for a cat," he remarked.
"I named my kitten that because I found it," she explained. "UncleHenry says 'Eureka' means 'I have found it.'"
"All right; hop in."
She climbed into the buggy and he followed her. Then the boy picked upthe reins, shook them, and said "Gid-dap!"
The horse did not stir. Dorothy thought he just wiggled one of hisdrooping ears, but that was all.
"Gid-dap!" called the boy, again.
The horse stood still.
"Perhaps," said Dorothy, "if you untied him, he would go."
The boy laughed cheerfully and jumped out.
"Guess I'm half asleep yet," he said, untying the horse. "But Jimknows his business all right--don't you, Jim?" patting the long nose ofthe animal.
Then he got into the buggy again and took the reins, and the horse atonce backed away from the tree, turned slowly around, and began to trotdown the sandy road which was just visible in the dim light.
"Thought that train would never come," observed the boy. "I've waitedat that station for five hours."
"We had a lot of earthquakes," said Dorothy. "Didn't you feel theground shake?"
"Yes; but we're used to such things in California," he replied. "Theydon't scare us much."
"The conductor said it was the worst quake he ever knew."
"Did he? Then it must have happened while I was asleep," he saidthoughtfully.
"How is Uncle Henry?" she enquired, after a pause during which thehorse continued to trot with long, regular strides.
"He's pretty well. He and Uncle Hugson have been having a fine visit."
"Is Mr. Hugson your uncle?" she asked.
"Yes. Uncle Bill Hugson married your Uncle Henry's wife's sister; sowe must be second cousins," said the boy, in an amused tone. "I workfor Uncle Bill on his ranch, and he pays me six dollars a month and myboard."
"Isn't that a great deal?" she asked, doubtfully.
"Why, it's a great deal for Uncle Hugson, but not for me. I'm asplendid worker. I work as well as I sleep," he added, with a laugh.
"What is your name?" said Dorothy, thinking she liked the boy's mannerand the cheery tone of his voice.
"Not a very pretty one," he answered, as if a little ashamed. "Mywhole name is Zebediah; but folks just call me 'Zeb.' You've been toAustralia, haven't you?"
"Yes; with Uncle Henry," she answered. "We got to San Francisco a weekago, and Uncle Henry went right on to Hugson's Ranch for a visit whileI stayed a few days in the city with some friends we had met."
"How long will you be with us?" he asked.
"Only a day. Tomorrow Uncle Henry and I must start back for Kansas.We've been away for a long time, you know, and so we're anxious to gethome again."
The boy flicked the big, boney horse with his whip and lookedthoughtful. Then he started to say something to his little companion,but before he could speak the buggy began to sway dangerously from sideto side and the earth seemed to rise up before them. Next minute therewas a roar and a sharp crash, and at her side Dorothy saw the groundopen in a wide crack and then come together again.
"Goodness!" she cried, grasping the iron rail of the seat. "What wasthat?"
"That was an awful big quake," replied Zeb, with a white face. "Italmost got us that time, Dorothy."
The horse had stopped short, and stood firm as a rock. Zeb shook thereins and urged him to go, but Jim was stubborn. Then the boy crackedhis whip and touched the animal's flanks with it, and after a low moanof protest Jim stepped slowly along the road.
Neither the boy nor the girl spoke again for some minutes. There was abreath of danger in the very air, and every few moments the earth wouldshake violently. Jim's ears were standing erect upon his head andevery muscle of his big body was tense as he trotted toward home. Hewas not going very fast, but on his flanks specks of foam began toappear and at times he would tremble like a leaf.
The sky had grown darker again and the wind made queer sobbing soundsas it swept over the valley.
Suddenly there was a rending, tearing sound, and the earth split intoanother great crack just beneath the spot where the horse was standing.With a wild neigh of terror the animal fell bodily into the pit,drawing the buggy and its occupants after him.
Dorothy grabbed fast hold of the buggy top and the boy did the same.The sudden rush into space confused them so that they could not think.
Blackness engulfed them on every side, and in breathless silence theywaited for the fall to end and crush them against jagged rocks or forthe earth to close in on them again and bury them forever in itsdreadful depths.
The horrible sensation of falling, the darkness and the terrifyingnoises, proved more than Dorothy could endure and for a few moments thelittle girl lost consciousness. Zeb, being a boy, did not faint, buthe was badly frightened, and clung to the buggy seat with a tight grip,expecting every moment would be his last.
2. The Glass City
When Dorothy recovered her senses they were still falling, but not sofast. The top of the buggy caught the air like a parachute or anumbrella filled with wind, and held them back so that they floateddownward with a gentle motion that was not so very disagreeable tobear. The worst thing was their terror of reaching the bottom of thisgreat crack in the earth, and the natural fear that sudden death wasabout to overtake them at any moment. Crash after crash echoed farabove their heads, as the earth came together where it had split, andstones and chunks of clay rattled around them on every side. Thesethey could not see, but they could feel them pelting the buggy top, andJim screamed almost like a human being when a stone overtook him andstruck his boney body. They did not really hurt the poor horse,because everything was falling together; only the stones and rubbishfell faster than the horse and buggy, which were held back by thepressure of the air, so that the terrified animal was actually morefrightened than he was injured.
How long this state of things continued Dorothy could not even guess,she was so greatly bewildered. But bye and bye, as she stared aheadinto the black chasm with a beating heart, she began to dimly see theform of the horse Jim--his head up in the air, his ears erect and hislong legs sprawling in every direction as he tumbled through space.Also, turning her head, she found that she could see the boy besideher, who had until now remained as still and silent as she herself.
Dorothy sighed and commenced to breathe easier. She began to realizethat death was not in store for her, after all, but that she had merelystarted upon another adventure, which promised to be just as queer andunusual as were those she had before encountered.
With this thought in mind the girl took heart and leaned her head overthe side of the buggy to see where the strange light was coming from.Far below her she found six great glowing balls suspended in the air.The central and largest one was white, and reminded her of the sun.Around it were arranged, like the five points of a star, the other fivebrilliant balls; one being rose colored, one violet, one yellow, oneblue and one orange. This splendid group of colored suns sent raysdarting in every direction, and as the horse and buggy--with Dorothyand Zeb--sank steadily downward and came nearer to the lights, the raysbegan to take on all the delicate tintings of a rainbow, growing moreand more distinct every moment until all the space was brilliantlyilluminated.
Dorothy was too dazed to say much, but she watched one of Jim's bigears turn to violet and the other to rose, and wondered that his tailshould be yellow and his body striped with blue and orange like thestripes of a zebra. Then she looked at Zeb, whose face was blue andwhose hair was pink, and gave a little laugh that sounded a bit nervous.
"Isn't it funny?" she said.
The boy was startled and his eyes were big. Dorothy had a green streakthrough the center of her face where the blue and yellow lights cametogether, and her appearance seemed to add to his fright.
"I--I don't s-s-see any-thing funny--'bout it!" he stammered.
Just then the buggy tipped slowly over upon its side, the body of thehorse tipping also. But they continued to fall, all together, and theboy and girl had no difficulty in remaining upon the seat, just as theywere before. Then they turned bottom side up, and continued to rollslowly over until they were right side up again. During this time Jimstruggled frantically, all his legs kicking the air; but on findinghimself in his former position the horse said, in a relieved tone ofvoice:
"Well, that's better!"
Dorothy and Zeb looked at one another in wonder.
"Can your horse talk?" she asked.
"Never knew him to, before," replied the boy.
"Those were the first words I ever said," called out the horse, who hadoverheard them, "and I can't explain why I happened to speak then.This is a nice scrape you've got me into, isn't it?"
"As for that, we are in the same scrape ourselves," answered Dorothy,cheerfully. "But never mind; something will happen pretty soon."
"Of course," growled the horse, "and then we shall be sorry ithappened."
Zeb gave a shiver. All this was so terrible and unreal that he couldnot understand it at all, and so had good reason to be afraid.
Swiftly they drew near to the flaming colored suns, and passed closebeside them. The light was then so bright that it dazzled their eyes,and they covered their faces with their hands to escape being blinded.There was no heat in the colored suns, however, and after they hadpassed below them the top of the buggy shut out many of the piercingrays so that the boy and girl could open their eyes again.
"We've got to come to the bottom some time," remarked Zeb, with a deepsigh. "We can't keep falling forever, you know."
"Of course not," said Dorothy. "We are somewhere in the middle of theearth, and the chances are we'll reach the other side of it beforelong. But it's a big hollow, isn't it?"
"Awful big!" answered the boy.
"We're coming to something now," announced the horse.
At this they both put their heads over the side of the buggy and lookeddown. Yes; there was land below them; and not so very far away,either. But they were floating very, very slowly--so slowly that itcould no longer be called a fall--and the children had ample time totake heart and look about them.
They saw a landscape with mountains and plains, lakes and rivers, verylike those upon the earth's surface; but all the scene was splendidlycolored by the variegated lights from the six suns. Here and therewere groups of houses that seemed made of clear glass, because theysparkled so brightly.
"I'm sure we are in no danger," said Dorothy, in a sober voice. "Weare falling so slowly that we can't be dashed to pieces when we land,and this country that we are coming to seems quite pretty."
"We'll never get home again, though!" declared Zeb, with a groan.
"Oh, I'm not so sure of that," replied the girl. "But don't let usworry over such things, Zeb; we can't help ourselves just now, youknow, and I've always been told it's foolish to borrow trouble."
The boy became silent, having no reply to so sensible a speech, andsoon both were fully occupied in staring at the strange scenes spreadout below them. They seemed to be falling right into the middle of abig city which had many tall buildings with glass domes andsharp-pointed spires. These spires were like great spear-points, andif they tumbled upon one of them they were likely to suffer seriousinjury.
Jim the horse had seen these spires, also, and his ears stood straightup with fear, while Dorothy and Zeb held their breaths in suspense.But no; they floated gently down upon a broad, flat roof, and came to astop at last.
When Jim felt something firm under his feet the poor beast's legstrembled so much that he could hardly stand; but Zeb at once leaped outof the buggy to the roof, and he was so awkward and hasty that hekicked over Dorothy's bird-cage, which rolled out upon the roof so thatthe bottom came off. At once a pink kitten crept out of the upsetcage, sat down upon the glass roof, and yawned and blinked its roundeyes.
"Oh," said Dorothy. "There's Eureka."
"First time I ever saw a pink cat," said Zeb.
"Eureka isn't pink; she's white. It's this queer light that gives herthat color."
"Where's my milk?" asked the kitten, looking up into Dorothy's face."I'm 'most starved to death."
"Oh, Eureka! Can you talk?"
"Talk! Am I talking? Good gracious, I believe I am. Isn't it funny?"asked the kitten.
"It's all wrong," said Zeb, gravely. "Animals ought not to talk. Buteven old Jim has been saying things since we had our accident."
"I can't see that it's wrong," remarked Jim, in his gruff tones. "Atleast, it isn't as wrong as some other things. What's going to becomeof us now?"
"I don't know," answered the boy, looking around him curiously.
The houses of the city were all made of glass, so clear and transparentthat one could look through the walls as easily as through a window.Dorothy saw, underneath the roof on which she stood, several rooms usedfor rest chambers, and even thought she could make out a number ofqueer forms huddled into the corners of these rooms.
The roof beside them had a great hole smashed through it, and pieces ofglass were lying scattered in every direction. A nearby steeple hadbeen broken off short and the fragments lay heaped beside it. Otherbuildings were cracked in places or had corners chipped off from them;but they must have been very beautiful before these accidents hadhappened to mar their perfection. The rainbow tints from the coloredsuns fell upon the glass city softly and gave to the buildings manydelicate, shifting hues which were very pretty to see.
But not a sound had broken the stillness since the strangers hadarrived, except that of their own voices. They began to wonder ifthere were no people to inhabit this magnificent city of the innerworld.
Suddenly a man appeared through a hole in the roof next to the one theywere on and stepped into plain view. He was not a very large man, butwas well formed and had a beautiful face--calm and serene as the faceof a fine portrait. His clothing fitted his form snugly and wasgorgeously colored in brilliant shades of green, which varied as thesunbeams touched them but was not wholly influenced by the solar rays.
The man had taken a step or two across the glass roof before he noticedthe presence of the strangers; but then he stopped abruptly. There wasno expression of either fear or surprise upon his tranquil face, yet hemust have been both astonished and afraid; for after his eyes hadrested upon the ungainly form of the horse for a moment he walkedrapidly to the furthest edge of the roof, his head turned back over hisshoulder to gaze at the strange animal.
"Look out!" cried Dorothy, who noticed that the beautiful man did notlook where he was going; "be careful, or you'll fall off!"
But he paid no attention to her warning. He reached the edge of thetall roof, stepped one foot out into the air, and walked into space ascalmly as if he were on firm ground.
The girl, greatly astonished, ran to lean over the edge of the roof,and saw the man walking rapidly through the air toward the ground.Soon he reached the street and disappeared through a glass doorway intoone of the glass buildings.
"How strange!" she exclaimed, drawing a long breath.
"Yes; but it's lots of fun, if it IS strange," remarked the small voiceof the kitten, and Dorothy turned to find her pet walking in the air afoot or so away from the edge of the roof.
"Come back, Eureka!" she called, in distress, "you'll certainly bekilled."
"I have nine lives," said the kitten, purring softly as it walkedaround in a circle and then came back to the roof; "but I can't loseeven one of them by falling in this country, because I really couldn'tmanage to fall if I wanted to."
"Does the air bear up your weight?" asked the girl.
"Of course; can't you see?" and again the kitten wandered into the airand back to the edge of the roof.
"It's wonderful!" said Dorothy.
"Suppose we let Eureka go down to the street and get some one to helpus," suggested Zeb, who had been even more amazed than Dorothy at thesestrange happenings.
"Perhaps we can walk on the air ourselves," replied the girl.
Zeb drew back with a shiver.
"I wouldn't dare try," he said.
"Maybe Jim will go," continued Dorothy, looking at the horse.
"And maybe he won't!" answered Jim. "I've tumbled through the air longenough to make me contented on this roof."
"But we didn't tumble to the roof," said the girl; "by the time wereached here we were floating very slowly, and I'm almost sure we couldfloat down to the street without getting hurt. Eureka walks on the airall right."
"Eureka weights only about half a pound," replied the horse, in ascornful tone, "while I weigh about half a ton."
"You don't weigh as much as you ought to, Jim," remarked the girl,shaking her head as she looked at the animal. "You're dreadfullyskinny."
"Oh, well; I'm old," said the horse, hanging his head despondently,"and I've had lots of trouble in my day, little one. For a good manyyears I drew a public cab in Chicago, and that's enough to make anyoneskinny."
"He eats enough to get fat, I'm sure," said the boy, gravely.
"Do I? Can you remember any breakfast that I've had today?" growledJim, as if he resented Zeb's speech.
"None of us has had breakfast," said the boy; "and in a time of dangerlike this it's foolish to talk about eating."
"Nothing is more dangerous than being without food," declared thehorse, with a sniff at the rebuke of his young master; "and just atpresent no one can tell whether there are any oats in this queercountry or not. If there are, they are liable to be glass oats!"
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Dorothy. "I can see plenty of nice gardens andfields down below us, at the edge of this city. But I wish we couldfind a way to get to the ground."
"Why don't you walk down?" asked Eureka. "I'm as hungry as the horseis, and I want my milk."
"Will you try it, Zeb?" asked the girl, turning to her companion.
Zeb hesitated. He was still pale and frightened, for this dreadfuladventure had upset him and made him nervous and worried. But he didnot wish the little girl to think him a coward, so he advanced slowlyto the edge of the roof.
Dorothy stretched out a hand to him and Zeb put one foot out and let itrest in the air a little over the edge of the roof. It seemed firmenough to walk upon, so he took courage and put out the other foot.Dorothy kept hold of his hand and followed him, and soon they were bothwalking through the air, with the kitten frisking beside them.
"Come on, Jim!" called the boy. "It's all right."
Jim had crept to the edge of the roof to look over, and being asensible horse and quite experienced, he made up his mind that he couldgo where the others did. So, with a snort and a neigh and a whisk ofhis short tail he trotted off the roof into the air and at once beganfloating downward to the street. His great weight made him fall fasterthan the children walked, and he passed them on the way down; but whenhe came to the glass pavement he alighted upon it so softly that he wasnot even jarred.
"Well, well!" said Dorothy, drawing a long breath, "What a strangecountry this is."
People began to come out of the glass doors to look at the newarrivals, and pretty soon quite a crowd had assembled. There were menand women, but no children at all, and the folks were all beautifullyformed and attractively dressed and had wonderfully handsome faces.There was not an ugly person in all the throng, yet Dorothy was notespecially pleased by the appearance of these people because theirfeatures had no more expression than the faces of dolls. They did notsmile nor did they frown, or show either fear or surprise or curiosityor friendliness. They simply started at the strangers, paying mostattention to Jim and Eureka, for they had never before seen either ahorse or a cat and the children bore an outward resemblance tothemselves.
Pretty soon a man joined the group who wore a glistening star in thedark hair just over his forehead. He seemed to be a person ofauthority, for the others pressed back to give him room. After turninghis composed eyes first upon the animals and then upon the children hesaid to Zeb, who was a little taller than Dorothy:
"Tell me, intruder, was it you who caused the Rain of Stones?"
For a moment the boy did not know what he meant by this question.Then, remembering the stones that had fallen with them and passed themlong before they had reached this place, he answered:
"No, sir; we didn't cause anything. It was the earthquake."
The man with the star stood for a time quietly thinking over thisspeech. Then he asked:
"What is an earthquake?"
"I don't know," said Zeb, who was still confused. But Dorothy, seeinghis perplexity, answered:
"It's a shaking of the earth. In this quake a big crack opened and wefell through--horse and buggy, and all--and the stones got loose andcame down with us."
The man with the star regarded her with his calm, expressionless eyes.
"The Rain of Stones has done much damage to our city," he said; "and weshall hold you responsible for it unless you can prove your innocence."
"How can we do that?" asked the girl.
"That I am not prepared to say. It is your affair, not mine. You mustgo to the House of the Sorcerer, who will soon discover the truth."
"Where is the House of the Sorcerer?" the girl enquired.
"I will lead you to it. Come!"
He turned and walked down the street, and after a moment's hesitationDorothy caught Eureka in her arms and climbed into the buggy. The boytook his seat beside her and said: "Gid-dap Jim."
As the horse ambled along, drawing the buggy, the people of the glasscity made way for them and formed a procession in their rear. Slowlythey moved down one street and up another, turning first this way andthen that, until they came to an open square in the center of which wasa big glass palace having a central dome and four tall spires on eachcorner.
3. The Arrival Of The Wizard
The doorway of the glass palace was quite big enough for the horse andbuggy to enter, so Zeb drove straight through it and the children foundthemselves in a lofty hall that was very beautiful. The people at oncefollowed and formed a circle around the sides of the spacious room,leaving the horse and buggy and the man with the star to occupy thecenter of the hall.
"Come to us, oh, Gwig!" called the man, in a loud voice.
Instantly a cloud of smoke appeared and rolled over the floor; then itslowly spread and ascended into the dome, disclosing a strangepersonage seated upon a glass throne just before Jim's nose. He wasformed just as were the other inhabitants of this land and his clothingonly differed from theirs in being bright yellow. But he had no hairat all, and all over his bald head and face and upon the backs of hishands grew sharp thorns like those found on the branches ofrose-bushes. There was even a thorn upon the tip of his nose and helooked so funny that Dorothy laughed when she saw him.
The Sorcerer, hearing the laugh, looked toward the little girl withcold, cruel eyes, and his glance made her grow sober in an instant.
"Why have you dared to intrude your unwelcome persons into the secludedLand of the Mangaboos?" he asked, sternly.
"'Cause we couldn't help it," said Dorothy.
"Why did you wickedly and viciously send the Rain of Stones to crackand break our houses?" he continued.
"We didn't," declared the girl.
"Prove it!" cried the Sorcerer.
"We don't have to prove it," answered Dorothy, indignantly. "If youhad any sense at all you'd known it was the earthquake."
"We only know that yesterday came a Rain of Stones upon us, which didmuch damage and injured some of our people. Today came another Rain ofStones, and soon after it you appeared among us."
"By the way," said the man with the star, looking steadily at theSorcerer, "you told us yesterday that there would not be a second Rainof Stones. Yet one has just occurred that was even worse than thefirst. What is your sorcery good for if it cannot tell us the truth?"
"My sorcery does tell the truth!" declared the thorn-covered man. "Isaid there would be but one Rain of Stones. This second one was a Rainof People-and-Horse-and-Buggy. And some stones came with them."
"Will there be any more Rains?" asked the man with the star.
"No, my Prince."
"Neither stones nor people?"
"No, my Prince."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure, my Prince. My sorcery tells me so."
Just then a man came running into the hall and addressed the Princeafter making a low bow.
"More wonders in the air, my Lord," said he.
Immediately the Prince and all of his people flocked out of the hallinto the street, that they might see what was about to happen. Dorothyand Zeb jumped out of the buggy and ran after them, but the Sorcererremained calmly in his throne.
Far up in the air was an object that looked like a balloon. It was notso high as the glowing star of the six colored suns, but was descendingslowly through the air--so slowly that at first it scarcely seemed tomove.
The throng stood still and waited. It was all they could do, for to goaway and leave that strange sight was impossible; nor could they hurryits fall in any way. The earth children were not noticed, being sonear the average size of the Mangaboos, and the horse had remained inthe House of the Sorcerer, with Eureka curled up asleep on the seat ofthe buggy.
Gradually the balloon grew bigger, which was proof that it was settlingdown upon the Land of the Mangaboos. Dorothy was surprised to find howpatient the people were, for her own little heart was beating rapidlywith excitement. A balloon meant to her some other arrival from thesurface of the earth, and she hoped it would be some one able to assisther and Zeb out of their difficulties.
In an hour the balloon had come near enough for her to see a basketsuspended below it; in two hours she could see a head looking over theside of the basket; in three hours the big balloon settled slowly intothe great square in which they stood and came to rest on the glasspavement.
Then a little man jumped out of the basket, took off his tall hat, andbowed very gracefully to the crowd of Mangaboos around him. He wasquite an old little man and his head was long and entirely bald.
"Why," cried Dorothy, in amazement, "it's Oz!"
The little man looked toward her and seemed as much surprised as shewas. But he smiled and bowed as he answered:
"Yes, my dear; I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Eh? And you arelittle Dorothy, from Kansas. I remember you very well."
"Who did you say it was?" whispered Zeb to the girl.
"It's the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Haven't you heard of him?"
Just then the man with the star came and stood before the Wizard.
"Sir," said he, "why are you here, in the Land of the Mangaboos?"
"Didn't know what land it was, my son," returned the other, with apleasant smile; "and, to be honest, I didn't mean to visit you when Istarted out. I live on top of the earth, your honor, which is farbetter than living inside it; but yesterday I went up in a balloon, andwhen I came down I fell into a big crack in the earth, caused by anearthquake. I had let so much gas out of my balloon that I could notrise again, and in a few minutes the earth closed over my head. So Icontinued to descend until I reached this place, and if you will showme a way to get out of it, I'll go with pleasure. Sorry to havetroubled you; but it couldn't be helped."
The Prince had listened with attention. Said he:
"This child, who is from the crust of the earth, like yourself, calledyou a Wizard. Is not a Wizard something like a Sorcerer?"
"It's better," replied Oz, promptly. "One Wizard is worth threeSorcerers."
"Ah, you shall prove that," said the Prince. "We Mangaboos have, atthe present time, one of the most wonderful Sorcerers that ever waspicked from a bush; but he sometimes makes mistakes. Do you ever makemistakes?"
"Never!" declared the Wizard, boldly.
"Oh, Oz!" said Dorothy; "you made a lot of mistakes when you were inthe marvelous Land of Oz."
"Nonsense!" said the little man, turning red--although just then a rayof violet sunlight was on his round face.
"Come with me," said the Prince to him. "I wish to meet our Sorcerer."
The Wizard did not like this invitation, but he could not refuse toaccept it. So he followed the Prince into the great domed hall, andDorothy and Zeb came after them, while the throng of people trooped inalso.
There sat the thorny Sorcerer in his chair of state, and when theWizard saw him he began to laugh, uttering comical little chuckles.
"What an absurd creature!" he exclaimed.
"He may look absurd," said the Prince, in his quiet voice; "but he isan excellent Sorcerer. The only fault I find with him is that he is sooften wrong."
"I am never wrong," answered the Sorcerer.
"Only a short time ago you told me there would be no more Rain ofStones or of People," said the Prince.
"Well, what then?"
"Here is another person descended from the air to prove you were wrong."
"One person cannot be called 'people,'" said the Sorcerer. "If twoshould come out of the sky you might with justice say I was wrong; butunless more than this one appears I will hold that I was right."
"Very clever," said the Wizard, nodding his head as if pleased. "I amdelighted to find humbugs inside the earth, just the same as on top ofit. Were you ever with a circus, brother?"
"No," said the Sorcerer.
"You ought to join one," declared the little man seriously. "I belongto Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows--three rings in one tentand a menagerie on the side. It's a fine aggregation, I assure you."
"What do you do?" asked the Sorcerer.
"I go up in a balloon, usually, to draw the crowds to the circus. ButI've just had the bad luck to come out of the sky, skip the solidearth, and land lower down than I intended. But never mind. It isn'teverybody who gets a chance to see your Land of the Gabazoos."
"Mangaboos," said the Sorcerer, correcting him. "If you are a Wizardyou ought to be able to call people by their right names."
"Oh, I'm a Wizard; you may be sure of that. Just as good a Wizard asyou are a Sorcerer."
"That remains to be seen," said the other.
"If you are able to prove that you are better," said the Prince to thelittle man, "I will make you the Chief Wizard of this domain.Otherwise--"
"What will happen otherwise?" asked the Wizard.
"I will stop you from living and forbid you to be planted," returnedthe Prince.
"That does not sound especially pleasant," said the little man, lookingat the one with the star uneasily. "But never mind. I'll beat OldPrickly, all right."
"My name is Gwig," said the Sorcerer, turning his heartless, cruel eyesupon his rival. "Let me see you equal the sorcery I am about toperform."
He waved a thorny hand and at once the tinkling of bells was heard,playing sweet music. Yet, look where she would, Dorothy could discoverno bells at all in the great glass hall.
The Mangaboo people listened, but showed no great interest. It was oneof the things Gwig usually did to prove he was a sorcerer.
Now was the Wizard's turn, so he smiled upon the assemblage and asked:
"Will somebody kindly loan me a hat?"
No one did, because the Mangaboos did not wear hats, and Zeb had losthis, somehow, in his flight through the air.
"Ahem!" said the Wizard, "will somebody please loan me a handkerchief?"
But they had no handkerchiefs, either.
"Very good," remarked the Wizard. "I'll use my own hat, if you please.Now, good people, observe me carefully. You see, there is nothing upmy sleeve and nothing concealed about my person. Also, my hat is quiteempty." He took off his hat and held it upside down, shaking itbriskly.
"Let me see it," said the Sorcerer.
He took the hat and examined it carefully, returning it afterward tothe Wizard.
"Now," said the little man, "I will create something out of nothing."
He placed the hat upon the glass floor, made a pass with his hand, andthen removed the hat, displaying a little white piglet no bigger than amouse, which began to run around here and there and to grunt and squealin a tiny, shrill voice.
The people watched it intently, for they had never seen a pig before,big or little. The Wizard reached out, caught the wee creature in hishand, and holding its head between one thumb and finger and its tailbetween the other thumb and finger he pulled it apart, each of the twoparts becoming a whole and separate piglet in an instant.
He placed one upon the floor, so that it could run around, and pulledapart the other, making three piglets in all; and then one of these waspulled apart, making four piglets. The Wizard continued thissurprising performance until nine tiny piglets were running about athis feet, all squealing and grunting in a very comical way.
"Now," said the Wizard of Oz, "having created something from nothing, Iwill make something nothing again."
With this he caught up two of the piglets and pushed them together, sothat the two were one. Then he caught up another piglet and pushed itinto the first, where it disappeared. And so, one by one, the ninetiny piglets were pushed together until but a single one of thecreatures remained. This the Wizard placed underneath his hat and madea mystic sign above it. When he removed his hat the last piglet haddisappeared entirely.
The little man gave a bow to the silent throng that had watched him,and then the Prince said, in his cold, calm voice:
"You are indeed a wonderful Wizard, and your powers are greater thanthose of my Sorcerer."
"He will not be a wonderful Wizard long," remarked Gwig.
"Why not?" enquired the Wizard.
"Because I am going to stop your breath," was the reply. "I perceivethat you are curiously constructed, and that if you cannot breathe youcannot keep alive."
The little man looked troubled.
"How long will it take you to stop my breath?" he asked.
"About five minutes. I'm going to begin now. Watch me carefully."
He began making queer signs and passes toward the Wizard; but thelittle man did not watch him long. Instead, he drew a leathern casefrom his pocket and took from it several sharp knives, which he joinedtogether, one after another, until they made a long sword. By the timehe had attached a handle to this sword he was having much trouble tobreathe, as the charm of the Sorcerer was beginning to take effect.
So the Wizard lost no more time, but leaping forward he raised thesharp sword, whirled it once or twice around his head, and then gave amighty stroke that cut the body of the Sorcerer exactly in two.
Dorothy screamed and expected to see a terrible sight; but as the twohalves of the Sorcerer fell apart on the floor she saw that he had nobones or blood inside of him at all, and that the place where he wascut looked much like a sliced turnip or potato.
"Why, he's vegetable!" cried the Wizard, astonished.
"Of course," said the Prince. "We are all vegetable, in this country.Are you not vegetable, also?"
"No," answered the Wizard. "People on top of the earth are all meat.Will your Sorcerer die?"
"Certainly, sir. He is really dead now, and will wither very quickly.So we must plant him at once, that other Sorcerers may grow upon hisbush," continued the Prince.
"What do you mean by that?" asked the little Wizard, greatly puzzled.
"If you will accompany me to our public gardens," replied the Prince,"I will explain to you much better than I can here the mysteries of ourVegetable Kingdom."
4. The Vegetable Kingdom
After the Wizard had wiped the dampness from his sword and taken itapart and put the pieces into their leathern case again, the man withthe star ordered some of his people to carry the two halves of theSorcerer to the public gardens.
Jim pricked up his ears when he heard they were going to the gardens,and wanted to join the party, thinking he might find something properto eat; so Zeb put down the top of the buggy and invited the Wizard toride with them. The seat was amply wide enough for the little man andthe two children, and when Jim started to leave the hall the kittenjumped upon his back and sat there quite contentedly.
So the procession moved through the streets, the bearers of theSorcerer first, the Prince next, then Jim drawing the buggy with thestrangers inside of it, and last the crowd of vegetable people who hadno hearts and could neither smile nor frown.
The glass city had several fine streets, for a good many people livedthere; but when the procession had passed through these it came upon abroad plain covered with gardens and watered by many pretty brooks thatflowed through it. There were paths through these gardens, and oversome of the brooks were ornamental glass bridges.
Dorothy and Zeb now got out of the buggy and walked beside the Prince,so that they might see and examine the flowers and plants better.
"Who built these lovely bridges?" asked the little girl.
"No one built them," answered the man with the star. "They grow."
"That's queer," said she. "Did the glass houses in your city grow,too?"
"Of course," he replied. "But it took a good many years for them togrow as large and fine as they are now. That is why we are so angrywhen a Rain of Stones comes to break our towers and crack our roofs."
"Can't you mend them?" she enquired.
"No; but they will grow together again, in time, and we must wait untilthey do."
They first passed through many beautiful gardens of flowers, which grewnearest the city; but Dorothy could hardly tell what kind of flowersthey were, because the colors were constantly changing under theshifting lights of the six suns. A flower would be pink one second,white the next, then blue or yellow; and it was the same way when theycame to the plants, which had broad leaves and grew close to the ground.
When they passed over a field of grass Jim immediately stretched downhis head and began to nibble.
"A nice country this is," he grumbled, "where a respectable horse hasto eat pink grass!"
"It's violet," said the Wizard, who was in the buggy.
"Now it's blue," complained the horse. "As a matter of fact, I'meating rainbow grass."
"How does it taste?" asked the Wizard.
"Not bad at all," said Jim. "If they give me plenty of it I'll notcomplain about its color."
By this time the party had reached a freshly plowed field, and thePrince said to Dorothy:
"This is our planting-ground."
Several Mangaboos came forward with glass spades and dug a hole in theground. Then they put the two halves of the Sorcerer into it andcovered him up. After that other people brought water from a brook andsprinkled the earth.
"He will sprout very soon," said the Prince, "and grow into a largebush, from which we shall in time be able to pick several very goodsorcerers."
"Do all your people grow on bushes?" asked the boy.
"Certainly," was the reply. "Do not all people grow upon bushes whereyou came from, on the outside of the earth?"
"Not that I ever hear of."
"How strange! But if you will come with me to one of our folk gardensI will show you the way we grow in the Land of the Mangaboos."
It appeared that these odd people, while they were able to walk throughthe air with ease, usually moved upon the ground in the ordinary way.There were no stairs in their houses, because they did not need them,but on a level surface they generally walked just as we do.
The little party of strangers now followed the Prince across a few moreof the glass bridges and along several paths until they came to agarden enclosed by a high hedge. Jim had refused to leave the field ofgrass, where he was engaged in busily eating; so the Wizard got out ofthe buggy and joined Zeb and Dorothy, and the kitten followed demurelyat their heels.
Inside the hedge they came upon row after row of large and handsomeplants with broad leaves gracefully curving until their points nearlyreached the ground. In the center of each plant grew a daintilydressed Mangaboo, for the clothing of all these creatures grew uponthem and was attached to their bodies.
The growing Mangaboos were of all sizes, from the blossom that had justturned into a wee baby to the full-grown and almost ripe man or woman.On some of the bushes might be seen a bud, a blossom, a baby, ahalf-grown person and a ripe one; but even those ready to pluck weremotionless and silent, as if devoid of life. This sight explained toDorothy why she had seen no children among the Mangaboos, a thing shehad until now been unable to account for.
"Our people do not acquire their real life until they leave theirbushes," said the Prince. "You will notice they are all attached tothe plants by the soles of their feet, and when they are quite ripethey are easily separated from the stems and at once attain the powersof motion and speech. So while they grow they cannot be said to reallylive, and they must be picked before they can become good citizens."
"How long do you live, after you are picked?" asked Dorothy.
"That depends upon the care we take of ourselves," he replied. "If wekeep cool and moist, and meet with no accidents, we often live for fiveyears. I've been picked over six years, but our family is known to beespecially long lived."
"Do you eat?" asked the boy.
"Eat! No, indeed. We are quite solid inside our bodies, and have noneed to eat, any more than does a potato."
"But the potatoes sometimes sprout," said Zeb.
"And sometimes we do," answered the Prince; "but that is considered agreat misfortune, for then we must be planted at once."
"Where did you grow?" asked the Wizard.
"I will show you," was the reply. "Step this way, please."
He led them within another but smaller circle of hedge, where grew onelarge and beautiful bush.
"This," said he, "is the Royal Bush of the Mangaboos. All of ourPrinces and Rulers have grown upon this one bush from time immemorial."
They stood before it in silent admiration. On the central stalk stoodpoised the figure of a girl so exquisitely formed and colored and solovely in the expression of her delicate features that Dorothy thoughtshe had never seen so sweet and adorable a creature in all her life.The maiden's gown was soft as satin and fell about her in ample folds,while dainty lace-like traceries trimmed the bodice and sleeves. Herflesh was fine and smooth as polished ivory, and her poise expressedboth dignity and grace.
"Who is this?" asked the Wizard, curiously.
The Prince had been staring hard at the girl on the bush. Now heanswered, with a touch of uneasiness in his cold tones:
"She is the Ruler destined to be my successor, for she is a RoyalPrincess. When she becomes fully ripe I must abandon the sovereigntyof the Mangaboos to her."
"Isn't she ripe now?" asked Dorothy.
"Not quite," said he, finally. "It will be several days before sheneeds to be picked, or at least that is my judgment. I am in no hurryto resign my office and be planted, you may be sure."
"Probably not," declared the Wizard, nodding.
"This is one of the most unpleasant things about our vegetable lives,"continued the Prince, with a sigh, "that while we are in our full primewe must give way to another, and be covered up in the ground to sproutand grow and give birth to other people."
"I'm sure the Princess is ready to be picked," asserted Dorothy, gazinghard at the beautiful girl on the bush. "She's as perfect as she canbe."
"Never mind," answered the Prince, hastily, "she will be all right fora few days longer, and it is best for me to rule until I can dispose ofyou strangers, who have come to our land uninvited and must be attendedto at once."
"What are you going to do with us?" asked Zeb.
"That is a matter I have not quite decided upon," was the reply. "Ithink I shall keep this Wizard until a new Sorcerer is ready to pick,for he seems quite skillful and may be of use to us. But the rest ofyou must be destroyed in some way, and you cannot be planted, because Ido not wish horses and cats and meat people growing all over ourcountry."
"You needn't worry," said Dorothy. "We wouldn't grow under ground, I'msure."
"But why destroy my friends?" asked the little Wizard. "Why not letthem live?"
"They do not belong here," returned the Prince. "They have no right tobe inside the earth at all."
"We didn't ask to come down here; we fell," said Dorothy.
"That is no excuse," declared the Prince, coldly.
The children looked at each other in perplexity, and the Wizard sighed.Eureka rubbed her paw on her face and said in her soft, purring voice:
"He won't need to destroy ME, for if I don't get something to eatpretty soon I shall starve to death, and so save him the trouble."
"If he planted you, he might grow some cat-tails," suggested the Wizard.
"Oh, Eureka! perhaps we can find you some milk-weeds to eat," said theboy.
"Phoo!" snarled the kitten; "I wouldn't touch the nasty things!"
"You don't need milk, Eureka," remarked Dorothy; "you are big enoughnow to eat any kind of food."
"If I can get it," added Eureka.
"I'm hungry myself," said Zeb. "But I noticed some strawberriesgrowing in one of the gardens, and some melons in another place. Thesepeople don't eat such things, so perhaps on our way back they will letus get them."
"Never mind your hunger," interrupted the Prince. "I shall order youdestroyed in a few minutes, so you will have no need to ruin our prettymelon vines and berry bushes. Follow me, please, to meet your doom."
5. Dorothy Picks the Princess
The words of the cold and moist vegetable Prince were not verycomforting, and as he spoke them he turned away and left the enclosure.The children, feeling sad and despondent, were about to follow him whenthe Wizard touched Dorothy softly on her shoulder.
"Wait!" he whispered.
"What for?" asked the girl.
"Suppose we pick the Royal Princess," said the Wizard. "I'm quite sureshe's ripe, and as soon as she comes to life she will be the Ruler, andmay treat us better than that heartless Prince intends to."
"All right!" exclaimed Dorothy, eagerly. "Let's pick her while we havethe chance, before the man with the star comes back."
So together they leaned over the great bush and each of them seized onehand of the lovely Princess.
"Pull!" cried Dorothy, and as they did so the royal lady leaned towardthem and the stems snapped and separated from her feet. She was not atall heavy, so the Wizard and Dorothy managed to lift her gently to theground.
The beautiful creature passed her hands over her eyes an instant,tucked in a stray lock of hair that had become disarranged, and after alook around the garden made those present a gracious bow and said, in asweet but even toned voice:
"I thank you very much."
"We salute your Royal Highness!" cried the Wizard, kneeling and kissingher hand.
Just then the voice of the Prince was heard calling upon them tohasten, and a moment later he returned to the enclosure, followed by anumber of his people.
Instantly the Princess turned and faced him, and when he saw that shewas picked the Prince stood still and began to tremble.
"Sir," said the Royal Lady, with much dignity, "you have wronged megreatly, and would have wronged me still more had not these strangerscome to my rescue. I have been ready for picking all the past week,but because you were selfish and desired to continue your unlawfulrule, you left me to stand silent upon my bush."
"I did not know that you were ripe," answered the Prince, in a lowvoice.
"Give me the Star of Royalty!" she commanded.
Slowly he took the shining star from his own brow and placed it uponthat of the Princess. Then all the people bowed low to her, and thePrince turned and walked away alone. What became of him afterward ourfriends never knew.
The people of Mangaboo now formed themselves into a procession andmarched toward the glass city to escort their new ruler to her palaceand to perform those ceremonies proper to the occasion. But while thepeople in the procession walked upon the ground the Princess walked inthe air just above their heads, to show that she was a superior beingand more exalted than her subjects.
No one now seemed to pay any attention to the strangers, so Dorothy andZeb and the Wizard let the train pass on and then wandered bythemselves into the vegetable gardens. They did not bother to crossthe bridges over the brooks, but when they came to a stream theystepped high and walked in the air to the other side. This was a veryinteresting experience to them, and Dorothy said:
"I wonder why it is that we can walk so easily in the air."
"Perhaps," answered the Wizard, "it is because we are close to thecenter of the earth, where the attraction of gravitation is veryslight. But I've noticed that many queer things happen in fairycountries."
"Is this a fairy country?" asked the boy.
"Of course it is," returned Dorothy promptly. "Only a fairy countrycould have veg'table people; and only in a fairy country could Eurekaand Jim talk as we do."
"That's true," said Zeb, thoughtfully.
In the vegetable gardens they found the strawberries and melons, andseveral other unknown but delicious fruits, of which they ate heartily.But the kitten bothered them constantly by demanding milk or meat, andcalled the Wizard names because he could not bring her a dish of milkby means of his magical arts.
As they sat upon the grass watching Jim, who was still busily eating,Eureka said:
"I don't believe you are a Wizard at all!"
"No," answered the little man, "you are quite right. In the strictsense of the word I am not a Wizard, but only a humbug."
"The Wizard of Oz has always been a humbug," agreed Dorothy. "I'veknown him for a long time."
"If that is so," said the boy, "how could he do that wonderful trickwith the nine tiny piglets?"
"Don't know," said Dorothy, "but it must have been humbug."
"Very true," declared the Wizard, nodding at her. "It was necessary todeceive that ugly Sorcerer and the Prince, as well as their stupidpeople; but I don't mind telling you, who are my friends, that thething was only a trick."
"But I saw the little pigs with my own eyes!" exclaimed Zeb.
"So did I," purred the kitten.
"To be sure," answered the Wizard. "You saw them because they werethere. They are in my inside pocket now. But the pulling of themapart and pushing them together again was only a sleight-of-hand trick."
"Let's see the pigs," said Eureka, eagerly.
The little man felt carefully in his pocket and pulled out the tinypiglets, setting them upon the grass one by one, where they ran aroundand nibbled the tender blades.
"They're hungry, too," he said.
"Oh, what cunning things!" cried Dorothy, catching up one and pettingit.
"Be careful!" said the piglet, with a squeal, "you're squeezing me!"
"Dear me!" murmured the Wizard, looking at his pets in astonishment."They can actually talk!"
"May I eat one of them?" asked the kitten, in a pleading voice. "I'mawfully hungry."
"Why, Eureka," said Dorothy, reproachfully, "what a cruel question! Itwould be dreadful to eat these dear little things."
"I should say so!" grunted another of the piglets, looking uneasily atthe kitten; "cats are cruel things."
"I'm not cruel," replied the kitten, yawning. "I'm just hungry."
"You cannot eat my piglets, even if you are starving," declared thelittle man, in a stern voice. "They are the only things I have toprove I'm a wizard."
"How did they happen to be so little?" asked Dorothy. "I never sawsuch small pigs before."
"They are from the Island of Teenty-Weent," said the Wizard, "whereeverything is small because it's a small island. A sailor brought themto Los Angeles and I gave him nine tickets to the circus for them."
"But what am I going to eat?" wailed the kitten, sitting in front ofDorothy and looking pleadingly into her face. "There are no cows hereto give milk; or any mice, or even grasshoppers. And if I can't eatthe piglets you may as well plant me at once and raise catsup."
"I have an idea," said the Wizard, "that there are fishes in thesebrooks. Do you like fish?"
"Fish!" cried the kitten. "Do I like fish? Why, they're better thanpiglets--or even milk!"
"Then I'll try to catch you some," said he.
"But won't they be veg'table, like everything else here?" asked thekitten.
"I think not. Fishes are not animals, and they are as cold and moistas the vegetables themselves. There is no reason, that I can see, whythey may not exist in the waters of this strange country."
Then the Wizard bent a pin for a hook and took a long piece of stringfrom his pocket for a fish-line. The only bait he could find was abright red blossom from a flower; but he knew fishes are easy to foolif anything bright attracts their attention, so he decided to try theblossom. Having thrown the end of his line in the water of a nearbybrook he soon felt a sharp tug that told him a fish had bitten and wascaught on the bent pin; so the little man drew in the string and, sureenough, the fish came with it and was landed safely on the shore, whereit began to flop around in great excitement.
The fish was fat and round, and its scales glistened like beautifullycut jewels set close together; but there was no time to examine itclosely, for Eureka made a jump and caught it between her claws, and ina few moments it had entirely disappeared.
"Oh, Eureka!" cried Dorothy, "did you eat the bones?"
"If it had any bones, I ate them," replied the kitten, composedly, asit washed its face after the meal. "But I don't think that fish hadany bones, because I didn't feel them scratch my throat."
"You were very greedy," said the girl.
"I was very hungry," replied the kitten.
The little pigs had stood huddled in a group, watching this scene withfrightened eyes.
"Cats are dreadful creatures!" said one of them.
"I'm glad we are not fishes!" said another.
"Don't worry," Dorothy murmured, soothingly, "I'll not let the kittenhurt you."
Then she happened to remember that in a corner of her suit-case wereone or two crackers that were left over from her luncheon on the train,and she went to the buggy and brought them. Eureka stuck up her noseat such food, but the tiny piglets squealed delightedly at the sight ofthe crackers and ate them up in a jiffy.
"Now let us go back to the city," suggested the Wizard. "That is, ifJim has had enough of the pink grass."
The cab-horse, who was browsing near, lifted his head with a sigh.
"I've tried to eat a lot while I had the chance," said he, "for it'slikely to be a long while between meals in this strange country. ButI'm ready to go, now, at any time you wish."
So, after the Wizard had put the piglets back into his inside pocket,where they cuddled up and went to sleep, the three climbed into thebuggy and Jim started back to the town.
"Where shall we stay?" asked the girl.
"I think I shall take possession of the House of the Sorcerer," repliedthe Wizard; "for the Prince said in the presence of his people that hewould keep me until they picked another Sorcerer, and the new Princesswon't know but that we belong there."
They agreed to this plan, and when they reached the great square Jimdrew the buggy into the big door of the domed hall.
"It doesn't look very homelike," said Dorothy, gazing around at thebare room. "But it's a place to stay, anyhow."
"What are those holes up there?" enquired the boy, pointing to someopenings that appeared near the top of the dome.
"They look like doorways," said Dorothy; "only there are no stairs toget to them."
"You forget that stairs are unnecessary," observed the Wizard. "Let uswalk up, and see where the doors lead to."
With this he began walking in the air toward the high openings, andDorothy and Zeb followed him. It was the same sort of climb oneexperiences when walking up a hill, and they were nearly out of breathwhen they came to the row of openings, which they perceived to bedoorways leading into halls in the upper part of the house. Followingthese halls they discovered many small rooms opening from them, andsome were furnished with glass benches, tables and chairs. But therewere no beds at all.
"I wonder if these people never sleep," said the girl.
"Why, there seems to be no night at all in this country," Zeb replied."Those colored suns are exactly in the same place they were when wecame, and if there is no sunset there can be no night."
"Very true," agreed the Wizard. "But it is a long time since I havehad any sleep, and I'm tired. So I think I shall lie down upon one ofthese hard glass benches and take a nap."
"I will, too," said Dorothy, and chose a little room at the end of thehall.
Zeb walked down again to unharness Jim, who, when he found himselffree, rolled over a few times and then settled down to sleep, withEureka nestling comfortably beside his big, boney body. Then the boyreturned to one of the upper rooms, and in spite of the hardness of theglass bench was soon deep in slumberland.
6. The Mangaboos Prove Dangerous
When the Wizard awoke the six colored suns were shining down upon theLand of the Mangaboos just as they had done ever since his arrival.The little man, having had a good sleep, felt rested and refreshed, andlooking through the glass partition of the room he saw Zeb sitting upon his bench and yawning. So the Wizard went in to him.
"Zeb," said he, "my balloon is of no further use in this strangecountry, so I may as well leave it on the square where it fell. But inthe basket-car are some things I would like to keep with me. I wishyou would go and fetch my satchel, two lanterns, and a can of keroseneoil that is under the seat. There is nothing else that I care about."
So the boy went willingly upon the errand, and by the time he hadreturned Dorothy was awake. Then the three held a counsel to decidewhat they should do next, but could think of no way to better theircondition.
"I don't like these veg'table people," said the little girl. "They'recold and flabby, like cabbages, in spite of their prettiness."
"I agree with you. It is because there is no warm blood in them,"remarked the Wizard.
"And they have no hearts; so they can't love anyone--not eventhemselves," declared the boy.
"The Princess is lovely to look at," continued Dorothy, thoughtfully;"but I don't care much for her, after all. If there was any otherplace to go, I'd like to go there."
"But IS there any other place?" asked the Wizard.
"I don't know," she answered.
Just then they heard the big voice of Jim the cab-horse calling tothem, and going to the doorway leading to the dome they found thePrincess and a throng of her people had entered the House of theSorcerer.
So they went down to greet the beautiful vegetable lady, who said tothem:
"I have been talking with my advisors about you meat people, and wehave decided that you do not belong in the Land of the Mangaboos andmust not remain here."
"How can we go away?" asked Dorothy.
"Oh, you cannot go away, of course; so you must be destroyed," was theanswer.
"In what way?" enquired the Wizard.
"We shall throw you three people into the Garden of the Twining Vines,"said the Princess, "and they will soon crush you and devour your bodiesto make themselves grow bigger. The animals you have with you we willdrive to the mountains and put into the Black Pit. Then our countrywill be rid of all its unwelcome visitors."
"But you are in need of a Sorcerer," said the Wizard, "and not one ofthose growing is yet ripe enough to pick. I am greater than anythorn-covered sorcerer that every grew in your garden. Why destroy me?"
"It is true we need a Sorcerer," acknowledged the Princess, "but I aminformed that one of our own will be ready to pick in a few days, totake the place of Gwig, whom you cut in two before it was time for himto be planted. Let us see your arts, and the sorceries you are able toperform. Then I will decide whether to destroy you with the others ornot."
At this the Wizard made a bow to the people and repeated his trick ofproducing the nine tiny piglets and making them disappear again. Hedid it very cleverly, indeed, and the Princess looked at the strangepiglets as if she were as truly astonished as any vegetable personcould be. But afterward she said:
"I have heard of this wonderful magic. But it accomplishes nothing ofvalue. What else can you do?"
The Wizard tried to think. Then he jointed together the blades of hissword and balanced it very skillfully upon the end of his nose. Buteven that did not satisfy the Princess.
Just then his eye fell upon the lanterns and the can of kerosene oilwhich Zeb had brought from the car of his balloon, and he got a cleveridea from those commonplace things.
"Your Highness," said he, "I will now proceed to prove my magic bycreating two suns that you have never seen before; also I will exhibita Destroyer much more dreadful that your Clinging Vines."
So he placed Dorothy upon one side of him and the boy upon the otherand set a lantern upon each of their heads.
"Don't laugh," he whispered to them, "or you will spoil the effect ofmy magic."
Then, with much dignity and a look of vast importance upon his wrinkledface, the Wizard got out his match-box and lighted the two lanterns.The glare they made was very small when compared with the radiance ofthe six great colored suns; but still they gleamed steadily andclearly. The Mangaboos were much impressed because they had neverbefore seen any light that did not come directly from their suns.
Next the Wizard poured a pool of oil from the can upon the glass floor,where it covered quite a broad surface. When he lighted the oil ahundred tongues of flame shot up, and the effect was really imposing.
"Now, Princess," exclaimed the Wizard, "those of your advisors whowished to throw us into the Garden of Clinging Vines must step withinthis circle of light. If they advised you well, and were in the right,they will not be injured in any way. But if any advised you wrongly,the light will wither him."
The advisors of the Princess did not like this test; but she commandedthem to step into the flame and one by one they did so, and werescorched so badly that the air was soon filled with an odor like thatof baked potatoes. Some of the Mangaboos fell down and had to bedragged from the fire, and all were so withered that it would benecessary to plant them at once.
"Sir," said the Princess to the Wizard, "you are greater than anySorcerer we have ever known. As it is evident that my people haveadvised me wrongly, I will not cast you three people into the dreadfulGarden of the Clinging Vines; but your animals must be driven into theBlack Pit in the mountain, for my subjects cannot bear to have themaround."
The Wizard was so pleased to have saved the two children and himselfthat he said nothing against this decree; but when the Princess hadgone both Jim and Eureka protested they did not want to go to the BlackPit, and Dorothy promised she would do all that she could to save themfrom such a fate.
For two or three days after this--if we call days the periods betweensleep, there being no night to divide the hours into days--our friendswere not disturbed in any way. They were even permitted to occupy theHouse of the Sorcerer in peace, as if it had been their own, and towander in the gardens in search of food.
Once they came near to the enclosed Garden of the Clinging Vines, andwalking high into the air looked down upon it with much interest. Theysaw a mass of tough green vines all matted together and writhing andtwisting around like a nest of great snakes. Everything the vinestouched they crushed, and our adventurers were indeed thankful to haveescaped being cast among them.
Whenever the Wizard went to sleep he would take the nine tiny pigletsfrom his pocket and let them run around on the floor of his room toamuse themselves and get some exercise; and one time they found hisglass door ajar and wandered into the hall and then into the bottompart of the great dome, walking through the air as easily as Eurekacould. They knew the kitten, by this time, so they scampered over towhere she lay beside Jim and commenced to frisk and play with her.
The cab-horse, who never slept long at a time, sat upon his haunchesand watched the tiny piglets and the kitten with much approval.
"Don't be rough!" he would call out, if Eureka knocked over one of theround, fat piglets with her paw; but the pigs never minded, and enjoyedthe sport very greatly.
Suddenly they looked up to find the room filled with the silent,solemn-eyed Mangaboos. Each of the vegetable folks bore a branchcovered with sharp thorns, which was thrust defiantly toward the horse,the kitten and the piglets.
"Here--stop this foolishness!" Jim roared, angrily; but after beingpricked once or twice he got upon his four legs and kept out of the wayof the thorns.
The Mangaboos surrounded them in solid ranks, but left an opening tothe doorway of the hall; so the animals slowly retreated until theywere driven from the room and out upon the street. Here were more ofthe vegetable people with thorns, and silently they urged the nowfrightened creatures down the street. Jim had to be careful not tostep upon the tiny piglets, who scampered under his feet grunting andsquealing, while Eureka, snarling and biting at the thorns pushedtoward her, also tried to protect the pretty little things from injury.Slowly but steadily the heartless Mangaboos drove them on, until theyhad passed through the city and the gardens and come to the broadplains leading to the mountain.
"What does all this mean, anyhow?" asked the horse, jumping to escape athorn.
"Why, they are driving us toward the Black Pit, into which theythreatened to cast us," replied the kitten. "If I were as big as youare, Jim, I'd fight these miserable turnip-roots!"
"What would you do?" enquired Jim.
"I'd kick out with those long legs and iron-shod hoofs."
"All right," said the horse; "I'll do it."
An instant later he suddenly backed toward the crowd of Mangaboos andkicked out his hind legs as hard as he could. A dozen of them smashedtogether and tumbled to the ground, and seeing his success Jim kickedagain and again, charging into the vegetable crowd, knocking them inall directions and sending the others scattering to escape his ironheels. Eureka helped him by flying into the faces of the enemy andscratching and biting furiously, and the kitten ruined so manyvegetable complexions that the Mangaboos feared her as much as they didthe horse.
But the foes were too many to be repulsed for long. They tired Jim andEureka out, and although the field of battle was thickly covered withmashed and disabled Mangaboos, our animal friends had to give up atlast and allow themselves to be driven to the mountain.
7. Into the Black Pit and Out Again
When they came to the mountain it proved to be a rugged, towering chunkof deep green glass, and looked dismal and forbidding in the extreme.Half way up the steep was a yawning cave, black as night beyond thepoint where the rainbow rays of the colored suns reached into it.
The Mangaboos drove the horse and the kitten and the piglets into thisdark hole and then, having pushed the buggy in after them--for itseemed some of them had dragged it all the way from the domedhall--they began to pile big glass rocks within the entrance, so thatthe prisoners could not get out again.
"This is dreadful!" groaned Jim. "It will be about the end of ouradventures, I guess."
"If the Wizard was here," said one of the piglets, sobbing bitterly,"he would not see us suffer so."
"We ought to have called him and Dorothy when we were first attacked,"added Eureka. "But never mind; be brave, my friends, and I will go andtell our masters where you are, and get them to come to your rescue."
The mouth of the hole was nearly filled up now, but the kitten gave aleap through the remaining opening and at once scampered up into theair. The Mangaboos saw her escape, and several of them caught up theirthorns and gave chase, mounting through the air after her. Eureka,however, was lighter than the Mangaboos, and while they could mountonly about a hundred feet above the earth the kitten found she could gonearly two hundred feet. So she ran along over their heads until shehad left them far behind and below and had come to the city and theHouse of the Sorcerer. There she entered in at Dorothy's window in thedome and aroused her from her sleep.
As soon as the little girl knew what had happened she awakened theWizard and Zeb, and at once preparations were made to go to the rescueof Jim and the piglets. The Wizard carried his satchel, which wasquite heavy, and Zeb carried the two lanterns and the oil can.Dorothy's wicker suit-case was still under the seat of the buggy, andby good fortune the boy had also placed the harness in the buggy whenhe had taken it off from Jim to let the horse lie down and rest. Sothere was nothing for the girl to carry but the kitten, which she heldclose to her bosom and tried to comfort, for its little heart was stillbeating rapidly.
Some of the Mangaboos discovered them as soon as they left the House ofthe Sorcerer; but when they started toward the mountain the vegetablepeople allowed them to proceed without interference, yet followed in acrowd behind them so that they could not go back again.
Before long they neared the Black Pit, where a busy swarm of Mangaboos,headed by their Princess, was engaged in piling up glass rocks beforethe entrance.
"Stop, I command you!" cried the Wizard, in an angry tone, and at oncebegan pulling down the rocks to liberate Jim and the piglets. Insteadof opposing him in this they stood back in silence until he had made agood-sized hole in the barrier, when by order of the Princess they allsprang forward and thrust out their sharp thorns.
Dorothy hopped inside the opening to escape being pricked, and Zeb andthe Wizard, after enduring a few stabs from the thorns, were glad tofollow her. At once the Mangaboos began piling up the rocks of glassagain, and as the little man realized that they were all about to beentombed in the mountain he said to the children:
"My dears, what shall we do? Jump out and fight?"
"What's the use?" replied Dorothy. "I'd as soon die here as live muchlonger among these cruel and heartless people."
"That's the way I feel about it," remarked Zeb, rubbing his wounds."I've had enough of the Mangaboos."
"All right," said the Wizard; "I'm with you, whatever you decide. Butwe can't live long in this cavern, that's certain."
Noticing that the light was growing dim he picked up his nine piglets,patted each one lovingly on its fat little head, and placed themcarefully in his inside pocket.
Zeb struck a match and lighted one of the lanterns. The rays of thecolored suns were now shut out from them forever, for the last chinkshad been filled up in the wall that separated their prison from theLand of the Mangaboos.
"How big is this hole?" asked Dorothy.
"I'll explore it and see," replied the boy.
So he carried the lantern back for quite a distance, while Dorothy andthe Wizard followed at his side. The cavern did not come to an end, asthey had expected it would, but slanted upward through the great glassmountain, running in a direction that promised to lead them to the sideopposite the Mangaboo country.
"It isn't a bad road," observed the Wizard, "and if we followed it itmight lead us to some place that is more comfortable than this blackpocket we are now in. I suppose the vegetable folk were always afraidto enter this cavern because it is dark; but we have our lanterns tolight the way, so I propose that we start out and discover where thistunnel in the mountain leads to."
The others agreed readily to this sensible suggestion, and at once theboy began to harness Jim to the buggy. When all was in readiness thethree took their seats in the buggy and Jim started cautiously alongthe way, Zeb driving while the Wizard and Dorothy each held a lightedlantern so the horse could see where to go.
Sometimes the tunnel was so narrow that the wheels of the buggy grazedthe sides; then it would broaden out as wide as a street; but the floorwas usually smooth, and for a long time they travelled on without anyaccident. Jim stopped sometimes to rest, for the climb was rathersteep and tiresome.
"We must be nearly as high as the six colored suns, by this time," saidDorothy. "I didn't know this mountain was so tall."
"We are certainly a good distance away from the Land of the Mangaboos,"added Zeb; "for we have slanted away from it ever since we started."
But they kept steadily moving, and just as Jim was about tired out withhis long journey the way suddenly grew lighter, and Zeb put out thelanterns to save the oil.
To their joy they found it was a white light that now greeted them, forall were weary of the colored rainbow lights which, after a time, hadmade their eyes ache with their constantly shifting rays. The sides ofthe tunnel showed before them like the inside of a long spy-glass, andthe floor became more level. Jim hastened his lagging steps at thisassurance of a quick relief from the dark passage, and in a few momentsmore they had emerged from the mountain and found themselves face toface with a new and charming country.
8. The Valley of Voices
By journeying through the glass mountain they had reached a delightfulvalley that was shaped like the hollow of a great cup, with anotherrugged mountain showing on the other side of it, and soft and prettygreen hills at the ends. It was all laid out into lovely lawns andgardens, with pebble paths leading through them and groves of beautifuland stately trees dotting the landscape here and there. There wereorchards, too, bearing luscious fruits that are all unknown in ourworld. Alluring brooks of crystal water flowed sparkling between theirflower-strewn banks, while scattered over the valley were dozens of thequaintest and most picturesque cottages our travelers had ever beheld.None of them were in clusters, such as villages or towns, but each hadample grounds of its own, with orchards and gardens surrounding it.
As the new arrivals gazed upon this exquisite scene they wereenraptured by its beauties and the fragrance that permeated the softair, which they breathed so gratefully after the confined atmosphere ofthe tunnel. Several minutes were consumed in silent admiration beforethey noticed two very singular and unusual facts about this valley.One was that it was lighted from some unseen source; for no sun or moonwas in the arched blue sky, although every object was flooded with aclear and perfect light. The second and even more singular fact wasthe absence of any inhabitant of this splendid place. From theirelevated position they could overlook the entire valley, but not asingle moving object could they see. All appeared mysteriouslydeserted.
The mountain on this side was not glass, but made of a stone similar togranite. With some difficulty and danger Jim drew the buggy over theloose rocks until he reached the green lawns below, where the paths andorchards and gardens began. The nearest cottage was still somedistance away.
"Isn't it fine?" cried Dorothy, in a joyous voice, as she sprang out ofthe buggy and let Eureka run frolicking over the velvety grass.
"Yes, indeed!" answered Zeb. "We were lucky to get away from thosedreadful vegetable people."
"It wouldn't be so bad," remarked the Wizard, gazing around him, "if wewere obliged to live here always. We couldn't find a prettier place,I'm sure."
He took the piglets from his pocket and let them run on the grass, andJim tasted a mouthful of the green blades and declared he was verycontented in his new surroundings.
"We can't walk in the air here, though," called Eureka, who had triedit and failed; but the others were satisfied to walk on the ground, andthe Wizard said they must be nearer the surface of the earth then theyhad been in the Mangaboo country, for everything was more homelike andnatural.
"But where are the people?" asked Dorothy.
The little man shook his bald head.
"Can't imagine, my dear," he replied.
They heard the sudden twittering of a bird, but could not find thecreature anywhere. Slowly they walked along the path toward thenearest cottage, the piglets racing and gambolling beside them and Jimpausing at every step for another mouthful of grass.
Presently they came to a low plant which had broad, spreading leaves,in the center of which grew a single fruit about as large as a peach.The fruit was so daintily colored and so fragrant, and looked soappetizing and delicious that Dorothy stopped and exclaimed:
"What is it, do you s'pose?"
The piglets had smelled the fruit quickly, and before the girl couldreach out her hand to pluck it every one of the nine tiny ones hadrushed in and commenced to devour it with great eagerness.
"It's good, anyway," said Zeb, "or those little rascals wouldn't havegobbled it up so greedily."
"Where are they?" asked Dorothy, in astonishment.
They all looked around, but the piglets had disappeared.
"Dear me!" cried the Wizard; "they must have run away. But I didn'tsee them go; did you?"
"No!" replied the boy and the girl, together.
"Here,--piggy, piggy, piggy!" called their master, anxiously.
Several squeals and grunts were instantly heard at his feet, but theWizard could not discover a single piglet.
"Where are you?" he asked.
"Why, right beside you," spoke a tiny voice. "Can't you see us?"
"No," answered the little man, in a puzzled tone.
"We can see you," said another of the piglets.
The Wizard stooped down and put out his hand, and at once felt thesmall fat body of one of his pets. He picked it up, but could not seewhat he held.
"It is very strange," said he, soberly. "The piglets have becomeinvisible, in some curious way."
"I'll bet it's because they ate that peach!" cried the kitten.
"It wasn't a peach, Eureka," said Dorothy. "I only hope it wasn'tpoison."
"It was fine, Dorothy," called one of the piglets.
"We'll eat all we can find of them," said another.
"But WE mus'n't eat them," the Wizard warned the children, "or we toomay become invisible, and lose each other. If we come across another ofthe strange fruit we must avoid it."
Calling the piglets to him he picked them all up, one by one, and putthem away in his pocket; for although he could not see them he couldfeel them, and when he had buttoned his coat he knew they were safe forthe present.
The travellers now resumed their walk toward the cottage, which theypresently reached. It was a pretty place, with vines growing thicklyover the broad front porch. The door stood open and a table was set inthe front room, with four chairs drawn up to it. On the table wereplates, knives and forks, and dishes of bread, meat and fruits. Themeat was smoking hot and the knives and forks were performing strangeantics and jumping here and there in quite a puzzling way. But not asingle person appeared to be in the room.
"How funny!" exclaimed Dorothy, who with Zeb and the Wizard now stoodin the doorway.
A peal of merry laughter answered her, and the knives and forks fell tothe plates with a clatter. One of the chairs pushed back from thetable, and this was so astonishing and mysterious that Dorothy wasalmost tempted to run away in fright.
"Here are strangers, mama!" cried the shrill and childish voice of someunseen person.
"So I see, my dear," answered another voice, soft and womanly.
"What do you want?" demanded a third voice, in a stern, gruff accent.
"Well, well!" said the Wizard; "are there really people in this room?"
"Of course," replied the man's voice.
"And--pardon me for the foolish question--but, are you all invisible?"
"Surely," the woman answered, repeating her low, rippling laughter."Are you surprised that you are unable to see the people of Voe?"
"Why, yes," stammered the Wizard. "All the people I have ever metbefore were very plain to see."
"Where do you come from, then?" asked the woman, in a curious tone.
"We belong upon the face of the earth," explained the Wizard, "butrecently, during an earthquake, we fell down a crack and landed in theCountry of the Mangaboos."
"Dreadful creatures!" exclaimed the woman's voice. "I've heard ofthem."
"They walled us up in a mountain," continued the Wizard; "but we foundthere was a tunnel through to this side, so we came here. It is abeautiful place. What do you call it?"
"It is the Valley of Voe."
"Thank you. We have seen no people since we arrived, so we came tothis house to enquire our way."
"Are you hungry?" asked the woman's voice.
"I could eat something," said Dorothy.
"So could I," added Zeb.
"But we do not wish to intrude, I assure you," the Wizard hastened tosay.
"That's all right," returned the man's voice, more pleasantly thanbefore. "You are welcome to what we have."
As he spoke the voice came so near to Zeb that he jumped back in alarm.Two childish voices laughed merrily at this action, and Dorothy wassure they were in no danger among such light-hearted folks, even ifthose folks couldn't be seen.
"What curious animal is that which is eating the grass on my lawn?"enquired the man's voice.
"That's Jim," said the girl. "He's a horse."
"What is he good for?" was the next question.
"He draws the buggy you see fastened to him, and we ride in the buggyinstead of walking," she explained.
"Can he fight?" asked the man's voice.
"No! he can kick pretty hard with his heels, and bite a little; but Jimcan't 'zactly fight," she replied.
"Then the bears will get him," said one of the children's voices.
"Bears!" exclaimed Dorothy. "Are these bears here?"
"That is the one evil of our country," answered the invisible man."Many large and fierce bears roam in the Valley of Voe, and when theycan catch any of us they eat us up; but as they cannot see us, weseldom get caught."
"Are the bears invis'ble, too?" asked the girl.
"Yes; for they eat of the dama-fruit, as we all do, and that keeps themfrom being seen by any eye, whether human or animal."
"Does the dama-fruit grow on a low bush, and look something like apeach?" asked the Wizard.
"Yes," was the reply.
"If it makes you invis'ble, why do you eat it?" Dorothy enquired.
"For two reasons, my dear," the woman's voice answered. "Thedama-fruit is the most delicious thing that grows, and when it makes usinvisible the bears cannot find us to eat us up. But now, goodwanderers, your luncheon is on the table, so please sit down and eat asmuch as you like."
9. They Fight the Invisible Bears
The strangers took their seats at the table willingly enough, for theywere all hungry and the platters were now heaped with good things toeat. In front of each place was a plate bearing one of the deliciousdama-fruit, and the perfume that rose from these was so enticing andsweet that they were sorely tempted to eat of them and become invisible.
But Dorothy satisfied her hunger with other things, and her companionsdid likewise, resisting the temptation.
"Why do you not eat the damas?" asked the woman's voice.
"We don't want to get invis'ble," answered the girl.
"But if you remain visible the bears will see you and devour you," saida girlish young voice, that belonged to one of the children. "We wholive here much prefer to be invisible; for we can still hug and kissone another, and are quite safe from the bears."
"And we do not have to be so particular about our dress," remarked theman.
"And mama can't tell whether my face is dirty or not!" added the otherchildish voice, gleefully.
"But I make you wash it, every time I think of it," said the mother;"for it stands to reason your face is dirty, Ianu, whether I can see itor not."
Dorothy laughed and stretched out her hands.
"Come here, please--Ianu and your sister--and let me feel of you," sherequested.
They came to her willingly, and Dorothy passed her hands over theirfaces and forms and decided one was a girl of about her own age and theother a boy somewhat smaller. The girl's hair was soft and fluffy andher skin as smooth as satin. When Dorothy gently touched her nose andears and lips they seemed to be well and delicately formed.
"If I could see you I am sure you would be beautiful," she declared.
The girl laughed, and her mother said:
"We are not vain in the Valley of Voe, because we can not display ourbeauty, and good actions and pleasant ways are what make us lovely toour companions. Yet we can see and appreciate the beauties of nature,the dainty flowers and trees, the green fields and the clear blue ofthe sky."
"How about the birds and beasts and fishes?" asked Zeb.
"The birds we cannot see, because they love to eat of the damas as muchas we do; yet we hear their sweet songs and enjoy them. Neither can wesee the cruel bears, for they also eat the fruit. But the fishes thatswim in our brooks we can see, and often we catch them to eat."
"It occurs to me you have a great deal to make you happy, even whileinvisible," remarked the Wizard. "Nevertheless, we prefer to remainvisible while we are in your valley."
Just then Eureka came in, for she had been until now wandering outsidewith Jim; and when the kitten saw the table set with food she cried out:
"Now you must feed me, Dorothy, for I'm half starved."
The children were inclined to be frightened by the sight of the smallanimal, which reminded them of the bears; but Dorothy reassured them byexplaining that Eureka was a pet and could do no harm even if shewished to. Then, as the others had by this time moved away from thetable, the kitten sprang upon the chair and put her paws upon the clothto see what there was to eat. To her surprise an unseen hand clutchedher and held her suspended in the air. Eureka was frantic with terror,and tried to scratch and bite, so the next moment she was dropped tothe floor.
"Did you see that, Dorothy?" she gasped.
"Yes, dear," her mistress replied; "there are people living in thishouse, although we cannot see them. And you must have better manners,Eureka, or something worse will happen to you."
She placed a plate of food upon the floor and the kitten ate greedily.
"Give me that nice-smelling fruit I saw on the table," she begged, whenshe had cleaned the plate.
"Those are damas," said Dorothy, "and you must never even taste them,Eureka, or you'll get invis'ble, and then we can't see you at all."
The kitten gazed wistfully at the forbidden fruit.
"Does it hurt to be invis'ble?" she asked.
"I don't know," Dorothy answered; "but it would hurt me dre'fully tolose you."
"Very well, I won't touch it," decided the kitten; "but you must keepit away from me, for the smell is very tempting."
"Can you tell us, sir or ma'am," said the Wizard, addressing the airbecause he did not quite know where the unseen people stood, "if thereis any way we can get out of your beautiful Valley, and on top of theEarth again."
"Oh, one can leave the Valley easily enough," answered the man's voice;"but to do so you must enter a far less pleasant country. As forreaching the top of the earth, I have never heard that it is possibleto do that, and if you succeeded in getting there you would probablyfall off."
"Oh, no," said Dorothy, "we've been there, and we know."
"The Valley of Voe is certainly a charming place," resumed the Wizard;"but we cannot be contented in any other land than our own, for long.Even if we should come to unpleasant places on our way it is necessary,in order to reach the earth's surface, to keep moving on toward it."
"In that case," said the man, "it will be best for you to cross ourValley and mount the spiral staircase inside the Pyramid Mountain. Thetop of that mountain is lost in the clouds, and when you reach it youwill be in the awful Land of Naught, where the Gargoyles live."
"What are Gargoyles?" asked Zeb.
"I do not know, young sir. Our greatest Champion, Overman-Anu, onceclimbed the spiral stairway and fought nine days with the Gargoylesbefore he could escape them and come back; but he could never beinduced to describe the dreadful creatures, and soon afterward a bearcaught him and ate him up."
The wanders were rather discouraged by this gloomy report, but Dorothysaid with a sigh:
"If the only way to get home is to meet the Gurgles, then we've got tomeet 'em. They can't be worse than the Wicked Witch or the Nome King."
"But you must remember you had the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman tohelp you conquer those enemies," suggested the Wizard. "Just now, mydear, there is not a single warrior in your company."
"Oh, I guess Zeb could fight if he had to. Couldn't you, Zeb?" askedthe little girl.
"Perhaps; if I had to," answered Zeb, doubtfully.
"And you have the jointed sword that you chopped the veg'table Sorcererin two with," the girl said to the little man.
"True," he replied; "and in my satchel are other useful things to fightwith."
"What the Gargoyles most dread is a noise," said the man's voice. "OurChampion told me that when he shouted his battle-cry the creaturesshuddered and drew back, hesitating to continue the combat. But theywere in great numbers, and the Champion could not shout much because hehad to save his breath for fighting."
"Very good," said the Wizard; "we can all yell better than we canfight, so we ought to defeat the Gargoyles."
"But tell me," said Dorothy, "how did such a brave Champion happen tolet the bears eat him? And if he was invis'ble, and the bearsinvis'ble, who knows that they really ate him up?"
"The Champion had killed eleven bears in his time," returned the unseenman; "and we know this is true because when any creature is dead theinvisible charm of the dama-fruit ceases to be active, and the slainone can be plainly seen by all eyes. When the Champion killed a beareveryone could see it; and when the bears killed the Champion we allsaw several pieces of him scattered about, which of course disappearedagain when the bears devoured them."
They now bade farewell to the kind but unseen people of the cottage,and after the man had called their attention to a high, pyramid-shapedmountain on the opposite side of the Valley, and told them how totravel in order to reach it, they again started upon their journey.
They followed the course of a broad stream and passed several morepretty cottages; but of course they saw no one, nor did any one speakto them. Fruits and flowers grew plentifully all about, and there weremany of the delicious damas that the people of Voe were so fond of.
About noon they stopped to allow Jim to rest in the shade of a prettyorchard, and while they plucked and ate some of the cherries and plumsthat grew there a soft voice suddenly said to them:
"There are bears near by. Be careful."
The Wizard got out his sword at once, and Zeb grabbed the horse-whip.Dorothy climbed into the buggy, although Jim had been unharnessed fromit and was grazing some distance away.
The owner of the unseen voice laughed lightly and said:
"You cannot escape the bears that way."
"How CAN we 'scape?" asked Dorothy, nervously, for an unseen danger isalways the hardest to face.
"You must take to the river," was the reply. "The bears will notventure upon the water."
"But we would be drowned!" exclaimed the girl.
"Oh, there is no need of that," said the voice, which from its gentletones seemed to belong to a young girl. "You are strangers in theValley of Voe, and do not seem to know our ways; so I will try to saveyou."
The next moment a broad-leaved plant was jerked from the ground whereit grew and held suspended in the air before the Wizard.
"Sir," said the voice, "you must rub these leaves upon the soles of allyour feet, and then you will be able to walk upon the water withoutsinking below the surface. It is a secret the bears do not know, andwe people of Voe usually walk upon the water when we travel, and soescape our enemies."
"Thank you!" cried the Wizard, joyfully, and at once rubbed a leaf uponthe soles of Dorothy's shoes and then upon his own. The girl took aleaf and rubbed it upon the kitten's paws, and the rest of the plantwas handed to Zeb, who, after applying it to his own feet, carefullyrubbed it upon all four of Jim's hoofs and then upon the tires of thebuggy-wheels. He had nearly finished this last task when a lowgrowling was suddenly heard and the horse began to jump around and kickviciously with his heels.
"Quick! To the water or you are lost!" cried their unseen friend, andwithout hesitation the Wizard drew the buggy down the bank and out uponthe broad river, for Dorothy was still seated in it with Eureka in herarms. They did not sink at all, owing to the virtues of the strangeplant they had used, and when the buggy was in the middle of the streamthe Wizard returned to the bank to assist Zeb and Jim.
The horse was plunging madly about, and two or three deep gashesappeared upon its flanks, from which the blood flowed freely.
"Run for the river!" shouted the Wizard, and Jim quickly freed himselffrom his unseen tormenters by a few vicious kicks and then obeyed. Assoon as he trotted out upon the surface of the river he found himselfsafe from pursuit, and Zeb was already running across the water towardDorothy.
As the little Wizard turned to follow them he felt a hot breath againsthis cheek and heard a low, fierce growl. At once he began stabbing atthe air with his sword, and he knew that he had struck some substancebecause when he drew back the blade it was dripping with blood. Thethird time that he thrust out the weapon there was a loud roar and afall, and suddenly at his feet appeared the form of a great red bear,which was nearly as big as the horse and much stronger and fiercer.The beast was quite dead from the sword thrusts, and after a glance atits terrible claws and sharp teeth the little man turned in a panic andrushed out upon the water, for other menacing growls told him morebears were near.
On the river, however, the adventurers seemed to be perfectly safe.Dorothy and the buggy had floated slowly down stream with the currentof the water, and the others made haste to join her. The Wizard openedhis satchel and got out some sticking-plaster with which he mended thecuts Jim had received from the claws of the bears.
"I think we'd better stick to the river, after this," said Dorothy."If our unknown friend hadn't warned us, and told us what to do, wewould all be dead by this time."
"That is true," agreed the Wizard, "and as the river seems to beflowing in the direction of the Pyramid Mountain it will be the easiestway for us to travel."
Zeb hitched Jim to the buggy again, and the horse trotted along anddrew them rapidly over the smooth water. The kitten was at firstdreadfully afraid of getting wet, but Dorothy let her down and soonEureka was frisking along beside the buggy without being scared a bit.Once a little fish swam too near the surface, and the kitten grabbed itin her mouth and ate it up as quick as a wink; but Dorothy cautionedher to be careful what she ate in this valley of enchantments, and nomore fishes were careless enough to swim within reach.
After a journey of several hours they came to a point where the rivercurved, and they found they must cross a mile or so of the Valleybefore they came to the Pyramid Mountain. There were few houses inthis part, and few orchards or flowers; so our friends feared theymight encounter more of the savage bears, which they had learned todread with all their hearts.
"You'll have to make a dash, Jim," said the Wizard, "and run as fast asyou can go."
"All right," answered the horse; "I'll do my best. But you mustremember I'm old, and my dashing days are past and gone."
All three got into the buggy and Zeb picked up the reins, though Jimneeded no guidance of any sort. The horse was still smarting from thesharp claws of the invisible bears, and as soon as he was on land andheaded toward the mountain the thought that more of those fearsomecreatures might be near acted as a spur and sent him galloping along ina way that made Dorothy catch her breath.
Then Zeb, in a spirit of mischief, uttered a growl like that of thebears, and Jim pricked up his ears and fairly flew. His boney legsmoved so fast they could scarcely be seen, and the Wizard clung fast tothe seat and yelled "Whoa!" at the top of his voice.
"I--I'm 'fraid he's--he's running away!" gasped Dorothy.
"I KNOW he is," said Zeb; "but no bear can catch him if he keeps upthat gait--and the harness or the buggy don't break."
Jim did not make a mile a minute; but almost before they were aware ofit he drew up at the foot of the mountain, so suddenly that the Wizardand Zeb both sailed over the dashboard and landed in the softgrass--where they rolled over several times before they stopped.Dorothy nearly went with them, but she was holding fast to the ironrail of the seat, and that saved her. She squeezed the kitten, though,until it screeched; and then the old cab-horse made several curioussounds that led the little girl to suspect he was laughing at them all.
10. The Braided Man of Pyramid Mountain
The mountain before them was shaped like a cone and was so tall thatits point was lost in the clouds. Directly facing the place where Jimhad stopped was an arched opening leading to a broad stairway. Thestairs were cut in the rock inside the mountain, and they were broadand not very steep, because they circled around like a cork-screw, andat the arched opening where the flight began the circle was quite big.At the foot of the stairs was a sign reading:
WARNING. These steps lead to the Land of the Gargoyles. DANGER! KEEPOUT.
"I wonder how Jim is ever going to draw the buggy up so many stairs,"said Dorothy, gravely.
"No trouble at all," declared the horse, with a contemptuous neigh."Still, I don't care to drag any passengers. You'll all have to walk."
"Suppose the stairs get steeper?" suggested Zeb, doubtfully.
"Then you'll have to boost the buggy-wheels, that's all," answered Jim.
"We'll try it, anyway," said the Wizard. "It's the only way to get outof the Valley of Voe."
So they began to ascend the stairs, Dorothy and the Wizard first, Jimnext, drawing the buggy, and then Zeb to watch that nothing happened tothe harness.
The light was dim, and soon they mounted into total darkness, so thatthe Wizard was obliged to get out his lanterns to light the way. Butthis enabled them to proceed steadily until they came to a landingwhere there was a rift in the side of the mountain that let in bothlight and air. Looking through this opening they could see the Valleyof Voe lying far below them, the cottages seeming like toy houses fromthat distance.
After resting a few moments they resumed their climb, and still thestairs were broad and low enough for Jim to draw the buggy easily afterhim. The old horse panted a little, and had to stop often to get hisbreath. At such times they were all glad to wait for him, forcontinually climbing up stairs is sure to make one's legs ache.
They wound about, always going upward, for some time. The lights fromthe lanterns dimly showed the way, but it was a gloomy journey, andthey were pleased when a broad streak of light ahead assured them theywere coming to a second landing.
Here one side of the mountain had a great hole in it, like the mouth ofa cavern, and the stairs stopped at the near edge of the floor andcommenced ascending again at the opposite edge.
The opening in the mountain was on the side opposite to the Valley ofVoe, and our travellers looked out upon a strange scene. Below themwas a vast space, at the bottom of which was a black sea with rollingbillows, through which little tongues of flame constantly shot up.Just above them, and almost on a level with their platform, were banksof rolling clouds which constantly shifted position and changed color.The blues and greys were very beautiful, and Dorothy noticed that onthe cloud banks sat or reclined fleecy, shadowy forms of beautifulbeings who must have been the Cloud Fairies. Mortals who stand uponthe earth and look up at the sky cannot often distinguish these forms,but our friends were now so near to the clouds that they observed thedainty fairies very clearly.
"Are they real?" asked Zeb, in an awed voice.
"Of course," replied Dorothy, softly. "They are the Cloud Fairies."
"They seem like open-work," remarked the boy, gazing intently. "If Ishould squeeze one, there wouldn't be anything left of it."
In the open space between the clouds and the black, bubbling sea farbeneath, could be seen an occasional strange bird winging its wayswiftly through the air. These birds were of enormous size, andreminded Zeb of the rocs he had read about in the Arabian Nights. Theyhad fierce eyes and sharp talons and beaks, and the children hoped noneof them would venture into the cavern.
"Well, I declare!" suddenly exclaimed the little Wizard. "What in theworld is this?"
They turned around and found a man standing on the floor in the centerof the cave, who bowed very politely when he saw he had attracted theirattention. He was a very old man, bent nearly double; but the queerestthing about him was his white hair and beard. These were so long thatthey reached to his feet, and both the hair and the beard werecarefully plaited into many braids, and the end of each braid fastenedwith a bow of colored ribbon.
"Where did you come from?" asked Dorothy, wonderingly.
"No place at all," answered the man with the braids; "that is, notrecently. Once I lived on top the earth, but for many years I have hadmy factory in this spot--half way up Pyramid Mountain."
"Are we only half way up?" enquired the boy, in a discouraged tone.
"I believe so, my lad," replied the braided man. "But as I have neverbeen in either direction, down or up, since I arrived, I cannot bepositive whether it is exactly half way or not."
"Have you a factory in this place?" asked the Wizard, who had beenexamining the strange personage carefully.
"To be sure," said the other. "I am a great inventor, you must know,and I manufacture my products in this lonely spot."
"What are your products?" enquired the Wizard.
"Well, I make Assorted Flutters for flags and bunting, and a superiorgrade of Rustles for ladies' silk gowns."
"I thought so," said the Wizard, with a sigh. "May we examine some ofthese articles?"
"Yes, indeed; come into my shop, please," and the braided man turnedand led the way into a smaller cave, where he evidently lived. Here,on a broad shelf, were several card-board boxes of various sizes, eachtied with cotton cord.
"This," said the man, taking up a box and handling it gently, "containstwelve dozen rustles--enough to last any lady a year. Will you buyit, my dear?" he asked, addressing Dorothy.
"My gown isn't silk," she said, smiling.
"Never mind. When you open the box the rustles will escape, whetheryou are wearing a silk dress or not," said the man, seriously. Then hepicked up another box. "In this," he continued, "are many assortedflutters. They are invaluable to make flags flutter on a still day,when there is no wind. You, sir," turning to the Wizard, "ought tohave this assortment. Once you have tried my goods I am sure you willnever be without them."
"I have no money with me," said the Wizard, evasively.
"I do not want money," returned the braided man, "for I could not spendit in this deserted place if I had it. But I would like very much ablue hair-ribbon. You will notice my braids are tied with yellow,pink, brown, red, green, white and black; but I have no blue ribbons."
"I'll get you one!" cried Dorothy, who was sorry for the poor man; soshe ran back to the buggy and took from her suit-case a pretty blueribbon. It did her good to see how the braided man's eyes sparkledwhen he received this treasure.
"You have made me very, very happy, my dear!" he exclaimed; and then heinsisted on the Wizard taking the box of flutters and the little girlaccepting the box of rustles.
"You may need them, some time," he said, "and there is really no use inmy manufacturing these things unless somebody uses them."
"Why did you leave the surface of the earth?" enquired the Wizard.
"I could not help it. It is a sad story, but if you will try torestrain your tears I will tell you about it. On earth I was amanufacturer of Imported Holes for American Swiss Cheese, and I willacknowledge that I supplied a superior article, which was in greatdemand. Also I made pores for porous plasters and high-grade holes fordoughnuts and buttons. Finally I invented a new Adjustable Post-hole,which I thought would make my fortune. I manufactured a large quantityof these post-holes, and having no room in which to store them I setthem all end to end and put the top one in the ground. That made anextraordinary long hole, as you may imagine, and reached far down intothe earth; and, as I leaned over it to try to see to the bottom, I lostmy balance and tumbled in. Unfortunately, the hole led directly intothe vast space you see outside this mountain; but I managed to catch apoint of rock that projected from this cavern, and so saved myself fromtumbling headlong into the black waves beneath, where the tongues offlame that dart out would certainly have consumed me. Here, then, Imade my home; and although it is a lonely place I amuse myself makingrustles and flutters, and so get along very nicely."
When the braided man had completed this strange tale Dorothy nearlylaughed, because it was all so absurd; but the Wizard tapped hisforehead significantly, to indicate that he thought the poor man wascrazy. So they politely bade him good day, and went back to the outercavern to resume their journey.
11. They Meet the Wooden Gargoyles
Another breathless climb brought our adventurers to a third landingwhere there was a rift in the mountain. On peering out all they couldsee was rolling banks of clouds, so thick that they obscured all else.
But the travellers were obliged to rest, and while they were sitting onthe rocky floor the Wizard felt in his pocket and brought out the ninetiny piglets. To his delight they were now plainly visible, whichproved that they had passed beyond the influence of the magical Valleyof Voe.
"Why, we can see each other again!" cried one, joyfully.
"Yes," sighed Eureka; "and I also can see you again, and the sightmakes me dreadfully hungry. Please, Mr. Wizard, may I eat just one ofthe fat little piglets? You'd never miss ONE of them, I'm sure!"
"What a horrid, savage beast!" exclaimed a piglet; "and after we'vebeen such good friends, too, and played with one another!"
"When I'm not hungry, I love to play with you all," said the kitten,demurely; "but when my stomach is empty it seems that nothing wouldfill it so nicely as a fat piglet."
"And we trusted you so!" said another of the nine, reproachfully.
"And thought you were respectable!" said another.
"It seems we were mistaken," declared a third, looking at the kittentimorously, "no one with such murderous desires should belong to ourparty, I'm sure."
"You see, Eureka," remarked Dorothy, reprovingly, "you are makingyourself disliked. There are certain things proper for a kitten toeat; but I never heard of a kitten eating a pig, under ANY cir'stances."
"Did you ever see such little pigs before?" asked the kitten. "Theyare no bigger than mice, and I'm sure mice are proper for me to eat."
"It isn't the bigness, dear; its the variety," replied the girl."These are Mr. Wizard's pets, just as you are my pet, and it wouldn'tbe any more proper for you to eat them than it would be for Jim to eatyou."
"And that's just what I shall do if you don't let those little balls ofpork alone," said Jim, glaring at the kitten with his round, big eyes."If you injure any one of them I'll chew you up instantly."
The kitten looked at the horse thoughtfully, as if trying to decidewhether he meant it or not.
"In that case," she said, "I'll leave them alone. You haven't manyteeth left, Jim, but the few you have are sharp enough to make meshudder. So the piglets will be perfectly safe, hereafter, as far as Iam concerned."
"That is right, Eureka," remarked the Wizard, earnestly. "Let us allbe a happy family and love one another."
Eureka yawned and stretched herself.
"I've always loved the piglets," she said; "but they don't love me."
"No one can love a person he's afraid of," asserted Dorothy. "If youbehave, and don't scare the little pigs, I'm sure they'll grow veryfond of you."
The Wizard now put the nine tiny ones back into his pocket and thejourney was resumed.
"We must be pretty near the top, now," said the boy, as they climbedwearily up the dark, winding stairway.
"The Country of the Gurgles can't be far from the top of the earth,"remarked Dorothy. "It isn't very nice down here. I'd like to get homeagain, I'm sure."
No one replied to this, because they found they needed all their breathfor the climb. The stairs had become narrower and Zeb and the Wizardoften had to help Jim pull the buggy from one step to another, or keepit from jamming against the rocky walls.
At last, however, a dim light appeared ahead of them, which grewclearer and stronger as they advanced.
"Thank goodness we're nearly there!" panted the little Wizard.
Jim, who was in advance, saw the last stair before him and stuck hishead above the rocky sides of the stairway. Then he halted, duckeddown and began to back up, so that he nearly fell with the buggy ontothe others.
"Let's go down again!" he said, in his hoarse voice.
"Nonsense!" snapped the tired Wizard. "What's the matter with you, oldman?"
"Everything," grumbled the horse. "I've taken a look at this place,and it's no fit country for real creatures to go to. Everything'sdead, up there--no flesh or blood or growing thing anywhere."
"Never mind; we can't turn back," said Dorothy; "and we don't intend tostay there, anyhow."
"It's dangerous," growled Jim, in a stubborn tone.
"See here, my good steed," broke in the Wizard, "little Dorothy and Ihave been in many queer countries in our travels, and always escapedwithout harm. We've even been to the marvelous Land of Oz--haven't we,Dorothy?--so we don't much care what the Country of the Gargoyles islike. Go ahead, Jim, and whatever happens we'll make the best of it."
"All right," answered the horse; "this is your excursion, and not mine;so if you get into trouble don't blame me."
With this speech he bent forward and dragged the buggy up the remainingsteps. The others followed and soon they were all standing upon abroad platform and gazing at the most curious and startling sight theireyes had ever beheld.
"The Country of the Gargoyles is all wooden!" exclaimed Zeb; and so itwas. The ground was sawdust and the pebbles scattered around were hardknots from trees, worn smooth in course of time. There were odd woodenhouses, with carved wooden flowers in the front yards. The tree-trunkswere of coarse wood, but the leaves of the trees were shavings. Thepatches of grass were splinters of wood, and where neither grass norsawdust showed was a solid wooden flooring. Wooden birds flutteredamong the trees and wooden cows were browsing upon the wooden grass;but the most amazing things of all were the wooden people--thecreatures known as Gargoyles.
These were very numerous, for the place was thickly inhabited, and alarge group of the queer people clustered near, gazing sharply upon thestrangers who had emerged from the long spiral stairway.
The Gargoyles were very small of stature, being less than three feet inheight. Their bodies were round, their legs short and thick and theirarms extraordinarily long and stout. Their heads were too big fortheir bodies and their faces were decidedly ugly to look upon. Somehad long, curved noses and chins, small eyes and wide, grinning mouths.Others had flat noses, protruding eyes, and ears that were shaped likethose of an elephant. There were many types, indeed, scarcely twobeing alike; but all were equally disagreeable in appearance. The topsof their heads had no hair, but were carved into a variety of fantasticshapes, some having a row of points or balls around the top, othersdesigns resembling flowers or vegetables, and still others havingsquares that looked like waffles cut criss-cross on their heads. Theyall wore short wooden wings which were fastened to their wooden bodiesby means of wooden hinges with wooden screws, and with these wings theyflew swiftly and noiselessly here and there, their legs being of littleuse to them.
This noiseless motion was one of the most peculiar things about theGargoyles. They made no sounds at all, either in flying or trying tospeak, and they conversed mainly by means of quick signals made withtheir wooden fingers or lips. Neither was there any sound to be heardanywhere throughout the wooden country. The birds did not sing, nordid the cows moo; yet there was more than ordinary activity everywhere.
The group of these queer creatures which was discovered clustered nearthe stairs at first remained staring and motionless, glaring with evileyes at the intruders who had so suddenly appeared in their land. Inturn the Wizard and the children, the horse and the kitten, examinedthe Gargoyles with the same silent attention.
"There's going to be trouble, I'm sure," remarked the horse. "Unhitchthose tugs, Zeb, and set me free from the buggy, so I can fightcomfortably."
"Jim's right," sighed the Wizard. "There's going to be trouble, and mysword isn't stout enough to cut up those wooden bodies--so I shall haveto get out my revolvers."
He got his satchel from the buggy and, opening it, took out two deadlylooking revolvers that made the children shrink back in alarm just tolook at.
"What harm can the Gurgles do?" asked Dorothy. "They have no weaponsto hurt us with."
"Each of their arms is a wooden club," answered the little man, "andI'm sure the creatures mean mischief, by the looks of their eyes. Eventhese revolvers can merely succeed in damaging a few of their woodenbodies, and after that we will be at their mercy."
"But why fight at all, in that case?" asked the girl.
"So I may die with a clear conscience," returned the Wizard, gravely."It's every man's duty to do the best he knows how; and I'm going to doit."
"Wish I had an axe," said Zeb, who by now had unhitched the horse.
"If we had known we were coming we might have brought along severalother useful things," responded the Wizard. "But we dropped into thisadventure rather unexpectedly."
The Gargoyles had backed away a distance when they heard the sound oftalking, for although our friends had spoken in low tones their wordsseemed loud in the silence surrounding them. But as soon as theconversation ceased, the grinning, ugly creatures arose in a flock andflew swiftly toward the strangers, their long arms stretched out beforethem like the bowsprits of a fleet of sail-boats. The horse hadespecially attracted their notice, because it was the biggest andstrangest creature they had ever seen; so it became the center of theirfirst attack.
But Jim was ready for them, and when he saw them coming he turned hisheels toward them and began kicking out as hard as he could. Crack!crash! bang! went his iron-shod hoofs against the wooden bodies of theGargoyles, and they were battered right and left with such force thatthey scattered like straws in the wind. But the noise and clatterseemed as dreadful to them as Jim's heels, for all who were ableswiftly turned and flew away to a great distance. The others pickedthemselves up from the ground one by one and quickly rejoined theirfellows, so for a moment the horse thought he had won the fight withease.
But the Wizard was not so confident.
"Those wooden things are impossible to hurt," he said, "and all thedamage Jim has done to them is to knock a few splinters from theirnoses and ears. That cannot make them look any uglier, I'm sure, andit is my opinion they will soon renew the attack."
"What made them fly away?" asked Dorothy.
"The noise, of course. Don't you remember how the Champion escapedthem by shouting his battle-cry?"
"Suppose we escape down the stairs, too," suggested the boy. "We havetime, just now, and I'd rather face the invis'ble bears than thosewooden imps."
"No," returned Dorothy, stoutly, "it won't do to go back, for then wewould never get home. Let's fight it out."
"That is what I advise," said the Wizard. "They haven't defeated usyet, and Jim is worth a whole army."
But the Gargoyles were clever enough not to attack the horse the nexttime. They advanced in a great swarm, having been joined by many moreof their kind, and they flew straight over Jim's head to where theothers were standing.
The Wizard raised one of his revolvers and fired into the throng of hisenemies, and the shot resounded like a clap of thunder in that silentplace.
Some of the wooden beings fell flat upon the ground, where theyquivered and trembled in every limb; but most of them managed to wheeland escape again to a distance.
Zeb ran and picked up one of the Gargoyles that lay nearest to him.The top of its head was carved into a crown and the Wizard's bullet hadstruck it exactly in the left eye, which was a hard wooden knot. Halfof the bullet stuck in the wood and half stuck out, so it had been thejar and the sudden noise that had knocked the creature down, more thanthe fact that it was really hurt. Before this crowned Gargoyle hadrecovered himself Zeb had wound a strap several times around its body,confining its wings and arms so that it could not move. Then, havingtied the wooden creature securely, the boy buckled the strap and tossedhis prisoner into the buggy. By that time the others had all retired.
12. A Wonderful Escape
For a while the enemy hesitated to renew the attack. Then a few ofthem advanced until another shot from the Wizard's revolver made themretreat.
"That's fine," said Zeb. "We've got 'em on the run now, sure enough."
"But only for a time," replied the Wizard, shaking his head gloomily."These revolvers are good for six shots each, but when those are gonewe shall be helpless."
The Gargoyles seemed to realize this, for they sent a few of their bandtime after time to attack the strangers and draw the fire from thelittle man's revolvers. In this way none of them was shocked by thedreadful report more than once, for the main band kept far away andeach time a new company was sent into the battle. When the Wizard hadfired all of his twelve bullets he had caused no damage to the enemyexcept to stun a few by the noise, and so be as no nearer to victorythan in the beginning of the fray.
"What shall we do now?" asked Dorothy, anxiously.
"Let's yell--all together," said Zeb.
"And fight at the same time," added the Wizard. "We will get near Jim,so that he can help us, and each one must take some weapon and do thebest he can. I'll use my sword, although it isn't much account in thisaffair. Dorothy must take her parasol and open it suddenly when thewooden folks attack her. I haven't anything for you, Zeb."
"I'll use the king," said the boy, and pulled his prisoner out of thebuggy. The bound Gargoyle's arms extended far out beyond its head, soby grasping its wrists Zeb found the king made a very good club. Theboy was strong for one of his years, having always worked upon a farm;so he was likely to prove more dangerous to the enemy than the Wizard.
When the next company of Gargoyles advanced, our adventurers beganyelling as if they had gone mad. Even the kitten gave a dreadfullyshrill scream and at the same time Jim the cab-horse neighed loudly.This daunted the enemy for a time, but the defenders were soon out ofbreath. Perceiving this, as well as the fact that there were no moreof the awful "bangs" to come from the revolvers, the Gargoyles advancedin a swarm as thick as bees, so that the air was filled with them.
Dorothy squatted upon the ground and put up her parasol, which nearlycovered her and proved a great protection. The Wizard's sword-bladesnapped into a dozen pieces at the first blow he struck against thewooden people. Zeb pounded away with the Gargoyle he was using as aclub until he had knocked down dozens of foes; but at the last theyclustered so thickly about him that he no longer had room in which toswing his arms. The horse performed some wonderful kicking and evenEureka assisted when she leaped bodily upon the Gargoyles and scratchedand bit at them like a wild-cat.
But all this bravery amounted to nothing at all. The wooden thingswound their long arms around Zeb and the Wizard and held them fast.Dorothy was captured in the same way, and numbers of the Gargoylesclung to Jim's legs, so weighting him down that the poor beast washelpless. Eureka made a desperate dash to escape and scampered alongthe ground like a streak; but a grinning Gargoyle flew after her andgrabbed her before she had gone very far.
All of them expected nothing less than instant death; but to theirsurprise the wooden creatures flew into the air with them and bore themfar away, over miles and miles of wooden country, until they came to awooden city. The houses of this city had many corners, being squareand six-sided and eight-sided. They were tower-like in shape and thebest of them seemed old and weather-worn; yet all were strong andsubstantial.
To one of these houses which had neither doors nor windows, but onlyone broad opening far up underneath the roof, the prisoners werebrought by their captors. The Gargoyles roughly pushed them into theopening, where there was a platform, and then flew away and left them.As they had no wings the strangers could not fly away, and if theyjumped down from such a height they would surely be killed. Thecreatures had sense enough to reason that way, and the only mistakethey made was in supposing the earth people were unable to overcomesuch ordinary difficulties.
Jim was brought with the others, although it took a good many Gargoylesto carry the big beast through the air and land him on the highplatform, and the buggy was thrust in after him because it belonged tothe party and the wooden folks had no idea what it was used for orwhether it was alive or not. When Eureka's captor had thrown thekitten after the others the last Gargoyle silently disappeared, leavingour friends to breathe freely once more.
"What an awful fight!" said Dorothy, catching her breath in littlegasps.
"Oh, I don't know," purred Eureka, smoothing her ruffled fur with herpaw; "we didn't manage to hurt anybody, and nobody managed to hurt us."
"Thank goodness we are together again, even if we are prisoners,"sighed the little girl.
"I wonder why they didn't kill us on the spot," remarked Zeb, who hadlost his king in the struggle.
"They are probably keeping us for some ceremony," the Wizard answered,reflectively; "but there is no doubt they intend to kill us as dead aspossible in a short time."
"As dead as poss'ble would be pretty dead, wouldn't it?" asked Dorothy.
"Yes, my dear. But we have no need to worry about that just now. Letus examine our prison and see what it is like."
The space underneath the roof, where they stood, permitted them to seeon all sides of the tall building, and they looked with much curiosityat the city spread out beneath them. Everything visible was made ofwood, and the scene seemed stiff and extremely unnatural.
From their platform a stair descended into the house, and the childrenand the Wizard explored it after lighting a lantern to show them theway. Several stories of empty rooms rewarded their search, but nothingmore; so after a time they came back to the platform again. Had therebeen any doors or windows in the lower rooms, or had not the boards ofthe house been so thick and stout, escape could have been easy; but toremain down below was like being in a cellar or the hold of a ship, andthey did not like the darkness or the damp smell.
In this country, as in all others they had visited underneath theearth's surface, there was no night, a constant and strong light comingfrom some unknown source. Looking out, they could see into some of thehouses near them, where there were open windows in abundance, and wereable to mark the forms of the wooden Gargoyles moving about in theirdwellings.
"This seems to be their time of rest," observed the Wizard. "Allpeople need rest, even if they are made of wood, and as there is nonight here they select a certain time of the day in which to sleep ordoze."
"I feel sleepy myself," remarked Zeb, yawning.
"Why, where's Eureka?" cried Dorothy, suddenly.
They all looked around, but the kitten was no place to be seen.
"She's gone out for a walk," said Jim, gruffly.
"Where? On the roof?" asked the girl.
"No; she just dug her claws into the wood and climbed down the sides ofthis house to the ground."
"She couldn't climb DOWN, Jim," said Dorothy. "To climb means to goup."
"Who said so?" demanded the horse.
"My school-teacher said so; and she knows a lot, Jim."
"To 'climb down' is sometimes used as a figure of speech," remarked theWizard.
"Well, this was a figure of a cat," said Jim, "and she WENT down,anyhow, whether she climbed or crept."
"Dear me! how careless Eureka is," exclaimed the girl, much distressed."The Gurgles will get her, sure!"
"Ha, ha!" chuckled the old cab-horse; "they're not 'Gurgles,' littlemaid; they're Gargoyles."
"Never mind; they'll get Eureka, whatever they're called."
"No they won't," said the voice of the kitten, and Eureka herselfcrawled over the edge of the platform and sat down quietly upon thefloor.
"Wherever have you been, Eureka?" asked Dorothy, sternly.
"Watching the wooden folks. They're too funny for anything, Dorothy.Just now they are all going to bed, and--what do you think?--theyunhook the hinges of their wings and put them in a corner until theywake up again."
"What, the hinges?"
"No; the wings."
"That," said Zeb, "explains why this house is used by them for aprison. If any of the Gargoyles act badly, and have to be put in jail,they are brought here and their wings unhooked and taken away from themuntil they promise to be good."
The Wizard had listened intently to what Eureka had said.
"I wish we had some of those loose wings," he said.
"Could we fly with them?" asked Dorothy.
"I think so. If the Gargoyles can unhook the wings then the power tofly lies in the wings themselves, and not in the wooden bodies of thepeople who wear them. So, if we had the wings, we could probably flyas well as they do--as least while we are in their country and underthe spell of its magic."
"But how would it help us to be able to fly?" questioned the girl.
"Come here," said the little man, and took her to one of the corners ofthe building. "Do you see that big rock standing on the hillsideyonder?" he continued, pointing with his finger.
"Yes; it's a good way off, but I can see it," she replied.
"Well, inside that rock, which reaches up into the clouds, is anarchway very much like the one we entered when we climbed the spiralstairway from the Valley of Voe. I'll get my spy-glass, and then youcan see it more plainly."
He fetched a small but powerful telescope, which had been in hissatchel, and by its aid the little girl clearly saw the opening.
"Where does it lead to?" she asked.
"That I cannot tell," said the Wizard; "but we cannot now be far belowthe earth's surface, and that entrance may lead to another stairwaythat will bring us on top of our world again, where we belong. So, ifwe had the wings, and could escape the Gargoyles, we might fly to thatrock and be saved."
"I'll get you the wings," said Zeb, who had thoughtfully listened toall this. "That is, if the kitten will show me where they are."
"But how can you get down?" enquired the girl, wonderingly.
For answer Zeb began to unfasten Jim's harness, strap by strap, and tobuckle one piece to another until he had made a long leather strip thatwould reach to the ground.
"I can climb down that, all right," he said.
"No you can't," remarked Jim, with a twinkle in his round eyes. "Youmay GO down, but you can only CLIMB up."
"Well, I'll climb up when I get back, then," said the boy, with alaugh. "Now, Eureka, you'll have to show me the way to those wings."
"You must be very quiet," warned the kitten; "for if you make the leastnoise the Gargoyles will wake up. They can hear a pin drop."
"I'm not going to drop a pin," said Zeb.
He had fastened one end of the strap to a wheel of the buggy, and nowhe let the line dangle over the side of the house.
"Be careful," cautioned Dorothy, earnestly.
"I will," said the boy, and let himself slide over the edge.
The girl and the Wizard leaned over and watched Zeb work his waycarefully downward, hand over hand, until he stood upon the groundbelow. Eureka clung with her claws to the wooden side of the house andlet herself down easily. Then together they crept away to enter thelow doorway of a neighboring dwelling.
The watchers waited in breathless suspense until the boy againappeared, his arms now full of the wooden wings.
When he came to where the strap was hanging he tied the wings all in abunch to the end of the line, and the Wizard drew them up. Then theline was let down again for Zeb to climb up by. Eureka quicklyfollowed him, and soon they were all standing together upon theplatform, with eight of the much prized wooden wings beside them.
The boy was no longer sleepy, but full of energy and excitement. Heput the harness together again and hitched Jim to the buggy. Then,with the Wizard's help, he tried to fasten some of the wings to the oldcab-horse.
This was no easy task, because half of each one of the hinges of thewings was missing, it being still fastened to the body of the Gargoylewho had used it. However, the Wizard went once more to hissatchel--which seemed to contain a surprising variety of odds andends--and brought out a spool of strong wire, by means of which theymanaged to fasten four of the wings to Jim's harness, two near his headand two near his tail. They were a bit wiggley, but secure enough ifonly the harness held together.
The other four wings were then fastened to the buggy, two on each side,for the buggy must bear the weight of the children and the Wizard as itflew through the air.
These preparations had not consumed a great deal of time, but thesleeping Gargoyles were beginning to wake up and move around, and soonsome of them would be hunting for their missing wings. So theprisoners resolved to leave their prison at once.
They mounted into the buggy, Dorothy holding Eureka safe in her lap.The girl sat in the middle of the seat, with Zeb and the Wizard on eachside of her. When all was ready the boy shook the reins and said:
"Fly away, Jim!"
"Which wings must I flop first?" asked the cab-horse, undecidedly.
"Flop them all together," suggested the Wizard.
"Some of them are crooked," objected the horse.
"Never mind; we will steer with the wings on the buggy," said Zeb."Just you light out and make for that rock, Jim; and don't waste anytime about it, either."
So the horse gave a groan, flopped its four wings all together, andflew away from the platform. Dorothy was a little anxious about thesuccess of their trip, for the way Jim arched his long neck and spreadout his bony legs as he fluttered and floundered through the air wasenough to make anybody nervous. He groaned, too, as if frightened, andthe wings creaked dreadfully because the Wizard had forgotten to oilthem; but they kept fairly good time with the wings of the buggy, sothat they made excellent progress from the start. The only thing thatanyone could complain of with justice was the fact that they wobbledfirst up and then down, as if the road were rocky instead of being assmooth as the air could make it.
The main point, however, was that they flew, and flew swiftly, if a bitunevenly, toward the rock for which they had headed.
Some of the Gargoyles saw them, presently, and lost no time incollecting a band to pursue the escaping prisoners; so that whenDorothy happened to look back she saw them coming in a great cloud thatalmost darkened the sky.
13. The Den of the Dragonettes
Our friends had a good start and were able to maintain it, for withtheir eight wings they could go just as fast as could the Gargoyles.All the way to the great rock the wooden people followed them, and whenJim finally alighted at the mouth of the cavern the pursuers were stillsome distance away.
"But, I'm afraid they'll catch us yet," said Dorothy, greatly excited.
"No; we must stop them," declared the Wizard. "Quick Zeb, help me pulloff these wooden wings!"
They tore off the wings, for which they had no further use, and theWizard piled them in a heap just outside the entrance to the cavern.Then he poured over them all the kerosene oil that was left in hisoil-can, and lighting a match set fire to the pile.
The flames leaped up at once and the bonfire began to smoke and roarand crackle just as the great army of wooden Gargoyles arrived. Thecreatures drew back at once, being filled with fear and horror; forsuch as dreadful thing as a fire they had never before known in all thehistory of their wooden land.
Inside the archway were several doors, leading to different rooms builtinto the mountain, and Zeb and the Wizard lifted these wooden doorsfrom their hinges and tossed them all on the flames.
"That will prove a barrier for some time to come," said the little man,smiling pleasantly all over his wrinkled face at the success of theirstratagem. "Perhaps the flames will set fire to all that miserablewooden country, and if it does the loss will be very small and theGargoyles never will be missed. But come, my children; let us explorethe mountain and discover which way we must go in order to escape fromthis cavern, which is getting to be almost as hot as a bake-oven."
To their disappointment there was within this mountain no regularflight of steps by means of which they could mount to the earth'ssurface. A sort of inclined tunnel led upward for a way, and theyfound the floor of it both rough and steep. Then a sudden turn broughtthem to a narrow gallery where the buggy could not pass. This delayedand bothered them for a while, because they did not wish to leave thebuggy behind them. It carried their baggage and was useful to ride inwherever there were good roads, and since it had accompanied them sofar in their travels they felt it their duty to preserve it. So Zeband the Wizard set to work and took off the wheels and the top, andthen they put the buggy edgewise, so it would take up the smallestspace. In this position they managed, with the aid of the patientcab-horse, to drag the vehicle through the narrow part of the passage.It was not a great distance, fortunately, and when the path grewbroader they put the buggy together again and proceeded morecomfortably. But the road was nothing more than a series of rifts orcracks in the mountain, and it went zig-zag in every direction,slanting first up and then down until they were puzzled as to whetherthey were any nearer to the top of the earth than when they hadstarted, hours before.
"Anyhow," said Dorothy, "we've 'scaped those awful Gurgles, and that'sONE comfort!"
"Probably the Gargoyles are still busy trying to put out the fire,"returned the Wizard. "But even if they succeeded in doing that itwould be very difficult for them to fly amongst these rocks; so I amsure we need fear them no longer."
Once in a while they would come to a deep crack in the floor, whichmade the way quite dangerous; but there was still enough oil in thelanterns to give them light, and the cracks were not so wide but thatthey were able to jump over them. Sometimes they had to climb overheaps of loose rock, where Jim could scarcely drag the buggy. At suchtimes Dorothy, Zeb and the Wizard all pushed behind, and lifted thewheels over the roughest places; so they managed, by dint of hard work,to keep going. But the little party was both weary and discouragedwhen at last, on turning a sharp corner, the wanderers found themselvesin a vast cave arching high over their heads and having a smooth, levelfloor.
The cave was circular in shape, and all around its edge, near to theground, appeared groups of dull yellow lights, two of them being alwaysside by side. These were motionless at first, but soon began toflicker more brightly and to sway slowly from side to side and then upand down.
"What sort of place is this?" asked the boy, trying to see more clearlythrough the gloom.
"I cannot imagine, I'm sure," answered the Wizard, also peering about.
"Woogh!" snarled Eureka, arching her back until her hair stood straighton end; "it's den of alligators, or crocodiles, or some other dreadfulcreatures! Don't you see their terrible eyes?"
"Eureka sees better in the dark than we can," whispered Dorothy. "Tellus, dear, what do the creatures look like?" she asked, addressing herpet.
"I simply can't describe 'em," answered the kitten, shuddering. "Theireyes are like pie-plates and their mouths like coal-scuttles. Buttheir bodies don't seem very big."
"Where are they?" enquired the girl.
"They are in little pockets all around the edge of this cavern. Oh,Dorothy--you can't imagine what horrid things they are! They're uglierthan the Gargoyles."
"Tut-tut! be careful how you criticise your neighbors," spoke a raspingvoice near by. "As a matter of fact you are rather ugly-lookingcreatures yourselves, and I'm sure mother has often told us we were theloveliest and prettiest things in all the world."
Hearing these words our friends turned in the direction of the sound,and the Wizard held his lanterns so that their light would flood one ofthe little pockets in the rock.
"Why, it's a dragon!" he exclaimed.
"No," answered the owner of the big yellow eyes which were blinking atthem so steadily; "you are wrong about that. We hope to grow to bedragons some day, but just now we're only dragonettes."
"What's that?" asked Dorothy, gazing fearfully at the great scaleyhead, the yawning mouth and the big eyes.
"Young dragons, of course; but we are not allowed to call ourselvesreal dragons until we get our full growth," was the reply. "The bigdragons are very proud, and don't think children amount to much; butmother says that some day we will all be very powerful and important."
"Where is your mother?" asked the Wizard, anxiously looking around.
"She has gone up to the top of the earth to hunt for our dinner. Ifshe has good luck she will bring us an elephant, or a brace ofrhinoceri, or perhaps a few dozen people to stay our hunger."
"Oh; are you hungry?" enquired Dorothy, drawing back.
"Very," said the dragonette, snapping its jaws.
"And--and--do you eat people?"
"To be sure, when we can get them. But they've been very scarce for afew years and we usually have to be content with elephants orbuffaloes," answered the creature, in a regretful tone.
"How old are you?" enquired Zeb, who stared at the yellow eyes as iffascinated.
"Quite young, I grieve to say; and all of my brothers and sisters thatyou see here are practically my own age. If I remember rightly, wewere sixty-six years old the day before yesterday."
"But that isn't young!" cried Dorothy, in amazement.
"No?" drawled the dragonette; "it seems to me very babyish."
"How old is your mother?" asked the girl.
"Mother's about two thousand years old; but she carelessly lost trackof her age a few centuries ago and skipped several hundreds. She's alittle fussy, you know, and afraid of growing old, being a widow andstill in her prime."
"I should think she would be," agreed Dorothy. Then, after a moment'sthought, she asked: "Are we friends or enemies? I mean, will you begood to us, or do you intend to eat us?"
"As for that, we dragonettes would love to eat you, my child; butunfortunately mother has tied all our tails around the rocks at theback of our individual caves, so that we can not crawl out to get you.If you choose to come nearer we will make a mouthful of you in a wink;but unless you do you will remain quite safe."
There was a regretful accent in the creature's voice, and at the wordsall the other dragonettes sighed dismally.
Dorothy felt relieved. Presently she asked:
"Why did your mother tie your tails?"
"Oh, she is sometimes gone for several weeks on her hunting trips, andif we were not tied we would crawl all over the mountain and fight witheach other and get into a lot of mischief. Mother usually knows whatshe is about, but she made a mistake this time; for you are sure toescape us unless you come too near, and you probably won't do that."
"No, indeed!" said the little girl. "We don't wish to be eaten by suchawful beasts."
"Permit me to say," returned the dragonette, "that you are ratherimpolite to call us names, knowing that we cannot resent your insults.We consider ourselves very beautiful in appearance, for mother has toldus so, and she knows. And we are of an excellent family and have apedigree that I challenge any humans to equal, as it extends back abouttwenty thousand years, to the time of the famous Green Dragon ofAtlantis, who lived in a time when humans had not yet been created.Can you match that pedigree, little girl?"
"Well," said Dorothy, "I was born on a farm in Kansas, and I guessthat's being just as 'spectable and haughty as living in a cave withyour tail tied to a rock. If it isn't I'll have to stand it, that'sall."
"Tastes differ," murmured the dragonette, slowly drooping its scaleyeyelids over its yellow eyes, until they looked like half-moons.
Being reassured by the fact that the creatures could not crawl out oftheir rock-pockets, the children and the Wizard now took time toexamine them more closely. The heads of the dragonettes were as big asbarrels and covered with hard, greenish scales that glittered brightlyunder the light of the lanterns. Their front legs, which grew justback of their heads, were also strong and big; but their bodies weresmaller around than their heads, and dwindled away in a long line untiltheir tails were slim as a shoe-string. Dorothy thought, if it hadtaken them sixty-six years to grow to this size, that it would be fullya hundred years more before they could hope to call themselves dragons,and that seemed like a good while to wait to grow up.
"It occurs to me," said the Wizard, "that we ought to get out of thisplace before the mother dragon comes back."
"Don't hurry," called one of the dragonettes; "mother will be glad tomeet you, I'm sure."
"You may be right," replied the Wizard, "but we're a little particularabout associating with strangers. Will you kindly tell us which wayyour mother went to get on top the earth?"
"That is not a fair question to ask us," declared another dragonette."For, if we told you truly, you might escape us altogether; and if wetold you an untruth we would be naughty and deserve to be punished."
"Then," decided Dorothy, "we must find our way out the best we can."
They circled all around the cavern, keeping a good distance away fromthe blinking yellow eyes of the dragonettes, and presently discoveredthat there were two paths leading from the wall opposite to the placewhere they had entered. They selected one of these at a venture andhurried along it as fast as they could go, for they had no idea whenthe mother dragon would be back and were very anxious not to make heracquaintance.
14. Ozma Uses the Magic Belt
For a considerable distance the way led straight upward in a gentleincline, and the wanderers made such good progress that they grewhopeful and eager, thinking they might see sunshine at any minute. Butat length they came unexpectedly upon a huge rock that shut off thepassage and blocked them from proceeding a single step farther.
This rock was separate from the rest of the mountain and was in motion,turning slowly around and around as if upon a pivot. When first theycame to it there was a solid wall before them; but presently itrevolved until there was exposed a wide, smooth path across it to theother side. This appeared so unexpectedly that they were unprepared totake advantage of it at first, and allowed the rocky wall to swingaround again before they had decided to pass over. But they knew nowthat there was a means of escape and so waited patiently until the pathappeared for the second time.
The children and the Wizard rushed across the moving rock and spranginto the passage beyond, landing safely though a little out of breath.Jim the cab-horse came last, and the rocky wall almost caught him; forjust as he leaped to the floor of the further passage the wall swungacross it and a loose stone that the buggy wheels knocked against fellinto the narrow crack where the rock turned, and became wedged there.
They heard a crunching, grinding sound, a loud snap, and the turn-tablecame to a stop with its broadest surface shutting off the path fromwhich they had come.
"Never mind," said Zeb, "we don't want to get back, anyhow."
"I'm not so sure of that," returned Dorothy. "The mother dragon maycome down and catch us here."
"It is possible," agreed the Wizard, "if this proves to be the path sheusually takes. But I have been examining this tunnel, and I do not seeany signs of so large a beast having passed through it."
"Then we're all right," said the girl, "for if the dragon went theother way she can't poss'bly get to us now."
"Of course not, my dear. But there is another thing to consider. Themother dragon probably knows the road to the earth's surface, and ifshe went the other way then we have come the wrong way," said theWizard, thoughtfully.
"Dear me!" cried Dorothy. "That would be unlucky, wouldn't it?"
"Very. Unless this passage also leads to the top of the earth," saidZeb. "For my part, if we manage to get out of here I'll be glad itisn't the way the dragon goes."
"So will I," returned Dorothy. "It's enough to have your pedigreeflung in your face by those saucy dragonettes. No one knows what themother might do."
They now moved on again, creeping slowly up another steep incline. Thelanterns were beginning to grow dim, and the Wizard poured theremaining oil from one into the other, so that the one light would lastlonger. But their journey was almost over, for in a short time theyreached a small cave from which there was no further outlet.
They did not realize their ill fortune at first, for their hearts weregladdened by the sight of a ray of sunshine coming through a smallcrack in the roof of the cave, far overhead. That meant that theirworld--the real world--was not very far away, and that the successionof perilous adventures they had encountered had at last brought themnear the earth's surface, which meant home to them. But when theadventurers looked more carefully around them they discovered thatthere were in a strong prison from which there was no hope of escape.
"But we're ALMOST on earth again," cried Dorothy, "for there is thesun--the most BEAU'FUL sun that shines!" and she pointed eagerly at thecrack in the distant roof.
"Almost on earth isn't being there," said the kitten, in a discontentedtone. "It wouldn't be possible for even me to get up to that crack--orthrough it if I got there."
"It appears that the path ends here," announced the Wizard, gloomily.
"And there is no way to go back," added Zeb, with a low whistle ofperplexity.
"I was sure it would come to this, in the end," remarked the oldcab-horse. "Folks don't fall into the middle of the earth and then getback again to tell of their adventures--not in real life. And thewhole thing has been unnatural because that cat and I are both able totalk your language, and to understand the words you say."
"And so can the nine tiny piglets," added Eureka. "Don't forget them,for I may have to eat them, after all."
"I've heard animals talk before," said Dorothy, "and no harm came ofit."
"Were you ever before shut up in a cave, far under the earth, with noway of getting out?" enquired the horse, seriously.
"No," answered Dorothy. "But don't you lose heart, Jim, for I'm surethis isn't the end of our story, by any means."
The reference to the piglets reminded the Wizard that his pets had notenjoyed much exercise lately, and must be tired of their prison in hispocket. So he sat down upon the floor of the cave, brought the pigletsout one by one, and allowed them to run around as much as they pleased.
"My dears," he said to them, "I'm afraid I've got you into a lot oftrouble, and that you will never again be able to leave this gloomycave."
"What's wrong?" asked a piglet. "We've been in the dark quite a while,and you may as well explain what has happened."
The Wizard told them of the misfortune that had overtaken the wanderers.
"Well," said another piglet, "you are a wizard, are you not?"
"I am," replied the little man.
"Then you can do a few wizzes and get us out of this hole," declaredthe tiny one, with much confidence.
"I could if I happened to be a real wizard," returned the master sadly."But I'm not, my piggy-wees; I'm a humbug wizard."
"Nonsense!" cried several of the piglets, together.
"You can ask Dorothy," said the little man, in an injured tone.
"It's true enough," returned the girl, earnestly. "Our friend Oz ismerely a humbug wizard, for he once proved it to me. He can do severalvery wonderful things--if he knows how. But he can't wiz a singlething if he hasn't the tools and machinery to work with."
"Thank you, my dear, for doing me justice," responded the Wizard,gratefully. "To be accused of being a real wizard, when I'm not, is aslander I will not tamely submit to. But I am one of the greatesthumbug wizards that ever lived, and you will realize this when we haveall starved together and our bones are scattered over the floor of thislonely cave."
"I don't believe we'll realize anything, when it comes to that,"remarked Dorothy, who had been deep in thought. "But I'm not going toscatter my bones just yet, because I need them, and you prob'ly needyours, too."
"We are helpless to escape," sighed the Wizard.
"WE may be helpless," answered Dorothy, smiling at him, "but there areothers who can do more than we can. Cheer up, friends. I'm sure Ozmawill help us."
"Ozma!" exclaimed the Wizard. "Who is Ozma?"
"The girl that rules the marvelous Land of Oz," was the reply. "She'sa friend of mine, for I met her in the Land of Ev, not long ago, andwent to Oz with her."
"For the second time?" asked the Wizard, with great interest.
"Yes. The first time I went to Oz I found you there, ruling theEmerald City. After you went up in a balloon, and escaped us, I gotback to Kansas by means of a pair of magical silver shoes."
"I remember those shoes," said the little man, nodding. "They oncebelonged to the Wicked Witch. Have you them here with you?"
"No; I lost them somewhere in the air," explained the child. "But thesecond time I went to the Land of Oz I owned the Nome King's MagicBelt, which is much more powerful than were the Silver Shoes."
"Where is that Magic Belt?" enquired the Wizard, who had listened withgreat interest.
"Ozma has it; for its powers won't work in a common, ordinary countrylike the United States. Anyone in a fairy country like the Land of Ozcan do anything with it; so I left it with my friend the Princess Ozma,who used it to wish me in Australia with Uncle Henry."
"And were you?" asked Zeb, astonished at what he heard.
"Of course; in just a jiffy. And Ozma has an enchanted picture hangingin her room that shows her the exact scene where any of her friends maybe, at any time she chooses. All she has to do is to say: 'I wonderwhat So-and-so is doing,' and at once the picture shows where herfriend is and what the friend is doing. That's REAL magic, Mr. Wizard;isn't it? Well, every day at four o'clock Ozma has promised to look atme in that picture, and if I am in need of help I am to make her acertain sign and she will put on the Nome King's Magic Belt and wish meto be with her in Oz."
"Do you mean that Princess Ozma will see this cave in her enchantedpicture, and see all of us here, and what we are doing?" demanded Zeb.
"Of course; when it is four o'clock," she replied, with a laugh at hisstartled expression.
"And when you make a sign she will bring you to her in the Land of Oz?"continued the boy.
"That's it, exactly; by means of the Magic Belt."
"Then," said the Wizard, "you will be saved, little Dorothy; and I amvery glad of it. The rest of us will die much more cheerfully when weknow you have escaped our sad fate."
"I won't die cheerfully!" protested the kitten. "There's nothingcheerful about dying that I could ever see, although they say a cat hasnine lives, and so must die nine times."
"Have you ever died yet?" enquired the boy.
"No, and I'm not anxious to begin," said Eureka.
"Don't worry, dear," Dorothy exclaimed, "I'll hold you in my arms, andtake you with me."
"Take us, too!" cried the nine tiny piglets, all in one breath.
"Perhaps I can," answered Dorothy. "I'll try."
"Couldn't you manage to hold me in your arms?" asked the cab-horse.
"I'll do better than that," she promised, "for I can easily save youall, once I am myself in the Land of Oz."
"How?" they asked.
"By using the Magic Belt. All I need do is to wish you with me, andthere you'll be--safe in the royal palace!"
"Good!" cried Zeb.
"I built that palace, and the Emerald City, too," remarked the Wizard,in a thoughtful tone, "and I'd like to see them again, for I was veryhappy among the Munchkins and Winkies and Quadlings and Gillikins."
"Who are they?" asked the boy.
"The four nations that inhabit the Land of Oz," was the reply. "Iwonder if they would treat me nicely if I went there again."
"Of course they would!" declared Dorothy. "They are still proud oftheir former Wizard, and often speak of you kindly."
"Do you happen to know whatever became of the Tin Woodman and theScarecrow?" he enquired.
"They live in Oz yet," said the girl, "and are very important people."
"And the Cowardly Lion?"
"Oh, he lives there too, with his friend the Hungry Tiger; and Billinais there, because she liked the place better than Kansas, and wouldn'tgo with me to Australia."
"I'm afraid I don't know the Hungry Tiger and Billina," said theWizard, shaking his head. "Is Billina a girl?"
"No; she's a yellow hen, and a great friend of mine. You're sure tolike Billina, when you know her," asserted Dorothy.
"Your friends sound like a menagerie," remarked Zeb, uneasily."Couldn't you wish me in some safer place than Oz."
"Don't worry," replied the girl. "You'll just love the folks in Oz,when you get acquainted. What time is it, Mr. Wizard?"
The little man looked at his watch--a big silver one that he carried inhis vest pocket.
"Half-past three," he said.
"Then we must wait for half an hour," she continued; "but it won't takelong, after that, to carry us all to the Emerald City."
They sat silently thinking for a time. Then Jim suddenly asked:
"Are there any horses in Oz?"
"Only one," replied Dorothy, "and he's a sawhorse."
"A sawhorse. Princess Ozma once brought him to life with awitch-powder, when she was a boy."
"Was Ozma once a boy?" asked Zeb, wonderingly.
"Yes; a wicked witch enchanted her, so she could not rule her kingdom.But she's a girl now, and the sweetest, loveliest girl in all theworld."
"A sawhorse is a thing they saw boards on," remarked Jim, with a sniff.
"It is when it's not alive," acknowledged the girl. "But this sawhorsecan trot as fast as you can, Jim; and he's very wise, too."
"Pah! I'll race the miserable wooden donkey any day in the week!"cried the cab-horse.
Dorothy did not reply to that. She felt that Jim would know more aboutthe Saw-Horse later on.
The time dragged wearily enough to the eager watchers, but finally theWizard announced that four o'clock had arrived, and Dorothy caught upthe kitten and began to make the signal that had been agreed upon tothe far-away invisible Ozma.
"Nothing seems to happen," said Zeb, doubtfully.
"Oh, we must give Ozma time to put on the Magic Belt," replied the girl.
She had scarcely spoken the words then she suddenly disappeared fromthe cave, and with her went the kitten. There had been no sound of anykind and no warning. One moment Dorothy sat beside them with thekitten in her lap, and a moment later the horse, the piglets, theWizard and the boy were all that remained in the underground prison.
"I believe we will soon follow her," announced the Wizard, in a tone ofgreat relief; "for I know something about the magic of the fairylandthat is called the Land of Oz. Let us be ready, for we may be sent forany minute."
He put the piglets safely away in his pocket again and then he and Zebgot into the buggy and sat expectantly upon the seat.
"Will it hurt?" asked the boy, in a voice that trembled a little.
"Not at all," replied the Wizard. "It will all happen as quick as awink."
And that was the way it did happen.
The cab-horse gave a nervous start and Zeb began to rub his eyes tomake sure he was not asleep. For they were in the streets of abeautiful emerald-green city, bathed in a grateful green light that wasespecially pleasing to their eyes, and surrounded by merry faced peoplein gorgeous green-and-gold costumes of many extraordinary designs.
Before them were the jewel-studded gates of a magnificent palace, andnow the gates opened slowly as if inviting them to enter the courtyard,where splendid flowers were blooming and pretty fountains shot theirsilvery sprays into the air.
Zeb shook the reins to rouse the cab-horse from his stupor ofamazement, for the people were beginning to gather around and stare atthe strangers.
"Gid-dap!" cried the boy, and at the word Jim slowly trotted into thecourtyard and drew the buggy along the jewelled driveway to the greatentrance of the royal palace.
15. Old Friends are Reunited
Many servants dressed in handsome uniforms stood ready to welcome thenew arrivals, and when the Wizard got out of the buggy a pretty girl ina green gown cried out in surprise:
"Why, it's Oz, the Wonderful Wizard, come back again!"
The little man looked at her closely and then took both the maiden'shands in his and shook them cordially.
"On my word," he exclaimed, "it's little Jellia Jamb--as pert andpretty as ever!"
"Why not, Mr. Wizard?" asked Jellia, bowing low. "But I'm afraid youcannot rule the Emerald City, as you used to, because we now have abeautiful Princess whom everyone loves dearly."
"And the people will not willingly part with her," added a tall soldierin a Captain-General's uniform.
The Wizard turned to look at him.
"Did you not wear green whiskers at one time?" he asked.
"Yes," said the soldier; "but I shaved them off long ago, and sincethen I have risen from a private to be the Chief General of the RoyalArmies."
"That's nice," said the little man. "But I assure you, my good people,that I do not wish to rule the Emerald City," he added, earnestly.
"In that case you are very welcome!" cried all the servants, and itpleased the Wizard to note the respect with which the royal retainersbowed before him. His fame had not been forgotten in the Land of Oz,by any means.
"Where is Dorothy?" enquired Zeb, anxiously, as he left the buggy andstood beside his friend the little Wizard.
"She is with the Princess Ozma, in the private rooms of the palace,"replied Jellia Jamb. "But she has ordered me to make you welcome andto show you to your apartments."
The boy looked around him with wondering eyes. Such magnificence andwealth as was displayed in this palace was more than he had everdreamed of, and he could scarcely believe that all the gorgeous glitterwas real and not tinsel.
"What's to become of me?" asked the horse, uneasily. He had seenconsiderable of life in the cities in his younger days, and knew thatthis regal palace was no place for him.
It perplexed even Jellia Jamb, for a time, to know what to do with theanimal. The green maiden was much astonished at the sight of sounusual a creature, for horses were unknown in this Land; but those wholived in the Emerald City were apt to be astonished by queer sights, soafter inspecting the cab-horse and noting the mild look in his big eyesthe girl decided not to be afraid of him.
"There are no stables here," said the Wizard, "unless some have beenbuilt since I went away."
"We have never needed them before," answered Jellia; "for the Sawhorselives in a room of the palace, being much smaller and more natural inappearance than this great beast you have brought with you."
"Do you mean that I'm a freak?" asked Jim, angrily.
"Oh, no," she hastened to say, "there may be many more like you in theplace you came from, but in Oz any horse but a Sawhorse is unusual."
This mollified Jim a little, and after some thought the green maidendecided to give the cab-horse a room in the palace, such a big buildinghaving many rooms that were seldom in use.
So Zeb unharnessed Jim, and several of the servants then led the horsearound to the rear, where they selected a nice large apartment that hecould have all to himself.
Then Jellia said to the Wizard:
"Your own room--which was back of the great Throne Room--has beenvacant ever since you left us. Would you like it again?"
"Yes, indeed!" returned the little man. "It will seem like being athome again, for I lived in that room for many, many years."
He knew the way to it, and a servant followed him, carrying hissatchel. Zeb was also escorted to a room--so grand and beautiful thathe almost feared to sit in the chairs or lie upon the bed, lest hemight dim their splendor. In the closets he discovered many fancycostumes of rich velvets and brocades, and one of the attendants toldhim to dress himself in any of the clothes that pleased him and to beprepared to dine with the Princess and Dorothy in an hour's time.
Opening from the chamber was a fine bathroom having a marble tub withperfumed water; so the boy, still dazed by the novelty of hissurroundings, indulged in a good bath and then selected a maroon velvetcostume with silver buttons to replace his own soiled and much wornclothing. There were silk stockings and soft leather slippers withdiamond buckles to accompany his new costume, and when he was fullydressed Zeb looked much more dignified and imposing than ever before inhis life.
He was all ready when an attendant came to escort him to the presenceof the Princess; he followed bashfully and was ushered into a room moredainty and attractive than it was splendid. Here he found Dorothyseated beside a young girl so marvelously beautiful that the boystopped suddenly with a gasp of admiration.
But Dorothy sprang up and ran to seize her friend's hand drawing himimpulsively toward the lovely Princess, who smiled most graciously uponher guest. Then the Wizard entered, and his presence relieved theboy's embarrassment. The little man was clothed in black velvet, withmany sparkling emerald ornaments decorating his breast; but his baldhead and wrinkled features made him appear more amusing than impressive.
Ozma had been quite curious to meet the famous man who had built theEmerald City and united the Munchkins, Gillikins, Quadlings and Winkiesinto one people; so when they were all four seated at the dinner tablethe Princess said:
"Please tell me, Mr. Wizard, whether you called yourself Oz after thisgreat country, or whether you believe my country is called Oz afteryou. It is a matter that I have long wished to enquire about, becauseyou are of a strange race and my own name is Ozma. No, one, I am sure,is better able to explain this mystery than you."
"That is true," answered the little Wizard; "therefore it will give mepleasure to explain my connection with your country. In the firstplace, I must tell you that I was born in Omaha, and my father, who wasa politician, named me Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman HenkleEmmannuel Ambroise Diggs, Diggs being the last name because he couldthink of no more to go before it. Taken altogether, it was adreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one ofthe hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When Igrew up I just called myself O. Z., because the other initials wereP-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled 'pinhead,' which was a reflection on myintelligence."
"Surely no one could blame you for cutting your name short," said Ozma,sympathetically. "But didn't you cut it almost too short?"
"Perhaps so," replied the Wizard. "When a young man I ran away fromhome and joined a circus. I used to call myself a Wizard, and dotricks of ventriloquism."
"What does that mean?" asked the Princess.
"Throwing my voice into any object I pleased, to make it appear thatthe object was speaking instead of me. Also I began to make balloonascensions. On my balloon and on all the other articles I used in thecircus I painted the two initials: 'O. Z.', to show that those thingsbelonged to me.
"One day my balloon ran away with me and brought me across the desertsto this beautiful country. When the people saw me come from the skythey naturally thought me some superior creature, and bowed down beforeme. I told them I was a Wizard, and showed them some easy tricks thatamazed them; and when they saw the initials painted on the balloon theycalled me Oz."
"Now I begin to understand," said the Princess, smiling.
"At that time," continued the Wizard, busily eating his soup whiletalking, "there were four separate countries in this Land, each one ofthe four being ruled by a Witch. But the people thought my power wasgreater than that of the Witches; and perhaps the Witches thought sotoo, for they never dared oppose me. I ordered the Emerald City to bebuilt just where the four countries cornered together, and when it wascompleted I announced myself the Ruler of the Land of Oz, whichincluded all the four countries of the Munchkins, the Gillikins, theWinkies and the Quadlings. Over this Land I ruled in peace for manyyears, until I grew old and longed to see my native city once again.So when Dorothy was first blown to this place by a cyclone I arrangedto go away with her in a balloon; but the balloon escaped too soon andcarried me back alone. After many adventures I reached Omaha, only tofind that all my old friends were dead or had moved away. So, havingnothing else to do, I joined a circus again, and made my balloonascensions until the earthquake caught me."
"That is quite a history," said Ozma; "but there is a little morehistory about the Land of Oz that you do not seem tounderstand--perhaps for the reason that no one ever told it you. Manyyears before you came here this Land was united under one Ruler, as itis now, and the Ruler's name was always 'Oz,' which means in ourlanguage 'Great and Good'; or, if the Ruler happened to be a woman, hername was always 'Ozma.' But once upon a time four Witches leaguedtogether to depose the king and rule the four parts of the kingdomthemselves; so when the Ruler, my grandfather, was hunting one day, oneWicked Witch named Mombi stole him and carried him away, keeping him aclose prisoner. Then the Witches divided up the kingdom, and ruled thefour parts of it until you came here. That was why the people were soglad to see you, and why they thought from your initials that you weretheir rightful ruler."
"But, at that time," said the Wizard, thoughtfully, "there were twoGood Witches and two Wicked Witches ruling in the land."
"Yes," replied Ozma, "because a good Witch had conquered Mombi in theNorth and Glinda the Good had conquered the evil Witch in the South.But Mombi was still my grandfather's jailor, and afterward my father'sjailor. When I was born she transformed me into a boy, hoping that noone would ever recognize me and know that I was the rightful Princessof the Land of Oz. But I escaped from her and am now the Ruler of mypeople."
"I am very glad of that," said the Wizard, "and hope you will considerme one of your most faithful and devoted subjects."
"We owe a great deal to the Wonderful Wizard," continued the Princess,"for it was you who built this splendid Emerald City."
"Your people built it," he answered. "I only bossed the job, as we sayin Omaha."
"But you ruled it wisely and well for many years," said she, "and madethe people proud of your magical art. So, as you are now too old towander abroad and work in a circus, I offer you a home here as long asyou live. You shall be the Official Wizard of my kingdom, and betreated with every respect and consideration."
"I accept your kind offer with gratitude, gracious Princess," thelittle man said, in a soft voice, and they could all see thattear-drops were standing in his keen old eyes. It meant a good deal tohim to secure a home like this.
"He's only a humbug Wizard, though," said Dorothy, smiling at him.
"And that is the safest kind of a Wizard to have," replied Ozma,promptly.
"Oz can do some good tricks, humbug or no humbug," announced Zeb, whowas now feeling more at ease.
"He shall amuse us with his tricks tomorrow," said the Princess. "Ihave sent messengers to summon all of Dorothy's old friends to meet herand give her welcome, and they ought to arrive very soon, now."
Indeed, the dinner was no sooner finished than in rushed the Scarecrow,to hug Dorothy in his padded arms and tell her how glad he was to seeher again. The Wizard was also most heartily welcomed by the strawman, who was an important personage in the Land of Oz.
"How are your brains?" enquired the little humbug, as he grasped thesoft, stuffed hands of his old friend.
"Working finely," answered the Scarecrow. "I'm very certain, Oz, thatyou gave me the best brains in the world, for I can think with them dayand night, when all other brains are fast asleep."
"How long did you rule the Emerald City, after I left here?" was thenext question.
"Quite awhile, until I was conquered by a girl named General Jinjur.But Ozma soon conquered her, with the help of Glinda the Good, andafter that I went to live with Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman."
Just then a loud cackling was heard outside; and, when a servant threwopen the door with a low bow, a yellow hen strutted in. Dorothy sprangforward and caught the fluffy fowl in her arms, uttering at the sametime a glad cry.
"Oh, Billina!" she said; "how fat and sleek you've grown."
"Why shouldn't I?" asked the hen, in a sharp, clear voice. "I live onthe fat of the land--don't I, Ozma?"
"You have everything you wish for," said the Princess.
Around Billina's neck was a string of beautiful pearls, and on her legswere bracelets of emeralds. She nestled herself comfortably inDorothy's lap until the kitten gave a snarl of jealous anger and leapedup with a sharp claw fiercely bared to strike Billina a blow. But thelittle girl gave the angry kitten such a severe cuff that it jumpeddown again without daring to scratch.
"How horrid of you, Eureka!" cried Dorothy. "Is that the way to treatmy friends?"
"You have queer friends, seems to me," replied the kitten, in a surlytone.
"Seems to me the same way," said Billina, scornfully, "if that beastlycat is one of them."
"Look here!" said Dorothy, sternly. "I won't have any quarrelling inthe Land of Oz, I can tell you! Everybody lives in peace here, andloves everybody else; and unless you two, Billina and Eureka, make upand be friends, I'll take my Magic Belt and wish you both home again,IMMEJITLY. So, there!"
They were both much frightened at the threat, and promised meekly to begood. But it was never noticed that they became very warm friends, forall of that.
And now the Tin Woodman arrived, his body most beautifullynickle-plated, so that it shone splendidly in the brilliant light ofthe room. The Tin Woodman loved Dorothy most tenderly, and welcomedwith joy the return of the little old Wizard.
"Sir," said he to the latter, "I never can thank you enough for theexcellent heart you once gave me. It has made me many friends, Iassure you, and it beats as kindly and lovingly today as it every did."
"I'm glad to hear that," said the Wizard. "I was afraid it would getmoldy in that tin body of yours."
"Not at all," returned Nick Chopper. "It keeps finely, being preservedin my air-tight chest."
Zeb was a little shy when first introduced to these queer people; butthey were so friendly and sincere that he soon grew to admire them verymuch, even finding some good qualities in the yellow hen. But hebecame nervous again when the next visitor was announced.
"This," said Princess Ozma, "is my friend Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E.,who assisted me one time when I was in great distress, and is now theDean of the Royal College of Athletic Science."
"Ah," said the Wizard; "I'm pleased to meet so distinguished apersonage."
"H. M.," said the Woggle-Bug, pompously, "means Highly Magnified; andT. E. means Thoroughly Educated. I am, in reality, a very big bug, anddoubtless the most intelligent being in all this broad domain."
"How well you disguise it," said the Wizard. "But I don't doubt yourword in the least."
"Nobody doubts it, sir," replied the Woggle-Bug, and drawing a bookfrom its pocket the strange insect turned its back on the company andsat down in a corner to read.
Nobody minded this rudeness, which might have seemed more impolite inone less thoroughly educated; so they straightway forgot him and joinedin a merry conversation that kept them well amused until bed-timearrived.
16. Jim, The Cab-Horse
Jim the Cab-horse found himself in possession of a large room with agreen marble floor and carved marble wainscoting, which was so statelyin its appearance that it would have awed anyone else. Jim accepted itas a mere detail, and at his command the attendants gave his coat agood rubbing, combed his mane and tail, and washed his hoofs andfetlocks. Then they told him dinner would be served directly and hereplied that they could not serve it too quickly to suit hisconvenience. First they brought him a steaming bowl of soup, which thehorse eyed in dismay.
"Take that stuff away!" he commanded. "Do you take me for asalamander?"
They obeyed at once, and next served a fine large turbot on a silverplatter, with drawn gravy poured over it.
"Fish!" cried Jim, with a sniff. "Do you take me for a tom-cat? Awaywith it!"
The servants were a little discouraged, but soon they brought in agreat tray containing two dozen nicely roasted quail on toast.
"Well, well!" said the horse, now thoroughly provoked. "Do you take mefor a weasel? How stupid and ignorant you are, in the Land of Oz, andwhat dreadful things you feed upon! Is there nothing that is decent toeat in this palace?"
The trembling servants sent for the Royal Steward, who came in hasteand said:
"What would your Highness like for dinner?"
"Highness!" repeated Jim, who was unused to such titles.
"You are at least six feet high, and that is higher than any otheranimal in this country," said the Steward.
"Well, my Highness would like some oats," declared the horse.
"Oats? We have no whole oats," the Steward replied, with muchdeference. "But there is any quantity of oatmeal, which we often cookfor breakfast. Oatmeal is a breakfast dish," added the Steward, humbly.
"I'll make it a dinner dish," said Jim. "Fetch it on, but don't cookit, as you value your life."
You see, the respect shown the worn-out old cab-horse made him a littlearrogant, and he forgot he was a guest, never having been treatedotherwise than as a servant since the day he was born, until hisarrival in the Land of Oz. But the royal attendants did not heed theanimal's ill temper. They soon mixed a tub of oatmeal with a littlewater, and Jim ate it with much relish.
Then the servants heaped a lot of rugs upon the floor and the old horseslept on the softest bed he had ever known in his life.
In the morning, as soon as it was daylight, he resolved to take a walkand try to find some grass for breakfast; so he ambled calmly throughthe handsome arch of the doorway, turned the corner of the palace,wherein all seemed asleep, and came face to face with the Sawhorse.
Jim stopped abruptly, being startled and amazed. The Sawhorse stoppedat the same time and stared at the other with its queer protrudingeyes, which were mere knots in the log that formed its body. The legsof the Sawhorse were four sticks driving into holes bored in the log;its tail was a small branch that had been left by accident and itsmouth a place chopped in one end of the body which projected a littleand served as a head. The ends of the wooden legs were shod withplates of solid gold, and the saddle of the Princess Ozma, which was ofred leather set with sparkling diamonds, was strapped to the clumsybody.
Jim's eyes stuck out as much as those of the Sawhorse, and he stared atthe creature with his ears erect and his long head drawn back until itrested against his arched neck.
In this comical position the two horses circled slowly around eachother for a while, each being unable to realize what the singular thingmight be which it now beheld for the first time. Then Jim exclaimed:
"For goodness sake, what sort of a being are you?"
"I'm a Sawhorse," replied the other.
"Oh; I believe I've heard of you," said the cab-horse; "but you areunlike anything that I expected to see."
"I do not doubt it," the Sawhorse observed, with a tone of pride. "Iam considered quite unusual."
"You are, indeed. But a rickety wooden thing like you has no right tobe alive."
"I couldn't help it," returned the other, rather crestfallen. "Ozmasprinkled me with a magic powder, and I just had to live. I know I'mnot much account; but I'm the only horse in all the Land of Oz, so theytreat me with great respect."
"You, a horse!"
"Oh, not a real one, of course. There are no real horses here at all.But I'm a splendid imitation of one."
Jim gave an indignant neigh.
"Look at me!" he cried. "Behold a real horse!"
The wooden animal gave a start, and then examined the other intently.
"Is it possible that you are a Real Horse?" he murmured.
"Not only possible, but true," replied Jim, who was gratified by theimpression he had created. "It is proved by my fine points. Forexample, look at the long hairs on my tail, with which I can whisk awaythe flies."
"The flies never trouble me," said the Saw-Horse.
"And notice my great strong teeth, with which I nibble the grass."
"It is not necessary for me to eat," observed the Sawhorse.
"Also examine my broad chest, which enables me to draw deep, fullbreaths," said Jim, proudly.
"I have no need to breathe," returned the other.
"No; you miss many pleasures," remarked the cab-horse, pityingly. "Youdo not know the relief of brushing away a fly that has bitten you, northe delight of eating delicious food, nor the satisfaction of drawing along breath of fresh, pure air. You may be an imitation of a horse,but you're a mighty poor one."
"Oh, I cannot hope ever to be like you," sighed the Sawhorse. "But Iam glad to meet a last a Real Horse. You are certainly the mostbeautiful creature I ever beheld."
This praise won Jim completely. To be called beautiful was a noveltyin his experience. Said he:
"Your chief fault, my friend, is in being made of wood, and that Isuppose you cannot help. Real horses, like myself, are made of fleshand blood and bones."
"I can see the bones all right," replied the Sawhorse, "and they areadmirable and distinct. Also I can see the flesh. But the blood, Isuppose is tucked away inside."
"Exactly," said Jim.
"What good is it?" asked the Sawhorse.
Jim did not know, but he would not tell the Sawhorse that.
"If anything cuts me," he replied, "the blood runs out to show where Iam cut. You, poor thing! cannot even bleed when you are hurt."
"But I am never hurt," said the Sawhorse. "Once in a while I getbroken up some, but I am easily repaired and put in good order again.And I never feel a break or a splinter in the least."
Jim was almost tempted to envy the wooden horse for being unable tofeel pain; but the creature was so absurdly unnatural that he decidedhe would not change places with it under any circumstances.
"How did you happen to be shod with gold?" he asked.
"Princess Ozma did that," was the reply; "and it saves my legs fromwearing out. We've had a good many adventures together, Ozma and I,and she likes me."
The cab-horse was about to reply when suddenly he gave a start and aneigh of terror and stood trembling like a leaf. For around the cornerhad come two enormous savage beasts, treading so lightly that they wereupon him before he was aware of their presence. Jim was in the act ofplunging down the path to escape when the Sawhorse cried out:
"Stop, my brother! Stop, Real Horse! These are friends, and will doyou no harm."
Jim hesitated, eyeing the beasts fearfully. One was an enormous Lionwith clear, intelligent eyes, a tawney mane bushy and well kept, and abody like yellow plush. The other was a great Tiger with purplestripes around his lithe body, powerful limbs, and eyes that showedthrough the half closed lids like coals of fire. The huge forms ofthese monarchs of the forest and jungle were enough to strike terror tothe stoutest heart, and it is no wonder Jim was afraid to face them.
But the Sawhorse introduced the stranger in a calm tone, saying:
"This, noble Horse, is my friend the Cowardly Lion, who is the valiantKing of the Forest, but at the same time a faithful vassal of PrincessOzma. And this is the Hungry Tiger, the terror of the jungle, wholongs to devour fat babies but is prevented by his conscience fromdoing so. These royal beasts are both warm friends of little Dorothyand have come to the Emerald City this morning to welcome her to ourfairyland."
Hearing these words Jim resolved to conquer his alarm. He bowed hishead with as much dignity as he could muster toward the savage lookingbeasts, who in return nodded in a friendly way.
"Is not the Real Horse a beautiful animal?" asked the Sawhorseadmiringly.
"That is doubtless a matter of taste," returned the Lion. "In theforest he would be thought ungainly, because his face is stretched outand his neck is uselessly long. His joints, I notice, are swollen andovergrown, and he lacks flesh and is old in years."
"And dreadfully tough," added the Hungry Tiger, in a sad voice. "Myconscience would never permit me to eat so tough a morsel as the RealHorse."
"I'm glad of that," said Jim; "for I, also, have a conscience, and ittells me not to crush in your skull with a blow of my powerful hoof."
If he thought to frighten the striped beast by such language he wasmistaken. The Tiger seemed to smile, and winked one eye slowly.
"You have a good conscience, friend Horse," it said, "and if you attendto its teachings it will do much to protect you from harm. Some day Iwill let you try to crush in my skull, and afterward you will know moreabout tigers than you do now."
"Any friend of Dorothy," remarked the Cowardly Lion, "must be ourfriend, as well. So let us cease this talk of skull crushing andconverse upon more pleasant subjects. Have you breakfasted, Sir Horse?"
"Not yet," replied Jim. "But here is plenty of excellent clover, so ifyou will excuse me I will eat now."
"He's a vegetarian," remarked the Tiger, as the horse began to munchthe clover. "If I could eat grass I would not need a conscience, fornothing could then tempt me to devour babies and lambs."
Just then Dorothy, who had risen early and heard the voices of theanimals, ran out to greet her old friends. She hugged both the Lionand the Tiger with eager delight, but seemed to love the King of Beastsa little better than she did his hungry friend, having known him longer.
By this time they had indulged in a good talk and Dorothy had told themall about the awful earthquake and her recent adventures, the breakfastbell rang from the palace and the little girl went inside to join herhuman comrades. As she entered the great hall a voice called out, in arather harsh tone:
"What! are YOU here again?"
"Yes, I am," she answered, looking all around to see where the voicecame from.
"What brought you back?" was the next question, and Dorothy's eyerested on an antlered head hanging on the wall just over the fireplace,and caught its lips in the act of moving.
"Good gracious!" she exclaimed. "I thought you were stuffed."
"So I am," replied the head. "But once on a time I was part of theGump, which Ozma sprinkled with the Powder of Life. I was then for atime the Head of the finest Flying Machine that was ever known toexist, and we did many wonderful things. Afterward the Gump was takenapart and I was put back on this wall; but I can still talk when I feelin the mood, which is not often."
"It's very strange," said the girl. "What were you when you were firstalive?"
"That I have forgotten," replied the Gump's Head, "and I do not thinkit is of much importance. But here comes Ozma; so I'd better hush up,for the Princess doesn't like me to chatter since she changed her namefrom Tip to Ozma."
Just then the girlish Ruler of Oz opened the door and greeted Dorothywith a good-morning kiss. The little Princess seemed fresh and rosyand in good spirits.
"Breakfast is served, dear," she said, "and I am hungry. So don't letus keep it waiting a single minute."
17. The Nine Tiny Piglets
After breakfast Ozma announced that she had ordered a holiday to beobserved throughout the Emerald City, in honor of her visitors. Thepeople had learned that their old Wizard had returned to them and allwere anxious to see him again, for he had always been a rare favorite.So first there was to be a grand procession through the streets, afterwhich the little old man was requested to perform some of hiswizardries in the great Throne Room of the palace. In the afternoonthere were to be games and races.
The procession was very imposing. First came the Imperial Cornet Bandof Oz, dressed in emerald velvet uniforms with slashes of pea-greensatin and buttons of immense cut emeralds. They played the Nationalair called "The Oz Spangled Banner," and behind them were the standardbearers with the Royal flag. This flag was divided into four quarters,one being colored sky-blue, another pink, a third lavender and a fourthwhite. In the center was a large emerald-green star, and all over thefour quarters were sewn spangles that glittered beautifully in thesunshine. The colors represented the four countries of Oz, and thegreen star the Emerald City.
Just behind the royal standard-bearers came the Princess Ozma in herroyal chariot, which was of gold encrusted with emeralds and diamondsset in exquisite designs. The chariot was drawn on this occasion bythe Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, who were decorated with immensepink and blue bows. In the chariot rode Ozma and Dorothy, the formerin splendid raiment and wearing her royal coronet, while the littleKansas girl wore around her waist the Magic Belt she had once capturedfrom the Nome King.
Following the chariot came the Scarecrow mounted on the Sawhorse, andthe people cheered him almost as loudly as they did their lovely Ruler.Behind him stalked with regular, jerky steps, the famous machine-mancalled Tik-tok, who had been wound up by Dorothy for the occasion.Tik-tok moved by clockwork, and was made all of burnished copper. Hereally belonged to the Kansas girl, who had much respect for histhoughts after they had been properly wound and set going; but as thecopper man would be useless in any place but a fairy country Dorothyhad left him in charge of Ozma, who saw that he was suitably cared for.
There followed another band after this, which was called the RoyalCourt Band, because the members all lived in the palace. They worewhite uniforms with real diamond buttons and played "What is Oz withoutOzma" very sweetly.
Then came Professor Woggle-Bug, with a group of students from the RoyalCollege of Scientific Athletics. The boys wore long hair and stripedsweaters and yelled their college yell every other step they took, tothe great satisfaction of the populace, which was glad to have thisevidence that their lungs were in good condition.
The brilliantly polished Tin Woodman marched next, at the head of theRoyal Army of Oz which consisted of twenty-eight officers, fromGenerals down to Captains. There were no privates in the army becauseall were so courageous and skillful that they had been promoted one byone until there were no privates left. Jim and the buggy followed, theold cab-horse being driven by Zeb while the Wizard stood up on the seatand bowed his bald head right and left in answer to the cheers of thepeople, who crowded thick about him.
Taken altogether the procession was a grand success, and when it hadreturned to the palace the citizens crowded into the great Throne Roomto see the Wizard perform his tricks.
The first thing the little humbug did was to produce a tiny whitepiglet from underneath his hat and pretend to pull it apart, makingtwo. This act he repeated until all of the nine tiny piglets werevisible, and they were so glad to get out of his pocket that they ranaround in a very lively manner. The pretty little creatures would havebeen a novelty anywhere, so the people were as amazed and delighted attheir appearance as even the Wizard could have desired. When he hadmade them all disappear again Ozma declared she was sorry they weregone, for she wanted one of them to pet and play with. So the Wizardpretended to take one of the piglets out of the hair of the Princess(while really he slyly took it from his inside pocket) and Ozma smiledjoyously as the creature nestled in her arms, and she promised to havean emerald collar made for its fat neck and to keep the little squealeralways at hand to amuse her.
Afterward it was noticed that the Wizard always performed his famoustrick with eight piglets, but it seemed to please the people just aswell as if there had been nine of them.
In his little room back of the Throne Room the Wizard had found a lotof things he had left behind him when he went away in the balloon, forno one had occupied the apartment in his absence. There was enoughmaterial there to enable him to prepare several new tricks which he hadlearned from some of the jugglers in the circus, and he had passed partof the night in getting them ready. So he followed the trick of thenine tiny piglets with several other wonderful feats that greatlydelighted his audience and the people did not seem to care a bitwhether the little man was a humbug Wizard or not, so long as hesucceeded in amusing them. They applauded all his tricks and at theend of the performance begged him earnestly not to go away again andleave them.
"In that case," said the little man, gravely, "I will cancel all of myengagements before the crowned heads of Europe and America and devotemyself to the people of Oz, for I love you all so well that I can denyyou nothing."
After the people had been dismissed with this promise our friendsjoined Princess Ozma at an elaborate luncheon in the palace, where eventhe Tiger and the Lion were sumptuously fed and Jim the Cab-horse atehis oatmeal out of a golden bowl with seven rows of rubies, sapphiresand diamonds set around the rim of it.
In the afternoon they all went to a great field outside the city gateswhere the games were to be held. There was a beautiful canopy for Ozmaand her guests to sit under and watch the people run races and jump andwrestle. You may be sure the folks of Oz did their best with such adistinguished company watching them, and finally Zeb offered to wrestlewith a little Munchkin who seemed to be the champion. In appearance hewas twice as old as Zeb, for he had long pointed whiskers and wore apeaked hat with little bells all around the brim of it, which tinkledgaily as he moved. But although the Munchkin was hardly tall enough tocome to Zeb's shoulder he was so strong and clever that he laid the boythree times on his back with apparent ease.
Zeb was greatly astonished at his defeat, and when the pretty Princessjoined her people in laughing at him he proposed a boxing-match withthe Munchkin, to which the little Ozite readily agreed. But the firsttime that Zeb managed to give him a sharp box on the ears the Munchkinsat down upon the ground and cried until the tears ran down hiswhiskers, because he had been hurt. This made Zeb laugh, in turn, andthe boy felt comforted to find that Ozma laughed as merrily at herweeping subject as she had at him.
Just then the Scarecrow proposed a race between the Sawhorse and theCab-horse; and although all the others were delighted at the suggestionthe Sawhorse drew back, saying:
"Such a race would not be fair."
"Of course not," added Jim, with a touch of scorn; "those little woodenlegs of yours are not half as long as my own."
"It isn't that," said the Sawhorse, modestly; "but I never tire, andyou do."
"Bah!" cried Jim, looking with great disdain at the other; "do youimagine for an instant that such a shabby imitation of a horse as youare can run as fast as I?"
"I don't know, I'm sure," replied the Sawhorse.
"That is what we are trying to find out," remarked the Scarecrow. "Theobject of a race is to see who can win it--or at least that is what myexcellent brains think."
"Once, when I was young," said Jim, "I was a race horse, and defeatedall who dared run against me. I was born in Kentucky, you know, whereall the best and most aristocratic horses come from."
"But you're old, now, Jim," suggested Zeb.
"Old! Why, I feel like a colt today," replied Jim. "I only wish therewas a real horse here for me to race with. I'd show the people a finesight, I can tell you."
"Then why not race with the Sawhorse?" enquired the Scarecrow.
"He's afraid," said Jim.
"Oh, no," answered the Sawhorse. "I merely said it wasn't fair. Butif my friend the Real Horse is willing to undertake the race I am quiteready."
So they unharnessed Jim and took the saddle off the Sawhorse, and thetwo queerly matched animals were stood side by side for the start.
"When I say 'Go!'" Zeb called to them, "you must dig out and race untilyou reach those three trees you see over yonder. Then circle 'roundthem and come back again. The first one that passes the place wherethe Princess sits shall be named the winner. Are you ready?"
"I suppose I ought to give the wooden dummy a good start of me,"growled Jim.
"Never mind that," said the Sawhorse. "I'll do the best I can."
"Go!" cried Zeb; and at the word the two horses leaped forward and therace was begun.
Jim's big hoofs pounded away at a great rate, and although he did notlook very graceful he ran in a way to do credit to his Kentuckybreeding. But the Sawhorse was swifter than the wind. Its wooden legsmoved so fast that their twinkling could scarcely be seen, and althoughso much smaller than the cab-horse it covered the ground much faster.Before they had reached the trees the Sawhorse was far ahead, and thewooden animal returned to the starting place as was being lustilycheered by the Ozites before Jim came panting up to the canopy wherethe Princess and her friends were seated.
I am sorry to record the fact that Jim was not only ashamed of hisdefeat but for a moment lost control of his temper. As he looked atthe comical face of the Sawhorse he imagined that the creature waslaughing at him; so in a fit of unreasonable anger he turned around andmade a vicious kick that sent his rival tumbling head over heels uponthe ground, and broke off one of its legs and its left ear.
An instant later the Tiger crouched and launched its huge body throughthe air swift and resistless as a ball from a cannon. The beast struckJim full on his shoulder and sent the astonished cab-horse rolling overand over, amid shouts of delight from the spectators, who had beenhorrified by the ungracious act he had been guilty of.
When Jim came to himself and sat upon his haunches he found theCowardly Lion crouched on one side of him and the Hungry Tiger on theother, and their eyes were glowing like balls of fire.
"I beg your pardon, I'm sure," said Jim, meekly. "I was wrong to kickthe Sawhorse, and I am sorry I became angry at him. He has won therace, and won it fairly; but what can a horse of flesh do against atireless beast of wood?"
Hearing this apology the Tiger and the Lion stopped lashing their tailsand retreated with dignified steps to the side of the Princess.
"No one must injure one of our friends in our presence," growled theLion; and Zeb ran to Jim and whispered that unless he controlled histemper in the future he would probably be torn to pieces.
Then the Tin Woodman cut a straight and strong limb from a tree withhis gleaming axe and made a new leg and a new ear for the Sawhorse; andwhen they had been securely fastened in place Princess Ozma took thecoronet from her own head and placed it upon that of the winner of therace. Said she:
"My friend, I reward you for your swiftness by proclaiming you Princeof Horses, whether of wood or of flesh; and hereafter all otherhorses--in the Land of Oz, at least--must be considered imitations, andyou the real Champion of your race."
There was more applause at this, and then Ozma had the jewelled saddlereplaced upon the Sawhorse and herself rode the victor back to the cityat the head of the grand procession.
"I ought to be a fairy," grumbled Jim, as he slowly drew the buggyhome; "for to be just an ordinary horse in a fairy country is to be ofno account whatever. It's no place for us, Zeb."
"It's lucky we got here, though," said the boy; and Jim thought of thedark cave, and agreed with him.
18. The Trial of Eureka the Kitten
Several days of festivity and merry-making followed, for such oldfriends did not often meet and there was much to be told and talkedover between them, and many amusements to be enjoyed in this delightfulcountry.
Ozma was happy to have Dorothy beside her, for girls of her own agewith whom it was proper for the Princess to associate were very few,and often the youthful Ruler of Oz was lonely for lack of companionship.
It was the third morning after Dorothy's arrival, and she was sittingwith Ozma and their friends in a reception room, talking over oldtimes, when the Princess said to her maid:
"Please go to my boudoir, Jellia, and get the white piglet I left onthe dressing-table. I want to play with it."
Jellia at once departed on the errand, and she was gone so long thatthey had almost forgotten her mission when the green robed maidenreturned with a troubled face.
"The piglet is not there, your Highness," said she.
"Not there!" exclaimed Ozma. "Are you sure?"
"I have hunted in every part of the room," the maid replied.
"Was not the door closed?" asked the Princess.
"Yes, your Highness; I am sure it was; for when I opened it Dorothy'swhite kitten crept out and ran up the stairs."
Hearing this, Dorothy and the Wizard exchanged startled glances, forthey remembered how often Eureka had longed to eat a piglet. Thelittle girl jumped up at once.
"Come, Ozma," she said, anxiously; "let us go ourselves to search forthe piglet."
So the two went to the dressing-room of the Princess and searchedcarefully in every corner and among the vases and baskets and ornamentsthat stood about the pretty boudoir. But not a trace could they findof the tiny creature they sought.
Dorothy was nearly weeping, by this time, while Ozma was angry andindignant. When they returned to the others the Princess said:
"There is little doubt that my pretty piglet has been eaten by thathorrid kitten, and if that is true the offender must be punished."
"I don't b'lieve Eureka would do such a dreadful thing!" cried Dorothy,much distressed. "Go and get my kitten, please, Jellia, and we'll hearwhat she has to say about it."
The green maiden hastened away, but presently returned and said:
"The kitten will not come. She threatened to scratch my eyes out if Itouched her."
"Where is she?" asked Dorothy.
"Under the bed in your own room," was the reply.
So Dorothy ran to her room and found the kitten under the bed.
"Come here, Eureka!" she said.
"I won't," answered the kitten, in a surly voice.
"Oh, Eureka! Why are you so bad?"
The kitten did not reply.
"If you don't come to me, right away," continued Dorothy, gettingprovoked, "I'll take my Magic Belt and wish you in the Country of theGurgles."
"Why do you want me?" asked Eureka, disturbed by this threat.
"You must go to Princess Ozma. She wants to talk to you."
"All right," returned the kitten, creeping out. "I'm not afraid ofOzma--or anyone else."
Dorothy carried her in her arms back to where the others sat in grievedand thoughtful silence.
"Tell me, Eureka," said the Princess, gently: "did you eat my prettypiglet?"
"I won't answer such a foolish question," asserted Eureka, with a snarl.
"Oh, yes you will, dear," Dorothy declared. "The piglet is gone, andyou ran out of the room when Jellia opened the door. So, if you areinnocent, Eureka, you must tell the Princess how you came to be in herroom, and what has become of the piglet."
"Who accuses me?" asked the kitten, defiantly.
"No one," answered Ozma. "Your actions alone accuse you. The fact isthat I left my little pet in my dressing-room lying asleep upon thetable; and you must have stolen in without my knowing it. When nextthe door was opened you ran out and hid yourself--and the piglet wasgone."
"That's none of my business," growled the kitten.
"Don't be impudent, Eureka," admonished Dorothy.
"It is you who are impudent," said Eureka, "for accusing me of such acrime when you can't prove it except by guessing."
Ozma was now greatly incensed by the kitten's conduct. She summonedher Captain-General, and when the long, lean officer appeared she said:
"Carry this cat away to prison, and keep her in safe confinement untilshe is tried by law for the crime of murder."
So the Captain-General took Eureka from the arms of the now weepingDorothy and in spite of the kitten's snarls and scratches carried itaway to prison.
"What shall we do now?" asked the Scarecrow, with a sigh, for such acrime had cast a gloom over all the company.
"I will summon the Court to meet in the Throne Room at three o'clock,"replied Ozma. "I myself will be the judge, and the kitten shall have afair trial."
"What will happen if she is guilty?" asked Dorothy.
"She must die," answered the Princess.
"Nine times?" enquired the Scarecrow.
"As many times as is necessary," was the reply. "I will ask the TinWoodman to defend the prisoner, because he has such a kind heart I amsure he will do his best to save her. And the Woggle-Bug shall be thePublic Accuser, because he is so learned that no one can deceive him."
"Who will be the jury?" asked the Tin Woodman.
"There ought to be several animals on the jury," said Ozma, "becauseanimals understand each other better than we people understand them.So the jury shall consist of the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Jimthe Cab-horse, the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Wizard, Tik-tok theMachine Man, the Sawhorse and Zeb of Hugson's Ranch. That makes thenine which the law requires, and all my people shall be admitted tohear the testimony."
They now separated to prepare for the sad ceremony; for whenever anappeal is made to law sorrow is almost certain to follow--even in afairyland like Oz. But is must be stated that the people of that Landwere generally so well-behaved that there was not a single lawyeramongst them, and it had been years since any Ruler had sat in judgmentupon an offender of the law. The crime of murder being the mostdreadful crime of all, tremendous excitement prevailed in the EmeraldCity when the news of Eureka's arrest and trial became known.
The Wizard, when he returned to his own room, was exceedinglythoughtful. He had no doubt Eureka had eaten his piglet, but herealized that a kitten cannot be depended upon at all times to actproperly, since its nature is to destroy small animals and even birdsfor food, and the tame cat that we keep in our houses today isdescended from the wild cat of the jungle--a very ferocious creature,indeed. The Wizard knew that if Dorothy's pet was found guilty andcondemned to death the little girl would be made very unhappy; so,although he grieved over the piglet's sad fate as much as any of them,he resolved to save Eureka's life.
Sending for the Tin Woodman the Wizard took him into a corner andwhispered:
"My friend, it is your duty to defend the white kitten and try to saveher, but I fear you will fail because Eureka has long wished to eat apiglet, to my certain knowledge, and my opinion is that she has beenunable to resist the temptation. Yet her disgrace and death would notbring back the piglet, but only serve to make Dorothy unhappy. So Iintend to prove the kitten's innocence by a trick."
He drew from his inside pocket one of the eight tiny piglets that wereremaining and continued:
"This creature you must hide in some safe place, and if the jurydecides that Eureka is guilty you may then produce this piglet andclaim it is the one that was lost. All the piglets are exactly alike,so no one can dispute your word. This deception will save Eureka'slife, and then we may all be happy again."
"I do not like to deceive my friends," replied the Tin Woodman; "still,my kind heart urges me to save Eureka's life, and I can usually trustmy heart to do the right thing. So I will do as you say, friendWizard."
After some thought he placed the little pig inside his funnel-shapedhat, and then put the hat upon his head and went back to his room tothink over his speech to the jury.
19. The Wizard Performs Another Trick
At three o'clock the Throne Room was crowded with citizens, men, womenand children being eager to witness the great trial.
Princess Ozma, dressed in her most splendid robes of state, sat in themagnificent emerald throne, with her jewelled sceptre in her hand andher sparkling coronet upon her fair brow. Behind her throne stood thetwenty-eight officers of her army and many officials of the royalhousehold. At her right sat the queerly assorted Jury--animals,animated dummies and people--all gravely prepared to listen to what wassaid. The kitten had been placed in a large cage just before thethrone, where she sat upon her haunches and gazed through the bars atthe crowds around her, with seeming unconcern.
And now, at a signal from Ozma, the Woggle-Bug arose and addressed thejury. His tone was pompous and he strutted up and down in an absurdattempt to appear dignified.
"Your Royal Highness and Fellow Citizens," he began; "the small cat yousee a prisoner before you is accused of the crime of first murderingand then eating our esteemed Ruler's fat piglet--or else first eatingand then murdering it. In either case a grave crime has been committedwhich deserves a grave punishment."
"Do you mean my kitten must be put in a grave?" asked Dorothy.
"Don't interrupt, little girl," said the Woggle-Bug. "When I get mythoughts arranged in good order I do not like to have anything upsetthem or throw them into confusion."
"If your thoughts were any good they wouldn't become confused,"remarked the Scarecrow, earnestly. "My thoughts are always--"
"Is this a trial of thoughts, or of kittens?" demanded the Woggle-Bug.
"It's a trial of one kitten," replied the Scarecrow; "but your manneris a trial to us all."
"Let the Public Accuser continue," called Ozma from her throne, "and Ipray you do not interrupt him."
"The criminal who now sits before the court licking her paws," resumedthe Woggle-Bug, "has long desired to unlawfully eat the fat piglet,which was no bigger than a mouse. And finally she made a wicked planto satisfy her depraved appetite for pork. I can see her, in my mind'seye--"
"What's that?" asked the Scarecrow.
"I say I can see her in my mind's eye--"
"The mind has no eye," declared the Scarecrow. "It's blind."
"Your Highness," cried the Woggle-Bug, appealing to Ozma, "have I amind's eye, or haven't I?"
"If you have, it is invisible," said the Princess.
"Very true," returned the Woggle-Bug, bowing. "I say I see thecriminal, in my mind's eye, creeping stealthily into the room of ourOzma and secreting herself, when no one was looking, until the Princesshad gone away and the door was closed. Then the murderer was alonewith her helpless victim, the fat piglet, and I see her pounce upon theinnocent creature and eat it up--"
"Are you still seeing with your mind's eye?" enquired the Scarecrow.
"Of course; how else could I see it? And we know the thing is true,because since the time of that interview there is no piglet to be foundanywhere."
"I suppose, if the cat had been gone, instead of the piglet, yourmind's eye would see the piglet eating the cat," suggested theScarecrow.
"Very likely," acknowledged the Woggle-Bug. "And now, Fellow Citizensand Creatures of the Jury, I assert that so awful a crime deservesdeath, and in the case of the ferocious criminal before you--who is nowwashing her face--the death penalty should be inflicted nine times."
There was great applause when the speaker sat down. Then the Princessspoke in a stern voice:
"Prisoner, what have you to say for yourself? Are you guilty, or notguilty?"
"Why, that's for you to find out," replied Eureka. "If you can proveI'm guilty, I'll be willing to die nine times, but a mind's eye is noproof, because the Woggle-Bug has no mind to see with."
"Never mind, dear," said Dorothy.
Then the Tin Woodman arose and said:
"Respected Jury and dearly beloved Ozma, I pray you not to judge thisfeline prisoner unfeelingly. I do not think the innocent kitten can beguilty, and surely it is unkind to accuse a luncheon of being a murder.Eureka is the sweet pet of a lovely little girl whom we all admire, andgentleness and innocence are her chief virtues. Look at the kitten'sintelligent eyes;" (here Eureka closed her eyes sleepily) "gaze at hersmiling countenance!" (here Eureka snarled and showed her teeth) "markthe tender pose of her soft, padded little hands!" (Here Eureka baredher sharp claws and scratched at the bars of the cage.) "Would such agentle animal be guilty of eating a fellow creature? No; a thousandtimes, no!"
"Oh, cut it short," said Eureka; "you've talked long enough."
"I'm trying to defend you," remonstrated the Tin Woodman.
"Then say something sensible," retorted the kitten. "Tell them itwould be foolish for me to eat the piglet, because I had sense enoughto know it would raise a row if I did. But don't try to make out I'mtoo innocent to eat a fat piglet if I could do it and not be found out.I imagine it would taste mighty good."
"Perhaps it would, to those who eat," remarked the Tin Woodman. "Imyself, not being built to eat, have no personal experience in suchmatters. But I remember that our great poet once said:
'To eat is sweet When hunger's seat Demands a treat Of savory meat.'"
"Take this into consideration, friends of the Jury, and you willreadily decide that the kitten is wrongfully accused and should be setat liberty."
When the Tin Woodman sat down no one applauded him, for his argumentshad not been very convincing and few believed that he had provedEureka's innocence. As for the Jury, the members whispered to eachother for a few minutes and then they appointed the Hungry Tiger theirspokesman. The huge beast slowly arose and said:
"Kittens have no consciences, so they eat whatever pleases them. Thejury believes the white kitten known as Eureka is guilty of havingeaten the piglet owned by Princess Ozma, and recommends that she be putto death in punishment of the crime."
The judgment of the jury was received with great applause, althoughDorothy was sobbing miserably at the fate of her pet. The Princess wasjust about to order Eureka's head chopped off with the Tin Woodman'saxe when that brilliant personage once more arose and addressed her.
"Your Highness," said he, "see how easy it is for a jury to bemistaken. The kitten could not have eaten your piglet--for here it is!"
He took off his funnel hat and from beneath it produced a tiny whitepiglet, which he held aloft that all might see it clearly.
Ozma was delighted and exclaimed, eagerly:
"Give me my pet, Nick Chopper!"
And all the people cheered and clapped their hands, rejoicing that theprisoner had escaped death and been proved to be innocent.
As the Princess held the white piglet in her arms and stroked its softhair she said: "Let Eureka out of the cage, for she is no longer aprisoner, but our good friend. Where did you find my missing pet, NickChopper?"
"In a room of the palace," he answered.
"Justice," remarked the Scarecrow, with a sigh, "is a dangerous thingto meddle with. If you hadn't happened to find the piglet, Eurekawould surely have been executed."
"But justice prevailed at the last," said Ozma, "for here is my pet,and Eureka is once more free."
"I refuse to be free," cried the kitten, in a sharp voice, "unless theWizard can do his trick with eight piglets. If he can produce butseven, then this is not the piglet that was lost, but another one."
"Hush, Eureka!" warned the Wizard.
"Don't be foolish," advised the Tin Woodman, "or you may be sorry forit."
"The piglet that belonged to the Princess wore an emerald collar," saidEureka, loudly enough for all to hear.
"So it did!" exclaimed Ozma. "This cannot be the one the Wizard gaveme."
"Of course not; he had nine of them, altogether," declared Eureka; "andI must say it was very stingy of him not to let me eat just a few. Butnow that this foolish trial is ended, I will tell you what reallybecame of your pet piglet."
At this everyone in the Throne Room suddenly became quiet, and thekitten continued, in a calm, mocking tone of voice:
"I will confess that I intended to eat the little pig for my breakfast;so I crept into the room where it was kept while the Princess wasdressing and hid myself under a chair. When Ozma went away she closedthe door and left her pet on the table. At once I jumped up and toldthe piglet not to make a fuss, for he would be inside of me in half asecond; but no one can teach one of these creatures to be reasonable.Instead of keeping still, so I could eat him comfortably, he trembledso with fear that he fell off the table into a big vase that wasstanding on the floor. The vase had a very small neck, and spread outat the top like a bowl. At first the piglet stuck in the neck of thevase and I thought I should get him, after all, but he wriggled himselfthrough and fell down into the deep bottom part--and I suppose he'sthere yet."
All were astonished at this confession, and Ozma at once sent anofficer to her room to fetch the vase. When he returned the Princesslooked down the narrow neck of the big ornament and discovered her lostpiglet, just as Eureka had said she would.
There was no way to get the creature out without breaking the vase, sothe Tin Woodman smashed it with his axe and set the little prisonerfree.
Then the crowd cheered lustily and Dorothy hugged the kitten in herarms and told her how delighted she was to know that she was innocent.
"But why didn't you tell us at first?" she asked.
"It would have spoiled the fun," replied the kitten, yawning.
Ozma gave the Wizard back the piglet he had so kindly allowed NickChopper to substitute for the lost one, and then she carried her owninto the apartments of the palace where she lived. And now, the trialbeing over, the good citizens of the Emerald City scattered to theirhomes, well content with the day's amusement.
20. Zeb Returns to the Ranch
Eureka was much surprised to find herself in disgrace; but she was, inspite of the fact that she had not eaten the piglet. For the folks ofOz knew the kitten had tried to commit the crime, and that only anaccident had prevented her from doing so; therefore even the HungryTiger preferred not to associate with her. Eureka was forbidden towander around the palace and was made to stay in confinement inDorothy's room; so she began to beg her mistress to send her to someother place where she could enjoy herself better.
Dorothy was herself anxious to get home, so she promised Eureka theywould not stay in the Land of Oz much longer.
The next evening after the trial the little girl begged Ozma to allowher to look in the enchanted picture, and the Princess readilyconsented. She took the child to her room and said: "Make your wish,dear, and the picture will show the scene you desire to behold."
Then Dorothy found, with the aid of the enchanted picture, that UncleHenry had returned to the farm in Kansas, and she also saw that both heand Aunt Em were dressed in mourning, because they thought their littleniece had been killed by the earthquake.
"Really," said the girl, anxiously, "I must get back as soon asposs'ble to my own folks."
Zeb also wanted to see his home, and although he did not find anyonemorning for him, the sight of Hugson's Ranch in the picture made himlong to get back there.
"This is a fine country, and I like all the people that live in it," hetold Dorothy. "But the fact is, Jim and I don't seem to fit into afairyland, and the old horse has been begging me to go home again eversince he lost the race. So, if you can find a way to fix it, we'll bemuch obliged to you."
"Ozma can do it, easily," replied Dorothy. "Tomorrow morning I'll goto Kansas and you can go to Californy."
That last evening was so delightful that the boy will never forget itas long as he lives. They were all together (except Eureka) in thepretty rooms of the Princess, and the Wizard did some new tricks, andthe Scarecrow told stories, and the Tin Woodman sang a love song in asonorous, metallic voice, and everybody laughed and had a good time.Then Dorothy wound up Tik-tok and he danced a jig to amuse the company,after which the Yellow Hen related some of her adventures with the NomeKing in the Land of Ev.
The Princess served delicious refreshments to those who were in thehabit of eating, and when Dorothy's bed time arrived the companyseparated after exchanging many friendly sentiments.
Next morning they all assembled for the final parting, and many of theofficials and courtiers came to look upon the impressive ceremonies.
Dorothy held Eureka in her arms and bade her friends a fond good-bye.
"You must come again, some time," said the little Wizard; and shepromised she would if she found it possible to do so.
"But Uncle Henry and Aunt Em need me to help them," she added, "so Ican't ever be very long away from the farm in Kansas."
Ozma wore the Magic Belt; and, when she had kissed Dorothy farewell andhad made her wish, the little girl and her kitten disappeared in atwinkling.
"Where is she?" asked Zeb, rather bewildered by the suddenness of it.
"Greeting her uncle and aunt in Kansas, by this time," returned Ozma,with a smile.
Then Zeb brought out Jim, all harnessed to the buggy, and took his seat.
"I'm much obliged for all your kindness," said the boy, "and verygrateful to you for saving my life and sending me home again after allthe good times I've had. I think this is the loveliest country in theworld; but not being fairies Jim and I feel we ought to be where webelong--and that's at the ranch. Good-bye, everybody!"
He gave a start and rubbed his eyes. Jim was trotting along thewell-known road, shaking his ears and whisking his tail with acontented motion. Just ahead of them were the gates of Hugson's Ranch,and Uncle Hugson now came out and stood with uplifted arms and wideopen mouth, staring in amazement.
"Goodness gracious! It's Zeb--and Jim, too!" he exclaimed. "Where inthe world have you been, my lad?"
"Why, in the world, Uncle," answered Zeb, with a laugh.