Full text of Scarecrow of Oz
"The uplifters" of Los Angeles, California, in grateful appreciation of the pleasure I have derived from association with them, and in recognition of their sincere endeavor to uplift humanity through kindness, consideration and good-fellowship. They are big men--all of them--and all with the generous hearts of little children.
L. Frank Baum
'TWIXT YOU AND ME
The Army of Children which besieged the Postoffice, conquered thePostmen and delivered to me its imperious Commands, insisted that Trotand Cap'n Bill be admitted to the Land of Oz, where Trot could enjoythe society of Dorothy, Betsy Bobbin and Ozma, while the one-leggedsailor-man might become a comrade of the Tin Woodman, the Shaggy Man,Tik-Tok and all the other quaint people who inhabit this wonderfulfairyland.
It was no easy task to obey this order and land Trot and Cap'n Billsafely in Oz, as you will discover by reading this book. Indeed, itrequired the best efforts of our dear old friend, the Scarecrow, tosave them from a dreadful fate on the journey; but the story leavesthem happily located in Ozma's splendid palace and Dorothy has promisedme that Button-Bright and the three girls are sure to encounter, in thenear future, some marvelous adventures in the Land of Oz, which I hopeto be permitted to relate to you in the next Oz Book.
Meantime, I am deeply grateful to my little readers for their continuedenthusiasm over the Oz stories, as evinced in the many letters theysend me, all of which are lovingly cherished. It takes more and more OzBooks every year to satisfy the demands of old and new readers, andthere have been formed many "Oz Reading Societies," where the Oz Booksowned by different members are read aloud. All this is very gratifyingto me and encourages me to write more stories. When the children havehad enough of them, I hope they will let me know, and then I'll try towrite something different.
L. Frank Baum "Royal Historian of Oz." "OZCOT" at HOLLYWOOD in CALIFORNIA, 1915.
LIST OF CHAPTERS
1 - The Great Whirlpool 2 - The Cavern Under the Sea 3 - The Ork 4 - Daylight at Last 5 - The Little Old Man of the Island 6 - The Flight of the Midgets 7 - The Bumpy Man 8 - Button-Bright is Lost, and Found Again 9 - The Kingdom of Jinxland 10 - Pon, the Gardener's Boy 11 - The Wicked King and Googly-Goo 12 - The Wooden-Legged Grass-Hopper 13 - Glinda the Good and the Scarecrow of Oz 14 - The Frozen Heart 15 - Trot Meets the Scarecrow 16 - Pon Summons the King to Surrender 17 - The Ork Rescues Button-Bright 18 - The Scarecrow Meets an Enemy 19 - The Conquest of the Witch 20 - Queen Gloria 21 - Dorothy, Betsy and Ozma 22 - The Waterfall 23 - The Land of Oz 24 - The Royal Reception
The Great Whirlpool
"Seems to me," said Cap'n Bill, as he sat beside Trot under the bigacacia tree, looking out over the blue ocean, "seems to me, Trot, ashow the more we know, the more we find we don't know."
"I can't quite make that out, Cap'n Bill," answered the little girl ina serious voice, after a moment's thought, during which her eyesfollowed those of the old sailor-man across the glassy surface of thesea. "Seems to me that all we learn is jus' so much gained."
"I know; it looks that way at first sight," said the sailor, noddinghis head; "but those as knows the least have a habit of thinkin' theyknow all there is to know, while them as knows the most admits what aturr'ble big world this is. It's the knowing ones that realize onelifetime ain't long enough to git more'n a few dips o' the oars ofknowledge."
Trot didn't answer. She was a very little girl, with big, solemn eyesand an earnest, simple manner. Cap'n Bill had been her faithfulcompanion for years and had taught her almost everything she knew.
He was a wonderful man, this Cap'n Bill. Not so very old, although hishair was grizzled--what there was of it. Most of his head was bald asan egg and as shiny as oilcloth, and this made his big ears stick outin a funny way. His eyes had a gentle look and were pale blue in color,and his round face was rugged and bronzed. Cap'n Bill's left leg wasmissing, from the knee down, and that was why the sailor no longersailed the seas. The wooden leg he wore was good enough to stump aroundwith on land, or even to take Trot out for a row or a sail on theocean, but when it came to "runnin' up aloft" or performing activeduties on shipboard, the old sailor was not equal to the task. The lossof his leg had ruined his career and the old sailor found comfort indevoting himself to the education and companionship of the little girl.
The accident to Cap'n Bill's leg bad happened at about the time Trotwas born, and ever since that he had lived with Trot's mother as "astar boarder," having enough money saved up to pay for his weekly"keep." He loved the baby and often held her on his lap; her firstride was on Cap'n Bill's shoulders, for she had no baby-carriage; andwhen she began to toddle around, the child and the sailor became closecomrades and enjoyed many strange adventures together. It is said thefairies had been present at Trot's birth and had marked her foreheadwith their invisible mystic signs, so that she was able to see and domany wonderful things.
The acacia tree was on top of a high bluff, but a path ran down thebank in a zigzag way to the water's edge, where Cap'n Bill's boat wasmoored to a rock by means of a stout cable. It had been a hot, sultryafternoon, with scarcely a breath of air stirring, so Cap'n Bill andTrot had been quietly sitting beneath the shade of the tree, waitingfor the sun to get low enough for them to take a row.
They had decided to visit one of the great caves which the waves hadwashed out of the rocky coast during many years of steady effort. Thecaves were a source of continual delight to both the girl and thesailor, who loved to explore their awesome depths.
"I b'lieve, Cap'n," remarked Trot, at last, "that it's time for us tostart."
The old man cast a shrewd glance at the sky, the sea and the motionlessboat. Then he shook his head.
"Mebbe it's time, Trot," he answered, "but I don't jes' like the lookso' things this afternoon."
"What's wrong?" she asked wonderingly.
"Can't say as to that. Things is too quiet to suit me, that's all. Nobreeze, not a ripple a-top the water, nary a gull a-flyin' anywhere,an' the end o' the hottest day o' the year. I ain't no weather-prophet,Trot, but any sailor would know the signs is ominous."
"There's nothing wrong that I can see," said Trot.
"If there was a cloud in the sky even as big as my thumb, we mightworry about it; but--look, Cap'n!--the sky is as clear as can be."
He looked again and nodded.
"P'r'aps we can make the cave, all right," he agreed, not wishing todisappoint her. "It's only a little way out, an' we'll be on thewatch; so come along, Trot."
Together they descended the winding path to the beach. It was notrouble for the girl to keep her footing on the steep way, but Cap'nBill, because of his wooden leg, had to hold on to rocks and roots nowand then to save himself from tumbling. On a level path he was as spryas anyone, but to climb up hill or down required some care.
They reached the boat safely and while Trot was untying the rope Cap'nBill reached into a crevice of the rock and drew out several tallowcandles and a box of wax matches, which he thrust into the capaciouspockets of his "sou'wester." This sou'wester was a short coat ofoilskin which the old sailor wore on all occasions--when he wore a coatat all--and the pockets always contained a variety of objects, usefuland ornamental, which made even Trot wonder where they all came fromand why Cap'n Bill should treasure them. The jackknives--a big one anda little one--the bits of cord, the fishhooks, the nails: these werehandy to have on certain occasions. But bits of shell, and tin boxeswith unknown contents, buttons, pincers, bottles of curious stones andthe like, seemed quite unnecessary to carry around. That was Cap'nBill's business, however, and now that he added the candles and thematches to his collection Trot made no comment, for she knew these lastwere to light their way through the caves. The sailor always rowed theboat, for he handled the oars with strength and skill. Trot sat in thestern and steered. The place where they embarked was a little bight orcircular bay, and the boat cut across a much larger bay toward adistant headland where the caves were located, right at the water'sedge. They were nearly a mile from shore and about halfway across thebay when Trot suddenly sat up straight and exclaimed: "What's that,Cap'n?"
He stopped rowing and turned half around to look.
"That, Trot," he slowly replied, "looks to me mighty like a whirlpool."
"What makes it, Cap'n?"
"A whirl in the air makes the whirl in the water. I was afraid as we'dmeet with trouble, Trot. Things didn't look right. The air was toostill."
"It's coming closer," said the girl.
The old man grabbed the oars and began rowing with all his strength.
"'Tain't comin' closer to us, Trot," he gasped; "it's we that arecomin' closer to the whirlpool. The thing is drawin' us to it like amagnet!"
Trot's sun-bronzed face was a little paler as she grasped the tillerfirmly and tried to steer the boat away; but she said not a word toindicate fear.
The swirl of the water as they came nearer made a roaring sound thatwas fearful to listen to. So fierce and powerful was the whirlpool thatit drew the surface of the sea into the form of a great basin, slantingdownward toward the center, where a big hole had been made in theocean--a hole with walls of water that were kept in place by the rapidwhirling of the air.
The boat in which Trot and Cap'n Bill were riding was just on the outeredge of this saucer-like slant, and the old sailor knew very well thatunless he could quickly force the little craft away from the rushingcurrent they would soon be drawn into the great black hole that yawnedin the middle. So he exerted all his might and pulled as he had neverpulled before. He pulled so hard that the left oar snapped in two andsent Cap'n Bill sprawling upon the bottom of the boat.
He scrambled up quickly enough and glanced over the side. Then helooked at Trot, who sat quite still, with a serious, far-away look inher sweet eyes. The boat was now speeding swiftly of its own accord,following the line of the circular basin round and round and graduallydrawing nearer to the great hole in the center. Any further effort toescape the whirlpool was useless, and realizing this fact Cap'n Billturned toward Trot and put an arm around her, as if to shield her fromthe awful fate before them. He did not try to speak, because the roarof the waters would have drowned the sound of his voice.
These two faithful comrades had faced dangers before, but nothing toequal that which now faced them. Yet Cap'n Bill, noting the look inTrot's eyes and remembering how often she had been protected by unseenpowers, did not quite give way to despair.
The great hole in the dark water--now growing nearer and nearer--lookedvery terrifying; but they were both brave enough to face it and awaitthe result of the adventure.
The Cavern Under the Sea
The circles were so much smaller at the bottom of the basin, and theboat moved so much more swiftly, that Trot was beginning to get dizzywith the motion, when suddenly the boat made a leap and dived headlonginto the murky depths of the hole. Whirling like tops, but stillclinging together, the sailor and the girl were separated from theirboat and plunged down--down--down--into the farthermost recesses of thegreat ocean.
At first their fall was swift as an arrow, but presently they seemed tobe going more moderately and Trot was almost sure that unseen arms wereabout her, supporting her and protecting her. She could see nothing,because the water filled her eyes and blurred her vision, but she clungfast to Cap'n Bill's sou'wester, while other arms clung fast to her,and so they gradually sank down and down until a full stop was made,when they began to ascend again.
But it seemed to Trot that they were not rising straight to the surfacefrom where they had come. The water was no longer whirling them andthey seemed to be drawn in a slanting direction through still, coolocean depths. And then--in much quicker time than I have told it--upthey popped to the surface and were cast at full length upon a sandybeach, where they lay choking and gasping for breath and wondering whathad happened to them.
Trot was the first to recover. Disengaging herself from Cap'n Bill'swet embrace and sitting up, she rubbed the water from her eyes and thenlooked around her. A soft, bluish-green glow lighted the place, whichseemed to be a sort of cavern, for above and on either side of her wererugged rocks. They had been cast upon a beach of clear sand, whichslanted upward from the pool of water at their feet--a pool whichdoubtless led into the big ocean that fed it. Above the reach of thewaves of the pool were more rocks, and still more and more, into thedim windings and recesses of which the glowing light from the water didnot penetrate.
The place looked grim and lonely, but Trot was thankful that she wasstill alive and had suffered no severe injury during her tryingadventure under water. At her side Cap'n Bill was sputtering andcoughing, trying to get rid of the water he had swallowed. Both of themwere soaked through, yet the cavern was warm and comfortable and awetting did not dismay the little girl in the least.
She crawled up the slant of sand and gathered in her hand a bunch ofdried seaweed, with which she mopped the face of Cap'n Bill and clearedthe water from his eyes and ears. Presently the old man sat up andstared at her intently. Then he nodded his bald head three times andsaid in a gurgling voice:
"Mighty good, Trot; mighty good! We didn't reach Davy Jones's lockerthat time, did we? Though why we didn't, an' why we're here, is more'nI kin make out."
"Take it easy, Cap'n," she replied. "We're safe enough, I guess, atleast for the time being."
He squeezed the water out of the bottoms of his loose trousers and feltof his wooden leg and arms and head, and finding he had brought all ofhis person with him he gathered courage to examine closely theirsurroundings.
"Where d'ye think we are, Trot?" he presently asked.
"Can't say, Cap'n. P'r'aps in one of our caves."
He shook his head. "No," said he, "I don't think that, at all. Thedistance we came up didn't seem half as far as the distance we wentdown; an' you'll notice there ain't any outside entrance to this cavernwhatever. It's a reg'lar dome over this pool o' water, and unlessthere's some passage at the back, up yonder, we're fast pris'ners."
Trot looked thoughtfully over her shoulder.
"When we're rested," she said, "we will crawl up there and see ifthere's a way to get out."
Cap'n Bill reached in the pocket of his oilskin coat and took out hispipe. It was still dry, for he kept it in an oilskin pouch with histobacco. His matches were in a tight tin box, so in a few moments theold sailor was smoking contentedly. Trot knew it helped him to thinkwhen he was in any difficulty. Also, the pipe did much to restore theold sailor's composure, after his long ducking and his terriblefright--a fright that was more on Trot's account than his own.
The sand was dry where they sat, and soaked up the water that drippedfrom their clothing. When Trot had squeezed the wet out of her hair shebegan to feel much like her old self again. By and by they got upontheir feet and crept up the incline to the scattered boulders above.Some of these were of huge size, but by passing between some and aroundothers, they were able to reach the extreme rear of the cavern.
"Yes," said Trot, with interest, "here's a round hole."
"And it's black as night inside it," remarked Cap'n Bill.
"Just the same," answered the girl, "we ought to explore it, and seewhere it goes, 'cause it's the only poss'ble way we can get out of thisplace."
Cap'n Bill eyed the hole doubtfully
"It may be a way out o' here, Trot," he said, "but it may be a way intoa far worse place than this. I'm not sure but our best plan is to stayright here."
Trot wasn't sure, either, when she thought of it in that light. Afterawhile she made her way back to the sands again, and Cap'n Billfollowed her. As they sat down, the child looked thoughtfully at thesailor's bulging pockets.
"How much food have we got, Cap'n?" she asked.
"Half a dozen ship's biscuits an' a hunk o' cheese," he replied. "Wantsome now, Trot?"
She shook her head, saying:
"That ought to keep us alive 'bout three days if we're careful of it."
"Longer'n that, Trot," said Cap'n Bill, but his voice was a littletroubled and unsteady.
"But if we stay here we're bound to starve in time," continued thegirl, "while if we go into the dark hole--"
"Some things are more hard to face than starvation," said thesailor-man, gravely. "We don't know what's inside that dark hole: Trot,nor where it might lead us to."
"There's a way to find that out," she persisted.
Instead of replying, Cap'n Bill began searching in his pockets. He soondrew out a little package of fish-hooks and a long line. Trot watchedhim join them together. Then he crept a little way up the slope andturned over a big rock. Two or three small crabs began scurrying awayover the sands and the old sailor caught them and put one on his hookand the others in his pocket. Coming back to the pool he swung the hookover his shoulder and circled it around his head and cast it nearlyinto the center of the water, where he allowed it to sink gradually,paying out the line as far as it would go. When the end was reached, hebegan drawing it in again, until the crab bait was floating on thesurface.
Trot watched him cast the line a second time, and a third. She decidedthat either there were no fishes in the pool or they would not bite thecrab bait. But Cap'n Bill was an old fisherman and not easilydiscouraged. When the crab got away he put another on the hook. Whenthe crabs were all gone he climbed up the rocks and found some more.
Meantime Trot tired of watching him and lay down upon the sands, whereshe fell fast asleep. During the next two hours her clothing driedcompletely, as did that of the old sailor. They were both so used tosalt water that there was no danger of taking cold.
Finally the little girl was wakened by a splash beside her and a gruntof satisfaction from Cap'n Bill. She opened her eyes to find that theCap'n had landed a silver-scaled fish weighing about two pounds. Thischeered her considerably and she hurried to scrape together a heap ofseaweed, while Cap'n Bill cut up the fish with his jackknife and got itready for cooking.
They had cooked fish with seaweed before. Cap'n Bill wrapped his fishin some of the weed and dipped it in the water to dampen it. Then helighted a match and set fire to Trot's heap, which speedily burned downto a glowing bed of ashes. Then they laid the wrapped fish on theashes, covered it with more seaweed, and allowed this to catch fire andburn to embers. After feeding the fire with seaweed for some time, thesailor finally decided that their supper was ready, so he scattered theashes and drew out the bits of fish, still encased in their smokingwrappings.
When these wrappings were removed, the fish was found thoroughly cookedand both Trot and Cap'n Bill ate of it freely. It had a slight flavorof seaweed and would have been better with a sprinkling of salt.
The soft glow which until now had lighted the cavern, began to growdim, but there was a great quantity of seaweed in the place, so afterthey had eaten their fish they kept the fire alive for a time by givingit a handful of fuel now and then.
From an inner pocket the sailor drew a small flask of battered metaland unscrewing the cap handed it to Trot. She took but one swallow ofthe water although she wanted more, and she noticed that Cap'n Billmerely wet his lips with it.
"S'pose," said she, staring at the glowing seaweed fire and speakingslowly, "that we can catch all the fish we need; how 'bout thedrinking-water, Cap'n?"
He moved uneasily but did not reply. Both of them were thinking aboutthe dark hole, but while Trot had little fear of it the old man couldnot overcome his dislike to enter the place. He knew that Trot wasright, though. To remain in the cavern, where they now were, could onlyresult in slow but sure death.
It was nighttime up on the earth's surface, so the little girl becamedrowsy and soon fell asleep. After a time the old sailor slumbered onthe sands beside her. It was very still and nothing disturbed them forhours. When at last they awoke the cavern was light again.
They had divided one of the biscuits and were munching it for breakfastwhen they were startled by a sudden splash in the pool. Looking towardit they saw emerging from the water the most curious creature either ofthem had ever beheld. It wasn't a fish, Trot decided, nor was it abeast. It had wings, though, and queer wings they were: shaped like aninverted chopping-bowl and covered with tough skin instead of feathers.It had four legs--much like the legs of a stork, only double thenumber--and its head was shaped a good deal like that of a poll parrot,with a beak that curved downward in front and upward at the edges, andwas half bill and half mouth. But to call it a bird was out of thequestion, because it had no feathers whatever except a crest of wavyplumes of a scarlet color on the very top of its head. The strangecreature must have weighed as much as Cap'n Bill, and as it flounderedand struggled to get out of the water to the sandy beach it was so bigand unusual that both Trot and her companion stared at it in wonder--inwonder that was not unmixed with fear.
The eyes that regarded them, as the creature stood dripping beforethem, were bright and mild in expression, and the queer addition totheir party made no attempt to attack them and seemed quite assurprised by the meeting as they were.
"I wonder," whispered Trot, "what it is."
"Who, me?" exclaimed the creature in a shrill, high-pitched voice."Why, I'm an Ork."
"Oh!" said the girl. "But what is an Ork?"
"I am," he repeated, a little proudly, as he shook the water from hisfunny wings; "and if ever an Ork was glad to be out of the water and ondry land again, you can be mighty sure that I'm that especial,individual Ork!"
"Have you been in the water long?" inquired Cap'n Bill, thinking itonly polite to show an interest in the strange creature.
"Why, this last ducking was about ten minutes, I believe, and that'sabout nine minutes and sixty seconds too long for comfort," was thereply. "But last night I was in an awful pickle, I assure you. Thewhirlpool caught me, and--"
"Oh, were you in the whirlpool, too?" asked Trot eagerly.
He gave her a glance that was somewhat reproachful.
"I believe I was mentioning the fact, young lady, when your desire totalk interrupted me," said the Ork. "I am not usually careless in myactions, but that whirlpool was so busy yesterday that I thought I'dsee what mischief it was up to. So I flew a little too near it and thesuction of the air drew me down into the depths of the ocean. Water andI are natural enemies, and it would have conquered me this time had nota bevy of pretty mermaids come to my assistance and dragged me awayfrom the whirling water and far up into a cavern, where they desertedme."
"Why, that's about the same thing that happened to us," cried Trot."Was your cavern like this one?"
"I haven't examined this one yet," answered the Ork; "but if theyhappen to be alike I shudder at our fate, for the other one was aprison, with no outlet except by means of the water. I stayed thereall night, however, and this morning I plunged into the pool, as fardown as I could go, and then swam as hard and as far as I could. Therocks scraped my back, now and then, and I barely escaped the clutchesof an ugly sea-monster; but by and by I came to the surface to catch mybreath, and found myself here. That's the whole story, and as I see youhave something to eat I entreat you to give me a share of it. The truthis, I'm half starved."
With these words the Ork squatted down beside them. Very reluctantlyCap'n Bill drew another biscuit from his pocket and held it out. TheOrk promptly seized it in one of its front claws and began to nibblethe biscuit in much the same manner a parrot might have done.
"We haven't much grub," said the sailor-man, "but we're willin' toshare it with a comrade in distress."
"That's right," returned the Ork, cocking its head sidewise in acheerful manner, and then for a few minutes there was silence whilethey all ate of the biscuits. After a while Trot said:
"I've never seen or heard of an Ork before. Are there many of you?"
"We are rather few and exclusive, I believe," was the reply. "In thecountry where I was born we are the absolute rulers of all livingthings, from ants to elephants."
"What country is that?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Where does it lie?"
"I don't know, exactly. You see, I have a restless nature, for somereason, while all the rest of my race are quiet and contented Orks andseldom stray far from home. From childhood days I loved to fly longdistances away, although father often warned me that I would get intotrouble by so doing.
"'It's a big world, Flipper, my son,' he would say, 'and I've heardthat in parts of it live queer two-legged creatures called Men, who warupon all other living things and would have little respect for even anOrk.'
"This naturally aroused my curiosity and after I had completed myeducation and left school I decided to fly out into the world and tryto get a glimpse of the creatures called Men. So I left home withoutsaying good-bye, an act I shall always regret. Adventures were many, Ifound. I sighted men several times, but have never before been so closeto them as now. Also I had to fight my way through the air, for I metgigantic birds, with fluffy feathers all over them, which attacked mefiercely. Besides, it kept me busy escaping from floating airships. Inmy rambling I had lost all track of distance or direction, so that whenI wanted to go home I had no idea where my country was located. I'venow been trying to find it for several months and it was during one ofmy flights over the ocean that I met the whirlpool and became itsvictim."
Trot and Cap'n Bill listened to this recital with much interest, andfrom the friendly tone and harmless appearance of the Ork they judgedhe was not likely to prove so disagreeable a companion as at first theyhad feared he might be.
The Ork sat upon its haunches much as a cat does, but used thefinger-like claws of its front legs almost as cleverly as if they werehands. Perhaps the most curious thing about the creature was its tail,or what ought to have been its tail. This queer arrangement of skin,bones and muscle was shaped like the propellers used on boats andairships, having fan-like surfaces and being pivoted to its body. Cap'nBill knew something of mechanics, and observing the propeller-like tailof the Ork he said:
"I s'pose you're a pretty swift flyer?"
"Yes, indeed; the Orks are admitted to be Kings of the Air."
"Your wings don't seem to amount to much," remarked Trot.
"Well, they are not very big," admitted the Ork, waving the four hollowskins gently to and fro, "but they serve to support my body in the airwhile I speed along by means of my tail. Still, taken altogether, I'mvery handsomely formed, don't you think?"
Trot did not like to reply, but Cap'n Bill nodded gravely. "For anOrk," said he, "you're a wonder. I've never seen one afore, but I canimagine you're as good as any."
That seemed to please the creature and it began walking around thecavern, making its way easily up the slope. While it was gone, Trot andCap'n Bill each took another sip from the water-flask, to wash downtheir breakfast.
"Why, here's a hole--an exit--an outlet!" exclaimed the Ork from above.
"We know," said Trot. "We found it last night."
"Well, then, let's be off," continued the Ork, after sticking its headinto the black hole and sniffing once or twice. "The air seems freshand sweet, and it can't lead us to any worse place than this."
The girl and the sailor-man got up and climbed to the side of the Ork.
"We'd about decided to explore this hole before you came," explainedCap'n Bill; "but it's a dangerous place to navigate in the dark, sowait till I light a candle."
"What is a candle?" inquired the Ork.
"You'll see in a minute," said Trot.
The old sailor drew one of the candles from his right-side pocket andthe tin matchbox from his left-side pocket. When he lighted the matchthe Ork gave a startled jump and eyed the flame suspiciously; but Cap'nBill proceeded to light the candle and the action interested the Orkvery much.
"Light," it said, somewhat nervously, "is valuable in a hole of thissort. The candle is not dangerous, I hope?"
"Sometimes it burns your fingers," answered Trot, "but that's about theworst it can do--'cept to blow out when you don't want it to."
Cap'n Bill shielded the flame with his hand and crept into the hole. Itwasn't any too big for a grown man, but after he had crawled a few feetit grew larger. Trot came close behind him and then the Ork followed.
"Seems like a reg'lar tunnel," muttered the sailor-man, who wascreeping along awkwardly because of his wooden leg. The rocks, too,hurt his knees.
For nearly half an hour the three moved slowly along the tunnel, whichmade many twists and turns and sometimes slanted downward and sometimesupward. Finally Cap'n Bill stopped short, with an exclamation ofdisappointment, and held the flickering candle far ahead to light thescene.
"What's wrong?" demanded Trot, who could see nothing because thesailor's form completely filled the hole.
"Why, we've come to the end of our travels, I guess," he replied.
"Is the hole blocked?" inquired the Ork.
"No; it's wuss nor that," replied Cap'n Bill sadly. "I'm on the edge ofa precipice. Wait a minute an' I'll move along and let you see foryourselves. Be careful, Trot, not to fall."
Then he crept forward a little and moved to one side, holding thecandle so that the girl could see to follow him. The Ork came next andnow all three knelt on a narrow ledge of rock which dropped straightaway and left a huge black space which the tiny flame of the candlecould not illuminate.
"H-m!" said the Ork, peering over the edge; "this doesn't look verypromising, I'll admit. But let me take your candle, and I'll fly downand see what's below us."
"Aren't you afraid?" asked Trot.
"Certainly I'm afraid," responded the Ork. "But if we intend to escapewe can't stay on this shelf forever. So, as I notice you poor creaturescannot fly, it is my duty to explore the place for you."
Cap'n Bill handed the Ork the candle, which had now burned to abouthalf its length. The Ork took it in one claw rather cautiously and thentipped its body forward and slipped over the edge. They heard a queerbuzzing sound, as the tail revolved, and a brisk flapping of thepeculiar wings, but they were more interested just then in followingwith their eyes the tiny speck of light which marked the location ofthe candle. This light first made a great circle, then dropped slowlydownward and suddenly was extinguished, leaving everything before themblack as ink.
"Hi, there! How did that happen?" cried the Ork.
"It blew out, I guess," shouted Cap'n Bill. "Fetch it here."
"I can't see where you are," said the Ork.
So Cap'n Bill got out another candle and lighted it, and its flameenabled the Ork to fly back to them. It alighted on the edge and heldout the bit of candle.
"What made it stop burning?" asked the creature.
"The wind," said Trot. "You must be more careful, this time."
"What's the place like?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"I don't know, yet; but there must be a bottom to it, so I'll try tofind it."
With this the Ork started out again and this time sank downward moreslowly. Down, down, down it went, till the candle was a mere spark, andthen it headed away to the left and Trot and Cap'n Bill lost all sightof it.
In a few minutes, however, they saw the spark of light again, and asthe sailor still held the second lighted candle the Ork made straighttoward them. It was only a few yards distant when suddenly it droppedthe candle with a cry of pain and next moment alighted, flutteringwildly, upon the rocky ledge.
"What's the matter?" asked Trot.
"It bit me!" wailed the Ork. "I don't like your candles. The thingbegan to disappear slowly as soon as I took it in my claw, and it grewsmaller and smaller until just now it turned and bit me--a mostunfriendly thing to do. Oh--oh! Ouch, what a bite!"
"That's the nature of candles, I'm sorry to say," explained Cap'n Bill,with a grin. "You have to handle 'em mighty keerful. But tell us, whatdid you find down there?"
"I found a way to continue our journey," said the Ork, nursing tenderlythe claw which had been burned. "Just below us is a great lake of blackwater, which looked so cold and wicked that it made me shudder; butaway at the left there's a big tunnel, which we can easily walkthrough. I don't know where it leads to, of course, but we must followit and find out." "why, we can't get to it," protested the little girl."We can't fly, as you do, you must remember."
"No, that's true," replied the Ork musingly. "Your bodies are builtvery poorly, it seems to me, since all you can do is crawl upon theearth's surface. But you may ride upon my back, and in that way I canpromise you a safe journey to the tunnel."
"Are you strong enough to carry us?" asked Cap'n Bill, doubtfully.
"Yes, indeed; I'm strong enough to carry a dozen of you, if you couldfind a place to sit," was the reply; "but there's only room between mywings for one at a time, so I'll have to make two trips."
"All right; I'll go first," decided Cap'n Bill.
He lit another candle for Trot to hold while they were gone and tolight the Ork on his return to her, and then the old sailor got uponthe Ork's back, where he sat with his wooden leg sticking straight outsidewise.
"If you start to fall, clasp your arms around my neck," advised thecreature.
"If I start to fall, it's good night an' pleasant dreams," said Cap'nBill.
"All ready?" asked the Ork.
"Start the buzz-tail," said Cap'n Bill, with a tremble in his voice.But the Ork flew away so gently that the old man never even tottered inhis seat. Trot watched the light of Cap'n Bill's candle till itdisappeared in the far distance. She didn't like to be left alone onthis dangerous ledge, with a lake of black water hundreds of feet belowher; but she was a brave little girl and waited patiently for thereturn of the Ork. It came even sooner than she had expected and thecreature said to her:
"Your friend is safe in the tunnel. Now, then, get aboard and I'llcarry you to him in a jiffy."
I'm sure not many little girls would have cared to take that awful ridethrough the huge black cavern on the back of a skinny Ork. Trot didn'tcare for it, herself, but it just had to be done and so she did it ascourageously as possible. Her heart beat fast and she was so nervousshe could scarcely hold the candle in her fingers as the Ork spedswiftly through the darkness.
It seemed like a long ride to her, yet in reality the Ork covered thedistance in a wonderfully brief period of time and soon Trot stoodsafely beside Cap'n Bill on the level floor of a big arched tunnel. Thesailor-man was very glad to greet his little comrade again and bothwere grateful to the Ork for his assistance.
"I dunno where this tunnel leads to," remarked Cap'n Bill, "but itsurely looks more promisin' than that other hole we crept through."
"When the Ork is rested," said Trot, "we'll travel on and see whathappens."
"Rested!" cried the Ork, as scornfully as his shrill voice would allow."That bit of flying didn't tire me at all. I'm used to flying days at atime, without ever once stopping."
"Then let's move on," proposed Cap'n Bill. He still held in his handone lighted candle, so Trot blew out the other flame and placed hercandle in the sailor's big pocket. She knew it was not wise to burn twocandles at once.
The tunnel was straight and smooth and very easy to walk through, sothey made good progress. Trot thought that the tunnel began about twomiles from the cavern where they had been cast by the whirlpool, butnow it was impossible to guess the miles traveled, for they walkedsteadily for hours and hours without any change in their surroundings.
Finally Cap'n Bill stopped to rest.
"There's somethin' queer about this 'ere tunnel, I'm certain," hedeclared, wagging his head dolefully. "Here's three candles gonea'ready, an' only three more left us, yet the tunnel's the same as itwas when we started. An' how long it's goin' to keep up, no one knows."
"Couldn't we walk without a light?" asked Trot. "The way seems safeenough."
"It does right now," was the reply, "but we can't tell when we arelikely to come to another gulf, or somethin' jes' as dangerous. In thatcase we'd be killed afore we knew it."
"Suppose I go ahead?" suggested the Ork. "I don't fear a fall, youknow, and if anything happens I'll call out and warn you."
"That's a good idea," declared Trot, and Cap'n Bill thought so, too. Sothe Ork started off ahead, quite in the dark, and hand in band the twofollowed him.
When they had walked in this way for a good long time the Ork haltedand demanded food. Cap'n Bill had not mentioned food because there wasso little left--only three biscuits and a lump of cheese about as bigas his two fingers--but he gave the Ork half of a biscuit, sighing ashe did so. The creature didn't care for the cheese, so the sailordivided it between himself and Trot. They lighted a candle and sat downin the tunnel while they ate.
"My feet hurt me," grumbled the Ork. "I'm not used to walking and thisrocky passage is so uneven and lumpy that it hurts me to walk upon it."
"Can't you fly along?" asked Trot.
"No; the roof is too low," said the Ork.
After the meal they resumed their journey, which Trot began to fearwould never end. When Cap'n Bill noticed how tired the little girl was,he paused and lighted a match and looked at his big silver watch.
"Why, it's night!" he exclaimed. "We've tramped all day, an' stillwe're in this awful passage, which mebbe goes straight through themiddle of the world, an' mebbe is a circle--in which case we can keepwalkin' till doomsday. Not knowin' what's before us so well as we knowwhat's behind us, I propose we make a stop, now, an' try to sleep tillmornin'."
"That will suit me," asserted the Ork, with a groan. "My feet arehurting me dreadfully and for the last few miles I've been limping withpain."
"My foot hurts, too," said the sailor, looking for a smooth place onthe rocky floor to sit down.
"Your foot!" cried the Ork. "why, you've only one to hurt you, while Ihave four. So I suffer four times as much as you possibly can. Here;hold the candle while I look at the bottoms of my claws. I declare," hesaid, examining them by the flickering light, "there are bunches ofpain all over them!"
"P'r'aps," said Trot, who was very glad to sit down beside hercompanions, "you've got corns."
"Corns? Nonsense! Orks never have corns," protested the creature,rubbing its sore feet tenderly.
"Then mebbe they're--they're-- What do you call 'em, Cap'n Bill?Something 'bout the Pilgrim's Progress, you know."
"Bunions," said Cap'n Bill.
"Oh, yes; mebbe you've got bunions."
"It is possible," moaned the Ork. "But whatever they are, another dayof such walking on them would drive me crazy."
"I'm sure they'll feel better by mornin'," said Cap'n Bill,encouragingly. "Go to sleep an' try to forget your sore feet."
The Ork cast a reproachful look at the sailor-man, who didn't see it.Then the creature asked plaintively: "Do we eat now, or do we starve?"
"There's only half a biscuit left for you," answered Cap'n Bill. "Noone knows how long we'll have to stay in this dark tunnel, wherethere's nothing whatever to eat; so I advise you to save that morsel o'food till later."
"Give it me now!" demanded the Ork. "If I'm going to starve, I'll do itall at once--not by degrees."
Cap'n Bill produced the biscuit and the creature ate it in a trice.Trot was rather hungry and whispered to Cap'n Bill that she'd take partof her share; but the old man secretly broke his own half-biscuit intwo, saving Trot's share for a time of greater need.
He was beginning to be worried over the little girl's plight and longafter she was asleep and the Ork was snoring in a rather disagreeablemanner, Cap'n Bill sat with his back to a rock and smoked his pipe andtried to think of some way to escape from this seemingly endlesstunnel. But after a time he also slept, for hobbling on a wooden legall day was tiresome, and there in the dark slumbered the threeadventurers for many hours, until the Ork roused itself and kicked theold sailor with one foot.
"It must be another day," said he.
Daylight at Last
Cap'n Bill rubbed his eyes, lit a match and consulted his watch.
"Nine o'clock. Yes, I guess it's another day, sure enough. Shall we goon?" he asked.
"Of course," replied the Ork. "Unless this tunnel is different fromeverything else in the world, and has no end, we'll find a way out ofit sooner or later."
The sailor gently wakened Trot. She felt much rested by her long sleepand sprang to her feet eagerly.
"Let's start, Cap'n," was all she said.
They resumed the journey and had only taken a few steps when the Orkcried "Wow!" and made a great fluttering of its wings and whirling ofits tail. The others, who were following a short distance behind,stopped abruptly.
"What's the matter?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Give us a light," was the reply. "I think we've come to the end of thetunnel." Then, while Cap'n Bill lighted a candle, the creature added:"If that is true, we needn't have wakened so soon, for we were almostat the end of this place when we went to sleep."
The sailor-man and Trot came forward with a light. A wall of rockreally faced the tunnel, but now they saw that the opening made a sharpturn to the left. So they followed on, by a narrower passage, and thenmade another sharp turn this time to the right.
"Blow out the light, Cap'n," said the Ork, in a pleased voice. "We'vestruck daylight."
Daylight at last! A shaft of mellow light fell almost at their feet asTrot and the sailor turned the corner of the passage, but it came fromabove, and raising their eyes they found they were at the bottom of adeep, rocky well, with the top far, far above their heads. And here thepassage ended.
For a while they gazed in silence, at least two of them being filledwith dismay at the sight. But the Ork merely whistled softly and saidcheerfully:
"That was the toughest journey I ever had the misfortune to undertake,and I'm glad it's over. Yet, unless I can manage to fly to the top ofthis pit, we are entombed here forever."
"Do you think there is room enough for you to fly in?" asked the littlegirl anxiously; and Cap'n Bill added:
"It's a straight-up shaft, so I don't see how you'll ever manage it."
"Were I an ordinary bird--one of those horrid feathered things--Iwouldn't even make the attempt to fly out," said the Ork. "But mymechanical propeller tail can accomplish wonders, and whenever you'reready I'll show you a trick that is worth while."
"Oh!" exclaimed Trot; "do you intend to take us up, too?"
"I thought," said Cap'n Bill, "as you'd go first, an' then sendsomebody to help us by lettin' down a rope."
"Ropes are dangerous," replied the Ork, "and I might not be able tofind one to reach all this distance. Besides, it stands to reason thatif I can get out myself I can also carry you two with me."
"Well, I'm not afraid," said Trot, who longed to be on the earth'ssurface again.
"S'pose we fall?" suggested Cap'n Bill, doubtfully.
"Why, in that case we would all fall together," returned the Ork. "Getaboard, little girl; sit across my shoulders and put both your armsaround my neck."
Trot obeyed and when she was seated on the Ork, Cap'n Bill inquired:
"How 'bout me, Mr. Ork?"
"Why, I think you'd best grab hold of my rear legs and let me carry youup in that manner," was the reply.
Cap'n Bill looked way up at the top of the well, and then he looked atthe Ork's slender, skinny legs and heaved a deep sigh.
"It's goin' to be some dangle, I guess; but if you don't waste too muchtime on the way up, I may be able to hang on," said he.
"All ready, then!" cried the Ork, and at once his whirling tail beganto revolve. Trot felt herself rising into the air; when the creature'slegs left the ground Cap'n Bill grasped two of them firmly and held onfor dear life. The Ork's body was tipped straight upward, and Trot hadto embrace the neck very tightly to keep from sliding off. Even in thisposition the Ork had trouble in escaping the rough sides of the well.Several times it exclaimed "Wow!" as it bumped its back, or a wing hitagainst some jagged projection; but the tail kept whirling withremarkable swiftness and the daylight grew brighter and brighter. Itwas, indeed, a long journey from the bottom to the top, yet almostbefore Trot realized they had come so far, they popped out of the holeinto the clear air and sunshine and a moment later the Ork alightedgently upon the ground.
The release was so sudden that even with the creature's care for itspassengers Cap'n Bill struck the earth with a shock that sent himrolling heel over head; but by the time Trot had slid down from herseat the old sailor-man was sitting up and looking around him with muchsatisfaction.
"It's sort o' pretty here," said he.
"Earth is a beautiful place!" cried Trot.
"I wonder where on earth we are?" pondered the Ork, turning first onebright eye and then the other to this side and that. Trees there were,in plenty, and shrubs and flowers and green turf. But there were nohouses; there were no paths; there was no sign of civilization whatever.
"Just before I settled down on the ground I thought I caught a view ofthe ocean," said the Ork. "Let's see if I was right." Then he flew to alittle hill, near by, and Trot and Cap'n Bill followed him more slowly.When they stood on the top of the hill they could see the blue waves ofthe ocean in front of them, to the right of them, and at the left ofthem. Behind the hill was a forest that shut out the view.
"I hope it ain't an island, Trot," said Cap'n Bill gravely.
"If it is, I s'pose we're prisoners," she replied.
"Ezzackly so, Trot."
"But, 'even so, it's better than those terr'ble underground tunnels andcaverns," declared the girl.
"You are right, little one," agreed the Ork. "Anything above ground isbetter than the best that lies under ground. So let's not quarrel withour fate but be thankful we've escaped."
"We are, indeed!" she replied. "But I wonder if we can find somethingto eat in this place?"
"Let's explore an' find out," proposed Cap'n Bill. "Those trees over atthe left look like cherry-trees."
On the way to them the explorers had to walk through a tangle of vinesand Cap'n Bill, who went first, stumbled and pitched forward on hisface.
"Why, it's a melon!" cried Trot delightedly, as she saw what had causedthe sailor to fall.
Cap'n Bill rose to his foot, for he was not at all hurt, and examinedthe melon. Then he took his big jackknife from his pocket and cut themelon open. It was quite ripe and looked delicious; but the old mantasted it before he permitted Trot to eat any. Deciding it was good hegave her a big slice and then offered the Ork some. The creature lookedat the fruit somewhat disdainfully, at first, but once he had tastedits flavor he ate of it as heartily as did the others. Among the vinesthey discovered many other melons, and Trot said gratefully: "Well,there's no danger of our starving, even if this is an island."
"Melons," remarked Cap'n Bill, "are both food an' water. We couldn'thave struck anything better."
Farther on they came to the cherry trees, where they obtained some ofthe fruit, and at the edge of the little forest were wild plums. Theforest itself consisted entirely of nut trees--walnuts, filberts,almonds and chestnuts--so there would be plenty of wholesome food forthem while they remained there.
Cap'n Bill and Trot decided to walk through the forest, to discoverwhat was on the other side of it, but the Ork's feet were still so soreand "lumpy" from walking on the rocks that the creature said hepreferred to fly over the tree-tops and meet them on the other side.The forest was not large, so by walking briskly for fifteen minutesthey reached its farthest edge and saw before them the shore of theocean.
"It's an island, all right," said Trot, with a sigh.
"Yes, and a pretty island, too," said Cap'n Bill, trying to conceal hisdisappointment on Trot's account. "I guess, partner, if the wuss comesto the wuss, I could build a raft--or even a boat--from those trees,so's we could sail away in it."
The little girl brightened at this suggestion. "I don't see the Orkanywhere," she remarked, looking around. Then her eyes lighted uponsomething and she exclaimed: "Oh, Cap'n Bill! Isn't that a house, overthere to the left?"
Cap'n Bill, looking closely, saw a shed-like structure built at oneedge of the forest.
"Seems like it, Trot. Not that I'd call it much of a house, but it's abuildin', all right. Let's go over an' see if it's occypied."
The Little Old Man of the Island
A few steps brought them to the shed, which was merely a roof of boughsbuilt over a square space, with some branches of trees fastened to thesides to keep off the wind. The front was quite open and faced the sea,and as our friends came nearer they observed a little man, with a longpointed beard, sitting motionless on a stool and staring thoughtfullyout over the water.
"Get out of the way, please," he called in a fretful voice. "Can't yousee you are obstructing my view?"
"Good morning," said Cap'n Bill, politely.
"It isn't a good morning!" snapped the little man. "I've seen plenty ofmornings better than this. Do you call it a good morning when I'mpestered with such a crowd as you?"
Trot was astonished to hear such words from a stranger whom they hadgreeted quite properly, and Cap'n Bill grew red at the little man'srudeness. But the sailor said, in a quiet tone of voice:
"Are you the only one as lives on this 'ere island?"
"Your grammar's bad," was the reply. "But this is my own exclusiveisland, and I'll thank you to get off it as soon as possible."
"We'd like to do that," said Trot, and then she and Cap'n Bill turnedaway and walked down to the shore, to see if any other land was insight.
The little man rose and followed them, although both were now tooprovoked to pay any attention to him.
"Nothin' in sight, partner," reported Cap'n Bill, shading his eyes withhis hand; "so we'll have to stay here for a time, anyhow. It isn't abad place, Trot, by any means."
"That's all you know about it!" broke in the little man. "The trees arealtogether too green and the rocks are harder than they ought to be. Ifind the sand very grainy and the water dreadfully wet. Every breezemakes a draught and the sun shines in the daytime, when there's no needof it, and disappears just as soon as it begins to get dark. If youremain here you'll find the island very unsatisfactory."
Trot turned to look at him, and her sweet face was grave and curious.
"I wonder who you are," she said.
"My name is Pessim," said he, with an air of pride. "I'm called theObserver."
"Oh. What do you observe?" asked the little girl.
"Everything I see," was the reply, in a more surly tone. Then Pessimdrew back with a startled exclamation and looked at some footprints inthe sand. "Why, good gracious me!" he cried in distress.
"What's the matter now?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Someone has pushed the earth in! Don't you see it?
"It isn't pushed in far enough to hurt anything," said Trot, examiningthe footprints.
"Everything hurts that isn't right," insisted the man. "If the earthwere pushed in a mile, it would be a great calamity, wouldn't it?"
"I s'pose so," admitted the little girl.
"Well, here it is pushed in a full inch! That's a twelfth of a foot,or a little more than a millionth part of a mile. Therefore it isone-millionth part of a calamity--Oh, dear! How dreadful!" said Pessimin a wailing voice.
"Try to forget it, sir," advised Cap'n Bill, soothingly. "It'sbeginning to rain. Let's get under your shed and keep dry."
"Raining! Is it really raining?" asked Pessim, beginning to weep.
"It is," answered Cap'n Bill, as the drops began to descend, "and Idon't see any way to stop it--although I'm some observer myself."
"No; we can't stop it, I fear," said the man. "Are you very busy justnow?"
"I won't be after I get to the shed," replied the sailor-man.
"Then do me a favor, please," begged Pessim, walking briskly alongbehind them, for they were hastening to the shed.
"Depends on what it is," said Cap'n Bill.
"I wish you would take my umbrella down to the shore and hold it overthe poor fishes till it stops raining. I'm afraid they'll get wet,"said Pessim.
Trot laughed, but Cap'n Bill thought the little man was poking fun athim and so he scowled upon Pessim in a way that showed he was angry.
They reached the shed before getting very wet, although the rain wasnow coming down in big drops. The roof of the shed protected them andwhile they stood watching the rainstorm something buzzed in and circledaround Pessim's head. At once the Observer began beating it away withhis hands, crying out:
"A bumblebee! A bumblebee! The queerest bumblebee I ever saw!"
Cap'n Bill and Trot both looked at it and the little girl said insurprise:
"Dear me! It's a wee little Ork!"
"That's what it is, sure enough," exclaimed Cap'n Bill.
Really, it wasn't much bigger than a big bumblebee, and when it cametoward Trot she allowed it to alight on her shoulder.
"It's me, all right," said a very small voice in her ear; "but I'm inan awful pickle, just the same!"
"What, are you our Ork, then?" demanded the girl, much amazed.
"No, I'm my own Ork. But I'm the only Ork you know," replied the tinycreature.
"What's happened to you?" asked the sailor, putting his head close toTrot's shoulder in order to hear the reply better. Pessim also put hishead close, and the Ork said:
"You will remember that when I left you I started to fly over thetrees, and just as I got to this side of the forest I saw a bush thatwas loaded down with the most luscious fruit you can imagine. Thefruit was about the size of a gooseberry and of a lovely lavendercolor. So I swooped down and picked off one in my bill and ate it. Atonce I began to grow small. I could feel myself shrinking, shrinkingaway, and it frightened me terribly, so that I lighted on the ground tothink over what was happening. In a few seconds I had shrunk to thesize you now see me; but there I remained, getting no smaller, indeed,but no larger. It is certainly a dreadful affliction! After I hadrecovered somewhat from the shock I began to search for you. It is notso easy to find one's way when a creature is so small, but fortunatelyI spied you here in this shed and came to you at once."
Cap'n Bill and Trot were much astonished at this story and felt grievedfor the poor Ork, but the little man Pessim seemed to think it a goodjoke. He began laughing when he heard the story and laughed until hechoked, after which he lay down on the ground and rolled and laughedagain, while the tears of merriment coursed down his wrinkled cheeks.
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" he finally gasped, sitting up and wiping hiseyes. "This is too rich! It's almost too joyful to be true."
"I don't see anything funny about it," remarked Trot indignantly.
"You would if you'd had my experience," said Pessim, getting upon hisfeet and gradually resuming his solemn and dissatisfied expression ofcountenance. "The same thing happened to me."
"Oh, did it? And how did you happen to come to this island?" asked thegirl.
"I didn't come; the neighbors brought me," replied the little man, witha frown at the recollection. "They said I was quarrelsome andfault-finding and blamed me because I told them all the things thatwent wrong, or never were right, and because I told them how thingsought to be. So they brought me here and left me all alone, saying thatif I quarreled with myself, no one else would be made unhappy. Absurd,wasn't it?"
"Seems to me," said Cap'n Bill, "those neighbors did the proper thing."
"Well," resumed Pessim, "when I found myself King of this island I wasobliged to live upon fruits, and I found many fruits growing here thatI had never seen before. I tasted several and found them good andwholesome. But one day I ate a lavender berry--as the Ork did--andimmediately I grew so small that I was scarcely two inches high. It wasa very unpleasant condition and like the Ork I became frightened. Icould not walk very well nor very far, for every lump of earth in myway seemed a mountain, every blade of grass a tree and every grain ofsand a rocky boulder. For several days I stumbled around in an agony offear. Once a tree toad nearly gobbled me up, and if I ran out from theshelter of the bushes the gulls and cormorants swooped down upon me.Finally I decided to eat another berry and become nothing at all, sincelife, to one as small as I was, had become a dreary nightmare.
"At last I found a small tree that I thought bore the same fruit asthat I had eaten. The berry was dark purple instead of light lavender,but otherwise it was quite similar. Being unable to climb the tree, Iwas obliged to wait underneath it until a sharp breeze arose and shookthe limbs so that a berry fell. Instantly I seized it and taking a lastview of the world--as I then thought--I ate the berry in a twinkling.Then, to my surprise, I began to grow big again, until I became of myformer stature, and so I have since remained. Needless to say, I havenever eaten again of the lavender fruit, nor do any of the beasts orbirds that live upon this island eat it."
They had all three listened eagerly to this amazing tale, and when itwas finished the Ork exclaimed:
"Do you think, then, that the deep purple berry is the antidote for thelavender one?"
"I'm sure of it," answered Pessim.
"Then lead me to the tree at once!" begged the Ork, "for this tiny formI now have terrifies me greatly."
Pessim examined the Ork closely
"You are ugly enough as you are," said he. "Were you any larger youmight be dangerous."
"Oh, no," Trot assured him; "the Ork has been our good friend. Pleasetake us to the tree."
Then Pessim consented, although rather reluctantly. He led them to theright, which was the east side of the island, and in a few minutesbrought them near to the edge of the grove which faced the shore of theocean. Here stood a small tree bearing berries of a deep purple color.The fruit looked very enticing and Cap'n Bill reached up and selectedone that seemed especially plump and ripe.
The Ork had remained perched upon Trot's shoulder but now it flew downto the ground. It was so difficult for Cap'n Bill to kneel down, withhis wooden leg, that the little girl took the berry from him and heldit close to the Ork's head.
"It's too big to go into my mouth," said the little creature, lookingat the fruit sidewise.
"You'll have to make sev'ral mouthfuls of it, I guess," said Trot; andthat is what the Ork did. He pecked at the soft, ripe fruit with hisbill and ate it up very quickly, because it was good.
Even before he had finished the berry they could see the Ork begin togrow. In a few minutes he had regained his natural size and wasstrutting before them, quite delighted with his transformation.
"Well, well! What do you think of me now?" he asked proudly.
"You are very skinny and remarkably ugly," declared Pessim.
"You are a poor judge of Orks," was the reply. "Anyone can see that I'mmuch handsomer than those dreadful things called birds, which are allfluff and feathers."
"Their feathers make soft beds," asserted Pessim. "And my skin wouldmake excellent drumheads," retorted the Ork. "Nevertheless, a pluckedbird or a skinned Ork would be of no value to himself, so we needn'tbrag of our usefulness after we are dead. But for the sake of argument,friend Pessim, I'd like to know what good you would be, were you notalive?"
"Never mind that," said Cap'n Bill. "He isn't much good as he is."
"I am King of this Island, allow me to say, and you're intruding on myproperty," declared the little man, scowling upon them. "If you don'tlike me--and I'm sure you don't, for no one else does--why don't you goaway and leave me to myself?"
"Well, the Ork can fly, but we can't," explained Trot, in answer. "Wedon't want to stay here a bit, but I don't see how we can get away."
"You can go back into the hole you came from."
Cap'n Bill shook his head; Trot shuddered at the thought; the Orklaughed aloud.
"You may be King here," the creature said to Pessim, "but we intend torun this island to suit ourselves, for we are three and you are one,and the balance of power lies with us."
The little man made no reply to this, although as they walked back tothe shed his face wore its fiercest scowl. Cap'n Bill gathered a lot ofleaves and, assisted by Trot, prepared two nice beds in oppositecorners of the shed. Pessim slept in a hammock which he swung betweentwo trees.
They required no dishes, as all their food consisted of fruits and nutspicked from the trees; they made no fire, for the weather was warm andthere was nothing to cook; the shed had no furniture other than therude stool which the little man was accustomed to sit upon. He calledit his "throne" and they let him keep it.
So they lived upon the island for three days, and rested and ate totheir hearts' content. Still, they were not at all happy in this lifebecause of Pessim. He continually found fault with them, and all thatthey did, and all their surroundings. He could see nothing good oradmirable in all the world and Trot soon came to understand why thelittle man's former neighbors had brought him to this island and lefthim there, all alone, so he could not annoy anyone. It was theirmisfortune that they had been led to this place by their adventures,for often they would have preferred the company of a wild beast to thatof Pessim.
On the fourth day a happy thought came to the Ork. They had all beenracking their brains for a possible way to leave the island, anddiscussing this or that method, without finding a plan that waspractical. Cap'n Bill had said he could make a raft of the trees, bigenough to float them all, but he had no tools except those twopocketknives and it was not possible to chop down tree with such smallblades.
"And s'pose we got afloat on the ocean," said Trot, "where would wedrift to, and how long would it take us to get there?"
Cap'n Bill was forced to admit he didn't know. The Ork could fly awayfrom the island any time it wished to, but the queer creature was loyalto his new friends and refused to leave them in such a lonely, forsakenplace.
It was when Trot urged him to go, on this fourth morning, that the Orkhad his happy thought.
"I will go," said he, "if you two will agree to ride upon my back."
"We are too heavy; you might drop us," objected Cap'n Bill.
"Yes, you are rather heavy for a long journey," acknowledged the Ork,"but you might eat of those lavender berries and become so small that Icould carry you with ease."
This quaint suggestion startled Trot and she looked gravely at thespeaker while she considered it, but Cap'n Bill gave a scornful snortand asked:
"What would become of us afterward? We wouldn't be much good if we weresome two or three inches high. No, Mr. Ork, I'd rather stay here, as Iam, than be a hop-o'-my-thumb somewhere else."
"Why couldn't you take some of the dark purple berries along with you,to eat after we had reached our destination?" inquired the Ork. "Thenyou could grow big again whenever you pleased."
Trot clapped her hands with delight.
"That's it!" she exclaimed. "Let's do it, Cap'n Bill."
The old sailor did not like the idea at first, but he thought it overcarefully and the more he thought the better it seemed.
"How could you manage to carry us, if we were so small?" he asked.
"I could put you in a paper bag, and tie the bag around my neck."
"But we haven't a paper bag," objected Trot.
The Ork looked at her.
"There's your sunbonnet," it said presently, "which is hollow in themiddle and has two strings that you could tie around my neck."
Trot took off her sunbonnet and regarded it critically. Yes, it mighteasily hold both her and Cap'n Bill, after they had eaten the lavenderberries and been reduced in size. She tied the strings around the Ork'sneck and the sunbonnet made a bag in which two tiny people might ridewithout danger of falling out. So she said:
"I b'lieve we'll do it that way, Cap'n."
Cap'n Bill groaned but could make no logical objection except that theplan seemed to him quite dangerous--and dangerous in more ways than one.
"I think so, myself," said Trot soberly. "But nobody can stay alivewithout getting into danger sometimes, and danger doesn't mean gettinghurt, Cap'n; it only means we might get hurt. So I guess we'll have totake the risk."
"Let's go and find the berries," said the Ork.
They said nothing to Pessim, who was sitting on his stool and scowlingdismally as he stared at the ocean, but started at once to seek thetrees that bore the magic fruits. The Ork remembered very well wherethe lavender berries grew and led his companions quickly to the spot.
Cap'n Bill gathered two berries and placed them carefully in hispocket. Then they went around to the east side of the island and foundthe tree that bore the dark purple berries.
"I guess I'll take four of these," said the sailor-man, "so in case onedoesn't make us grow big we can eat another."
"Better take six," advised the Ork. "It's well to be on the safe side,and I'm sure these trees grow nowhere else in all the world."
So Cap'n Bill gathered six of the purple berries and with theirprecious fruit they returned to the shed to big good-bye to Pessim.Perhaps they would not have granted the surly little man this courtesyhad they not wished to use him to tie the sunbonnet around the Ork'sneck.
When Pessim learned they were about to leave him he at first lookedgreatly pleased, but he suddenly recollected that nothing ought toplease him and so began to grumble about being left alone.
"We knew it wouldn't suit you," remarked Cap'n Bill. "It didn't suityou to have us here, and it won't suit you to have us go away."
"That is quite true," admitted Pessim. "I haven't been suited since Ican remember; so it doesn't matter to me in the least whether you go orstay."
He was interested in their experiment, however, and willingly agreed toassist, although he prophesied they would fall out of the sunbonnet ontheir way and be either drowned in the ocean or crushed upon some rockyshore. This uncheerful prospect did not daunt Trot, but it made Cap'nBill quite nervous.
"I will eat my berry first," said Trot, as she placed her sunbonnet onthe ground, in such manner that they could get into it.
Then she ate the lavender berry and in a few seconds became so smallthat Cap'n Bill picked her up gently with his thumb and one finger andplaced her in the middle of the sunbonnet. Then he placed beside herthe six purple berries--each one being about as big as the tiny Trot'shead--and all preparations being now made the old sailor ate hislavender berry and became very small--wooden leg and all!
Cap'n Bill stumbled sadly in trying to climb over the edge of thesunbonnet and pitched in beside Trot headfirst, which caused theunhappy Pessim to laugh with glee. Then the King of the Island pickedup the sunbonnet--so rudely that he shook its occupants like peas in apod--and tied it, by means of its strings, securely around the Ork'sneck.
"I hope, Trot, you sewed those strings on tight," said Cap'n Billanxiously.
"Why, we are not very heavy, you know," she replied, "so I think thestitches will hold. But be careful and not crush the berries, Cap'n."
"One is jammed already," he said, looking at them.
"All ready?" asked the Ork.
"Yes!" they cried together, and Pessim came close to the sunbonnet andcalled out to them: "You'll be smashed or drowned, I'm sure you will!But farewell, and good riddance to you."
The Ork was provoked by this unkind speech, so he turned his tailtoward the little man and made it revolve so fast that the rush of airtumbled Pessim over backward and he rolled several times upon theground before he could stop himself and sit up. By that time the Orkwas high in the air and speeding swiftly over the ocean.
The Flight of the Midgets
Cap'n Bill and Trot rode very comfortably in the sunbonnet. The motionwas quite steady, for they weighed so little that the Ork flew withouteffort. Yet they were both somewhat nervous about their future fate andcould not help wishing they were safe on land and their natural sizeagain.
"You're terr'ble small, Trot," remarked Cap'n Bill, looking at hiscompanion.
"Same to you, Cap'n," she said with a laugh; "but as long as we havethe purple berries we needn't worry about our size."
"In a circus," mused the old man, "we'd be curiosities. But in asunbonnet--high up in the air--sailin' over a big, unknown ocean--theyain't no word in any booktionary to describe us."
"Why, we're midgets, that's all," said the little girl. The Ork flewsilently for a long time. The slight swaying of the sunbonnet madeCap'n Bill drowsy, and he began to doze. Trot, however, was wide awake,and after enduring the monotonous journey as long as she was able shecalled out:
"Don't you see land anywhere, Mr. Ork?"
"Not yet," he answered. "This is a big ocean and I've no idea in whichdirection the nearest land to that island lies; but if I keep flying ina straight line I'm sure to reach some place some time."
That seemed reasonable, so the little people in the sunbonnet remainedas patient as possible; that is, Cap'n Bill dozed and Trot tried toremember her geography lessons so she could figure out what land theywere likely to arrive at.
For hours and hours the Ork flew steadily, keeping to the straight lineand searching with his eyes the horizon of the ocean for land. Cap'nBill was fast asleep and snoring and Trot had laid her head on hisshoulder to rest it when suddenly the Ork exclaimed:
"There! I've caught a glimpse of land, at last."
At this announcement they roused themselves. Cap'n Bill stood up andtried to peek over the edge of the sunbonnet.
"What does it look like?" he inquired.
"Looks like another island," said the Ork; "but I can judge it betterin a minute or two."
"I don't care much for islands, since we visited that other one,"declared Trot.
Soon the Ork made another announcement.
"It is surely an island, and a little one, too," said he. "But I won'tstop, because I see a much bigger land straight ahead of it."
"That's right," approved Cap'n Bill. "The bigger the land, the betterit will suit us."
"It's almost a continent," continued the Ork after a brief silence,during which he did not decrease the speed of his flight. "I wonder ifit can be Orkland, the place I have been seeking so long?"
"I hope not," whispered Trot to Cap'n Bill--so softly that the Orkcould not hear her--"for I shouldn't like to be in a country where onlyOrks live. This one Ork isn't a bad companion, but a lot of himwouldn't be much fun."
After a few more minutes of flying the Ork called out in a sad voice:
"No! this is not my country. It's a place I have never seen before,although I have wandered far and wide. It seems to be all mountains anddeserts and green valleys and queer cities and lakes and rivers--mixedup in a very puzzling way."
"Most countries are like that," commented Cap'n Bill. "Are you going toland?"
"Pretty soon," was the reply. "There is a mountain peak just ahead ofme. What do you say to our landing on that?"
"All right," agreed the sailor-man, for both he and Trot were gettingtired of riding in the sunbonnet and longed to set foot on solid groundagain.
So in a few minutes the Ork slowed down his speed and then came to astop so easily that they were scarcely jarred at all. Then the creaturesquatted down until the sunbonnet rested on the ground, and begantrying to unfasten with its claws the knotted strings.
This proved a very clumsy task, because the strings were tied at theback of the Ork's neck, just where his claws would not easily reach.After much fumbling he said:
"I'm afraid I can't let you out, and there is no one near to help me."
This was at first discouraging, but after a little thought Cap'n Billsaid:
"If you don't mind, Trot, I can cut a slit in your sunbonnet with myknife."
"Do," she replied. "The slit won't matter, 'cause I can sew it up againafterward, when I am big."
So Cap'n Bill got out his knife, which was just as small, inproportion, as he was, and after considerable trouble managed to cut along slit in the sunbonnet. First he squeezed through the openinghimself and then helped Trot to get out.
When they stood on firm ground again their first act was to begineating the dark purple berries which they had brought with them. Two ofthese Trot had guarded carefully during the long journey, by holdingthem in her lap, for their safety meant much to the tiny people.
"I'm not very hungry," said the little girl as she handed a berry toCap'n Bill, "but hunger doesn't count, in this case. It's like takingmedicine to make you well, so we must manage to eat 'em, somehow orother."
But the berries proved quite pleasant to taste and as Cap'n Bill andTrot nibbled at their edges their forms began to grow in size--slowlybut steadily. The bigger they grew the easier it was for them to eatthe berries, which of course became smaller to them, and by the timethe fruit was eaten our friends had regained their natural size.
The little girl was greatly relieved when she found herself as large asshe had ever been, and Cap'n Bill shared her satisfaction; for,although they had seen the effect of the berries on the Ork, they hadnot been sure the magic fruit would have the same effect on humanbeings, or that the magic would work in any other country than that inwhich the berries grew.
"What shall we do with the other four berries?" asked Trot, as shepicked up her sunbonnet, marveling that she had ever been small enoughto ride in it. "They're no good to us now, are they, Cap'n?"
"I'm not sure as to that," he replied. "If they were eaten by one whohad never eaten the lavender berries, they might have no effect at all;but then, contrarywise, they might. One of 'em has got badly jammed, soI'll throw it away, but the other three I b'lieve I'll carry with me.They're magic things, you know, and may come handy to us some time."
He now searched in his big pockets and drew out a small wooden box witha sliding cover. The sailor had kept an assortment of nails, ofvarious sizes, in this box, but those he now dumped loosely into hispocket and in the box placed the three sound purple berries.
When this important matter was attended to they found time to lookabout them and see what sort of place the Ork had landed them in.
The Bumpy Man
The mountain on which they had alighted was not a barren waste, but hadon its sides patches of green grass, some bushes, a few slender treesand here and there masses of tumbled rocks. The sides of the slopeseemed rather steep, but with care one could climb up or down them withease and safety. The view from where they now stood showed pleasantvalleys and fertile hills lying below the heights. Trot thought she sawsome houses of queer shapes scattered about the lower landscape, andthere were moving dots that might be people or animals, yet were toofar away for her to see them clearly.
Not far from the place where they stood was the top of the mountain,which seemed to be flat, so the Ork proposed to his companions that hewould fly up and see what was there.
"That's a good idea," said Trot, "'cause it's getting toward eveningand we'll have to find a place to sleep."
The Ork had not been gone more than a few minutes when they saw himappear on the edge of the top which was nearest them.
"Come on up!" he called.
So Trot and Cap'n Bill began to ascend the steep slope and it did nottake them long to reach the place where the Ork awaited them.
Their first view of the mountain top pleased them very much. It was alevel space of wider extent than they had guessed and upon it grewgrass of a brilliant green color. In the very center stood a housebuilt of stone and very neatly constructed. No one was in sight, butsmoke was coming from the chimney, so with one accord all three beganwalking toward the house.
"I wonder," said Trot, "in what country we are, and if it's very farfrom my home in California."
"Can't say as to that, partner," answered Cap'n Bill, "but I'm mightycertain we've come a long way since we struck that whirlpool."
"Yes," she agreed, with a sigh, "it must be miles and miles!"
"Distance means nothing," said the Ork. "I have flown pretty much allover the world, trying to find my home, and it is astonishing how manylittle countries there are, hidden away in the cracks and corners ofthis big globe of Earth. If one travels, he may find some new countryat every turn, and a good many of them have never yet been put upon themaps."
"P'raps this is one of them," suggested Trot.
They reached the house after a brisk walk and Cap'n Bill knocked uponthe door. It was at once opened by a rugged looking man who had "bumpsall over him," as Trot afterward declared. There were bumps on hishead, bumps on his body and bumps on his arms and legs and hands. Evenhis fingers had bumps on the ends of them. For dress he wore an oldgray suit of fantastic design, which fitted him very badly because ofthe bumps it covered but could not conceal.
But the Bumpy Man's eyes were kind and twinkling in expression and assoon as he saw his visitors he bowed low and said in a rather bumpyvoice:
"Happy day! Come in and shut the door, for it grows cool when the sungoes down. Winter is now upon us."
"Why, it isn't cold a bit, outside," said Trot, "so it can't be winteryet."
"You will change your mind about that in a little while," declared theBumpy Man. "My bumps always tell me the state of the weather, and theyfeel just now as if a snowstorm was coming this way. But makeyourselves at home, strangers. Supper is nearly ready and there is foodenough for all."
Inside the house there was but one large room, simply but comfortablyfurnished. It had benches, a table and a fireplace, all made of stone.On the hearth a pot was bubbling and steaming, and Trot thought it hada rather nice smell. The visitors seated themselves upon thebenches--except the Ork. which squatted by the fireplace--and the BumpyMan began stirring the kettle briskly.
"May I ask what country this is, sir?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"Goodness me--fruit-cake and apple-sauce!--don't you know where youare?" asked the Bumpy Man, as he stopped stirring and looked at thespeaker in surprise.
"No," admitted Cap'n Bill. "We've just arrived."
"Lost your way?" questioned the Bumpy Man.
"Not exactly," said Cap'n Bill. "We didn't have any way to lose."
"Ah!" said the Bumpy Man, nodding his bumpy head. "This," he announced,in a solemn, impressive voice, "is the famous Land of Mo."
"Oh!" exclaimed the sailor and the girl, both in one breath. But, neverhaving heard of the Land of Mo, they were no wiser than before.
"I thought that would startle you," remarked the Bumpy Man, wellpleased, as he resumed his stirring. The Ork watched him a while insilence and then asked:
"Who may you be?"
"Me?" answered the Bumpy Man. "Haven't you heard of me? Gingerbread andlemon-juice! I'm known, far and wide, as the Mountain Ear."
They all received this information in silence at first, for they weretrying to think what he could mean. Finally Trot mustered up courage toask:
"What is a Mountain Ear, please?"
For answer the man turned around and faced them, waving the spoon withwhich he had been stirring the kettle, as he recited the followingverses in a singsong tone of voice:
"Here's a mountain, hard of hearing, That's sad-hearted and needs cheering, So my duty is to listen to all sounds that Nature makes, So the hill won't get uneasy-- Get to coughing, or get sneezy-- For this monster bump, when frightened, is quite liable to quakes.
"You can hear a bell that's ringing; I can feel some people's singing; But a mountain isn't sensible of what goes on, and so When I hear a blizzard blowing Or it's raining hard, or snowing, I tell it to the mountain and the mountain seems to know.
"Thus I benefit all people While I'm living on this steeple, For I keep the mountain steady so my neighbors all may thrive. With my list'ning and my shouting I prevent this mount from spouting, And that makes me so important that I'm glad that I'm alive."
When he had finished these lines of verse the Bumpy Man turned again toresume his stirring. The Ork laughed softly and Cap'n Bill whistled tohimself and Trot made up her mind that the Mountain Ear must be alittle crazy. But the Bumpy Man seemed satisfied that he had explainedhis position fully and presently he placed four stone plates upon thetable and then lifted the kettle from the fire and poured some of itscontents on each of the plates. Cap'n Bill and Trot at once approachedthe table, for they were hungry, but when she examined her plate thelittle girl exclaimed:
"Why, it's molasses candy!"
"To be sure," returned the Bumpy Man, with a pleasant smile. "Eat itquick, while it's hot, for it cools very quickly this winter weather."
With this he seized a stone spoon and began putting the hot molassescandy into his mouth, while the others watched him in astonishment.
"Doesn't it burn you?" asked the girl.
"No indeed," said he. "Why don't you eat? Aren't you hungry?"
"Yes," she replied, "I am hungry. But we usually eat our candy when itis cold and hard. We always pull molasses candy before we eat it."
"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the Mountain Ear. "What a funny idea! Where inthe world did you come from?"
"California," she said.
"California! Pooh! there isn't any such place. I've heard of everyplace in the Land of Mo, but I never before heard of California."
"It isn't in the Land of Mo," she explained.
"Then it isn't worth talking about," declared the Bumpy Man, helpinghimself again from the steaming kettle, for he had been eating all thetime he talked.
"For my part," sighed Cap'n Bill, "I'd like a decent square meal, oncemore, just by way of variety. In the last place there was nothing butfruit to eat, and here it's worse, for there's nothing but candy."
"Molasses candy isn't so bad," said Trot. "Mine's nearly cool enough topull, already. Wait a bit, Cap'n, and you can eat it."
A little later she was able to gather the candy from the stone plateand begin to work it back and forth with her hands. The Mountain Earwas greatly amazed at this and watched her closely. It was really goodcandy and pulled beautifully, so that Trot was soon ready to cut itinto chunks for eating.
Cap'n Bill condescended to eat one or two pieces and the Ork ateseveral, but the Bumpy Man refused to try it. Trot finished the plateof candy herself and then asked for a drink of water.
"Water?" said the Mountain Ear wonderingly. "What is that?"
"Something to drink. Don't you have water in Mo?"
"None that ever I heard of," said he. "But I can give you some freshlemonade. I caught it in a jar the last time it rained, which was onlyday before yesterday."
"Oh, does it rain lemonade here?" she inquired.
"Always; and it is very refreshing and healthful."
With this he brought from a cupboard a stone jar and a dipper, and thegirl found it very nice lemonade, indeed. Cap'n Bill liked it, too; butthe Ork would not touch it.
"If there is no water in this country, I cannot stay here for long,"the creature declared. "Water means life to man and beast and bird."
"There must be water in lemonade," said Trot.
"Yes," answered the Ork, "I suppose so; but there are other things init, too, and they spoil the good water."
The day's adventures had made our wanderers tired, so the Bumpy Manbrought them some blankets in which they rolled themselves and then laydown before the fire, which their host kept alive with fuel all throughthe night. Trot wakened several times and found the Mountain Ear alwaysalert and listening intently for the slightest sound. But the littlegirl could hear no sound at all except the snores of Cap'n Bill.
Button-Bright is Lost and Found Again
"Wake up--wake up!" called the voice of the Bumpy Man. "Didn't I tellyou winter was coming? I could hear it coming with my left ear, and theproof is that it is now snowing hard outside."
"Is it?" said Trot, rubbing her eyes and creeping out of her blanket."Where I live, in California, I have never seen snow, except far awayon the tops of high mountains."
"Well, this is the top of a high mountain," returned the bumpy one,"and for that reason we get our heaviest snowfalls right here."
The little girl went to the window and looked out. The air was filledwith falling white flakes, so large in size and so queer in form thatshe was puzzled.
"Are you certain this is snow?" she asked.
"To be sure. I must get my snow-shovel and turn out to shovel a path.Would you like to come with me?"
"Yes," she said, and followed the Bumpy Man out when he opened thedoor. Then she exclaimed: "Why, it isn't cold a bit!"
"Of course not," replied the man. "It was cold last night, before thesnowstorm; but snow, when it falls, is always crisp and warm."
Trot gathered a handful of it.
"Why, it's popcorn?" she cried.
"Certainly; all snow is popcorn. What did you expect it to be?"
"Popcorn is not snow in my country."
"Well, it is the only snow we have in the Land of Mo, so you may aswell make the best of it," said he, a little impatiently. "I'm notresponsible for the absurd things that happen in your country, and whenyou're in Mo you must do as the Momen do. Eat some of our snow, and youwill find it is good. The only fault I find with our snow is that weget too much of it at times."
With this the Bumpy Man set to work shoveling a path and he was soquick and industrious that he piled up the popcorn in great banks oneither side of the trail that led to the mountain-top from the plainsbelow. While he worked, Trot ate popcorn and found it crisp andslightly warm, as well as nicely salted and buttered. Presently Cap'nBill came out of the house and joined her.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Mo snow," said she. "But it isn't real snow, although it falls fromthe sky. It's popcorn."
Cap'n Bill tasted it; then he sat down in the path and began to eat.The Ork came out and pecked away with its bill as fast as it could.They all liked popcorn and they all were hungry this morning.
Meantime the flakes of "Mo snow" came down so fast that the number ofthem almost darkened the air. The Bumpy Man was now shoveling quite adistance down the mountain-side, while the path behind him rapidlyfilled up with fresh-fallen popcorn. Suddenly Trot heard him call out:
"Goodness gracious--mince pie and pancakes!--here is some one buried inthe snow."
She ran toward him at once and the others followed, wading through thecorn and crunching it underneath their feet. The Mo snow was prettydeep where the Bumpy Man was shoveling and from beneath a great bank ofit he had uncovered a pair of feet.
"Dear me! Someone has been lost in the storm," said Cap'n Bill. "Ihope he is still alive. Let's pull him out and see."
He took hold of one foot and the Bumpy Man took hold of the other. Thenthey both pulled and out from the heap of popcorn came a little boy. Hewas dressed in a brown velvet jacket and knickerbockers, with brownstockings, buckled shoes and a blue shirt-waist that had frills downits front. When drawn from the heap the boy was chewing a mouthful ofpopcorn and both his hands were full of it. So at first he couldn'tspeak to his rescuers but lay quite still and eyed them calmly until hehad swallowed his mouthful. Then he said:
"Get my cap," and stuffed more popcorn into his mouth.
While the Bumpy Man began shoveling into the corn-bank to find theboy's cap, Trot was laughing joyfully and Cap'n Bill had a broad grinon his face. The Ork looked from one to another and asked:
"Who is this stranger?"
"Why, it's Button-Bright, of course," answered Trot. "If anyone everfinds a lost boy, he can make up his mind it's Button-Bright. But howhe ever came to be lost in this far-away country is more'n I can makeout."
"Where does he belong?" inquired the Ork.
"His home used to be in Philadelphia, I think; but I'm quite sureButton-Bright doesn't belong anywhere."
"That's right," said the boy, nodding his head as he swallowed thesecond mouthful.
"Everyone belongs somewhere," remarked the Ork.
"Not me," insisted Button-Bright. "I'm half way round the world fromPhiladelphia, and I've lost my Magic Umbrella, that used to carry meanywhere. Stands to reason that if I can't get back I haven't any home.But I don't care much. This is a pretty good country, Trot. I've hadlots of fun here."
By this time the Mountain Ear had secured the boy's cap and waslistening to the conversation with much interest.
"It seems you know this poor, snow-covered cast-away," he said.
"Yes, indeed," answered Trot. "We made a journey together to SkyIsland, once, and were good friends."
"Well, then I'm glad I saved his life," said the Bumpy Man.
"Much obliged, Mr. Knobs," said Button-Bright, sitting up and staringat him, "but I don't believe you've saved anything except some popcornthat I might have eaten had you not disturbed me. It was nice and warmin that bank of popcorn, and there was plenty to eat. What made you digme out? And what makes you so bumpy everywhere?"
"As for the bumps," replied the man, looking at himself with muchpride, "I was born with them and I suspect they were a gift from thefairies. They make me look rugged and big, like the mountain I serve."
"All right," said Button-Bright and began eating popcorn again.
It had stopped snowing, now, and great flocks of birds were gatheringaround the mountain-side, eating the popcorn with much eagerness andscarcely noticing the people at all. There were birds of every size andcolor, most of them having gorgeous feathers and plumes.
"Just look at them!" exclaimed the Ork scornfully. "Aren't theydreadful creatures, all covered with feathers?"
"I think they're beautiful," said Trot, and this made the Ork soindignant that he went back into the house and sulked.
Button-Bright reached out his hand and caught a big bird by the leg. Atonce it rose into the air and it was so strong that it nearly carriedthe little boy with it. He let go the leg in a hurry and the bird flewdown again and began to eat of the popcorn, not being frightened in theleast.
This gave Cap'n Bill an idea. He felt in his pocket and drew outseveral pieces of stout string. Moving very quietly, so as to not alarmthe birds, he crept up to several of the biggest ones and tied cordsaround their legs, thus making them prisoners. The birds were sointent on their eating that they did not notice what had happened tothem, and when about twenty had been captured in this manner Cap'n Billtied the ends of all the strings together and fastened them to a hugestone, so they could not escape.
The Bumpy Man watched the old sailor's actions with much curiosity.
"The birds will be quiet until they've eaten up all the snow," he said,"but then they will want to fly away to their homes. Tell me, sir, whatwill the poor things do when they find they can't fly?"
"It may worry 'em a little," replied Cap'n Bill, "but they're not goingto be hurt if they take it easy and behave themselves."
Our friends had all made a good breakfast of the delicious popcorn andnow they walked toward the house again. Button-Bright walked besideTrot and held her hand in his, because they were old friends and heliked the little girl very much. The boy was not so old as Trot, andsmall as she was he was half a head shorter in height. The mostremarkable thing about Button-Bright was that he was always quiet andcomposed, whatever happened, and nothing was ever able to astonish him.Trot liked him because he was not rude and never tried to plague her.Cap'n Bill liked him because he had found the boy cheerful and brave atall times, and willing to do anything he was asked to do.
When they came to the house Trot sniffed the air and asked "Don't Ismell perfume?"
"I think you do," said the Bumpy Man. "You smell violets, and thatproves there is a breeze springing up from the south. All our winds andbreezes are perfumed and for that reason we are glad to have them blowin our direction. The south breeze always has a violet odor; the northbreeze has the fragrance of wild roses; the east breeze is perfumedwith lilies-of-the-valley and the west wind with lilac blossoms. So weneed no weathervane to tell us which way the wind is blowing. We haveonly to smell the perfume and it informs us at once."
Inside the house they found the Ork, and Button-Bright regarded thestrange, birdlike creature with curious interest. After examining itclosely for a time he asked:
"Which way does your tail whirl?"
"Either way," said the Ork.
Button-Bright put out his hand and tried to spin it.
"Don't do that!" exclaimed the Ork.
"Why not?" inquired the boy.
"Because it happens to be my tail, and I reserve the right to whirl itmyself," explained the Ork.
"Let's go out and fly somewhere," proposed Button-Bright. "I want tosee how the tail works."
"Not now," said the Ork. "I appreciate your interest in me, which Ifully deserve; but I only fly when I am going somewhere, and if I gotstarted I might not stop."
"That reminds me," remarked Cap'n Bill, "to ask you, friend Ork, how weare going to get away from here?"
"Get away!" exclaimed the Bumpy Man. "Why don't you stay here? Youwon't find any nicer place than Mo."
"Have you been anywhere else, sir?"
"No; I can't say that I have," admitted the Mountain Ear.
"Then permit me to say you're no judge," declared Cap'n Bill. "But youhaven't answered my question, friend Ork. How are we to get away fromthis mountain?"
The Ork reflected a while before he answered.
"I might carry one of you--the boy or the girl--upon my back," said he,"but three big people are more than I can manage, although I havecarried two of you for a short distance. You ought not to have eatenthose purple berries so soon."
"P'r'aps we did make a mistake," Cap'n Bill acknowledged.
"Or we might have brought some of those lavender berries with us,instead of so many purple ones," suggested Trot regretfully.
Cap'n Bill made no reply to this statement, which showed he did notfully agree with the little girl; but he fell into deep thought, withwrinkled brows, and finally he said:
"If those purple berries would make anything grow bigger, whether it'deaten the lavender ones or not, I could find a way out of our troubles."
They did not understand this speech and looked at the old sailor as ifexpecting him to explain what he meant. But just then a chorus ofshrill cries rose from outside.
"Here! Let me go--let me go!" the voices seemed to say. "Why are weinsulted in this way? Mountain Ear, come and help us!"
Trot ran to the window and looked out.
"It's the birds you caught, Cap'n," she said. "I didn't know they couldtalk."
"Oh, yes; all the birds in Mo are educated to talk," said the BumpyMan. Then he looked at Cap'n Bill uneasily and added: "Won't you letthe poor things go?"
"I'll see," replied the sailor, and walked out to where the birds werefluttering and complaining because the strings would not allow them tofly away.
"Listen to me!" he cried, and at once they became still. "We threepeople who are strangers in your land want to go to some other country,and we want three of you birds to carry us there. We know we are askinga great favor, but it's the only way we can think of--excep' walkin',an' I'm not much good at that because I've a wooden leg. Besides, Trotan' Button-Bright are too small to undertake a long and tiresomejourney. Now, tell me: Which three of you birds will consent to carryus?"
The birds looked at one another as if greatly astonished. Then one ofthem replied: "You must be crazy, old man. Not one of us is big enoughto fly with even the smallest of your party."
"I'll fix the matter of size," promised Cap'n Bill. "If three of youwill agree to carry us, I'll make you big an' strong enough to do it,so it won't worry you a bit."
The birds considered this gravely. Living in a magic country, they hadno doubt but that the strange one-legged man could do what he said.After a little, one of them asked:
"If you make us big, would we stay big always?"
"I think so," replied Cap'n Bill.
They chattered a while among themselves and then the bird that hadfirst spoken said: "I'll go, for one."
"So will I," said another; and after a pause a third said: "I'll go,too."
Perhaps more would have volunteered, for it seemed that for some reasonthey all longed to be bigger than they were; but three were enough forCap'n Bill's purpose and so he promptly released all the others, whoimmediately flew away.
The three that remained were cousins, and all were of the samebrilliant plumage and in size about as large as eagles. When Trotquestioned them she found they were quite young, having only abandonedtheir nests a few weeks before. They were strong young birds, withclear, brave eyes, and the little girl decided they were the mostbeautiful of all the feathered creatures she had ever seen.
Cap'n Bill now took from his pocket the wooden box with the slidingcover and removed the three purple berries, which were still in goodcondition.
"Eat these," he said, and gave one to each of the birds. They obeyed,finding the fruit very pleasant to taste. In a few seconds they beganto grow in size and grew so fast that Trot feared they would neverstop. But they finally did stop growing, and then they were much largerthan the Ork, and nearly the size of full-grown ostriches.
Cap'n Bill was much pleased by this result.
"You can carry us now, all right," said he.
The birds strutted around with pride, highly pleased with their immensesize.
"I don't see, though," said Trot doubtfully, "how we're going to rideon their backs without falling off."
"We're not going to ride on their backs," answered Cap'n Bill. "I'mgoing to make swings for us to ride in."
He then asked the Bumpy Man for some rope, but the man had no rope. Hehad, however, an old suit of gray clothes which he gladly presented toCap'n Bill, who cut the cloth into strips and twisted it so that it wasalmost as strong as rope. With this material he attached to each bird aswing that dangled below its feet, and Button-Bright made a trialflight in one of them to prove that it was safe and comfortable. Whenall this had been arranged one of the birds asked:
"Where do you wish us to take you?"
"Why, just follow the Ork," said Cap'n Bill. "He will be our leader,and wherever the Ork flies you are to fly, and wherever the Ork landsyou are to land. Is that satisfactory?"
The birds declared it was quite satisfactory, so Cap'n Bill tookcounsel with the Ork.
"On our way here," said that peculiar creature, "I noticed a broad,sandy desert at the left of me, on which was no living thing."
"Then we'd better keep away from it," replied the sailor.
"Not so," insisted the Ork. "I have found, on my travels, that the mostpleasant countries often lie in the midst of deserts; so I think itwould be wise for us to fly over this desert and discover what liesbeyond it. For in the direction we came from lies the ocean, as we wellknow, and beyond here is this strange Land of Mo, which we do not careto explore. On one side, as we can see from this mountain, is a broadexpanse of plain, and on the other the desert. For my part, I vote forthe desert."
"What do you say, Trot?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"It's all the same to me," she replied.
No one thought of asking Button-Bright's opinion, so it was decided tofly over the desert. They bade good-bye to the Bumpy Man and thankedhim for his kindness and hospitality. Then they seated themselves inthe swings--one for each bird--and told the Ork to start away and theywould follow.
The whirl of the Ork's tail astonished the birds at first, but after hehad gone a short distance they rose in the air, carrying theirpassengers easily, and flew with strong, regular strokes of their greatwings in the wake of their leader.
The Kingdom of Jinxland
Trot rode with more comfort than she had expected, although the swingswayed so much that she had to hold on tight with both hands. Cap'nBill's bird followed the Ork, and Trot came next, with Button-Brighttrailing behind her. It was quite an imposing procession, butunfortunately there was no one to see it, for the Ork had headedstraight for the great sandy desert and in a few minutes after startingthey were flying high over the broad waste, where no living thing couldexist.
The little girl thought this would be a bad place for the birds to losestrength, or for the cloth ropes to give way; but although she couldnot help feeling a trifle nervous and fidgety she had confidence in thehuge and brilliantly plumaged bird that bore her, as well as in Cap'nBill's knowledge of how to twist and fasten a rope so it would hold.
That was a remarkably big desert. There was nothing to relieve themonotony of view and every minute seemed an hour and every hour a day.Disagreeable fumes and gases rose from the sands, which would have beendeadly to the travelers had they not been so high in the air. As itwas, Trot was beginning to feel sick, when a breath of fresher airfilled her nostrils and on looking ahead she saw a great cloud ofpink-tinted mist. Even while she wondered what it could be, the Orkplunged boldly into the mist and the other birds followed. She couldsee nothing for a time, nor could the bird which carried her see wherethe Ork had gone, but it kept flying as sturdily as ever and in a fewmoments the mist was passed and the girl saw a most beautiful landscapespread out below her, extending as far as her eye could reach.
She saw bits of forest, verdure clothed hills, fields of waving grain,fountains, rivers and lakes; and throughout the scene were scatteredgroups of pretty houses and a few grand castles and palaces.
Over all this delightful landscape--which from Trot's high perch seemedlike a magnificent painted picture--was a rosy glow such as wesometimes see in the west at sunset. In this case, however, it was notin the west only, but everywhere.
No wonder the Ork paused to circle slowly over this lovely country. Theother birds followed his action, all eyeing the place with equaldelight. Then, as with one accord, the four formed a group and slowlysailed downward. This brought them to that part of the newly-discoveredland which bordered on the desert's edge; but it was just as prettyhere as anywhere, so the Ork and the birds alighted and the threepassengers at once got out of their swings.
"Oh, Cap'n Bill, isn't this fine an' dandy?" exclaimed Trotrapturously. "How lucky we were to discover this beautiful country!"
"The country seems rather high class, I'll admit, Trot," replied theold sailor-man, looking around him, "but we don't know, as yet, whatits people are like."
"No one could live in such a country without being happy and good--I'msure of that," she said earnestly. "Don't you think so, Button-Bright?"
"I'm not thinking, just now," answered the little boy. "It tires me tothink, and I never seem to gain anything by it. When we see the peoplewho live here we will know what they are like, and no 'mount ofthinking will make them any different."
"That's true enough," said the Ork. "But now I want to make a proposal.While you are getting acquainted with this new country, which looks asif it contains everything to make one happy, I would like to flyalong--all by myself--and see if I can find my home on the other sideof the great desert. If I do, I will stay there, of course. But if Ifail to find Orkland I will return to you in a week, to see if I can doanything more to assist you."
They were sorry to lose their queer companion, but could offer noobjection to the plan; so the Ork bade them good-bye and rising swiftlyin the air, he flew over the country and was soon lost to view in thedistance.
The three birds which had carried our friends now begged permission toreturn by the way they had come, to their own homes, saying they wereanxious to show their families how big they had become. So Cap'n Billand Trot and Button-Bright all thanked them gratefully for theirassistance and soon the birds began their long flight toward the Landof Mo. Being now left to themselves in this strange land, the threecomrades selected a pretty pathway and began walking along it. Theybelieved this path would lead them to a splendid castle which theyespied in the distance, the turrets of which towered far above the topsof the trees which surrounded it. It did not seem very far away, sothey sauntered on slowly, admiring the beautiful ferns and flowers thatlined the pathway and listening to the singing of the birds and thesoft chirping of the grasshoppers.
Presently the path wound over a little hill. In a valley that laybeyond the hill was a tiny cottage surrounded by flower beds and fruittrees. On the shady porch of the cottage they saw, as they approached,a pleasant faced woman sitting amidst a group of children, to whom shewas telling stories. The children quickly discovered the strangers andran toward them with exclamations of astonishment, so that Trot and herfriends became the center of a curious group, all chattering excitedly.Cap'n Bill's wooden leg seemed to arouse the wonder of the children, asthey could not understand why he had not two meat legs. This attentionseemed to please the old sailor, who patted the heads of the childrenkindly and then, raising his hat to the woman, he inquired:
"Can you tell us, madam, just what country this is?"
She stared hard at all three of the strangers as she replied briefly:"Jinxland."
"Oh!" exclaimed Cap'n Bill, with a puzzled look. "And where isJinxland, please?"
"In the Quadling Country," said she.
"What!" cried Trot, in sudden excitement. "Do you mean to say this isthe Quadling Country of the Land of Oz?"
"To be sure I do," the woman answered. "Every bit of land that issurrounded by the great desert is the Land of Oz, as you ought to knowas well as I do; but I'm sorry to say that Jinxland is separated fromthe rest of the Quadling Country by that row of high mountains you seeyonder, which have such steep sides that no one can cross them. So welive here all by ourselves, and are ruled by our own King, instead ofby Ozma of Oz."
"I've been to the Land of Oz before," said Button-Bright, "but I'venever been here."
"Did you ever hear of Jinxland before?" asked Trot.
"No," said Button-Bright.
"It is on the Map of Oz, though," asserted the woman, "and it's a finecountry, I assure you. If only," she added, and then paused to lookaround her with a frightened expression. "If only--" here she stoppedagain, as if not daring to go on with her speech.
"If only what, ma'am?" asked Cap'n Bill.
The woman sent the children into the house. Then she came closer to thestrangers and whispered: "If only we had a different King, we would bevery happy and contented."
"What's the matter with your King?" asked Trot, curiously. But thewoman seemed frightened to have said so much. She retreated to herporch, merely saying:
"The King punishes severely any treason on the part of his subjects."
"What's treason?" asked Button-Bright.
"In this case," replied Cap'n Bill, "treason seems to consist ofknockin' the King; but I guess we know his disposition now as well asif the lady had said more."
"I wonder," said Trot, going up to the woman, "if you could spare ussomething to eat. We haven't had anything but popcorn and lemonade fora long time."
"Bless your heart! Of course I can spare you some food," the womananswered, and entering her cottage she soon returned with a tray loadedwith sandwiches, cakes and cheese. One of the children drew a bucket ofclear, cold water from a spring and the three wanderers ate heartilyand enjoyed the good things immensely.
When Button-Bright could eat no more he filled the pockets of hisjacket with cakes and cheese, and not even the children objected tothis. Indeed they all seemed pleased to see the strangers eat, so Cap'nBill decided that no matter what the King of Jinxland was like, thepeople would prove friendly and hospitable.
"Whose castle is that, yonder, ma'am?" he asked, waving his hand towardthe towers that rose above the trees.
"It belongs to his Majesty, King Krewl." she said.
"Oh, indeed; and does he live there?"
"When he is not out hunting with his fierce courtiers and warcaptains," she replied.
"Is he hunting now?" Trot inquired.
"I do not know, my dear. The less we know about the King's actions thesafer we are."
It was evident the woman did not like to talk about King Krewl and so,having finished their meal, they said good-bye and continued along thepathway.
"Don't you think we'd better keep away from that King's castle, Cap'n?"asked Trot.
"Well," said he, "King Krewl would find out, sooner or later, that weare in his country, so we may as well face the music now. Perhaps heisn't quite so bad as that woman thinks he is. Kings aren't alwayspopular with their people, you know, even if they do the best they knowhow."
"Ozma is pop'lar," said Button-Bright.
"Ozma is diff'rent from any other Ruler, from all I've heard," remarkedTrot musingly, as she walked beside the boy. "And, after all, we arereally in the Land of Oz, where Ozma rules ev'ry King and ev'rybodyelse. I never heard of anybody getting hurt in her dominions, did you,Button-Bright?"
"Not when she knows about it," he replied. "But those birds landed usin just the wrong place, seems to me. They might have carried us righton, over that row of mountains, to the Em'rald City."
"True enough," said Cap'n Bill; "but they didn't, an' so we must makethe best of Jinxland. Let's try not to be afraid."
"Oh, I'm not very scared," said Button-Bright, pausing to look at apink rabbit that popped its head out of a hole in the field near by.
"Nor am I," added Trot. "Really, Cap'n, I'm so glad to be anywhere atall in the wonderful fairyland of Oz that I think I'm the luckiest girlin all the world. Dorothy lives in the Em'rald City, you know, and sodoes the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and Tik-Tok and the ShaggyMan--and all the rest of 'em that we've heard so much about--not tomention Ozma, who must be the sweetest and loveliest girl in all theworld!"
"Take your time, Trot," advised Button-Bright. "You don't have to sayit all in one breath, you know. And you haven't mentioned half of thecurious people in the Em'rald City."
"That 'ere Em'rald City," said Cap'n Bill impressively, "happens to beon the other side o' those mountains, that we're told no one is able tocross. I don't want to discourage of you, Trot, but we're a'most asmuch separated from your Ozma an' Dorothy as we were when we lived inCaliforny."
There was so much truth in this statement that they all walked on insilence for some time. Finally they reached the grove of stately treesthat bordered the grounds of the King's castle. They had gone halfwaythrough it when the sound of sobbing, as of someone in bitter distress,reached their ears and caused them to halt abruptly.
Pon, the Gardener's Boy
It was Button-Bright who first discovered, lying on his face beneath abroad spreading tree near the pathway, a young man whose body shookwith the force of his sobs. He was dressed in a long brown smock andhad sandals on his feet, betokening one in humble life. His head wasbare and showed a shock of brown, curly hair. Button-Bright looked downon the young man and said:
"Who cares, anyhow?"
"I do!" cried the young man, interrupting his sobs to roll over, faceupward, that he might see who had spoken. "I care, for my heart isbroken!"
"Can't you get another one?" asked the little boy.
"I don't want another!" wailed the young man.
By this time Trot and Cap'n Bill arrived at the spot and the girlleaned over and said in a sympathetic voice:
"Tell us your troubles and perhaps we may help you."
The youth sat up, then, and bowed politely. Afterward he got upon hisfeet, but still kept wringing his hands as he tried to choke down hissobs. Trot thought he was very brave to control such awful agony sowell.
"My name is Pon," he began. "I'm the gardener's boy."
"Then the gardener of the King is your father, I suppose," said Trot.
"Not my father, but my master," was the reply
"I do the work and the gardener gives the orders. And it was not myfault, in the least, that the Princess Gloria fell in love with me."
"Did she, really?" asked the little girl.
"I don't see why," remarked Button-Bright, staring at the youth.
"And who may the Princess Gloria be?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
"She is the niece of King Krewl, who is her guardian. The Princesslives in the castle and is the loveliest and sweetest maiden in allJinxland. She is fond of flowers and used to walk in the gardens withher attendants. At such times, if I was working at my tasks, I used tocast down my eyes as Gloria passed me; but one day I glanced up andfound her gazing at me with a very tender look in her eyes. The nextday she dismissed her attendants and, coming to my side, began to talkwith me. She said I had touched her heart as no other young man hadever done. I kissed her hand. Just then the King came around a bend inthe walk. He struck me with his fist and kicked me with his foot. Thenhe seized the arm of the Princess and rudely dragged her into thecastle."
"Wasn't he awful!" gasped Trot indignantly.
"He is a very abrupt King," said Pon, "so it was the least I couldexpect. Up to that time I had not thought of loving Princess Gloria,but realizing it would be impolite not to return her love, I did so. Wemet at evening, now and then, and she told me the King wanted her tomarry a rich courtier named Googly-Goo, who is old enough to beGloria's father. She has refused Googly-Goo thirty-nine times, but hestill persists and has brought many rich presents to bribe the King. Onthat account King Krewl has commanded his niece to marry the old man,but the Princess has assured me, time and again, that she will wed onlyme. This morning we happened to meet in the grape arbor and as I wasrespectfully saluting the cheek of the Princess, two of the King'sguards seized me and beat me terribly before the very eyes of Gloria,whom the King himself held back so she could not interfere."
"Why, this King must be a monster!" cried Trot.
"He is far worse than that," said Pon, mournfully.
"But, see here," interrupted Cap'n Bill, who had listened carefully toPon. "This King may not be so much to blame, after all. Kings are proudfolks, because they're so high an' mighty, an' it isn't reasonable fora royal Princess to marry a common gardener's boy."
"It isn't right," declared Button-Bright. "A Princess should marry aPrince."
"I'm not a common gardener's boy," protested Pon. "If I had my rights Iwould be the King instead of Krewl. As it is, I'm a Prince, and asroyal as any man in Jinxland."
"How does that come?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"My father used to be the King and Krewl was his Prime Minister. Butone day while out hunting, King Phearse--that was my father's name--hada quarrel with Krewl and tapped him gently on the nose with theknuckles of his closed hand. This so provoked the wicked Krewl that hetripped my father backward, so that he fell into a deep pond. At onceKrewl threw in a mass of heavy stones, which so weighted down my poorfather that his body could not rise again to the surface. It isimpossible to kill anyone in this land, as perhaps you know, but whenmy father was pressed down into the mud at the bottom of the deep pooland the stones held him so he could never escape, he was of no more useto himself or the world than if he had died. Knowing this, Krewlproclaimed himself King, taking possession of the royal castle anddriving all my father's people out. I was a small boy, then, but when Igrew up I became a gardener. I have served King Krewl without hisknowing that I am the son of the same King Phearse whom he so cruellymade away with."
"My, but that's a terr'bly exciting story!" said Trot, drawing a longbreath. "But tell us, Pon, who was Gloria's father?"
"Oh, he was the King before my father," replied Pon. "Father was PrimeMinister for King Kynd, who was Gloria's father. She was only a babywhen King Kynd fell into the Great Gulf that lies just this side of themountains--the same mountains that separate Jinxland from the rest ofthe Land of Oz. It is said the Great Gulf has no bottom; but, howeverthat may be, King Kynd has never been seen again and my father becameKing in his place."
"Seems to me," said Trot, "that if Gloria had her rights she would beQueen of Jinxland."
"Well, her father was a King," admitted Pon, "and so was my father; sowe are of equal rank, although she's a great lady and I'm a humblegardener's boy. I can't see why we should not marry if we want toexcept that King Krewl won't let us."
"It's a sort of mixed-up mess, taken altogether," remarked Cap'n Bill."But we are on our way to visit King Krewl, and if we get a chance,young man, we'll put in a good word for you."
"Do, please!" begged Pon.
"Was it the flogging you got that broke your heart?" inquiredButton-Bright.
"Why, it helped to break it, of course," said Pon.
"I'd get it fixed up, if I were you," advised the boy, tossing a pebbleat a chipmunk in a tree. "You ought to give Gloria just as good a heartas she gives you."
"That's common sense," agreed Cap'n Bill. So they left the gardener'sboy standing beside the path, and resumed their journey toward thecastle.
The Wicked King and Googly-Goo
When our friends approached the great doorway of the castle they foundit guarded by several soldiers dressed in splendid uniforms. They werearmed with swords and lances. Cap'n Bill walked straight up to them andasked:
"Does the King happen to be at home?"
"His Magnificent and Glorious Majesty, King Krewl, is at presentinhabiting his Royal Castle," was the stiff reply.
"Then I guess we'll go in an' say how-d'ye-do," continued Cap'n Bill,attempting to enter the doorway. But a soldier barred his way with alance.
"Who are you, what are your names, and where do you come from?"demanded the soldier.
"You wouldn't know if we told you," returned the sailor, "seein' aswe're strangers in a strange land."
"Oh, if you are strangers you will be permitted to enter," said thesoldier, lowering his lance. "His Majesty is very fond of strangers."
"Do many strangers come here?" asked Trot.
"You are the first that ever came to our country," said the man. "Buthis Majesty has often said that if strangers ever arrived in Jinxlandhe would see that they had a very exciting time."
Cap'n Bill scratched his chin thoughtfully. He wasn't very favorablyimpressed by this last remark. But he decided that as there was no wayof escape from Jinxland it would be wise to confront the King boldlyand try to win his favor. So they entered the castle, escorted by oneof the soldiers.
It was certainly a fine castle, with many large rooms, all beautifullyfurnished. The passages were winding and handsomely decorated, andafter following several of these the soldier led them into an opencourt that occupied the very center of the huge building. It wassurrounded on every side by high turreted walls, and contained beds offlowers, fountains and walks of many colored marbles which were matchedtogether in quaint designs. In an open space near the middle of thecourt they saw a group of courtiers and their ladies, who surrounded alean man who wore upon his head a jeweled crown. His face was hard andsullen and through the slits of his half-closed eyelids the eyes glowedlike coals of fire. He was dressed in brilliant satins and velvets andwas seated in a golden throne-chair.
This personage was King Krewl, and as soon as Cap'n Bill saw him theold sailor knew at once that he was not going to like the King ofJinxland.
"Hello! who's here?" said his Majesty, with a deep scowl.
"Strangers, Sire," answered the soldier, bowing so low that hisforehead touched the marble tiles.
"Strangers, eh? Well, well; what an unexpected visit! Advance,strangers, and give an account of yourselves."
The King's voice was as harsh as his features. Trot shuddered a littlebut Cap'n Bill calmly replied:
"There ain't much for us to say, 'cept as we've arrived to look overyour country an' see how we like it. Judgin' from the way you speak,you don't know who we are, or you'd be jumpin' up to shake hands an'offer us seats. Kings usually treat us pretty well, in the great bigOutside World where we come from, but in this little kingdom--whichdon't amount to much, anyhow--folks don't seem to 'a' got muchculchure."
The King listened with amazement to this bold speech, first with afrown and then gazing at the two children and the old sailor withevident curiosity. The courtiers were dumb with fear, for no one hadever dared speak in such a manner to their self-willed, cruel Kingbefore. His Majesty, however, was somewhat frightened, for cruel peopleare always cowards, and he feared these mysterious strangers mightpossess magic powers that would destroy him unless he treated themwell. So he commanded his people to give the new arrivals seats, andthey obeyed with trembling haste.
After being seated, Cap'n Bill lighted his pipe and began puffing smokefrom it, a sight so strange to them that it filled them all withwonder. Presently the King asked:
"How did you penetrate to this hidden country? Did you cross the desertor the mountains?"
"Desert," answered Cap'n Bill, as if the task were too easy to be worthtalking about.
"Indeed! No one has ever been able to do that before," said the King.
"Well, it's easy enough, if you know how," asserted Cap'n Bill, socarelessly that it greatly impressed his hearers. The King shifted inhis throne uneasily. He was more afraid of these strangers than before.
"Do you intend to stay long in Jinxland?" was his next anxious question.
"Depends on how we like it," said Cap'n Bill. "Just now I might suggestto your Majesty to order some rooms got ready for us in your dinkylittle castle here. And a royal banquet, with some fried onions an'pickled tripe, would set easy on our stomicks an' make us a bit happierthan we are now."
"Your wishes shall be attended to," said King Krewl, but his eyesflashed from between their slits in a wicked way that made Trot hopethe food wouldn't be poisoned. At the King's command several of hisattendants hastened away to give the proper orders to the castleservants and no sooner were they gone than a skinny old man entered thecourtyard and bowed before the King.
This disagreeable person was dressed in rich velvets, with manyfurbelows and laces. He was covered with golden chains, finely wroughtrings and jeweled ornaments. He walked with mincing steps and glared atall the courtiers as if he considered himself far superior to any orall of them.
"Well, well, your Majesty; what news--what news?" he demanded, in ashrill, cracked voice.
The King gave him a surly look.
"No news, Lord Googly-Goo, except that strangers have arrived," he said.
Googly-Goo cast a contemptuous glance at Cap'n Bill and a disdainfulone at Trot and Button-Bright. Then he said:
"Strangers do not interest me, your Majesty. But the Princess Gloria isvery interesting--very interesting, indeed! What does she say, Sire?Will she marry me?"
"Ask her," retorted the King.
"I have, many times; and every time she has refused."
"Well?" said the King harshly.
"Well," said Googly-Goo in a jaunty tone, "a bird that can sing, andwon't sing, must be made to sing."
"Huh!" sneered the King. "That's easy, with a bird; but a girl isharder to manage."
"Still," persisted Googly-Goo, "we must overcome difficulties. Thechief trouble is that Gloria fancies she loves that miserablegardener's boy, Pon. Suppose we throw Pon into the Great Gulf, yourMajesty?"
"It would do you no good," returned the King. "She would still lovehim."
"Too bad, too bad!" sighed Googly-Goo. "I have laid aside more than abushel of precious gems--each worth a king's ransom--to present to yourMajesty on the day I wed Gloria."
The King's eyes sparkled, for he loved wealth above everything; but thenext moment he frowned deeply again.
"It won't help us to kill Pon," he muttered. "What we must do is killGloria's love for Pon."
"That is better, if you can find a way to do it," agreed Googly-Goo."Everything would come right if you could kill Gloria's love for thatgardener's boy. Really, Sire, now that I come to think of it, theremust be fully a bushel and a half of those jewels!"
Just then a messenger entered the court to say that the banquet wasprepared for the strangers. So Cap'n Bill, Trot and Button-Brightentered the castle and were taken to a room where a fine feast wasspread upon the table.
"I don't like that Lord Googly-Goo," remarked Trot as she was busilyeating.
"Nor I," said Cap'n Bill. "But from the talk we heard I guess thegardener's boy won't get the Princess."
"Perhaps not," returned the girl; "but I hope old Googly doesn't gether, either."
"The King means to sell her for all those jewels," observedButton-Bright, his mouth half full of cake and jam.
"Poor Princess!" sighed Trot. "I'm sorry for her, although I've neverseen her. But if she says no to Googly-Goo, and means it, what can theydo?"
"Don't let us worry about a strange Princess," advised Cap'n Bill."I've a notion we're not too safe, ourselves, with this cruel King."
The two children felt the same way and all three were rather solemnduring the remainder of the meal.
When they had eaten, the servants escorted them to their rooms. Cap'nBill's room was way to one end of the castle, very high up, and Trot'sroom was at the opposite end, rather low down. As for Button-Bright,they placed him in the middle, so that all were as far apart as theycould possibly be. They didn't like this arrangement very well, but allthe rooms were handsomely furnished and being guests of the King theydared not complain.
After the strangers had left the courtyard the King and Googly-Goo hada long talk together, and the King said:
"I cannot force Gloria to marry you just now, because those strangersmay interfere. I suspect that the wooden-legged man possesses greatmagical powers, or he would never have been able to carry himself andthose children across the deadly desert."
"I don't like him; he looks dangerous," answered Googly-Goo. "Butperhaps you are mistaken about his being a wizard. Why don't you testhis powers?"
"How?" asked the King.
"Send for the Wicked Witch. She will tell you in a moment whether thatwooden-legged person is a common man or a magician."
"Ha! that's a good idea," cried the King. "Why didn't I think of theWicked Witch before? But the woman demands rich rewards for herservices."
"Never mind; I will pay her," promised the wealthy Googly-Goo.
So a servant was dispatched to summon the Wicked Witch, who lived but afew leagues from King Krewl's castle. While they awaited her, thewithered old courtier proposed that they pay a visit to Princess Gloriaand see if she was not now in a more complaisant mood. So the twostarted away together and searched the castle over without findingGloria.
At last Googly-Goo suggested she might be in the rear garden, which wasa large park filled with bushes and trees and surrounded by a highwall. And what was their anger, when they turned a corner of the path,to find in a quiet nook the beautiful Princess, and kneeling beforeher, Pon, the gardener's boy! With a roar of rage the King dashedforward; but Pon had scaled the wall by means of a ladder, which stillstood in its place, and when he saw the King coming he ran up theladder and made good his escape. But this left Gloria confronted by herangry guardian, the King, and by old Googly-Goo, who was trembling witha fury he could not express in words.
Seizing the Princess by her arm the King dragged her back to thecastle. Pushing her into a room on the lower floor he locked the doorupon the unhappy girl. And at that moment the arrival of the WickedWitch was announced.
Hearing this, the King smiled, as a tiger smiles, showing his teeth.And Googly-Goo smiled, as a serpent smiles, for he had no teeth excepta couple of fangs. And having frightened each other with these smilesthe two dreadful men went away to the Royal Council Chamber to meet theWicked Witch.
The Wooden-Legged Grass-Hopper
Now it so happened that Trot, from the window of her room, hadwitnessed the meeting of the lovers in the garden and had seen the Kingcome and drag Gloria away. The little girl's heart went out in sympathyfor the poor Princess, who seemed to her to be one of the sweetest andloveliest young ladies she had ever seen, so she crept along thepassages and from a hidden niche saw Gloria locked in her room.
The key was still in the lock, so when the King had gone away, followedby Googly-Goo, Trot stole up to the door, turned the key and entered.The Princess lay prone upon a couch, sobbing bitterly. Trot went up toher and smoothed her hair and tried to comfort her.
"Don't cry," she said. "I've unlocked the door, so you can go away anytime you want to."
"It isn't that," sobbed the Princess. "I am unhappy because they willnot let me love Pon, the gardener's boy!"
"Well, never mind; Pon isn't any great shakes, anyhow, seems to me,"said Trot soothingly. "There are lots of other people you can love."
Gloria rolled over on the couch and looked at the little girlreproachfully.
"Pon has won my heart, and I can't help loving him," she explained.Then with sudden indignation she added: "But I'll never loveGoogly-Goo--never, as long as I live!"
"I should say not!" replied Trot. "Pon may not be much good, but oldGoogly is very, very bad. Hunt around, and I'm sure you'll find someoneworth your love. You're very pretty, you know, and almost anyone oughtto love you."
"You don't understand, my dear," said Gloria, as she wiped the tearsfrom her eyes with a dainty lace handkerchief bordered with pearls."When you are older you will realize that a young lady cannot decidewhom she will love, or choose the most worthy. Her heart alone decidesfor her, and whomsoever her heart selects, she must love, whether heamounts to much or not."
Trot was a little puzzled by this speech, which seemed to herunreasonable; but she made no reply and presently Gloria's griefsoftened and she began to question the little girl about herself andher adventures. Trot told her how they had happened to come toJinxland, and all about Cap'n Bill and the Ork and Pessim and the BumpyMan.
While they were thus conversing together, getting more and morefriendly as they became better acquainted, in the Council Chamber theKing and Googly-Goo were talking with the Wicked Witch.
This evil creature was old and ugly. She had lost one eye and wore ablack patch over it, so the people of Jinxland had named her "Blinkie."Of course witches are forbidden to exist in the Land of Oz, butJinxland was so far removed from the center of Ozma's dominions, and soabsolutely cut off from it by the steep mountains and the bottomlessgulf, that the laws of Oz were not obeyed very well in that country. Sothere were several witches in Jinxland who were the terror of thepeople, but King Krewl favored them and permitted them to exercisetheir evil sorcery.
Blinkie was the leader of all the other witches and therefore the mosthated and feared. The King used her witchcraft at times to assist himin carrying out his cruelties and revenge, but he was always obliged topay Blinkie large sums of money or heaps of precious jewels before shewould undertake an enchantment. This made him hate the old woman almostas much as his subjects did, but to-day Lord Googly-Goo had agreed topay the witch's price, so the King greeted her with gracious favor.
"Can you destroy the love of Princess Gloria for the gardener's boy?"inquired his Majesty.
The Wicked Witch thought about it before she replied:
"That's a hard question to answer. I can do lots of clever magic, butlove is a stubborn thing to conquer. When you think you've killed it,it's liable to bob up again as strong as ever. I believe love and catshave nine lives. In other words, killing love is a hard job, even for askillful witch, but I believe I can do something that will answer yourpurpose just as well."
"What is that?" asked the King.
"I can freeze the girl's heart. I've got a special incantation forthat, and when Gloria's heart is thoroughly frozen she can no longerlove Pon."
"Just the thing!" exclaimed Googly-Goo, and the King was likewise muchpleased.
They bargained a long time as to the price, but finally the oldcourtier agreed to pay the Wicked Witch's demands. It was arranged thatthey should take Gloria to Blinkie's house the next day, to have herheart frozen.
Then King Krewl mentioned to the old hag the strangers who had that dayarrived in Jinxland, and said to her:
"I think the two children--the boy and the girl--are unable to harm me,but I have a suspicion that the wooden-legged man is a powerful wizard."
The witch's face wore a troubled look when she heard this.
"If you are right," she said, "this wizard might spoil my incantationand interfere with me in other ways. So it will be best for me to meetthis stranger at once and match my magic against his, to decide whichis the stronger."
"All right," said the King. "Come with me and I will lead you to theman's room."
Googly-Goo did not accompany them, as he was obliged to go home to getthe money and jewels he had promised to pay old Blinkie, so the othertwo climbed several flights of stairs and went through many passagesuntil they came to the room occupied by Cap'n Bill.
The sailor-man, finding his bed soft and inviting, and being tired withthe adventures he had experienced, had decided to take a nap. When theWicked Witch and the King softly opened his door and entered, Cap'nBill was snoring with such vigor that he did not hear them at all.
Blinkie approached the bed and with her one eye anxiously stared at thesleeping stranger.
"Ah," she said in a soft whisper, "I believe you are right, King Krewl.The man looks to me like a very powerful wizard. But by good luck Ihave caught him asleep, so I shall transform him before he wakes up,giving him such a form that he will be unable to oppose me."
"Careful!" cautioned the King, also speaking low. "If he discovers whatyou are doing he may destroy you, and that would annoy me because Ineed you to attend to Gloria."
But the Wicked Witch realized as well as he did that she must becareful. She carried over her arm a black bag, from which she now drewseveral packets carefully wrapped in paper. Three of these sheselected, replacing the others in the bag. Two of the packets she mixedtogether, and then she cautiously opened the third.
"Better stand back, your Majesty," she advised, "for if this powderfalls on you you might be transformed yourself."
The King hastily retreated to the end of the room. As Blinkie mixed thethird powder with the others she waved her hands over it, mumbled a fewwords, and then backed away as quickly as she could.
Cap'n Bill was slumbering peacefully, all unconscious of what was goingon. Puff! A great cloud of smoke rolled over the bed and completely hidhim from view. When the smoke rolled away, both Blinkie and the Kingsaw that the body of the stranger had quite disappeared, while in hisplace, crouching in the middle of the bed, was a little graygrasshopper.
One curious thing about this grasshopper was that the last joint of itsleft leg was made of wood. Another curious thing--considering it was agrasshopper--was that it began talking, crying out in a tiny but sharpvoice:
"Here--you people! What do you mean by treating me so? Put me backwhere I belong, at once, or you'll be sorry!"
The cruel King turned pale at hearing the grasshopper's threats, butthe Wicked Witch merely laughed in derision. Then she raised her stickand aimed a vicious blow at the grasshopper, but before the stickstruck the bed the tiny hopper made a marvelous jump--marvelous,indeed, when we consider that it had a wooden leg. It rose in the airand sailed across the room and passed right through the open window,where it disappeared from their view.
"Good!" shouted the King. "We are well rid of this desperate wizard."And then they both laughed heartily at the success of the incantation,and went away to complete their horrid plans.
After Trot had visited a time with Princess Gloria, the little girlwent to Button-Bright's room but did not find him there. Then she wentto Cap'n Bill's room, but he was not there because the witch and theKing had been there before her. So she made her way downstairs andquestioned the servants. They said they had seen the little boy go outinto the garden, some time ago, but the old man with the wooden legthey had not seen at all.
Therefore Trot, not knowing what else to do, rambled through the greatgardens, seeking for Button-Bright or Cap'n Bill and not finding eitherof them. This part of the garden, which lay before the castle, was notwalled in, but extended to the roadway, and the paths were open to theedge of the forest; so, after two hours of vain search for her friends,the little girl returned to the castle.
But at the doorway a soldier stopped her.
"I live here," said Trot, "so it's all right to let me in. The King hasgiven me a room."
"Well, he has taken it back again," was the soldier's reply. "HisMajesty's orders are to turn you away if you attempt to enter. I amalso ordered to forbid the boy, your companion, to again enter theKing's castle."
"How 'bout Cap'n Bill?" she inquired.
"Why, it seems he has mysteriously disappeared," replied the soldier,shaking his head ominously. "Where he has gone to, I can't make out,but I can assure you he is no longer in this castle. I'm sorry, littlegirl, to disappoint you. Don't blame me; I must obey my master'sorders."
Now, all her life Trot had been accustomed to depend on Cap'n Bill, sowhen this good friend was suddenly taken from her she felt verymiserable and forlorn indeed. She was brave enough not to cry beforethe soldier, or even to let him see her grief and anxiety, but aftershe was turned away from the castle she sought a quiet bench in thegarden and for a time sobbed as if her heart would break.
It was Button-Bright who found her, at last, just as the sun had setand the shades of evening were falling. He also had been turned awayfrom the King's castle, when he tried to enter it, and in the park hecame across Trot.
"Never mind," said the boy. "We can find a place to sleep."
"I want Cap'n Bill," wailed the girl.
"Well, so do I," was the reply. "But we haven't got him. Where do yous'pose he is, Trot?
"I don't s'pose anything. He's gone, an' that's all I know 'bout it."
Button-Bright sat on the bench beside her and thrust his hands in thepockets of his knickerbockers. Then he reflected somewhat gravely forhim.
"Cap'n Bill isn't around here," he said, letting his eyes wander overthe dim garden, "so we must go somewhere else if we want to find him.Besides, it's fast getting dark, and if we want to find a place tosleep we must get busy while we can see where to go."
He rose from the bench as he said this and Trot also jumped up, dryingher eyes on her apron. Then she walked beside him out of the grounds ofthe King's castle. They did not go by the main path, but passed throughan opening in a hedge and found themselves in a small but well-wornroadway. Following this for some distance, along a winding way, theycame upon no house or building that would afford them refuge for thenight. It became so dark that they could scarcely see their way, andfinally Trot stopped and suggested that they camp under a tree.
"All right," said Button-Bright, "I've often found that leaves make agood warm blanket. But--look there, Trot!--isn't that a light flashingover yonder?"
"It certainly is, Button-Bright. Let's go over and see if it's a house.Whoever lives there couldn't treat us worse than the King did."
To reach the light they had to leave the road, so they stumbled overhillocks and brushwood, hand in hand, keeping the tiny speck of lightalways in sight.
They were rather forlorn little waifs, outcasts in a strange countryand forsaken by their only friend and guardian, Cap'n Bill. So theywere very glad when finally they reached a small cottage and, lookingin through its one window, saw Pon, the gardener's boy, sitting by afire of twigs.
As Trot opened the door and walked boldly in, Pon sprang up to greetthem. They told him of Cap'n Bill's disappearance and how they had beenturned out of the King's castle. As they finished the story Pon shookhis head sadly.
"King Krewl is plotting mischief, I fear," said he, "for to-day he sentfor old Blinkie, the Wicked Witch, and with my own eyes I saw her comefrom the castle and hobble away toward her hut. She had been with theKing and Googly-Goo, and I was afraid they were going to work someenchantment on Gloria so she would no longer love me. But perhaps thewitch was only called to the castle to enchant your friend, Cap'n Bill."
"Could she do that?" asked Trot, horrified by the suggestion.
"I suppose so, for old Blinkie can do a lot of wicked magical things."
"What sort of an enchantment could she put on Cap'n Bill?"
"I don't know. But he has disappeared, so I'm pretty certain she hasdone something dreadful to him. But don't worry. If it has happened, itcan't be helped, and if it hasn't happened we may be able to find himin the morning."
With this Pon went to the cupboard and brought food for them. Trot wasfar too worried to eat, but Button-Bright made a good supper from thesimple food and then lay down before the fire and went to sleep. Thelittle girl and the gardener's boy, however, sat for a long timestaring into the fire, busy with their thoughts. But at last Trot, too,became sleepy and Pon gently covered her with the one blanket hepossessed. Then he threw more wood on the fire and laid himself downbefore it, next to Button-Bright. Soon all three were fast asleep. Theywere in a good deal of trouble; but they were young, and sleep was goodto them because for a time it made them forget.
Glinda the Good and the Scarecrow of Oz
That country south of the Emerald City, in the Land of Oz, is known asthe Quadling Country, and in the very southernmost part of it stands asplendid palace in which lives Glinda the Good.
Glinda is the Royal Sorceress of Oz. She has wonderful magical powersand uses them only to benefit the subjects of Ozma's kingdom. Even thefamous Wizard of Oz pays tribute to her, for Glinda taught him all thereal magic he knows, and she is his superior in all sorts of sorceryEveryone loves Glinda, from the dainty and exquisite Ruler, Ozma, downto the humblest inhabitant of Oz, for she is always kindly and helpfuland willing to listen to their troubles, however busy she may be. Noone knows her age, but all can see how beautiful and stately she is.Her hair is like red gold and finer than the finest silken strands. Hereyes are blue as the sky and always frank and smiling. Her cheeks arethe envy of peach-blows and her mouth is enticing as a rosebud. Glindais tall and wears splendid gowns that trail behind her as she walks.She wears no jewels, for her beauty would shame them.
For attendants Glinda has half a hundred of the loveliest girls in Oz.They are gathered from all over Oz, from among the Winkies, theMunchkins, the Gillikins and the Quadlings, as well as from Ozma'smagnificent Emerald City, and it is considered a great favor to beallowed to serve the Royal Sorceress.
Among the many wonderful things in Glinda's palace is the Great Book ofRecords. In this book is inscribed everything that takes place in allthe world, just the instant it happens; so that by referring to itspages Glinda knows what is taking place far and near, in every countrythat exists. In this way she learns when and where she can help any indistress or danger, and although her duties are confined to assistingthose who inhabit the Land of Oz, she is always interested in whattakes place in the unprotected outside world.
So it was that on a certain evening Glinda sat in her library,surrounded by a bevy of her maids, who were engaged in spinning,weaving and embroidery, when an attendant announced the arrival at thepalace of the Scarecrow.
This personage was one of the most famous and popular in all the Landof Oz. His body was merely a suit of Munchkin clothes stuffed withstraw, but his head was a round sack filled with bran, with which theWizard of Oz had mixed some magic brains of a very superior sort. Theeyes, nose and mouth of the Scarecrow were painted upon the front ofthe sack, as were his ears, and since this quaint being had beenendowed with life, the expression of his face was very interesting, ifsomewhat comical.
The Scarecrow was good all through, even to his brains, and while hewas naturally awkward in his movements and lacked the neat symmetry ofother people, his disposition was so kind and considerate and he was soobliging and honest, that all who knew him loved him, and there werefew people in Oz who had not met our Scarecrow and made hisacquaintance. He lived part of the time in Ozma's palace at the EmeraldCity, part of the time in his own corncob castle in the Winkie Country,and part of the time he traveled over all Oz, visiting with the peopleand playing with the children, whom he dearly loved.
It was on one of his wandering journeys that the Scarecrow had arrivedat Glinda's palace, and the Sorceress at once made him welcome. As hesat beside her, talking of his adventures, he asked:
"What's new in the way of news?"
Glinda opened her Great Book of Records and read some of the last pages.
"Here is an item quite curious and interesting," she announced, anaccent of surprise in her voice. "Three people from the big OutsideWorld have arrived in Jinxland."
"Where is Jinxland?" inquired the Scarecrow.
"Very near here, a little to the east of us," she said. "In fact,Jinxland is a little slice taken off the Quadling Country, butseparated from it by a range of high mountains, at the foot of whichlies a wide, deep gulf that is supposed to be impassable."
"Then Jinxland is really a part of the Land of Oz," said he.
"Yes," returned Glinda, "but Oz people know nothing of it, except whatis recorded here in my book."
"What does the Book say about it?" asked the Scarecrow.
"It is ruled by a wicked man called King Krewl, although he has noright to the title. Most of the people are good, but they are verytimid and live in constant fear of their fierce ruler. There are alsoseveral Wicked Witches who keep the inhabitants of Jinxland in a stateof terror."
"Do those witches have any magical powers?" inquired the Scarecrow.
"Yes, they seem to understand witchcraft in its most evil form, for oneof them has just transformed a respectable and honest old sailor--oneof the strangers who arrived there--into a grasshopper. This samewitch, Blinkie by name, is also planning to freeze the heart of abeautiful Jinxland girl named Princess Gloria."
"Why, that's a dreadful thing to do!" exclaimed the Scarecrow.
Glinda's face was very grave. She read in her book how Trot andButton-Bright were turned out of the King's castle, and how they foundrefuge in the hut of Pon, the gardener's boy.
"I'm afraid those helpless earth people will endure much suffering inJinxland, even if the wicked King and the witches permit them to live,"said the good Sorceress, thoughtfully. "I wish I might help them."
"Can I do anything?" asked the Scarecrow, anxiously. "If so, tell mewhat to do, and I'll do it."
For a few moments Glinda did not reply, but sat musing over therecords. Then she said: "I am going to send you to Jinxland, to protectTrot and Button-Bright and Cap'n Bill."
"All right," answered the Scarecrow in a cheerful voice. "I knowButton-Bright already, for he has been in the Land of Oz before. Youremember he went away from the Land of Oz in one of our Wizard's bigbubbles."
"Yes," said Glinda, "I remember that." Then she carefully instructedthe Scarecrow what to do and gave him certain magical things which heplaced in the pockets of his ragged Munchkin coat.
"As you have no need to sleep," said she, "you may as well start atonce."
"The night is the same as day to me," he replied, "except that I cannotsee my way so well in the dark."
"I will furnish a light to guide you," promised the Sorceress.
So the Scarecrow bade her good-bye and at once started on his journey.By morning he had reached the mountains that separated the QuadlingCountry from Jinxland. The sides of these mountains were too steep toclimb, but the Scarecrow took a small rope from his pocket and tossedone end upward, into the air. The rope unwound itself for hundreds offeet, until it caught upon a peak of rock at the very top of amountain, for it was a magic rope furnished him by Glinda. TheScarecrow climbed the rope and, after pulling it up, let it down on theother side of the mountain range. When he descended the rope on thisside he found himself in Jinxland, but at his feet yawned the GreatGulf, which must be crossed before he could proceed any farther.
The Scarecrow knelt down and examined the ground carefully, and in amoment he discovered a fuzzy brown spider that had rolled itself into aball. So he took two tiny pills from his pocket and laid them besidethe spider, which unrolled itself and quickly ate up the pills. Thenthe Scarecrow said in a voice of command:
"Spin!" and the spider obeyed instantly.
In a few moments the little creature had spun two slender but strongstrands that reached way across the gulf, one being five or six feetabove the other. When these were completed the Scarecrow started acrossthe tiny bridge, walking upon one strand as a person walks upon a rope,and holding to the upper strand with his hands to prevent him fromlosing his balance and toppling over into the gulf. The tiny threadsheld him safely, thanks to the strength given them by the magic pills.
Presently he was safe across and standing on the plains of Jinxland.Far away he could see the towers of the King's castle and toward thishe at once began to walk.
The Frozen Heart
In the hut of Pon, the gardener's boy, Button-Bright was the first towaken in the morning. Leaving his companions still asleep, he went outinto the fresh morning air and saw some blackberries growing on bushesin a field not far away. Going to the bushes he found the berries ripeand sweet, so he began eating them. More bushes were scattered over thefields, so the boy wandered on, from bush to bush, without paying anyheed to where he was wandering. Then a butterfly fluttered by. He gavechase to it and followed it a long way. When finally he paused to lookaround him, Button-Bright could see no sign of Pon's house, nor had hethe slightest idea in which direction it lay.
"Well, I'm lost again," he remarked to himself. "But never mind; I'vebeen lost lots of times. Someone is sure to find me."
Trot was a little worried about Button-Bright when she awoke and foundhim gone. Knowing how careless he was, she believed that he had strayedaway, but felt that he would come back in time, because he had a habitof not staying lost. Pon got the little girl some food for herbreakfast and then together they went out of the hut and stood in thesunshine.
Pon's house was some distance off the road, but they could see it fromwhere they stood and both gave a start of surprise when they discoveredtwo soldiers walking along the roadway and escorting Princess Gloriabetween them. The poor girl had her hands bound together, to preventher from struggling, and the soldiers rudely dragged her forward whenher steps seemed to lag.
Behind this group came King Krewl, wearing his jeweled crown andswinging in his hand a slender golden staff with a ball of clusteredgems at one end.
"Where are they going?" asked Trot. "To the house of the Wicked Witch,I fear," Pon replied. "Come, let us follow them, for I am sure theyintend to harm my dear Gloria."
"Won't they see us?" she asked timidly.
"We won't let them. I know a short cut through the trees to Blinkie'shouse," said he.
So they hurried away through the trees and reached the house of thewitch ahead of the King and his soldiers. Hiding themselves in theshrubbery, they watched the approach of poor Gloria and her escort, allof whom passed so near to them that Pon could have put out a hand andtouched his sweetheart, had he dared to.
Blinkie's house had eight sides, with a door and a window in each side.Smoke was coming out of the chimney and as the guards brought Gloria toone of the doors it was opened by the old witch in person. She chuckledwith evil glee and rubbed her skinny hands together to show the delightwith which she greeted her victim, for Blinkie was pleased to be ableto perform her wicked rites on one so fair and sweet as the Princess.
Gloria struggled to resist when they bade her enter the house, so thesoldiers forced her through the doorway and even the King gave her ashove as he followed close behind. Pon was so incensed at the crueltyshown Gloria that he forgot all caution and rushed forward to enter thehouse also; but one of the soldiers prevented him, pushing thegardener's boy away with violence and slamming the door in his face.
"Never mind," said Trot soothingly, as Pon rose from where he hadfallen. "You couldn't do much to help the poor Princess if you wereinside. How unfortunate it is that you are in love with her!"
"True," he answered sadly, "it is indeed my misfortune. If I did notlove her, it would be none of my business what the King did to hisniece Gloria; but the unlucky circumstance of my loving her makes it myduty to defend her."
"I don't see how you can, duty or no duty," observed Trot.
"No; I am powerless, for they are stronger than I. But we might peek inthrough the window and see what they are doing."
Trot was somewhat curious, too, so they crept up to one of the windowsand looked in, and it so happened that those inside the witch's housewere so busy they did not notice that Pon and Trot were watching them.
Gloria had been tied to a stout post in the center of the room and theKing was giving the Wicked Witch a quantity of money and jewels, whichGoogly-Goo had provided in payment. When this had been done the Kingsaid to her:
"Are you perfectly sure you can freeze this maiden's heart, so that shewill no longer love that low gardener's boy?"
"Sure as witchcraft, your Majesty," the creature replied.
"Then get to work," said the King. "There may be some unpleasantfeatures about the ceremony that would annoy me, so I'll bid you goodday and leave you to carry out your contract. One word, however: If youfail, I shall burn you at the stake!" Then he beckoned to his soldiersto follow him, and throwing wide the door of the house walked out.
This action was so sudden that King Krewl almost caught Trot and Poneavesdropping, but they managed to run around the house before he sawthem. Away he marched, up the road, followed by his men, heartlesslyleaving Gloria to the mercies of old Blinkie.
When they again crept up to the window, Trot and Pon saw Blinkiegloating over her victim. Although nearly fainting from fear, the proudPrincess gazed with haughty defiance into the face of the wickedcreature; but she was bound so tightly to the post that she could do nomore to express her loathing.
Pretty soon Blinkie went to a kettle that was swinging by a chain overthe fire and tossed into it several magical compounds. The kettle gavethree flashes, and at every flash another witch appeared in the room.
These hags were very ugly but when one-eyed Blinkie whispered herorders to them they grinned with joy as they began dancing aroundGloria. First one and then another cast something into the kettle, whento the astonishment of the watchers at the window all three of the oldwomen were instantly transformed into maidens of exquisite beauty,dressed in the daintiest costumes imaginable. Only their eyes could notbe disguised, and an evil glare still shone in their depths. But if theeyes were cast down or hidden, one could not help but admire thesebeautiful creatures, even with the knowledge that they were mereillusions of witchcraft.
Trot certainly admired them, for she had never seen anything so daintyand bewitching, but her attention was quickly drawn to their deedsinstead of their persons, and then horror replaced admiration. Into thekettle old Blinkie poured another mess from a big brass bottle she tookfrom a chest, and this made the kettle begin to bubble and smokeviolently. One by one the beautiful witches approached to stir thecontents of the kettle and to mutter a magic charm. Their movementswere graceful and rhythmic and the Wicked Witch who had called them toher aid watched them with an evil grin upon her wrinkled face.
Finally the incantation was complete. The kettle ceased bubbling andtogether the witches lifted it from the fire. Then Blinkie brought awooden ladle and filled it from the contents of the kettle. Going withthe spoon to Princess Gloria she cried:
"Love no more! Magic art Now will freeze your mortal heart!"
With this she dashed the contents of the ladle full upon Gloria'sbreast.
Trot saw the body of the Princess become transparent, so that herbeating heart showed plainly. But now the heart turned from a vivid redto gray, and then to white. A layer of frost formed about it and tinyicicles clung to its surface. Then slowly the body of the girl becamevisible again and the heart was hidden from view. Gloria seemed to havefainted, but now she recovered and, opening her beautiful eyes, staredcoldly and without emotion at the group of witches confronting her.
Blinkie and the others knew by that one cold look that their charm hadbeen successful. They burst into a chorus of wild laughter and thethree beautiful ones began dancing again, while Blinkie unbound thePrincess and set her free.
Trot rubbed her eyes to prove that she was wide awake and seeingclearly, for her astonishment was great when the three lovely maidensturned into ugly, crooked hags again, leaning on broomsticks and canes.They jeered at Gloria, but the Princess regarded them with colddisdain. Being now free, she walked to a door, opened it and passedout. And the witches let her go.
Trot and Pon had been so intent upon this scene that in their eagernessthey had pressed quite hard against the window. Just as Gloria went outof the house the window-sash broke loose from its fastenings and fellwith a crash into the room. The witches uttered a chorus of screams andthen, seeing that their magical incantation had been observed, theyrushed for the open window with uplifted broomsticks and canes. But Ponwas off like the wind, and Trot followed at his heels. Fear lent themstrength to run, to leap across ditches, to speed up the hills and tovault the low fences as a deer would.
The band of witches had dashed through the window in pursuit; butBlinkie was so old, and the others so crooked and awkward, that theysoon realized they would be unable to overtake the fugitives. So thethree who had been summoned by the Wicked Witch put their canes orbroomsticks between their legs and flew away through the air, quicklydisappearing against the blue sky. Blinkie, however, was so enraged atPon and Trot that she hobbled on in the direction they had taken, fullydetermined to catch them, in time, and to punish them terribly forspying upon her witchcraft.
When Pon and Trot had run so far that they were confident they had madegood their escape, they sat down near the edge of a forest to get theirbreath again, for both were panting hard from their exertions. Trot wasthe first to recover speech, and she said to her companion:
"My! wasn't it terr'ble?"
"The most terrible thing I ever saw," Pon agreed.
"And they froze Gloria's heart; so now she can't love you any more."
"Well, they froze her heart, to be sure," admitted Pon, "but I'm inhopes I can melt it with my love."
"Where do you s'pose Gloria is?" asked the girl, after a pause.
"She left the witch's house just before we did. Perhaps she has goneback to the King's castle," he said.
"I'm pretty sure she started off in a diff'rent direction," declaredTrot. "I looked over my shoulder, as I ran, to see how close thewitches were, and I'm sure I saw Gloria walking slowly away toward thenorth."
"Then let us circle around that way," proposed Pon, "and perhaps weshall meet her."
Trot agreed to this and they left the grove and began to circle aroundtoward the north, thus drawing nearer and nearer to old Blinkie's houseagain. The Wicked Witch did not suspect this change of direction, sowhen she came to the grove she passed through it and continued on.
Pon and Trot had reached a place less than half a mile from the witch'shouse when they saw Gloria walking toward them. The Princess moved withgreat dignity and with no show of haste whatever, holding her head highand looking neither to right nor left.
Pon rushed forward, holding out his arms as if to embrace her andcalling her sweet names. But Gloria gazed upon him coldly and repelledhim with a haughty gesture. At this the poor gardener's boy sank uponhis knees and hid his face in his arms, weeping bitter tears; but thePrincess was not at all moved by his distress. Passing him by, she drewher skirts aside, as if unwilling they should touch him, and then shewalked up the path a way and hesitated, as if uncertain where to gonext.
Trot was grieved by Pon's sobs and indignant because Gloria treated himso badly. But she remembered why.
"I guess your heart is frozen, all right," she said to the Princess.Gloria nodded gravely, in reply, and then turned her back upon thelittle girl. "Can't you like even me?" asked Trot, half pleadingly.
"No," said Gloria.
"Your voice sounds like a refrig'rator," sighed the little girl. "I'mawful sorry for you, 'cause you were sweet an' nice to me before thishappened. You can't help it, of course; but it's a dreadful thing, jus'the same."
"My heart is frozen to all mortal loves," announced Gloria, calmly. "Ido not love even myself."
"That's too bad," said Trot, "for, if you can't love anybody, you can'texpect anybody to love you."
"I do!" cried Pon. "I shall always love her."
"Well, you're just a gardener's boy," replied Trot, "and I didn't thinkyou 'mounted to much, from the first. I can love the old PrincessGloria, with a warm heart an' nice manners, but this one gives me theshivers."
"It's her icy heart, that's all," said Pon.
"That's enough," insisted Trot. "Seeing her heart isn't big enough toskate on, I can't see that she's of any use to anyone. For my part, I'mgoin' to try to find Button-Bright an' Cap'n Bill."
"I will go with you," decided Pon. "It is evident that Gloria no longerloves me and that her heart is frozen too stiff for me to melt it withmy own love; therefore I may as well help you to find your friends."
As Trot started off, Pon cast one more imploring look at the Princess,who returned it with a chilly stare. So he followed after the littlegirl.
As for the Princess, she hesitated a moment and then turned in the samedirection the others had taken, but going far more slowly. Soon sheheard footsteps pattering behind her, and up came Googly-Goo, a littleout of breath with running.
"Stop, Gloria!" he cried. "I have come to take you back to my mansion,where we are to be married."
She looked at him wonderingly a moment, then tossed her headdisdainfully and walked on. But Googly-Goo kept beside her.
"What does this mean?" he demanded. "Haven't you discovered that you nolonger love that gardener's boy, who stood in my way?"
"Yes; I have discovered it," she replied. "My heart is frozen to allmortal loves. I cannot love you, or Pon, or the cruel King my uncle, oreven myself. Go your way, Googly-Goo, for I will wed no one at all."
He stopped in dismay when he heard this, but in another minute heexclaimed angrily:
"You must wed me, Princess Gloria, whether you want to or not! I paidto have your heart frozen; I also paid the King to permit our marriage.If you now refuse me it will mean that I have beenrobbed--robbed--robbed of my precious money and jewels!"
He almost wept with despair, but she laughed a cold, bitter laugh andpassed on. Googly-Goo caught at her arm, as if to restrain her, but shewhirled and dealt him a blow that sent him reeling into a ditch besidethe path. Here he lay for a long time, half covered by muddy water,dazed with surprise.
Finally the old courtier arose, dripping, and climbed from the ditch.The Princess had gone; so, muttering threats of vengeance upon her,upon the King and upon Blinkie, old Googly-Goo hobbled back to hismansion to have the mud removed from his costly velvet clothes.
Trot Meets the Scarecrow
Trot and Pon covered many leagues of ground, searching through forests,in fields and in many of the little villages of Jinxland, but couldfind no trace of either Cap'n Bill or Button-Bright. Finally theypaused beside a cornfield and sat upon a stile to rest. Pon took someapples from his pocket and gave one to Trot. Then he began eatinganother himself, for this was their time for luncheon. When his applewas finished Pon tossed the core into the field.
"Tchuk-tchuk!" said a strange voice. "What do you mean by hitting me inthe eye with an apple-core?"
Then rose up the form of the Scarecrow, who had hidden himself in thecornfield while he examined Pon and Trot and decided whether they wereworthy to be helped.
"Excuse me," said Pon. "I didn't know you were there."
"How did you happen to be there, anyhow?" asked Trot.
The Scarecrow came forward with awkward steps and stood beside them.
"Ah, you are the gardener's boy," he said to Pon. Then he turned toTrot. "And you are the little girl who came to Jinxland riding on a bigbird, and who has had the misfortune to lose her friend, Cap'n Bill,and her chum, Button-Bright."
"Why, how did you know all that?" she inquired.
"I know a lot of things," replied the Scarecrow, winking at hercomically. "My brains are the Carefully-Assorted, Double-Distilled,High-Efficiency sort that the Wizard of Oz makes. He admits, himself,that my brains are the best he ever manufactured."
"I think I've heard of you," said Trot slowly, as she looked theScarecrow over with much interest; "but you used to live in the Land ofOz."
"Oh, I do now," he replied cheerfully. "I've just come over themountains from the Quadling Country to see if I can be of any help toyou."
"Who, me?" asked Pon.
"No, the strangers from the big world. It seems they need lookingafter."
"I'm doing that myself," said Pon, a little ungraciously. "If you willpardon me for saying so, I don't see how a Scarecrow with painted eyescan look after anyone."
"If you don't see that, you are more blind than the Scarecrow,"asserted Trot. "He's a fairy man, Pon, and comes from the fairyland ofOz, so he can do 'most anything. I hope," she added, turning to theScarecrow, "you can find Cap'n Bill for me."
"I will try, anyhow," he promised. "But who is that old woman who isrunning toward us and shaking her stick at us?"
Trot and Pon turned around and both uttered an exclamation of fear. Thenext instant they took to their heels and ran fast up the path. For itwas old Blinkie, the Wicked Witch, who had at last traced them to thisplace. Her anger was so great that she was determined not to abandonthe chase of Pon and Trot until she had caught and punished them. TheScarecrow understood at once that the old woman meant harm to his newfriends, so as she drew near he stepped before her. His appearance wasso sudden and unexpected that Blinkie ran into him and toppled himover, but she tripped on his straw body and went rolling in the pathbeside him.
The Scarecrow sat up and said: "I beg your pardon!" but she whacked himwith her stick and knocked him flat again. Then, furious with rage, theold witch sprang upon her victim and began pulling the straw out of hisbody. The poor Scarecrow was helpless to resist and in a few momentsall that was left of him was an empty suit of clothes and a heap ofstraw beside it. Fortunately, Blinkie did not harm his head, for itrolled into a little hollow and escaped her notice. Fearing that Ponand Trot would escape her, she quickly resumed the chase anddisappeared over the brow of a hill, following the direction in whichshe had seen them go.
Only a short time elapsed before a gray grasshopper with a wooden legcame hopping along and lit directly on the upturned face of theScarecrow's head.
"Pardon me, but you are resting yourself upon my nose," remarked theScarecrow.
"Oh! are you alive?" asked the grasshopper.
"That is a question I have never been able to decide," said theScarecrow's head. "When my body is properly stuffed I have animationand can move around as well as any live person. The brains in the headyou are now occupying as a throne, are of very superior quality and doa lot of very clever thinking. But whether that is being alive, or not,I cannot prove to you; for one who lives is liable to death, while I amonly liable to destruction."
"Seems to me," said the grasshopper, rubbing his nose with his frontlegs, "that in your case it doesn't matter--unless you're destroyedalready."
"I am not; all I need is re-stuffing," declared the Scarecrow; "and ifPon and Trot escape the witch, and come back here, I am sure they willdo me that favor."
"Tell me! Are Trot and Pon around here?" inquired the grasshopper, itssmall voice trembling with excitement.
The Scarecrow did not answer at once, for both his eyes were staringstraight upward at a beautiful face that was slightly bent over hishead. It was, indeed, Princess Gloria, who had wandered to this spot,very much surprised when she heard the Scarecrow's head talk and thetiny gray grasshopper answer it.
"This," said the Scarecrow, still staring at her, "must be the Princesswho loves Pon, the gardener's boy."
"Oh, indeed!" exclaimed the grasshopper--who of course was Cap'nBill--as he examined the young lady curiously.
"No," said Gloria frigidly, "I do not love Pon, or anyone else, for theWicked Witch has frozen my heart."
"What a shame!" cried the Scarecrow. "One so lovely should be able tolove. But would you mind, my dear, stuffing that straw into my bodyagain?"
The dainty Princess glanced at the straw and at the well-worn blueMunchkin clothes and shrank back in disdain. But she was spared fromrefusing the Scarecrow's request by the appearance of Trot and Pon, whohad hidden in some bushes just over the brow of the hill and waiteduntil old Blinkie had passed them by. Their hiding place was on thesame side as the witch's blind eye, and she rushed on in the chase ofthe girl and the youth without being aware that they had tricked her.
Trot was shocked at the Scarecrow's sad condition and at once beganputting the straw back into his body. Pon, at sight of Gloria, againappealed to her to take pity on him, but the frozen-hearted Princessturned coldly away and with a sigh the gardener's boy began to assistTrot.
Neither of them at first noticed the small grasshopper, which at theirappearance had skipped off the Scarecrow's nose and was now clinging toa wisp of grass beside the path, where he was not likely to be steppedupon. Not until the Scarecrow had been neatly restuffed and set uponhis feet again--when he bowed to his restorers and expressed histhanks--did the grasshopper move from his perch. Then he leaped lightlyinto the path and called out:
"Trot--Trot! Look at me. I'm Cap'n Bill! See what the Wicked Witch hasdone to me."
The voice was small, to be sure, but it reached Trot's ears andstartled her greatly. She looked intently at the grasshopper, her eyeswide with fear at first; then she knelt down and, noticing the woodenleg, she began to weep sorrowfully.
"Oh, Cap'n Bill--dear Cap'n Bill! What a cruel thing to do!" she sobbed.
"Don't cry, Trot," begged the grasshopper. "It didn't hurt any, and itdoesn't hurt now. But it's mighty inconvenient an' humiliatin', to saythe least."
"I wish," said the girl indignantly, while trying hard to restrain hertears, "that I was big 'nough an' strong 'nough to give that horridwitch a good beating. She ought to be turned into a toad for doing thisto you, Cap'n Bill!"
"Never mind," urged the Scarecrow, in a comforting voice, "such atransformation doesn't last always, and as a general thing there's someway to break the enchantment. I'm sure Glinda could do it, in a jiffy."
"Who is Glinda?" inquired Cap'n Bill.
Then the Scarecrow told them all about Glinda, not forgetting tomention her beauty and goodness and her wonderful powers of magic. Healso explained how the Royal Sorceress had sent him to Jinxlandespecially to help the strangers, whom she knew to be in danger becauseof the wiles of the cruel King and the Wicked Witch.
Pon Summons the King to Surrender
Gloria had drawn near to the group to listen to their talk, and itseemed to interest her in spite of her frigid manner. They knew, ofcourse, that the poor Princess could not help being cold and reserved,so they tried not to blame her.
"I ought to have come here a little sooner," said the Scarecrow,regretfully; "but Glinda sent me as soon as she discovered you werehere and were likely to get into trouble. And now that we are alltogether--except Button-Bright, over whom it is useless to worry--Ipropose we hold a council of war, to decide what is best to be done."
That seemed a wise thing to do, so they all sat down upon the grass,including Gloria, and the grasshopper perched upon Trot's shoulder andallowed her to stroke him gently with her hand.
"In the first place," began the Scarecrow, "this King Krewl is ausurper and has no right to rule this Kingdom of Jinxland."
"That is true," said Pon, eagerly. "My father was King before him, andI--"
"You are a gardener's boy," interrupted the Scarecrow. "Your father hadno right to rule, either, for the rightful King of this land was thefather of Princess Gloria, and only she is entitled to sit upon thethrone of Jinxland."
"Good!" exclaimed Trot. "But what'll we do with King Krewl? I s'pose hewon't give up the throne unless he has to."
"No, of course not," said the Scarecrow. "Therefore it will be our dutyto make him give up the throne."
"How?" asked Trot.
"Give me time to think," was the reply. "That's what my brains are for.I don't know whether you people ever think, or not, but my brains arethe best that the Wizard of Oz ever turned out, and if I give themplenty of time to work, the result usually surprises me."
"Take your time, then," suggested Trot. "There's no hurry."
"Thank you," said the straw man, and sat perfectly still for half anhour. During this interval the grasshopper whispered in Trot's ear, towhich he was very close, and Trot whispered back to the grasshoppersitting upon her shoulder. Pon cast loving glances at Gloria, who paidnot the slightest heed to them.
Finally the Scarecrow laughed aloud.
"Brains working?" inquired Trot.
"Yes. They seem in fine order to-day. We will conquer King Krewl andput Gloria upon his throne as Queen of Jinxland."
"Fine!" cried the little girl, clapping her hands together gleefully."But how?"
"Leave the how to me," said the Scarecrow proudly. "As a conqueror I'ma wonder. We will, first of all, write a message to send to King Krewl,asking him to surrender. If he refuses, then we will make himsurrender."
"Why ask him, when we know he'll refuse?" inquired Pon.
"Why, we must be polite, whatever we do," explained the Scarecrow. "Itwould be very rude to conquer a King without proper notice."
They found it difficult to write a message without paper, pen and ink,none of which was at hand; so it was decided to send Pon as amessenger, with instructions to ask the King, politely but firmly, tosurrender.
Pon was not anxious to be the messenger. Indeed, he hinted that itmight prove a dangerous mission. But the Scarecrow was now theacknowledged head of the Army of Conquest, and he would listen to norefusal. So off Pon started for the King's castle, and the othersaccompanied him as far as his hut, where they had decided to await thegardener's boy's return.
I think it was because Pon had known the Scarecrow such a short timethat he lacked confidence in the straw man's wisdom. It was easy tosay: "We will conquer King Krewl," but when Pon drew near to the greatcastle he began to doubt the ability of a straw-stuffed man, a girl, agrasshopper and a frozen-hearted Princess to do it. As for himself, hehad never thought of defying the King before.
That was why the gardener's boy was not very bold when he entered thecastle and passed through to the enclosed court where the King was justthen seated, with his favorite courtiers around him. None preventedPon's entrance, because he was known to be the gardener's boy, but whenthe King saw him he began to frown fiercely. He considered Pon to be toblame for all his trouble with Princess Gloria, who since her heart hadbeen frozen had escaped to some unknown place, instead of returning tothe castle to wed Googly-Goo, as she had been expected to do. So theKing bared his teeth angrily as he demanded:
"What have you done with Princess Gloria?"
"Nothing, your Majesty! I have done nothing at all," answered Pon in afaltering voice. "She does not love me any more and even refuses tospeak to me."
"Then why are you here, you rascal?" roared the King.
Pon looked first one way and then another, but saw no means of escape;so he plucked up courage.
"I am here to summon your Majesty to surrender."
"What!" shouted the King. "Surrender? Surrender to whom?"
Pon's heart sank to his boots.
"To the Scarecrow," he replied.
Some of the courtiers began to titter, but King Krewl was greatlyannoyed. He sprang up and began to beat poor Pon with the golden staffhe carried. Pon howled lustily and would have run away had not two ofthe soldiers held him until his Majesty was exhausted with punishingthe boy. Then they let him go and he left the castle and returned alongthe road, sobbing at every step because his body was so sore and aching.
"Well," said the Scarecrow, "did the King surrender?"
"No; but he gave me a good drubbing!" sobbed poor Pon.
Trot was very sorry for Pon, but Gloria did not seem affected in anyway by her lover's anguish. The grasshopper leaped to the Scarecrow'sshoulder and asked him what he was going to do next.
"Conquer," was the reply. "But I will go alone, this time, for beatingscannot hurt me at all; nor can lance thrusts--or sword cuts--or arrowpricks."
"Why is that?" inquired Trot.
"Because I have no nerves, such as you meat people possess. Evengrasshoppers have nerves, but straw doesn't; so whatever theydo--except just one thing--they cannot injure me. Therefore I expect toconquer King Krewl with ease."
"What is that one thing you excepted?" asked Trot.
"They will never think of it, so never mind. And now, if you willkindly excuse me for a time, I'll go over to the castle and do myconquering."
"You have no weapons," Pon reminded him.
"True," said the Scarecrow. "But if I carried weapons I might injuresomeone--perhaps seriously--and that would make me unhappy. I will justborrow that riding-whip, which I see in the corner of your hut, if youdon't mind. It isn't exactly proper to walk with a riding-whip, but Itrust you will excuse the inconsistency."
Pon handed him the whip and the Scarecrow bowed to all the party andleft the hut, proceeding leisurely along the way to the King's castle.
The Ork Rescues Button-Bright
I must now tell you what had become of Button-Bright since he wanderedaway in the morning and got lost. This small boy, as perhaps you havediscovered, was almost as destitute of nerves as the Scarecrow. Nothingever astonished him much; nothing ever worried him or made him unhappy.Good fortune or bad fortune he accepted with a quiet smile, nevercomplaining, whatever happened. This was one reason why Button-Brightwas a favorite with all who knew him--and perhaps it was the reason whyhe so often got into difficulties, or found himself lost.
To-day, as he wandered here and there, over hill and down dale, hemissed Trot and Cap'n Bill, of whom he was fond, but nevertheless hewas not unhappy. The birds sang merrily and the wildflowers werebeautiful and the breeze had a fragrance of new-mown hay.
"The only bad thing about this country is its King," he reflected; "butthe country isn't to blame for that."
A prairie-dog stuck its round head out of a mound of earth and lookedat the boy with bright eyes.
"Walk around my house, please," it said, "and then you won't harm it ordisturb the babies."
"All right," answered Button-Bright, and took care not to step on themound. He went on, whistling merrily, until a petulant voice cried:
"Oh, stop it! Please stop that noise. It gets on my nerves."
Button-Bright saw an old gray owl sitting in the crotch of a tree, andhe replied with a laugh: "All right, old Fussy," and stopped whistlinguntil he had passed out of the owl's hearing. At noon he came to afarmhouse where an aged couple lived. They gave him a good dinner andtreated him kindly, but the man was deaf and the woman was dumb, sothey could answer no questions to guide him on the way to Pon's house.When he left them he was just as much lost as he had been before.
Every grove of trees he saw from a distance he visited, for heremembered that the King's castle was near a grove of trees and Pon'shut was near the King's castle; but always he met with disappointment.Finally, passing through one of these groves, he came out into the openand found himself face to face with the Ork.
"Hello!" said Button-Bright. "Where did you come from?"
"From Orkland," was the reply. "I've found my own country, at last, andit is not far from here, either. I would have come back to you sooner,to see how you are getting along, had not my family and friendswelcomed my return so royally that a great celebration was held in myhonor. So I couldn't very well leave Orkland again until the excitementwas over."
"Can you find your way back home again?" asked the boy.
"Yes, easily; for now I know exactly where it is. But where are Trotand Cap'n Bill?"
Button-Bright related to the Ork their adventures since it had leftthem in Jinxland, telling of Trot's fear that the King had donesomething wicked to Cap'n Bill, and of Pon's love for Gloria, and howTrot and Button-Bright had been turned out of the King's castle. Thatwas all the news that the boy had, but it made the Ork anxious for thesafety of his friends.
"We must go to them at once, for they may need us," he said.
"I don't know where to go," confessed Button-Bright. "I'm lost."
"Well, I can take you back to the hut of the gardener's boy," promisedthe Ork, "for when I fly high in the air I can look down and easily spythe King's castle. That was how I happened to spy you, just enteringthe grove; so I flew down and waited until you came out."
"How can you carry me?" asked the boy.
"You'll have to sit straddle my shoulders and put your arms around myneck. Do you think you can keep from falling off?"
"I'll try," said Button-Bright. So the Ork squatted down and the boytook his seat and held on tight. Then the skinny creature's tail beganwhirling and up they went, far above all the tree-tops.
After the Ork had circled around once or twice, its sharp eyes locatedthe towers of the castle and away it flew, straight toward the place.As it hovered in the air, near by the castle, Button-Bright pointed outPon's hut, so they landed just before it and Trot came running out togreet them.
Gloria was introduced to the Ork, who was surprised to find Cap'n Billtransformed into a grasshopper.
"How do you like it?" asked the creature.
"Why, it worries me good deal," answered Cap'n Bill, perched uponTrot's shoulder. "I'm always afraid o' bein' stepped on, and I don'tlike the flavor of grass an' can't seem to get used to it. It's mynature to eat grass, you know, but I begin to suspect it's an acquiredtaste."
"Can you give molasses?" asked the Ork.
"I guess I'm not that kind of a grasshopper," replied Cap'n Bill. "ButI can't say what I might do if I was squeezed--which I hope I won't be."
"Well," said the Ork, "it's a great pity, and I'd like to meet thatcruel King and his Wicked Witch and punish them both severely. You'reawfully small, Cap'n Bill, but I think I would recognize you anywhereby your wooden leg."
Then the Ork and Button-Bright were told all about Gloria's frozenheart and how the Scarecrow had come from the Land of Oz to help them.The Ork seemed rather disturbed when it learned that the Scarecrow hadgone alone to conquer King Krewl.
"I'm afraid he'll make a fizzle of it," said the skinny creature, "andthere's no telling what that terrible King might do to the poorScarecrow, who seems like a very interesting person. So I believe I'lltake a hand in this conquest myself."
"How?" asked Trot.
"Wait and see," was the reply. "But, first of all, I must fly homeagain--back to my own country--so if you'll forgive my leaving you sosoon, I'll be off at once. Stand away from my tail, please, so that thewind from it, when it revolves, won't knock you over."
They gave the creature plenty of room and away it went like a flash andsoon disappeared in the sky.
"I wonder," said Button-Bright, looking solemnly after the Ork,"whether he'll ever come back again."
"Of course he will!" returned Trot. "The Ork's a pretty good fellow,and we can depend on him. An' mark my words, Button-Bright, wheneverour Ork does come back, there's one cruel King in Jinxland that'll wishhe hadn't."
The Scarecrow Meets an Enemy
The Scarecrow was not a bit afraid of King Krewl. Indeed, he ratherenjoyed the prospect of conquering the evil King and putting Gloria onthe throne of Jinxland in his place. So he advanced boldly to the royalcastle and demanded admittance.
Seeing that he was a stranger, the soldiers allowed him to enter. Hemade his way straight to the throne room, where at that time hisMajesty was settling the disputes among his subjects.
"Who are you?" demanded the King.
"I'm the Scarecrow of Oz, and I command you to surrender yourself myprisoner."
"Why should I do that?" inquired the King, much astonished at the strawman's audacity.
"Because I've decided you are too cruel a King to rule so beautiful acountry. You must remember that Jinxland is a part of Oz, and thereforeyou owe allegiance to Ozma of Oz, whose friend and servant I am."
Now, when he heard this, King Krewl was much disturbed in mind, for heknew the Scarecrow spoke the truth. But no one had ever before come toJinxland from the Land of Oz and the King did not intend to be put outof his throne if he could help it. Therefore he gave a harsh, wickedlaugh of derision and said:
"I'm busy, now. Stand out of my way, Scarecrow, and I'll talk with youby and by."
But the Scarecrow turned to the assembled courtiers and people andcalled in a loud voice:
"I hereby declare, in the name of Ozma of Oz, that this man is nolonger ruler of Jinxland. From this moment Princess Gloria is yourrightful Queen, and I ask all of you to be loyal to her and to obey hercommands."
The people looked fearfully at the King, whom they all hated in theirhearts, but likewise feared. Krewl was now in a terrible rage and heraised his golden sceptre and struck the Scarecrow so heavy a blow thathe fell to the floor.
But he was up again, in an instant, and with Pon's riding-whip heswitched the King so hard that the wicked monarch roared with pain asmuch as with rage, calling on his soldiers to capture the Scarecrow.
They tried to do that, and thrust their lances and swords into thestraw body, but without doing any damage except to make holes in theScarecrow's clothes. However, they were many against one and finallyold Googly-Goo brought a rope which he wound around the Scarecrow,binding his legs together and his arms to his sides, and after that thefight was over.
The King stormed and danced around in a dreadful fury, for he had neverbeen so switched since he was a boy--and perhaps not then. He orderedthe Scarecrow thrust into the castle prison, which was no task at allbecause one man could carry him easily, bound as he was.
Even after the prisoner was removed the King could not control hisanger. He tried to figure out some way to be revenged upon the strawman, but could think of nothing that could hurt him. At last, when theterrified people and the frightened courtiers had all slunk away, oldGoogly-Goo approached the king with a malicious grin upon his face.
"I'll tell you what to do," said he. "Build a big bonfire and burn theScarecrow up, and that will be the end of him."
The King was so delighted with this suggestion that he hugged oldGoogly-Goo in his joy.
"Of course!" he cried. "The very thing. Why did I not think of itmyself?"
So he summoned his soldiers and retainers and bade them prepare a greatbonfire in an open space in the castle park. Also he sent word to allhis people to assemble and witness the destruction of the Scarecrow whohad dared to defy his power. Before long a vast throng gathered in thepark and the servants had heaped up enough fuel to make a fire thatmight be seen for miles away--even in the daytime.
When all was prepared, the King had his throne brought out for him tosit upon and enjoy the spectacle, and then he sent his soldiers tofetch the Scarecrow.
Now the one thing in all the world that the straw man really feared wasfire. He knew he would burn very easily and that his ashes wouldn'tamount to much afterward. It wouldn't hurt him to be destroyed in sucha manner, but he realized that many people in the Land of Oz, andespecially Dorothy and the Royal Ozma, would feel sad if they learnedthat their old friend the Scarecrow was no longer in existence.
In spite of this, the straw man was brave and faced his fiery fate likea hero. When they marched him out before the concourse of people heturned to the King with great calmness and said:
"This wicked deed will cost you your throne, as well as much suffering,for my friends will avenge my destruction."
"Your friends are not here, nor will they know what I have done to you,when you are gone and can-not tell them," answered the King in ascornful voice.
Then he ordered the Scarecrow bound to a stout stake that he had haddriven into the ground, and the materials for the fire were heaped allaround him. When this had been done, the King's brass band struck up alively tune and old Googly-Goo came forward with a lighted match andset fire to the pile.
At once the flames shot up and crept closer and closer toward theScarecrow. The King and all his people were so intent upon thisterrible spectacle that none of them noticed how the sky grew suddenlydark. Perhaps they thought that the loud buzzing sound--like the noiseof a dozen moving railway trains--came from the blazing fagots; thatthe rush of wind was merely a breeze. But suddenly down swept a flockof Orks, half a hundred of them at the least, and the powerful currentsof air caused by their revolving tails sent the bonfire scattering inevery direction, so that not one burning brand ever touched theScarecrow.
But that was not the only effect of this sudden tornado. King Krewl wasblown out of his throne and went tumbling heels over head until helanded with a bump against the stone wall of his own castle, and beforehe could rise a big Ork sat upon him and held him pressed flat to theground. Old Googly-Goo shot up into the air like a rocket and landed ona tree, where he hung by the middle on a high limb, kicking the airwith his feet and clawing the air with his hands, and howling for mercylike the coward he was.
The people pressed back until they were jammed close together, whileall the soldiers were knocked over and sent sprawling to the earth. Theexcitement was great for a few minutes, and every frightened inhabitantof Jinxland looked with awe and amazement at the great Orks whosedescent had served to rescue the Scarecrow and conquer King Krewl atone and the same time.
The Ork, who was the leader of the band, soon had the Scarecrow free ofhis bonds. Then he said: "Well, we were just in time to save you, whichis better than being a minute too late. You are now the master here,and we are determined to see your orders obeyed."
With this the Ork picked up Krewl's golden crown, which had fallen offhis head, and placed it upon the head of the Scarecrow, who in hisawkward way then shuffled over to the throne and sat down in it.
Seeing this, a rousing cheer broke from the crowd of people, who tossedtheir hats and waved their handkerchiefs and hailed the Scarecrow astheir King. The soldiers joined the people in the cheering, for nowthey fully realized that their hated master was conquered and it wouldbe wise to show their good will to the conqueror. Some of them boundKrewl with ropes and dragged him forward, dumping his body on theground before the Scarecrow's throne. Googly-Goo struggled until hefinally slid off the limb of the tree and came tumbling to the ground.He then tried to sneak away and escape, but the soldiers seized andbound him beside Krewl.
"The tables are turned," said the Scarecrow, swelling out his chestuntil the straw within it crackled pleasantly, for he was highlypleased; "but it was you and your people who did it, friend Ork, andfrom this time you may count me your humble servant."
The Conquest of the Witch
Now as soon as the conquest of King Krewl had taken place, one of theOrks had been dispatched to Pon's house with the joyful news. At onceGloria and Pon and Trot and Button-Bright hastened toward the castle.They were somewhat surprised by the sight that met their eyes, forthere was the Scarecrow, crowned King, and all the people kneelinghumbly before him. So they likewise bowed low to the new ruler and thenstood beside the throne. Cap'n Bill, as the gray grasshopper, was stillperched upon Trot's shoulder, but now he hopped to the shoulder of theScarecrow and whispered into the painted ear:
"I thought Gloria was to be Queen of Jinxland."
The Scarecrow shook his head.
"Not yet," he answered. "No Queen with a frozen heart is fit to ruleany country." Then he turned to his new friend, the Ork, who wasstrutting about, very proud of what he had done, and said: "Do yousuppose you, or your followers, could find old Blinkie the Witch?"
"Where is she?" asked the Ork.
"Somewhere in Jinxland, I'm sure."
"Then," said the Ork, "we shall certainly be able to find her."
"It will give me great pleasure," declared the Scarecrow. "When youhave found her, bring her here to me, and I will then decide what to dowith her."
The Ork called his followers together and spoke a few words to them ina low tone. A moment after they rose into the air--so suddenly that theScarecrow, who was very light in weight, was blown quite out of histhrone and into the arms of Pon, who replaced him carefully upon hisseat. There was an eddy of dust and ashes, too, and the grasshopperonly saved himself from being whirled into the crowd of people byjumping into a tree, from where a series of hops soon brought him backto Trot's shoulder again. The Orks were quite out of sight by thistime, so the Scarecrow made a speech to the people and presented Gloriato them, whom they knew well already and were fond of. But not all ofthem knew of her frozen heart, and when the Scarecrow related the storyof the Wicked Witch's misdeeds, which had been encouraged and paid forby Krewl and Googly-Goo, the people were very indignant.
Meantime the fifty Orks had scattered all over Jinx land, which is nota very big country, and their sharp eyes were peering into every valleyand grove and gully. Finally one of them spied a pair of heels stickingout from underneath some bushes, and with a shrill whistle to warn hiscomrades that the witch was found the Ork flew down and dragged oldBlinkie from her hiding-place. Then two or three of the Orks seized theclothing of the wicked woman in their strong claws and, lifting herhigh in the air, where she struggled and screamed to no avail, theyflew with her straight to the royal castle and set her down before thethrone of the Scarecrow.
"Good!" exclaimed the straw man, nodding his stuffed head withsatisfaction. "Now we can proceed to business. Mistress Witch, I amobliged to request, gently but firmly, that you undo all the wrongs youhave done by means of your witchcraft."
"Pah!" cried old Blinkie in a scornful voice. "I defy you all! By mymagic powers I can turn you all into pigs, rooting in the mud, and I'lldo it if you are not careful."
"I think you are mistaken about that," said the Scarecrow, and risingfrom his throne he walked with wobbling steps to the side of the WickedWitch. "Before I left the Land of Oz, Glinda the Royal Sorceress gaveme a box, which I was not to open except in an emergency. But I feelpretty sure that this occasion is an emergency; don't you, Trot?" heasked, turning toward the little girl.
"Why, we've got to do something," replied Trot seriously. "Things seemin an awful muddle here, jus' now, and they'll be worse if we don'tstop this witch from doing more harm to people."
"That is my idea, exactly," said the Scarecrow, and taking a small boxfrom his pocket he opened the cover and tossed the contents towardBlinkie.
The old woman shrank back, pale and trembling, as a fine white dustsettled all about her. Under its influence she seemed to the eyes ofall observers to shrivel and grow smaller.
"Oh, dear--oh, dear!" she wailed, wringing her hands in fear. "Haven'tyou the antidote, Scarecrow? Didn't the great Sorceress give youanother box?"
"She did," answered the Scarecrow.
"Then give it me--quick!" pleaded the witch. "Give it me--and I'll doanything you ask me to!"
"You will do what I ask first," declared the Scarecrow, firmly.
The witch was shriveling and growing smaller every moment.
"Be quick, then!" she cried. "Tell me what I must do and let me do it,or it will be too late."
"You made Trot's friend, Cap'n Bill, a grasshopper. I command you togive him back his proper form again," said the Scarecrow.
"Where is he? Where's the grasshopper? Quick--quick!" she screamed.
Cap'n Bill, who had been deeply interested in this conversation, gave agreat leap from Trot's shoulder and landed on that of the Scarecrow.Blinkie saw him alight and at once began to make magic passes and tomumble magic incantations. She was in a desperate hurry, knowing thatshe had no time to waste, and the grasshopper was so suddenlytransformed into the old sailor-man, Cap'n Bill, that he had noopportunity to jump off the Scarecrow's shoulder; so his great weightbore the stuffed Scarecrow to the ground. No harm was done, however,and the straw man got up and brushed the dust from his clothes whileTrot delightedly embraced Cap'n Bill.
"The other box! Quick! Give me the other box," begged Blinkie, who hadnow shrunk to half her former size.
"Not yet," said the Scarecrow. "You must first melt Princess Gloria'sfrozen heart."
"I can't; it's an awful job to do that! I can't," asserted the witch,in an agony of fear--for still she was growing smaller.
"You must!" declared the Scarecrow, firmly.
The witch cast a shrewd look at him and saw that he meant it; so shebegan dancing around Gloria in a frantic manner. The Princess lookedcoldly on, as if not at all interested in the proceedings, whileBlinkie tore a handful of hair from her own head and ripped a strip ofcloth from the bottom of her gown. Then the witch sank upon her knees,took a purple powder from her black bag and sprinkled it over the hairand cloth.
"I hate to do it--I hate to do it!" she wailed, "for there is no moreof this magic compound in all the world. But I must sacrifice it tosave my own life. A match! Give me a match, quick!" and panting fromlack of breath she gazed imploringly from one to another.
Cap'n Bill was the only one who had a match, but he lost no time inhanding it to Blinkie, who quickly set fire to the hair and the clothand the purple powder. At once a purple cloud enveloped Gloria, andthis gradually turned to a rosy pink color--brilliant and quitetransparent. Through the rosy cloud they could all see the beautifulPrincess, standing proud and erect. Then her heart became visible, atfirst frosted with ice but slowly growing brighter and warmer until allthe frost had disappeared and it was beating as softly and regularly asany other heart. And now the cloud dispersed and disclosed Gloria, herface suffused with joy, smiling tenderly upon the friends who weregrouped about her.
Poor Pon stepped forward--timidly, fearing a repulse, but with pleadingeyes and arms fondly outstretched toward his former sweetheart--and thePrincess saw him and her sweet face lighted with a radiant smile.Without an instant's hesitation she threw herself into Pon's arms andthis reunion of two loving hearts was so affecting that the peopleturned away and lowered their eyes so as not to mar the sacred joy ofthe faithful lovers.
But Blinkie's small voice was shouting to the Scarecrow for help.
"The antidote!" she screamed. "Give me the other box--quick!"
The Scarecrow looked at the witch with his quaint, painted eyes and sawthat she was now no taller than his knee. So he took from his pocketthe second box and scattered its contents on Blinkie. She ceased togrow any smaller, but she could never regain her former size, and thisthe wicked old woman well knew.
She did not know, however, that the second powder had destroyed all herpower to work magic, and seeking to be revenged upon the Scarecrow andhis friends she at once began to mumble a charm so terrible in itseffect that it would have destroyed half the population ofJinxland--had it worked. But it did not work at all, to the amazementof old Blinkie. And by this time the Scarecrow noticed what the littlewitch was trying to do, and said to her:
"Go home, Blinkie, and behave yourself. You are no longer a witch, butan ordinary old woman, and since you are powerless to do more evil Iadvise you to try to do some good in the world. Believe me, it is morefun to accomplish a good act than an evil one, as you will discoverwhen once you have tried it."
But Blinkie was at that moment filled with grief and chagrin at losingher magic powers. She started away toward her home, sobbing andbewailing her fate, and not one who saw her go was at all sorry for her.
Next morning the Scarecrow called upon all the courtiers and the peopleto assemble in the throne room of the castle, where there was roomenough for all that were able to attend. They found the straw manseated upon the velvet cushions of the throne, with the King'sglittering crown still upon his stuffed head. On one side of thethrone, in a lower chair, sat Gloria, looking radiantly beautiful andfresh as a new-blown rose. On the other side sat Pon, the gardener'sboy, still dressed in his old smock frock and looking sad and solemn;for Pon could not make himself believe that so splendid a Princesswould condescend to love him when she had come to her own and wasseated upon a throne. Trot and Cap'n Bill sat at the feet of theScarecrow and were much interested in the proceedings. Button-Brighthad lost himself before breakfast, but came into the throne room beforethe ceremonies were over. Back of the throne stood a row of the greatOrks, with their leader in the center, and the entrance to the palacewas guarded by more Orks, who were regarded with wonder and awe.
When all were assembled, the Scarecrow stood up and made a speech. Hetold how Gloria's father, the good King Kynd, who had once ruled themand been loved by everyone, had been destroyed by King Phearce, thefather of Pon, and how King Phearce had been destroyed by King Krewl.This last King had been a bad ruler, as they knew very well, and theScarecrow declared that the only one in all Jinxland who had the rightto sit upon the throne was Princess Gloria, the daughter of King Kynd.
"But," he added, "it is not for me, a stranger, to say who shall ruleyou. You must decide for yourselves, or you will not be content. Sochoose now who shall be your future ruler."
And they all shouted: "The Scarecrow! The Scarecrow shall rule us!"
Which proved that the stuffed man had made himself very popular by hisconquest of King Krewl, and the people thought they would like him fortheir King. But the Scarecrow shook his head so vigorously that itbecame loose, and Trot had to pin it firmly to his body again.
"No," said he, "I belong in the Land of Oz, where I am the humbleservant of the lovely girl who rules us all--the royal Ozma. You mustchoose one of your own inhabitants to rule over Jinxland. Who shall itbe?"
They hesitated for a moment, and some few cried: "Pon!" but many moreshouted: "Gloria!"
So the Scarecrow took Gloria's hand and led her to the throne, where hefirst seated her and then took the glittering crown off his own headand placed it upon that of the young lady, where it nestled prettilyamongst her soft curls. The people cheered and shouted then, kneelingbefore their new Queen; but Gloria leaned down and took Pon's hand inboth her own and raised him to the seat beside her.
"You shall have both a King and a Queen to care for you and to protectyou, my dear subjects," she said in a sweet voice, while her faceglowed with happiness; "for Pon was a King's son before he became agardener's boy, and because I love him he is to be my Royal Consort."
That pleased them all, especially Pon, who realized that this was themost important moment of his life. Trot and Button-Bright and Cap'nWill all congratulated him on winning the beautiful Gloria; but the Orksneezed twice and said that in his opinion the young lady might havedone better.
Then the Scarecrow ordered the guards to bring in the wicked Krewl,King no longer, and when he appeared, loaded with chains and dressed infustian, the people hissed him and drew back as he passed so theirgarments would not touch him.
Krewl was not haughty or overbearing any more; on the contrary heseemed very meek and in great fear of the fate his conquerors had instore for him. But Gloria and Pon were too happy to be revengeful andso they offered to appoint Krewl to the position of gardener's boy atthe castle, Pon having resigned to become King. But they said he mustpromise to reform his wicked ways and to do his duty faithfully, and hemust change his name from Krewl to Grewl. All this the man eagerlypromised to do, and so when Pon retired to a room in the castle to puton princely raiment, the old brown smock he had formerly worn was givento Grewl, who then went out into the garden to water the roses.
The remainder of that famous day, which was long remembered inJinxland, was given over to feasting and merrymaking. In the eveningthere was a grand dance in the courtyard, where the brass band played anew piece of music called the "Ork Trot" which was dedicated to "OurGlorious Gloria, the Queen."
While the Queen and Pon were leading this dance, and all the Jinxlandpeople were having a good time, the strangers were gathered in a groupin the park outside the castle. Cap'n Bill, Trot, Button-Bright and theScarecrow were there, and so was their old friend the Ork; but of allthe great flock of Orks which had assisted in the conquest but threeremained in Jinxland, besides their leader, the others having returnedto their own country as soon as Gloria was crowned Queen. To the youngOrk who had accompanied them in their adventures Cap'n Bill said:
"You've surely been a friend in need, and we're mighty grateful to youfor helping us. I might have been a grasshopper yet if it hadn't beenfor you, an' I might remark that bein' a grasshopper isn't much fun."
"If it hadn't been for you, friend Ork," said the Scarecrow, "I fear Icould not have conquered King Krewl."
"No," agreed Trot, "you'd have been just a heap of ashes by this time."
"And I might have been lost yet," added Button-Bright. "Much obliged,Mr. Ork."
"Oh, that's all right," replied the Ork. "Friends must stand together,you know, or they wouldn't be friends. But now I must leave you and beoff to my own country, where there's going to be a surprise party on myuncle, and I've promised to attend it."
"Dear me," said the Scarecrow, regretfully. "That is very unfortunate."
"Why so?" asked the Ork.
"I hoped you would consent to carry us over those mountains, into theLand of Oz. My mission here is now finished and I want to get back tothe Emerald City."
"How did you cross the mountains before?" inquired the Ork.
"I scaled the cliffs by means of a rope, and crossed the Great Gulf ona strand of spider web. Of course I can return in the same manner, butit would be a hard journey--and perhaps an impossible one--for Trot andButton-Bright and Cap'n Bill. So I thought that if you had the time youand your people would carry us over the mountains and land us allsafely on the other side, in the Land of Oz."
The Ork thoughtfully considered the matter for a while. Then he said:
"I mustn't break my promise to be present at the surprise party; but,tell me, could you go to Oz to-night?"
"What, now?" exclaimed Trot.
"It is a fine moonlight night," said the Ork, "and I've found in myexperience that there's no time so good as right away. The fact is," heexplained, "it's a long journey to Orkland and I and my cousins hereare all rather tired by our day's work. But if you will start now, andbe content to allow us to carry you over the mountains and dump you onthe other side, just say the word and--off we go!"
Cap'n Bill and Trot looked at one another questioningly. The littlegirl was eager to visit the famous fairyland of Oz and the old sailorhad endured such hardships in Jinxland that he would be glad to be outof it.
"It's rather impolite of us not to say good-bye to the new King andQueen," remarked the Scarecrow, "but I'm sure they're too happy to missus, and I assure you it will be much easier to fly on the backs of theOrks over those steep mountains than to climb them as I did."
"All right; let's go!" Trot decided. "But where's Button-Bright?"
Just at this important moment Button-Bright was lost again, and theyall scattered in search of him. He had been standing beside them just afew minutes before, but his friends had an exciting hunt for him beforethey finally discovered the boy seated among the members of the band,beating the end of the bass drum with the bone of a turkey-leg that hehad taken from the table in the banquet room.
"Hello, Trot," he said, looking up at the little girl when she foundhim. "This is the first chance I ever had to pound a drum with areg'lar drum stick. And I ate all the meat off the bone myself."
"Come quick. We're going to the Land of Oz."
"Oh, what's the hurry?" said Button-Bright; but she seized his arm anddragged him away to the park, where the others were waiting.
Trot climbed upon the back of her old friend, the Ork leader, and theothers took their seats on the backs of his three cousins. As soon asall were placed and clinging to the skinny necks of the creatures, therevolving tails began to whirl and up rose the four monster Orks andsailed away toward the mountains. They were so high in the air thatwhen they passed the crest of the highest peak it seemed far belowthem. No sooner were they well across the barrier than the Orks swoopeddownward and landed their passengers upon the ground.
"Here we are, safe in the Land of Oz!" cried the Scarecrow joyfully.
"Oh, are we?" asked Trot, looking around her curiously.
She could see the shadows of stately trees and the outlines of rollinghills; beneath her feet was soft turf, but otherwise the subdued lightof the moon disclosed nothing clearly.
"Seems jus' like any other country," was Cap'n Bill's comment.
"But it isn't," the Scarecrow assured him. "You are now within theborders of the most glorious fairyland in all the world. This part ofit is just a corner of the Quadling Country, and the least interestingportion of it. It's not very thickly settled, around here, I'll admit,but--"
He was interrupted by a sudden whir and a rush of air as the four Orksmounted into the sky.
"Good night!" called the shrill voices of the strange creatures, andalthough Trot shouted "Good night!" as loudly as she could, the littlegirl was almost ready to cry because the Orks had not waited to beproperly thanked for all their kindness to her and to Cap'n Bill.
But the Orks were gone, and thanks for good deeds do not amount to muchexcept to prove one's politeness.
"Well, friends," said the Scarecrow, "we mustn't stay here in themeadows all night, so let us find a pleasant place to sleep. Not thatit matters to me, in the least, for I never sleep; but I know that meatpeople like to shut their eyes and lie still during the dark hours."
"I'm pretty tired," admitted Trot, yawning as she followed the strawman along a tiny path, "so, if you don't find a house handy, Cap'n Billand I will sleep under the trees, or even on this soft grass."
But a house was not very far off, although when the Scarecrow stumbledupon it there was no light in it whatever. Cap'n Bill knocked on thedoor several times, and there being no response the Scarecrow boldlylifted the latch and walked in, followed by the others. And no soonerhad they entered than a soft light filled the room. Trot couldn't tellwhere it came from, for no lamp of any sort was visible, but she didnot waste much time on this problem, because directly in the center ofthe room stood a table set for three, with lots of good food on it andseveral of the dishes smoking hot.
The little girl and Button-Bright both uttered exclamations ofpleasure, but they looked in vain for any cook stove or fireplace, orfor any person who might have prepared for them this delicious feast.
"It's fairyland," muttered the boy, tossing his cap in a corner andseating himself at the table. "This supper smells 'most as good as thatturkey-leg I had in Jinxland. Please pass the muffins, Cap'n Bill."
Trot thought it was strange that no people but themselves were in thehouse, but on the wall opposite the door was a gold frame bearing inbig letters the word:
So she had no further hesitation in eating of the food so mysteriouslyprepared for them.
"But there are only places for three!" she exclaimed.
"Three are quite enough," said the Scarecrow. "I never eat, because Iam stuffed full already, and I like my nice clean straw better than Ido food."
Trot and the sailor-man were hungry and made a hearty meal, for notsince they had left home had they tasted such good food. It wassurprising that Button-Bright could eat so soon after his feast inJinxland, but the boy always ate whenever there was an opportunity. "IfI don't eat now," he said, "the next time I'm hungry I'll wish I had."
"Really, Cap'n," remarked Trot, when she found a dish of ice-creamappear beside her plate, "I b'lieve this is fairyland, sure enough."
"There's no doubt of it, Trot," he answered gravely
"I've been here before," said Button-Bright, "so I know."
After supper they discovered three tiny bedrooms adjoining the bigliving room of the house, and in each room was a comfortable white bedwith downy pillows. You may be sure that the tired mortals were notlong in bidding the Scarecrow good night and creeping into their beds,where they slept soundly until morning.
For the first time since they set eyes on the terrible whirlpool, Trotand Cap'n Bill were free from anxiety and care. Button-Bright neverworried about anything. The Scarecrow, not being able to sleep, lookedout of the window and tried to count the stars.
Dorothy, Betsy and Ozma
I suppose many of my readers have read descriptions of the beautifuland magnificent Emerald City of Oz, so I need not describe it here,except to state that never has any city in any fairyland ever equalledthis one in stately splendor. It lies almost exactly in the center ofthe Land of Oz, and in the center of the Emerald City rises the wall ofglistening emeralds that surrounds the palace of Ozma. The palace isalmost a city in itself and is inhabited by many of the Ruler'sespecial friends and those who have won her confidence and favor. Asfor Ozma herself, there are no words in any dictionary I can find thatare fitted to describe this young girl's beauty of mind and person.Merely to see her is to love her for her charming face and manners; toknow her is to love her for her tender sympathy, her generous nature,her truth and honor. Born of a long line of Fairy Queens, Ozma is asnearly perfect as any fairy may be, and she is noted for her wisdom aswell as for her other qualities. Her happy subjects adore their girlRuler and each one considers her a comrade and protector.
At the time of which I write, Ozma's best friend and most constantcompanion was a little Kansas girl named Dorothy, a mortal who had cometo the Land of Oz in a very curious manner and had been offered a homein Ozma's palace. Furthermore, Dorothy had been made a Princess of Oz,and was as much at home in the royal palace as was the gentle Ruler.She knew almost every part of the great country and almost all of itsnumerous inhabitants. Next to Ozma she was loved better than anyone inall Oz, for Dorothy was simple and sweet, seldom became angry and hadsuch a friendly, chummy way that she made friends where-ever shewandered. It was she who first brought the Scarecrow and the TinWoodman and the Cowardly Lion to the Emerald City. Dorothy had alsointroduced to Ozma the Shaggy Man and the Hungry Tiger, as well asBillina the Yellow Hen, Eureka the Pink Kitten, and many otherdelightful characters and creatures. Coming as she did from our world,Dorothy was much like many other girls we know; so there were timeswhen she was not so wise as she might have been, and other times whenshe was obstinate and got herself into trouble. But life in afairy-land had taught the little girl to accept all sorts of surprisingthings as matters-of-course, for while Dorothy was no fairy--but justas mortal as we are--she had seen more wonders than most mortals everdo.
Another little girl from our outside world also lived in Ozma's palace.This was Betsy Bobbin, whose strange adventures had brought her to theEmerald City, where Ozma had cordially welcomed her. Betsy was a shylittle thing and could never get used to the marvels that surroundedher, but she and Dorothy were firm friends and thought themselves veryfortunate in being together in this delightful country.
One day Dorothy and Betsy were visiting Ozma in the girl Ruler'sprivate apartment, and among the things that especially interested themwas Ozma's Magic Picture, set in a handsome frame and hung upon thewall of the room. This picture was a magic one because it constantlychanged its scenes and showed events and adventures happening in allparts of the world. Thus it was really a "moving picture" of life, andif the one who stood before it wished to know what any absent personwas doing, the picture instantly showed that person, with his or hersurroundings.
The two girls were not wishing to see anyone in particular, on thisoccasion, but merely enjoyed watching the shifting scenes, some ofwhich were exceedingly curious and remarkable. Suddenly Dorothyexclaimed: "Why, there's Button-Bright!" and this drew Ozma also tolook at the picture, for she and Dorothy knew the boy well.
"Who is Button-Bright?" asked Betsy, who had never met him.
"Why, he's the little boy who is just getting off the back of thatstrange flying creature," exclaimed Dorothy. Then she turned to Ozmaand asked: "What is that thing, Ozma? A bird? I've never seen anythinglike it before."
"It is an Ork," answered Ozma, for they were watching the scene wherethe Ork and the three big birds were first landing their passengers inJinxland after the long flight across the desert. "I wonder," added thegirl Ruler, musingly, "why those strangers dare venture into thatunfortunate country, which is ruled by a wicked King."
"That girl, and the one-legged man, seem to be mortals from the outsideworld," said Dorothy.
"The man isn't one-legged," corrected Betsy; "he has one wooden leg."
"It's almost as bad," declared Dorothy, watching Cap'n Bill stumparound.
"They are three mortal adventurers," said Ozma, "and they seem worthyand honest. But I fear they will be treated badly in Jinxland, and ifthey meet with any misfortune there it will reflect upon me, forJinxland is a part of my dominions."
"Can't we help them in any way?" inquired Dorothy. "That seems like anice little girl. I'd be sorry if anything happened to her."
"Let us watch the picture for awhile," suggested Ozma, and so they alldrew chairs before the Magic Picture and followed the adventures ofTrot and Cap'n Bill and Button-Bright. Presently the scene shifted andshowed their friend the Scarecrow crossing the mountains into Jinxland,and that somewhat relieved Ozma's anxiety, for she knew at once thatGlinda the Good had sent the Scarecrow to protect the strangers.
The adventures in Jinxland proved very interesting to the three girlsin Ozma's palace, who during the succeeding days spent much of theirtime in watching the picture. It was like a story to them.
"That girl's a reg'lar trump!" exclaimed Dorothy, referring to Trot,and Ozma answered:
"She's a dear little thing, and I'm sure nothing very bad will happento her. The old sailor is a fine character, too, for he has never oncegrumbled over being a grasshopper, as so many would have done."
When the Scarecrow was so nearly burned up the girls all shivered alittle, and they clapped their hands in joy when the flock of Orks cameand saved him.
So it was that when all the exciting adventures in Jinxland were overand the four Orks had begun their flight across the mountains to carrythe mortals into the Land of Oz, Ozma called the Wizard to her andasked him to prepare a place for the strangers to sleep.
The famous Wizard of Oz was a quaint little man who inhabited the royalpalace and attended to all the magical things that Ozma wanted done. Hewas not as powerful as Glinda, to be sure, but he could do a great manywonderful things. He proved this by placing a house in the uninhabitedpart of the Quadling Country where the Orks landed Cap'n Bill and Trotand Button-Bright, and fitting it with all the comforts I havedescribed in the last chapter.
Next morning Dorothy said to Ozma:
"Oughtn't we to go meet the strangers, so we can show them the way tothe Emerald City? I'm sure that little girl will feel shy in thisbeautiful land, and I know if 'twas me I'd like somebody to give me awelcome."
Ozma smiled at her little friend and answered:
"You and Betsy may go to meet them, if you wish, but I can not leave mypalace just now, as I am to have a conference with Jack Pumpkinhead andProfessor Wogglebug on important matters. You may take the Sawhorse andthe Red Wagon, and if you start soon you will be able to meet theScarecrow and the strangers at Glinda's palace."
"Oh, thank you!" cried Dorothy, and went away to tell Betsy and to makepreparations for the journey.
Glinda's castle was a long way from the mountains, but the Scarecrowbegan the journey cheerfully, since time was of no great importance inthe Land of Oz and he had recently made the trip and knew the way. Itnever mattered much to Button-Bright where he was or what he was doing;the boy was content in being alive and having good companions to sharehis wanderings. As for Trot and Cap'n Bill, they now found themselvesso comfortable and free from danger, in this fine fairyland, and theywere so awed and amazed by the adventures they were encountering, thatthe journey to Glinda's castle was more like a pleasure trip than ahardship, so many wonderful things were there to see.
Button-Bright had been in Oz before, but never in this part of it, sothe Scarecrow was the only one who knew the paths and could lead them.They had eaten a hearty breakfast, which they found already preparedfor them and awaiting them on the table when they arose from theirrefreshing sleep, so they left the magic house in a contented mood andwith hearts lighter and more happy than they had known for many a day.As they marched along through the fields, the sun shone brightly andthe breeze was laden with delicious fragrance, for it carried with itthe breath of millions of wildflowers.
At noon, when they stopped to rest by the bank of a pretty river, Trotsaid with a long-drawn breath that was much like a sigh:
"I wish we'd brought with us some of the food that was left from ourbreakfast, for I'm getting hungry again."
Scarcely had she spoken when a table rose up before them, as if fromthe ground itself, and it was loaded with fruits and nuts and cakes andmany other good things to eat. The little girl's eyes opened wide atthis display of magic, and Cap'n Bill was not sure that the things wereactually there and fit to eat until he had taken them in his hand andtasted them. But the Scarecrow said with a laugh:
"Someone is looking after your welfare, that is certain, and from thelooks of this table I suspect my friend the Wizard has taken us in hischarge. I've known him to do things like this before, and if we are inthe Wizard's care you need not worry about your future."
"Who's worrying?" inquired Button-Bright, already at the table andbusily eating.
The Scarecrow looked around the place while the others were feasting,and finding many things unfamiliar to him he shook his head andremarked:
"I must have taken the wrong path, back in that last valley, for on myway to Jinxland I remember that I passed around the foot of this river,where there was a great waterfall."
"Did the river make a bend, after the waterfall?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"No, the river disappeared. Only a pool of whirling water showed whathad become of the river; but I suppose it is under ground, somewhere,and will come to the surface again in another part of the country."
"Well," suggested Trot, as she finished her luncheon, "as there is noway to cross this river, I s'pose we'll have to find that waterfall,and go around it."
"Exactly," replied the Scarecrow; so they soon renewed their journey,following the river for a long time until the roar of the waterfallsounded in their ears. By and by they came to the waterfall itself, asheet of silver dropping far, far down into a tiny lake which seemed tohave no outlet. From the top of the fall, where they stood, the banksgradually sloped away, so that the descent by land was quite easy,while the river could do nothing but glide over an edge of rock andtumble straight down to the depths below.
"You see," said the Scarecrow, leaning over the brink, "this is calledby our Oz people the Great Waterfall, because it is certainly thehighest one in all the land; but I think--Help!"
He had lost his balance and pitched headforemost into the river. Theysaw a flash of straw and blue clothes, and the painted face lookingupward in surprise. The next moment the Scarecrow was swept over thewaterfall and plunged into the basin below.
The accident had happened so suddenly that for a moment they were alltoo horrified to speak or move.
"Quick! We must go to help him or he will be drowned," Trot exclaimed.
Even while speaking she began to descend the bank to the pool below,and Cap'n Bill followed as swiftly as his wooden leg would let him.Button-Bright came more slowly, calling to the girl:
"He can't drown, Trot; he's a Scarecrow."
But she wasn't sure a Scarecrow couldn't drown and never relaxed herspeed until she stood on the edge of the pool, with the spray dashingin her face. Cap'n Bill, puffing and panting, had just voice enough toask, as he reached her side:
"See him, Trot?"
"Not a speck of him. Oh, Cap'n, what do you s'pose has become of him?"
"I s'pose," replied the sailor, "that he's in that water, more or lessfar down, and I'm 'fraid it'll make his straw pretty soggy. But as ferhis bein' drowned, I agree with Button-Bright that it can't be done."
There was small comfort in this assurance and Trot stood for some timesearching with her eyes the bubbling water, in the hope that theScarecrow would finally come to the surface. Presently she heardButton-Bright calling: "Come here, Trot!" and looking around she sawthat the boy had crept over the wet rocks to the edge of the waterfalland seemed to be peering behind it. Making her way toward him, sheasked:
"What do you see?"
"A cave," he answered. "Let's go in. P'r'aps we'll find the Scarecrowthere."
She was a little doubtful of that, but the cave interested her, and sodid it Cap'n Bill. There was just space enough at the edge of the sheetof water for them to crowd in behind it, but after that dangerousentrance they found room enough to walk upright and after a time theycame to an opening in the wall of rock. Approaching this opening, theygazed within it and found a series of steps, cut so that they mighteasily descend into the cavern.
Trot turned to look inquiringly at her companions. The falling watermade such din and roaring that her voice could not be heard. Cap'n Billnodded his head, but before he could enter the cave, Button-Bright wasbefore him, clambering down the steps without a particle of fear. Sothe others followed the boy.
The first steps were wet with spray, and slippery, but the remainderwere quite dry. A rosy light seemed to come from the interior of thecave, and this lighted their way. After the steps there was a shorttunnel, high enough for them to walk erect in, and then they reachedthe cave itself and paused in wonder and admiration.
They stood on the edge of a vast cavern, the walls and domed roof ofwhich were lined with countless rubies, exquisitely cut and flashingsparkling rays from one to another. This caused a radiant light thatpermitted the entire cavern to be distinctly seen, and the effect wasso marvelous that Trot drew in her breath with a sort of a gasp, andstood quite still in wonder.
But the walls and roof of the cavern were merely a setting for a morewonderful scene. In the center was a bubbling caldron of water, forhere the river rose again, splashing and dashing till its spray rosehigh in the air, where it took the ruby color of the jewels and seemedlike a seething mass of flame. And while they gazed into the tumbling,tossing water, the body of the Scarecrow suddenly rose in the center,struggling and kicking, and the next instant wholly disappeared fromview.
"My, but he's wet!" exclaimed Button-Bright; but none of the othersheard him.
Trot and Cap'n Bill discovered that a broad ledge--covered, like thewalls, with glittering rubies--ran all around the cavern; so theyfollowed this gorgeous path to the rear and found where the water madeits final dive underground, before it disappeared entirely. Where itplunged into this dim abyss the river was black and dreary looking, andthey stood gazing in awe until just beside them the body of theScarecrow again popped up from the water.
Chapter Twenty Three
The Land of Oz
The straw man's appearance on the water was so sudden that it startledTrot, but Cap'n Bill had the presence of mind to stick his wooden legout over the water and the Scarecrow made a desperate clutch andgrabbed the leg with both hands. He managed to hold on until Trot andButton-Bright knelt down and seized his clothing, but the childrenwould have been powerless to drag the soaked Scarecrow ashore had notCap'n Bill now assisted them. When they laid him on the ledge of rubieshe was the most useless looking Scarecrow you can imagine--his strawsodden and dripping with water, his clothing wet and crumpled, whileeven the sack upon which his face was painted had become so wrinkledthat the old jolly expression of their stuffed friend's features wasentirely gone. But he could still speak, and when Trot bent down herear she heard him say:
"Get me out of here as soon as you can."
That seemed a wise thing to do, so Cap'n Bill lifted his head andshoulders, and Trot and Button-Bright each took a leg; among them theypartly carried and partly dragged the damp Scarecrow out of the RubyCavern, along the tunnel, and up the flight of rock steps. It wassomewhat difficult to get him past the edge of the waterfall, but theysucceeded, after much effort, and a few minutes later laid their poorcomrade on a grassy bank where the sun shone upon him freely and he wasbeyond the reach of the spray.
Cap'n Bill now knelt down and examined the straw that the Scarecrow wasstuffed with.
"I don't believe it'll be of much use to him, any more," said he, "forit's full of polliwogs an' fish eggs, an' the water has took all thecrinkle out o' the straw an ruined it. I guess, Trot, that the bestthing for us to do is to empty out all his body an' carry his head an'clothes along the road till we come to a field or a house where we canget some fresh straw."
"Yes, Cap'n," she agreed, "there's nothing else to be done. But howshall we ever find the road to Glinda's palace, without the Scarecrowto guide us?"
"That's easy," said the Scarecrow, speaking in a rather feeble butdistinct voice. "If Cap'n Bill will carry my head on his shoulders,eyes front, I can tell him which way to go."
So they followed that plan and emptied all the old, wet straw out ofthe Scarecrow's body. Then the sailor-man wrung out the clothes andlaid them in the sun till they were quite dry. Trot took charge of thehead and pressed the wrinkles out of the face as it dried, so thatafter a while the Scarecrow's expression became natural again, and asjolly as before.
This work consumed some time, but when it was completed they againstarted upon their journey, Button-Bright carrying the boots and hat,Trot the bundle of clothes, and Cap'n Bill the head. The Scarecrow,having regained his composure and being now in a good humor, despitehis recent mishaps, beguiled their way with stories of the Land of Oz.
It was not until the next morning, however, that they found straw withwhich to restuff the Scarecrow. That evening they came to the samelittle house they had slept in before, only now it was magicallytransferred to a new place. The same bountiful supper as before wasfound smoking hot upon the table and the same cosy beds were ready forthem to sleep in.
They rose early and after breakfast went out of doors, and there, lyingjust beside the house, was a heap of clean, crisp straw. Ozma hadnoticed the Scarecrow's accident in her Magic Picture and had notifiedthe Wizard to provide the straw, for she knew the adventurers were notlikely to find straw in the country through which they were nowtraveling.
They lost no time in stuffing the Scarecrow anew, and he was greatlydelighted at being able to walk around again and to assume theleadership of the little party.
"Really," said Trot, "I think you're better than you were before, foryou are fresh and sweet all through and rustle beautifully when youmove."
"Thank you, my dear," he replied gratefully. "I always feel like a newman when I'm freshly stuffed. No one likes to get musty, you know, andeven good straw may be spoiled by age."
"It was water that spoiled you, the last time," remarked Button-Bright,"which proves that too much bathing is as bad as too little. But, afterall, Scarecrow, water is not as dangerous for you as fire."
"All things are good in moderation," declared the Scarecrow. "But now,let us hurry on, or we shall not reach Glinda's palace by nightfall."
The Royal Reception
At about four o'clock of that same day the Red Wagon drew up at theentrance to Glinda's palace and Dorothy and Betsy jumped out. Ozma'sRed Wagon was almost a chariot, being inlaid with rubies and pearls,and it was drawn by Ozma's favorite steed, the wooden Sawhorse.
"Shall I unharness you," asked Dorothy, "so you can come in and visit?"
"No," replied the Sawhorse. "I'll just stand here and think. Take yourtime. Thinking doesn't seem to bore me at all."
"What will you think of?" inquired Betsy.
"Of the acorn that grew the tree from which I was made."
So they left the wooden animal and went in to see Glinda, who welcomedthe little girls in her most cordial manner.
"I knew you were on your way," said the good Sorceress when they wereseated in her library, "for I learned from my Record Book that youintended to meet Trot and Button-Bright on their arrival here."
"Is the strange little girl named Trot?" asked Dorothy.
"Yes; and her companion, the old sailor, is named Cap'n Bill. I thinkwe shall like them very much, for they are just the kind of people toenjoy and appreciate our fairyland and I do not see any way, atpresent, for them to return again to the outside world."
"Well, there's room enough here for them, I'm sure," said Dorothy."Betsy and I are already eager to welcome Trot. It will keep us busyfor a year, at least, showing her all the wonderful things in Oz."
"I have lived here many years," said she, "and I have not seen all thewonders of Oz yet."
Meantime the travelers were drawing near to the palace, and when theyfirst caught sight of its towers Trot realized that it was far moregrand and imposing than was the King's castle in Jinxland. The nearerthey came, the more beautiful the palace appeared, and when finally theScarecrow led them up the great marble steps, even Button-Bright wasfilled with awe.
"I don't see any soldiers to guard the place," said the little girl.
"There is no need to guard Glinda's palace," replied the Scarecrow. "Wehave no wicked people in Oz, that we know of, and even if there wereany, Glinda's magic would be powerful enough to protect her."
Button-Bright was now standing on the top steps of the entrance, and hesuddenly exclaimed:
"Why, there's the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon! Hip, hooray!" and nextmoment he was rushing down to throw his arms around the neck of thewooden horse, which good-naturedly permitted this familiarity when itrecognized in the boy an old friend.
Button-Bright's shout had been heard inside the palace, so now Dorothyand Betsy came running out to embrace their beloved friend, theScarecrow, and to welcome Trot and Cap'n Bill to the Land of Oz.
"We've been watching you for a long time, in Ozma's Magic Picture,"said Dorothy, "and Ozma has sent us to invite you to her own palace inthe Em'rald City. I don't know if you realize how lucky you are to getthat invitation, but you'll understand it better after you've seen theroyal palace and the Em'rald City."
Glinda now appeared in person to lead all the party into her AzureReception Room. Trot was a little afraid of the stately Sorceress, butgained courage by holding fast to the hands of Betsy and Dorothy. Cap'nBill had no one to help him feel at ease, so the old sailor sat stifflyon the edge of his chair and said:
"Yes, ma'am," or "No, ma'am," when he was spoken to, and was greatlyembarrassed by so much splendor.
The Scarecrow had lived so much in palaces that he felt quite at home,and he chatted to Glinda and the Oz girls in a merry, light-heartedway. He told all about his adventures in Jinxland, and at the GreatWaterfall, and on the journey hither--most of which his hearers knewalready--and then he asked Dorothy and Betsy what had happened in theEmerald City since he had left there.
They all passed the evening and the night at Glinda's palace, and theSorceress was so gracious to Cap'n Bill that the old man by degreesregained his self-possession and began to enjoy himself. Trot hadalready come to the conclusion that in Dorothy and Betsy she had foundtwo delightful comrades, and Button-Bright was just as much at homehere as he had been in the fields of Jinxland or when he was buried inthe popcorn snow of the Land of Mo.
The next morning they arose bright and early and after breakfast badegood-bye to the kind Sorceress, whom Trot and Cap'n Bill thankedearnestly for sending the Scarecrow to Jinxland to rescue them. Thenthey all climbed into the Red Wagon.
There was room for all on the broad seats, and when all had taken theirplaces--Dorothy, Trot and Betsy on the rear seat and Cap'n Bill,Button-Bright and the Scarecrow in front--they called "Gid-dap!" to theSawhorse and the wooden steed moved briskly away, pulling the Red Wagonwith ease.
It was now that the strangers began to perceive the real beauties ofthe Land of Oz, for they were passing through a more thickly settledpart of the country and the population grew more dense as they drewnearer to the Emerald City. Everyone they met had a cheery word or asmile for the Scarecrow, Dorothy and Betsy Bobbin, and some of themremembered Button-Bright and welcomed him back to their country.
It was a happy party, indeed, that journeyed in the Red Wagon to theEmerald City, and Trot already began to hope that Ozma would permit herand Cap'n Bill to live always in the Land of Oz.
When they reached the great city they were more amazed than ever, bothby the concourse of people in their quaint and picturesque costumes,and by the splendor of the city itself. But the magnificence of theRoyal Palace quite took their breath away, until Ozma received them inher own pretty apartment and by her charming manners and assuringsmiles made them feel they were no longer strangers.
Trot was given a lovely little room next to that of Dorothy, whileCap'n Bill had the cosiest sort of a room next to Trot's andoverlooking the gardens. And that evening Ozma gave a grand banquet andreception in honor of the new arrivals. While Trot had read of many ofthe people she then met, Cap'n Bill was less familiar with them andmany of the unusual characters introduced to him that evening causedthe old sailor to open his eyes wide in astonishment.
He had thought the live Scarecrow about as curious as anyone could be,but now he met the Tin Woodman, who was all made of tin, even to hisheart, and carried a gleaming axe over his shoulder wherever he went.Then there was Jack Pumpkinhead, whose head was a real pumpkin with theface carved upon it; and Professor Wogglebug, who had the shape of anenormous bug but was dressed in neat fitting garments. The Professorwas an interesting talker and had very polite manners, but his face wasso comical that it made Cap'n Bill smile to look at it. A great friendof Dorothy and Ozma seemed to be a machine man called Tik-Tok, who randown several times during the evening and had to be wound up again bysomeone before he could move or speak.
At the reception appeared the Shaggy Man and his brother, both verypopular in Oz, as well as Dorothy's Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, two happyold people who lived in a pretty cottage near the palace.
But what perhaps seemed most surprising to both Trot and Cap'n Bill wasthe number of peculiar animals admitted into Ozma's parlors, where theynot only conducted themselves quite properly but were able to talk aswell as anyone.
There was the Cowardly Lion, an immense beast with a beautiful mane;and the Hungry Tiger, who smiled continually; and Eureka the PinkKitten, who lay curled upon a cushion and had rather superciliousmanners; and the wooden Sawhorse; and nine tiny piglets that belongedto the Wizard; and a mule named Hank, who belonged to Betsy Bobbin. Afuzzy little terrier dog, named Toto, lay at Dorothy's feet but seldomtook part in the conversation, although he listened to every word thatwas said. But the most wonderful of all to Trot was a square beast witha winning smile, that squatted in a corner of the room and wagged hissquare head at everyone in quite a jolly way. Betsy told Trot that thisunique beast was called the Woozy, and there was no other like him inall the world.
Cap'n Bill and Trot had both looked around expectantly for the Wizardof Oz, but the evening was far advanced before the famous little manentered the room. But he went up to the strangers at once and said:
"I know you, but you don't know me; so let's get acquainted."
And they did get acquainted, in a very short time, and before theevening was over Trot felt that she knew every person and animalpresent at the reception, and that they were all her good friends.
Suddenly they looked around for Button-Bright, but he was nowhere to befound.
"Dear me!" cried Trot. "He's lost again."
"Never mind, my dear," said Ozma, with her charming smile, "no one cango far astray in the Land of Oz, and if Button-Bright isn't lostoccasionally, he isn't happy."