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Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum

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Several squeals and grunts were instantly heard at his feet, but the
Wizard could not discover a single piglet.

"Where are you?" he asked.

"Why, right beside you," spoke a tiny voice. "Can't you see us?"

"No," answered the little man, in a puzzled tone.

"We can see you," said another of the piglets.

The Wizard stooped down and put out his hand, and at once felt the
small fat body of one of his pets. He picked it up, but could not see
what he held.

"It is very strange," said he, soberly. "The piglets have become
invisible, in some curious way."

"I'll bet it's because they ate that peach!" cried the kitten.

"It wasn't a peach, Eureka," said Dorothy. "I only hope it wasn't poison."

"It was fine, Dorothy," called one of the piglets.

"We'll eat all we can find of them," said another.

"But WE mus'n't eat them," the Wizard warned the children, "or we too
may become invisible, and lose each other. If we come across another
of the strange fruit we must avoid it."

Calling the piglets to him he picked them all up, one by one, and put
them away in his pocket; for although he could not see them he could
feel them, and when he had buttoned his coat he knew they were safe
for the present.

The travellers now resumed their walk toward the cottage, which they
presently reached. It was a pretty place, with vines growing thickly
over the broad front porch. The door stood open and a table was set
in the front room, with four chairs drawn up to it. On the table
were plates, knives and forks, and dishes of bread, meat and fruits.
The meat was smoking hot and the knives and forks were performing
strange antics and jumping here and there in quite a puzzling way.
But not a single person appeared to be in the room.

"How funny!" exclaimed Dorothy, who with Zeb and the Wizard now stood
in the doorway.

A peal of merry laughter answered her, and the knives and forks fell
to the plates with a clatter. One of the chairs pushed back from the
table, and this was so astonishing and mysterious that Dorothy was
almost tempted to run away in fright.

"Here are strangers, mama!" cried the shrill and childish voice of
some unseen person.

"So I see, my dear," answered another voice, soft and womanly.

"What do you want?" demanded a third voice, in a stern, gruff accent.

"Well, well!" said the Wizard; "are there really people in this room?"

"Of course," replied the man's voice.

"And--pardon me for the foolish question--but, are you all invisible?"

"Surely," the woman answered, repeating her low, rippling laughter.
"Are you surprised that you are unable to see the people of Voe?"

"Why, yes," stammered the Wizard. "All the people I have ever met
before were very plain to see."

"Where do you come from, then?" asked the woman, in a curious tone.

"We belong upon the face of the earth," explained the Wizard, "but
recently, during an earthquake, we fell down a crack and landed in the
Country of the Mangaboos."

"Dreadful creatures!" exclaimed the woman's voice. "I've heard of them."

"They walled us up in a mountain," continued the Wizard; "but we found
there was a tunnel through to this side, so we came here. It is a
beautiful place. What do you call it?"

"It is the Valley of Voe."

"Thank you. We have seen no people since we arrived, so we came to
this house to enquire our way."

"Are you hungry?" asked the woman's voice.

"I could eat something," said Dorothy.

"So could I," added Zeb.

"But we do not wish to intrude, I assure you," the Wizard hastened to say.

"That's all right," returned the man's voice, more pleasantly than
before. "You are welcome to what we have."

As he spoke the voice came so near to Zeb that he jumped back in
alarm. Two childish voices laughed merrily at this action, and
Dorothy was sure they were in no danger among such light-hearted
folks, even if those folks couldn't be seen.

"What curious animal is that which is eating the grass on my lawn?"
enquired the man's voice.

"That's Jim," said the girl. "He's a horse."

"What is he good for?" was the next question.

"He draws the buggy you see fastened to him, and we ride in the buggy
instead of walking," she explained.

"Can he fight?" asked the man's voice.

"No! he can kick pretty hard with his heels, and bite a little; but
Jim can't 'zactly fight," she replied.

"Then the bears will get him," said one of the children's voices.

"Bears!" exclaimed Dorothy. "Are these bears here?"

"That is the one evil of our country," answered the invisible man.
"Many large and fierce bears roam in the Valley of Voe, and when they
can catch any of us they eat us up; but as they cannot see us, we
seldom get caught."

"Are the bears invis'ble, too?" asked the girl.

"Yes; for they eat of the dama-fruit, as we all do, and that keeps
them from being seen by any eye, whether human or animal."

"Does the dama-fruit grow on a low bush, and look something like a
peach?" asked the Wizard.

"Yes," was the reply.

"If it makes you invis'ble, why do you eat it?" Dorothy enquired.

"For two reasons, my dear," the woman's voice answered. "The
dama-fruit is the most delicious thing that grows, and when it makes
us invisible the bears cannot find us to eat us up. But now, good
wanderers, your luncheon is on the table, so please sit down and eat
as much as you like."

9. They Fight the Invisible Bears

The strangers took their seats at the table willingly enough, for they
were all hungry and the platters were now heaped with good things to
eat. In front of each place was a plate bearing one of the delicious
dama-fruit, and the perfume that rose from these was so enticing and
sweet that they were sorely tempted to eat of them and become invisible.

But Dorothy satisfied her hunger with other things, and her companions
did likewise, resisting the temptation.

"Why do you not eat the damas?" asked the woman's voice.

"We don't want to get invis'ble," answered the girl.

"But if you remain visible the bears will see you and devour you,"
said a girlish young voice, that belonged to one of the children. "We
who live here much prefer to be invisible; for we can still hug and
kiss one another, and are quite safe from the bears."

"And we do not have to be so particular about our dress,"
remarked the man.

"And mama can't tell whether my face is dirty or not!" added the other
childish voice, gleefully.

"But I make you wash it, every time I think of it," said the mother;
"for it stands to reason your face is dirty, Ianu, whether I can see
it or not."

Dorothy laughed and stretched out her hands.

"Come here, please--Ianu and your sister--and let me feel of you,"
she requested.

They came to her willingly, and Dorothy passed her hands over their
faces and forms and decided one was a girl of about her own age and
the other a boy somewhat smaller. The girl's hair was soft and fluffy
and her skin as smooth as satin. When Dorothy gently touched her nose
and ears and lips they seemed to be well and delicately formed.

"If I could see you I am sure you would be beautiful," she declared.

The girl laughed, and her mother said:

"We are not vain in the Valley of Voe, because we can not display our
beauty, and good actions and pleasant ways are what make us lovely to
our companions. Yet we can see and appreciate the beauties of nature,
the dainty flowers and trees, the green fields and the clear blue of
the sky."

"How about the birds and beasts and fishes?" asked Zeb.

"The birds we cannot see, because they love to eat of the damas as
much as we do; yet we hear their sweet songs and enjoy them. Neither
can we see the cruel bears, for they also eat the fruit. But the fishes
that swim in our brooks we can see, and often we catch them to eat."

"It occurs to me you have a great deal to make you happy, even while
invisible," remarked the Wizard. "Nevertheless, we prefer to remain
visible while we are in your valley."

Just then Eureka came in, for she had been until now wandering outside
with Jim; and when the kitten saw the table set with food she cried out:

"Now you must feed me, Dorothy, for I'm half starved."

The children were inclined to be frightened by the sight of the small
animal, which reminded them of the bears; but Dorothy reassured them
by explaining that Eureka was a pet and could do no harm even if she
wished to. Then, as the others had by this time moved away from the
table, the kitten sprang upon the chair and put her paws upon the
cloth to see what there was to eat. To her surprise an unseen hand
clutched her and held her suspended in the air. Eureka was frantic
with terror, and tried to scratch and bite, so the next moment she was
dropped to the floor,

"Did you see that, Dorothy?" she gasped.

"Yes, dear," her mistress replied; "there are people living in this
house, although we cannot see them. And you must have better manners,
Eureka, or something worse will happen to you."

She placed a plate of food upon the floor and the kitten ate greedily.

"Give me that nice-smelling fruit I saw on the table," she begged,
when she had cleaned the plate.

"Those are damas," said Dorothy, "and you must never even taste them,
Eureka, or you'll get invis'ble, and then we can't see you at all."

The kitten gazed wistfully at the forbidden fruit.

"Does it hurt to be invis'ble?" she asked.

"I don't know," Dorothy answered; "but it would hurt me dre'fully to
lose you."

"Very well, I won't touch it," decided the kitten; "but you must keep
it away from me, for the smell is very tempting."

"Can you tell us, sir or ma'am," said the Wizard, addressing the air
because he did not quite know where the unseen people stood, "if there
is any way we can get out of your beautiful Valley, and on top of the
Earth again."

"Oh, one can leave the Valley easily enough," answered the man's
voice; "but to do so you must enter a far less pleasant country. As
for reaching the top of the earth, I have never heard that it is
possible to do that, and if you succeeded in getting there you would
probably fall off."

"Oh, no," said Dorothy, "we've been there, and we know."

"The Valley of Voe is certainly a charming place," resumed the Wizard;
"but we cannot be contented in any other land than our own, for long.
Even if we should come to unpleasant places on our way it is
necessary, in order to reach the earth's surface, to keep moving on
toward it."

"In that case," said the man, "it will be best for you to cross our
Valley and mount the spiral staircase inside the Pyramid Mountain.
The top of that mountain is lost in the clouds, and when you reach it
you will be in the awful Land of Naught, where the Gargoyles live."

"What are Gargoyles?" asked Zeb.

"I do not know, young sir. Our greatest Champion, Overman-Anu, once
climbed the spiral stairway and fought nine days with the Gargoyles
before he could escape them and come back; but he could never be
induced to describe the dreadful creatures, and soon afterward a bear
caught him and ate him up."

The wanders were rather discouraged by this gloomy report, but Dorothy
said with a sigh:

"If the only way to get home is to meet the Gurgles, then we've got to
meet 'em. They can't be worse than the Wicked Witch or the Nome King."

"But you must remember you had the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman to
help you conquer those enemies," suggested the Wizard. "Just now, my
dear, there is not a single warrior in your company."

"Oh, I guess Zeb could fight if he had to. Couldn't you, Zeb?" asked
the little girl.

"Perhaps; if I had to," answered Zeb, doubtfully.

"And you have the jointed sword that you chopped the veg'table
Sorcerer in two with," the girl said to the little man.

"True," he replied; "and in my satchel are other useful things to
fight with."

"What the Gargoyles most dread is a noise," said the man's voice.
"Our Champion told me that when he shouted his battle-cry the creatures
shuddered and drew back, hesitating to continue the combat. But they
were in great numbers, and the Champion could not shout much because
he had to save his breath for fighting."

"Very good," said the Wizard; "we can all yell better than we can
fight, so we ought to defeat the Gargoyles."

"But tell me," said Dorothy, "how did such a brave Champion happen to
let the bears eat him? And if he was invis'ble, and the bears
invis'ble, who knows that they really ate him up?"

"The Champion had killed eleven bears in his time," returned the
unseen man; "and we know this is true because when any creature is
dead the invisible charm of the dama-fruit ceases to be active, and
the slain one can be plainly seen by all eyes. When the Champion
killed a bear everyone could see it; and when the bears killed the
Champion we all saw several pieces of him scattered about, which of
course disappeared again when the bears devoured them."

They now bade farewell to the kind but unseen people of the cottage,
and after the man had called their attention to a high, pyramid-shaped
mountain on the opposite side of the Valley, and told them how to
travel in order to reach it, they again started upon their journey.

They followed the course of a broad stream and passed several more
pretty cottages; but of course they saw no one, nor did any one speak
to them. Fruits and flowers grew plentifully all about, and there
were many of the delicious damas that the people of Voe were so fond of.

About noon they stopped to allow Jim to rest in the shade of a pretty
orchard, and while they plucked and ate some of the cherries and plums
that grew there a soft voice suddenly said to them:

"There are bears near by. Be careful."

The Wizard got out his sword at once, and Zeb grabbed the horse-whip.
Dorothy climbed into the buggy, although Jim had been unharnessed
from it and was grazing some distance away.

The owner of the unseen voice laughed lightly and said:

"You cannot escape the bears that way."

"How CAN we 'scape?" asked Dorothy, nervously, for an unseen danger is
always the hardest to face.

"You must take to the river," was the reply. "The bears will not
venture upon the water."

"But we would be drowned!" exclaimed the girl.

"Oh, there is no need of that," said the voice, which from its gentle tones
seemed to belong to a young girl. "You are strangers in the Valley of Voe,
and do not seem to know our ways; so I will try to save you."

The next moment a broad-leaved plant was jerked from the ground where
it grew and held suspended in the air before the Wizard.

"Sir," said the voice, "you must rub these leaves upon the soles of
all your feet, and then you will be able to walk upon the water
without sinking below the surface. It is a secret the bears do not
know, and we people of Voe usually walk upon the water when we travel,
and so escape our enemies."

"Thank you!" cried the Wizard, joyfully, and at once rubbed a leaf
upon the soles of Dorothy's shoes and then upon his own. The girl
took a leaf and rubbed it upon the kitten's paws, and the rest of the
plant was handed to Zeb, who, after applying it to his own feet,
carefully rubbed it upon all four of Jim's hoofs and then upon the
tires of the buggy-wheels. He had nearly finished this last task when
a low growling was suddenly heard and the horse began to jump around
and kick viciously with his heels.

"Quick! To the water or you are lost!" cried their unseen friend, and
without hesitation the Wizard drew the buggy down the bank and out
upon the broad river, for Dorothy was still seated in it with Eureka
in her arms. They did not sink at all, owing to the virtues of the
strange plant they had used, and when the buggy was in the middle of
the stream the Wizard returned to the bank to assist Zeb and Jim.

The horse was plunging madly about, and two or three deep gashes
appeared upon its flanks, from which the blood flowed freely.

"Run for the river!" shouted the Wizard, and Jim quickly freed himself
from his unseen tormenters by a few vicious kicks and then obeyed.
As soon as he trotted out upon the surface of the river he found
himself safe from pursuit, and Zeb was already running across the water
toward Dorothy.

As the little Wizard turned to follow them he felt a hot breath
against his cheek and heard a low, fierce growl. At once he began
stabbing at the air with his sword, and he knew that he had struck
some substance because when he drew back the blade it was dripping
with blood. The third time that he thrust out the weapon there was a
loud roar and a fall, and suddenly at his feet appeared the form of a
great red bear, which was nearly as big as the horse and much stronger
and fiercer. The beast was quite dead from the sword thrusts, and
after a glance at its terrible claws and sharp teeth the little man
turned in a panic and rushed out upon the water, for other menacing
growls told him more bears were near.

On the river, however, the adventurers seemed to be perfectly safe.
Dorothy and the buggy had floated slowly down stream with the current
of the water, and the others made haste to join her. The Wizard
opened his satchel and got out some sticking-plaster with which he
mended the cuts Jim had received from the claws of the bears.

"I think we'd better stick to the river, after this," said Dorothy.
"If our unknown friend hadn't warned us, and told us what to do, we
would all be dead by this time."

"That is true," agreed the Wizard, "and as the river seems to be
flowing in the direction of the Pyramid Mountain it will be the
easiest way for us to travel."

Zeb hitched Jim to the buggy again, and the horse trotted along and
drew them rapidly over the smooth water. The kitten was at first
dreadfully afraid of getting wet, but Dorothy let her down and soon
Eureka was frisking along beside the buggy without being scared a bit.
Once a little fish swam too near the surface, and the kitten grabbed
it in her mouth and ate it up as quick as a wink; but Dorothy
cautioned her to be careful what she ate in this valley of enchantments,
and no more fishes were careless enough to swim within reach.

After a journey of several hours they came to a point where the river
curved, and they found they must cross a mile or so of the Valley
before they came to the Pyramid Mountain. There were few houses in
this part, and few orchards or flowers; so our friends feared they
might encounter more of the savage bears, which they had learned to
dread with all their hearts.

"You'll have to make a dash, Jim," said the Wizard, "and run as fast
as you can go."

"All right," answered the horse; "I'll do my best. But you must
remember I'm old, and my dashing days are past and gone."

All three got into the buggy and Zeb picked up the reins, though Jim
needed no guidance of any sort. The horse was still smarting from the
sharp claws of the invisible bears, and as soon as he was on land and
headed toward the mountain the thought that more of those fearsome
creatures might be near acted as a spur and sent him galloping along
in a way that made Dorothy catch her breath.

Then Zeb, in a spirit of mischief, uttered a growl like that of the
bears, and Jim pricked up his ears and fairly flew. His boney legs
moved so fast they could scarcely be seen, and the Wizard clung fast
to the seat and yelled "Whoa!" at the top of his voice.

"I--I'm 'fraid he's--he's running away!" gasped Dorothy.

"I KNOW he is," said Zeb; "but no bear can catch him if he keeps up
that gait--and the harness or the buggy don't break."

Jim did not make a mile a minute; but almost before they were aware of
it he drew up at the foot of the mountain, so suddenly that the Wizard
and Zeb both sailed over the dashboard and landed in the soft
grass--where they rolled over several times before they stopped.
Dorothy nearly went with them, but she was holding fast to the iron
rail of the seat, and that saved her. She squeezed the kitten,
though, until it screeched; and then the old cab-horse made several
curious sounds that led the little girl to suspect he was laughing at
them all.

10. The Braided Man of Pyramid Mountain

The mountain before them was shaped like a cone and was so tall that
its point was lost in the clouds. Directly facing the place where Jim
had stopped was an arched opening leading to a broad stairway. The
stairs were cut in the rock inside the mountain, and they were broad
and not very steep, because they circled around like a cork-screw, and
at the arched opening where the flight began the circle was quite big.
At the foot of the stairs was a sign reading:

These steps lead to the
Land of the Gargoyles.

"I wonder how Jim is ever going to draw the buggy up so many stairs,"
said Dorothy, gravely.

"No trouble at all," declared the horse, with a contemptuous neigh.
"Still, I don't care to drag any passengers. You'll all have to walk."

"Suppose the stairs get steeper?" suggested Zeb, doubtfully.

"Then you'll have to boost the buggy-wheels, that's all," answered Jim.

"We'll try it, anyway," said the Wizard. "It's the only way to get
out of the Valley of Voe."

So they began to ascend the stairs, Dorothy and the Wizard first, Jim
next, drawing the buggy, and then Zeb to watch that nothing happened
to the harness.

The light was dim, and soon they mounted into total darkness, so that
the Wizard was obliged to get out his lanterns to light the way. But
this enabled them to proceed steadily until they came to a landing
where there was a rift in the side of the mountain that let in both
light and air. Looking through this opening they could see the Valley
of Voe lying far below them, the cottages seeming like toy houses from
that distance.

After resting a few moments they resumed their climb, and still the
stairs were broad and low enough for Jim to draw the buggy easily
after him. The old horse panted a little, and had to stop often to
get his breath. At such times they were all glad to wait for him, for
continually climbing up stairs is sure to make one's legs ache.

They wound about, always going upward, for some time. The lights from
the lanterns dimly showed the way, but it was a gloomy journey, and
they were pleased when a broad streak of light ahead assured them they
were coming to a second landing.

Here one side of the mountain had a great hole in it, like the mouth
of a cavern, and the stairs stopped at the near edge of the floor and
commenced ascending again at the opposite edge.

The opening in the mountain was on the side opposite to the Valley of
Voe, and our travellers looked out upon a strange scene. Below them
was a vast space, at the bottom of which was a black sea with rolling
billows, through which little tongues of flame constantly shot up.
Just above them, and almost on a level with their platform, were banks
of rolling clouds which constantly shifted position and changed color.
The blues and greys were very beautiful, and Dorothy noticed that on
the cloud banks sat or reclined fleecy, shadowy forms of beautiful
beings who must have been the Cloud Fairies. Mortals who stand upon
the earth and look up at the sky cannot often distinguish these forms,
but our friends were now so near to the clouds that they observed the
dainty fairies very clearly.

"Are they real?" asked Zeb, in an awed voice.

"Of course," replied Dorothy, softly. "They are the Cloud Fairies."

"They seem like open-work," remarked the boy, gazing intently. "If I
should squeeze one, there wouldn't be anything left of it."

In the open space between the clouds and the black, bubbling sea far
beneath, could be seen an occasional strange bird winging its way
swiftly through the air. These birds were of enormous size, and
reminded Zeb of the rocs he had read about in the Arabian Nights. They
had fierce eyes and sharp talons and beaks, and the children hoped
none of them would venture into the cavern.

"Well, I declare!" suddenly exclaimed the little Wizard. "What in the
world is this?"

They turned around and found a man standing on the floor in the center
of the cave, who bowed very politely when he saw he had attracted
their attention. He was a very old man, bent nearly double; but the
queerest thing about him was his white hair and beard. These were so
long that they reached to his feet, and both the hair and the beard
were carefully plaited into many braids, and the end of each braid
fastened with a bow of colored ribbon.

"Where did you come from?" asked Dorothy, wonderingly.

"No place at all," answered the man with the braids; "that is, not
recently. Once I lived on top the earth, but for many years I have
had my factory in this spot--half way up Pyramid Mountain."

"Are we only half way up?" enquired the boy, in a discouraged tone.

"I believe so, my lad," replied the braided man. "But as I have never
been in either direction, down or up, since I arrived, I cannot be
positive whether it is exactly half way or not."

"Have you a factory in this place?" asked the Wizard, who had been
examining the strange personage carefully.

"To be sure," said the other. "I am a great inventor, you must know,
and I manufacture my products in this lonely spot."

"What are your products?" enquired the Wizard.

"Well, I make Assorted Flutters for flags and bunting, and a superior
grade of Rustles for ladies' silk gowns."

"I thought so," said the Wizard, with a sigh. "May we examine some of
these articles?"

"Yes, indeed; come into my shop, please," and the braided man turned
and led the way into a smaller cave, where he evidently lived. Here,
on a broad shelf, were several card-board boxes of various sizes,
each tied with cotton cord.

"This," said the man, taking up a box and handling it gently,
"contains twelve dozen rustles--enough to last any lady a year. Will
you buy it, my dear?" he asked, addressing Dorothy.

"My gown isn't silk," she said, smiling.

"Never mind. When you open the box the rustles will escape, whether
you are wearing a silk dress or not," said the man, seriously. Then
he picked up another box. "In this," he continued, "are many
assorted flutters. They are invaluable to make flags flutter on a
still day, when there is no wind. You, sir," turning to the Wizard,
"ought to have this assortment. Once you have tried my goods I am
sure you will never be without them."

"I have no money with me," said the Wizard, evasively.

"I do not want money," returned the braided man, "for I could not
spend it in this deserted place if I had it. But I would like very
much a blue hair-ribbon. You will notice my braids are tied with yellow,
pink, brown, red, green, white and black; but I have no blue ribbons."

"I'll get you one!" cried Dorothy, who was sorry for the poor man; so
she ran back to the buggy and took from her suit-case a pretty blue
ribbon. It did her good to see how the braided man's eyes sparkled
when he received this treasure.

"You have made me very, very happy, my dear!" he exclaimed; and then
he insisted on the Wizard taking the box of flutters and the little
girl accepting the box of rustles.

"You may need them, some time," he said, "and there is really no use
in my manufacturing these things unless somebody uses them."

"Why did you leave the surface of the earth?" enquired the Wizard.

"I could not help it. It is a sad story, but if you will try to
restrain your tears I will tell you about it. On earth I was a
manufacturer of Imported Holes for American Swiss Cheese, and I will
acknowledge that I supplied a superior article, which was in great
demand. Also I made pores for porous plasters and high-grade holes
for doughnuts and buttons. Finally I invented a new Adjustable
Post-hole, which I thought would make my fortune. I manufactured a
large quantity of these post-holes, and having no room in which to
store them I set them all end to end and put the top one in the
ground. That made an extraordinary long hole, as you may imagine, and
reached far down into the earth; and, as I leaned over it to try to see
to the bottom, I lost my balance and tumbled in. Unfortunately, the
hole led directly into the vast space you see outside this mountain;
but I managed to catch a point of rock that projected from this
cavern, and so saved myself from tumbling headlong into the black
waves beneath, where the tongues of flame that dart out would
certainly have consumed me. Here, then, I made my home; and although
it is a lonely place I amuse myself making rustles and flutters, and
so get along very nicely."

When the braided man had completed this strange tale Dorothy nearly
laughed, because it was all so absurd; but the Wizard tapped his
forehead significantly, to indicate that he thought the poor man was
crazy. So they politely bade him good day, and went back to the outer
cavern to resume their journey.

11. They Meet the Wooden Gargoyles

Another breathless climb brought our adventurers to a third landing
where there was a rift in the mountain. On peering out all they could
see was rolling banks of clouds, so thick that they obscured all else.

But the travellers were obliged to rest, and while they were sitting
on the rocky floor the Wizard felt in his pocket and brought out the
nine tiny piglets. To his delight they were now plainly visible,
which proved that they had passed beyond the influence of the magical
Valley of Voe.

"Why, we can see each other again!" cried one, joyfully.

"Yes," sighed Eureka; "and I also can see you again, and the sight
makes me dreadfully hungry. Please, Mr. Wizard, may I eat just one of
the fat little piglets? You'd never miss ONE of them, I'm sure!"

"What a horrid, savage beast!" exclaimed a piglet; "and after we've
been such good friends, too, and played with one another!"

"When I'm not hungry, I love to play with you all," said the kitten,
demurely; "but when my stomach is empty it seems that nothing would
fill it so nicely as a fat piglet."

"And we trusted you so!" said another of the nine, reproachfully.

"And thought you were respectable!" said another.

"It seems we were mistaken," declared a third, looking at the kitten
timorously, "no one with such murderous desires should belong to our
party, I'm sure."

"You see, Eureka," remarked Dorothy, reprovingly, "you are making
yourself disliked. There are certain things proper for a kitten to
eat; but I never heard of a kitten eating a pig, under ANY cir'stances."

"Did you ever see such little pigs before?" asked the kitten. "They
are no bigger than mice, and I'm sure mice are proper for me to eat."

"It isn't the bigness, dear; its the variety," replied the girl.
"These are Mr. Wizard's pets, just as you are my pet, and it wouldn't be
any more proper for you to eat them than it would be for Jim to eat you."

"And that's just what I shall do if you don't let those little balls
of pork alone," said Jim, glaring at the kitten with his round, big
eyes. "If you injure any one of them I'll chew you up instantly."

The kitten looked at the horse thoughtfully, as if trying to decide
whether he meant it or not.

"In that case," she said, "I'll leave them alone. You haven't many
teeth left, Jim, but the few you have are sharp enough to make me
shudder. So the piglets will be perfectly safe, hereafter, as far as
I am concerned."

"That is right, Eureka," remarked the Wizard, earnestly. "Let us all
be a happy family and love one another."

Eureka yawned and stretched herself.

"I've always loved the piglets," she said; "but they don't love me."

"No one can love a person he's afraid of," asserted Dorothy. "If you
behave, and don't scare the little pigs, I'm sure they'll grow very
fond of you."

The Wizard now put the nine tiny ones back into his pocket and the
journey was resumed.

"We must be pretty near the top, now," said the boy, as they climbed
wearily up the dark, winding stairway.

"The Country of the Gurgles can't be far from the top of the earth,"
remarked Dorothy. "It isn't very nice down here. I'd like to get
home again, I'm sure."

No one replied to this, because they found they needed all their
breath for the climb. The stairs had become narrower and Zeb and the
Wizard often had to help Jim pull the buggy from one step to another,
or keep it from jamming against the rocky walls.

At last, however, a dim light appeared ahead of them, which grew
clearer and stronger as they advanced.

"Thank goodness we're nearly there!" panted the little Wizard.

Jim, who was in advance, saw the last stair before him and stuck his
head above the rocky sides of the stairway. Then he halted, ducked
down and began to back up, so that he nearly fell with the buggy onto
the others.

"Let's go down again!" he said, in his hoarse voice.

"Nonsense!" snapped the tired Wizard. "What's the matter with you,
old man?"

"Everything," grumbled the horse. "I've taken a look at this place,
and it's no fit country for real creatures to go to. Everything's
dead, up there--no flesh or blood or growing thing anywhere."

"Never mind;. we can't turn back," said Dorothy; "and we don't intend
to stay there, anyhow."

"It's dangerous," growled Jim, in a stubborn tone.

"See here, my good steed," broke in the Wizard, "little Dorothy and I
have been in many queer countries in our travels, and always escaped
without harm. We've even been to the marvelous Land of Oz--haven't
we, Dorothy?--so we don't much care what the Country of the Gargoyles
is like. Go ahead, Jim, and whatever happens we'll make the best of it."

"All right," answered the horse; "this is your excursion, and not
mine; so if you get into trouble don't blame me."

With this speech he bent forward and dragged the buggy up the
remaining steps. The others followed and soon they were all standing
upon a broad platform and gazing at the most curious and startling
sight their eyes had ever beheld.

"The Country of the Gargoyles is all wooden!" exclaimed Zeb; and so it
was. The ground was sawdust and the pebbles scattered around were
hard knots from trees, worn smooth in course of time. There were odd
wooden houses, with carved wooden flowers in the front yards. The
tree-trunks were of coarse wood, but the leaves of the trees were
shavings. The patches of grass were splinters of wood, and where
neither grass nor sawdust showed was a solid wooden flooring. Wooden
birds fluttered among the trees and wooden cows were browsing upon the
wooden grass; but the most amazing things of all were the wooden
people--the creatures known as Gargoyles.

These were very numerous, for the place was thickly inhabited, and a
large group of the queer people clustered near, gazing sharply upon
the strangers who had emerged from the long spiral stairway.

The Gargoyles were very small of stature, being less than three feet
in height. Their bodies were round, their legs short and thick and
their arms extraordinarily long and stout. Their heads were too big
for their bodies and their faces were decidedly ugly to look upon.
Some had long, curved noses and chins, small eyes and wide, grinning
mouths. Others had flat noses, protruding eyes, and ears that were
shaped like those of an elephant. There were many types, indeed,
scarcely two being alike; but all were equally disagreeable in
appearance. The tops of their heads had no hair, but were carved
into a variety of fantastic shapes, some having a row of points or
balls around the top, others designs resembling flowers or vegetables,
and still others having squares that looked like waffles cut
criss-cross on their heads. They all wore short wooden wings which
were fastened to their wooden bodies by means of wooden hinges with
wooden screws, and with these wings they flew swiftly and noiselessly
here and there, their legs being of little use to them.

This noiseless motion was one of the most peculiar things about the
Gargoyles. They made no sounds at all, either in flying or trying to
speak, and they conversed mainly by means of quick signals made with
their wooden fingers or lips. Neither was there any sound to be heard
anywhere throughout the wooden country. The birds did not sing, nor
did the cows moo; yet there was more than ordinary activity everywhere.

The group of these queer creatures which was discovered clustered
near the stairs at first remained staring and motionless, glaring with
evil eyes at the intruders who had so suddenly appeared in their land.
In turn the Wizard and the children, the horse and the kitten,
examined the Gargoyles with the same silent attention.

"There's going to be trouble, I'm sure," remarked the horse.
"Unhitch those tugs, Zeb, and set me free from the buggy,
so I can fight comfortably."

"Jim's right," sighed the Wizard. "There's going to be trouble, and
my sword isn't stout enough to cut up those wooden bodies--so I shall
have to get out my revolvers."

He got his satchel from the buggy and, opening it, took out two deadly
looking revolvers that made the children shrink back in alarm just to
look at.

"What harm can the Gurgles do?" asked Dorothy. "They have no weapons
to hurt us with."

"Each of their arms is a wooden club," answered the little man, "and
I'm sure the creatures mean mischief, by the looks of their eyes.
Even these revolvers can merely succeed in damaging a few of their
wooden bodies, and after that we will be at their mercy."

"But why fight at all, in that case?" asked the girl.

"So I may die with a clear conscience," returned the Wizard, gravely.
"It's every man's duty to do the best he knows how; and I'm going to
do it."

"Wish I had an axe," said Zeb, who by now had unhitched the horse.

"If we had known we were coming we might have brought along several
other useful things," responded the Wizard. "But we dropped into this
adventure rather unexpectedly."

The Gargoyles had backed away a distance when they heard the sound of
talking, for although our friends had spoken in low tones their words
seemed loud in the silence surrounding them. But as soon as the
conversation ceased, the grinning, ugly creatures arose in a flock and
flew swiftly toward the strangers, their long arms stretched out
before them like the bowsprits of a fleet of sail-boats. The horse
had especially attracted their notice, because it was the biggest and
strangest creature they had ever seen; so it became the center of
their first attack.

But Jim was ready for them, and when he saw them coming he turned his
heels toward them and began kicking out as hard as he could. Crack!
crash! bang! went his iron-shod hoofs against the wooden bodies of the
Gargoyles, and they were battered right and left with such force that
they scattered like straws in the wind. But the noise and clatter
seemed as dreadful to them as Jim's heels, for all who were able
swiftly turned and flew away to a great distance. The others picked
themselves up from the ground one by one and quickly rejoined their
fellows, so for a moment the horse thought he had won the fight with ease.

But the Wizard was not so confident.

"Those wooden things are impossible to hurt," he said, "and all the
damage Jim has done to them is to knock a few splinters from their
noses and ears. That cannot make them look any uglier, I'm sure, and
it is my opinion they will soon renew the attack."

"What made them fly away?" asked Dorothy.

"The noise, of course. Don't you remember how the Champion escaped
them by shouting his battle-cry?"

"Suppose we escape down the stairs, too," suggested the boy. "We have
time, just now, and I'd rather face the invis'ble bears than those
wooden imps."

"No," returned Dorothy, stoutly, "it won't do to go back, for then we
would never get home. Let's fight it out."

"That is what I advise," said the Wizard. "They haven't defeated us
yet, and Jim is worth a whole army."

But the Gargoyles were clever enough not to attack the horse the next
time. They advanced in a great swarm, having been joined by many more
of their kind, and they flew straight over Jim's head to where the
others were standing.

The Wizard raised one of his revolvers and fired into the throng of
his enemies, and the shot resounded like a clap of thunder in that
silent place.

Some of the wooden beings fell flat upon the ground, where they
quivered and trembled in every limb; but most of them managed to wheel
and escape again to a distance.

Zeb ran and picked up one of the Gargoyles that lay nearest to him.
The top of its head was carved into a crown and the Wizard's bullet
had struck it exactly in the left eye, which was a hard wooden knot.
Half of the bullet stuck in the wood and half stuck out, so it had
been the jar and the sudden noise that had knocked the creature down,
more than the fact that it was really hurt. Before this crowned
Gargoyle had recovered himself Zeb had wound a strap several times
around its body, confining its wings and arms so that it could not
move. Then, having tied the wooden creature securely, the boy buckled
the strap and tossed his prisoner into the buggy. By that time the
others had all retired.

12. A Wonderful Escape

For a while the enemy hesitated to renew the attack. Then a few of them
advanced until another shot from the Wizard's revolver made them retreat.

"That's fine," said Zeb. "We've got 'em on the run now, sure enough."

"But only for a time," replied the Wizard, shaking his head gloomily.
"These revolvers are good for six shots each, but when those are gone
we shall be helpless."

The Gargoyles seemed to realize this, for they sent a few of their
band time after time to attack the strangers and draw the fire from
the little man's revolvers. In this way none of them was shocked by
the dreadful report more than once, for the main band kept far away
and each time a new company was sent into the battle. When the Wizard
had fired all of his twelve bullets he had caused no damage to the
enemy except to stun a few by the noise, and so he as no nearer to
victory than in the beginning of the fray.

"What shall we do now?" asked Dorothy, anxiously.

"Let's yell--all together," said Zeb.

"And fight at the same time," added the Wizard. "We will get near
Jim, so that he can help us, and each one must take some weapon and do
the best he can. I'll use my sword, although it isn't much account in
this affair. Dorothy must take her parasol and open it suddenly when
the wooden folks attack her. I haven't anything for you, Zeb."

"I'll use the king," said the boy, and pulled his prisoner out of the
buggy. The bound Gargoyle's arms extended far out beyond its head,
so by grasping its wrists Zeb found the king made a very good club.
The boy was strong for one of his years, having always worked upon a farm;
so he was likely to prove more dangerous to the enemy than the Wizard.

When the next company of Gargoyles advanced, our adventurers began
yelling as if they had gone mad. Even the kitten gave a dreadfully
shrill scream and at the same time Jim the cab-horse neighed loudly.
This daunted the enemy for a time, but the defenders were soon out of
breath. Perceiving this, as well as the fact that there were no more
of the awful "bangs" to come from the revolvers, the Gargoyles advanced
in a swarm as thick as bees, so that the air was filled with them.

Dorothy squatted upon the ground and put up her parasol, which nearly
covered her and proved a great protection. The Wizard's sword-blade
snapped into a dozen pieces at the first blow he struck against the
wooden people. Zeb pounded away with the Gargoyle he was using as a
club until he had knocked down dozens of foes; but at the last they
clustered so thickly about him that he no longer had room in which to
swing his arms. The horse performed some wonderful kicking and even
Eureka assisted when she leaped bodily upon the Gargoyles and
scratched and bit at them like a wild-cat.

But all this bravery amounted to nothing at all. The wooden things
wound their long arms around Zeb and the Wizard and held them fast.
Dorothy was captured in the same way, and numbers of the Gargoyles
clung to Jim's legs, so weighting him down that the poor beast was
helpless. Eureka made a desperate dash to escape and scampered along
the ground like a streak; but a grinning Gargoyle flew after her and
grabbed her before she had gone very far.

All of them expected nothing less than instant death; but to their
surprise the wooden creatures flew into the air with them and bore
them far away, over miles and miles of wooden country, until they came
to a wooden city. The houses of this city had many corners, being
square and six-sided and eight-sided. They were tower-like in shape
and the best of them seemed old and weather-worn; yet all were strong
and substantial.

To one of these houses which had neither doors nor windows, but only
one broad opening far up underneath the roof, the prisoners were
brought by their captors. The Gargoyles roughly pushed them into the
opening, where there was a platform, and then flew away and left them.
As they had no wings the strangers could not fly away, and if they
jumped down from such a height they would surely be killed. The
creatures had sense enough to reason that way, and the only mistake
they made was in supposing the earth people were unable to overcome
such ordinary difficulties.

Jim was brought with the others, although it took a good many
Gargoyles to carry the big beast through the air and land him on the
high platform, and the buggy was thrust in after him because it
belonged to the party and the wooden folks had no idea what it was
used for or whether it was alive or not. When Eureka's captor had
thrown the kitten after the others the last Gargoyle silently
disappeared, leaving our friends to breathe freely once more.

"What an awful fight!" said Dorothy, catching her breath in little gasps.

"Oh, I don't know," purred Eureka, smoothing her ruffled fur with her
paw; "we didn't manage to hurt anybody, and nobody managed to hurt us."

"Thank goodness we are together again, even if we are prisoners,"
sighed the little girl.

"I wonder why they didn't kill us on the spot," remarked Zeb, who had
lost his king in the struggle.

"They are probably keeping us for some ceremony," the Wizard answered,
reflectively; "but there is no doubt they intend to kill us as dead as
possible in a short time."

"As dead as poss'ble would be pretty dead, wouldn't it?" asked Dorothy.

"Yes, my dear. But we have no need to worry about that just now. Let
us examine our prison and see what it is like."

The space underneath the roof, where they stood, permitted them to see
on all sides of the tall building, and they looked with much curiosity
at the city spread out beneath them. Everything visible was made of
wood, and the scene seemed stiff and extremely unnatural.

From their platform a stair descended into the house, and the children
and the Wizard explored it after lighting a lantern to show them the
way. Several stories of empty rooms rewarded their search, but
nothing more; so after a time they came back to the platform again.
Had there been any doors or windows in the lower rooms, or had not the
boards of the house been so thick and stout, escape could have been
easy; but to remain down below was like being in a cellar or the hold
of a ship, and they did not like the darkness or the damp smell.

In this country, as in all others they had visited underneath the
earth's surface, there was no night, a constant and strong light
coming from some unknown source. Looking out, they could see into
some of the houses near them, where there were open windows in
abundance, and were able to mark the forms of the wooden Gargoyles
moving about in their dwellings.

"This seems to be their time of rest," observed the Wizard.
"All people need rest, even if they are made of wood, and as
there is no night here they select a certain time of the day
in which to sleep or doze."

"I feel sleepy myself," remarked Zeb, yawning.

"Why, where's Eureka?" cried Dorothy, suddenly.

They all looked around, but the kitten was no place to be seen.

"She's gone out for a walk," said Jim, gruffly.

"Where? On the roof?" asked the girl.

"No; she just dug her claws into the wood and climbed down the sides
of this house to the ground."

"She couldn't climb DOWN, Jim," said Dorothy. "To climb means to go up."

"Who said so?" demanded the horse.

"My school-teacher said so; and she knows a lot, Jim."

"To 'climb down' is sometimes used as a figure of speech," remarked
the Wizard.

"Well, this was a figure of a cat," said Jim, "and she WENT down,
anyhow, whether she climbed or crept."

"Dear me! how careless Eureka is," exclaimed the girl, much
distressed. "The Gurgles will get her, sure!"

"Ha, ha!" chuckled the old cab-horse; "they're not 'Gurgles,' little
maid; they're Gargoyles."

"Never mind; they'll get Eureka, whatever they're called."

"No they won't," said the voice of the kitten, and Eureka herself crawled
over the edge of the platform and sat down quietly upon the floor.

"Wherever have you been, Eureka?" asked Dorothy, sternly.

"Watching the wooden folks. They're too funny for anything, Dorothy.
Just now they are all going to bed, and--what do you think?--they
unhook the hinges of their wings and put them in a corner until they
wake up again."

"What, the hinges?"

"No; the wings."

"That," said Zeb, "explains why this house is used by them for a
prison. If any of the Gargoyles act badly, and have to be put in
jail, they are brought here and their wings unhooked and taken away
from them until they promise to be good."

The Wizard had listened intently to what Eureka had said.

"I wish we had some of those loose wings," he said.

"Could we fly with them?" asked Dorothy.

"I think so. If the Gargoyles can unhook the wings then the power to
fly lies in the wings themselves, and not in the wooden bodies of the
people who wear them. So, if we had the wings, we could probably fly
as well as they do--as least while we are in their country and under
the spell of its magic."

"But how would it help us to be able to fly?" questioned the girl.

"Come here," said the little man, and took her to one of the corners
of the building. "Do you see that big rock standing on the hillside
yonder?" he continued, pointing with his finger.

"Yes; it's a good way off, but I can see it," she replied.

"Well, inside that rock, which reaches up into the clouds, is an
archway very much like the one we entered when we climbed the spiral
stairway from the Valley of Voe. I'll get my spy-glass, and then you
can see it more plainly."

He fetched a small but powerful telescope, which had been in his
satchel, and by its aid the little girl clearly saw the opening.

"Where does it lead to?" she asked.

"That I cannot tell," said the Wizard; "but we cannot now be far below
the earth's surface, and that entrance may lead to another stairway
that will bring us on top of our world again, where we belong. So, if
we had the wings, and could escape the Gargoyles, we might fly to that
rock and be saved."

"I'll get you the wings," said Zeb, who had thoughtfully listened to
all this. "That is, if the kitten will show me where they are."

"But how can you get down?" enquired the girl, wonderingly.

For answer Zeb began to unfasten Jim's harness, strap by strap, and to
buckle one piece to another until he had made a long leather strip
that would reach to the ground.

"I can climb down that, all right," he said.

"No you can't," remarked Jim, with a twinkle in his round eyes. "You
may GO down, but you can only CLIMB up."

"Well, I'll climb up when I get back, then," said the boy, with a
laugh. "Now, Eureka, you'll have to show me the way to those wings."

"You must be very quiet," warned the kitten; "for if you make the
least noise the Gargoyles will wake up. They can hear a pin drop."

"I'm not going to drop a pin," said Zeb.

He had fastened one end of the strap to a wheel of the buggy, and now
he let the line dangle over the side of the house.

"Be careful," cautioned Dorothy, earnestly.

"I will," said the boy, and let himself slide over the edge.

The girl and the Wizard leaned over and watched Zeb work his way
carefully downward, hand over hand, until he stood upon the ground
below. Eureka clung with her claws to the wooden side of the house
and let herself down easily. Then together they crept away to enter
the low doorway of a neighboring dwelling.

The watchers waited in breathless suspense until the boy again
appeared, his arms now full of the wooden wings.

When he came to where the strap was hanging he tied the wings all in a
bunch to the end of the line, and the Wizard drew them up. Then the
line was let down again for Zeb to climb up by. Eureka quickly
followed him, and soon they were all standing together upon the
platform, with eight of the much prized wooden wings beside them.

The boy was no longer sleepy, but full of energy and excitement. He
put the harness together again and hitched Jim to the buggy. Then,
with the Wizard's help, he tried to fasten some of the wings to the
old cab-horse.

This was no easy task, because half of each one of the hinges of the
wings was missing, it being still fastened to the body of the Gargoyle
who had used it. However, the Wizard went once more to his satchel--
which seemed to contain a surprising variety of odds and ends--and
brought out a spool of strong wire, by means of which they managed to
fasten four of the wings to Jim's harness, two near his head and two
near his tail. They were a bit wiggley, but secure enough if only the
harness held together.

The other four wings were then fastened to the buggy, two on each
side, for the buggy must bear the weight of the children and the
Wizard as it flew through the air.

These preparations had not consumed a great deal of time, but the
sleeping Gargoyles were beginning to wake up and move around, and soon
some of them would be hunting for their missing wings. So the
prisoners resolved to leave their prison at once.

They mounted into the buggy, Dorothy holding Eureka safe in her lap.
The girl sat in the middle of the seat, with Zeb and the Wizard on each
side of her. When all was ready the boy shook the reins and said:

"Fly away, Jim!"

"Which wings must I flop first?" asked the cab-horse, undecidedly.

"Flop them all together," suggested the Wizard.

"Some of them are crooked," objected the horse.

"Never mind; we will steer with the wings on the buggy," said Zeb.
"Just you light out and make for that rock, Jim; and don't waste any
time about it, either."

So the horse gave a groan, flopped its four wings all together, and
flew away from the platform. Dorothy was a little anxious about the
success of their trip, for the way Jim arched his long neck and spread
out his bony legs as he fluttered and floundered through the air was
enough to make anybody nervous. He groaned, too, as if frightened,
and the wings creaked dreadfully because the Wizard had forgotten to
oil them; but they kept fairly good time with the wings of the buggy,
so that they made excellent progress from the start. The only thing
that anyone could complain of with justice was the fact that they
wobbled first up and then down, as if the road were rocky instead of
being as smooth as the air could make it.

The main point, however, was that they flew, and flew swiftly, if a
bit unevenly, toward the rock for which they had headed.

Some of the Gargoyles saw them, presently, and lost no time in
collecting a band to pursue the escaping prisoners; so that when
Dorothy happened to look back she saw them coming in a great cloud
that almost darkened the sky.

13. The Den of the Dragonettes

Our friends had a good start and were able to maintain it, for with
their eight wings they could go just as fast as could the Gargoyles.
All the way to the great rock the wooden people followed them, and
when Jim finally alighted at the mouth of the cavern the pursuers were
still some distance away.

"But, I'm afraid they'll catch us yet," said Dorothy, greatly excited.

"No; we must stop them," declared the Wizard. "Quick Zeb, help me
pull off these wooden wings!"

They tore off the wings, for which they had no further use, and the
Wizard piled them in a heap just outside the entrance to the cavern.
Then he poured over them all the kerosene oil that was left in his
oil-can, and lighting a match set fire to the pile.

The flames leaped up at once and the bonfire began to smoke and roar
and crackle just as the great army of wooden Gargoyles arrived. The
creatures drew back at once, being filled with fear and horror; for
such as dreadful thing as a fire they had never before known in all
the history of their wooden land.

Inside the archway were several doors, leading to different rooms built
into the mountain, and Zeb and the Wizard lifted these wooden doors
from their hinges and tossed them all on the flames.

"That will prove a barrier for some time to come," said the little
man, smiling pleasantly all over his wrinkled face at the success of
their stratagem. "Perhaps the flames will set fire to all that
miserable wooden country, and if it does the loss will be very small
and the Gargoyles never will be missed. But come, my children;
let us explore the mountain and discover which way we must go
in order to escape from this cavern, which is getting to be almost
as hot as a bake-oven."

To their disappointment there was within this mountain no regular
flight of steps by means of which they could mount to the earth's
surface. A sort of inclined tunnel led upward for a way, and they
found the floor of it both rough and steep. Then a sudden turn
brought them to a narrow gallery where the buggy could not pass. This
delayed and bothered them for a while, because they did not wish to
leave the buggy behind them. It carried their baggage and was useful
to ride in wherever there were good roads, and since it had
accompanied them so far in their travels they felt it their duty to
preserve it. So Zeb and the Wizard set to work and took off the
wheels and the top, and then they put the buggy edgewise, so it would
take up the smallest space. In this position they managed, with the
aid of the patient cab-horse, to drag the vehicle through the narrow
part of the passage. It was not a great distance, fortunately, and
when the path grew broader they put the buggy together again and
proceeded more comfortably. But the road was nothing more than a
series of rifts or cracks in the mountain, and it went zig-zag in
every direction, slanting first up and then down until they were
puzzled as to whether they were any nearer to the top of the earth
than when they had started, hours before.

"Anyhow," said Dorothy, "we've 'scaped those awful Gurgles, and that's
ONE comfort!"

"Probably the Gargoyles are still busy trying to put out the fire,"
returned the Wizard. "But even if they succeeded in doing that it
would be very difficult for them to fly amongst these rocks; so I am
sure we need fear them no longer."

Once in a while they would come to a deep crack in the floor, which
made the way quite dangerous; but there was still enough oil in the
lanterns to give them light, and the cracks were not so wide but that
they were able to jump over them. Sometimes they had to climb over
heaps of loose rock, where Jim could scarcely drag the buggy. At such
times Dorothy, Zeb and the Wizard all pushed behind, and lifted the
wheels over the roughest places; so they managed, by dint of hard
work, to keep going. But the little party was both weary and
discouraged when at last, on turning a sharp corner, the wanderers
found themselves in a vast cave arching high over their heads and
having a smooth, level floor.

The cave was circular in shape, and all around its edge, near to the
ground, appeared groups of dull yellow lights, two of them being
always side by side. These were motionless at first, but soon began
to flicker more brightly and to sway slowly from side to side and then
up and down.

"What sort of place is this?" asked the boy, trying to see more
clearly through the gloom.

"I cannot imagine, I'm sure," answered the Wizard, also peering about.

"Woogh!" snarled Eureka, arching her back until her hair stood
straight on end; "it's den of alligators, or crocodiles, or some other
dreadful creatures! Don't you see their terrible eyes?"

"Eureka sees better in the dark than we can," whispered Dorothy.
"Tell us, dear, what do the creatures look like?" she asked,
addressing her pet.

"I simply can't describe 'em," answered the kitten, shuddering.
"Their eyes are like pie-plates and their mouths like coal-scuttles.
But their bodies don't seem very big."

"Where are they?" enquired the girl.

"They are in little pockets all around the edge of this cavern. Oh,
Dorothy--you can't imagine what horrid things they are! They're
uglier than the Gargoyles."

"Tut-tut! be careful how you criticise your neighbors," spoke a
rasping voice near by. "As a matter of fact you are rather
ugly-looking creatures yourselves, and I'm sure mother has often told
us we were the loveliest and prettiest things in all the world."

Hearing these words our friends turned in the direction of the sound,
and the Wizard held his lanterns so that their light would flood one
of the little pockets in the rock.

"Why, it's a dragon!" he exclaimed.

"No," answered the owner of the big yellow eyes which were blinking at
them so steadily; "you are wrong about that. We hope to grow to be
dragons some day, but just now we're only dragonettes."

"What's that?" asked Dorothy, gazing fearfully at the great scaley
head, the yawning mouth and the big eyes.

"Young dragons, of course; but we are not allowed to call ourselves
real dragons until we get our full growth," was the reply. "The big
dragons are very proud, and don't think children amount to much; but
mother says that some day we will all be very powerful and important."

"Where is your mother?" asked the Wizard, anxiously looking around.

"She has gone up to the top of the earth to hunt for our dinner. If
she has good luck she will bring us an elephant, or a brace of
rhinoceri, or perhaps a few dozen people to stay our hunger."

"Oh; are you hungry?" enquired Dorothy, drawing back.

"Very," said the dragonette, snapping its jaws.

"And--and--do you eat people?"

"To be sure, when we can get them. But they've been very scarce for a
few years and we usually have to be content with elephants or
buffaloes," answered the creature, in a regretful tone.

"How old are you?" enquired Zeb, who stared at the yellow eyes
as if fascinated.

"Quite young, I grieve to say; and all of my brothers and sisters that
you see here are practically my own age. If I remember rightly, we
were sixty-six years old the day before yesterday."

"But that isn't young!" cried Dorothy, in amazement.

"No?" drawled the dragonette; "it seems to me very babyish."

"How old is your mother?" asked the girl.

"Mother's about two thousand years old; but she carelessly lost track
of her age a few centuries ago and skipped several hundreds. She's a
little fussy, you know, and afraid of growing old, being a widow and
still in her prime."

"I should think she would be," agreed Dorothy. Then, after a moment's
thought, she asked: "Are we friends or enemies? I mean, will you be
good to us, or do you intend to eat us?"

"As for that, we dragonettes would love to eat you, my child; but
unfortunately mother has tied all our tails around the rocks at the
back of our individual caves, so that we can not crawl out to get you.
If you choose to come nearer we will make a mouthful of you in a wink;
but unless you do you will remain quite safe."

There was a regretful accent in the creature's voice, and at the words
all the other dragonettes sighed dismally.

Dorothy felt relieved. Presently she asked:

"Why did your mother tie your tails?"

"Oh, she is sometimes gone for several weeks on her hunting trips, and
if we were not tied we would crawl all over the mountain and fight
with each other and get into a lot of mischief. Mother usually knows
what she is about, but she made a mistake this time; for you are sure
to escape us unless you come too near, and you probably won't do that."

"No, indeed!" said the little girl. "We don't wish to be eaten by
such awful beasts."

"Permit me to say," returned the dragonette, "that you are rather
impolite to call us names, knowing that we cannot resent your insults.
We consider ourselves very beautiful in appearance, for mother has
told us so, and she knows. And we are of an excellent family and have
a pedigree that I challenge any humans to equal, as it extends back
about twenty thousand years, to the time of the famous Green Dragon of
Atlantis, who lived in a time when humans had not yet been created.
Can you match that pedigree, little girl?"

"Well," said Dorothy, "I was born on a farm in Kansas, and I guess
that's being just as 'spectable and haughty as living in a cave with
your tail tied to a rock. If it isn't I'll have to stand it,
that's all."

"Tastes differ," murmured the dragonette, slowly drooping its scaley
eyelids over its yellow eyes, until they looked like half-moons.

Being reassured by the fact that the creatures could not crawl out of
their rock-pockets, the children and the Wizard now took time to
examine them more closely. The heads of the dragonettes were as big
as barrels and covered with hard, greenish scales that glittered
brightly under the light of the lanterns. Their front legs, which
grew just back of their heads, were also strong and big; but their
bodies were smaller around than their heads, and dwindled away in a
long line until their tails were slim as a shoe-string. Dorothy
thought, if it had taken them sixty-six years to grow to this size,
that it would be fully a hundred years more before they could hope to
call themselves dragons, and that seemed like a good while to wait to
grow up.

"It occurs to me," said the Wizard, "that we ought to get out of this
place before the mother dragon comes back."

"Don't hurry," called one of the dragonettes; "mother will be glad to
meet you, I'm sure."

"You may be right," replied the Wizard, "but we're a little particular
about associating with strangers. Will you kindly tell us which way
your mother went to get on top the earth?"

"That is not a fair question to ask us," declared another dragonette.
"For, if we told you truly, you might escape us altogether; and if we
told you an untruth we would be naughty and deserve to be punished."

"Then," decided Dorothy, "we must find our way out the best we can."

They circled all around the cavern, keeping a good distance away from
the blinking yellow eyes of the dragonettes, and presently discovered
that there were two paths leading from the wall opposite to the place
where they had entered. They selected one of these at a venture
and hurried along it as fast as they could go, for they had no idea
when the mother dragon would be back and were very anxious not to make
her acquaintance.

14. Ozma Uses the Magic Belt

For a considerable distance the way led straight upward in a gentle
incline, and the wanderers made such good progress that they grew
hopeful and eager, thinking they might see sunshine at any minute.
But at length they came unexpectedly upon a huge rock that shut off
the passage and blocked them from proceeding a single step farther.

This rock was separate from the rest of the mountain and was in
motion, turning slowly around and around as if upon a pivot. When
first they came to it there was a solid wall before them; but
presently it revolved until there was exposed a wide, smooth path
across it to the other side. This appeared so unexpectedly that they
were unprepared to take advantage of it at first, and allowed the
rocky wall to swing around again before they had decided to pass over.
But they knew now that there was a means of escape and so waited
patiently until the path appeared for the second time.

The children and the Wizard rushed across the moving rock and sprang
into the passage beyond, landing safely though a little out of breath.
Jim the cab-horse came last, and the rocky wall almost caught him; for
just as he leaped to the floor of the further passage the wall swung
across it and a loose stone that the buggy wheels knocked against fell
into the narrow crack where the rock turned, and became wedged there.

They heard a crunching, grinding sound, a loud snap, and the
turn-table came to a stop with its broadest surface shutting off the
path from which they had come.

"Never mind," said Zeb, "we don't want to get back, anyhow."

"I'm not so sure of that," returned Dorothy. "The mother dragon may
come down and catch us here."

"It is possible," agreed the Wizard, "if this proves to be the path
she usually takes. But I have been examining this tunnel, and I do
not see any signs of so large a beast having passed through it."

"Then we're all right," said the girl, "for if the dragon went the
other way she can't poss'bly get to us now."

"Of course not, my dear. But there is another thing to consider. The
mother dragon probably knows the road to the earth's surface, and if
she went the other way then we have come the wrong way," said the
Wizard, thoughtfully.

"Dear me!" cried Dorothy. "That would be unlucky, wouldn't it?"

"Very. Unless this passage also leads to the top of the earth," said
Zeb. "For my part, if we manage to get out of here I'll be glad it
isn't the way the dragon goes."

"So will I," returned Dorothy. "It's enough to have your pedigree
flung in your face by those saucy dragonettes. No one knows what the
mother might do."

They now moved on again, creeping slowly up another steep incline.
The lanterns were beginning to grow dim, and the Wizard poured the
remaining oil from one into the other, so that the one light would
last longer. But their journey was almost over, for in a short time
they reached a small cave from which there was no further outlet.

They did not realize their ill fortune at first, for their hearts were
gladdened by the sight of a ray of sunshine coming through a small
crack in the roof of the cave, far overhead. That meant that their
world--the real world--was not very far away, and that the succession
of perilous adventures they had encountered had at last brought them
near the earth's surface, which meant home to them. But when the
adventurers looked more carefully around them they discovered that
there were in a strong prison from which there was no hope of escape.

"But we're ALMOST on earth again," cried Dorothy, "for there is the
sun--the most BEAU'FUL sun that shines!" and she pointed eagerly at
the crack in the distant roof.

"Almost on earth isn't being there," said the kitten, in a
discontented tone. "It wouldn't be possible for even me to get up to
that crack--or through it if I got there."

"It appears that the path ends here," announced the Wizard, gloomily.

"And there is no way to go back," added Zeb, with a low whistle
of perplexity.

"I was sure it would come to this, in the end," remarked the old
cab-horse. "Folks don't fall into the middle of the earth and then
get back again to tell of their adventures--not in real life. And the
whole thing has been unnatural because that cat and I are both able to
talk your language, and to understand the words you say."

"And so can the nine tiny piglets," added Eureka. "Don't forget them,
for I may have to eat them, after all."

"I've heard animals talk before," said Dorothy, "and no harm came of it."

"Were you ever before shut up in a cave, far under the earth, with no
way of getting out?" enquired the horse, seriously.

"No," answered Dorothy. "But don't you lose heart, Jim, for I'm sure
this isn't the end of our story, by any means."

The reference to the piglets reminded the Wizard that his pets had not
enjoyed much exercise lately, and must be tired of their prison in his
pocket. So he sat down upon the floor of the cave, brought the piglets
out one by one, and allowed them to run around as much as they pleased.

"My dears," he said to them, "I'm afraid I've got you into a lot
of trouble, and that you will never again be able to leave this
gloomy cave."

"What's wrong?" asked a piglet. "We've been in the dark quite a
while, and you may as well explain what has happened."

The Wizard told them of the misfortune that had overtaken the wanderers.

"Well," said another piglet, "you are a wizard, are you not?"

"I am," replied the little man.

"Then you can do a few wizzes and get us out of this hole," declared
the tiny one, with much confidence.

"I could if I happened to be a real wizard," returned the master
sadly. "But I'm not, my piggy-wees; I'm a humbug wizard."

"Nonsense!" cried several of the piglets, together.

"You can ask Dorothy," said the little man, in an injured tone.

"It's true enough," returned the girl, earnestly. "Our friend Oz is
merely a humbug wizard, for he once proved it to me. He can do
several very wonderful things--if he knows how. But he can't wiz a
single thing if he hasn't the tools and machinery to work with."

"Thank you, my dear, for doing me justice," responded the Wizard,
gratefully. "To be accused of being a real wizard, when I'm not, is a
slander I will not tamely submit to. But I am one of the greatest
humbug wizards that ever lived, and you will realize this when we have
all starved together and our bones are scattered over the floor of
this lonely cave."

"I don't believe we'll realize anything, when it comes to that,"
remarked Dorothy, who had been deep in thought. "But I'm not going to
scatter my bones just yet, because I need them, and you prob'ly need
yours, too."

"We are helpless to escape," sighed the Wizard.

"WE may be helpless," answered Dorothy, smiling at him, "but there are
others who can do more than we can. Cheer up, friends. "I'm sure
Ozma will help us."

"Ozma!" exclaimed the Wizard. "Who is Ozma?"

"The girl that rules the marvelous Land of Oz," was the reply. "She's
a friend of mine, for I met her in the Land of Ev, not long ago, and
went to Oz with her."

"For the second time?" asked the Wizard, with great interest.

"Yes. The first time I went to Oz I found you there, ruling the
Emerald City. After you went up in a balloon, and escaped us, I got
back to Kansas by means of a pair of magical silver shoes."

"I remember those shoes," said the little man, nodding. "They once
belonged to the Wicked Witch. Have you them here with you?"

"No; I lost them somewhere in the air," explained the child. "But the
second time I went to the Land of Oz I owned the Nome King's Magic
Belt, which is much more powerful than were the Silver Shoes."

"Where is that Magic Belt?" enquired the Wizard, who had listened with
great interest.

"Ozma has it; for its powers won't work in a common, ordinary country
like the United States. Anyone in a fairy country like the Land of Oz
can do anything with it; so I left it with my friend the Princess
Ozma, who used it to wish me in Australia with Uncle Henry."

"And were you?" asked Zeb, astonished at what he heard.

"Of course; in just a jiffy. And Ozma has an enchanted picture
hanging in her room that shows her the exact scene where any of her
friends may be, at any time she chooses. All she has to do is to
say: 'I wonder what So-and-so is doing,' and at once the picture shows
where her friend is and what the friend is doing. That's REAL magic,
Mr. Wizard; isn't it? Well, every day at four o'clock Ozma has
promised to look at me in that picture, and if I am in need of help I
am to make her a certain sign and she will put on the Nome King's
Magic Belt and wish me to be with her in Oz."

"Do you mean that Princess Ozma will see this cave in her enchanted
picture, and see all of us here, and what we are doing?" demanded Zeb.

"Of course; when it is four o'clock," she replied, with a laugh at his
startled expression.

"And when you make a sign she will bring you to her in the Land of
Oz?" continued the boy.

"That's it, exactly; by means of the Magic Belt."

"Then," said the Wizard, "you will be saved, little Dorothy; and I am
very glad of it. The rest of us will die much more cheerfully when we
know you have escaped our sad fate."

"I won't die cheerfully!" protested the kitten. "There's nothing
cheerful about dying that I could ever see, although they say a cat
has nine lives, and so must die nine times."

"Have you ever died yet?" enquired the boy.

"No, and I'm not anxious to begin," said Eureka.

"Don't worry, dear," Dorothy exclaimed, "I'll hold you in my arms, and
take you with me."

"Take us, too!" cried the nine tiny piglets, all in one breath.

"Perhaps I can," answered Dorothy. "I'll try."

"Couldn't you manage to hold me in your arms?" asked the cab-horse.

Dorothy laughed.

"I'll do better than that," she promised, "for I can easily save you
all, once I am myself in the Land of Oz."

"How?" they asked.

"By using the Magic Belt. All I need do is to wish you with me, and
there you'll be--safe in the royal palace!"

"Good!" cried Zeb.

"I built that palace, and the Emerald City, too," remarked the Wizard,
in a thoughtful tone, "and I'd like to see them again, for I was very
happy among the Munchkins and Winkies and Quadlings and Gillikins."

"Who are they?" asked the boy.

"The four nations that inhabit the Land of Oz," was the reply. "I
wonder if they would treat me nicely if I went there again."

"Of course they would!" declared Dorothy. "They are still proud of
their former Wizard, and often speak of you kindly."

"Do you happen to know whatever became of the Tin Woodman and the
Scarecrow?" he enquired.

"They live in Oz yet," said the girl, "and are very important people."

"And the Cowardly Lion?"

"Oh, he lives there too, with his friend the Hungry Tiger; and Billina
is there, because she liked the place better than Kansas, and wouldn't
go with me to Australia."

"I'm afraid I don't know the Hungry Tiger and Billina," said the
Wizard, shaking his head. "Is Billina a girl?"

"No; she's a yellow hen, and a great friend of mine. You're sure to
like Billina, when you know her," asserted Dorothy.

"Your friends sound like a menagerie," remarked Zeb, uneasily.
"Couldn't you wish me in some safer place than Oz."

"Don't worry," replied the girl. "You'll just love the folks in Oz,
when you get acquainted. What time is it, Mr. Wizard?"

The little man looked at his watch--a big silver one that he carried
in his vest pocket.

"Half-past three," he said.

"Then we must wait for half an hour," she continued; "but it won't
take long, after that, to carry us all to the Emerald City."

They sat silently thinking for a time. Then Jim suddenly asked:

"Are there any horses in Oz?"

"Only one," replied Dorothy, "and he's a sawhorse."

"A what?"

"A sawhorse. Princess Ozma once brought him to life with a
witch-powder, when she was a boy."

"Was Ozma once a boy?" asked Zeb, wonderingly.

"Yes; a wicked witch enchanted her, so she could not rule her kingdom.
But she's a girl now, and the sweetest, loveliest girl in all the world."

"A sawhorse is a thing they saw boards on," remarked Jim, with a sniff.

"It is when it's not alive," acknowledged the girl. "But this
sawhorse can trot as fast as you can, Jim; and he's very wise, too."

"Pah! I'll race the miserable wooden donkey any day in the week!"
cried the cab-horse.

Dorothy did not reply to that. She felt that Jim would know more
about the Saw-Horse later on.

The time dragged wearily enough to the eager watchers, but finally the
Wizard announced that four o'clock had arrived, and Dorothy caught up
the kitten and began to make the signal that had been agreed upon to
the far-away invisible Ozma.

"Nothing seems to happen," said Zeb, doubtfully.

"Oh, we must give Ozma time to put on the Magic Belt," replied the girl.

She had scarcely spoken the words then she suddenly disappeared from
the cave, and with her went the kitten. There had been no sound of
any kind and no warning. One moment Dorothy sat beside them with the
kitten in her lap, and a moment later the horse, the piglets, the
Wizard and the boy were all that remained in the underground prison.

"I believe we will soon follow her," announced the Wizard, in a tone
of great relief; "for I know something about the magic of the
fairyland that is called the Land of Oz. Let us be ready, for we may
be sent for any minute."

He put the piglets safely away in his pocket again and then he and Zeb
got into the buggy and sat expectantly upon the seat.

"Will it hurt?" asked the boy, in a voice that trembled a little.

"Not at all," replied the Wizard. "It will all happen as quick as a wink."

And that was the way it did happen.

The cab-horse gave a nervous start and Zeb began to rub his eyes to
make sure he was not asleep. For they were in the streets of a
beautiful emerald-green city, bathed in a grateful green light that
was especially pleasing to their eyes, and surrounded by merry faced
people in gorgeous green-and-gold costumes of many extraordinary designs.

Before them were the jewel-studded gates of a magnificent palace, and
now the gates opened slowly as if inviting them to enter the
courtyard, where splendid flowers were blooming and pretty fountains
shot their silvery sprays into the air.

Zeb shook the reins to rouse the cab-horse from his stupor of
amazement, for the people were beginning to gather around and stare at
the strangers.

"Gid-dap!" cried the boy, and at the word Jim slowly trotted into the
courtyard and drew the buggy along the jewelled driveway to the great
entrance of the royal palace.

15. Old Friends are Reunited

Many servants dressed in handsome uniforms stood ready to welcome the
new arrivals, and when the Wizard got out of the buggy a pretty girl
in a green gown cried out in surprise:

"Why, it's Oz, the Wonderful Wizard, come back again!"

The little man looked at her closely and then took both the maiden's
hands in his and shook them cordially.

"On my word," he exclaimed, "it's little Jellia Jamb--as pert and
pretty as ever!"

"Why not, Mr. Wizard?" asked Jellia, bowing low. "But I'm afraid you
cannot rule the Emerald City, as you used to, because we now have a
beautiful Princess whom everyone loves dearly."

"And the people will not willingly part with her," added a tall
soldier in a Captain-General's uniform.

The Wizard turned to look at him.

"Did you not wear green whiskers at one time?" he asked.

"Yes," said the soldier; "but I shaved them off long ago,
and since then I have risen from a private to be the Chief General
of the Royal Armies."

"That's nice," said the little man. "But I assure you, my good people,
that I do not wish to rule the Emerald City," he added, earnestly.

"In that case you are very welcome!" cried all the servants, and it
pleased the Wizard to note the respect with which the royal retainers
bowed before him. His fame had not been forgotten in the Land of Oz,
by any means.

"Where is Dorothy?" enquired Zeb, anxiously, as he left the buggy and
stood beside his friend the little Wizard.

"She is with the Princess Ozma, in the private rooms of the palace,"
replied Jellia Jamb. "But she has ordered me to make you welcome and
to show you to your apartments."

The boy looked around him with wondering eyes. Such magnificence and
wealth as was displayed in this palace was more than he had ever
dreamed of, and he could scarcely believe that all the gorgeous
glitter was real and not tinsel.

"What's to become of me?" asked the horse, uneasily. He had seen
considerable of life in the cities in his younger days, and knew that
this regal palace was no place for him.

It perplexed even Jellia Jamb, for a time, to know what to do with the
animal. The green maiden was much astonished at the sight of so
unusual a creature, for horses were unknown in this Land; but those
who lived in the Emerald City were apt to be astonished by queer
sights, so after inspecting the cab-horse and noting the mild look in
his big eyes the girl decided not to be afraid of him.

"There are no stables here," said the Wizard, "unless some have been
built since I went away."

"We have never needed them before," answered Jellia; "for the Sawhorse
lives in a room of the palace, being much smaller and more natural in
appearance than this great beast you have brought with you."

"Do you mean that I'm a freak?" asked Jim, angrily.

"Oh, no," she hastened to say, "there may be many more like you in the
place you came from, but in Oz any horse but a Sawhorse is unusual."

This mollified Jim a little, and after some thought the green maiden
decided to give the cab-horse a room in the palace, such a big
building having many rooms that were seldom in use.

So Zeb unharnessed Jim, and several of the servants then led the horse
around to the rear, where they selected a nice large apartment that he
could have all to himself.

Then Jellia said to the Wizard:

"Your own room--which was back of the great Throne Room--has been
vacant ever since you left us. Would you like it again?"

"Yes, indeed!" returned the little man. "It will seem like being at
home again, for I lived in that room for many, many years."

He knew the way to it, and a servant followed him, carrying his
satchel. Zeb was also escorted to a room--so grand and beautiful that
he almost feared to sit in the chairs or lie upon the bed, lest he
might dim their splendor. In the closets he discovered many fancy
costumes of rich velvets and brocades, and one of the attendants told
him to dress himself in any of the clothes that pleased him and to be
prepared to dine with the Princess and Dorothy in an hour's time.

Opening from the chamber was a fine bathroom having a marble tub with
perfumed water; so the boy, still dazed by the novelty of his
surroundings, indulged in a good bath and then selected a maroon
velvet costume with silver buttons to replace his own soiled and much
worn clothing. There were silk stockings and soft leather slippers
with diamond buckles to accompany his new costume, and when he was
fully dressed Zeb looked much more dignified and imposing than ever
before in his life.

He was all ready when an attendant came to escort him to the presence
of the Princess; he followed bashfully and was ushered into a room
more dainty and attractive than it was splendid. Here he found
Dorothy seated beside a young girl so marvelously beautiful that the
boy stopped suddenly with a gasp of admiration.

But Dorothy sprang up and ran to seize her friend's hand drawing him
impulsively toward the lovely Princess, who smiled most graciously
upon her guest. Then the Wizard entered, and his presence relieved
the boy's embarrassment. The little man was clothed in black velvet,
with many sparkling emerald ornaments decorating his breast;
but his bald head and wrinkled features made him appear more
amusing than impressive.

Ozma had been quite curious to meet the famous man who had built the
Emerald City and united the Munchkins, Gillikins, Quadlings and
Winkies into one people; so when they were all four seated at the
dinner table the Princess said:

"Please tell me, Mr. Wizard, whether you called yourself Oz after this
great country, or whether you believe my country is called Oz after
you. It is a matter that I have long wished to enquire about, because
you are of a strange race and my own name is Ozma. No, one, I am
sure, is better able to explain this mystery than you."

"That is true," answered the little Wizard; "therefore it will give me
pleasure to explain my connection with your country. In the first
place, I must tell you that I was born in Omaha, and my father, who
was a politician, named me Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle
Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, Diggs being the last name because he could
think of no more to go before it. Taken altogether, it was a
dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of
the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When
I grew up I just called myself O. Z., because the other initials were

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