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     Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, p.8

       L. Frank Baum / Fantasy
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CHAPTER 6.

THE MANGABOOS PROVE DANGEROUS

When the Wizard awoke the six colored suns were shining down upon theLand of the Mangaboos just as they had done ever since his arrival. Thelittle man, having had a good sleep, felt rested and refreshed, andlooking through the glass partition of the room he saw Zeb sitting up onhis bench and yawning. So the Wizard went in to him.

”Zeb,” said he, ”my balloon is of no further use in this strangecountry, so I may as well leave it on the square where it fell. But inthe basket-car are some things I would like to keep with me. I wish youwould go and fetch my satchel, two lanterns, and a can of kerosene oilthat is under the seat. There is nothing else that I care about.”

So the boy went willingly upon the errand, and by the time he hadreturned Dorothy was awake. Then the three held a counsel to decide whatthey should do next, but could think of no way to better theircondition.

”I don't like these veg'table people,” said the little girl. ”They'recold and flabby, like cabbages, in spite of their prettiness.”

”I agree with you. It is because there is no warm blood in them,”remarked the Wizard.

”And they have no hearts; so they can't love anyone--not eventhemselves,” declared the boy.

”The Princess is lovely to look at,” continued Dorothy, thoughtfully;”but I don't care much for her, after all. If there was any other placeto go, I'd like to go there.”

”But _is_ there any other place?” asked the Wizard.

”I don't know,” she answered.

Just then they heard the big voice of Jim the cab-horse calling to them,and going to the doorway leading to the dome they found the Princess anda throng of her people had entered the House of the Sorcerer.

So they went down to greet the beautiful vegetable lady, who said tothem:

”I have been talking with my advisors about you meat people, and we havedecided that you do not belong in the Land of the Mangaboos and must notremain here.”

”How can we go away?” asked Dorothy.

”Oh, you cannot go away, of course; so you must be destroyed,” was theanswer.

”In what way?” enquired the Wizard.

”We shall throw you three people into the Garden of the Twining Vines,”said the Princess, ”and they will soon crush you and devour your bodiesto make themselves grow bigger. The animals you have with you we willdrive to the mountains and put into the Black Pit. Then our country willbe rid of all its unwelcome visitors.”

”But you are in need of a Sorcerer,” said the Wizard, ”and not one ofthose growing is yet ripe enough to pick. I am greater than anythorn-covered sorcerer that ever grew in your garden. Why destroy me?”

”It is true we need a Sorcerer,” acknowledged the Princess, ”but I aminformed that one of our own will be ready to pick in a few days, totake the place of Gwig, whom you cut in two before it was time for himto be planted. Let us see your arts, and the sorceries you are able toperform. Then I will decide whether to destroy you with the others ornot.”

At this the Wizard made a bow to the people and repeated his trick ofproducing the nine tiny piglets and making them disappear again. He didit very cleverly, indeed, and the Princess looked at the strangepiglets as if she were as truly astonished as any vegetable person couldbe. But afterward she said:

”I have heard of this wonderful magic. But it accomplishes nothing ofvalue. What else can you do?”

The Wizard tried to think. Then he jointed together the blades of hissword and balanced it very skillfully upon the end of his nose. But eventhat did not satisfy the Princess.

Just then his eye fell upon the lanterns and the can of kerosene oilwhich Zeb had brought from the car of his balloon, and he got a cleveridea from those commonplace things.

”Your Highness,” said he, ”I will now proceed to prove my magic bycreating two suns that you have never seen before; also I will exhibit aDestroyer much more dreadful than your Clinging Vines.”

So he placed Dorothy upon one side of him and the boy upon the other andset a lantern upon each of their heads.

”Don't laugh,” he whispered to them, ”or you will spoil the effect of mymagic.”

”NOW, PRINCESS,” EXCLAIMED THE WIZARD.]

Then, with much dignity and a look of vast importance upon his wrinkledface, the Wizard got out his match-box and lighted the two lanterns. Theglare they made was very small when compared with the radiance of thesix great colored suns; but still they gleamed steadily and clearly. TheMangaboos were much impressed because they had never before seen anylight that did not come directly from their suns.

Next the Wizard poured a pool of oil from the can upon the glass floor,where it covered quite a broad surface. When he lighted the oil ahundred tongues of flame shot up, and the effect was really imposing.

”Now, Princess,” exclaimed the Wizard, ”those of your advisors whowished to throw us into the Garden of Clinging Vines must step withinthis circle of light. If they advised you well, and were in the right,they will not be injured in any way. But if any advised you wrongly, thelight will wither him.”

The advisors of the Princess did not like this test; but she commandedthem to step into the flame and one by one they did so, and werescorched so badly that the air was soon filled with an odor like that ofbaked potatoes. Some of the Mangaboos fell down and had to be draggedfrom the fire, and all were so withered that it would be necessary toplant them at once.

”Sir,” said the Princess to the Wizard, ”you are greater than anySorcerer we have ever known. As it is evident that my people haveadvised me wrongly, I will not cast you three people into the dreadfulGarden of the Clinging Vines; but your animals must be driven into theBlack Pit in the mountain, for my subjects cannot bear to have themaround.”

The Wizard was so pleased to have saved the two children and himselfthat he said nothing against this decree; but when the Princess had goneboth Jim and Eureka protested they did not want to go to the Black Pit,and Dorothy promised she would do all that she could to save them fromsuch a fate.

For two or three days after this--if we call days the periods betweensleep, there being no night to divide the hours into days--our friendswere not disturbed in any way. They were even permitted to occupy theHouse of the Sorcerer in peace, as if it had been their own, and towander in the gardens in search of food.

Once they came near to the enclosed Garden of the Clinging Vines, andwalking high into the air looked down upon it with much interest. Theysaw a mass of tough green vines all matted together and writhing andtwisting around like a nest of great snakes. Everything the vinestouched they crushed, and our adventurers were indeed thankful to haveescaped being cast among them.

Whenever the Wizard went to sleep he would take the nine tiny pigletsfrom his pocket and let them run around on the floor of his room toamuse themselves and get some exercise; and one time they found hisglass door ajar and wandered into the hall and then into the bottom partof the great dome, walking through the air as easily as Eureka could.They knew the kitten, by this time, so they scampered over to where shelay beside Jim and commenced to frisk and play with her.

The cab-horse, who never slept long at a time, sat upon his haunches andwatched the tiny piglets and the kitten with much approval.

”Don't be rough!” he would call out, if Eureka knocked over one of theround, fat piglets with her paw; but the pigs never minded, and enjoyedthe sport very greatly.

Suddenly they looked up to find the room filled with the silent,solemn-eyed Mangaboos. Each of the vegetable folks bore a branch coveredwith sharp thorns, which was thrust defiantly toward the horse, thekitten and the piglets.

”Here--stop this foolishness!” Jim roared, angrily; but after beingpricked once or twice he got upon his four legs and kept out of the wayof the thorns.

The Mangaboos surrounded them in solid ranks, but left an opening to thedoorway of the hall; so the animals slowly retreated until they weredriven from the room and out upon the street. Here were more of thevegetable people with thorns, and silently they urged the now frightenedcreatures down the street. Jim had to be careful not to step upon thetiny piglets, who scampered under his feet grunting and squealing, whileEureka, snarling and biting at the thorns pushed toward her, also triedto protect the pretty little things from injury. Slowly but steadily theheartless Mangaboos drove them on, until they had passed through thecity and the gardens and come to the broad plains leading to themountain.

”What does all this mean, anyhow?” asked the horse, jumping to escape athorn.

”Why, they are driving us toward the Black Pit, into which theythreatened to cast us,” replied the kitten. ”If I were as big as youare, Jim, I'd fight these miserable turnip-roots!”

”What would you do?” enquired Jim.

”I'd kick out with those long legs and iron-shod hoofs.”

”All right,” said the horse; ”I'll do it.”

An instant later he suddenly backed toward the crowd of Mangaboos andkicked out his hind legs as hard as he could. A dozen of them smashedtogether and tumbled to the ground, and seeing his success Jim kickedagain and again, charging into the vegetable crowd, knocking them inall directions and sending the others scattering to escape his ironheels. Eureka helped him by flying into the faces of the enemy andscratching and biting furiously, and the kitten ruined so many vegetablecomplexions that the Mangaboos feared her as much as they did the horse.

But the foes were too many to be repulsed for long. They tired Jim andEureka out, and although the field of battle was thickly covered withmashed and disabled Mangaboos, our animal friends had to give up at lastand allow themselves to be driven to the mountain.




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