The wonderful wizard of.., p.9
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       The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, p.9
 

           L. Frank Baum
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  The four travelers passed a sleepless night, each thinking of the gift Oz had promised to bestow on him. Dorothy fell asleep only once, and then she dreamed she was in Kansas, where Aunt Em was telling her how glad she was to have her little girl at home again.

  Promptly at nine o'clock the next morning the green-whiskered soldier came to them, and four minutes later they all went into the Throne Room of the Great Oz.

  Of course each one of them expected to see the Wizard in the shape he had taken before, and all were greatly surprised when they looked about and saw no one at all in the room. They kept close to the door and closer to one another, for the stillness of the empty room was more dreadful than any of the forms they had seen Oz take.

  Presently they heard a solemn Voice, that seemed to come from somewhere near the top of the great dome, and it said:

  "I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Why do you seek me?"

  They looked again in every part of the room, and then, seeing no one, Dorothy asked, "Where are you?"

  "I am everywhere," answered the Voice, "but to the eyes of common mortals I am invisible. I will now seat myself upon my throne, that you may converse with me." Indeed, the Voice seemed just then to come straight from the throne itself; so they walked toward it and stood in a row while Dorothy said:

  "We have come to claim our promise, O Oz."

  "What promise?" asked Oz.

  "You promised to send me back to Kansas when the Wicked Witch was destroyed," said the girl.

  "And you promised to give me brains," said the Scarecrow.

  "And you promised to give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.

  "And you promised to give me courage," said the Cowardly Lion.

  "Is the Wicked Witch really destroyed?" asked the Voice, and Dorothy thought it trembled a little.

  "Yes," she answered, "I melted her with a bucket of water."

  "Dear me," said the Voice, "how sudden! Well, come to me tomorrow, for I must have time to think it over."

  "You've had plenty of time already," said the Tin Woodman angrily.

  "We shan't wait a day longer," said the Scarecrow.

  "You must keep your promises to us!" exclaimed Dorothy.

  The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, "Who are you?"

  "I am Oz, the Great and Terrible," said the little man, in a trembling voice. "But don't strike me—please don't—and I'll do anything you want me to."

  Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.

  "I thought Oz was a great Head," said Dorothy.

  "And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady," said the Scarecrow.

  "And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Woodman.

  "And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion.

  "No, you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."

  "Making believe!" cried Dorothy. "Are you not a Great Wizard?"

  "Hush, my dear," he said. "Don't speak so loud, or you will be overheard—and I should be ruined. I'm supposed to be a Great Wizard."

  "And aren't you?" she asked.

  "Not a bit of it, my dear; I'm just a common man."

  "You're more than that," said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; "you're a humbug."

  "Exactly so!" declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. "I am a humbug."

  "But this is terrible," said the Tin Woodman. "How shall I ever get my heart?"

  "Or I my courage?" asked the Lion.

  "Or I my brains?" wailed the Scarecrow, wiping the tears from his eyes with his coat sleeve.

  "My dear friends," said Oz, "I pray you not to speak of these little things. Think of me, and the terrible trouble I'm in at being found out."

  "Doesn't anyone else know you're a humbug?" asked Dorothy.

  "No one knows it but you four—and myself," replied Oz. "I have fooled everyone so long that I thought I should never be found out. It was a great mistake my ever letting you into the Throne Room. Usually I will not see even my subjects, and so they believe I am something terrible."

  "But, I don't understand," said Dorothy, in bewilderment. "How was it that you appeared to me as a great Head?"

  "That was one of my tricks," answered Oz. "Step this way, please, and I will tell you all about it."

  He led the way to a small chamber in the rear of the Throne Room, and they all followed him. He pointed to one corner, in which lay the great Head, made out of many thicknesses of paper, and with a carefully painted face.

  "This I hung from the ceiling by a wire," said Oz. "I stood behind the screen and pulled a thread, to make the eyes move and the mouth open."

  "But how about the voice?" she inquired.

  "Oh, I am a ventriloquist," said the little man. "I can throw the sound of my voice wherever I wish, so that you thought it was coming out of the Head. Here are the other things I used to deceive you." He showed the Scarecrow the dress and the mask he had worn when he seemed to be the lovely Lady. And the Tin Woodman saw that his terrible Beast was nothing but a lot of skins, sewn together, with slats to keep their sides out. As for the Ball of Fire, the false Wizard had hung that also from the ceiling. It was really a ball of cotton, but when oil was poured upon it the ball burned fiercely.

  "Really," said the Scarecrow, "you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being such a humbug."

  "I am—I certainly am," answered the little man sorrowfully; "but it was the only thing I could do. Sit down, please, there are plenty of chairs; and I will tell you my story."

  So they sat down and listened while he told the following tale.

  "I was born in Omaha—"

  "Why, that isn't very far from Kansas!" cried Dorothy.

  "No, but it's farther from here," he said, shaking his head at her sadly. "When I grew up I became a ventriloquist, and at that I was very well trained by a great master. I can imitate any kind of a bird or beast." Here he mewed so like a kitten that Toto pricked up his ears and looked everywhere to see where she was. "After a time," continued Oz, "I tired of that, and became a balloonist."

  "What is that?" asked Dorothy.

  "A man who goes up in a balloon on circus day, so as to draw a crowd of people together and get them to pay to see the circus," he explained.

  "Oh," she said, "I know."

  "Well, one day I went up in a balloon and the ropes got twisted, so that I couldn't come down again. It went way up above the clouds, so far that a current of air struck it and carried it many, many miles away. For a day and a night I traveled through the air, and on the morning of the second day I awoke and found the balloon floating over a strange and beautiful country.

  "It came down gradually, and I was not hurt a bit. But I found myself in the midst of a strange people, who, seeing me come from the clouds, thought I was a great Wizard. Of course I let them think so, because they were afraid of me, and promised to do anything I wished them to.

  "Just to amuse myself, and keep the good people busy, I ordered them to build this City, and my Palace; and they did it all willingly and well. Then I thought, as the country was so green and beautiful, I would call it the Emerald City; and to make the name fit better I put green spectacles on all the people, so that everything they saw was green."

  "But isn't everything here green?" asked Dorothy.

  "No more than in any other city," replied Oz; "but when you wear green spectacles, why of course everything you see looks green to you. The Emerald City was built a great many years ago, for I was a young man when the balloon brough
t me here, and I am a very old man now. But my people have worn green glasses on their eyes so long that most of them think it really is an Emerald City, and it certainly is a beautiful place, abounding in jewels and precious metals, and every good thing that is needed to make one happy. I have been good to the people, and they like me; but ever since this Palace was built, I have shut myself up and would not see any of them.

  "One of my greatest fears was the Witches, for while I had no magical powers at all I soon found out that the Witches were really able to do wonderful things. There were four of them in this country, and they ruled the people who live in the North and South and East and West. Fortunately, the Witches of the North and South were good, and I knew they would do me no harm; but the Witches of the East and West were terribly wicked, and had they not thought I was more powerful than they themselves, they would surely have destroyed me. As it was, I lived in deadly fear of them for many years; so you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard your house had fallen on the Wicked Witch of the East. When you came to me, I was willing to promise anything if you would only do away with the other Witch; but, now that you have melted her, I am ashamed to say that I cannot keep my promises."

  "I think you are a very bad man," said Dorothy.

  "Oh, no, my dear; I'm really a very good man, but I'm a very bad Wizard, I must admit."

  "Can't you give me brains?" asked the Scarecrow.

  "You don't need them. You are learning something every day. A baby has brains, but it doesn't know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get."

  "That may all be true," said the Scarecrow, "but I shall be very unhappy unless you give me brains."

  The false Wizard looked at him carefully.

  "Well," he said with a sigh, "I'm not much of a magician, as I said; but if you will come to me tomorrow morning, I will stuff your head with brains. I cannot tell you how to use them, however; you must find that out for yourself."

  "Oh, thank you—thank you!" cried the Scarecrow. "I'll find a way to use them, never fear!"

  "But how about my courage?" asked the Lion anxiously.

  "You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."

  "Perhaps I have, but I'm scared just the same," said the Lion. "I shall really be very unhappy unless you give me the sort of courage that makes one forget he is afraid."

  "Very well, I will give you that sort of courage tomorrow," replied Oz.

  "How about my heart?" asked the Tin Woodman.

  "Why, as for that," answered Oz, "I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart."

  "That must be a matter of opinion," said the Tin Woodman. "For my part, I will bear all the unhappiness without a murmur, if you will give me the heart."

  "Very well," answered Oz meekly. "Come to me tomorrow and you shall have a heart. I have played Wizard for so many years that I may as well continue the part a little longer."

  "And now," said Dorothy, "how am I to get back to Kansas?"

  "We shall have to think about that," replied the little man. "Give me two or three days to consider the matter and I'll try to find a way to carry you over the desert. In the meantime you shall all be treated as my guests, and while you live in the Palace my people will wait upon you and obey your slightest wish. There is only one thing I ask in return for my help—such as it is. You must keep my secret and tell no one I am a humbug."

  They agreed to say nothing of what they had learned, and went back to their rooms in high spirits. Even Dorothy had hope that "The Great and Terrible Humbug," as she called him, would find a way to send her back to Kansas, and if he did she was willing to forgive him everything.

  16 - The Magic Art of the Great Humbug

  *

  Next morning the Scarecrow said to his friends:

  "Congratulate me. I am going to Oz to get my brains at last. When I return I shall be as other men are."

  "I have always liked you as you were," said Dorothy simply.

  "It is kind of you to like a Scarecrow," he replied. "But surely you will think more of me when you hear the splendid thoughts my new brain is going to turn out." Then he said good-bye to them all in a cheerful voice and went to the Throne Room, where he rapped upon the door.

  "Come in," said Oz.

  The Scarecrow went in and found the little man sitting down by the window, engaged in deep thought.

  "I have come for my brains," remarked the Scarecrow, a little uneasily.

  "Oh, yes; sit down in that chair, please," replied Oz. "You must excuse me for taking your head off, but I shall have to do it in order to put your brains in their proper place."

  "That's all right," said the Scarecrow. "You are quite welcome to take my head off, as long as it will be a better one when you put it on again."

  So the Wizard unfastened his head and emptied out the straw. Then he entered the back room and took up a measure of bran, which he mixed with a great many pins and needles. Having shaken them together thoroughly, he filled the top of the Scarecrow's head with the mixture and stuffed the rest of the space with straw, to hold it in place.

  When he had fastened the Scarecrow's head on his body again he said to him, "Hereafter you will be a great man, for I have given you a lot of bran-new brains."

  The Scarecrow was both pleased and proud at the fulfillment of his greatest wish, and having thanked Oz warmly he went back to his friends.

  Dorothy looked at him curiously. His head was quite bulged out at the top with brains.

  "How do you feel?" she asked.

  "I feel wise indeed," he answered earnestly. "When I get used to my brains I shall know everything."

  "Why are those needles and pins sticking out of your head?" asked the Tin Woodman.

  "That is proof that he is sharp," remarked the Lion.

  "Well, I must go to Oz and get my heart," said the Woodman. So he walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

  "Come in," called Oz, and the Woodman entered and said, "I have come for my heart."

  "Very well," answered the little man. "But I shall have to cut a hole in your breast, so I can put your heart in the right place. I hope it won't hurt you."

  "Oh, no," answered the Woodman. "I shall not feel it at all."

  So Oz brought a pair of tinsmith's shears and cut a small, square hole in the left side of the Tin Woodman's breast. Then, going to a chest of drawers, he took out a pretty heart, made entirely of silk and stuffed with sawdust.

  "Isn't it a beauty?" he asked.

  "It is, indeed!" replied the Woodman, who was greatly pleased. "But is it a kind heart?"

  "Oh, very!" answered Oz. He put the heart in the Woodman's breast and then replaced the square of tin, soldering it neatly together where it had been cut.

  "There," said he; "now you have a heart that any man might be proud of. I'm sorry I had to put a patch on your breast, but it really couldn't be helped."

  "Never mind the patch," exclaimed the happy Woodman. "I am very grateful to you, and shall never forget your kindness."

  "Don't speak of it," replied Oz.

  Then the Tin Woodman went back to his friends, who wished him every joy on account of his good fortune.

  The Lion now walked to the Throne Room and knocked at the door.

  "Come in," said Oz.

  "I have come for my courage," announced the Lion, entering the room.

  "Very well," answered the little man; "I will get it for you."

  He went to a cupboard and reaching up to a high shelf took down a square green bottle, the contents of which he poured into a green-gold dish, beautifully carved. Placing this before the Cowardly Lion, who sniffed at it as if he did not like it, the Wizard said:<
br />
  "Drink."

  "What is it?" asked the Lion.

  "Well," answered Oz, "if it were inside of you, it would be courage. You know, of course, that courage is always inside one; so that this really cannot be called courage until you have swallowed it. Therefore I advise you to drink it as soon as possible."

  The Lion hesitated no longer, but drank till the dish was empty.

  "How do you feel now?" asked Oz.

  "Full of courage," replied the Lion, who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them of his good fortune.

  Oz, left to himself, smiled to think of his success in giving the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and the Lion exactly what they thought they wanted. "How can I help being a humbug," he said, "when all these people make me do things that everybody knows can't be done? It was easy to make the Scarecrow and the Lion and the Woodman happy, because they imagined I could do anything. But it will take more than imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas, and I'm sure I don't know how it can be done."

  17 - How the Balloon was Launched

  *

  For three days Dorothy heard nothing from Oz. These were sad days for the little girl, although her friends were all quite happy and contented. The Scarecrow told them there were wonderful thoughts in his head; but he would not say what they were because he knew no one could understand them but himself. When the Tin Woodman walked about he felt his heart rattling around in his breast; and he told Dorothy he had discovered it to be a kinder and more tender heart than the one he had owned when he was made of flesh. The Lion declared he was afraid of nothing on earth, and would gladly face an army or a dozen of the fierce Kalidahs.

 
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