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Title: The Forest Monster of Oz
Author: Evans, Bob
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Forest Monster of Oz" ***

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            You've got to be taught to hate and fear.
           You've got to be taught from year to year,
         It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear--
            You've got to be carefully taught!

            You've got to be taught to be afraid
           Of people whose eyes are oddly made
          And people whose skin is a different shade--
            You've got to be carefully taught.

            You've got to be taught before it's too late,
           Before you are six or seven or eight,
         To hate all the people your relatives hate--
            You've got to be carefully taught!

                Love is quite different.
                 It grows by itself.

                It will grow like a weed
                On a mountain of stones;
                You don't have to feed
                It can live on a smile
                It may starve for a while,
                But it stumbles along,
            Stumbles along with its banner unfurled,
           The joy and the beauty, the hope of the world.

                                   --Oscar Hammerstein II


THE FOREST MONSTER OF OZ

By Bob Evans

(author of _Dorothy's Mystical Adventures in Oz, Abducted to Oz_, etc.)

and Chris Dulabone

(author of _Toto in Oz, The Lunechien Forest of Oz_, etc.)

Illustrated by Doré Meers



Founded on and continuing the famous Oz stories by

L. Frank Baum

Royal Historian of Oz



This book is dedicated to
Lachie Dunn
who first discovered the existence of Saber-Tooth Light-bulbs



CHAPTER 1

THE COWARDLY LION'S HEROIC DEED


In all the world, there is no country or township known that can ever
compare against the beauty and magnitude of the Marvelous Land of Oz.
This is not a debatable issue. The Land of Oz is not only beautiful with
the glittering gemstones that are found commonplace in this remarkable
fairyland, but its enchantment goes ever farther. In all the territory
of Oz, there is clean, fresh air and gorgeous trees and scenery. There
is peace and quiet when such is desired, and there is high adventure and
excitement at other times. In Oz, no one ever grows older than he
chooses, and death is practically unheard of. The country is situated in
the center of a vast continent, and is surrounded by an impassable
Deadly Desert.

Although the vast Deadly Desert Around Oz aptly prevents tourism from
abroad, those who are fortunate enough to live on the proper side of
this sandy enigma will surely testify that the land is as no other.

The country itself is divided into five distinct regions. The most
important of these is the Emerald City. This famous area lies in the
exact center of the oblong land, and is home to the supreme ruler over
Oz. Her name is Ozma, and she is but a tiny child. Even so, no other
ruler in any other country has ever been more respected, loved, or
envied. To the south of Ozma's remarkable palace is the Quadling
Country. This is ruled over by a powerful Witch named Glinda the Good.
In the Quadling Country, red is the favored color, and most of the
buildings, walls and furniture are distinctly red in hue. To the west
lies the Winkie Country, which is a land where everything is bright and
yellow-colored. To the north is the purple Gillikin territory, and to
the east live the Munchkins. Among these little people, blue was clearly
the color of preference.

It is to this easternmost region that I wish to direct your attention.
It was in the blue Munchkin Country of Oz that a house happened to fall
from the sky and land with a loud crash atop a most unfortunate Wicked
Witch.

Now although this particular Wicked Witch was about as repugnant as they
come, and her evil doings had brought more misery to more people than
can possibly be recorded in these few pages, it was still rather sad to
see her wicked legacy brought to such an abrupt close. Especially as the
particular house that happened to squish her was one which belonged to a
tiny little girl named Dorothy Gale. To think that a mere toddler could
bring an end to the story of the Wicked Witch of the East!

But the story did not exactly end there. It seems that, before such time
as the old woman's liveliness was shmushed by little Dorothy's home, she
had left a little souvenir to remember her by. Actually, it was quite a
large souvenir!

She and her equally-vile sister Allidap, the Wicked Witch of the West,
had created the souvenir to do battle with the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
himself. Had it not been for the Wizard's powerful magic charms, he may
well have been defeated. But thanks to his magic, the Wizard of Oz was
able to thwart the attacks of the Witches and banish their souvenir to a
forest that lay in the southern land of the Quadlings. But fearing the
Witches may try to attack him again, the Wizard hid himself away in the
glorious Emerald City and became a hermit.

Then, one day, Dorothy's house came down and whumped out the Wicked
Witch of the East. This, needless to say, was not a healthy situation
for the Wicked Witch. Little Dorothy was advised in the Munchkin Country
to head for the central city and seek out the reclusive old Wizard,
being told that he alone could help her to get home to Kansas.

It was a long and difficult journey, but the child was equal to the
challenge. Along the way, she chanced to meet up with the Cowardly Lion.
He was a formerly respected leader of the Animal Kingdom, but this
particular lion had fallen into disgrace due to his outlandishly
unkinglike cowardice. He and the little girl became fast friends, and
they journeyed together in search of Oz and, later on, Glinda the Good.
It was on their journey to locate Glinda the Good that they happened to
stray into the very forest where the Witches' souvenir was staying. As
they walked through the vast forest, a large and tawny tiger approached
the Cowardly Lion and bowed subjectively before him.

"Welcome, O King of Beasts!" quoth the tiger. "You have come in good
time to fight our enemy and bring peace to all the animals of the forest
once more."

"What is your trouble?" asked the Cowardly Lion in a quiet voice.

"We are all threatened," answered the tiger, "by a fierce enemy which
has lately come into this forest. It is a most tremendous Monster, like
a great spider, with a body as big as an elephant and legs as long as a
tree trunk. It has eight of these long legs, and as the Monster crawls
through the forest he seizes an animal with a leg and drags it to his
mouth, where he eats it as a spider does a fly. Not one of us is safe
while this fierce creature is alive, and we had called a meeting to
decide how to take care of ourselves when you came among us."

The Cowardly Lion thought over the situation carefully.

"Are there any other lions in this forest?" he enquired.

"No; there were some, but the Monster has eaten them all. And, besides,
they were none of them nearly so large and brave as you."

The Lion got an idea that he hoped would help him overcome his disgrace.

"If I put an end to your enemy," he began, "will you bow down to me and
obey me as King of the Forest?"

"We will do that gladly," returned the big tiger. The rest of the forest
animals voiced assent.

"Where is this great spider of yours now?" asked the Cowardly Lion
bravely.

"Yonder," said the tiger, indicating with a tawny paw, "among the oak
trees."

The Cowardly Lion overcame his fear and ignored the trepidation within
his heart. He came upon the Forest Monster shortly thereafter. Even
though it was sound asleep, it was the most ghastly sight that the
Cowardly Lion had ever laid eyes on. It was huge, black and furry. It
was filthy, too. Its putrid smell had the Lion reeling in spite of
himself. But he pressed onward. The snores of the ugly Monster revealed
its razor-sharp fangs which measured in at at least a foot long. Its
powerful legs were as muscular as those of a Hercules and were as big
around as a house and as long as the trunk of a tree. The claws on the
end of its eight enormous legs were curved and as sharp as scimitars. It
was quite the sort of thing that nightmares are made of.

But the Cowardly Lion noticed that the Forest Monster had one weakness.
He was observant enough to notice that, though the spider was so much
larger than any other spider he had ever seen, its neck was as slender
as a wasp's waist. Given this obvious oversight on the part of the
Wicked Witches who had designed him, the Forest Monster suddenly seemed
less Monstrous to the Cowardly Lion. With a leap and a single blow of
his mighty paw, he knocked the Forest Monster's head clean off! He then
watched the writhing body until its legs stopped wiggling and he knew
that it was quite dead.

[Illustration: "_With a leap and a single blow of his mighty paw, he
knocked the Forest Monster's head clean off!"_]



CHAPTER 2

ELEPHANT'S DAY


"Elephant?" asked Tweaty, a yellow canary who was looking up at the
large gray beast.

"Yes?" asked the elephant, who was drinking a tall glass of chocolate
milk with his trunk.

"I was just thinking about the new Queen of Oz," said the bird solemnly.
"Do you think she'll last? I mean, I really thought that the Wonderful
Wizard of Oz himself would rule over the Land forever. Then I placed my
confidence in His Majesty the Scarecrow. Now, out of the blue, we've got
this little girl who is probably younger than most eggs, and we are
supposed to give her our neverending support?"

"Why in the world not?" the pachyderm drawled as he indolently stretched
himself. "Nibbles and I agree that, though she is very young, Princess
Ozma shows a lot of promise as Oz's new leader. Give the child a chance.
She's only been a Queen for a week or so!"

"Absolutely, Tweaty!" Nibbles agreed. "And so many rulers have been
youthful. Remember the old story about King Tut? He was just a little
boy."

Few persons guessed that Nibbles, Elephant and Tweaty were old friends,
so unlike were they in appearance and disposition. Tweaty was delicate,
clean and could sing for hours on end without repeating a tune. He took
pride in his appearance and always made sure that his refulgent feathers
were clean. Nibbles, on the other hand, was a mouse. He was often found
digging in the trash that was sometimes left by careless campers or
burrowing in other animals' nests. His fur was not what most would deem
tidy, but he was amiable and companionable. Elephant, by far the
largest of the three, was less colorful. He liked the other animals, and
he ofttimes wanted to help the smaller creatures as best he could, but
his immense size and bulk generally made him feel more like a nuisance
than a help. In spite of legends that would have us all believe that
elephants are afraid of mice, he found that most of his favorite
playmates were among the smaller creatures of Oz. He enjoyed fellowship
with mice, as well as with rabbits and hedgehogs. He had befriended
Nibbles at a young age, and it had been Nibbles who had introduced him
to Tweaty.

The three friends were enjoying a relaxing afternoon in a remote region
of the Munchkin Country known as the Lunechien Forest. It was a time of
transition in the Land of Oz. The child Queen, Ozma of Oz, had just been
named Ruler over the land. This news had met with mixed reactions. Many
Ozites maintained that only the Wonderful Wizard could rule the land.
Others favored the amiable Scarecrow. But all admitted that, even though
a tiny little girl, Ozma was a unique leader. She had already proven
that. She had not only created and brought to life a pumpkin-headed man
named Jack, a wooden Sawhorse, and a wobbly monstrosity with the head of
a Gump, but had also gone forth with these unlikely companions and saved
the Land of Oz from a terrible fate.

[Illustration: Elephant, drinking chocolate milk.]

"But she's a little girl!" said the bird. "She's a child! Children
should be allowed to enjoy their childhoods. This kid should learn to
play jacks or skip a rope. She should have some nice paper dolls to
dress up. She should have nice toys. She is too young to be a Queen. Let
her live a happy life for a while before you go throwing all that
responsibility on her. She's only a baby, for crying out loud!"

"She is a cute little thing, though," Elephant remarked, half to
himself.

"Cute?" Tweaty demanded in surprise. "That is hardly a reason to elect
someone leader. Especially over such a vast country as Oz. Maybe if Oz
were a little dinky insignificant country like America or Kansas, it
would be okay. But Oz is so much bigger than those places. Elephant,
don't you think that adorable infant deserves a childhood to enjoy
before getting schlepped into Queenhood unprepared?"

Before Elephant could reply, an unexpected occurrence drove all idle
thoughts from his mind. It all happened in an instant.

From the ends of the earth to the top of the sky, an unearthly roar
issued forth. It was as blood-curdling as a scream, yet as sinister as a
red dragon's growl.

Then, before the horrified trio, a gigantic spider loomed before them.
It looked as if it were hungry, and it was so uncannily big that it
could easily have devoured all three of them in an instant! It might
have, too, had it not been distracted by the sight of a small yellow cat
which was darting by. It took the feline in its massive claws and raised
her to its mouth.



CHAPTER 3

THE FOREST MONSTER


Elephant stampeded frantically toward the scene, fearing for the life of
the cat.

"We'll need all the help we can get," Elephant said grimly. "That animal
is big! But it has poor Fisher the Cat. We can't let it eat her up!"

"Why not?" asked Nibbles.

The Elephant slung himself against the Monster's leg as hard as he
could, but the creature did not even seem to notice. In a glance it was
apparent to the bird and the mouse that their companion was in trouble.

"Elephant!" shouted Tweaty. "Get away from that thing! Look at its
teeth! It will eat your nose off! Get your body away from it!"

[Illustration: Elephant vs. Forest Monster]

But Elephant was determined. He made a loud trumpet noise and stepped
on the Monster's foot. With a howl of pain, the Forest Monster dropped
the cat.

"What do you think you're doing, to try and eat Fisher up like that? A
poor defenseless cat! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"

"I wasn't going to eat her up, you dolt!" said the Monster in a cold and
scratchy voice. "I was trying to see if it was a lion. I was told by a
certain squirrel that it was a lion who lopped my head off."

"But you've still got your head," Tweaty interjected.

"Yeah, _now_!" said the Monster. "But it was a pain in the neck trying
to get it back! And before I could, my body began to shrink. I kept
getting smaller and smaller. I felt like Alice after eating the wrong
thing!"

"Holy cow!" said Nibbles. "Are you saying that you were once bigger than
you are now?"

"No, actually. I found myself a way to restore my size."

"How is that?"

"I have captured a very magical insect-bug in one of my webs. Sweet
little thing, too. Some people spray insects with a flit gun, but I like
to eat them up. Bugs are yummy in my tummy! But my little Lovebug is
special. She doesn't go in my tummy. Instead, she gets to stay wound up
in my web, only to be let free long enough to give me what I need."

"What is that?" asked Elephant with a shudder.

"The biggest and grandest thing in the universe is, of course, True
Love. Even though shaped a bit like a cockroach, my Lovebug can produce
the stuff inside her teeny little heart. All I have to do is chant a
certain incantation and then to have her kiss me once or twice each day,
and I stay as big as I like!"

"But that is terrible!" said Tweaty. "You can't abuse Love that way!
Love is supposed to be beautiful and friendly and stuff like that! To
cheapen this sacred gift by forcing someone into submission by magic or
force is an abuse of Love, and not what the gods had in mind for us at
all. If you are making this Love-insect your slave, you are abusing the
whole concept and also missing the point!"

With another tremendous roar, the huge spider was gone. He obviously did
not care for any more lecturing that day.

"Good riddance, I say!" spoke Nibbles. "That big old thing was ugly! And
it smelled awful!"

"Where's Fisher?" asked Elephant.

"I think the thingy ate her up after all."

"I sure hope not!"

"I'm fine," came the feline meow. "Is that beast gone away yet?"

"It has," answered the pachyderm. Oddly, neither Nibbles nor Tweaty felt
the slightest tinge of fear at the sight of the cat. In Oz, natural
enemies ofttimes become the dearest of friends. Indeed, Oz is a truly
remarkable land!

"I think I saw all nine of my lives flash before me that time!" said the
cat. "What in the heck _was_ that thing that had me?"

"I don't know," said Elephant. "But I hope we'll never see it again."

"But you have to rescue that poor little insect!" said an earthworm,
poking her head out of the ground. "Didn't you bozos hear what that
thing said about Lovebug? He's got her stuck in his sticky web, and he
is treating her like a slave and he's even making her--ugh!--kiss him!
How yucky can you get? You must save that poor little bug. She is a good
bug. Love is always good! Please help her. Please. I can't bear to think
of her in that predicament!"

"It's a stupid bug, for crying out loud!" said Tweaty. "Don't you think
that we have more important things to do than to go and save a stupid
bug?"

"But this is Oz, where everyone is equal," Nibbles pointed out. "Even a
cat like Fisher is our friend. In this fantastic country, I'd think that
even a tiny insect is not beneath our concern. I think we should save
her."

"Give me a break!" Tweaty said. "I'm not about to face that big ugly
Monster again for the sake of a cockroach!"

"She is not a cockroach," said the worm. "She is a kindly insect who
helps people in need to feel cared about. She has great powers to do
that for people. But that spider is misusing her powers and making her
serve him in a most wicked capacity against her will. He is abusing her
and she is probably miserable. How can you let him treat such a sweet
being in such an awful manner?"

"I, for one, am willing to try to help save Lovebug," said Elephant.

"Me too," said Nibbles.

"I think..."

Before Tweaty could finish his sentence, a loud scream was heard.
Hurrying toward the sound, they found Louie the Lobo with a pale
expression.

"What happened?" asked Elephant.

"Something took Tiger!" he said. "I didn't see who it was, but something
took him away while we were talking about the Tin Woodman. I don't know
who would do such a foul thing! Tiger is my best friend! I yelled at the
kidnapper, but to no avail. I have lost my best friend!" He began to cry
like a kitten.

"It must have been that awful Forest Monster-Spider!" Nibbles swallowed
hard. "I know it was he who did this! He is so horrific! We must get
word to the new Queen. We really must!"

"I agree wholeheartedly," spoke Elephant. "We can not allow this sort of
thing to happen. Do you remember the last time enslavement was happening
here in our Munchkin country?"

"I do," said the mouse. "It was when that Wicked Witch had us all
enslaved. Oh, she was ever so much worse than I had ever realized! I'm
glad that house fell down and made her into mush."

"But we cannot count on any houses falling down on this spider man,"
said Tweaty with certainty. "You are quite right when you say that we
should do something about it. I was being awfully selfish when I refused
to do anything to help that little bug. But now my eyes are opened. To
think that not even a tiger is safe in that Monster's wake! This means
sure danger for birds and mice and elephants, too!"

"Then let's go and inform the new Queen straightaway!" trumpeted
Elephant. "I am willing to believe that she has the power to help us if
anyone does."

"But we should have something to show her to prove that we are not
insane," said Nibbles. "After all, who would ever believe that such a
beast could exist? It isn't natural. And besides ..."

He cut his sentence short when his eye fell upon a large marking on the
ground.

"Gads!" exclaimed Elephant. "That is one of the Monster's footprints!
Goodness! Just look how deep it is! That creature must weigh a million
tons!"

"Yes," agreed Tweaty, flittering into the hole. "This footprint is
almost as big around as a horse! And look at the size of those claws!
I'll bet it could rip Elephant in two without even straining itself!"

"Let's not discuss that," shuddered the pachyderm. "But I think we
should save this footprint for the Queen. Because she is a mere child,
she will be most impressed by its mass. I think we should make a cast of
it and carry it to the Emerald City to show her what we are up against."

Nibbles and Tweaty hurriedly went to a nearby maple tree and gnawed at
its trunk for a time. With Elephant's help, they poured some maple
syrupy sap into the footprint. Elephant blew on this with his strong
lungs until it hardened. Then, there before the trio, was a perfect cast
of the Forest Monster's footprint.

Eagerly Elephant snatched it up in his trunk and flung it onto his back.

"Let's get on our way," he said. The other two nestled upon his head
and they were off to the Emerald City of Oz.



CHAPTER 4

AN UNLIKELY TRIO OF FRIENDS


Elephant, Tweaty and Nibbles were ready to leave, and it seemed that
dozens of other forest animals were of the same mind. The ferocity of
the Forest Monster had led many of the denizens of the Lunechien Forest
to panic. Many of them wanted to tell the Lord of the Forest about the
trouble, while others elected to go to Glinda the Good, who ruled over
the neighboring Land of the Quadlings. Animals were running to and fro,
and there was a mass of confusion.

"Look out!" Nibbles cried suddenly. "That Unicorn is coming right at
us!"

Elephant was helpless in trying to avert the disaster. An abnormally
frightened Unicorn, undoubtedly made nervous by the excitement, had lost
control of her footing. She plowed into the rear of the elephant with a
jolt which nearly flung the two passengers on his head into Glowing
Limbo.

Retrieving his companions and determining that they were unhurt, he
listened for a few moments to the oft-repeated apologies of the Unicorn
and then set out again.

"I sure hope that Queen Ozma can do something about that ugly brute,"
said Nibbles.

"If she can't, we'll be no worse off than when we started," replied
Tweaty.

The subject was dropped there. Elephant had run most rapidly and the
trio was now approaching the Emerald City.

"Excuse me," said the man at the gate. "Who are you and what is your
business in the Emerald City?"

"We want to see the child who has become our Queen," replied Elephant.

"On what grounds?"

"On the ground I'm walking upon now, I suppose. Is there a problem?"

"What is your business with the Queen? If you are here to make fun of
her age, you are welcome to go away. Queen Ozma was sent to us by the
Fairy Queen Lurliné herself, and she has our respect. Even though she is
a tiny child, she is not to be made sport of."

"No one is making sport of anyone," said Elephant gruffly. "Though if
you don't get out of my way I may decide to use you for a football."

"That will not be necessary," said the guard. "But you will need to wear
green glasses. It is a rule that was set up by the Wonderful Wizard of
Oz himself. It is because of the gleaming magnitude of all the big
gemstones everywhere. If you don't wear these special glasses, you might
well be blinded by their brilliance. I hope you won't object to this."

"Well," said Elephant. "I fear that your glasses will not fit someone my
size. Nor, for that matter, the smaller sizes of my companions."

"Jeepers," said the guard. "I hadn't thought of that. Perhaps you're
right." He practically threw himself into his chestful of green glasses,
but found none that would fit the animals. "I guess I'll have to make
you some. This may take a while, so you'll have to find something to do
in the mean."

"How about we go and talk to the Queen while you make us our glasses?"
suggested Nibbles.

"A grand idea!" replied the guard. He opened the gate and the company
entered.

The Emerald City of Oz is a truly remarkable place. It has had so many
volumes written about it that it hardly needs a description here, but it
should be noted that our trio was most impressed.

Ozma, too, was very impressive. They came upon her while she was
engrossed in playing paper-dolls with another little girl on the palace
steps.

[Illustration: Ozma]

"Excuse me, your Majesty," said Elephant.

The child looked up from her game and smiled at the pachyderm. "Hello,"
she said quietly.

"My Dear Queen," said Elephant, "I and my cohorts are from the Lunechien
Forest of Oz. It is situated in the Munchkin Country, and we are proud
to call ourselves your subjects."

"Thank you very much," Ozma said politely. "Do you want to play
paper-dolls with us?"

"I--er, well, I suppose at some point I could be persuaded," stammered
Elephant. "But I have come on very important business just now."

As the animals watched, Ozma seemed to make a complete transformation.
She remained a child, but her eyes suddenly grew solemn and she raised
herself from her seat on the steps. Even though very young and
inexperienced, the Child Queen took on an appearance of regal splendor.
It made Elephant want to bow down before her, and this he promptly did.
It was fortunate that Tweaty could fly, but unfortunate that Nibbles
could not. Tweaty zoomed into the air without mishap as soon as
Elephant's head went down in his bow. Nibbles, however, was thrust
through the air by the impact of Elephant's exuberant show of
subjection. He flew toward the child and did not stop until he became
caught in her pocket. Ozma, being that she was only a little girl after
all, began to scream until Elephant reached into the pocket with his
trunk and retrieved the rodent.

"Thank you," Ozma said, composing herself. "When I was a little boy
named Tip, I'd have probably thought that very funny. But I am beginning
to feel like Ozma again. This is who I am truly destined to be. Now tell
me, what is the nature of your call?"

Elephant and the others quickly explained about the Forest Monster and
how they feared for their lives. As they spoke, the child grew more and
more solemn.

"It is hard to be a ruler over such a big land as Oz," spoke the child
after she had heard the news concerning the spider creature. "But I am
not willing to allow such a fiendish creature to harm any of my
subjects. I do not know of your Lunechien Forest, but I will do all in
my power to assist you."

[Illustration: Lurliné, leader of the fairies]



CHAPTER 5

THE QUEEN OF OZ


The magic of Oz began with little more than a simple wish. The man who
ruled at that long-forgotten time, King Ozroar, was not a very happy
monarch. He ruled the beautiful land, but he had no magic with which to
insure the happiness of the people. Sickening fogs would envelop the
land from time to time, and the area was never very prosperous. Still,
it was too beautiful to go overlooked by the fairies. These magical
beings are able to see things as they should be, not only as they are.
One fairy who was especially interested in the land of Oz was a leader
of fairies named Lurliné.

Lurliné was no ordinary fairy ruler, though. She had especial insight
into the things that made beauty what it is. It was her keen insight
that once brought her to Mount Olympus. This legendary mountain has long
been said to be the home of many ancient Gods. According to the Ozian
storytellers, who still today will sit by your campfire and tell you a
tale in exchange for a cup of tea or a morsel of food, these Immortals
recognized her abilities at once, and she was admitted into their
society of Godhood. As a Goddess, Lurliné was able to gain access to
many things.

With the help of her fairy band, as well as the input of her sister
fairy, Polychrome, Lurliné was able to give the Land of Oz the magical
enchantment that made it what it is today. But she did not do the deed
without a few pitfalls.

Among the things that Lurliné required to fulfill the spell's needs were
Apollo's own sky chariot, the flying horses to pull it through the air,
Kolé's essence of crystal, and Lillith's brazier of endless flame. At
Polychrome's suggestion, she also obtained Iris' jug of rainbow.

Unfortunately, Lurliné was not always scrupulous. In this event, she
elected to take the various magical requirements without the permission
of the various deities. She stole into their chambers at night as they
lay sleeping and took the elements she wished. She then went together
with her fairy band and performed the enchantment over Oz.

She was banished from Mount Olympus as a result of her rash action. But,
supposing the legend is all true, the marvelous Land of Oz remains as a
glowing tribute to the powers of the Fairy Queen Lurliné. And to insure
its longevity, Lurliné arranged for a fairy ruler to watch over the
country she had created. Of course, the ruler would have to be a native
Ozite. She would be a beautiful princess.

Princess Ozma was born several generations later unto a descendant of
Ozroar and his wife Ozia, herself a descendant of fairies and daughter
of Oziana. Young Ozma was prepared to take on the leadership of Oz upon
reaching adulthood.

But Lurliné's plan was balked by the arrival of Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig
Isaac Norman Henckle Emmanuel Ambroise Diggs. This was a mortal man from
outside of the enchanted land who landed there in a balloon. It had been
he who had erected the Emerald City, and he who had sold the infant Ozma
into slavery at the hands of a heartless old Witch named Mombi. To hide
the infant queen, Mombi had transformed her into a boy. She believed
that no one would ever think to look to a little boy to find the fairy
princess, so Ozma was aptly hidden away for a very long time.

But things in Oz do have a way of working out for the best. After Diggs
left the country, Ozma was found and restored to her proper being. She
had aged very little, being that Oz folk age only when they choose to,
and little Ozma had just been given her rightful place on the royal
throne. Most of this history, of course, was unknown to Elephant and
his companions. They saw only the fact that she was a child. They did
not know of her unique experiences at all. If they had, they'd have
surely recognized that she was more aware of human needs and the
differences there connected. But even to their eyes, it was clear that
this child was very special. They had every hope that she would be able
to do as they needed done to rid their land of the terrifying Forest
Monster.

[Illustration: Tiger caught in a Spiderweb.]



CHAPTER 6

THE GIANT SPIDER


Tiger growled as he watched his captor wrap him in the strong webbing.
He was a fairly small tiger, but he was accustomed to being larger than
any spider he had ever heard of. This spider, he felt certain, was some
sort of a freak of nature. Perhaps a direct result of the humans'
constant littering, or maybe a military experiment gone haywire.

"Ahh, my little pussycat," laughed the creature. "I have you now. There
is no need for further struggle."

"Like I told you before," grumbled Tiger, "I am not a lion. I am a
striped tiger. Can't you see that?"

"I can admit that you do not look like what I had in mind," replied the
spider. "However, you are feline in nature. That is all I care about
just now."

"But it wasn't me who beheaded you. I am innocent!"

"Perhaps," the spider seemed unconcerned. "Perhaps what you say is true,
and then again, perhaps you're Lion to me. In any event, you are at the
very least a distant cousin to that animal that lopped my head off. When
he hears that you are in my clutches, he'll be here."

"But this is a small, rarely traversed forest," said the tiger. "It
isn't often that news from the Lunechien Forest gets out to the rest of
the country."

"Then you shall stay here as my guest," grinned the spider. "After all,
the little insect has been satisfying me less lately. I had been using
her sweet charity to keep myself giant-sized." He stalked over to a wall
on the far side of the cave. Indicating two yellowing papers with
crudely drawn human faces on them, he turned back toward his bound
prisoner. "These are pictures I drew of the Great Masters. They created
me, and gave me the powers I possess. When they asked me to devour their
bald-headed little enemy, I was only too happy to comply. He had too
much magic in him, however. I was sent away from my beloved Creators."
Tiger thought that the monster was about to cry, but he went on. "I made
the best of it, though. I became the leader of a lot of wild animals in
an untamed wood. Oh, they never actually called me that. But they feared
me. You'd better believe it! They were scared spitless by me! Until one
day, when that ... that ... that LION came along and used my head as if
it were a baseball! But I'll get even now, little friend. Believe you
me! I will find that lion, and I will chomp his head off! You just wait
and see if I don't!" He turned to the drawing of the Witch of the East.
"I will avenge myself on this lion for us both," he said, crossing
himself.

"But, really," begged Tiger. "I have no argument with you. Please let me
free. I will help you bag your lion-prey."

"Not a bit of that!" snarled the spider. "I have better plans for you."

"Better plans?"

"Most definitely. As I was saying, the bug's no longer sufficient for my
needs. I am told that you have a powerful and courageous heart. Bold and
fearless, is it not?"

"I'm afraid I don't understand your ..."

"If I use your heartfelt emotions, which seem to be, er ... well,
tiger-sized by definition ... If I can do that, I can remain giant-sized
for time and all eternity. I can be all-powerful! I will be the bravest
arachnid on the face of the earth! And next, my little chickadee, I plan
to capture some little beasts that are called Hootsey and ... Lisa, is
it? Owls, I think. They are known for their wisdom and kindness to their
fellow Ozites. I care nothing for their kindness, of course. My power
comes from the negative uses of the senses. But I plan to make use of
their immense knowledge. Oh, yes! And then, my dear little Tiger, THEN!
I shall reach out to my definitive prize in all the Lunechien Forest.
That big wrinkly fellow I saw not too long ago. He had a nose like a
garden hose, but my little bug has unwittingly told me that he is the
one to whom the forest beasts turn when they have problems. He likes to
solve problems, and has a phenomenal knack for it. He is wise beyond his
years, and his emotions encompass all the land! He is also one of the
strongest and most bold beasts in all the Lunechien territory--even
putting the tigers like you to shame! When I can capture this Elephant,
I will be all-powerful! I will be almighty! I will be superhuman! Then,
I shall be able to take on the beast who has come to be known as the
Cowardly Lion. A most unfitting moniker, wouldn't you say, for a fellow
who swiped off my head while I was asleep one day?"

"You'll never get away with this!" roared Tiger. "Elephant is too big
and strong to be beaten by any spider--even one so large as you!"

"We'll see about that shortly, Shorty," replied the spider. "Now, won't
we?"



CHAPTER 7

THE FOREST MONSTER OF OZ


Meanwhile, word of the monster's plans for Tiger had reached Elephant
and Tweaty and Nibbles via Hootsey and Lisa. The trio had been showing
Ozma the cast of the giant footprint when the owls flew in with the
news. Ozma was astounded that such a beast could live in her domain
without her being aware of it. And indeed, the beast had kept a fairly
low profile until recently. But it was quite obvious that a power
struggle was now going on. The beast was gradually finding out that he
could grow larger and stronger at the expense of others and would no
doubt not be satisfied until he was so large and powerful that every
living creature would be under his domain. Why, even Ozma herself was in
danger. The owls quickly informed her that the beast's first goal was to
capture Elephant in order to gain the super strength that would enable
him to attack the Cowardly Lion. However, she knew he had to absorb
Tiger's power and courage first before he would dream of attacking
Elephant. It was quite obvious he was going to have to think fast before
Tiger became a mere shell of his old self.

Hootsey and Lisa were naturally quite concerned for their own welfare.
They did not want their wisdom sucked out of them by a giant spider with
vampire-like tendencies. One has to live a long time and learn by trial
and error before one can truly be considered wise. Of course, some
people never learn. They make the same mistakes over and over. However,
that is neither here nor there. The point is that Hootsey and Lisa were
in as much danger as anyone and were very anxious to help in any way
they could.

"If I might make a suggestion?" said Hootsey. "I recently came upon some
unusual creatures that could very well be a match for the monster."

Of course, everyone was all ears, and fell silent as Hootsey began to
talk.

"These creatures are very unusual in that they are technically made of
glass and so would appear to be very fragile. But when they open their
mouths they are a most ferocious sight to behold. They are of a bulbous
shape with very long legs that can move at the speed of light--"

At this point Nibbles intercepted Hootsey's graphic description.

"These animals sound most interesting, but they don't sound particularly
ferocious--"

"Oh, wait!" responded Hootsey. "I haven't told you the best part. Their
mouths are filled with razor-sharp teeth and they can rip any animal to
shreds in two seconds. When a pack of them attack, the unfortunate
victim never even knows what hit him. It's over that fast."

[Illustration: Owl describing Saber-tooth Light-Bulbs]

"And what might the name of these creatures be?" responded Elephant.

"Well," answered Hootsey. "Two important factors contribute to their
name. One is their ability to light their bodies up at night brighter
than a hundred glow worms. The second is when they open their mouths and
expose those teeth you would think you were looking at a Saber-Toothed
tiger. Anyone want to guess their name?"

"_Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs!_" everyone responded in unison.

They all began to feel a little better to know that perhaps the dreadful
spider-creature may not be so formidable after all. It was difficult to
imagine how he could possibly stand up to a ferocious pack of
Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs. Of course, the next thing that must be done
would be to negotiate with the Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs and see if they
would be willing to take on the monster. The little group was so
engrossed in mulling this over that they did not notice a new visitor in
their midst. It was Tweaty who first noticed him and nudged Nibbles in
the ribs. Nibbles looked up to observe the strangest-looking little chap
that he had ever set eyes on. He was a sort of miniature Fred
Flintstone--short and pudgy. But he had a nose to beat all noses! It
wasn't that it was long or funny shaped or anything. It was just big
(and I really mean BIG!). Anyway, when Tweaty poked Nibbles in the ribs,
it was a pretty hard poke. And Nibbles let out quite a yell. Everyone
turned to look, and saw the stranger.

"Excuse me," said the stranger. "I didn't mean to intrude. But I saw
everyone here having a meeting and I didn't want to interrupt. However,
since I now have your undivided attention, I feel duty-bound to convey
the reason for my being here in the hopes that you will not consider it
an intrusion on your privacy."

"Well, he is certainly polite," commented Hootsey. "It is my considered
opinion that we should hear what he has to say."

"By all means," everyone said, nodding in unison.

"Well, my mission is really with Queen Ozma. You see, my people have
encountered some border skirmishes with our neighbors to the north and
we were hoping that Queen Ozma could use her good offices and apply her
diplomatic powers of persuasion to encourage them to retreat back into
their own territory. You see, they are very aggressive in nature;
whereas we are a very passive people."

"Might I ask if they have made any formal declaration of hostilities?"
asked the Queen in her best adult voice.

"Well, no. Not exactly," responded the little chap. "Perhaps the best
way of clarifying the situation would be for me to read this copy of a
recent speech our President gave to our parliamentary congress." With
that, he pulled out a rolled-up manuscript from his coat pocket with a
flourish and began to read;

"'Ladies and Gentlemen: I have called this emergency session of the Five
Hundredth and Eighteenth Parliamentary Congress to inform you of some
very disturbing developments along our northern border. As president of
the Sniffer Nation, I need not remind you of the delicate nature of our
highly sensitive olfactory organs--our noses. And would you believe that
our so-called friendly northern neighbors--the Stinkfoots--have recently
seen fit to ignore all previous treaties and sense of common decency!
They have caused great distress among our border residents by not only
building new residential dwellings right smack up against the border,
but have blatantly crossed the border in ever increasing numbers and
brazenly thumbed their ridiculously small noses at Sniffer citizens who
were unfortunate enough to cross their paths. They have also been
observed taking soil samples from our rich bottom land. The reasons for
this are now known to us. You will be shocked to the core when I reveal
this to you in a moment. In the meantime many of our border residents
have become so overwhelmed and nauseated by the smell of the Stinkfoots
that they have moved lock stock and barrel to the city. I immediately
dashed off a letter of protest to the Stinkfoot President, demanding an
immediate withdrawal to the previously negotiated line of demarcation
two miles north of the border.'

"I do not wish to alarm our citizens to the point of panic, but I shall
now read to you their President's reply:

"'To President Humongous Schnozzle; distinguished Members of the Five
Hundredth and Eighteenth Parliamentary Congress of the Sniffer Nation;
and to all of the humble citizens of your fair land.

"'First, let me apologize for not entering into new negotiations regarding
our present expansion. But due to a severe blight on our stinkweed crop,
which as you know is our staple diet, our people are becoming severely
malnourished. I'm sure that you are all well aware that we are greatly
dependent on the stinkweed plant for many purposes, the least of which
is the manufacture of stinkweed pills which we all partake of
religiously in order to maintain that rich aroma that permeates our
bodies, but which mainly radiates from the area of our feet. As you
know, our olfactory senses are virtually nonexistent, but we are aware
of a slight essence of this aroma which we find most pleasing.
Unfortunately for others who might stray across our borders, the smell
overpowers them in seconds, rendering any potential invader helpless.
Now, as a result of the factors I have just presented to you, we find
your bottom land by our northern borders to be extremely rich in
nutrients that the stinkweed plant needs to flourish, and preliminary
experimental results indicate that stinkweed plants grown in this
environment are completely immune to the blight that is wiping out our
crop. Therefore, we have no option but to take as much of your land as
will insure the very survival of the proud nation that we are. That is
why we did not inform you formally or informally. The matter is simply
not negotiable.

"'Sincerely

"'Stinky McFoot President (Past, Present and Future) of Stinkfootland

"'P.S.--It is not our fault that the Sniffer people have such big noses
that their sense of smell is ultra sensitive to our presence.'"

The little group had fallen silent. "You know," said Elephant to Ozma.
"We are greatly sympathetic to their predicament. However, the situation
with the Stinkfoots and the Sniffers is diverting us from our real
problem--which is that huge, furry, ugly, filthy putrid monstrosity who
calls himself a spider."

"That's very true," said Ozma. "But remember, we have to negotiate with
the Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs before we can do anything. In the
meantime, the President of the Sniffer Nation has asked our help and we
simply cannot refuse. He and his people are in a real bind."

"I'll be in a real bind if that monster attacks me," snapped Elephant.
"I'll be bound up in his giant web and devoured to death."

"Now don't you worry," Ozma replied, reaching up to pat Elephant's
trunk. "We won't let anything happen to you."

Her answer must have satisfied Elephant, because he wrapped his trunk
around her waist and hoisted her up to his back. Then he walked down to
the stream and took a long drink. As they returned to join the group,
Hootsey was clearing his throat and proceeded to speak with pure wisdom
dripping from every word. "I have been thinking..."

Before he could continue, Lisa interrupted him. "I can see that you've
been thinking because smoke is coming out of your ears." Of course she
had a twinkle in her eyes when she said this, but Hootsey did not see
the humor of it.

"Well that's very funny, Ha! Ha!" he said dryly. "I'm dying of laughter,
Ho! Ho! Ho!" After he finished glaring at Lisa, he continued ... "So,
anyway, as I was saying," again glaring at Lisa, "_before I was so
rudely interrupted!_ There is great diversity in Oz. I mean, there are
so many different kinds of people, yet for the most part we all get
along fairly well. Oh, we have our differences of opinion. No question
about it. But we seem to resolve them without too much upheaval. Well,
most of the time. Anyway, the point is--"

At that, Tweaty interrupted. "I can see immediately that you have never
been to Chilepepperland."

"And where, pray tell, is Chilepepperland?" enquired Hootsey with a hint
of cynicism. "And why have I never heard of it?"

"Perhaps you've never heard of it because you're too busy trying to
think of wise things to say," interrupted Nibbles. "After all, you have
a reputation to uphold."

Hootsey could not be sure if Nibbles was being a "smart alec" or was
just paying him a complement.

"Chilepepperland is beyond the great desert," answered Tweaty, "in a
very remote region which is surrounded by impenetrable terrain composed
of jagged rocks. There is only one narrow passageway which twists and
turns every which way through the rocks. The sides of the passageway are
quite sheer. If you were looking down from above, it would just seem
like a chasm because you cannot see the path at the bottom. Besides, the
road disappears in places where it goes under the rocks. The entrance is
completely hidden by prickly pear bushes which are plentiful in the
region. That is why no one has ever heard of Chilepepperland. Because it
is basically cut off from civilization."

"How did you discover it?" Elephant asked with genuine curiosity.

"Well," continued Tweaty, "I happened to be flying over the area one day
and spotted a group of green chilepeppers having a picnic. They invited
me to lunch and told me all about their turbulent history. It seems that
Chilepepperland was first occupied by several tribes of red chilepeppers
who were, for the most part, peace-loving. Oh, they had occasional small
skirmishes among themselves. But they lived in relative harmony for many
many years; living off the land which they treated with great reverence
because it provided all their food. They also had great respect for the
animal kingdom. They were never wasteful; giving constant thanks to the
great spirit who, they believed, watched over them and provided for them
abundantly. They believed in sharing their bounty with one another, and
this they did frequently with great ceremony. Then one fateful day, the
first group of yellow chilepeppers arrived from a foreign shore. At
first there was a mutual understanding between the newcomers and the
indigenous people. The red chilepeppers were very helpful in assisting
the newcomers to adapt to their new surroundings. In return, they were
given trinkets that sparkled, such as colored glass beads, hand mirrors
and such, the like of which they'd never set eyes on before. The red
chilepeppers were an innocent people, really quite primitive compared to
the sophisticated so-called civilized newcomers who, incidentally, were
very quick to take advantage of the childlike trust the red chilepeppers
displayed in their early contacts. They moved quickly to take full
advantage of these simple trustful souls. And as more and more yellow
chilepeppers arrived, they moved across the country taking whatever land
they needed without any regard for the previous occupants. This lead to
much fighting and eventual total conquest of the red chilepeppers who
were forced to give up their beautiful lands and moved to less desirable
areas. This broke their spirit, for they were once a very proud
people--roaming at will the vast prairies and forests. And to this day
they remain second-class citizens, really. Never able to assimilate into
the world of the yellow chilepeppers, nor ever able to return to the
total freedom they once knew."

"That has to be the saddest story I've ever heard," said Elephant.
"Those yellow chilepeppers are just rotten dogs! How could they treat
their fellow chilepeppers that way just because they were red instead of
yellow?"

"I assume that they were uncomfortable with people who they considered
'different,'" answered Ozma. "Also, they wanted the best land for
themselves."

"Anyway, that's not all," continued Tweaty. "After they took those lush
lands away from the rightful owners, they desecrated much of it over the
years, seeing it only as something to take from and to pour harsh
chemicals into for various reasons of their own. The red chilepeppers
had always blessed the land, given it thanks for its bounty and
replenished it when they took from it. Yet the yellow chilepeppers
considered them primitive and savage. And that's still not all! The
green chilepeppers went on to tell me about the treatment that _they_
received at the hands of the yellow chilepeppers. It seems that they
also lived in a land of their own far away across the Nonestic Ocean.
One day a group of yellow chilepeppers, who were visiting the area in
their ship, came ashore and captured some of them and took them back to
Chilepepperland and sold them to plantation owners in the southern part
of Chilepepperland ..."

"Oh, come on!" said Nibbles, who had been very silent all this time.
"You can't sell people."

"In those days you could," Tweaty responded. "At least, according to the
green chilepeppers I talked to. They not only sold the people they
captured as slaves, but they went back again and again to capture more
green chilepeppers and sold them, too. And by the way, a lot of the
green chilepeppers died in the terrible voyage en route."

"But how could the leaders of the yellow chilepeppers allow this to
happen?" asked Ozma. "I would never allow even an unkind remark to pass
between them if I were their leader. And I would have made the yellow
chilepeppers take the green chilepeppers back to their own people
immediately."

"Well, as a matter of fact," continued Tweaty, "the yellow chilepeppers'
leader lived in the north, and he thought very poorly of this
arrangement. A lot of other people agreed with him, and he abolished
slavery forever from the land. But it caused the yellow chilepeppers to
fight among themselves and, to this day, some yellow chilepeppers still
do not consider the green chilepeppers to be equal in status to
themselves--and can be quite discriminating in their treatment of them.
That is, when they can get away with it. They even confine them
economically and socially to areas that are less desirable to live.
Quite naturally, this causes great resentment among many of the green
chilepeppers and sometimes their anger is unleashed in unfortunate ways.
This in turn causes an even greater chasm between the two groups."

"How terrible!" Elephant said. "Chilepepperland sounds like a horrible
place to live! I hope I never even have to visit there."

"It sounds to me," said Ozma, "that if every single chilepepper who
lives in Chilepepperland really wanted to, they could live in Peace and
Love and Harmony alongside each other forever and ever. And then it
would be a perfectly wonderful place to live."

"The problem as I see it," said Hootsey, looking as wise as he could,
"is that for every chilepepper of whatever color whose heart is filled
with love and kindness for his fellows, there are probably several who
cannot generate those feelings within themselves. So I predict that the
unfortunate state of affairs in that dark land will continue for quite
some time to come. It's a very negative prognosis, I know. But the
accumulated wisdom I have acquired over many years tells me that this is
so."

"I know one thing," said Lisa. "The people who live in the land where
Dorothy comes from are much too intelligent to allow such foolishness to
exist there."

The other members of the little group turned to each other knowingly,
and slowly shook their heads. For they knew that the unfortunate fact of
the matter was that the land where Dorothy came from had had a similar
history. In fact, even as I write these words, there are people in the
mortal lands who have lost their homes and all of their worldly
possessions, and many, their lives, simply because they had the
misfortune to be born different in some way than their neighbors.

Everyone became very quiet as he assimilated all that had been said.
Ozma spoke first. "I would like to read, if I may, a poem from a little
book given to me by a dear friend. I was reminded of this poem when
Tweaty spoke of the difficulties the green chilepepper people
encountered. The poem was written by a mortal human named William Blake.
It is called _The Little Black Boy_."

     _My mother bore me in the southern wild
     And I am black, but O my soul is white
     White as an angel is the English child
     But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

     My mother taught me underneath a tree,
     And, sitting down before the heat of the day,
     She took me on her lap and kissed me,
     And, pointing to the East, began to say:

     "Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
     And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
     And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
     Comfort in the morning, joy in the noonday.

     "And we are put on Earth a little space
     That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
     And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
     Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

     "For, when our souls have learned the heat to bear,
     The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
     Saying, 'Come out from the grove, my love and care,
     And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'"

     Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,
     And thus I say to the little English boy.
     When I from black, and he from white cloud free.
     And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

     I'll shade him from the heat 'til he can bear
     To lean in joy upon our Father's knee;
     And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
     And be like him, and he will then love me._

By the time Ozma had read the last line, tears were streaming down
everyone's face.

"That is the most beautiful poem I have ever heard..." Elephant sobbed,
as Tweaty dabbed his eyes with a tailfeather, "...and so very sad that
it will take so long for True Love to exist between all peoples. Only
when they realize that in the ultimate sense there is no difference
between them."

The story of the chilepeppers and the poem by William Blake left
everyone in a very somber mood. But Time was not standing still, and you
can be sure that that mean-spirited old spider-monster was not letting
any grass grow under his feet. Even now he was no doubt growing stronger
by the minute by sucking strength and courage out of any victim who had
been unfortunate enough to be caught in his deadly web.

"We must be on our way," Ozma said, shivering slightly. "Elephant, why
don't we all ride on you, and we'll talk as we go along and plan our
strategy."

"Good idea," Elephant answered, picking Ozma up again.

Meanwhile, Tweaty and the owls flew up and perched on Elephant's head.
Elephant then lowered his trunk to allow Nibbles to jump aboard and be
lifted up behind Ozma.

"Okay, every one!" shouted Elephant as he raised his trunk high in the
air and let out a great trump which just about blew everyone off his
back. He then proceeded to waddle down the road making trumping sounds
that sounded suspiciously like a trombone playing the bass part to _When
the Saints go marching in_. In fact, pretty soon everyone was singing
along--

     _Oh when the saints
     Go mar chin' in.
     When the saints go marchin' in.
     Lord, I want to be in that number,
     When the saints go marchin' in..._

[Illustration: Sniffer and Stinkfoot arguing.]



CHAPTER 8

THE JOURNEY TOWARD THE SNIFFER NATION


"As I see it," said Lisa as they traveled along, "there is at least one
major difference between the problems in the Sniffer Nation and the
problems of Chilepepperland. The Chilepeppers, so far as I can
determine, are different from one another only in their viewpoints. Some
may have had a better education than others, but all were born
essentially equal. On the other hand, even if they were born equal, the
Sniffer citizens have a real physical reason for their disagreement with
the Stinkfoots. If you will forgive my saying so, I cannot believe that
either group is necessarily better or more important than the other.
It's just that they are physically unable to co-exist."

"As much as it pains me to say it," replied the Sniffer citizen, "I have
to agree. After all, the Stinkfoot people used to get along fine with my
people, so long as we kept our distance from one another. Now that the
Stinkfoots are infringing on our territory, we are forced to take action
against them despite our former friendship. But there simply is no
alternative. They are taking away our homeland, and pushing us away.
There is no other option but to push them back."

"It is a real problem when one specie overcrowds its territory," added
Hootsey. "It must pave away all other life forms to further supply its
own needs."

"But no one has the right to crowd out what Nature has already
established," said Elephant. "Just imagine the chaos it would create if,
say, the human race were to become so plentiful that it was leveling
rain forests and wiping out all other forms of life to make room for
itself."

"That would be terrible," agreed Hootsey. "And it is exactly what the
Stinkfoots are doing. Once they have pushed the Sniffers into either
isolation or extinction, they may continue to outgrow the territory they
occupy and move into other regions where they will do even more damage."

"They have to be stopped at any cost," said the Sniffer man.

"No," said Ozma. "Not at any cost. Even though they are doing bad, they
are still counted among my subjects. They are not enemies to Oz, and I
will not have them entirely devastated. Our plan has to be fair to both
sides, not just one. As we have said, neither side is better than the
other. You yourself agreed. We can't allow either race to be lost in
favor of the other. That would upset the balance of Nature."

"But how else can we stop them from expanding to wherever they like?"
asked the Sniffer citizen.

"There has to be a fair way to settle the dispute," replied the little
Queen. "And it is up to us to find it."

"What if we forbade them from eating any more stinkweeds?" suggested
Nibbles. "That way, they wouldn't smell so bad, and the Sniffers would
have no further trouble with them. Also, they would no longer need to be
living in an area that would help the stinkweeds grow."

"You heard the letter," answered Lisa. "They won't agree to that. They
like the smell that they get from the weeds, and they believe it will
prevent anyone attacking them. They would never go along with that
plan."

"We're almost there" sighed the Sniffer citizen. "But we are no closer
to an agreement. What can we do?"

"I intend to speak with your President," replied Ozma. "And I will also
meet with the Stinkfoot President."

Ozma and the Lunechien party of five was greeted at the border of the
Sniffer Nation by President Humongous Schnozzle himself. Indeed, he must
have had the largest nose that Ozma had ever seen. It was longer than
that of Elephant! "Probisquous!" he said joyfully. "You're back! And you
have brought an army with you!"

"Hello, Mr. President," said the Sniffer messenger. "This is Queen Ozma
of Oz and with her are Elephant, Lisa, Hootsey, Tweaty and Nibbles from
the Lunechien Forest of Oz. I have told them of our plight, and they
have come to try and help."

"And not a moment too soon," said President Schnozzle. "The Stinkfoots
have sent me another letter. This time, they are threatening to burn
down our village if we do not surrender immediately, I hope that your
small army is prepared to stand up to them."

"I did not come to fight," said Ozma with a firmness that surprised even
her. "I want to see the two sides come to an arrangement. If that is not
possible, we may then have to resort to stronger measures."

"I'm afraid that the Stinkfoots are beyond reasoning," sighed President
Schnozzle. "The only recourse we have is to fight fire with fire."

Ozma could see that the Sniffer President was not going to deviate from
his present frame of mind without a struggle. "I do understand your
position and I sympathize with your feelings," she said. "However,
before anyone does anything rash, I wish to speak to President McFoot."

"Then I suggest that you hold your nose," replied Schnozzle. "Otherwise,
you'll be overwhelmed by the stench and probably pass out."

"I'll take that chance," said the little Queen. "Just give me an hour to
talk to Mr. McFoot before you start any uprising."

"I will give you all the time you want," replied the Sniffer President.
"At least, from my side. But if those stinkers start anything, you'd
better believe that I will not sit doggo and let them destroy our
homes."

"Fair enough," said Ozma. She then followed Probisquous to the edge of
the Stinkfoot Nation. "I can't take you any further," he said. "My eyes
are already starting to water. I hope you can handle the stinkiness from
this point onward. It gets worse the closer you come to those guys."

Ozma thanked him and went on her way. Indeed, the smell was a potent
one. She could see why it would ward off any potential attackers. She
tried to hold her breath, but that was not something she could do
indefinitely. She tried holding her nose and breathing with her mouth,
but that was hardly a dignified pose for the Queen of all Oz. When the
stench became absolutely unbearable, she found herself face to face with
a little boy who sported the tiniest nose she could have imagined. It
was about the same size as that of a ladybug. His feet, on the other
hand, were enormous. "Who are you?" asked the lad.

"I amb Queen Ozba of Oz," she said with some difficulty. "I amb here to
visit with President Stinky McFoot of the Stinkfoot Nation."

"I thought your nose was too small to make you a Sniffer," he said. "But
it is sure a lot bigger than any Stinkfoot's. Hey, why are you holding
it like that?"

"I'mb afraid that I'mb having a hard time dealing with the sbell of the
stinkweeds," she explained, not wanting to hurt the boy's feelings by
mentioning his feet, which Ozma felt certain were the real source of the
offensive smell. She believed that it would be better to avoid any
statement that might be taken as a gesture of insult.

"The stinkweeds?" replied the boy. "But they are delicious. They are our
primary food."

This was not going very well, and the little Queen was already feeling
nauseated by the stench. She would not be able to take much time
explaining her situation before she became physically ill. This
proposed a problem, as she had never known illness to exist in Oz.
Still, it was a matter that would require a bit of research. "I bust see
your President," she sniffled uneasily. "Can you take be to himb?"

"Of course," said the boy simply, taking a handful of the stinkweeds and
eating it. "I can take you to his mansion, anyway. I don't know if he'll
want to talk. He is preparing to fight the Sniffers for control of the
fertile lands, and is very busy with that right now."

"That's just the thing," said Ozma. "I need to discuss that batter with
himb."

"Well," said the boy, "you are the Queen. Follow me."

Ozma followed the lad as quickly as she could under the circumstances.
The smell only grew more pungent with each step. It was overpowering.
But she knew that she had to help the two rivals to come to an
arrangement quickly, as the Forest Monster could be doing nearly
anything at this point, and she was losing valuable time. She wished
that she had sent the forest animals on to speak to the Saber-Toothed
Light Bulbs without her, but she knew in her heart that such an act
might well have endangered her new friends. If she were not with the
animals, the Light Bulbs might well have attacked them. No, this was all
she could do. She only hoped that she had not chosen the wrong skirmish
to settle first.

When she came to the mansion of President Stinky McFoot, she saw that it
was expansive. It was a good sixteen acres wide, and had more rooms than
any one man could possibly make use of. She hurriedly knocked on the
heavy oak door.

Her knock was answered by a Stinkfoot who was dressed as a butler.
"Yes?" he said to her.

"I amb Queen Ozba of Oz," she explained. "I amb here to speak to the
President."

"Queen Ozba of Oz?" replied the butler. "But you are just a child. How
can you be the queen of anything? Except possibly a toy box."

"I amb Queen Ozba!" she said. "I amb serious! I bean it!"

"Okay," chuckled the Stinkfoot. "I'll play along for a moment. If you
are the Queen of Oz, what is it you wish to speak to President McFoot
about?"

"He is planning a war with the Sniffer Nation," said the Queen. "I want
to try to find a better way for your people to solve your differences."

"That is very touching," laughed the butler. "But if you were really the
Queen of Oz, you would surely know that the matter is already settled.
The Sniffer-snuffers will have to let us have the land we need to
survive, and that is all there is to it. Now, go home little girl. We
have a lot to attend to, and there really isn't any time for your
games."

"But I amb really the Queen!" objected she.

"Yes," said the butler, "and I am Charles Dickens. My wife is the Queen
of England. Now do run along." He shut the door before Ozma had a chance
to say anything more.

"This is not going at all as I planned," sighed Ozma. But the pungent
odor was already more than she could take, and she knew that she must
get to some fresh air immediately if she was to be of any practical use
to either the Sniffers or the denizens of the Lunechien Forest.
Dejectedly, she returned to the Sniffer Nation. She was gasping for air
by the time she arrived there, and so she breathed in several lungfuls
of the cleaner, purer stuff. It was a treat that she was grateful for.

"So what did Stinky McStink have to say?" President Schnozzle asked Ozma
upon her return.

"I did not get in to see Mr. McFoot," said Ozma sourly. "But I sure did
get a noseful of your immediate problem."

"Our immediate problem is the fact that a bunch of people with
stinky-feet are planning to attack and burn our village to the ground. I
am sorry, Your Majesty, but we are left with no other recourse but to go
to war with them and destroy them all before they do it to us. Surely
you can see that they are unreasonable and unkind and un-un--well, a
bunch of other words that start with 'un.' We can't allow them to
UN-ify us if we can help it, and we Sniffers are a proud people who will
not give in without a fight!"

"President Schnozzle," sighed Ozma. "I am not trying to belittle you or
your pride. I just don't think that resorting to violence is the way to
deal with any situation. It only leads to misery for both sides."

"Not if we win," replied the President.

"In times of war," said Lisa, "there are no winners." The hoot-owl had
stayed back with the four Lunechien animals at the Sniffer President's
modest home, and was also a little disappointed at Ozma's failure to
speak to the Stinkfoot leader. So much had been riding on this meeting.

But Ozma had not gotten in to see him, and the simple fact remained that
they were no closer to a solution than they had been before.

"Maybe we need those Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs right here," suggested
Nibbles. "Then the Stinkfoots would be too scared to start a fight."

"I doubt it," reasoned President Schnozzle. "I'm not even sure that any
Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs could handle the stinky smell of those
buzzards."

"Maybe not," said Hootsey. "But it is an idea. What if we were to scare
the Stinkfoots back into their own territory?"

"That may be possible," said Ozma. "It looked to me like they had no
problem of overpopulation. It was really just their desire to grow more
stinkweeds, and their incapability to do so in their soil."

"That's right!" said Lisa. "But no soil can go indefinitely growing the
same crop. Anyone who lives in the forest knows that! And even the
Munchkin farmers rotate their crops to keep their soil in balance."

"Rotate it?" scoffed the Sniffer President. "You mean like a phonograph
record on a turntable?"

"No," replied Lisa. "I mean that if, say, a farmer plants carrots in his
fields this year, he will plant something totally different next year.
This way, the nutrients in the soil stay in balance and can be used to
raise more carrots some other year. It's really very simple. It's kind
of like replenishing with one crop what was diminutized by another."

"So you think that, if the Stinkfoots were to grow carrots instead of
stinkweeds for a year, they could go back to stinkweeds next year?" said
the President uncertainly.

"I'd say more than likely," agreed Lisa.

"But," put in Hootsey, "the Stinkfoots can't live without their
stinkweed. Or they refuse to, in any event"

"Maybe we have a solution," grinned Ozma.

"But we don't," said Hootsey. "They will refuse to give up their
stinkweeds. You know it's true."

"Not if they can have them," said Ozma. "Listen, President Schnozzle.
What would you think of letting the Stinkfoots use your land to grow
their food here this year, while the Sniffer farmers use the Stinkfoot
Nation to grow anything that they want to eat? You can simply switch
territories every year, and the rotation of crops will keep both of your
soils fertile."

The Sniffer President sat down in a wooden chair. He was obviously deep
in thought. "You know," he said after a time, "I think you have
something there. If we can only state this plan to the Stinkfoots, I'm
sure it would work. I am beginning to recall that even our own farmers
have spoken about this rotation of crops on at least one occasion. And
I'd bet that the stinkweeds would have made the soil over there ideal
for our dietary staples!"

"More than likely!" said Lisa wisely.

"This is all very nice," said Elephant. "But how are we to propose this
idea to a people who is as unwilling to listen as a deaf tree-stump?"

"We have got to gain an audience with President McIdiot--I mean,
President McFoot. I suppose it does me no good to make fun of his
foolishness."

"Not foolishness," said Nibbles. "Just lack of education. I didn't know
until you guys just said so that rotation of crops was a good idea. Mr.
McFoot just doesn't know about farming. He may be a very very wise man
in a lot of other subjects."

"I think you're right," agreed President Schnozzle. "And I am sorry that
I reacted so harshly to his actions, which I can now see that he did out
of true concern and love for his subjects."

"In any situation," said Lisa, "it is always best to act, rather than to
re-act. It makes you look a lot brighter."

"I wholeheartedly agree," said Elephant. "However, we still have to
figure out a way to get McFoot into a position to speak to us."

"Yes," said Ozma, "that is true. If only we could lure him into a
neutral place with a strong downwind, then we could ..."

The little Queen's words were cut off as a sickening stench suddenly
blew in from the open window. A booming voice cried out, "That is the
home of Schtupidface Schnozzle! Torch the place!"

Schnozzle ran to the window and saw President McFoot in his military
regalia, and he was backed up by several dozen Stinkfoots carrying
torches.

"Oh, no!" moaned the Sniffer President. "We are too late!"

The entire party hurried out the door, but were too late to stop the
offensive army from setting fire to the home of President Schnozzle.

"My home!" cried he. "My books! My teddy bear! My original Rembrandt!"

"Halt!" cried Ozma. "I am your Queen!"

"It's that silly little girl I told you about, Master," said a Stinkfoot
that Ozma recognized as the man who had answered the door. "Ignore the
little scamp and let's get on with our revolution!"

"Wait a minute!" shuddered President McFoot. "I have seen pictures of
the Queen of Oz in the newspapers. The place no longer is run by that
Scarecrow man. I think this child is telling the truth!"

The Stinkfoot soldiers suddenly stood at attention and saluted Ozma.

"Your Majesty," spoke the Stinkfoot President, "I am sorry to inform you
that there is a war on. We have need of something that these Sniffers
are not allowing us to have. Our survival depends on their
annihilation."

"No," spoke Ozma. "It does not. My dear friends from the Lunechien
Forest have determined the problems with your crops, and we have come to
a solution." She quickly outlined the plan to rotate crops and
territory.

"But the silly Sniff-heads have such a modest capitol building," sniffed
President McFoot. "I would not want to live in that little old shack,
not even for a day!"

"In case you've forgotten," said Elephant, "your troops have just burned
up that little shack. I suggest that you put them to work rebuilding it
in such a way that it will be pleasing to you both."

"If I go along with this idea," said the Stinkfoot leader, "will
Schnozface do the same?"

"I have already agreed to it," said President Schnozzle. "Though I must
add that the whole place be fumigated before we trade back. If you don't
bind, I'mb starting to feel a little queasy."

With the situation settled, Ozma felt very pleased that there had been
no war. Still, there was the other matter to contend with. There may
still have to be a war to defeat the Forest Monster that was terrorizing
the Lunechien Forest. Of course, Ozma would have preferred that it be
settled as well as this situation had been, but this Monster was
obviously not going to be ready to listen to reason for at least a
jillion years. By that time, there may be no one left in Oz to stop him.



CHAPTER 9

ONWARD TOWARD THE SABER-TOOTHED LIGHT BULBS


The Sniffers and Stinkfoots agreed to help in the Lunechien Forest
should their services be needed to help stop the devastation brought
about by the spider-monster. President Schnozzle handed Ozma a small
perfume bottle that, when opened, would release a perfume that could be
smelled only by a Sniffer, and would reach the distance from the forest
in only a matter of minutes. Ozma pocketed the little bottle and thanked
the Sniffer and Stinkfoot Presidents. Then Ozma and the party of five
was on its way to the land of the Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs.

"How far is it from here?" asked Elephant, who was still carrying the
others on his broad back.

"Well," said Hootsey, "it isn't exactly close. We will have to travel
through some fairly rough territory to get to the Light Bulbs. But I'm
sure our pachyderm is up to it, if anyone is. And we do have our new
Queen along as well. I really don't think we'll have too many problems."

However, unbeknownst to the little owl, problems were exactly what lay
ahead of them. The elephant walked on for a few miles without incident,
but then came upon a marshy area. "I don't remember this place," said
Hootsey with disdain.

The marshy area was barren of all trees. Stretched out before them lay
what seemed to be miles of reeds surrounding patches of dirty looking
water with steam rising to form a veritable fog. The whole area looked
very formidable and quite scary.

"I don't like this a bit," Elephant remarked, with a concerned
expression on his face. "Who knows what's laying in wait under that
water? And it doesn't look as if we could get very far without walking
through it."

"And who knows how deep the water is?" Tweaty said. "It could be two
feet or twenty; maybe even some of the solid ground is really
quicksand!"

Just then a loud twittering sound was heard; soft at first but then
increasing in volume to totally surround the little group. Then heads
appeared above the reeds to signify the source of the twittering. The
heads were square; powdery white; and with round eyes like you might see
on a stuffed toy--except the expression on the square faces was anything
but cute. One rather large creature stood up to reveal a body of the
same substance. His whole body looked as if it was composed of giant
marshmallows, including his arms and legs.

"_I suppose_," he shouted in a booming voice that sounded as if it were
coming out of the bottom of a barrel. "I suppose you people think you
are going to traverse our lands."

"Not really," answered Elephant.

"Oh, how silly of me. Of course you are just here for a picnic,"
responded the creature with a sneer. "I should have realized. Quick!
Grab 'em, boys!"

The little band was immediately surrounded by hundreds of the creatures
who threw fishing nets over them, then rolled out wooden cages on
wheels.

After everyone was confined in the cages, the leader stepped forward to
address them again.

"Big mistake. Big mistake you made coming here. Not one trespasser has
ever set foot on our land and lived to tell the tale. You see, we are
the Keepers of the Crocodiles who live in these marshes and swamps. And
in return for keeping them well fed, they have agreed not to eat us and
to allow us to coexist with them in these waters. The substance of our
bodies is a sweet marshmallow material and we would be prey to all kinds
of creatures if we had to depart these lands. We were made of the same
material you are at one time, but we made the mistake of crossing swords
with a Wicked Witch and in a fit of anger, before you could say 'Jacky
Robinson,' she changed us into marshmallows. So here we are, and here
you are, just in time to feed a bunch of hungry crocodiles. Which is too
bad, really, but that's life--death sooner or later. And in your case,
it's sooner."

Elephant and Nibbles and Tweaty and Hootsey and Ozma and Lisa all looked
at each other with despair and foreboding.

"Look," said Elephant to the leader of the marshmallow people. "I am a
huge animal. My body will keep those crocodiles fed for weeks. While
Tweaty here, and Hootsey and Lisa, are tiny creatures. The crocodiles
would not even taste them. Why don't you let them go?"

"Hmmmm," murmured the marshmallow leader. "You have a point there. In
fact, the crocodiles could get quite annoyed with us for feeding them
such tiny morsels. Okay. We'll let them go. But what about her?" he
said, pointing to Ozma. "She would be quite a delicacy."

"Delicacy?" echoed Ozma. "I am not a delicacy. I am Ozma, Queen of Oz!"

The marshmallow man looked at the child and giggled. "You are the Queen
of something? Yeah, right! And I suppose that next you're going to tell
me that mortal men will one day be able to travel to the moon and back.
Ha! That's a laugh!"

"But it's true!" argued Elephant. "Ozma is the ruler of Oz."

"Indeed," added Lisa. "I'll admit, I was also a little shaken when I
first learned that the Queen of Oz was a little girl. But you must
understand that Ozma is of Fairy descent. She is not like a mortal child
at all. She has special abilities and powers that..."

[Illustration: Elephant and others in Cages]

"Silence!" shouted the marshmallow man. "I am not interested in hearing
your lies! This child is simply a tender and mouthwatering human
delicacy for the crocodiles to eat! That is all!" He looked at Ozma and
laughed. "Fairy descent? This is not a Fairy! I know about these things!
Fairies are tiny little critters with wings like those on one of our
dragonflies. This is just a human child. A perfectly ordinary human
child!"

Ozma looked at him indignantly, but she said nothing more. She knew that
it would be hard to convince anyone of her origin without some sort of
proof. And, indeed, what would serve as sufficient proof to convince
this Doubting Thomas? She knew all too well that, throughout history,
skeptics have always been known to cling to what they thought to be
truth, even when it was a foolish belief that they were clinging to.
Indeed, mortals in America had placed a great deal of faith in a
substance called radium. A highly radioactive and dangerous substance,
radium was being treated as a miracle medicine that had been hailed as a
cure-all for anything! This marshmallow man was every bit as
small-minded as the mortal men. If she were going to prove her position
and power, she would have to break through the imaginary wall that he
had built up in his mind concerning the proper look of Queens and
Fairies.

"My good man," she said in her most dignified voice, "I can understand
why you might assume what you do. It is true that I look more like a
little girl than the ruler of a vast country like Oz. And it is true
that some Fairy groups can be described as you have just suggested.
However, it is also true that there are different kinds of Fairies, just
as there are different kinds of marshmallows. The Fairy Queen Lurliné
does not have wings, and she looks quite human, too. But if it is so
important to you, I can probably meet with your needs in a satisfactory
manner." She put her fingers to her temples and concentrated.

"What are you doing?" asked the marshmallow man in puzzlement. Then:
"Chicanery in Chittenango!" he exclaimed. "You have wings! But you
didn't have them a second or two ago!"

"Nor have I got them now," explained Ozma. "But I have made myself
appear to you as you would have me appear. Because I am a Fairy, I can
make myself look any way I please. But underneath, I am still the same
little girl I have always been." The wings vanished again.

"But how can this be?" shuddered the marshmallow man.

"It is really very simple," explained Ozma. "When I first took the
throne of Oz, I had the same blonde hair that you see me with now. But I
might decide one day to be a brunette." Her hair suddenly changed color
as she spoke. "Or even a redhead." Again, the child's hair changed
color. "Why, if I had a mind to, I could even make it green!" Again, her
hair color changed. "You know, I think I might want to try being a
brunette once in a while. Just for a change, you know. And if ever I
must meet with dignitaries from another country--especially one of those
narrow-minded mortal lands, I think I might want to appear to them as an
adult. But, of course, I like being youthful, so I will not really age.
I will just make myself appear that way on occasion when the situation
calls for it."

The marshmallow man fell to his marshmallow knees. "Forgive me, your
Highness!" he said. "You really are a Fairy! I most humbly apologize for
my mistake. But you must admit, you really did look like a mere human
child. How was I to know?"

"I don't think it should have mattered," said Elephant. "Do you really
imagine that it is ever proper to feed any sentient being to a
crocodile? Even a regular mortal child?"

"You are a wild animal," spoke the marshmallow man. "You should know
better than anyone that such is the way of survival. We do not want the
crocodiles to eat us, but we know that they must eat. I doubt that they
would be satisfied with tofu or falafel burgers, either. These
crocodiles are carnivorous, and they require fresh meat in order to
survive. Would you have them become extinct?"

"He has a point," said Hootsey. "We really can't blame the crocodiles
for their metabolisms. But we can't allow them to eat our Queen,
either!"

"Oh, no," said the marshmallow man. "Now that I know who she is, I have
no intention of feeding her to the crocodiles any more."

"Nor any of my companions," said Ozma in a tone of voice that would not
tolerate any argument. "But you do have a legitimate problem. You are
citizens of Oz, and therefore my subjects. I will not allow any of my
subjects to be threatened by any carnivorous crocodiles."

"Then the crocodiles will not be able to survive," said Lisa sadly.

"But nothing can actually die anywhere in Oz," said Nibbles.

"Then they will grow horribly uncomfortable if they can't eat what
Nature dictates they should," said Lisa. "I, for one, would rather die
than have a constant emptiness in my tummy or lack of energy due to
malnutrition."

"Indeed," agreed Elephant. "To go hungry is a terrible fate. Isn't there
some alternative?"

"Nothing short of allowing the crocodiles to eat you," replied the
marshmallow man.

"Then all is lost," sighed Hootsey. "Our benevolent ruler will have to
decide who will be the recipient of her benevolence. It will have to be
a choice between the carnivorous crocodiles or their natural source of
food. One of the two must suffer."

"How sad," said Lisa. "I had always heard that rulers and queens had a
tough job, but I had always doubted it. On the surface, it looks like
queens get to live in beautiful palaces with servants who meet all of
their needs. And they are allowed to go to bed any time they like, or
eat chocolate ice cream for breakfast if they wish. But now I begin to
understand why their lives are so difficult. I sure wouldn't want to
have to make a decision like that. Basically, you'll be condemning an
entire race to extinction--just like the dodo bird or the
winkledejimpker!"

"Couldn't we use criminals and thieves to feed to the crocodiles?"
suggested Nibbles.

"I will not allow even them to be tortured this way," said Ozma. "Even a
thief deserves a chance to make up for his past misbehaving."

"Then what can we do?" asked the marshmallow man.

"Hey!" said Elephant, suddenly having an idea. "There is a grove of
trees that grows near the Lunechien Forest. Some of the trees have
fruits growing on them. Others have seed pods or alarm clocks or other
such normal things that one always expects to find growing on trees. But
I think there are also a couple of ham and sausage trees there. I'll bet
they would suffice for the crocodiles. Then they wouldn't have to eat
any living creatures in order to satisfy their natural cravings."

"A grand idea!" said the marshmallow man. "I have never heard of such
odd trees as those, but I'm sure the crocodiles will be thrilled to
learn that they no longer have to be hated and feared by their fellow
beings."

"Of course," said Lisa. "No one wants to be feared. And if they are now
able to get their meat without any stalking or struggling, they might
need some other form of exercise to keep from growing fat or sluggish. I
think we should organize some group activities that will allow the
crocodiles and owls to interact together as friends."

"And maybe Pinky and I could arrange a similar thing for us elephants to
get together with them."

"I think the mice would be a little too scared," shuddered Nibbles.

"Not after I have one of those ham trees transplanted in their marsh,"
said Ozma. She turned to the marshmallow man. "Would you be willing to
take charge of that?"

"Of course," he replied. "It will also make my own people live in
greater comfort to know that the crocodiles will never be hungry for
them again. But ... er, just out of curiosity, are there any marshmallow
trees around? Just to be on the safe side, you know."

They all laughed.



CHAPTER 10

ALL ABOUT THE GILLIGOGGS AND THE DROFFS


The Droffs and the Gilligoggs had never understood each other. They were
a different people, really. For example, the Droffs were shaggy-looking
creatures with forms that resembled the Wooly Mammoth. They had short
squat legs like tree trunks; short squat little bodies with arms to
match, and heads that were too large for their bodies with eyes that
were buried beneath long straggly shaggy fur. Their voices had a deep
gruff sound not unlike a cave man might have sounded, and their words
came out in a torrent of grunts that did not vary in tone and that did
not exactly follow the rules of grammar. For example: "Who you?" "What
you name?" "How got you this place?" "Why you here for?" etc. Whereas
the Gilligoggs were quite elegant--even sophisticated--compared to the
Droffs. They were tall and slender, with long delicate fingers that they
waved expressively as they talked. They also had long hair but it was as
soft and sweet smelling as the Droffs' hair was coarse and pungent.
Their faces were feminine looking (even the males) with long curling
eyelashes, delicately chiseled features, full lips, etc. The only
perceptible difference between the males and females was that the males'
voices were a little deeper, and they were a little taller.

Anyway, as you can imagine, two peoples that were so different had very
little love for one another. Why this should be I do not know, except
that people with different appearances seem to distrust each other, even
when there has been no physical aggression between them. Neither group
would willingly mix with the other either socially or even live in the
other's neighborhood. Each race pretty much kept to itself.

I suppose that in a way, the Gilligoggs looked down on the Droffs. They
considered them somehow inferior to themselves. The Droffs were well
aware of this and were deeply resentful. Now if you or I were to try to
analyze the exact reason for this, we might fall short of our goal. We
could say that the Gilligoggs were far more intelligent because their
speech was more sophisticated. But if you took the trouble to get to
know a Droff, you would find that, in spite of their crude manner of
speech, they are, as a whole, equally as intelligent as the Gilligoggs,
except that they express their intelligence in a different way. Another
argument might be that the Droffs were not nearly so sweet smelling in
comparison. Now, this may be true in one way, but in actual fact, the
Droffs had just as high a standard of personal hygiene as the
Gilligoggs. It was just that the Gilligoggs' olfactory senses were
sensitive to the natural scent of the Droffs (just as the Droffs'
olfactory senses were equally sensitive to the natural scent of the
Gilligoggs). And while neither group found the other offensive in this
way, they could detect a difference, albeit on a subconscious level.
Another argument might be that the Droffs had lower social standards
than the Gilligoggs. This argument, too, has to fall by the wayside. For
reasons that we will not go into here, the Droffs had had difficulty in
keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak. Due to circumstances beyond
their control, they had not done quite as well on a socioeconomic scale.
So there you have it. And this was the situation that Elephant and his
pals were confronted with after their excursion with the Marshmallow
people. As they continued on their way to the home of the Saber-Toothed
Light-Bulbs, they hardly expected yet another interruption. But it
happened all the same. A particularly tall and attractive Gilligogg
woman who looked to be about sixteen approached them. She had dark hair
that glistened in the sunlight in a particularly gorgeous manner which
reminded Lisa of fine silk.

"Greetings," said Ozma to the young lady. Even though she was not
anxious to be interrupted again, she was always polite to her people.
She knew that, in order to be a good ruler for the land of Oz, she
should be aware of the individual needs of all of the Ozites.

"Good morrow," came the reply. The lady's voice was like music.
Beautiful music such as is usually reserved only for the Fairies, angels
or gods. So in awe of this lovely lady were our adventurers that only
Ozma found her voice which, though beautiful in its own youthful manner,
did not hold a candle to that of this Gilligogg lady.

"I am Ozma, the Queen of Oz," said the little girl. "My friends and I
are on our way to enlist the help of some people who live beyond your
territory. I hope you won't mind if we pass through your lovely
country."

"You are the Queen," said the lady. "I am only a princess. Far be it
from me to tell you what you can or can not do." She seemed
disinterested as she spoke. "My name is Dianna, and my father is the
ruler of the Gilligoggs." If this young lady felt any doubt that Ozma
was indeed a queen, she did not let on. Indeed, she seemed unconcerned
as to the identity of her queen. "But I shall tell you that the
Gilligoggs are the only people in this region. We are all that is here.
Well, unless you count the Droffs. But you could not be looking for the
Droffs. They are so far beneath your station."

"Oh, no," sighed Tweaty. "I think we are about to get stuck in the
middle of another time-consuming battle like the Stinkfoot and Sniffer
war! This will not be a good thing for any of the Lunechien Forest
denizens. Why, for all we know, that Forest Monster may already have
destroyed all of our friends and neighbors back home!"

"There is no war here," said Dianna matter-of-factly. "We Gilligoggs are
above such barbarous practices. Why, if I had to fight, I might break a
fingernail. But we do wish that the Droffs would go away. So long as
they are about, the property value on our homes must surely be going way
down."

[Illustration Ozma and a Droff]

"My my!" said Elephant. "Are these Droffs some sort of frightful
monsters, like the Kalidahs?"

"They are worse," said Dianna with a most elegant and sophisticated
shudder. "They look like... Well, actually they look a lot like you,
only they are all hairy and vulgar. You, at least, are not covered with
all that coarse fur. Still, I wonder if you might be related to them."
She took a nail file from her pocket and looked at her hands in an
uninterested manner.

"So then, they are elephants?" asked Nibbles.

"Shaggy elephants?" tweeted Tweaty.

"Wooly mammoths?" questioned Lisa and Hootsey together.

"Neither of those," replied the princess. "They are just Droffs."

"We did not come to seek the Droffs," said Ozma. "Nor did we come to see
the Gilligoggs. We were looking for the Saber-Toothed Light-Bulbs. Are
they not in this area?"

"They are," said Hootsey with certainty. "I know they are."

"Perhaps," said the young lady. "Perhaps they are among the Droffs. I do
not know of them. Nor do I especially care to. They might be
unpleasant."

"But how can you know whether or not they are pleasant if you refuse
even to see them?"

"Best to be safe," said Dianna. "Why invite trouble? We Gilligoggs have
always known that we are superior to all other living beings, so we
avoid contact with anyone else. If we start to invite trouble, we're
sure to get it in great doses."

"But that's awful!" put in Tweaty. "You don't even give them a chance?"

"Why should we? They are not Gilligoggs. Heavens! They have the most
outlandish-looking noses!" She eyed Elephant in a scrutinizing manner.

"I think I should like to meet these Droffs," harrumphed Elephant.

"Then by all means please leave as quickly as you can," said Dianna. "I
would not want my people to have to gaze upon anyone who would associate
with Droffs. They are messy things at best. I had offered you a great
honor in speaking to you, but you obviously do not appreciate it. Had
the dross not been with you, Miss Queen of Oz, I should not have even
acknowledged them. Good day to you..." So saying, the princess walked
away without looking back.

Our six adventurers hurried through the Gilligogg territory. Few of the
Gilligoggs even stopped to look at them as they passed through. Before
long, they came upon a creature who looked a good deal like Elephant,
and who was obviously a Droff.

"Hey," said the Droff. "Who you am?"

"I am Ozma, Queen of Oz," said the child.

"You much good to be here," replied the Droff. "Me are called Biff. Who
is them?"

Each of the five Lunechiens introduced himself.

"Me likes Elephant lots," said Biff. "Him look like Droff, but smooth.
Him might relative to me I. Maybe like Droff. Ozma Queen and others like
eat? Droffs no have much, but share. Me have oatmeal with much gravy.
For nice Queen, me even serve with sprinkles. Me likes Queen lots, and
Elephant. Have good seeds for birdies, too. Mouse want cheese? Me haves
Swiss. Usually only haves Swiss on Sunday. It is holey. But for friend
of good and nice Queen, me get some for nice little mouse."

"How kind," said Nibbles. "Thank you."

The Droff, though not as graceful as he might have been, served up a
repast that was happily received by his guests.

"The Droffs are obviously more hospitable than the Gilligoggs," said
Tweaty.

"Gilligoggs?" echoed Biff. "You am knowing Gilligoggs?"

"We just passed through their country on our way here," explained Lisa.

"Me wish me knew Gilligoggs," sighed Biff. "Them not let Droffs pass
through. Not come to visit Droffs, neither. To Gilligogg, Droff land
just place to dump stuff they no want."

"Stuff?" asked Ozma. "What stuff?"

"Old stuff, most," replied the Droff. "Rotted foods. Old packages.
Cigarette ends. You am knowing. Stuff."

"What slobs!" said Lisa with distaste. "And that princess had the nerve
to say that Droffs were messy!"

"But it explains why the Droffs have such low-quality land," sighed
Ozma. "It isn't that the Droffs are unsanitary. The very reason the
Gilligoggs look down on the Droffs is caused by the Gilligoggs
themselves!"

"They are high and sophisticated, I guess," added Hootsey. "But their
refusal to see what they are doing to the world around them has made
them into a life form that is most undesirable. They have made
themselves become exactly what they dislike in others."

"Me thinks that is not Gilligogg's fault," said Biff, defending his
neighbors. "Me has seen that all hatred do that lots. If you hate
something so bad that you try to be away from it a lot, you start to be
turning into it you self. Me not like hate. Me hate hate most
hatefulishly."

"Yes," agreed Lisa. "When knowledge is used for cruel purposes, there is
no knowledge any more. Both sides end up losers. I think the Gilligoggs
could learn a lot from the Droffs."

"Me thank you, owl bird," said Biff with a smile. "You am nice. Me likes
you."

"Me likes ... I mean, I like you, too," said Lisa. "Now tell me, do you
know of the Saber-Toothed Light-Bulbs?"

"Light-Bulbs?" echoed Biff. "Not know. Not do. Maybe friend know of
that, though. Friend are much smart and also wise. Him have good and
useful glass head. Him and him's people living close nearby. Them have
seen much."

"Hmmm," said Ozma. "Have them got large, sharp teeth?"

"Oh, yes!" said Biff. "Much good for opening packages! Much nice,
friends are. You be liking Droffs' friends. Me can take pretty queen and
nice Elephant and friends to see Droffs' friend as shortly as you am
finishing eatings. Me can show to other Droffs, too."

"I would like that very much," said Ozma. "I think I will like the
Droffs just fine."

"And them would be liking you," said Biff with certainty.

As soon as the visitors finished eating, the kindly Droff led them to an
adjacent valley wherein they saw bright lights. These, as Hootsey
explained, were the Saber-Toothed Light Bulbs themselves. From a
distance, they looked pretty much like ordinary light bulbs. But as our
little party drew closer, they could see the individuality of each
Saber-Toothed Light Bulb. One of the larger Light Bulbs saw them
approaching and lit up. "Look, fellows!" he said. "It's Biff! And he has
brought some friends along!"

"Hi, Watts!" said Biff to the light bulb. "Me is so happy to seeing you!
Me haves the Queen of Oz here, too. Her wants to meet you. Her are much
good and nice. You are liking her?"

"Of course," replied Watts. "Any friend of Biff's is a friend of mine!"
He extended one of his long appendages to the small queen. She took it
in her hand. "It is a pleasure," said Watts to Ozma. "I had heard that
Oz had a new queen. I am glad to see that you are a kind-looking one."

"Thank you," said Ozma.

"So what can I do for you?" asked Watts, quickly realizing that there
had to be some sort of business that had brought the queen to see him.

"Well," began Ozma, not sure just how to begin her explanation, "the
Lunechien Forest of Oz has come upon a problem."

"Oh, no!" said Watts. "That's awful! What kind of a problem?"

"It seems that there is a terrible monster that is threatening our fine
forest," she began. "A very large spider-like creature."

"Sounds beastly!" shuddered the light bulb.

"And he can sap away the energy from any living creature and render him
an empty shell of himself," added Tweaty.

"My!" said Watts. "That does sound like a problem! Is there anything I
can do to help? If you need to move away from this monster, you are
welcome to join us. The Droffs and the Saber-Toothed Light-Bulbs are not
crowded in. We can make room."

"That is very kind of you," said the ruler. "But I was hoping that maybe
you could come and stand up to the Forest Monster. No one else can do
it. Even I would hesitate to approach them. But I know that you could do
it. How could any foe of any size stand against you?"

"You want us to fight this Forest Monster?" said Watts fearfully.

"Well," sighed Ozma. "I am not usually in favor of such cruelty. I would
be sorry to harm him. But I am left with little choice. Already he is
too strong to be reckoned with. I have been a queen for only a short
time. I do have fairy powers, but am not anxious to face the Forest
Monster myself. If you could at least back me up while I try to reason
with him..."

"Don't waste your time," said Tweaty. "You can't reason with that thing.
It will bite you in half before you get past the greeting."

"Say," interjected Hootsey. "Maybe that isn't so. We have already seen
Ozma do some amazing things. She can change the color of her hair, for
example. Maybe she could use some of her fairy magic to scare away the
spider! Why, if she can change her physical form, she could easily
become a Giant or a Kalidah!"

Ozma looked fearful. "I'm not sure I'd want to try that," she said. "I
might just make him all the more angry. He may already have more power
than we think he has. But you do have a point. I do have some powers
that I should try to make use of. Having only been a fairy for a short
time, I'm not altogether sure what powers I may have at my disposal.
Alas, I was the boy Tip for so long that I have not had much practice
being Ozma yet."

"You could practice some magic on me," said Tweaty, trying to be
helpful. "Maybe you can turn the Forest Monster into a pumpkin or
something. I don't mind if you practice on me, so long as you put me
back the way I'm supposed to be."

"That sounds like a good idea," agreed the Saber-Toothed Light-Bulb.
"But still, I'm happy to come along to back you up. That way, if I am
needed, I'll be there. If I am not needed after all, I will still have
had a nice bit of travel to write about in my journal."

"You are very kind," said the little Queen. "And I am sure that I must
practice using my powers a lot more than I already have. This will be a
good learning experience for me, and can only make me a better ruler for
the land of Oz." She put her hands to her temples and concentrated on
the canary.

"Am I changing?" asked the bird.

"You look the same to me," answered Lisa.

"I need my Silver Wand," said Ozma. "That often helps me while I'm
gaining prowess at a new spell." She had the magical tool with her, so
she took it from its case and made a number of intricate passes in the
air with it. Still, Tweaty failed to change.

"Maybe there are some words you're supposed to say while you're doing
your magic spell?" wondered Elephant.

"Yes," said Ozma as a Light-Bulb jumped over her head. "I think you're
right! Let me think.... I should know the word." She again put her hands
to her head and concentrated. "Haamhaamkablams-w," she said in a
chanting voice. "Haamhaamkablams-w."

Tweaty began to change in form and substance. Within moments, he had
taken on the shape of a housecat. He still had his yellow feathers,
however. "Awk!" he said. "Look what you did to me! This is the worst
possible form to place on a canary! Turn me back! Please turn me back!"

"I meant to make you a pumpkin," sighed Ozma. "But this is still new to
me. I will try again."

This time, Tweaty became an orange elephant. He was no larger than he
had been as a cat, but his shape was very clearly that of a pachyderm.

"How cute!" said Elephant. "You look like me, only smaller and oranger!"

"Yeah," said Tweaty. "I guess I do. But I'm not sure this is going to
work on the Forest Monster. If you were to change him into another
sentient animal, he'd just go back and do it all over again. You must
turn him into something inanimate. But please, this is very
uncomfortable. I'm used to being able to fly at will, and this form
seems so ... so ungainly. No offense, Elephant. I think you make a
terrific elephant. But I make a lousy one."

"But you do make a wonderful bird," agreed the pachyderm. "Yes, Ozma, do
put him back the way he was. As adorable as he is, he isn't exactly a
model specimen of my race."

"Of course," said Ozma, again raising her Silver Wand. She did her spell
once more. This time, nothing happened. "I am sorry," sighed Ozma. "I am
already feeling exhausted. I'm afraid I will have to wait a while before
I can do it again."

"You mean," said Tweaty, "I have to look like this until you are able to
rest up?"

"I'm afraid so," said Ozma sadly. "I'm sure that will change as I grow
more experienced. You have to remember, I am only beginning to get my
sea-legs as a fairy. Once I am more proficient, I'm sure I'll be able to
do things like this all day long without becoming exhausted. Just give
me time."

"And in the meantime I have to look like a little orange elephant,"
sighed Tweaty. "I'm sure glad my mother can't see me right now!"

"But Tweaty's not the main issue right this minute," said Watts. "Not
that I am unsympathetic with his feelings or anything like that, but I
do sense a certain degree of urgency at getting to your Forest Monster
quickly. I'm sure that all of the Saber-Toothed Light-Bulbs will be
happy to go and see what we can do. We are always anxious to help good
folks like yourselves. And even though it isn't something I'm terribly
proud of, I can be very ferocious when I have a mind to be." As if to
prove his statement, Watts opened his mouth as wide as he could,
revealing the sharpest-looking teeth Ozma had ever seen. Indeed, his
teeth resembled sabres, which may have been the reason for their title.

Elephant shuddered in his skin. "I'm sure that a few of you would aptly
frighten the Forest Monster out of our forest," he said tremblingly.
"Hopefully out of Oz altogether!"

"Splendid," replied Watts. "Come, follow me. I know a short-cut that
will allow us to avoid the Gilligoggs. Not that I am afraid of the
Gilligoggs or anything. I just find them unpleasant to have to deal
with. Come this way, and we will soon be on our way to the Lunechien
Forest of Oz!"



CHAPTER 11

...AND HE SHOWS THEM PEARLY WHITES


As the little group, together with a party of five of the Saber-Toothed
Light-Bulbs, turned a bend in the road, they came upon a huge dried sea
bed. They could see for miles, and there was not a soul in sight.

"I think we're in uncharted territory," remarked Elephant, peering into
the distance. "I don't remember anyone ever mentioning this. But it
looks safe enough to cross. No more unpleasant surprises, I'm sure."

At that moment a deep disembodied voice said, "Dinnah iss serffed,
laddies and lassies, pliss shtep oop to da table."

Everyone turned around to see who was speaking, but could see no one.

Suddenly, several mounds of sand that they had not noticed before began
to quiver and slowly rise a couple of feet above the ground. The mounds
shook themselves and the sand fell off to reveal about fifty _Great
White Sharks_. They were not suspended above the ground as it first
seemed, but were supported with legs like an alligator.

This was a frightening scene to behold, as you can well imagine. And
when their leader approached our heroes, he repeated the words "Dinnah
iss serffed," and licked his lips with anticipation.

He spoke again in that very strange accent, this time addressing
Elephant: "Vatt iss a madder vi' chew? You nebber seen land sharks
'afore?"

"N-N-N-No, w-w-w-we h-h-h-haven't," stuttered Elephant.

"Habben chew?" the leader said, winking at his friends. "Den ah vill
share some knowletch vi' chew to take vi' chew to da hereafter. (The
other sharks roared with laughter at this). Ven our ocean dried oop
millons off yearss ago, all da fishies died, includen uss sharks--except
for two, zat iss. Undt dare chilluns ver born vi' liddle leggies. Ve
arrda descendants off dose two, undt ve haff effolved over da yearss to
our present selfs. Fully adapted to da land. Undt ve haff kept alive all
deess yearss on a steady diet off hunsuspecting helaffant. So vat chew
'tink 'bout zat?"

"N-n-not t-t-too m-m-much," answered Elephant in a high pitched voice.
"I-I mean, I d-d-d-don't know wh-what t-to think."

"Tell chew vat ve do," said the shark. "Chew seem like nice a guyss. Ve
no eat chew tonight. Ve eat chew tomorrow--fer break'ast."

[Illustration: Land Sharks]

All the sharks laughed uproariously, whereupon they surrounded our
heroes and promptly lay back down in the sand and went to sleep.

"Well," said Watts. "This is a fine how-do-you-do. But I don't think we
have to worry about these guys too much. I seriously doubt they could
eat glass, so we can protect the rest of you." He smiled a very sharp
toothy smile. "Besides, they seem to be very lazy. It isn't like they've
enclosed us in a cage or anything like that. What's to stop us from
simply slipping out between two of them and walking away?"

"Ahh am," came a rumbling voice. "Ahh am ze vatchman uff ze Land Sharks.
But chew do have a point. Ve cannot eat glass. Ve can break it, but ve
can't eat it. Chew are uff no value to us. Ve vill only be able to eat
ze meat creatchures. Chew that are a made from glass may go."

Watts and his friends made their most ferocious faces at the Land
Sharks. "You will allow us all to go!" said Watts to the Shark. "You
will not hold any of us back! Besides, we have with us the Queen of Oz.
Your own Queen, for crying out loud!"

"Chew does have some pretty teeth, don' chew?" said the watchman. "But I
am not afraid of chew, zo chew should leave now. I do not know chust
'zactly vat a queen might be, but I am sure that it iss delissious."

"We do not have time for this," hooted Lisa. "We are on an important
mission to save the Lunechien Forest of Oz from a gigantic Forest
Monster, and you had better not hold us back! The Forest Monster is
already bigger than the lot of you, and he will come for you sooner or
later if you don't let us stop him!"

"Vorest Monzter?" echoed the great shark.

"That's what I said," replied Lisa angrily.

"Chust vat iss ze Vorest Monzter made uff?" asked the shark.

"Er, I don't know. Whatever monsters are usually made of," answered the
female owl. "Flesh and blood, I guess."

"Und he iss ass big ass chew zay he iss?" asked the shark.

"Probably bigger by now," put in Tweaty, realizing what was happening.

"Zen ve shall eat ziss Vorest Monzter!" said the shark. "Ve shall eat
him 'til he iss only bones!"

Lisa was not entirely sure the Forest Monster had any bones, as she
suspected that spiders had exoskeletons instead, but she saw no reason
to bring this up at the moment. "Then you really don't need us. It is
against the laws of the jungle to kill more than you can eat, and the
Forest Monster will easily tide you over for a good long time."

Ozma was not quite happy with the way things were turning out. She was
not an advocate of killing at all. The thought of her willingly placing
one of her subjects--even one so wicked as the Forest Monster--in mortal
danger was a hard pill for her to swallow. Still, this development had
apparently removed the threat to her own hide. "Then we shall be on our
way," she said. "I will wish you a good night."

The shark thanked her and, having no one left that he had to guard,
settled down to sleep among his fellows.

"This is odd," said Ozma as the group continued on its way. "We set out
to rid ourselves of the Forest Monster, and now I feel inclined to find
him so that we can warn him of his pending danger."

"You are kidding, aren't you?" asked Watts.

Ozma only looked solemnly at the ground and kept walking.



CHAPTER 12

THE LION KING


Now, when the Cowardly Lion of Oz had first tangled with and beheaded
the Forest Monster, the other animals of the area had named him their
king. They had since come to recognize Ozma as the overall ruler of Oz,
but they joyfully accepted their tawny savior as their local leader.

The Cowardly Lion had taken to the job as well as any coward could be
expected to do. He knew that, when he had accepted this position of
power, he also took on a responsibility. The other animals were now his
subjects, and he felt it was his duty to protect them from outside
dangers such as hunters or other predators. He also thought it politic
to offer his advice whenever one of his new charges had a question or a
problem. It was one such event that is pertinent to this part of our
story. About a week prior to Queen Ozma's meeting with the Land Sharks,
a young wombat had come to the Cowardly Lion to ask his advice.

"Hello," said the smaller creature. "Your majesty, Mr. Cowardly Lion,
Sir?"

"Yes?" replied the Lion, looking around to see where the voice had come
from. "W-who's that? W-who said th-that?" When his large eyes came upon
the wombat, he seemed to smile. "Why, Ricardo, there you are. I didn't
see you at first. How are you doing?"

"Okay, I guess," said the wombat.

"And your mother?" added the Lion.

"She's fine," said Ricardo.

"I am very happy to hear it," said the Cowardly Lion. "But tell me, my
friend, why you seem so glum. A boy your age shouldn't have any
problems that would cause such glumness. What's wrong?"

[Illustration: Cowardly Lion and Wombat]

"Weeeeell," began the wombat slowly. "It's kind of silly, I guess. But I
wanted to ask your advice about something."

"You think it's silly to ask my advice?" said the Cowardly Lion,
pretending to be hurt.

"No, that's not what I meant," replied Ricardo. "I mean, what I wanted
to ask you about is kind of silly. I'm not sure it would be right to
waste your time on. I think I should leave now ..." He turned to leave.

"Now now," said the Lion, becoming serious again. "No problem that is
troubling one of my subjects is silly. Nor is it a waste of my time to
hear the needs of today's youth. What's troubling you, my boy?"

"Well," began Ricardo, "you see ... well, I have this friend ..."

"Oh, it's about a friend is it?" said the Cowardly Lion knowingly.

"Oh, no," said Ricardo. "I'm not trying to pass the buck. It really is
about a friend of mine. You see, he's a real copy cat. He likes to do
everything I do, and he does it exactly the same way, and it's driving
me wom-batty. I want to tell him to think for himself, but I'm not sure
how to go about it."

"So what is it that he does that you don't want him to do?" asked the
Lion. "I mean, if he is doing exactly as you are, you must be having a
good time together. Aren't you?"

"No, I mean, like ... Like last week I found a really neat shiny rock
that I thought I would like to keep. I took it home with me, and when
Henry saw it, he went out and got one that was just like it."

"Is that bad?" asked the Lion. "The rocks are there for everyone to use
as they need them. What's the matter with that?"

"And when I made a welcome mat for my mom to put in front of our home,
Henry went and made one like it for his mom! It's like he can't think of
anything for himself. He has to use all of my ideas. I wish he would
find his own means of expressing himself, instead of always stealing my
ideas. It's like, I learned a new song that I was going to sing at
wombat school, and then Henry went and learned it, too!"

The Cowardly Lion looked at Ricardo and seemed to smile again. "Ah,
Ricardo," he said. "I think your little friend is doing it out of
affection for you. Imitation, after all, is the highest form of
flattery--well, next to bringing you food, at least. I think your friend
just admires you so much that he wants to be just like you."

"Really?" said Ricardo. "Gee whiz, I hadn't thought about that. I
thought it was just that he refused to think for himself. Or maybe that
he felt I didn't deserve to have anything he didn't. Or that he simply
wanted to drive me insane. But maybe you're right. He does seem to like
to hang around with me a lot. Maybe he just wants to imitate me because
he admires me! That's pretty neat!"

"Yes it is," said the Cowardly Lion. "So you have a responsibility to
Henry now as a role model."

"A what?" asked Ricardo.

"A role model," explained the Lion. "If Henry is going to do everything
you do, you certainly don't want to do anything too foolish."

"Oh, yeah," agreed Ricardo. "That's true. Thanks for your advice, Mr.
Lion King, Sir."

"Any time, Ricardo," laughed the Lion. "Be sure to give my respects to
your mother."

"I will," said the wombat, scampering off happily and chanting something
under his breath about being a role model.

"If only the problems of the adults were as easily handled as that,"
laughed the King.

"Mr. Your Majesty?" came another voice. "I want to ask you some advice."

The Cowardly Lion looked and saw another wombat. "Aha," he said. "Let me
guess. Your name is Henry, right?"

"Gee," replied the smaller animal. "You know my name! You must know
everything!"

"I do," said the Lion jokingly. "And I had a feeling that you'd be along
soon. So what's troubling you?"

"Oh, it's nothing much. I just really wanted to come and talk to you."

"I see," laughed the King. "You are friends with Ricardo, are you not?"

The little wombat's eyes seemed to grow out of their sockets. "You
really know everything! You really do! I'm sorry I cheated on my last
spelling test. I promise I'll never do it again!"

The Cowardly Lion was a little taken aback by this statement, but he
covered it well. "I was going to bring that up if you didn't," he lied.
"You must tell your teacher and make up the test if you want to grow up
to be a king like me."

"Oh, I will!" agreed Henry. "I will go and tell her right now!" He
dashed off toward the wombat schoolyard.

"And so I am now a psychic," laughed the Lion. "Next I'll be expected
to be able to fly or to leap over tall buildings in a single bound. But
I guess it's all part of being a king. And I have to show my subjects
that I am a good king, so I must do my best to be all that they expect
me to be. I've got to be strong, and try to hang on. I have to be kind
and understanding toward their needs. And most of all, I have to be
brave!" He let out a practice roar that shook the very ground beneath
his paws. "I am a brave lion! I am the King of the Beasts! I am feared
by all, and I fear nothing! I am brave and I am..." As a grasshopper
leaped in front of him, the Lion nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Aaaaaah!" he cried. "What is it? What'd I see? I saw something move!"
Another grasshopper jumped in the air, and the Lion, that strong and
courageous King of all Beasts, bravely turned tail and ran.



CHAPTER 13

THE COWARDLY LION AND THE FOREST MONSTER OF OZ


The Cowardly Lion ran and ran. He had no idea just how long or how far
he had gone when he stopped to catch his breath.

"This sort of cowardice is sure to make me old before my time," he said
to himself.

As he settled down in a pile of leaves for a short rest, he heard
something rustling in the bushes nearby. "Wha--" he said. "What's that?
Who's there?"

"D-don't hurt me, Mr. Lion," came a voice.

"W-who are you?" shivered the Lion.

By way of an answer, a small brown monkey with shaggy fur walked slowly
out of the brush. "P-please don't eat me, Mr. Lion," he said fearfully.

"Don't worry," replied the Cowardly Lion. "I had no intention of doing
so. What were you doing in the bushes?"

"I heard you coming, and I was afraid," explained the simian.

"I can identify with that," said the Lion with a smile.

"I was afraid that you might be one of those awful spider-creatures that
saps away the energy from everyone else," continued the monkey. "But I
can see that you are not. You are a much nicer fellow than that. I think
I've seen a portrait of you somewhere, in fact. You are ... My oh my!
Can it be true? You're him, aren't you?"

"Who?" asked the big cat.

"You are the great Lion that defeated the Forest Monster before!" said
the monkey. "I'm sure of it! What other lion in Oz is so big? Aren't you
the one who is called the Cowardly Lion of Oz?"

"Yeah," said the Lion, not especially proud of the title, but happy that
he was so famous with even this small monkey that he had never seen
before. "That's right. I am the Cowardly Lion of Oz. It is a title that
is far more honest than flattering. And who might you be?"

"I am Cubby," said the monkey. "I live in the Lunechien Forest of Oz."

"Lunechien Forest?" echoed the Lion. I'm not sure just where that is. Is
it far from here?"

"Pretty far," sighed Cubby. "I was running away."

"Running away?" replied the Lion, whose advice-giving nature was
beginning to surface. "Now, dear little Cubby, my lad. Whatever problems
you may be having at home are no reason to run away. You can't run away
from your problems. You should go back and try to talk it out. Why, I
can..."

"You don't understand," said Cubby. "I wasn't running away like a child
who has had a disagreement with his parents over a cookie or something.
I was running for my life."

"Oh," replied the Cowardly Lion. "Well then, that's a whole different
ball of wax. If you were ... Huh? What? You were running for your life?
What do you mean?"

"The Forest Monster has been sucking the energy out of all of the
animals of the Lunechien Forest, and I know he was coming for me next! I
was so afraid, I just wanted to get away from there as swiftly as I
could. Then, when I heard your heavy breathing, I thought it was the
Forest Monster coming for me. I thought for sure I was a goner."

"The Forest Monster?" echoed the Lion. "But I don't understand. I had a
run-in with him once myself. I knocked his head off while he was
sleeping. I know it was hardly sporting to do it that way, and I am a
little ashamed that I didn't even give him a sporting chance, but I have
to think of the innocent beasts whose lives were at stake."

[Illustration: Cowardly Lion and Cubby]

"I think there may be more than one," said Cubby. "Unless the one you
fought somehow got himself repaired."

"I suspect that would h-have to be the case," stammered the Cowardly
Lion. "I d-don't think there could be more than one of those creatures.
I had assumed it was created by magic, sort of like a green elephant or
something. But if it is alive again, it will probably find out who it
was that defeated it before. It will be looking for me."

"I'm afraid it already knows who you are," spoke Cubby. "And it has
found a way to take the energy from other beings and use it for itself.
It is already so powerful that I doubt anyone could stand against it."
He paused. "Oh, except for you, of course. I know you could defeat it.
You did it before."

"Er, yeah," said the Lion, his eyes growing to several times their
normal size. "I g-guess I d-did. B-but he was so much easier to tackle
when he was asleep. Now that he has multiplied his power, I'm n-not
sure I c-could do it again."

"Oh, but you can! You must," said the monkey encouragingly. "You can't
let him keep getting stronger and stronger! Sooner or later, he will
find you. And he probably won't stop at that. He may cross the desert
and go into the mortal lands. He might start attacking Ix or Mo or even
Merryland! And then he may infiltrate the mortal lands like America,
where your friend Dorothy lives!"

"D-Dorothy?" said the Lion, suddenly looking more angry than afraid.
"She's just a little kid! He wouldn't do that to a child?"

"He did it to several of the small and helpless beasts in the Lunechien
Forest," said the simian. "Even insects are not safe from him."

"Well, he is a spider, as far as that goes," replied the Cowardly Lion.
"Insects are a normal diet for him. But small children are not! How dare
he even think of hurting little Dorothy? What a wicked creature he
really is! Where is he? Let me have a talk with this nasty arachnid!"

"That's the spirit!" cheered Cubby. "Come on, let's go!"

The Lion had already forgotten about his exhausted condition. The
thought of Dorothy being in danger had taken precedence over all other
thoughts in his head. He followed Cubby closely until he felt he had to
rest. They traveled and rested for as long as it took before at last
they reached the border of the Lunechien Forest of Oz.

"I sure hope we can find him in his sleep again," whispered the Lion to
himself.

"Come on," said Cubby. "I know where his lair is. If he hasn't moved on
to more densely populated territory, that is."

"W-wouldn't it be rude to just b-barge in on him?" said the Lion, his
cowardly nature suddenly returning.

"I don't think so," replied Cubby. "I think we need to stop his wicked
deeds as soon as we possibly can. We can't let him get to Dorothy, you
know. Nor the Scarecrow or the Tin Woodman or the Woggle-Bug. No one is
safe as long as the Forest Monster is at large."

"You're right!" said the Cowardly Lion dutifully. "We are the only ones
who can stop him. Where is this overgrown daddy long legs?"

Cubby led the huge animal through the forest to the lair of the gigantic
spider. When they got there, they were met with a most unexpected sight.
There was a pack of Land Sharks. They looked frightful and hungry, and
they surrounded Ozma, Tweaty, Nibbles, Lisa, Hootsey and Elephant.
"Those are some of my friends who live in this forest," explained Cubby.
"Except for the little girl. I don't know who she is. Is that Dorothy?"

"No," said the Lion, his voice sounding hollow. "What is she doing here?
Why are your friends here? They should have followed your act and fled."

"It iss dinnah time!" shouted one of the Land Sharks. "I believe ve
shall bekin vith ze big gray helefantt!"

"No!" said Cubby. "Don't let them do it!"

The Cowardly Lion trembled with fear as he watched the huge Land Shark
turn to face the little monkey. When the Shark moved toward Cubby with
its jagged teeth exposed, he pounced on it.

"Get ziss kitty offa my back!" screamed the Land Shark. "It hass sharp
clawss, und zay are hurtin' me!"

The Lion jumped off, and the impact of his jump knocked the Land Shark
over. To tell the truth, the Land Shark's legs were rather thin, and his
balance was not very good to begin with. This displayed to the others
the Land Sharks' main weakness. Thinking quickly on his feet, Elephant
raced toward another of the Sharks and knocked it over on its face. The
Shark's front teeth were dislodged, and it ran behind its fellows.
Without its teeth, the Land Shark was much more vulnerable than it had
been previously. Seeing that the other Land Sharks were distracted by
the Lion and Elephant, the Forest Monster took its opportunity to
strike. Within moments, the Land Shark was no longer a threat to anyone,
having been drained of all of its life force. The added burst of energy
gave the Forest Monster more ability to take out more of the Land
Sharks. But he was so preoccupied that he failed to notice Watts and his
four companions surround him with their ferocious teeth bared. This
caused the Forest Monster to hesitate while he sized up the situation.
Here he was, the bad guy, trying to get bigger and stronger at the
expense of the Land Sharks, yet at the same time inadvertently saving
Ozma and her friends, and now Ozma's forces were bearing down on him
while his back was turned. "Hey! This is grossly unfair," he said,
almost crying. Just then, a group of Droffs, accompanied by several
Sniffers and Stinkfoots, arrived. The confusion allowed Ozma to use her
silver wand to cast a spell. Between the Forest Monster, Elephant, the
Stinkfoots, Sniffers and the Cowardly Lion, the Land Sharks were
disabled within a matter of forty-five minutes. Those who had not been
deenergized by the Forest Monster or otherwise rendered harmless by one
of the others had fallen to their spindly knees and were pleading for
mercy. One was staring directly into the foot of one of the newcomers
and crying hysterically. All the while, Ozma had been using her wand to
turn the Sharks into tiny snails, which Cubby picked up and put into a
nearby pond.

"It is finished," said the Cowardly Lion. He pushed his aching body to
the ground and licked one of his wounds. "The Land Sharks are subdued. I
don't think they will have the same cruel spirits now that they are
snails."

"Indeed not," said the Forest Monster. Turning to the Cowardly Lion, he
added, "You fought bravely. For one who is called Cowardly, you
certainly didn't show any signs of having earned that title in this
battle."

"But I felt them," sighed the Lion. "I was only acting brave because I
saw my friends in danger. To tell you the truth, I was scared out of my
wits the whole time."

"Your friends?" echoed the Forest Monster. "You call us your friends?
Even me? Do you not remember who I am, and what you once did to me while
I was sleeping?"

The Lion did a double take. "Oh, yeah! I was so caught up in the battle
with the Land Sharks that I forgot what I had come here for."

"I was, too!" agreed Cubby. "But the Cowardly Lion was coming here to
have a talk with you," he added, remembering the words that the Lion had
spoken to him earlier. "He said that he was ashamed of what he did to
you without giving you a sporting chance." These last words on Cubby's
part were intended only as an observation. He had no idea that they
would have any effect on the Forest Monster at all.

"Is that so?" wondered the huge spider. "You mean to say that you came
here to apologize to me? And you even counted me among your friends. How
wrong I have been in my assessment of your character. You are not so
cowardly after all. In fact, I feel proud to have fought alongside of
you. I would like to start over and get to know you for what you really
are."

The Lion was taken aback. "You would?" he said. He had no idea what else
to say. He had come to the Lunechien Forest thinking that he was to face
the greatest enemy he had ever known, and that enemy was speaking to him
as if they were old friends who had just met after a long period of
separation.

"Of course I would," said the spider. "I see now that I was wrong to
hate you so badly when I didn't even know what sort of fellow you really
were. And seeing how I felt when we were attacked by those Land Sharks
without having any way to fight them off showed me how grossly unfair I
was for having taken the energy from helpless insects and animals. I was
as bad as them, and I don't ever want to be like that again! It's much
too frightful. I'd rather have a solid group of friends than have all
the power in the world."

"I think I am guilty of the same thing," sighed the Lion, still a little
spooked by the abruptness of the Monster's turnabout in nature. "I
knocked your head off as you slept, but I didn't know what you were
like, either. All I knew was what I was told: that you were eating all
of the lions and the other animals, and that they wanted to make me
their king if I stopped you."

"So you are their king now," said the Forest Monster. "I do not begrudge
you the position any more. You are welcome to it. I suddenly feel like I
don't care for any position of power any more. When I was gaining the
power I now possess, I was allowing myself to be blind to anything but
my ever-growing hatred of you. Now that I see how unfounded that hatred
really was, I feel that it was I who was the true coward. I was sapping
the life energy from countless helpless creatures. I did not give them
any sporting chance, either. Nor did I have any excuse to justify what I
was doing except that I wanted revenge. It is I who should feel ashamed
of himself, not you. Now I have all of this power and strength that was
brought about by my hate, and it is no longer of any value to me. All it
has done was to make me all the more angry and heartless. If this is the
price of strength, I think I'd rather be weak. It is far better to be
small and have friends than to have all the strength in the universe but
be so full of anger and resentment that you can't even enjoy it."

"So now that you have become a mountain of power," replied the Lion,
"you no longer care to be powerful?"

"Exactly," sighed the Forest Monster. "If there were a way to reverse
time and put things back as they should be, before I ever hurt anyone, I
would do it. I wish I could apologize to all of the poor animals that I
sapped. If their spirits are still in the vicinity, I hope they see how
utterly foolish I feel for having taken such unfair advantage of them."

"It is very sad that so many of our friends and families had to be
destroyed in order for you to have learned this lesson," said Elephant,
thinking sadly of the loss to the forest and its denizens. "But I hope
that you will try to reverse your reputation now by putting your
strength to good use. It is hard to forget what you did, but I think
that, in time, we will all be able to accept you as a neighbor. At
least, if you act like one."

"Oh, that I will do," said the spider gratefully. "I will do all that I
can to make up for my past misbehaving."

"Then it seems we are no longer needed," said one of the Sniffers. "We
met the Droffs on our way here, and they have agreed to help us plow our
fields. If our job here is done, I think we should like to go home and
get started."

"Me wants to plow fields," said the Droff who stood beside him.

"Then something positive did come of all this tragedy," said Hootsey.
"Not only have the Sniffers and the Stinkfoots made friends with the
Droffs, but the Forest Monster has had a major-league change of heart.
But can we at least find the empty shells of our families and give them
a proper burial?"

"That would be right," agreed the Forest Monster.

"Wait a minute," said Ozma. "You mean to say that the bodies are still
around? You didn't devour them entirely?"

"No," explained the Monster. "I only drained them of their energy. I
never actually hurt their physical bodies. Only their internal energy."

"And their energies are still inside of you," observed Lisa, catching on
to what Ozma was getting at. "So you never actually _killed_ them! Their
bodies are still alive, but dormant because they have no life energy.
That means that, if we could reverse the process, we could put all of
their energy back into their bodies again!"

"It would," agreed Ozma, "if the Forest Monster would agree to do
this." She turned to the tremendous arachnid. "It will probably mean
that you will have to allow yourself to become small again. I don't mean
as small as you were when the Cowardly Lion first met you, either. I
mean that you will again be reduced to the size of a regular, normal
spider in order to restore all that you have wronged to their former
liveliness."

"Oh, yes!" said the Forest Monster. "This I will gladly do! I am happy
to go back to that small size. It allows me to maintain a lower profile,
and I would like the opportunity to practice spinning my webs in
private. I'll bet that, in time, I will be able to spin the most
gorgeous webs you can imagine! If that comes to pass, I would consider
it a great honor if one of my masterpieces could be coated in silver and
gold, I should like to give it to Your Majesty as a gift."

"I would be delighted to receive it, I'm sure," said Ozma kindly, though
she was not sure what she would actually do with such a treasure. "But I
think it is now time to restore the Lunechien beasts."

"I agree," said the Cowardly Lion. "And, as everything seems to have
come out well, I think it is time I head home to the Forest where I am
now king. I've already been away too long as it is."

"Of course," said Ozma, taking his paw in her hand. "Thank you for all
your help."

"Think nothing of it, my Queen," he said. Then he lumbered off toward
Lion Country.

"And now," continued Ozma, "back to the job at hand." She put her
fingertips to her temples and concentrated. The Forest Monster felt a
slight tingling sensation in his heart, but nothing else happened.

"Maybe you need to use your wand," suggested Lisa. "Or say an
incantation?"

"Or make some kind of magical motions?" put in Tweaty.

"No," sighed Ozma. "This operation is not as basic as all that. The
Forest Monster has grown so vast that my untrained abilities are not
going to work. It may be weeks before I will be up to this challenge.
I'm afraid I'm just not used to being a fairy yet. But I think I could
do it if I had an Anmars."

"A what?" asked Elephant. "I've never heard of an Anmars before."

"It's a standard magical tool that most wizards or witches would have.
But I don't think there are any more witches in the area. Allidap and
her evil sister were both destroyed by Dorothy, and the Witch of the
Deep South got rid of most of her old implements, saying that they
reminded her of a time she'd prefer to forget."

"How about Glinda?" suggested Tweaty, who was still in the form of a
small orange pachyderm. "She's a Good Witch, you know. Wouldn't she have
one of those Mars things?"

"An Anmars," corrected Ozma. "Yes, I'm sure she would. But the last I
heard from her, she was going to visit some place that was having a
drought and try to correct it. A place called Yoraitia. I do not know
where it is."

"Yoraitia?" echoed Tweaty. "I flew by there once! I know where it is,
and it isn't very far from here. But there was a dark and shadowy place
on the way. I didn't land there, as I thought it looked scary and
dangerous. But I can lead you there, if you want me to."

"Then we are saved!" said Elephant with a loud trumpet blast. "Even if
that shadowy dark place is dangerous, no one can stand up to our
formidable Forest Monster!"

"Er," pouted the Monster, "I'd rather not be thought of that way any
more. Like your Witch of the Deep South, there are things that remind me
of a past that I'd rather forget."

"Of course," said Lisa. "I'm sure Elephant didn't mean to imply that you
were mean any more."

"Certainly not," replied the pachyderm. "So can we be on our way? I so
want to be reunited with Tiger and Pinky and the others."

"Of course," replied the Forest Monster (and it is actually getting hard
to keep referring to him by that title in light of his abrupt change of
heart. I have to wonder, was he ever really all that monstrous?). "Why
don't you ride on my back. I have very long legs, and it will make the
going much faster."

They all agreed to this plan, and were off to find Yoraitia.



CHAPTER 14

ME AND MY SHADOW


It has been mentioned before that, although very comprehensive maps
exist of Oz, there are areas that are totally uncharted and about which
very little is known. One such area is the Land of Lost Shadows. In fact
this may be the very first time that this mysterious land has ever been
mentioned by any living human being. That is because no one has ever
known where a person's shadow goes when he dies. It has always been
assumed that when someone's physical form is no more, his shadow
automatically disappears along with it. That is quite true, of course.
But does anyone ever stop to think where it disappears _to_!

Now, it is very true that if you are separated from your shadow when you
are alive, it can be sewn back on again. Any child who has ever read the
story of Peter Pan knows that this is so. But when a person's body dies,
the shadow has no desire to be buried in the ground or to be burned up.
None of these things bother the body because it is not aware of
anything. But the shadow is totally aware and is anxious to remain
active and useful. Sometimes these shadows are helpful and good. Other
times, the opposite is true. Scholars of Oz are already well aware of
the time when the shadow of the Wicked Witch of the East made a ploy for
revenge against the magical country. But no shadow can continue to
remain alive outside of the enchanted lands. After all, it is but a
shadow of its former self (if you'll pardon the pun). So it just zips
off to Oz to reside in the Land of Lost Shadows. Now, the word 'lost' is
a misnomer here. The shadow itself is anything but lost. In fact it is
quite at home in its new abode. However, it is lost as far as the rest
of the world is concerned. Well, enough of these explanations. Let us
get back to our story. No created beings other than shadows had ever
crossed the borders of Shadowland (which is the name used by the
inhabitants). That is, no one had until Elephant, Ozma, Tweaty, Hootsey,
Lisa, Nibbles and the Forest Monster happened to stumble on it by
accident. And the way that happened was as follows: Each member of the
little band was so preoccupied with his own thoughts--especially
Elephant. He was still thinking how close he had come to being eaten by
the Land Sharks and the miraculous change of heart on the part of the
Forest Monster. As for the Monster himself, he was feeling bad about all
the evil things he had done, and was contemplating what he would say in
apology to all of the animals he had wronged. Since it was getting dark
by this time, he failed to notice the thick, dark area looming up in
front of him, when CRASH! He went straight into it. And since it was
really dark now, the shadowy occupants were quite invisible. Hootsey
suggested that there was no point in stumbling around in the dark, and
that the best thing to do would be for everyone to lie down and go to
sleep.

This seemed like a fine idea to Elephant, who promptly flopped down on
the grass--almost squashing Nibbles, who was already snoozing under him.
The Forest Monster also took a position of repose, but far enough away
from his smaller charges that he knew he would not roll over and squish
any of them. In the twinkling of an eye, he was fast asleep. But it was
hardly a restful sleep that he experienced. It was a deeply troubled
sleep. In his dreams, he saw the tortured faces of the many that he had
mistreated in his angry power play. The wispy night visions experienced
by his companions were hardly any more enjoyable, except those of
Princess Ozma, who rated enough respect from the Sleep Fays that they
would not allow any negative influences to disturb her sleep. Instead,
she saw visions of the beautiful Love Fairy, and the lilting,
music-like laughter of the Laughing Fay. These served to make her smile
inwardly as she slept.

Ozma was the first to awaken. She felt refreshed and envigorated. The
sound of birds chirping and the warm sun on her face brought her out of
her deep restful slumber.

The first thing that her eyes focused upon was a two-dimensional shadowy
shape moving toward her along the ground in much the same manner as the
shadow of an airplane would. She instinctively looked up at the sky to
see what flying object might be casting its shadow on the ground. But
there was nothing to account for it. Then she became apprehensive, for
it occurred to her that perhaps one of the land sharks had escaped her
snailifying spell and followed them and that was what she was seeing.
But no; it was definitely just a shadow, for it had stopped right in
front of her. Then the shadow stood up as it became a three-dimensional
human being.

"Good morning," said the shadow, who had now taken the form of a very
ordinary man. This awoke the others, who were surprised to see a man in
a baseball uniform.

"Forgive me for startling you all," said the man. "But you see, when the
sun comes up high enough in the sky, we shadows resume the forms of our
previous selves. In fact, we are identical to our previous selves except
that our bodies are composed of high-frequency molecules as opposed to
the low frequency molecules of our earthly bodies." Seeing the quizzical
look on everyone's face, he quickly continued: "It's quite simple,
really. We are composed of the same material you are. After all, none of
us could reside in Oz if we weren't."

"It makes sense, when you think about it," said Ozma. "But I am very
curious as to why you are wearing baseball clothes. Have you just come
from a game?"

"Yes, I have," answered the man. "Baseball is pretty big in Shadowland.
You see, we have a large population here of old baseball players and
baseball fans. It's the biggest thing we all have in common, so we tend
to congregate together. As a matter of fact, we not only have games
between ourselves, but we invite teams in the United States to visit
when the players are in restitude. We have a wonderful time together. Of
course, the visiting players don't usually bring back the memory of the
games when they awaken in the morning--Well, maybe some fragmented
dreams--but that doesn't detract from the game or the great fun we have.
Those young whippersnappers think they'll show us old timers a thing or
two, but boy, do they get a run for their money!"

"Might I inquire as to your name?" questioned Tweaty, rather timidly.

"Why yes," came the simple reply. "My name is Richard Marquard. Please,
just call me _Rube_."

"Sounds like a backwoodsy hillbilly name to me," said Elephant,
intending his words to sound like friendly teasing.

"Ha ha!" laughed Rube, equally friendly. "My nickname being what it is,
you probably automatically assume that I must have been a country boy.
That's what most people figure. But it's not so. Fact is, my father was
the Chief Engineer of the City of Cleveland, and that is where I was
born and reared."

"Okay," said Elephant. "So then, why is it that you are called _Rube_?"

"Well, it's a long story," answered the ball player's shadow.

"Then we had better not take the time to hear it all now," said Hootsey.
"We have a very important mission to fulfill."

"Yes," agreed Lisa. "But perhaps Mr. Rube could help us. I think we
should bring him along."

"A grand idea!" exclaimed Ozma. "Mr. Marquard, would you be so kind as
to join us on our mission? I would like to hear your story, and then
will be happy to tell you ours."

[Illustration: "_My name is Richard Marquard. Please just call me
Rube."_]

"If I had been asked to join an undefined questing party by any other
than the Queen of all Oz, I might have hesitated," came the reply. "But
as it is from you, I will come along."

"Splendid!" said Elephant. "Then let us be off!"

Rube was lifted atop the Forest Monster, as were Elephant and the
others, and from this high podium Rube began his unique tale. "It all
started with my father," he explained. "Like I say, he was the Chief
Engineer of the city of Cleveland. As far as he was concerned, the only
important thing was for me to get a good education. But as far back as I
can remember, all I could think of, morning, noon and night, was
baseball.

"'Now listen,' Dad would say. 'I want you to cut this out and pay
attention to your studies. I want you to go to college when you're
through high school, and I don't want any foolishness about it. Without
an education, you won't be able to get a good job, and then you'll
_never_ amount to anything.'

"'I already have a job,' I'd say.

"'You've got a job? What are you talking about?'

"I'm going to be a ballplayer,' I'd explain. But Dad was not very
receptive.

"'A ballplayer?' he'd say, throwing his hands up in the air. 'What do
you mean? How can you make a living as a ballplayer? I don't understand
why a grown man would wear those funny-looking suits in the first
place.'

"'Well,' I'd answer. 'You see policemen with uniforms on, and other
people like that. They change after they're through working. It's the
same way with ballplayers.'"

"That sounds reasonable to me," said Tweaty.

"Me, too," said Queen Ozma. "I certainly don't wear the same clothes to
a meeting with a foreign dignitary as I would wear while playing marbles
with Jellia Jamb."

"Certainly not!" agreed Nibbles.

"If only my father had thought that way," sighed Rube's shadow. "But he
just scoffed. 'Do ballplayers get paid?' he'd ask.

"'Yes,' I told him. 'They get paid.'

"'I don't believe it!' he would rant.

"And 'round and 'round we would go. We'd actually have that same
argument, almost always word-for-word, at least once a week. Twice a
week in the summer. Sometimes my grandfather--my father's father--would
get involved in it. My grandfather was a nice man who liked baseball,
and he would usually take my side.

"'Listen,' he'd say to my father, 'when you were a youngster, I wanted
you to be something, too. I wanted you to be a stonecutter, same as I
was when I came over from the old country.' Oh, did I mention before
that my grandfather was a stonecutter?"

"No," replied Elephant. "You just said that he was a nice man who liked
baseball."

"Okay," said Rube's shadow. "Well, my grandfather had been a
stonecutter, and had tried to persuade Dad to become one, too. 'But no!'
he would say loudly into my father's ear, 'You wouldn't listen. You
wanted to be an engineer. So you _became_ an engineer. And a darned good
one, too. Had I forced you into masonry, you would never have excelled
in the craft for which you had no love. And you would have been very
unhappy. Now Richard wants to be a baseball player. He's so determined
that nothing is going to stop him. Let's give him a chance and see what
he can do. Don't force the boy to give up on his dreams.'"

"Your grandfather sounds like a wise man to me," said Ozma.

"He was," said the shadow. "But Dad would never listen. 'Ballplayers are
no good,' he'd insist. 'Ballplayers are no good, and they never will be
any good.' It was very frustrating. He would usually end the argument by
slamming the door and going outside to sit on the porch. And he would
stop speaking to my grandfather or me for hours at a time."

"That's too bad," said Tweaty. "If you were good at baseball, you should
have stuck with it."

"But I did stick with it," replied the shadow. "I told you, I just came
from a game."

"Oh, yeah," said Tweaty. "So you mean you brought your Dad around?"

"Well," the shadow said slowly. "The thing is, I was always very tall
for my age. I had three brothers and a sister, and my sister was the
shortest of the five of us. She grew to be six feet two. So you see, I
was constantly hanging around the older kids and playing ball with them
instead of hanging with kids my own age. When I was about thirteen or
so, I used to carry bats for some of the Cleveland Indians, such as
Elmer Flick, Napoleon Lajoie and Terry Turner. Of course, they were not
called the Cleveland Indians then. They were called the Cleveland
Bronchos in those days. Then the Cleveland Naps--after Napoleon Lajoie.
Anyway, after the regular season was over, a lot of them would barnstorm
around the Cleveland area, and sometimes I'd be their bat boy.

"Later on, I even pitched a few games for Bill Bradley's Boo Gang," the
shadow added proudly.

"Boo Gang?" said Lisa with a little shudder.

"Boo like a Ghost?" added Hootsey.

"No, no," laughed Rube's image. "Bill Bradley was the third baseman for
the Cleveland Indians--and one of the greatest who ever lived--and he
also barnstormed with his 'Boo Gang' after the season was over. So by
the time I was fifteen or so, I knew a lot of ballplayers. And I had my
heart set on being a Big Leaguer myself.

"Well, one of my best friends was a catcher named Howard Wakefield. He
was about five years older than I was. In 1906 he was playing for the
Waterloo Club in the Iowa State League, and ..."

"1906?" echoed Lisa. "But ... But ..."

"What's wrong?" asked the ballplayer's shadow.

"You have to be mistaken," said Elephant, recognizing the reason for his
friend's perplexity. "It isn't 1906 yet. It's only 1902!"

"I think he's from the future," said Lisa. "Rube Marquard is from a year
that hasn't happened yet."

"But how is that possible?" asked Hootsey.

"Have you ever noticed," explained the shadow, "how you can stand in the
middle of two or more different sources of light, and cast several
shadows in various directions?"

"Of course," said Hootsey. "And sometimes I have a long skinny shadow
that is faint and grayish, while I also have a short fat shadow right
under me which is almost completely black. And when I'm flying, I can
make lots of different shadows that don't even touch me anywhere."

"Yes," said Rube. "And these are all your shadow. If you go on a stage
with many footlights, you will cast various images of various shades of
gray. These are all your shadow. You see, your shadow can go in any
direction, backward or forward. It can reach to a distant area or stay
situated close by. And it can do all at one time without ever letting go
of you--even if, as you say, it isn't actually touching you. You are
always attached at some place. As the shadow of Rube Marquard, I touch
him always, even while he is far away in repose. I can be his past, his
future, or his mirror image. That is why I can remember experiences he
hasn't even had yet. Sometimes we shadows accidentally create a feeling
of deja vu in our live counterparts, which can lead to a false sense of
psychic ability."

"I don't know much about American sports figures," said Elephant. "But
it sounds like you are someone who is or will be important to Baseball.
But how did you convince your dad to let you play?"

"Yes," agreed Hootsey. "You still haven't told us."

"Of course," replied the shadow. "As I was saying, I had a friend by the
name of Howard Wakefield. He was playing for the Waterloo Club in the
Iowa State League. That summer--when I was only sixteen--I got a letter
from him.

"'_We can use a good left-handed pitcher_,' the letter said. '_And if
you want to come to Waterloo, I'll recommend you to the manager._' I
think Howard thought that I was at least eighteen or nineteen, as I was
so big for my age.

"I wrote Howard and told him that my dad did not want me to play ball,
so I didn't think he'd give me the money to go. If I asked him, he'd
probably hit the ceiling and rap me over the head with something. Aside
from that, I was ready to go."

"Well," said Lisa indignantly, "a good father would have encouraged you
to go. He should have been able to see that you were good at what you
did, and that you deserved this chance to make good."

"Absolutely," agreed Hootsey. "But I don't expect that your father gave
you the money. Did you ever get to Waterloo?"

"Well," answered the shadow, "pretty soon I got a telegram from the
Waterloo manager. He said that I had been recommended very highly by
Howard Wakefield, and asked if I would like to come and try out for the
team. The Waterloo manager offered to reimburse the cost of
transportation if I was given a contract."

"But you still couldn't get the money from your father," said Ozma.

"No," sighed the ballplayer. "It was hardly an improvement over Howard's
letter. So I just went upstairs to my room and closed the door. Then I
wrote back a long letter to the Waterloo manager, explaining that I
didn't have any money for transportation. But I told him that, if he
sent me an advance right now for transportation, I'd be on the very next
train to Waterloo and he could take it out of my salary later on."

"That's assuming you were hired, of course," said Lisa.

"Yes," agreed Rube. "But I didn't have the slightest doubt that I would
make good. And, of course, I didn't mention that I was only sixteen
years old. I thought it best to leave that out.

"I mailed the letter to Iowa, and then I waited on pins and needles for
an answer. Every day I had to be the first one to get at the mail,
because if anyone else saw a letter to me from the Waterloo Ball
Club--well, that would have been enough to alert Dad to what was going
on and I'd have been sunk. So every day I waited for the first sign of
the mailman and tried to get to him before he reached the house. As it
turned out, I could have saved myself a lot of worrying."

"No letter ever came?" guessed Lisa.

"Nope. Three weeks passed and still no answer." The shadow sighed again.
"I couldn't understand what had gone wrong. Maybe it was against the
rules to send transportation money to somebody not yet under contract?
Maybe they didn't know how good I really was? Maybe this and maybe that.
It was another frustrating period of my life. Finally, I just couldn't
stand it any longer. I gave my folks a story about camping with the Boy
Scouts and hitch-hiked to Waterloo."

"You lied to your parents?" said Ozma, startled by the very idea.

"Yes, I did. It was a hard thing for me to do, going against Dad like
that. But I was well punished for the deed. Believe me! Have you ever
had to hitch-hike, sleep in open fields, or hop a freight train? It took
me five days and five nights. The longest five days of my life, and I
was only sixteen at the time. But I did get there. Tired, anxious and
half-starved, I blew into the Illinois Central Station at Waterloo, Iowa
on a freight train early in the evening. Just before it stopped, I
jumped off and went head over heels right in front of the passenger
house. I hardly had time to pick myself up off the ground before the
stationmaster grabbed me and shouted, 'What do you think you're doing?
Come on, get out of here before I run you in!'

"'No,' I said. 'I'm reporting to the Waterloo Ball Club.'

"'You're what?' he says. 'My God! Did you ever wash your face?'

"'Yes I did,' I said. 'But I've been travelling for five days and five
nights, and I am anxious to get to the Ball Park. Where do the
ballplayers hang around?'

"'At the Smoke Shop,' he says. 'Down the street about a half of a mile.
If you walk down there, probably whoever you're looking for will be
there.'

"So I thanked him and said I'd see to it that he got a free pass to the
ball game as soon as I got settled, and started off for the Smoke Shop.
It turned out that two brothers owned the Smoke Shop, and they also
owned the Ball Club. One of them was behind the counter when I walked
into the place. He took one look at me and let out a roar like a lion's.

"'What are you doing in here?' he yelled. This is a respectable place!
Get out of here!'

"'Wait a minute,' I says. 'I've got a telegram from the manager of the
Ball Club to report here, and if I make good I'll get a contract.'

"'Are you kidding?' he says. 'Who in the world ever recommended you?'

"'Howard Wakefield did,' I said.

"'Well,' says the guy behind the counter, 'Wakefield is in back shooting
billiards. We'll soon settle this!'

"I'd like to go back and see him,' I said.

"'Don't you go back there,' he shouted. 'Don't even think about going
back there! You'll drive everybody out. Did you ever take a bath?'

"'Of course I did,' says I. 'But I've bummed my way here and I haven't
had a chance to clean up yet.'

"So he goes into the back and in a minute Howard comes out 'Cripes!' he
says. 'What happened to you?'

"I was explaining it to him when in came Mr. Frisbee, the manager, and I
was introduced to him. 'I received your telegram,' I said. 'I didn't
have enough money to come first class or anything like that, but here I
am.'

"'Keokuk is here tomorrow,' says the manager, 'and we'll pitch you.'"

"'We'll pitch you?'" echoed Hootsey. "What a mean thing for him to say!
Imagine, just pitching you out after all your effort to get there!"

"No, no," explained the shadow. "He meant that he wanted me to pitch the
next day. But I was all tuckered out and hardly ready to do that. I
really wanted to have a bath and get some sleep.

"'Tomorrow or never, Young Fellow,' he says to me. Tomorrow or not at
all.'

"'All right,' I said. 'But could I have five dollars in advance so I can
get a clean shirt or something?'

"'After the game tomorrow,' he said. Then he just walked away from me
like I was nothing."

"How rude," said Elephant.

"The least he could have done would have been to let you take a shower
in the locker-room," said Lisa.

"Well, I got to clean up," admitted Rube. "Howard took me to his rooming
house and gave me something to eat. They let me sleep on an extra cot
they had. And the next day we went to the Ball Park and I was introduced
to the players and given a uniform that was too small for me. The Keokuk
team was shagging balls while I warmed up, and they kept making comments
about green rookies and bushers and nitchies and such; and how they'd
knock me out of the box in the first inning; and how I should have
stayed home with my Mommy. Ooh, I felt terrible. I had an awful headache
and I was exhausted! Still, I was determined to show them that I could
make good, and I went out there and won that game six against one!

"With that," continued the shadow, "I felt sure I'd be offered a
contract. So after the game, I went to Mr. Frisbee and said, 'Welp, I
showed you I could deliver the goods. Can we talk about a contract
now?'

"'Oh,' he says to me. 'Keokuk is in last place. Wait until Oskaloosa
comes in this weekend. They are in second place. They are a rough team,
and if you can beat them, then we'll talk.'

"'Can't I get any money--any advance money--on my contract?' I asked
him.

"'You haven't got a contract,' he said.

"'All right,' says I, and I didn't say another word. I knew that he was
right. I'd have to prove myself before I could expect any handouts from
this man. So I stayed quiet. I didn't say anything to anybody that
evening. But when it got dark, I went down to the railway station, and
the same stationmaster was there. He remembered me.

"'Hey!' he says. 'You pitched a fine game today! I was there, and you
did a great job! What are you doing back here? Did you come to give me
that free ticket you promised me?'

"'No,' I said to him sadly. I'm sorry. I'm going back home to Cleveland,
and I want to know what time a freight comes by.' Then I explained to
him about everything that had happened. Oh, he was very nice to me. He
completely understood where I was coming from. After we had talked for
awhile, he said, 'Look, the train comes in at one o'clock in the morning
and the engine unhooks and goes down to the water tower. When it does,
you sneak into the baggage compartment. Meanwhile, I'll talk to the
baggage man before the engine gets hooked up again. So when the train
pulls out and is about five miles out of town, he'll open the baggage
door and let you out.'

"And that is pretty much what happened," continued Rube. "When we were
five miles out of town, the door opened and the baggage man appeared. I
talked with him all the way to Chicago, and as we got close to the yards
he says to me, 'Okay, you'd better get ready to jump now. There are a
lot of detectives around here and if you're not careful, they'll jump
on you and throw you in jail. So once you get to the ground, do not
hesitate! Beat it away from here as fast as you can!'

"The baggage man must have told the engineer about me, as we slowed down
to a crawl just before we approached the Chicago yards, and off I
jumped. I got out of there quick and took off down the street. I don't
know what street it was, and I'm not sure where I was headed, but I do
remember that I was awfully tired. It was the middle of the morning and
I had hardly slept a wink the night before. I had staggered about three
or four blocks when I passed by a fire engine house. Evidently all of
the firemen were out at a fire, because the place was deserted. I was
tired, very tired, so I went in and sat down. Well, they had a big
bellied iron stove in there, and it was warm. I guess I must have fallen
asleep, as the next thing I knew, a couple of firemen were shaking me
and doing everything they could do to wake me up. They called me a bum
and a lot of other bad names, and told me to get out of there or they'd
have me thrown in jail.

"'I'm no bum,' I said. 'I'm a ballplayer.'

"'What?' the firemen laughed. 'You, a ballplayer? Where did you ever
play?'

"'In Cleveland, around the sandlots,' I told them proudly. 'And in
Waterloo, Iowa, too! I beat the Keokuk team six to one!'

"'Yeah?' said one of the firemen. 'And last week I had dinner with Santa
Claus and the Pope. So I suppose you're going to tell me that you are
close buddies with Three-Fingered Brown, Chance, Tinker and Evans--I
mean, Evers--and all of those fellows?'

"'No,' I said. 'I don't know them. But some day I'll be playing with
them, or against them, because I'm going to get in the Big Leagues.'

"'Where are you going now?' asked the firemen.

"'Back home to Cleveland,' I told them.

"'Have you got any money?' they asked me.

"'No,' I answered. I had to be honest, after all.

"So they got up a little pool of about five dollars and said, 'Well, on
your way. And use this to get something to eat.'

"I thanked them, and as I left I told them that some day I would be back
again. 'When I get to the Big Leagues,' I said, I'm coming out to visit
you when we get to Chicago.'

"And home I went. I played around home all the rest of the summer, and
then the next summer--that would have been 1907, if I recall correctly,
even though I'm remembering things that have yet to happen and I'm
remembering them backwards--I took a job with an ice cream company in
Cleveland. I made twenty-five dollars a week: Fifteen for checking the
cans on the truck that would take the ice cream away, and ten dollars a
Sunday, when I pitched for the company team. It was a good team. We
played the best semipro clubs in the Cleveland area, and I beat them
all. I was only seventeen, but I hardly lost a game.

"Then one day I got a postal card from the Cleveland Ball Club, asking
me to come in and talk to them. Mr. Kilfoyl and Mr. Somers, the owners
of the club, wanted to see me."

"Hurray!" said Hootsey. "So then, your father must have come around by
then?"

"Hardly!" said the shadow. "My Dad saw the postal card and became very
upset. 'So,' he said to me. 'I see that you still want to be a
ballplayer.'

"'Yes,' I admitted. 'I do. And I'm going to be a great one, too! Just
you wait and see! Some day you're going to be proud of me!'

"'Yeah,' he shrugged. 'Proud of nothing.'

"But I went to the Cleveland club's office all the same, and Mr. Kilfoyl
and Mr. Somers were both there. I told them that I had received their
card. 'You know,' I added, 'You got me into a little jam. My dad doesn't
want me to be a ballplayer.'

"'Don't you worry,' said Mr. Kilfoyl 'After you sign with us and get
into the Big Leagues, he'll think differently about it.'

"'Well,' I said, 'I'm not signing with you or anybody else until I hear
what you're offering. I've been taken advantage of before, and it's not
going to happen again. I know a lot of ballplayers and they always tell
me not to sign with anybody unless I get a good salary. They all tell me
you better get it when you're young, 'cause you sure won't get it when
you're old.'

"'That's a lot of nonsense,' Mr. Kilfoyl said. 'Don't you worry. We'll
treat you right. We'll give you a hundred dollars a month. That's a
wonderful offer.'

"'I think he'll be overpaid,' Mr. Somers says.

"'I don't think that is so wonderful,' I said. 'And as for being
overpaid, I get that much right now from the ice cream company, and in
addition I get to eat all the ice cream I want.'"

"So it really wasn't an honorable offer," tsked Ozma. "Did they raise
their offer?"

"No," replied the shadow with a sad expression. "They wouldn't increase
their price. And I wouldn't reduce mine. So I left and went home. On my
way home, though, I stopped in this sporting-goods store at 724 Prospect
Avenue. It was owned by Bill Bradley and Ryan ... Phylli ... --I mean,
Charlie Carr. Charlie managed and played first base for Indianapolis in
the American Association. Bill, as I think I may have mentioned before,
played third base for Cleveland.

"Anyway, when I walked in the door, Bill Bradley said, 'Hello, Big
Leaguer. I understand that the boss wants to sign you up.'

"'Not me,' I said. 'He wouldn't pay me as much as I already make with
the ice cream company.'

"'You know,' said Charlie Carr, 'I manage the Indianapolis Club.'

"'I know that,' I said. After all, everybody knew that!

"'How would you like to sign with me?' Charlie said with a smile.

"'You're in the minor leagues,' I replied. 'If a major league club won't
pay me what I want, how could you do it?'

"'How much do you want?' he wanted to know.

"I took a deep breath and then answered, 'Two hundred a month.'

"'Wow!' he said. 'You want all the money, don't you?'

"'No,' I told him. 'But you want a good pitcher, don't you?'

"'Yes,' he answered simply.

"'Well, I said, I'm one.'"

The five Ozites laughed at this, and the shadow smiled. He was actually
beginning to fear that he was giving them too many details and that his
story may be becoming long-winded and dull. But seeing that he was not
boring his listeners, he continued:

"He agreed to my terms, of course. So right then I signed my first
professional contract, with Indianapolis of the American Association.

"When I got home that night I had to tell my dad about it, because I was
to leave for Indianapolis the very next day. Oh, that was a terrible
night! Finally, Dad said, 'Now listen, I've told you time and time again
that I don't want you to be a professional ballplayer. But you've got
your mind made up. Now I'm going to tell you something: when you cross
that threshold, don't come back. I don't ever want to see you again.'"

"No!" said Ozma with a start. "No way! No father would say such a thing
to his own son!"

"That was just what my father said to me," said Rube sadly. "He didn't
want me to come home again. I was excommunicated from the family."

"That's awful!" said Lisa. "Parents do have a certain responsibility
toward any children that they brought into the world! He was a skinflint
and a creep!"

"Yes," agreed Rube. "His actions that day were like those of a regular
skunk!"

"I've known some very nice skunks in my day," said Hootsey.

"In any case," said the shadow, not wanting to get into a debate about
his use of the word _skunk_, "I was as shocked as you all seem to be.

"'You don't mean that, Dad!" I said.

"'Yes, I do.'

"'Well,' I replied. 'I'm going. And some day you'll be proud of me.'

"'Proud!' he said. 'You're breaking my heart, and I don't ever want to
see you again.'

"'I will not break your heart,' I said. 'I'll add more years to your
life. You wait and see.'

"And so it was that I went to Indianapolis. They optioned me out to
Canton in the Central League for the rest of the 1907 season, and I won
twenty-three games with them, which was one-third of all the games the
Canton Club won that year."

"Good for you, Rube!" said Elephant, genuinely proud of his new friend.

"The next year--that would have been 1908--I went to Spring Training
with the Indianapolis Club. We went to French Lick Springs, Indiana.
After three weeks there we went back to Indianapolis and played a few
exhibition games before the season opened. Well, believe it or not, the
first club to come in for an exhibition game was the Cleveland team:
Napoleon Lajoie, Terry Turner, Elmer Flick, George Stovall and the whole
bunch that I used to carry bats for. When they came on the field I was
already warming up.

"'Hey!' a couple of them yelled at me. 'What are you doing here? Are you
the bat boy here?'

"'No,' I smugly replied. 'I am the pitcher.'

"'You, a pitcher?' they jeered. 'Who do you think you're kidding?'

"'Just ask Bill Bradley,' I told them. 'He was there when I signed my
first contract. You'll see. I'm going to pitch against you guys today,
and I'm going to beat you, too.'

"'Beat us? Busher, you couldn't beat a drum!'

"So then Bill Bradley came over and said hello. As he was leaving he
said, 'Richard, you're a nice boy, so I want to give you some advice
before today's game. Be careful of the Frenchman.' He meant Napoleon
Lajoie. He said, The Frenchman is very sharp and he's been hitting
terrific line drives this past week. He's almost killed three of our own
pitchers in practice, so there's no telling what he'll do in a real
game, even if it is just an exhibition game.'

"I thanked him, of course, and went back to warming up. Well, I pitched
the whole nine innings and beat them, two to zero. Lajoie got two hits
off me, and I think George Stovall got a couple, but I shut them
out--and I wasn't killed, either.

"That night Charlie Carr called me over. 'You know,' he said, 'a funny
thing just happened. Mr. Somers, the owner of the Cleveland club, just
came over to my hotel room and wanted to buy you. He offered me three
thousand five hundred dollars for your contract with the understanding
that you'd stay here all season, to get more experience, and then you
would join the Cleveland club next year.'

"'Charlie,' I said, 'if you sell me to Somers, I'm going right back to
the ice cream company. He had first chance to get me, and he wouldn't
give me what I deserved. So long as Somers is involved, I won't play for
Cleveland, no matter what.'

"'Okay,' he said. 'Don't worry. I won't sell you. Later on I'll be able
to sell you for a lot more, anyway.'

"On opening day, Kansas City was at Indianapolis, and I pitched the
opening game. I won two to one, and that evening the story in the
Indianapolis _Star_ read like this: 'The American Association season
opened up today, and it was a beautiful game between two fine teams.
Each had great pitching, with an eighteen year old right-hander
pitching for Kansas City and an eighteen year old left-hander for the
home team. The right-hander with Kansas City looks like he's going to
develop into a great pitcher. They call him Smoky Joe Wood. But we have
a left-hander with Indianapolis who is going places, too. He resembles
one of the great left-handed pitchers of all time: Rube Waddell.'

"And from that day on, they nicknamed me 'Rube.'

"I had a wonderful season that year with Indianapolis. I pitched
forty-seven complete games, won twenty-eight of them, led the league in
most strikeouts, least hits, most innings pitched, and everything.
Occasionally what I'd do would be reported in the Cleveland papers, and
friends of mine would tell me that they'd pass by the house and see Dad
sitting on the porch.

"'Well, Fred,' they'd say--that was Dad's name, by the way, Fred--'Did
you see what your son Rube did yesterday?'

"'Who are you talking about?' he'd say. 'Rube who?'

"'Your son--Richard,' they would answer.

"'I told him that baseball was no good,' my dad would reply. 'Now
they've even gone and changed his name!'

"Anyway, I had a terrific year with Indianapolis, like I said. Late in
the season we went into Columbus, Ohio, and Charlie Carr came up to me
before the game.

"'Rube,' he said, 'there are going to be an awful lot of celebrities
here at the game today. The American and National Leagues both have an
off-day, and they're all coming to see you pitch. If you pitch a good
game I may be able to sell you before the night is out.'

"'For how much?' I wanted to know.

"'I don't know,' he said. 'But a lot. It depends on what kind of game
you pitch.'

"'Will you cut me in?' I asked.

"'No, I won't,' he said with certainty. 'You're getting a good salary
and you know it.'

"'Okay,' I said. I was only kidding anyway.

"'I don't want you to get nervous today,' he said.

"'Nervous?' I repeated. 'Have I ever been nervous all season?'

"'No,' he admitted, 'I've been in baseball a long time and I never saw
anything like it. I never saw a kid like you, who can beat anybody and
is so successful.'

"'Well,' I said, 'the reason I'm so successful is because I can beat
anybody.'"

"Now aren't you getting a little carried away with your bragging?" asked
Nibbles. "I mean, I'm very much enjoying your story, even though I know
little about baseball except that you play it on a bass drum. But
really, I think you're carrying your pride a little too far into the
negative."

"Yeah," admitted Rube, "I am sorry about that. Sometimes that happens to
me when I get too worked up. Anyway, I went out there that day and I
pitched one of those unusual games: no hits, no runs, no errors.
Twenty-seven men faced me and not one of them got to first base. And
that evening in Columbus they put me up for sale, with all the Big
League clubs bidding on me, like a horse being auctioned off. The
Cleveland club went as high as ten thousand five hundred dollars for my
contract, but the Giants went to eleven grand, and I was sold to them.
At that time, that was the highest price ever paid for a baseball
player.

"I reported to the New York Giants in September of 1908, as soon as the
American Association season was over. I was eigh ..."

"It still feels a little odd to have you 'remembering' things from years
that have not yet been," interrupted Hootsey.

"Let him finish the story," admonished Elephant.

"I am sorry," said Rube. "But it is a memory to me, and a prediction to
you. I will try to be more careful about naming years if I can remember
to be. But in any event, I was eighteen years old at the time, and
already the most valuable player in the Big Leagues! Excuse me if I
seem to boast, but I feel that I am justified this time. I was the hero
of the hour.

"Still, I came up too late in the season to make a trip to Chicago with
the Giants that year, but the next season we made our first trip to
Chicago the second week in June. And the first thing I did, as soon as I
got there, was to make a beeline for that firehouse.

"The only one there when I first got there was the Lieutenant. I walked
up to him and said, 'Lieutenant, do you remember me?'

"'Never saw you before in my life,' he said.

"'Well, remember about three years ago you caught me sleeping back of
that stove there?'

"'Oh, are you that kid from Cleveland that said he's a ballplayer?'

"'Yes!' I told him. 'Remember me? My name is Marquard. Richard
Marquard.'

"'Of course,' he said, not really interested. 'What are you doing here?'

"'I am in the Big Leagues,' I explained. 'I told you when I got to the
Big Leagues I was coming out to visit you.'

"'Well I'll be ...' he began, then, 'Who are you with?'

"'Why, I'm with the New York Giants,' I said with pride.

"And boy, for years after that, whenever the Giants would come to
Chicago, I'd go out to that firehouse. I'd sit out front and talk for
hours. The firemen would have all the kids in the neighborhood there ...
and all the families that lived around would stop by ... and it was
really wonderful. Everybody was so nice and friendly. Gee, I used to
enjoy that. It was a great thrill for me.

"Actually, every single day of all the years I spent in the Big Leagues
was a thrill for me. It was like a dream come true. I was in the Big
Leagues for eighteen years, you know, from 1908 through 192 ... Oh,
yeah. Sorry about that. I was with the Giants for seven glorious years,
with the Dodgers for five years after that, with Cincinnati for one
year, and then with the Boston Braves for four. And I loved every single
minute of it!

"The best years of all were those with the Giants. I don't mean because
those were my best pitching years, although they were. In 1911 I won
twenty-four games and lost only seven. And in 1912 I won twenty-six.
That's the year I won nineteen straight! I didn't lose a single game in
1912 until July eighth!

"Actually, at the risk of sounding boastful again, I won twenty
straight, not nineteen. But because of the way they scored then, I
didn't get credit for one of them. I relieved Jeff Tesreau in the eighth
inning of a game one day, with the Giants behind, three to two. In the
ninth inning, Heinie Groh singled and Art Wilson homered, and we won,
four to three. But they gave Tesreau credit for the victory instead of
me. Except for that it would have been twenty straight wins, not
nineteen."

"It's still a pretty magnificent record," harumphed Elephant "I don't
see any reason for all the sour grapes."

"Oh, no," said Rube's shadow. "No sour grapes. It was the grandest year
of my life. Of course, I had other great years with the Giants, too. In
1914--er, sorry. I've just told this story this way for so long, it is
hard to change it now--I beat Babe Adams and the Pirates in a
twenty-one inning game, three to one. Both of us went the entire
distance that day, all twenty-one innings. And the following year, I
pitched a no-hitter against Brooklyn and beat Nap Rucker, two to
nothing."

"No wonder you remember your years with the Giants best," said Hootsey
understandingly.

"Oh, no," said Rube. "But that's not the reason. The real reason is ...
Well, maybe it's because that was my first club. I don't know. Whatever
the reason, though, it was wonderful to be a Giant back then.

"Take Mr. McGraw, for example. What a great man he was! The finest and
grandest man I ever met! He loved his players and his players loved him.
Of course, he wouldn't stand for any nonsense. You had to live up to the
rules and regulations of the New York Giants, and when he laid down the
law you'd better abide by it!

"I'll never forget one day we were playing Pittsburgh, and it was Red
Murray's turn to bat, with the score tied in the ninth inning. There was
a man on second with none out. Murray came over to McGraw--I was sitting
next to McGraw on the bench--and he said, 'What do you want me to do,
Mac?'

"'What do I want you to do?' McGraw said. 'What are you doing in the
National League? There's the winning run on second base and no one out.
What would you do if you were the manager?'

"'I'd sacrifice the man to third,' Murray said.

"'Well,' McGraw said, 'that's exactly what I want you to do.'

"So Murray went up to the plate to bunt. After he got to the batter's
box, though, he backed out and looked over at McGraw again.

"McGraw poked his elbow in my ribs. 'Look at that so-and-so,' he said.
'He told me what he should do, and I told him what he should do, and now
he's undecided. I'll bet he forgot from the bench to the plate.'

"Now, in those days--and I guess it's the same now--when a man was up
there to bunt, the pitcher would try to keep the ball high and tight.
Well, it so happened that Red was a high-ball hitter. Howie Camnitz was
pitching for Pittsburgh. He wound up and in came the ball, shoulder
high. Murray took a terrific cut at it and the ball went over the
left-field fence. It was a home run and the game was over.

"Back in the clubhouse, Murray was as happy as a lark. He was first into
the showers, and out boomed his wonderful Irish tenor, singing _My Wild
Irish Rose_. When he came out of the shower, still singing, McGraw
walked over and tapped him on the shoulder. All of us were watching out
of the corner of our eyes, because we knew The Little Round Man--that's
what we used to call McGraw--wouldn't let this one go by without saying
_something_.

"'Murray,' McGraw said. 'What did I tell you to do?'

"'You told me to bunt,' Murray said, not looking quite so happy anymore.
'But you know what happened, Mac. Camnitz put one right in my gut, so I
cow-tailed it.'

"'Where did you say he put it?' asked McGraw.

"'Right in my gut,' Murray says again.

"'Well,' said McGraw, I'm fining you a hundred dollars, and you can try
putting that right in your gut, too!' And off he went.

"Oh, God! I never laughed so much in my life! Murray never did live that
down. Years later something would happen and we'd yell to Murray, 'Hey
Red, is that right in your gut?'

"There were a lot of grand guys on that club: Christy Mathewson and
Chief Meyers, Larry Doyle and Fred Snodgrass, Al Bridwell and Bugs
Raymond. Bugs Raymond! Ah, yes! What a terrific spitball pitcher he was.
Bugs drank a lot, you know, and sometimes it seemed like the more he
drank the better he pitched. They used to say that he didn't spit on the
ball: he blew his breath on it, and the ball would come up drunk.

"Actually, there was very little drinking in baseball in those days.
It's a shame that drinking will become more and more commonplace in
American sports with the passage of time. I have seen it, and it is sad.
Myself, I've never smoked or took a drink in my life. I always said you
can't burn the candle at both ends. You want to be a ballplayer, be a
ballplayer. If you want to go out and carouse and chase around, do that.
But you can't do them both at once.

"Of course," continued Rube Marquard's shadow, 'when we were on the
road, we had a nightly eleven o'clock bed check. At eleven o'clock we
all had to be in our rooms and the trainer would come around and check
us off. We'd usually have a whole floor in a hotel and we'd be two to a
room. I always roomed with Matty all the while I was on the Giants. What
a grand guy he was! The door would be wide open at eleven o'clock and
the trainer would come by with a board with all the names on it. He'd
poke his head in: Mathewson, Marquard, check. And lock the door. Next
room, check, lock the door.

"As far as I was concerned, I never drank a drop even when I was in show
business. In 1912 I made a movie with Alice Joyce and Maurice Costello,
and then I was in vaudeville for three years, Blossom Seeley and I.
That's when she was my wife. It didn't work out, though. I asked her to
quit the stage. I told her I could give her everything she wanted.

"'No,' she told me. 'Show business is show business.'

"'Well,' I said, 'baseball is mine.' So we parted."

"You mentioned that you were with the Giants for seven years, and then
the Dodgers for five, did you not? How did it feel when you were traded
from the Giants to the Dodgers?" asked Elephant.

"Well," said the shadow, "not too bad. See, I traded myself. I didn't
seem to be able to get going in 1915 after I pitched that no-hitter
early in April, and late in the season McGraw started riding me. That
was a very bad year for the Giants, you know. We were favored to win the
pennant, and instead we wound up last. So McGraw wasn't very happy.
After I had taken about as much riding as I could stand, I asked him to
trade me if he thought I was so bad.

"'Who would take you?' he said to me.

"'What do you mean?' I asked. 'I can still lick any club in the league.'
And I could, too! Heck, I wasn't even twenty-six years old then.

"'Lick any club in the league?' scoffed McGraw. 'You couldn't lick a
postage stamp!'

"'Give me a chance to trade myself, then,' I suggested. 'What would you
sell me for?'

"'Seven thousand five hundred bills,' he answered.

"'Okay,' I said. 'Can I use your phone?'

"'Sure,' he said.

"We were both pretty mad at that point, so I got 'hold of the operator
and asked her to get me Wilbert Robinson, manager of the Brooklyn club.
You see, Robbie--that's what we called him--had been a coach with us for
years before he became the Dodger manager in 1914. After a while, she
got Robbie on the phone.

"'Hello?' he says.

"'How are you, Robbie?' I asked.

"Fine,' he said. 'Who is this?'

"Now, I had to handle this conversation very carefully. My whole world
depended on it. 'How would you like to have a good left-handed pitcher?'
I said in a jovial tone.

"I'd love it,' he said. 'Who is this? Who's the man? Who are you going
to recommend?'

"I then dropped the clincher. 'I'm going to recommend myself,' I told
him.

"'Who are you?' he repeated.

"'Rube Marquard,' I said, trying to sound impressive.

"'Oh,' Robbie said. 'What are you kidding around for, Rube? I have to go
out on the field and I don't have time to fool around.'

"'No,' I told him, 'I'm serious! McGraw is right here and he says he'll
sell me for seven thousand five hundred buckaroos! Do you want to talk
to him?'

"'Of course I do,' Robbie said. And right then and there I was traded
from the Giants to the Dodgers.

"And, of course, we--the Dodgers, that is--won the pennant the next
year, and I had one of the best years I ever had. I think I had an
earned run average of about one and a half in 1916. And then we won the
pennant again in 1920. So everything worked out pretty well.

"One day when I was pitching for Brooklyn, I pitched the first game of a
double-header against Boston and beat them, one to zip! I was in the
clubhouse during the second game, taking off my uniform, when the
clubhouse boy came in. 'Rube,' he said to me, 'there's an elderly
gentleman outside who wants to see you. He says he's your father from
Cleveland.

"'He is not my father,' I said. 'My father wouldn't go across the street
to see me. But you go out and get his autograph book and bring it in,
and I'll autograph it for him.'

"But instead of bringing in the book, he brought in my Dad. And we were
both delighted to see one another.

"'Boy,' said my father to me, 'you sure are a hardhead. You know I
didn't mean what I said ten years ago.'

"'What about you, Dad?' I said. 'You're as stubborn as I am. I thought
you never wanted to see me again. I thought you meant it.'

"'Of course I didn't,' he said.

"After we talked a while, I said, 'Did you see the game today?'

"'Yes,' he said, 'I did.'

"'Where were you sitting?' I asked him.

"'Well, you know the man who wears that funny thing on his face?'

"'You mean the mask? The catcher?' I said.

"'I guess so,' my father said with a smile. 'Well, anyway, I was halfway
between him and the number one--you know, where they run right after
they hit the ball?'

"'You mean first base?' I asked.

"'I don't know,' he said. 'I don't know what they call it. I was sitting
in the middle there.'

"'How many ball games have you seen since I became a ballplayer, Dad?' I
wanted to know.

"'This is the first one,' he said.

"Well, he stayed in New York with me for a few weeks, and we had a
great time. Finally, he had to go back to Cleveland. After he'd left,
the newspapers heard about my Dad and they wanted to know his address
back home. So I gave it to them, and doggone if they didn't send
reporters and photographers to Cleveland to interview him.

"They took his picture and asked him a lot of questions. One of the
things they asked him was whether he had ever played very much baseball
himself.

"'Oh,' he told them, 'of course I did, when I was younger. I used to
love to play baseball. I used to be a pitcher, just like my son
Richard--I mean, like my son Rube.'

"'Are you proud of your son?' they asked him.

"'I certainly am,' Dad said. 'Why shouldn't I be? He's a great baseball
player, isn't he?'"

The group of Ozites was silent for a few moments as the Forest Monster
carried them along toward Yoraitia. The large pachyderm could feel a
tear welling up in his left eye, and he brushed it away with his trunk.



CHAPTER 15

THE RESTORATION OF THE LUNECHIEN FOREST OF OZ


The little party arrived in Yoraitia in a short time. When they got
there, it looked like as happy a township as any other in the Marvelous
Land of Oz.

"I knew there could not be any really serious drought in our fairyland,"
said Elephant happily. "After all, Oz is always pleasant and lovely.
Lurliné's enchantment has always seen to that."

"I thought that Lurliné was only a character from an ancient legend,"
scowled the Forest Monster. "In any event, I was not created by any
Fairy enchantment. I know, for I was created by two prominent Wicked
Witches."

"And I was hatched out of an egg just like any other hoot-owl," replied
Lisa. "But that doesn't prove anything. In any event, Glinda the Good
said there was a drought happening here. But clearly she was mistaken. I
don't think droughts are natural in any part of Oz, anyway."

"They aren't," agreed Ozma. "But Glinda would not have told me a lie.
She must have believed there was one here."

"I think maybe she was right," said Tweaty. "Look here. I see that this
tree was only watered recently. See? It looks like it has been leaning
over since ... well, since at least last Tuesday at around three
o'clock. Before that, I fear it was left dry for several weeks."

"Tweaty's right," agreed Nibbles. "I can see it starting to straighten
up even as I look at it!"

"Then how," began Elephant, "did it ... Oh, I think I know."

"Of course!" added Lisa. "Glinda has already been here. She has already
determined the source of the problem and fixed it!"

As she spoke, she noticed out of the corner of her left eye that another
personage had joined the group.

"Glinda!" said Ozma, instantly recognizing the newcomer.

"Your Majesty," replied Glinda with a loving smile. "I see that you have
come to see that the Yoraitians have been provided for. It was really
very simple. You see, a tribe of giant polka-dot beavers had just
claimed a territory a few miles up the river. It is natural for
polka-dot beavers to build dams, and they had no awareness that theirs
was blocking off the water supply of any inhabited towns. Once they
found out, they were happy to remedy the situation. Now they are happily
helping Yoraitia to better utilize its water supply. They are really
very intelligent animals, and they have acknowledged you as their Queen,
too."

"I am very pleased," said the youthful ruler.

"But that is not why we are here," put in Lisa quickly. "The Queen needs
her Anmars. It is the only way that she can save the residents of the
Lunechien Forest."

"The Lunechien Forest?" echoed the Good Witch. "Why, my goodness! What
is wrong with the Lunechien Forest? The last I read of it in my Great
Book of Records, it was a very happy land of elephants and unicorns and
other carefree creatures."

"Indeed it was," said the Forest Monster gravely. "But I'm afraid its
hardships are all my fault. In my thirst for power, I drained many of
the small, unfortunate beasts of all their strengths and abilities. I
have since seen the error of my ways, and I repent of my unOzlike
actions. I had been so blinded by my resentment toward the Cowardly Lion
that I was not even thinking about how much wickedness I was doing. The
little Princess-Queen of Oz has forgiven me already. I am willing to do
whatever I can to make restitution for my acts. I know that you are also
a Queen and that you are one of Ozma's closest advisors. If you wish me
banished from all Oz once you have restored all of my poor victims, I
will accept the punishment without a murmur."

The shadow of Rube Marquard stood still and listened with a puzzled
expression on his face.

Ozma looked at Glinda. "The Forest Monster really has repented," she
said. "I saw the change with my own two eyes. He is willing to be
restored to the size of a natural spider so that all the others can have
what he took from them."

"Then it shall be done," agreed Glinda, handing Ozma the magical tool.

The Forest Monster carried the entire group--including Glinda--to the
famous Ozian forest. Instantly, he and Ozma gathered up the comatose
Lunechien animals and prepared to restore them to rights.

Glinda also lent a hand in the restoration process. It was not an easy
task, but in only a little more than fourteen hours the lush Lunechien
Forest was once again alive with the sounds of joyful birds and animals
milling about among the trees and bushes.

At the end of it all, the Forest Monster was as small as a typical
arachnid. Still, his tiny face was all smiles. Indeed, he was as happy
as a lark that the poor animals he had wronged could be righted again.
And, in fact, it has been recorded in Glinda's Great Book of Records
that not a single animal was overlooked during the restoration process.
All were brought back to their former care-free selves without
exception. Well, maybe one exception. Somehow, in all of the hubbub,
Tweaty was overlooked. He did not consider it politic to interrupt the
proceedings. After all, his fellow beasts had had a far worse
enchantment than he had. Of course it was uncomfortable to be a tiny
orange elephant. But how much worse to be completely without oneself. He
decided to wait until another time to ask to be restored. He felt that
it would be too much of a selfish act to ask Ozma or Glinda to take time
away from those who truly needed their help when he knew that he could
stand to be a small orange elephant for a little while longer.

The reunion of the Lunechien friends and families was a cause for
celebration throughout the Forest. A grand party was enjoyed by all, and
even the Cowardly Lion made another trip away from home to pay his
respects upon his fellow Foresters. The celebration went on 'til the wee
hours of the morning, when Ozma and Glinda had to get back to their
regular duties.

As for the residents of the Lunechien Forest, I am told that they are as
happy today as ever they were.

The former Forest Monster, now content to stay small and keep a low
profile, continues to this day to spin the most delicate and beautiful
webs you can imagine. And, indeed, he did have one of his creations
covered in gold, and gave it to Ozma as a sign of his submission to her
rule. She keeps it hanging over her bed in such a way that it is the
last thing she looks upon at night. The spider-creature has told me that
it functions as a dreamcatcher, preventing any unhappy dreams from ever
reaching her as she slumbers. The Sleep Fays, who once kept out these
bad dreams, have voiced their gratitude to the former Forest Monster for
this fine gift.

And now, it is time to say goodbye for a time to our happy friends in
Oz. But do not fret. Queen Ozma is always sending us new messages from
her glorious domain. I can assure you that it will not be so very long
at all before we will all be getting together again over another Oz
book. Until then, both of your grateful historians wish you as much
happiness as is again known in the Lunechien Forest of Oz.

THE END



A hard copy of this book is available at:
http://members.aol.com/LionCoward/home.html Also available is the
sequel: "The Magic Topaz of Oz"





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