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Title: Grampa in Oz
Author: Thompson, Ruth Plumly
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.

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GRAMPA IN OZ


[Illustration: Grampa was an old soldier who had fought in Nine Hundred
and Eighty Battles]


GRAMPA IN OZ

by

RUTH PLUMLY THOMPSON

Founded on and continuing the Famous Oz Stories by L. Frank Baum,
“Royal Historian of Oz”

Illustrated by John R. Neill



The Reilly & Lee Co., Chicago

Copyright, 1924 by The Reilly & Lee Co.



Dear Boys and Girls:

This book is all about an old soldier called Grampa, a young Prince, a
lost Princess and a weather cock named Bill. I might never have known a
thing about them if Dorothy had not been mixed up in the story. But if
there is any excitement in Oz, that girl is bound to be right in the
middle of it, and her adventures with Grampa, Prince Tatters and Bill
are the most curious that have happened in a year of Oz days. Really!

“I hope the other boys and girls will like Grampa as much as I do,” says
Dorothy, and I hope so too, for I’m awfully fond of the old soldier.

I hear from Glinda that Mombi the witch is up to some mischief, so I
must hurry off to the Emerald City at once. If it is true I’ll tell you
all about it in the next story. Now please do write me some more of
those jolly letters and tell me any Oz news you may hear. Will you?
Meanwhile, lots of love, good wishes and good times to you!

                                                  Ruth Plumly Thompson.

Philadelphia,
July, 1924.



    This book is dedicated, with deep affection, to Uncle Billy
                    (Major William J. Hammer)
    Author, inventor and second cousin to Santa Claus

                                           Ruth Plumly Thompson



List of Chapters

     1 A Rainy Day in Ragbad
     2 The Wise Man Speaks
     3 The Blue Forest of Oz
     4 The Baffled Bandits
     5 Down the Hollow Tree
     6 The Wizard’s Garden
     7 The Winding Stairway
     8 Strange Happenings in Perhaps City
     9 Dorothy Meets a New Celebrity
    10 Prince Forge John of Fire Island
    11 Into the Volcano
    12 The Island of Isa Poso
    13 Tatters Receives the Reward
    14 On Monday Mountain
    15 The Finding of Fumbo’s Head
    16 Princess Dorothy Escapes
    17 The Adventurers Meet
    18 The Mischievous Play Fellows
    19 Back to Perhaps City
    20 The Prophet Confesses
    21 Urtha Is Transformed
    22 Rejoicing in Ragbad



CHAPTER 1

A Rainy Day in Ragbad


King Fumbo of Ragbad shook in his carpet slippers. He had removed his
red shoes, so he could not very well shake in them.

“My dear,” quavered the King, flattening his nose against the cracked
pane, “will you just look out of this window and tell me what you see?”

“_My Dear_” was really the Queen of Ragbad and years ago, when she had
first come to the old red castle on the hill, she had worn her crown
every day and was always addressed as “Your Majesty!” But as time passed
and affairs in the kingdom had gone from bad to worse, _My Dear_, like
many another Queen, had taken off her crown, put on her thimble and
become plain Mrs Sew-and-Sew, and with all her sewing she had barely
been able to keep the kingdom from falling to pieces. She was stitching
a patch on the King’s Thursday cloak at this very minute I am telling
you about.

“What now!” gasped the poor lady, and rushing to the window she also
pressed her nose to the pane.

“Do you see what I see?” choked King Fumbo, clutching at her hand.

“I see a great cloud rolling over Red Mountain,” panted Mrs Sew-and-Sew.
“I see the red geese flying before the wind. I see—” Here she gave a
great bounce and brushed past her husband—“I see my best patch work
quilt blowing down the highway!” moaned Mrs Sew-and-Sew, stumbling
across the room.

“Ruination!” spluttered the King as the door slammed after his wife.
“Shut the bells! Ring the windows; fetch Prince Tatters and call my red
umbrella! Grampa! Scroggles! Where is every Ragbad-body?”

Grampa, as it happened, was in the garden and Grampa was an old soldier
with a game leg who had fought in nine hundred and eighty Ragbad battles
and beaten everything, including the drum. Just now he was beating the
carpet. Tatters, the young Prince of Ragbad, was off on a picnic with
the Redsmith, and Scroggles, the footman-of-all-work about the castle,
was mending a hole in the roof, so none of them heard the King’s calls.

Finally, seeing that no one was coming to carry out his commands, Fumbo
began to carry them out himself. First he clutched his red beard and
jumped clear out of his carpet slippers. Next he slammed the window on
his thumb. With his thumb in his mouth he hurled himself upon the bell
rope, pulling it so violently the cord broke and dropped him upon his
back. Having failed to ring the bell, he wrung his hands—and well he
might, for the room had grown dark as pitch and the wind was howling
down the chimney like a pack of hungry gollywockers.

“I’ll get my umbrella,” muttered King Fumbo, scrambling to his feet, but
just as he reached the door, ten thousand pounds of thunder clapped the
castle on the back and so startled poor Fumbo that he fell through the
door and all the way down ten flights of steps. And worse still, when he
finally did pick himself up, instead of running into the throne room, he
plunged out into the garden and the storm broke right over his
head—broke with such flashing of lightning and crashing of thunder, and
lashing of tree tops, that the King and such other luckless Ragbadians
as were out were flung flat on their noses, and the ones who were
indoors crept under beds and into cupboards and wished they had been
better than they had been. Even Grampa—who was far and away the bravest
man in the country—even Grampa, after one look at the sky, rolled
himself in the carpet he had been beating and lay trembling like a
tobacco leaf.

“This will certainly spoil the rag crop,” sighed Grampa dismally, and as
he spoke right out in this frank fashion of the chief industry of
Ragbad, I’d better tell you a bit more about the country itself, for I
can see your nose curling with curiosity and curly noses are not nearly
so becoming as they used to be.

To begin with, Ragbad is in Oz—a small patch of a kingdom way down in
the southwestern corner of the Quadling country. In the reign of Fumbo’s
father it had been famous for its chintz and tapis trees, its red
ginghams and calico vines, its cotton fields and its fine linens and
lawns. Indeed, at one time, all the dress goods in Oz had been grown in
the gardens of Ragbad.

But when Fumbo came to the throne, he began to spend so much time
reading and so much money for books and tobacco that he soon emptied the
treasury and had no money to pay the chintz and gingham pickers, nor to
send the lawns to the laundry—they were always slightly dusty from being
trodden on—and one after another the workers of Ragbad had been forced
to seek a living in other lands, so that now there were only
twenty-seven families left, and the cotton fields and calico bushes, the
chintz and tapis trees, from lack of care and cultivation, ran perfectly
wild and yielded—instead of fine bolts of material—nothing but shreds,
tatters and rags.

The twenty-seven remaining Ragbadians, including the Redsmith, the
Miller, the Baker and twenty-four rustic laborers, after a vain attempt
to do the work of twenty-seven hundred, gave up in despair and became
common rag-pickers. From these rags, which fortunately were still
plentiful, Mrs Sew-and-Sew and the good wives of Ragbad made all the
clothing worn in the kingdom, besides countless rag rugs, and the money
obtained from the sale of these rugs was all that kept the little
country from absolute and utter ruin.

Of the splendid courtiers and servitors surrounding Fumbo’s father only
three remained, for I regret to say that neither the servants nor the
old nobility had been able to stand the hardships attendant upon
poverty, and they had left in a body the first morning Mrs Sew-and-Sew
had served oatmeal without cream for breakfast. The army, too, had
deserted and marched off to Jinxland because the King could not buy them
new uniforms, so that only three retainers were left in the old red
castle on hill. Pudge, the oldest and fattest of the wise men, had
stayed because he was fond of his room in the tower and of Mrs
Sew-and-Sew’s coffee. Scroggles, the second footman, had stayed because
he had old-fashioned notions of his duty, and Grampa, though long since
discharged from active service, had stuck to his post like the gallant
old soldier he was, and as there were no battles to fight, he tended the
furnace, weeded the gardens and helped King Fumbo and Mrs Sew-and-Sew
bring up their son to as fine a young Prince as any in Oz.

It was of Prince Tatters—during all this bluster—that Grampa was
thinking as he lay shivering under the carpet, and as soon as the
thunder stopped hammering in his ears he stuck out his head. The wind,
after snatching off ten roofs, the wings from the red mill and shaking
all the little cottages till their very chimneys chattered, had rushed
away over Red Mountain. It was still raining, but Grampa, seeing that
the worst was over, crawled out of the carpet and began to look for
trouble. And what do you s’pose he found? Why, the King, or at least,
the best part of the King!

“Ragamercy!” shrieked the old soldier, jumping behind a tapis tree, a
thing he had never done in all of those nine hundred and eighty battles.
But his conduct does not surprise me at all, for Fumbo had lost his head
in the storm, and was running wildly around without it—stumbling over
bushes and vines and stamping his stockinged feet in a perfect frenzy of
fright and fury. Now, of course, you will say at once that Fumbo is not
first King to lose his head and I can only answer that he is the first I
ever heard of who went on living without it, and if Ragbad were not in
the wonderful Land of Oz I should say at once that the thing was
impossible. In Oz, however, one may come apart, but no one ever dies; so
here was poor Fumbo, with his head clean off, as live and lively as
ever.

Breathing hard, Grampa peered around the tapis tree again to see whether
his eyes had deceived him. But no, it was the King, without a doubt, and
without his head. “Whatever will Mrs Sew-and-Sew do now,” groaned
Grampa, and pulling his campaign hat well down over his ears dashed out
and seizing Fumbo’s arm began splashing through the garden, dragging the
King along after him. Mrs Sew-and-Sew had already reached the castle and
was sitting on the broken-springed sofa that served for a throne,
sneezing violently. She had not only rescued her quilt, but she had
caught a frightful cold. All the colors in the quilt had run together,
and this last calamity so upset the poor lady that she began sobbing and
sneezing by turns. But right in the middle of the fifteenth sneeze, she
looked up and saw the old soldier with the game leg standing in the
doorway.

“Now don’t be frightened,” begged Grampa, advancing stiffly and dripping
water all over the rug. “Don’t be alarmed, but at the same time prepare
yourself for a blow.”

Mrs Sew-and-Sew, with her damp kerchief in her hand, had already been
preparing herself for a blow, but now, dropping the handkerchief, she
sneezed instead and when, glancing over Grampa’s shoulder she caught
sight of the King, she sneezed again and fainted dead away and rolled
under the sofa.

“This is worse than a battle,” puffed Grampa, dashing between the King
and the Queen, for every time he tried to help Mrs Sew-and-Sew the King
fell over a chair or upset a table.

“Halt! About face and wheel to your left, can’t you?” roared the old
soldier, mopping his forehead. But to these instructions Fumbo, having
no face about him, paid no attention. Instead he wheeled to the right
and swept all the ornaments from the mantel down on the old soldier’s
head, and then jumped on Grampa’s good foot so hard that Grampa forgot
for a moment he was a King, and thumped him in the ribs. Then, muttering
apologies, the old soldier seized a curtain cord and tied Fumbo to a red
pillar. This done, he reached under the sofa, pulled out Mrs
Sew-and-Sew, and having nothing else handy gave her a huge pinch of
snuff. Just as she came to, in from the garden, splashing water in every
direction, rushed Prince Tatters and in from the kitchen pelted Pudge,
the aged Wise Man.

“The rag crop is ruined and the King will lose his head!” panted Pudge,
who had a bad habit of predicting events after they had occurred.

“Has lost his head,” corrected Grampa, jerking his thumb over his
shoulder.

“But Grampa!” Stumbling across the room, Prince Tatters shook the old
soldier by the arm. “When—how—why—what will he do?”

“Do without it,” sighed the old soldier, glancing uneasily at Fumbo.

“The King has lost his head, long live his body!” wheezed Pudge,
rolling up his eyes.

“Now don’t cry, my dear!” begged Grampa, scowling reprovingly at Pudge
and patting Mrs Sew-and-Sew on the shoulder. “Having no head really
saves one no end of trouble. No face to wash! No more headaches, no ear
aches, no tooth aches!” Grampa’s voice grew more and more cheerful. “No
lectures to listen to, no spectacles to hunt, no hair to lose, no more
colds to catch in it. Why he is really better off without a head!”

But Mrs Sew-and-Sew refused to be comforted and rocking to and fro
moaned, “What shall we do! What shall we do? What shall we do?”

“I tell you,” proposed Pudge, pursing up his lips importantly. “Let’s
all have a strong cup of coffee.” As this seemed a sensible suggestion
they all filed into the big red kitchen of the castle, leaving Fumbo
kicking his heels against the stone pillar.



CHAPTER 2

The Wise Man Speaks


“I suppose,” sighed the old soldier, stirring his coffee with the handle
of his sword, “it would do no good to hunt for the King’s head in the
garden?” Drying out before the blazing fire in the kitchen stove and
sipping Mrs Sew-and-Sew’s fragrant coffee the little company had grown
more calm.

“I’ll just have a look,” said Prince Tatters, pushing back his chair,
but the old Wise Man shook an impatient finger at the very idea of such
a thing.

“When a King’s head goes off it goes off,” declared Pudge huskily—“Way
off as far off as it can go.”

“How far is that?” asked the old soldier. “And—”

“Hush, I am thinking,” wheezed Pudge, ruffling up his hair with one hand
and holding out his coffee cup with the other. “I am thinking and
presently I shall speak. Another cup of coffee, ma’am!” This was his
seventh cup and after he had sipped it deliberately, scraped all the
sugar out of the bottom and licked the spoon, he set down both cup and
saucer, flung up his hands and spoke. “Let Prince Tatters go in search
of his father’s head,” said the old Wise Man of Ragbad. “Let him seek at
the same time his fortune, or a Princess with a fortune, for otherwise
he will end as a common rag-picker.”

“But suppose,” objected Grampa, who tho’ an old bachelor himself had
romantic ideas about marriage, “suppose he cannot love a Princess with a
fortune. Suppose—”

“It is not wisdom to suppose!” sniffed Pudge. “Hush! I am thinking and
presently I shall speak again.” He closed his eyes and pressed his
fingers to his forehead and after a short silence, during which Mrs
Sew-and-Sew took a quick swallow of coffee and Grampa a hasty pinch of
snuff, he spoke again. “It is the rainy day,” announced Pudge in his
most solemn voice, “the rainy day I have long predicted. As the King has
lost his head we must ourselves see what he has saved up for it. Come!”

Marching to the King’s best bed chamber, Pudge flung open the cupboard
and there beside Fumbo’s worn cloak hung the only thing he had saved up
for a rainy day—a huge red umbrella.

“And must Tatters go out into Oz with only this to protect him from
danger?” wailed Mrs Sew-and-Sew, beginning to sneeze again.

“No!” declared Grampa, stamping his good foot. “I myself will accompany
him!”

“Oh, Grampa!” cried the Prince, who was too young to realize the
dangers of head hunting or the hardships of fortune finding, “may we
start at once?”

“Hush!” mumbled Pudge, holding up his finger, “I am thinking.” Blowing
out his cheeks, he stood perfectly quiet for about as long as it would
take to count ten.

“To-morrow morning will be the time to start,” said the old Wise Man.
“Let us return to the King.” Sobering a bit at the thought of his
unfortunate father, Prince Tatters followed them down stairs, but every
now and then he gave a little hop, for the idea of setting out upon such
an adventure thrilled him tremendously. When they reached the throne
room, Fumbo was leaning quietly against the post. He had evidently
become more used to the loss of his head and was busily twiddling his
thumbs.

“If we could just get him a false head till we find his own,” sighed
Grampa, thumping the King affectionately on the back, “he would look
more natural. Ah, I have it!” Plunging out into the wet garden, the old
soldier plucked a huge cabbage and hurrying back set it upon the King’s
shoulders. But no sooner had he done so than Fumbo broke the cord tying
him to the pillar, rushed to the kitchen and tried to climb into the
soup pot! Indeed, Mrs Sew-and-Sew snatched off his cabbage head just in
time to save him from this further calamity.

Panting a little from the exertion and surprise they all sat down to
think again. But by this time the news had spread into the village, and
the twenty-four rustic laborers, the Miller, and the Baker and the
Redsmith came hurrying to the castle to offer their services. They were
subjects to be proud of, let me tell you, though a little odd looking in
their patched and many colored garments. They listened in respectful
silence while Grampa told all he knew of the strange plight of King
Fumbo.

“I will make the King an iron head,” volunteered the Redsmith eagerly.
He had a forge next to the mill and did all the iron work in Ragbad.

“No, no!” protested Grampa. “Iron is too hard. Do you want Mrs
Sew-and-Sew to break her knuckles?” he finished indignantly, then dodged
behind a pillar, because it was not generally known that Mrs Sew-and-Sew
boxed the King’s ears every morning.

“I will make the King a new bun—er—head,” puffed the Baker, stepping
forward importantly, “a head as good as his own!”

“You mean a doughnut?” asked Grampa in astonishment. “Why, that would be
splendid!” Fortunately no one heard him this time and as Mrs
Sew-and-Sew was pleased with the idea the Baker hurried into the kitchen
and with several raisins, some flour, spices, milk and butter, kneaded
up and baked a head that was the image of Fumbo’s own. It had melancholy
prune eyes, red icing for hair and cinnamon whiskers. Once it had been
glued on the King’s shoulders everyone drew a deep sigh of relief and
Fumbo himself walked calmly to his throne and sat down. Promising to
bake new heads as they were needed, the Baker said good-night, and as it
was growing late the others said good-night too and marched back to the
village to repair the damage done by the storm.

But in the castle itself, there was little sleep that night. King Fumbo
never closed his prune eyes, for the Baker had given him no eyelids.
Prince Tatters, though packed off early to bed, could do nothing but
twist and turn and think of the wonderful adventures he would have
seeking his fortune. Mrs Sew-and-Sew sat up till the morning star rose
over Red Mountain, mending and piecing the few poor garments the Prince
possessed, and thinking up good advice to give him with his breakfast.

Grampa, too, had much to occupy him, oiling his gun, packing his
knapsack and polishing his sword and game leg. Many old soldiers do a
lot of talking about game legs, but Grampa had the real genuine article.
It buckled on at the knee and was an oblong red and white ivory box that
opened out like a checker board when one wanted to play. Jointed neatly
on the end of this was another red box that Grampa used for a foot, and
that contained the little red figures one used for playing. The game
itself was known as scrum and was a great favorite in Ragbad, being a
bit like checkers, a bit like parcheesi and a bit like chess.

Grampa was very proud of his game leg, for it not only served him in
place of the one he had lost in battle, but whiled away many dull hours,
and being hollow was a splendid place to store his pipe and tobacco. The
old soldier had seventy-five pipes and deciding which of these to carry
with him took longer than all his other preparations. At last even this
important matter was settled and he lay down to snatch a few hours’
sleep before morning. And morning came in almost no time, the sun rising
so bright and cheerily that even Mrs Sew-and-Sew took heart, and when
Grampa stuck his head in the kitchen door to see how breakfast was
coming she told him how she intended to refurnish the entire castle when
he returned with the King’s head and the fortune.

“Fine!” cried the old soldier, who was in excellent spirits himself.
“And if you will just sew a button on this shirt I’ll be ready to
start at once!” So while Grampa went on with the breakfast Mrs
Sew-and-Sew, who was frightfully clever with her needle, sewed a button
on the shirt. That was all Grampa needed to complete his outfit, so he
hurried up stairs to waken the Prince, and at eight o’clock precisely
the old soldier and Tatters issued forth from the palace gates.

Grampa wore the red uniform of the Ragbad Guards, with its scarlet coat
and checkered trousers and carried not only his knapsack, gun and sword,
but his trusty drum as well. Prince Tatters, over his many colored rag
suit, had flung the shaggy skin of a thread bear, and with the big
umbrella grasped firmly in one hand and a box of lunch in the other,
presented so brave and determined an appearance that the twenty-seven
good men of Ragbad, drawn up to bid them farewell, burst into loud
cheers. The children waved their hats and handkerchiefs and strewed the
path of the two heroes with the bunches of posies and ragweed they had
risen at dawn to gather. Mrs Sew-and-Sew and the King stood on the
balcony waving their arms—she waving both hers and his—for poor Fumbo,
with his dough head, had no way of knowing what the excitement was all
about and stood there without so much as blinking a prune.

“Good-bye!” choked Mrs Sew-and-Sew, steadying Fumbo with one hand and
fluttering her apron with the other. “Don’t forget your father’s head!”

“Good-bye!” shouted Pudge, leaning far out of his window in the tower
to wave his red night cap. Pudge never rose till ten.

Grampa touched his cap, Prince Tatters waved his umbrella, and having
taken the patched flag of Ragbad from Scroggles, who had accompanied
them thus far, they wheeled sharply to the left and marched down the
broad red highway that led straight out into other and dangerous lands
of Oz!



CHAPTER 3

The Blue Forest of Oz


“Grampa,” said Prince Tatters, after the two adventurers had marched
along for a time in silence, “Pudge did not tell us where to look for my
father’s head, nor where to find the Princess and the fortune.”

“Trust a wise man for that,” replied the old soldier, striking a match
on his game leg and lighting his pipe.

“Then where are we going Grampa?” asked the Prince, shifting his
umbrella to his other arm and adjusting his stride to that of the old
soldier.

“That,” puffed Grampa, “depends on the four-pence.” Stopping short, he
took a small coin from his pocket. On one side was the head of King
Fumbo and on the other the coat of aims of Ragbad. “I may not be a wise
man,” explained Grampa, tossing the coin in his palm, “but I am sure
your father’s head can only be restored by magic. There are but two
people left in Oz who are permitted to practice magic. One is Glinda,
the good sorceress and Queen of our own Quadling country and the other
is the Wizard of Oz, who lives in the palace of Princess Ozma, ruler of
all Oz.”

Tatters nodded impatiently, for he had learned all this in his history
book.

“So,” continued Grampa, “we must march either to the East—for Glinda’s
castle is in that direction—or to the North to the Emerald City and the
palace of Ozma of Oz. Which shall it be? Heads for Ozma, arms for
Glinda!”

Up flew the four-pence and Prince Tatters, dropping on his knee, gave a
little cry of delight—for Fumbo’s head was uppermost.

“The King has decided himself,” chuckled Grampa, pocketing the coin, “so
North we go to the Emerald City. We’ll be on our way, my lad, and who
knows but on the way we may pick up a fortune or a Princess—and a couple
of new pipes and some rare old Oz tobacco,” finished the old soldier,
half closing his eyes. These last two items did not interest Prince
Tatters, but the thought of visiting the Capitol of Oz, of seeing
Princess Ozma, the little fairy ruler, and being presented at court,
sent the Prince, who had spent his whole life in the shabby little
kingdom of Ragbad, marching along the red highway so fast that Grampa
had to do double time to keep up with him.

Tatters began rehearsing all Mrs Sew-and-Sew had taught him of court
manners and speech and wondering whether he had better speak to Grampa
about his bad habits. The old soldier had but two. One was eating with
his sword and the other was taking snuff, but after a sidelong glance at
Grampa, trudging happily at his side, the Prince decided to wait until
they reached the Emerald City before offering any advice on etiquette.
Even Tatters did not realize how long a journey this would be. He knew
in a general way that Oz is a great oblong kingdom, divided into four
large countries and many small ones, and that the Emerald City is in the
exact center.

On the maps of Oz in the Prince’s geography the southern Quadling
country was marked in red; the country of the West, which was settled by
the Munchkins, was marked in blue; the northern Gilliken country in
purple; and the land of the Winkies, which lay to the East, was colored
yellow—for these were the national colors of the countries represented.

Though Grampa and Tatters had by this time left Ragbad far behind them,
they were still in the Quadling country and all the little farms and
villages they passed were of cheery red brick or stone and the people
themselves dressed in the quaint red costume of the south. Tulips,
poppies and red roses nodded over the tall hedges; the fields, rusty
with sorrel, had a reddish tinge and all along the highway giant red
maples arched their lacy branches. At noon they stopped under one of
these maples and had a bite of the lunch Mrs Sew-and-Sew had prepared
for them, but their pause was short for both were anxious to reach the
Emerald City as soon as possible, to learn from the Wizard of Oz the
best way to recover Fumbo’s head. To make the marching easier, the old
soldier played a lively rat-tat upon his drum, and as they passed
through the quiet Quadling villages many heads were popped out the
windows to see what all the racket was about. But soon these villages
became farther and farther apart, and the country more wild and
unsettled and just as the sun slipped down behind the treetops they
came to the edge of a deep blue forest.

“A long march,” puffed the old soldier, mopping his forehead, “but we’re
getting along, my lad, for this is the beginning of the Munchkin
country.”

“Do you think it’s safe?” asked Prince Tatters, peering anxiously into
the gloomy forest.

“Safe!” cried Grampa scornfully. “Well I hope not. Fortunes are never
found in safe places my boy. Shouldn’t wonder if there were a bear
behind every tree,” he continued cheerfully. “Shouldn’t wonder if there
were a dragon or two lying in wait for us. Come on!” Thrusting his drum
sticks through his belt and waving his sword, the old soldier plunged
recklessly into the blue forest, shouting the national air of Ragbad at
the top of his lungs.

“Oh, hush,” begged Prince Tatters, glancing uneasily from side to side
and treading close upon Grampa’s heels, “someone might hear you. Oh!
What’s that?” For with a shrill scream a great bird had risen from the
branches of a tree just ahead and flown squawking into the air.

“That’s supper!” chuckled the old soldier, and raising his gun he took
aim and fired. There was a sharp crash as the bullet struck home, then
down fell a large reddish fowl.

“Well?” the fowl rasped sulkily, as Prince Tatters and Grampa ran
forward, “what am I supposed to do now? I’ve never been shot before.”

“A bird that’s shot is not supposed to do anything,” said the old
soldier severely.

“Oh,” sighed the bird, “that’s easy!” and putting down its head, it lay
quietly on its side.

“It’s a rooster!” exclaimed the Prince, touching it with one hand, “an
iron rooster!” At this the bird sprang up indignantly.

“You may shoot me if you want, but I’ll not lie here and let you call me
names,” it shrilled angrily. “Where are your eyes? Can’t you see I’m a
weather cock?”

“Do you suppose I’d have wasted a good bullet on you if I had? I may
have an iron constitution but I don’t eat cast iron birds,” sniffed
Grampa. “What do you mean, flying through this forest deceiving hungry
travellers?”

“I don’t know what I mean,” replied the weather cock calmly, “for I’ve
only been alive since last night. What do you mean yourself, pray? Must
everyone have a meaning like a riddle?”

Grampa stroked his whiskers thoughtfully over this remark.

“But how did you come to be alive?” asked the Prince, leaning on his red
umbrella and regarding the bird with deep interest—for even in Oz
weather cocks usually stick to their poles.

“There was a storm,” explained the cock, lifting one claw, “lightning,
thunder, wind and rain. One minute I was whirling around on the top of
my barn and next minute I was spinning through space. Then all at once I
came in contact with a live wire, there was a flash, I was charged with
a strange force and to my infinite amazement I found that my wings would
work and that I could crow. So I crew and flew and flew and crew, till I
fell exhausted in this forest.”

“Humph!” grunted Grampa. “A likely story. In the first place there are
no live wires in Oz and—”

“Oz!” screeched the weather cock, “I didn’t say Oz. I was on a barn
near Chicago when the storm broke. Have you never heard of Chicago, you
odd looking, old creature?”

“Never,” answered Grampa emphatically, “but wherever you started from,
you’re in Oz now and you might as well get used to it. Come along,
Tatters. There’s nothing to be gained by arguing, it only makes me
hungry.”

“But tell me,” the weather cock fluttered into the air, “what am I to do
with my life?”

“Keep it—if you can,” chuckled the old soldier and started oft between
the trees. But Tatters was loath to leave this singular bird.

“Let him come with us Grampa,” coaxed the Prince. “He won’t need
anything to eat and he might help us find the fortune.”

“Yes, do,” crowed the weather cock. “I can waken you in the morning,
tell you which way the wind blows and fall upon the heads of your
enemies. Have you any enemies?” the weather cock asked hopefully.

“Not yet,” murmured the Prince, looking ahead into the shadows,—“but—”

“Shouldn’t wonder if he would make a good fighter,” reflected Grampa,
half closing his eyes. “Never saw a cock yet that wasn’t game. Do you
agree to join this company, obey all commands and go by the name of
Bill?”

“I’ll go by the name of Bill, but what name shall I come by?” asked the
weather cock, putting its head on one side.

“The same, you iron idiot!” shouted Grampa, who was a bit short
tempered. “Do you agree?”

“Yes,” crowed the weather cock, putting up his claw, solemnly.

“Then forward fly,” commanded the old soldier. And up into the air with
a rusty creak flung the weather cock and just beneath marched Grampa and
the Prince. As they progressed through the ever darkening forest,
Tatters told Bill of the great storm in Ragbad, how he was seeking his
father’s head and his own fortune.

“Your father lost his head in the same storm I found my life,” wheezed
the weather cock earnestly, “so it is only fair that I should help you.”

“Hah! We shall be helped by fair means or fowl!” chuckled the old
soldier, who would have his little joke—but it was lost on Bill, who was
already looking around for the King’s head and the fortune. And though
he was not quite sure what a fortune was, he felt confident that he
should find one. It had grown so dark by now that Grampa soon called a
halt. Under a tall blue tree the little company made camp. Bill was most
helpful in collecting wood and Prince Tatters put up the red umbrella,
which was so large that it served them admirably for a tent. A little
beyond the rim of the umbrella Grampa kindled a fire, and after a cozy
supper of toasted sandwiches the old soldier unbuckled his leg and he
and Prince Tatters settled down to a quiet game of scrum. Bill flew to
the top of the blue tree to observe the wind and the weather, and
nothing could have been more peaceful. The stars twinkled merrily above,
the fire crackled cheerily below and Tatters had just beaten Grampa two
games to one, when a hundred little snaps in the underbrush made them
turn in alarm.

“Great gum drops!” gasped the old soldier, jumping to his foot.

Tatters snatched up the umbrella and, using it for a shield, began to
back away, for in the circle of the firelight and completely surrounding
the blue tree stood a company of bandits. They were tall and terrible,
with great slouch hats and blue boots. Pistols and daggers by the dozen
bristled in their belts and nothing could have been fiercer than their
whiskered faces and scowling brows.

For a moment no one spoke. Grampa frowned angrily and Prince Tatters
tried to look as if he was not scared. As usual, Bill was calm.

“Are you going to stop here and let them call you gum drops?” sneered
the leader, plucking a dagger from his boot. He took one stride forward,
then pitched on his face and lay perfectly still—for the weather cock,
convinced that this was an enemy, had fallen hard upon his head. The
suddenness of the blow surprised the outlaws and while they drew back in
confusion Grampa leaned down, seized his wooden leg and buckling it on
as he ran, joined Prince Tatters, who by this time had his back against
the tree.

“Go it Bill!” shouted the old soldier, laying about with his drum
sticks.

“Here I go by the name of Bill!” screeched the excited weather cock,
rising into the air again. “Here I come by the name of Bill. Su-cumb,
you blue monster!” And down went a second bandit. This enraged the
others, and though Prince Tatters poked away valiantly with the big
umbrella, and Grampa knocked out three of the outlaws with his drum
sticks and Bill fell upon the heads of two more, they were hopelessly
outnumbered. In a minute more they were overpowered, bound with heavy
ropes and dragged through the forest to the bandits’ camp. Even the
weather cock swung head down from the belt of one of the robbers.



CHAPTER 4

The Baffled Bandits


“I’m so disappointed I could cry,” blubbered the robber chief, pulling
out his red handkerchief. “Shake them again Skally, shake them hard!”
Before him on the ground lay the few possessions of Grampa and
Tatters—an old silver watch, the four-pence, a rusty pen knife and two
copper medals. The chief had recovered from the terrible blow of the
cast iron weather cock, but had a large black lump over one eye. Bill,
who insisted on crowing in a dozen different keys, had been muffled in
the bandit’s cloak and put under a rock.

“I told you they were a poor lot,” sniffed Skally, but nevertheless, he
seized first Grampa and then Tatters and shook them violently by the
heels. This he could easily do, being eight feet tall and exceedingly
muscular. Two red gum drops rolled out of Grampa’s pocket, but that was
all.

“And they’re not even frightened,” complained the bandit in a grieved
voice, as Skally set the two roughly on their feet.

“Frightened!” puffed Grampa indignantly. (After the two terrible
shakings he had only breath enough to puff.) “You didn’t think a flock
of bush-whacking bandits like you could frighten an old soldier like me,
and a young Prince like Tatters, did you?”

“Prince!” gasped the bandit, blinking at Tatters through the smoke of
the wood fire, while the rest of the outlaws began to slap their knees
and roar with merriment.

“Yes, Prince,” shrilled Grampa, “and don’t make faces at me, you ugly
villain.”

“Well!” roared the chief, after another long look at Tatters, “he may
be a Prince to his mother, but he’s a pain in the eye to me!”

“Then shut your eyes,” advised Grampa promptly. “I’d do it for you if I
were not tied up. In a fair fight I’d beat you any day.”

“We’ve taken everything they have. Shall we hang them or let them go?”
asked Skally in a bored voice.

“No you haven’t,” screamed Grampa defiantly. “No you haven’t. Take my
picture you scoundrel! Take my rheumatism! Take my advice and clear
out of this forest before I report you to the Princess of Oz.”

Even Prince Tatters, who really was frightened at the fierce appearance
of the bandit, had to laugh a little at the surprised expression on the
chief’s face as the old soldier continued to stamp and scold. And the
more Grampa scolded the more cheerful the bandit became.

“He reminds me of my old father,” he remarked in an admiring undertone
to Skally.

“Does your old father know you’re a bandit?” shouted Grampa sternly,
“holding up honest adventurers and getting your living by breaking the
law?”

“Father always told me to take things easy,” replied the chief, popping
one of Grampa’s gum drops into his mouth. “‘Vaga,’ he said to me over
and over again, ‘always take things easy, my boy,’ and I do,” grinned
the robber wickedly. “But business is mighty slow in this forest lately.
Kings and Princes are getting poorer and poorer every day. Look at
him!” He waved scornfully at Tatters. “Not worth a shoe button and
the whole week it has been the same story. All we got to-day was a
wizard, but he was as false as his whiskers—couldn’t even change leaves
to gold or sticks to precious stones. All he had with him was a bottle
of patent medicine. Now medicine,” yawned Vaga, touching with his boot a
long green bottle that lay with a heap of rubbish near the fire, “is
something I never take.”

“But I thought wizards were not allowed to practice magic in Oz,” put in
Tatters, surprised into speech by the bandit’s last statement. “It’s
against the law isn’t it?”

“So are bandits!” roared Yaga. “But I’m here just the same, my boy,
taking things easy, and when I’ve saved up enough I’m going to open an
Inn and take things easier still.”

“Another way to rob honest travellers,” groaned the old soldier, “but
now, as you’ve taken our four-pence and our time, untie these bonds and
we’ll return to our camp.”

“Let him tell his story,” suggested Skally, “it might entertain us and
they certainly owe us something for all this trouble.”

“No, I’ve decided to make outlaws of them,” announced Yaga calmly. “The
old one is a fine fighter and can be a father to me; the young one would
frighten anybody; as for the cast iron bird it can be melted up into
bullets.”

“What shall we do now?” whispered Tatters, seizing Grampa’s arm. The old
soldier winked encouragingly.

“Not bad at all,” he murmured aloud, as if he were half pleased at the
idea of being a bandit. “Plenty of fighting and it’s as good a way as
any to make a fortune. Swear us in Mr Vagabandit, swear us in my son!”

The bandit chief was surprised and overjoyed at Grampa’s change of
heart. He immediately ordered Skally to untie the captives. Each was
given a black mask and a dagger and, having raised their hands and
solemnly agreed to break every law in Oz, they were welcomed with cheers
and shouts into the outlaw band. After the excitement had died down,
they all gathered about the fire and Grampa told them the history of
Ragbad, how he had got his game leg and of the nine hundred and eighty
great battles he had fought in. The bandits listened attentively at
first, but the old soldier’s recital was so long that presently one and
then another of the bandits fell asleep, and by the time Grampa had
reached the nine hundredth battle the whole company lay sprawled about
the fire, snoring like good fellows instead of bad ones. Prince Tatters,
his head on the skin of the old thread bear, was asleep too.

“More ways than one of winning a battle,” chuckled the old soldier,
smiling behind his whiskers. First, he recovered his watch, medals and
the four-pence. They were still on the ground beside Vaga. Protruding
from the robber’s pocket was a rough blue pouch. Very carefully the old
soldier drew it out. “This will pay for the shakings,” said Grampa,
stowing it away in his game leg. “I’ll sample the scoundrel’s tobacco
when we’re well out of this.” As he straightened up the long, green
bottle of patent medicine caught his eye. “I’ll take this along too,” he
muttered, sticking it in his pocket. “Maybe it will help my rheumatism.”

The fire had died down and it was so dark and forbidding in the blue
forest that Grampa decided to snatch a few hours’ rest before making an
escape. Stretching unconcernedly beside long-legged Skally he fell into
a deep and peaceful slumber. And so well trained was this old campaigner
that in two hours, exactly, he awoke. The sun had not yet risen, but in
the dim grey light of early morning Grampa could make out the forms of
the sleeping bandits. Stepping softly, so as not to waken them, he
touched Tatters on the shoulder. The Prince started up in alarm, but
when Grampa, with fingers to his lips, motioned for him to come he
seized his red umbrella and tip-toed after him.

“Have I lived to this age to be an old father to a bandit?” puffed
Grampa indignantly as they hurried along. He shook his fist over his
shoulder. “Farther and farther away is what I’ll be.” Grampa laughed a
little at his joke. “But we can’t go without Bill,” he muttered
suddenly, as they passed the rock under which the robbers had thrust the
valiant weather cock. With some difficulty they lifted off the rock and,
first whispering strict orders for silence, unwound Bill from the
various coats and cloaks. Then Tatters, fearing the creak of Bill’s
wings would arouse the bandits, stuck him under one arm.

“Wish I knew where they kept their supplies,” whispered the old soldier
as they pushed on through the heavy underbrush and made their way around
gnarled old trees. “My teeth need some exercise.”

“What a dreadful lot of crows there are in this forest,” mused the
Prince, who had scarcely heard Grampa’s last remark. “Why the trees are
black with them!”

“Well, do you expect me to eat crow?” sniffed the old soldier, waving
his sword to disperse a flock of the birds that were circling around his
head.

“No, but—” Tatters got no further, for at that instant crows of an
entirely different nature made them both leap into the air. The sun had
risen and as the first rays penetrated into the dim forest Bill flew out
of Tatters’ arms and, perching on a low branch, burst into such a brazen
clamor of cock-a-doodle-doos that the whole forest rang with it.

“Hush! Halt! Stop that alarm!” gasped Grampa. “Now, you’ve done it!”

“Oh, Bill, how could you!” groaned the Prince. Snatching off the skin
of the thread bear, he flung it over the iron weather cock and seizing
him unceremoniously began to run after Grampa. They had already put a
goodly distance between themselves and the bandits, but a few minutes
after Bill’s crowing shots came echoing through the wood and the next
instant they could hear the outlaws crashing through the brush. They
sounded like a herd of elephants.

“We’ll have to hide,” panted the old soldier. “Here, crawl into this
hollow tree.” Without a moment’s hesitation, Grampa dove into the tree
himself and Tatters, taking a firmer hold on Bill and the red umbrella,
followed.

“Is there room?” gasped the Prince. “Grampa, are you there?” But Grampa
was not there. Neither, for that matter, was Tatters himself, for his
feet instead of resting on earth, rested on nothing. A great wind
whistled past his ears and blew his hair straight on end.

“The temperature’s falling!” The voice of the weather cock came
stuffily through the bear skin.

“Everything’s falling!” gasped the Prince of Ragbad, hugging Bill and
the red umbrella close to his chest. “Everything!”

You can easily understand what had happened. There was _no bottom_ to
the hollow tree. When Grampa, Prince Tatters and Bill crawled into the
hole, they simply disappeared. They dropped—down—down—down!



CHAPTER 5

Down the Hollow Tree


Now falling, when you first start, is a hair-raising business, but after
you have fallen for a mile and twenty minutes and nothing serious
happens you grow rather used to the feel of it. And that’s how it was
with Tatters.

“Bill,” he shouted presently—he had to shout for the rush of air carried
away his words as fast as they were spoken—“Bill, where do you suppose
we’re falling to?”

“South by West,” crowed the weather cock promptly. The Prince would have
liked to continue the conversation, but it took too much breath, so he
began planning how he should land without breaking Grampa, for certainly
Grampa was somewhere below. Rather sorrowfully he reflected that they
were falling farther away from the Emerald City every minute. He
wondered where his father’s head was, and what Mrs Sew-and-Sew would
think if she could see them tumbling down this hollow tree. Would it
never grow lighter? Would they never reach the bottom and what would
happen when they did? Just as he came to this point in his wonderings,
Tatters dropped into a clump of pink bushes so hard that for several
seconds he could do nothing but gasp.

“Well,” crowed Bill, beginning to flutter restlessly about in the
bear-skin, “are we here?”

“Yes, thanks to you. You’re discharged!” roared the old soldier, as
Prince Tatters picked up himself and his red umbrella. Grampa had been
less fortunate in his landing. He sat in the middle of a cinder path,
blinking rapidly, and as Bill scrambled out of the bear-skin and hopped
after Tatters, he raised his gun threateningly.

“You’re discharged without pay,” repeated Grampa angrily. “What do you
mean by crowing and betraying us to the enemy?”

“I couldn’t help it,” answered Bill in an injured tone. “It is the
nature of a cock to crow and I’ve helped the sun to rise.”

“And us to fall,” scolded Grampa. “Well, you’re discharged!” Rolling
over with a groan, he drew the bottle of patent medicine from his
pocket. Fortunately it was not broken, but it had made a dreadful dent
in Grampa.

“But wherever in Oz are we?” exclaimed Prince Tatters, trying to change
the subject, for he did not intend to have Bill sent off in this hasty
fashion. The old soldier pretended not to hear and continued to stare
resentfully at the bottle of medicine. On one side was pasted a green
label and Tatters looking over his shoulder read, with some surprise:

    Sure cure for everything.
    Follow the directions on the bottle.

Beneath in tiny printing was a long list of ailments. Grampa ran his
finger hastily down the list until he came to breaks, sprains and
bruises. “One spoon-full immediately after falling,” directed the
bottle.

Without a word, Grampa took a tin spoon from his knapsack, uncorked the
bottle and swallowed the dose.

“Why, it’s the wizard’s medicine!” cried Tatters, watching him
anxiously, for no sooner was the stuff down than a broad grin overspread
Grampa’s face. “Good thing I brought it along—works just like
magic—never know I’d fallen,” puffed Grampa, completely restored to
good humor. “Better have some, boys.” The old soldier smiled at his
companions.

Tatters, who was not hurt at all, shook his head and Bill, who had flown
into the air to examine the bottle, shook his wings.

“Well—good-bye!” wheezed the weather cock hoarsely. “You don’t need me
to direct you now—you can follow the directions on the bottle. Here I
go,” he finished sulkily, “here I go by the name of Bill!”

“Don’t go,” begged Tatters, looking pleadingly at the old soldier. Now
Grampa, remembering the splendid way Bill had fallen upon the bandits,
had already relented, but he never apologized.

“Company fall in!” he commanded gruffly, putting the wizard’s medicine
in his pocket. Tatters winked at Bill and Bill, muttering something
about having fallen in already, began to march down the cinder path.
They had dropped into a small park surrounded by a hedge that grew up as
high as they could see. A soft glow shone through the hedge and by its
rosy light the three adventurers began to examine their surroundings
with great interest. The park itself was pretty enough, but after
marching entirely around it and finding no break in the hedge, Grampa
looked rather worried.

“It’s a good enough place for a picnic,” puffed the old soldier, dusting
his game leg, “but then we’re not on a picnic!”

“No,” sighed Tatters, sinking down on a bench, “we’re not on a picnic,
for there’s nothing to eat.”

“If you were made of iron like I am you would never be hungry,” crowed
the weather cock, proudly. “I am glad I am cast in iron, but what shall
we do now, Mr Grampa?”

“Fly up and see how high the hedge is,” directed the old soldier, “while
Tatters and I try to cut an opening.” Pleased to be of some service,
Bill hurled himself upward, and Grampa with his sword and Tatters with
his rusty pen knife began hacking at the hedge. But as fast as they cut
away the twigs, others grew and after ten minutes hard work they gave up
in despair. Then down came Bill with the discouraging news that he had
flown as high as he could, and the top of the hedge was still nowhere in
sight. “But the wind is blowing north,” finished the weather cock
calmly.

“Bother the wind!” sputtered Grampa.

“Must we stay here till we starve,” groaned Tatters, “and never find my
father’s head or the fortune at all?”

“Fortune,” repeated Bill, putting his head on one side as if the word
brought something to his mind. “Don’t worry about that, for I have
already found the fortune.” And while Grampa and the Prince stared at
him in amazement, he touched with his claw a tiny golden key. It was
suspended on a thin chain round his neck and neither of them had noticed
it before.

“Why, where did you get that?” asked Tatters.

“I picked it out of the robber chief’s pocket,” explained Bill, rolling
his eyes from one to the other.

“You’d make a fine bandit,” chuckled Grampa, “but that’s not a fortune,
old fellow!”

“Then what _is_ a fortune?” asked Bill, looking terribly disappointed.

Grampa pulled his whiskers thoughtfully, for a fortune, when you come
right down to it, is hard to explain.

“Well,” he began slowly, “it might be gold, or jewels, or land. Anything
precious and rare,” he finished hastily.

“Isn’t this gold?” demanded Bill, holding up the key.

“Oh, Grampa, maybe it’s the key to the bandit’s treasure chest,”
interrupted Tatters excitedly. “Let’s go back and hunt for it.”

“And how are you going?” inquired the old soldier sarcastically.
“Falling down trees is easy enough, but you can’t fall up trees like
you can fall up steps. However,” he added quickly, seeing Tatters’
downcast face, “there must be some way out. Let’s look again.”

“I’m going to keep this key,” mused Tatters in a more cheerful voice,
“for I believe it will help us.” He gave Bill a little pat on the head
as he took the chain off his neck, and somewhat comforted, but still
mightily puzzled, the iron weather cock hopped after Grampa. This time
they circled the hedge more slowly, the old soldier taking one side and
Tatters and Bill the other. It was Bill who made the discovery—for
shining through the leaves on the left side the weather cock caught the
gleam of gold!

“The fortune!” he crowed loudly. “The fortune!”

It was not a fortune, but a golden gate, and pushing aside the leaves
and twigs Grampa and Tatters stared through the bars into the loveliest
garden they had ever seen. The gate was unlocked, and when Grampa
pressed upon it with his shoulder it swung noiselessly inward. Fairly
holding his breath, Tatters stepped in after the old soldier, and Bill
had just time to hop through before the gate swung shut again. Grampa
gave a low whistle and Tatters an involuntary cry of admiration.
Flowering vines and bushes filled the air with a delicate fragrance;
paths of silvery sand wound in and out among the trees and arbors;
crystal fountains splashed between the flower beds; and bordering each
path and grass grown lane were trees glowing with magic lanterns,
lanterns that bloomed as gaily as the blossoms themselves and lighted up
the garden with a hundred rainbow sheens.

It was all so strange and beautiful that Tatters and Grampa scarcely
dared breath but Bill, having been alive only two days, seemed to think
magic gardens quite usual affairs.

“Come on,” he called excitedly, “let’s find the fortune!” But a golden
sign on the nearest magic tree had caught Tatters’ eye and, paying no
attention to Bill, he tip-toed over to it.

“This is the Garden of Gorba,” announced the sign. “Mystery and magic in
all its branches.”

Grampa had come up behind Tatters. “Gorba,” muttered the old soldier
softly. “Now where?” He pulled the bottle of patent medicine from his
pocket and squinted first at the sign and then at the bottle. “The
same!” puffed Grampa, for written in gold letters at the end of the
list of ailments was the name Gorba.

“This must be the garden of the wizard that rascally bandit was telling
us about,” muttered Grampa uneasily. “He must have been on his way here
when they held him up. Maybe he’s here now! Hush! Be careful! Watch
out now! I wouldn’t trust a wizard as far as I could swing a chimney by
the smoke!”



CHAPTER 6

The Wizard’s Garden


“Maybe he will tell me where to find my father’s head,” whispered
Tatters excitedly.

“Well,” admitted Grampa, starting cautiously down one of the silver
paths, “that would be a good turn, but a wizard’s more likely to turn us
to good gate posts or caterpillars.”

“I refuse to be a caterpillar,” rasped the weather cock. He had flown
down and was hopping close to Grampa’s heels. “I’ll give him a peck in
the eye!”

Rattling his iron wings, Bill looked around anxiously.

“Well, don’t forget you’re under orders,” snapped Grampa severely. “No
forward falling, crowing or pecking till I give the word, understand?”

“I don’t believe he’s a bad wizard,” observed the Prince quietly, “his
garden is too pretty.”

“Pretty is as pretty does,” sniffed Grampa. “He’s practising magic,
which is against the law, and you can’t get around that, besides—” Just
here Grampa trod upon a small flagstone path that led across a broad
stretch of lawn and never finished his sentence at all, for the stone
rose a foot into the air and started bouncing across the green at such a
rate the old soldier teetered backward and forward and did a regular toe
dance to keep his balance.

“Wait!” shouted Tatters in alarm, and running after Grampa, himself
stepped upon one of the lively flag stones. Up rose the stone and the
next thing the Prince of Ragbad was bouncing after the old soldier,
waving his red umbrella and calling frantically for Bill. But Bill was
already aboard the third stone, and before any of them had sense enough
to jump, the stones bounced straight under a silver fountain, dumped off
their three startled passengers and went skipping back to their places
in the walk.

“Variable winds and heavy showers,” crowed Bill dismally.

“Scraps and seribbage!” sputtered the old soldier. “I told you that
wizard was a villain. Company fall out!” he commanded gruffly. This the
company lost no time in doing.

“Oh, well,” laughed Tatters, rolling from under the drenching spray, “it
saves us the trouble of washing our faces. But what made them do it
Grampa?” Grampa gave himself an angry shake and marched stiffly over to
the flagstone path. Carved neatly on the last stone were these words:

                      Gorba’s Stepping Stones,
                   Guaranteed for seven centuries.

    Stand on the right foot to go East, on the left to go West.
    Stand on both feet to go South. To go North stand on your head.

“Well, North’s the way we want to go!” cried Tatters eagerly as Grampa
finished reading. “Maybe they’ll carry us all the way to Emerald City.”

“Not me!” snorted the old soldier, taking a pinch of snuff. “Stand on
your head if you like, but I’m going to travel right side up or not at
all. Do you want to break your neck?” he demanded indignantly.

“It would be a little rough,” admitted Tatters, remembering the way the
stones had bumped, “but it’s pretty good magic just the same.” Grampa
grunted contemptuously and tightened the fastenings of his game leg, but
even the old soldier could not stay cross long in this enchanting
garden, and when a moment later they happened upon a cluster of peach
trees he grew quite cheerful again.

“Always did like peaches for breakfast,” he sighed, impaling one on his
sword. Twirling the sword and taking little bites all round, he looked
with half closed eyes down the long vistas of lantern lanes. “I wish Mrs
Sew-and-Sew could see this,” sighed the old soldier pensively. Tatters
nodded, but he was impatient to see more of the wizard’s garden, so
filling his pocket with peaches, he ran down the narrowest of the lanes
after Bill, who had already flown ahead to have another look for the
fortune. Opening out from this lane was a smaller and enclosed garden
filled with the strangest bushes Tatters ever had seen. Each one grew in
the shape of an animal. There were bears, tigers, lions, elephants and
deer and the eyes, noses and mouths were marked by blossoms of the
proper size and shape, that grew cunningly just where they were needed.
They looked so life-like that for a moment the Prince was frightened,
but after he had prodded a lion bush with his umbrella and it neither
roared nor lashed its green tail he proceeded from one to the other
quite as if he were in a museum. And certainly Gorba’s animals were
queer enough to grace any museum.

“Wonder how he makes ’em grow this way?” murmured Tatters, finishing his
last peach.

“Might as well wonder how he happens to be a wizard,” chuckled Grampa,
who had come up quietly behind him. “Why, this is better than a zoo,
it’s a whole blooming menagerie, and if we knew the secret of it we
could travel all over Oz growing deer and rabbit bushes in the castle
gardens and your fortune would be made in no time. But as we don’t know
the secret of it,” concluded Grampa, squinting at his old silver watch,
“we’d better forward march and see if we can find a way out of here.”
With many backward glances, Tatters followed him down another of the
lantern lanes, but they had scarcely gone half way when the hoarse voice
of the weather cock came screeching overhead.

“The Princess! The Princess! I have found the Princess!” crowed Bill,
falling with an iron clang in the path before them.

“Be quiet,” warned the old soldier anxiously, “do you want the wizard to
get you? Now then, what’s all this nonsense about a Princess?” Grampa
winked at Tatters and Tatters winked back, for neither of them had much
faith in Bill’s discoveries. But the weather cock was too excited to
mind. Hopping stiffly ahead and pausing every few seconds to urge them
forward with a wave of his wing, he led them to the very center of the
enchanted garden. There, on a bed of softest moss, surrounded by a rose
blown hedge, lay the loveliest little maiden you could ever imagine!

“The Princess,” repeated Bill huskily. “The Princess!”

“You’re wrong,” breathed the old soldier, pushing back his cap and
tip-toeing forward, “you’re wrong. It’s the Queen of the May!” And it
surely seemed that Grampa had guessed correctly, for Bill’s Princess was
a little Lady of Flowers. Her face, hands and neck were of the tiniest
white blossoms, her eyes, deep blue violets, her mouth a rose bud and
her nose and brows delicately marked with pink stems. Her hair, blowing
backward and forward in the fragrant breeze, was the finest spray of
flowering fern, and her dress was most enchanting of all. The waist was
of every soft, silken flower you could think of, buttoned all the way
down the front with pansies, while her skirts—a thick cluster of
blossoming vines—fluttered gaily about her tiny lady slippers.

“Why!” exclaimed the Prince of Ragbad, “she’s growing in the flower
bed. Oh, Grampa, if she were only alive!”

“I wish she were myself,” sighed the old soldier. “This wizard must know
a deal of magic to grow a little fairy like that. Mind what you’re about
there,” he called sharply to Bill. The weather cock had flown over the
hedge and was hopping so close to the flower girl it made Grampa
nervous.

“But look!” crowed Bill. “Looky look!” Under the hedge and padlocked
to a small iron ring in the ground was a gold watering can. It did not
take Grampa and Tatters long to leap over the hedge after that, for as
the old soldier said himself, the wizard was doubtless away and it was
their plain duty to see that this little flower maid had a freshening
spray before they left the garden. First Tatters tried to wrench the can
loose. The golden chain on the padlock was so slender it should have
broken at the first tug, but it held like iron. Then Grampa tried his
hand, but with no better luck; next both Grampa and Tatters tugged
together, Bill doing his bit by jerking out the Prince’s coat-tails.

“More magic!” panted Grampa, sucking his thumb. “The only way to get it
loose is to find the key.”

“The key,” shrilled Tatters, suddenly diving into his pocket. “Why, I
wonder if this is the key?” Jubilantly he produced the tiny gold key
Bill had taken from the bandit and the next instant he had fitted it in
the padlock.

“Vaga must have stolen that from the wizard when he took the medicine,”
mused Grampa, “and that wizard’s mighty particular with his old gold
can.” He sniffed scornfully as Tatters slid it from its chain. “Here,
I’ll fill it at the fountain.”

“But it’s already full,” answered the Prince of Ragbad, giving it a
little shake.

Running over to the mossy bed, he tilted the gold can forward and
sprayed the little flower lady from top to toe. Stars! No sooner had
the last drop fallen than a perfectly amazing thing happened—so amazing
that Grampa and Tatters clutched each other to keep from tumbling over
backwards and Bill flew screaming into the nearest tree. For the little
flower maiden slowly and gracefully rose from her bed, poised a moment
on tip-toe and then, with a merry little laugh, bounded over to Grampa
and Tatters and seized their hands. Next thing they were whirling round
and round in the jolliest fashion imaginable, faster and faster and
faster, till everything grew blurred and all three tumbled down in a
heap.

“Oh, forget-me-nots—isn’t that fun!” trilled the little flower girl,
jumping lightly to her feet. “Oh, I’ve wanted to do that always!”

“Who—who are you?” gasped Tatters, for Grampa, between loss of breath
and astonishment, was perfectly speechless.

“Why, just my own self,” smiled the little creature, flinging back her
feathery hair.

“How do you blow? How do you blow?” shrieked Bill, falling in a heap
beside her.

“He means how do you do,” puffed Grampa, laughing in spite of himself.
“You’ll have to excuse him for he’s a weather cock and used to talking
to Augusta.” Then as the little maiden still seemed puzzled, Grampa
finished his sentence. “Augusta Wind,” chuckled the old soldier, with a
wink that made them all laugh except Bill, who continued to regard the
flower girl intently.

“Are you a Princess?” asked Bill, with his head anxiously on one side.

“No,” mused the little girl slowly, “I don’t think I’m a Princess,
let—me—see. Oh, I remember now the old wizard telling the birds my
name was Urtha, because I’m made of earth!”

“Go along with you then,” snapped Bill crossly. “We’re looking for a
Princess.”

“Don’t mind him,” begged Tatters jumping up hastily.

“Tell us about yourself, Miss Posy,” cried Grampa, straightening his cap
and feeling his game leg slyly. In the dance it had turned completely
around. “I declare you’re the loveliest little lady I’ve met in all my
travels.”

The roses in Urtha’s cheeks seemed to grow pinker at Grampa’s words.

“There isn’t much to tell,” she began softly. “I don’t seem to remember
anything but this garden. I guess I just grew,” she finished with a
little bounce that sent her skirts flying out in every direction.

“And whatever was in that gold watering can brought you to life. I
believe you’re a fairy,” said the old soldier solemnly.

“No! No!” laughed the little flower girl, seizing a long trailing
vine. “I’m just Urtha.” And using the vine as a skipping rope she
flashed up and down the silver paths so swiftly that it made Tatters and
Grampa blink just to follow her dancing steps.

“What are you going to do now that you are alive?” asked Tatters as she
paused for a moment beside him.

“Just going to be happy in this garden,” replied Urtha with a little
shake of her lovely fern hair.

“I wish we could stay too,” sighed Tatters, for he could think of no end
of games he could teach Urtha, and even the Emerald City, he reflected,
could not be lovelier than this enchanted garden. Grampa gave a start at
Tatters’ words and, suddenly recalled to his duty, gathered up his gun
and knapsack.

“It’s been a pleasure to know you, my dear,” said Grampa gallantly,
taking off his cap, “but we’ll have to be marching on now, for we’ve a
long journey before us.”

“Oh!” Urtha gave a little cry of dismay. “Didn’t you grow in the garden
too?” Grampa shook his head and as quickly as he could told her how King
Fumbo had lost his head and how he and Tatters had set out to seek it
and the Prince’s fortune. Urtha was almost as much puzzled over a
fortune as Bill. Indeed, the whole of Grampa’s story was confusing—for
you see it was the first story the little flower maiden had ever heard.
But Prince Tatters and the old soldier interested her tremendously. She
touched Grampa’s medals shyly and could not admire Tatters’ patched and
many colored suit enough. As for Bill, she blew him so many kisses that
the embarrassed weather cock flew and hid himself in an oleander bush.
Saying good-bye to dear little Urtha was a difficult business, but at
last Grampa, with a very determined expression, shouldered his gun and
Tatters reluctantly picked up his red umbrella.

“Come on!” shouted Bill, impatiently sticking his head out of the bush.
“Come on, or we’ll never find the head, the fortune and the Princess.”
As Urtha had not turned out a Princess he had lost all interest in her.

“But I’ll miss you,” sighed Urtha, and drooped so sadly against a tree
that Tatters promptly fell out of line and began to comfort her.

“You won’t miss us,” said Grampa, looking uneasily at his watch, “you
can’t miss people you’ve just met, you know.” The old soldier was faced
with a problem the like of which he had never before encountered, and he
was plainly at a loss to know what to do.

“I’ve known you longer than anyone else. I’ve known you my whole life,”
sighed Urtha wistfully.

“But you’ve only been alive five minutes,” smiled the old soldier
indulgently.

“Why don’t you join the army like I did?” inquired Bill, who was anxious
to be off.

“Oh, couldn’t she?” begged Tatters eagerly. Grampa shifted his feet and
looked uncertainly at the little flower maiden. She seemed too frail and
delicate to set out on a journey of adventure. “But,” reflected the old
soldier, “if she’s a fairy nothing can harm her and if she’s not,
someone ought to look out for her. As we brought her to life we’re
responsible.”

“Come along with you,” cried Grampa recklessly. So away through the
wizard’s garden marched this strange little army, the patched flag of
Ragbad fluttering from the top of Tatters’ red umbrella and the little
flower maiden falling out of line every few minutes to dance gaily round
a tree or skip merrily through a fountain.

She fairly seemed to float above the flowers that blossomed along the
way, as her dainty feet slipped from daisy to daisy. Prince Tatters
could hardly keep his eyes away from Urtha as she danced along the way.
And Grampa smiled happily at the delight of the two happy young people.



CHAPTER 7

The Winding Stairway


It was twilight in the wizard’s garden. All the lanterns burned low and
the birds twittered drowsily in the tree tops. Grampa and Tatters sat
wearily upon a golden bench—for after a whole day’s march they were no
nearer the Emerald City than before. Indeed, there seemed no way out of
the enchanted garden. They had lunched satisfactorily on the fruit of a
bread and butter bush, and Grampa’s knapsack was full of nicely spread
slices, but for all that each one of them felt tired and downhearted.

Urtha, on the contrary, was as fresh and merry as in the morning and,
seated under a willow tree, was weaving a daisy chain for Bill.

“She is certainly a fairy,” mused Grampa and absently pulling a blossom
from a near-by bush he popped it into his mouth. “We’ll take her back to
Ragbad, my boy, and won’t she liven up the old castle! I tell you,
now—” Suddenly Grampa stopped speaking and clapped his hand to his
belt. His eyes grew rounder and rounder and Tatters, turning to see why
he did not finish his sentence, gave a little scream of fright.

“Help!” called the Prince of Ragbad in an agonized voice. “Help!
Help!” Urtha was beside him in an instant, while Bill circled wildly
overhead.

“He’s growing,” breathed the little flower maid softly.

“Yes,” groaned Tatters distractedly, “he’s growing a chimney!” And
Tatters was quite right. Not only was the old soldier growing a chimney,
but a bay window as well. The chimney had knocked off his cap and grown
brick by brick as the horrified Prince looked on. The bay window, of
fancy wood-work and glass, jutted out at least three feet beyond
Grampa’s waist line. (The old soldier had always been proud of his
slim figure.)

“Give me my pipe,” panted Grampa in a choked voice. He had no idea what
was happening, but felt too terribly dreadful for words. Tatters sank on
one knee, snatched the pipe from its place in his game leg and lit it
with trembling fingers. Then it was that he caught sight of the sign on
the bush beside Grampa. “House plants,” said the sign distinctly.

“Oh!” wailed the Prince, suddenly remembering that Grampa had eaten one
of the blossoms, “you’ve eaten a house plant and there’s a chimney
sticking out of your head.”

“There _is_!” roared Grampa, puffing away at his pipe in great
agitation. “Well, that’s what comes of this pesky magic. A chim-nee!
Well, I’ll try to bear it like a soldier,” he finished grimly. A perfect
cloud of smoke rose from the chimney at these valiant words. Too
overcome for speech, Tatters covered his face.

“Don’t you care!” cried Urtha, flinging her arms ’round Grampa’s neck.
“It’s a sweet little chimney, and _so_ becoming!”

“The wind is blowing North,” crowed Bill, disconsolately following the
direction of the smoke as it curled up Grampa’s chimney. “If I see this
wizard I’ll fall on his head. I’ll give him a peck in the eye, five
pecks, but say!” Bill paused in his circling and swooped down upon the
old soldier. “How about the medicine?” Grampa and Tatters had forgotten
all about the wizard’s green bottle, but at Bill’s words the old soldier
drew it quickly from his pocket.

“I don’t believe there’s any cure for chimneys,” puffed Grampa, running
his finger anxiously down the list. He was so nervous that his hands
shook. To tell the truth he expected to grow a flight of steps or a
veranda any minute.

“Here, let me look,” begged Tatters, snatching the bottle from Grampa.
But though there was everything on the green label from ear ache to
lumbago, no mention was made of chimneys or bay windows at all.

“But it says ‘cure for everything,’” insisted Bill, perching stubbornly
on Grampa’s shoulder.

“This is worse than a battle!” moaned Grampa, rolling up his eyes. “I’m
poisoned, that’s what I am.”

“Poisoned!” cried Bill triumphantly. “Then find the cure for poison.”
Hurriedly Tatters consulted the label. “For poison of any nature, two
drops on the head,” directed the bottle. So while Urtha and Bill watched
nervously, Tatters uncorked the bottle and let two drops of the magic
liquid fall down Grampa’s chimney. There was a slight sizzle. Tatters
rubbed his eyes and Bill gave a crow of delight. The chimney had melted
and the bay window was gone and the gallant old soldier quite himself
again. Urtha was so happy that she danced all the way round the golden
bench and Grampa jumped up and ran to look at himself in a little pond.

“No worse for it,” mused the old soldier, stroking the top of his head
tenderly and patting his belt with great satisfaction, “but that’s the
last bite I’ll take in this garden.” As Grampa turned to go, a
particularly bright little flower bed caught his attention. The flowers
grew right before his eyes, dropped off their stems and were immediately
succeeded by other ones. Even in the dim lantern light the old soldier
could see that they were spelling out messages.

“Gorba will return to the garden at twelve o’clock.” This announcement
bloomed gaily in red tulips, and while the old soldier was still staring
at it in astonishment, the tulips faded away and another sentence formed
in the bed:

    Who stays all night shall leave here never,
    He’ll be a lantern tree forever!

In yellow daffodils, the sentence danced before Grampa’s eyes. “A life
sentence!” panted the old soldier wildly, and without waiting for more
he plunged across the garden.

“Tatters! Bill! Urtha!” shouted Grampa, his own voice hoarse with
excitement. “The wizard’s coming back and we’ve got to get out of this
garden or be lantern trees forever!”

“Forever!” gasped the Prince of Ragbad, who had scarcely recovered from
the chimney business. As fast as he could, Grampa told of the flower
messages, and when they hurried back to the bed, a pansy sentence had
already grown there.

“Good-night,” said the pansies politely, then fluttering off their
stems, blew like gay little butterflies across the lawn.

“_Good_ night!” choked Grampa bitterly. “It’s the worst night I ever
heard of. I won’t be rooted to the spot, nor a tree for any old wizard
wizzing. Come on! Company ’tenshun!”

“Here I come by the name of Bill,” crowed the weather cock, hurling into
the air.

“But what are we coming to?” panted Tatters, shouldering his red
umbrella dutifully, while Urtha kept anxiously beside him.

“We’re going back to those stepping stones,” puffed Grampa, stumping
along determinedly. The lanterns winked lower and lower and soon it was
so dark and shadowy they lost the path entirely. Smothering his alarm,
Grampa marched doggedly on, bumping into benches and trees, but never
once pausing.

“They ought to be here some place,” wheezed the old soldier and then
stopped with a grunt, for he had run plump into an iron railing in the
dark.

“What is it?” whispered Tatters, straining his eyes in the gathering
gloom.

“Why, it’s a flight of steps,” cried Grampa in the next breath. Feeling
for the gate, he entered the little enclosure and struck a match. By the
flickering light, he saw six circular golden steps and on the top one in
jewelled letters were just three words: “Gorba’s Winding Stairway.” Then
the match sputtered and went out.

“Winding stairway,” puffed the old soldier joyfully. “Why, this must be
the way out. They wind up, I’ll bet a gum drop! Get aboard everybody.
Hurry! Here Loveliness!” Taking Urtha’s hand, Grampa guided her up the
first step. Tatters stood on the second with Bill on his shoulder.
Grampa mounted quickly to the top and striking another match looked
anxiously for directions. There were no more inscriptions, but under
Gorba’s name was a tiny gold handle. The match was burning lower and
lower and just as it went out Grampa seized the handle and turned it
sharply to the left. Then—“Great Gollywockers!” gasped the old soldier,
clutching at the rail. “It’s winding down!”

Poor Grampa, in his hurry, had turned the handle the wrong way, and next
instant the brave little company were whirling down the wizard’s winding
stairway, ’round and ’round, down and down, ’round and down, down and
’round, until they were too dizzy to know where they were going.

“Hold on!” called Grampa wildly. “Hold on! Hold on! Hold on!” And
hold on was about all they could do.



CHAPTER 8

Strange Happenings in Perhaps City


On the same bright morning that Grampa and Tatters started from Ragbad,
the Peer of Perhaps City sat cozily breakfasting with Percy Vere. Percy
was a poet and attended to all the guess work in Perhaps City. True he
was a terribly forgetful poet, but he did the best he could and was a
prime favorite with the old mountain monarch. Perhaps City itself is a
tall, towered city of gold set high in the Maybe Mountains of Oz. So
steep and craggy are its peaks that none of the dwellers in the city
ever descend into the valleys below. Indeed there is little need of it,
for life in Perhaps City, owing to the jolly nature and good management
of old Peer Haps, is so delightfully entertaining that the people have
no desire to leave. The Happsies themselves are of the light-hearted and
old-fashioned race of Winkies, who in olden Oz times, settled all the
countries of the East. The only one who ever left the city at all was
Abrog, the High Sky prophet of the realm, and to his goings and comings
no one paid much attention, for he was a queer, silent old man, who
spoke but once a year and only then to prophesy as to the weather, crops
and important events that would take place in the town.

So far these events had all been happy and fortunate ones, and on this
sunshiny morning, old Peer Haps, buttering his muffins in his cozy
breakfast room, felt so well pleased and content with his lot that he
fairly beamed upon Percy Vere.

For his part, Percy Vere always was happy and, beaming back at the king,
he shook his long locks out of his eye and laughed merrily at old Peer.
Percy Vere always felt that his patron enjoyed his breakfast
particularly if Percy opened the proceedings with a verse, so he sang,
as breakfast was served, this ditty:

    “Oh, muffins mellow light and clear,
    Fit diet for a mountaineer;
    Oh, muffins pale and yellow!
    Oh, muffins sweet to sniff and eat,
    How you refresh a—a—”

The poet’s merry blue eyes grew round and puzzled, as they always did
when he forgot a word.

“Fellow!” chuckled the Peer, taking a sip of coffee. “Percy, my child,
you are ridiculish!”

    “I am ridiculish, I know it;
    A young, a poor forgetful—er”

“Poet!” spluttered Peer Haps, with another chuckle.

“Thanks old Nutmeg!” sighed Percy, helping himself to another muffin.
“You always know what I mean.”

“_Nut_ Meg!” roared Peer Haps. He never got over being amused at
Percy’s informal way of addressing him. “_Nut_ Meg! Well, I’ll be
grated!” And immediately he was, for at that very moment, the folding
doors flew open and in rushed Abrog the prophet.

“Greater than all other Rulers in Oz, great of the greatest!” began the
old man, salaaming before Peer Haps, “a great misfortune threatens,
approaches, is about to take place.”

“What?” cried the Peer, choking on the last bit of his muffin. It was
strange enough to have Abrog speak at all when it was not the day for
prophecy, but to have him speak in this foreboding fashion was simply
too terrible.

“Speak out! Speak up!” cried the Forgetful Poet, leaping to his feet:

    “Speak out, speak up
    And then get hence,
    We cannot stand this dire—
      this dire, this dire—”

“Suspense,” finished Peer Haps automatically. “Yes, speak up, fellow!”
he cried anxiously.

“In four days, a monster will marry the Princess!” wailed Abrog,
pulling his peaked cap down over his eyes. “In four days, four days,
four days!” And having said this, he began to gallop ’round the
breakfast table, Peer Haps and the Forgetful Poet right after him. You,
yourself, can imagine the effect of such a message on the merry old Peer
of Perhaps City. Why, he prized the little Princess above all his
possessions, yes, even above his yellow hen who was a brick layer and
laid gold bricks instead of eggs. Indeed, she had done more than anyone
else to lay the foundation of his fortune.

“What kind of a m-monster?” stuttered the Forgetful Poet, waving his
muffin.

“Where is my daughter now?” demanded Peer Haps, seizing Abrog by the
whiskers, for there seemed no other way of stopping him. Abrog waved
feebly toward the window and, rushing across the room, the Peer and the
poet stared out into the garden where the sweetest little Princess in
all the countries of the East was gathering roses. She waved gaily to
the two in the window, and, with a shudder, Peer Haps turned back to
Abrog.

“Let me see the prophecy,” he demanded, holding out his hand. Abrog
produced a crumpled parchment and after one glance the old Peer covered
his face and sank groaning into his enormous arm chair. The Forgetful
Poet had read over his shoulder and instantly burst into all the
melancholy poems he knew. “Oh, hush!” begged the old monarch at last,
“and you,” he waved wildly at the prophet, “can you do nothing but run
’round that table like a merry-go-round goat?”

“I could marry the Princess myself,” rasped Abrog, coming to a sudden
standstill before the Peer. “If she were already married to me, a
monster could not marry her,” he leered triumphantly.

“To _you_!” shrieked Percy Vere, crushing his muffin to a pulp.

    “You weazened, wild, old, whiskered dunce,
    Be off! Be gone! Get out, at—at—at—at—”

Percy began hopping about on one foot groaning, “What’s the word, what’s
the word?”

“Once!” finished Peer Haps, mopping his forehead and glaring at Abrog,
for he was stunned at the old man’s suggestion. “It wouldn’t do at all,”
he muttered gloomily. “Why, you’re a thousand years old if you’re a day,
and she’s the only daughter I’ve got.”

“Well, you won’t have her long,” sneered Abrog, gathering his robe about
him. His black eyes gleamed wickedly from beneath their bushy brows. He
was furiously angry, but quickly hiding his feelings he began to move
slowly toward the door. Halfway there he paused. “Since you refuse my
first solution of the difficulty, I will endeavor to think of another
one. I used to know a little magic,” he wheezed craftily. “I will retire
to my tower to think.”

Peer Haps nodded absently. He was too dazed to think himself and could
only mutter over and over, “A monster! A monster! My daughter! A
monster!”

“The fellow’s a fool!” choked Percy Vere. “He’s as full of ideas as a
dish pan. Why he’s a monster himself!”

“But there’s something in what he says,” groaned the old Peer unhappily.
“If my daughter were already married when this monster came, he could
not carry her off. I have it! Percy, we’ll marry the Princess at once,
to the likeliest lad in Perhaps City.”

“To me!” cried the Forgetful Poet, tossing back his long locks and
sticking out his chest complacently.

“Well—er,” the old monarch looked a trifle embarrassed, “you’re hardly
the man to marry and settle down to a humdrum royal existence. I was
thinking of young Perix.”

“You’re right,” agreed Percy, mollified at once. “Marriage would
interfere with my career, O Peer. Shall I fetch our pretty little
Princess?”

“Yes, call her at once,” begged Peer Haps, clasping and unclasping his
hands, “but don’t frighten her, Percy my boy, no talk of marriage or
monsters!” Percy felt that the only thing he could do, under the
circumstances, was to lapse into verse.

    “I go, I go, on heel and toe
    To fetch the sweetest girl I know,
    The Princess of Perhaps City,
    As sweet as sugar full of tea!”

caroled the Forgetful Poet, bounding through the door into the garden.
Peer Haps smiled faintly, then remembering the monster, frowned and
began drumming nervously on the arm of his chair. He did not even look
up when the yellow hen hopped into the room, and, with a self-conscious
cluck, laid a gold brick on the mantel.

“What’s the matter?” asked the hen sulkily.

“Everything!” groaned Peer Haps, straining his eyes for the first sign
of Percy and the Princess. “Everything!” At that instant Percy rushed
back.

“The Princess is lost, gone, mislaid!” cried the Forgetful Poet,
crossing his eyes in his extreme agitation.

“You speak as if she were an egg,” clucked the yellow hen, but no one
paid any attention to her and in a huff the spoiled creature flew out
the window and dropped a gold brick on the head of the chief gardener.
But no one, except the chief gardener, paid any attention to this
either, for Peer Haps had raised such a clamor over the disappearance of
his daughter that the whole castle was in an uproar. Indeed in five
minutes more every woman, man and child in Perhaps City had joined in
the search for the missing Princess. After they had searched high and
low, and everywhere else for that matter, Percy suddenly bethought
himself of the prophet and, rushing up the fifty steps to his tower,
thumped hard upon the door. There was no answer. Percy flung the door
open and there was no prophet. Abrog was gone too!

In the face of this new calamity the dreadful prophecy about the monster
was almost forgotten. Peer Haps sank down upon his throne and in spite
of his sixty years and three hundred pounds wept like a baby.

“He’s perfectly perfidious!” exclaimed Percy Vere, who was entirely out
of breath from the steps. All the courtiers solemnly shook their heads.

    “A villain old and hideous,
    And perfectly perfidious,
    Has run off with our daughter.
    What shall be done to him, O Peer,
    This prophesighing profiteer
    Deserves both death and—and—”

“Slaughter,” sobbed Peer Haps convulsively. Then mopping his face he sat
up. “Someone must follow him at once and bring her back!” thundered the
old monarch. “A thousand gold bricks to the man who brings her back. A
thousand gold bricks and the Princess’ hand in marriage!” At this there
was a great shuffling of feet and the young men of Perhaps City began to
exchange uneasy glances.

“Down the mountain?” asked Perix faintly.

“Where else?” demanded Peer Haps, glaring angrily at the young nobleman
whom he had intended for his daughter.

“But we might be dashed to pieces. It is terribly unsafe,” stuttered
Perix unhappily. All the other Happsies began to shake their heads and
murmur sadly, “Unsafe, very unsafe!”

“Well, how about my daughter?” roared the poor monarch, puffing out his
cheeks. “Will no one go after my daughter?” There was more shuffling of
feet, but not a voice was raised. We must not be too hard on these young
Happsies, remembering that in all their lives and in the lives of their
fathers and grandfathers no one had ever descended Maybe Mountain
excepting Abrog the old prophet.

“I’ll go myself!” spluttered Peer Haps explosively. But as he arose
with a great groan, the Forgetful Poet rushed forward and embraced as
much of the Peer as his arms would circle.

“You’d be broken to bits!” cried Percy distractedly. “Suppose you
stumbled. I, I will go and find the Princess and this meddling,
miserable prophet.”

“You! Why you’ll forget what you’re after before you start,” sneered
Perix disagreeably.

“As to that,” said Percy, snapping his fingers under the young fellow’s
nose, “I may forget a word now and then, but I don’t forget how to act
when my King is in trouble!”

“Hurrah!” shouted the gardener, throwing up his hat. He had recovered
from the shock of the gold brick. “Hurrah for Percy Vere; he’s the
bravest of the lot!”

“But how will you go?” quavered Peer Haps. He was torn between relief at
Percy’s brave offer and sorrow at the thought of losing his prime and
favorite companion.

“Here’s how,” cried the valiant Poet. Rushing down the golden steps of
the palace, Percy leaped over the gate and plunged recklessly down the
steep mountain side. Percy was well accustomed to hill-climbing and met
with no mishap as he plunged downward.



CHAPTER 9

Dorothy Meets a New Celebrity


Dorothy had been to see the Tin Woodman and now, with Toto, her small
shaggy dog, running at her side, was skipping merrily down one of the
wide Winkie Lanes.

“I think Nick Chopper looks very well, don’t you Toto?” said Dorothy,
tickling his ear with a long feathery weed.

“Woof!” barked Toto reproachfully. Toto—like all other dogs in Oz—could
talk if he wanted to, but Toto, being originally from Kansas, preferred
his own language. Just then, seeing a lively baconfly, Toto gave another
bark and dashed across a daisy field. Away fluttered the baconfly, and
you have no idea how fast these little rascals can flutter, and away,
his ears flapping with excitement, pounded Toto, and away after Toto ran
Dorothy, for she was always in fear of losing her reckless little pet.
Up and down, here and there, ’round and ’round, darted the mischievous
baconfly, until Toto’s tongue hung out and he simply panted with
exhaustion. Then with a spiteful sputter, the baconfly disappeared under
a rhinestone, and after scratching and whining and even growling a
little, Toto gave up the chase and trotted rather sheepishly back to
Dorothy.

“That was really too bad of you Toto,” panted the little girl
reprovingly. “You wouldn’t eat a poor little baconfly, would you?”

“Woof, gr-rr woof!” sulked Toto, which was Kansas for “You _bet_ I
would!” Pretending not to understand this last remark, Dorothy fanned
herself with her broad straw hat and started slowly back toward the
lane. But the baconfly had led them such a roundabout chase that when
she did come to the lane she turned in exactly the opposite direction
from the way she had intended, and instead of walking toward the Emerald
City she began walking away from it. But as neither she nor Toto was
aware of this fact, they progressed most cheerfully, Dorothy carrying on
a one-sided conversation with the saucy little bow-wow. Occasionally
Toto would bark or wag his tail, but most of the time he listened in
superior silence to the little girl’s chatter of the fun they had had in
Nick Chopper’s tin castle.

Now how Nick Chopper came to have a castle is a story in itself, for
Nick has, in the course of his strange and interesting life, risen from
a wood-chopper to Emperor of all the Winkies and from an ordinary blood
and bone man to a real celebrity of tin. Yes, Nick is entirely a man of
tin, as you can see by referring to any of the histories of Oz. In these
same histories it is recorded how a wicked witch enchanted Nick’s ax, so
that first it cut off his legs, then his arms and finally his body and
head. But you cannot kill a good Ozman like Nick Chopper and after each
accident he hied him to a tin-smith for repairs. First the tin-smith
made him tin legs, then tin arms, next a tin body and at last a tin
head, so that he was completely a man of tin. And this same little
Dorothy, on her first trip to Oz, had discovered the Tin Woodman,
rusting in a forest, had oiled up his joints and taken him to the
Emerald City itself. There the Wizard of Oz had given him a warm, red
plush heart, which he still has and since then Nick has been in almost
every important adventure that has happened in the wonderful Land of Oz.
Ozma, the little fairy ruler of Oz, finding Nick so dependable and so
unusual, has made him Emperor of the East, and the loyal little Winkies
have built him a splendid tin castle in the center of their pleasant
yellow country.

Dorothy herself was first blown to Oz in a Kansas cyclone and after a
great many visits to this delightful country, determined to stay for
good. Ozma, with the help of her magic belt, transported Dorothy and
Uncle Henry and Aunt Em and Toto to the Land of Oz. Uncle Henry and Aunt
Em have a comfortable little farm just outside of the Emerald City, but
Dorothy and Toto have a cunning apartment in the Emerald Palace itself,
for Ozma cannot bear to have Dorothy far away. The two girls—for Ozma
herself is only a little girl fairy—have been through so many adventures
together that they are almost inseparable, and to show her love and
affection for this little girl from the United States Ozma has made
Dorothy a Royal Princess of Oz.

But through all her honors and adventures Dorothy has remained the same
jolly little girl she was in Kansas. Every now and then she puts aside
her silk court frocks, slips into an old gingham dress and steals off
for a visit to some of her friends in the country.

“We’ll soon be at the Scarecrow’s, Toto; shall you like that?” she
asked, after skipping along for five whole minutes without speaking.
“Perhaps he’ll have corn muffins and honey and—Whatever’s that?”

“Little girl! Little girl!” A voice came echoing high and clear down
the sunlit lane. Toto pricked up his ears, and Dorothy, shading her
eyes, turned in the direction of the voice. Running toward her was a
young man clothed all in buff—an extremely excited and agitated young
man—and by the time he reached Dorothy and Toto he was perfectly
breathless.

“Well—” began Dorothy, hardly knowing what else to say.

“Not very well, thank you,” puffed the young man, slapping at his face
with a yellow silk handkerchief. On closer inspection Dorothy saw that
his handsome suit was torn and muddied and the young man himself
exceedingly scratched and weary.

“I am most unhappy,” he continued, regarding her mournfully. “At least,
when I can remember to be. It is hard to be unhappy in a lovely country
like this.”

“Then why do you try to remember to be?” asked Dorothy with a little
laugh, while Toto made a playful dash at the stranger’s heels.

“A great deal depends on my remembering,” explained the young man
eagerly. “If I forget to be unhappy I may forget why I fell down the
mountain and why I am wandering in this strange country without friends
or food.”

“Well, why are you?” Dorothy could control her curiosity no longer.

“I am seeking a Princess,” replied the youth solemnly.

“A Princess! Well, will I do?” Dorothy smiled mischievously and while
the stranger stared at her, round-eyed, she made him her prettiest court
bow. The result was extremely funny. The Forgetful Poet—for of course
you have guessed all along that it was he—extended his arms toward Toto
and cried accusingly:

    “I looked the maiden in the eye,
    I looked her up and down,
    She says she is a Princess,
    But, she hasn’t any—any—?”

Toto barked indignantly at this limping poetry.

“I suppose you mean crown,” giggled Dorothy. “Yes I have too, but it’s
at home, in Ozma’s castle.”

    “The crown is in the castle,
    The castle’s in the town;
    The town is in the land of Oz,
    But how about her—her—”

He stared helplessly at Dorothy’s gingham dress and, with another little
scream of laughter, Dorothy finished his verse. “Gown!” spluttered the
little girl. “Do you always talk like that?”

“Pretty often,” admitted Percy Vere apologetically. “You see, I am a
poet. And I know who you are now. You’re Princess Dorothy herself!” He
smiled so charmingly as he said this that Dorothy could not help smiling
back.

“I’ve read all about you in Peer Haps’ history books,” confided Percy
triumphantly. “Shall I address you as Princess?” As he asked this
question the troubled expression returned to his eyes. “You haven’t seen
a Princess anywhere around here have you?” he added anxiously. Dorothy
shook her head and Toto began sniffing under all the bushes as if he
expected to find a Princess in any one of them.

    “A little Princess,
      Passing fair,
    With rosy cheeks
      And yellow—yellow—”

“Hair,” put in Dorothy quickly. “Who is she? Who are you and how did she
get lost? Let’s sit down and then you can tell me all about it.”

“He’s exactly like a puzzle,” thought Dorothy, with an amused little
sniff. So Percy Vere sat down beside her under a spreading jelly tree
and as quickly as he could he told of the strange happenings in Perhaps
City, of the prophecy about the monster, of the strange conduct of old
Abrog, the Prophet, and finally of the disappearance of both the
Princess and the Prophet.

Percy himself had fallen down the steep craggy sides of Maybe Mountain,
arriving in a scratched and bruised heap at the bottom. All morning he
had been wandering through the fields and lanes of the Winkle land and
Dorothy was the first person he had encountered.

“Well, I think you were just splendid,” breathed the little girl, as the
Forgetful Poet finished his story. Percy had tried to gloss over the
young men’s refusal to go in search of the Princess, but Dorothy had
guessed quite correctly what had happened.

“I’ll bet that old prophet carried her off himself,” she declared
positively.

    “I think so two,
    I think so three,
    I think so four,
    Where can they—?”

Percy mopped his brow and looked appealingly at the little girl.

“Be,” supplied Dorothy obligingly. “I’m sure I don’t know, but we can
soon find out. You just come to the Emerald City with me and we’ll look
in Ozma’s magic picture.”

    “Why you are wise
      As you are pretty;
    Let’s hasten to
      The Emerald City!”

Smiling all over because he had actually finished his own verse, the
Forgetful Poet helped Dorothy to her feet and both started gaily down
the lane, Dorothy telling the poet all about the interesting folk in the
capitol and Percy Vere telling Dorothy all about the City of Gold on
Maybe Mountain. Dorothy’s idea of looking in Ozma’s picture, like all of
her other ideas, was a mighty good one, for this picture has a magical
power enabling a person to see whomever he wishes, so that one look
would disclose the whereabouts of the lost Princess of Perhaps City. But
at every step, they were putting a longer distance between themselves
and that look. For at every step, thanks to that little baconfly, they
were going farther and farther away from the Emerald City of Oz.

They had eaten the lunch the Tin Woodman had thoughtfully put up for
Dorothy, and now, as the afternoon shadows began to lengthen, the little
girl looked anxiously ahead for familiar landmarks. But instead the
lane—which should have led straight to the Scarecrow’s tower, which is
halfway between the Tin Woodman’s Palace and the Emerald City—the lane
suddenly came to a stop in a scraggly little woods.

“That’s funny!” mused Dorothy, looking around in surprise.

“Are we lost?” asked Percy, leaning wearily against a tree.

    “Hello! Hello, why here’s a sign
    Tacked up upon this prickly—prickly—”

Without bothering to finish the verse, Dorothy hurried over to the pine.

“Look out for the Runaway,” advised the sign, in large red letters.

“Runaway!” cried Dorothy, snatching Toto up in her arms. “Good
gracious! I wonder what kind of a runaway it is?” They were not long
left in doubt, for while Percy was still staring nervously all ’round,
there came a hiss and a snap and ’round a big rock shot the runaway
itself, scooping up the two travellers before they had time to even wink
a single eyelash.

“This is p-perfectly preposterous,” blustered the Forgetful Poet. Both
he and Dorothy were sitting in the middle of the runaway and Percy Vere
hastily slipped his arm around the little girl to keep her from falling
off. The runaway road itself was humping along like some dreadful sort
of serpent, jouncing and bouncing them so terribly that talking was
almost impossible.

“Wonder where it’s running!” gasped Dorothy, hugging Toto so tight he
began to growl a little. From somewhere ahead a gritty voice answered
her.

“I’m running straight to a pepper mine,” roared the runaway, “and you’ll
make a handsome pair of pepper diggers.”

“P-pepper diggers!” groaned Percy Vere.

    “Pepper diggers, not that please,
    The very idea makes me, makes me—”

“Ha-ha-ka kachoo,” sneezed Percy miserably.

“Pepper doesn’t grow in mines. It’s a plant,” shouted Dorothy
indignantly.

“Well, this pepper mine of mine was planted,” replied the road, twisting
’round to stare at Dorothy with its stony eyes. Neither Dorothy nor the
Forgetful Poet answered this time, for the bumping and bouncing had
grown so much worse that it was all they could do to hold on to each
other and keep from biting their tongues off. Nothing like this had ever
happened to the Forgetful Poet before. He was simply stunned. But
Dorothy had been in so many strange adventures and had had so many odd
experiences in the land of Oz, that she was already planning to outwit
the runaway.

“It wouldn’t be safe to jump off,” thought the little girl, “for we’d
probably be broken to bits, but—” Her eyes travelled upward to the trees
and bushes that were flashing past as the runaway flung itself
recklessly through the forest—“If we caught hold of a low branch the old
road would go on without us,” she reflected triumphantly.

As well as she could, for bumps and bounces, she whispered her plan to
Percy Vere. He nodded enthusiastically and transferred Toto to his
blouse, so that Dorothy would have both hands free. Then, when a huge
tree loomed up ahead, they both began to count, and as its branches
stretched over the runaway, they hurled themselves upward and held on
for dear life. Beneath slithered the road and not until the last yellow
length of it had flashed by did Dorothy and Percy Vere let go. Percy
dropped to the ground first, gently lifted Dorothy down, and took the
frightened, wiggling little Toto out of his blouse.

“Whew!” breathed Dorothy, leaning dizzily against Percy, “that’s the
worst ride I’ve had for a long time. Wonder where we are?”

“Do—we—do—this—often?” panted the Forgetful Poet, looking at Dorothy
with round eyes. “I’m perfectly pulverized!”

“Well, I never met a runaway before,” confessed Dorothy, “but you never
can tell what’s going to happen in Oz, so first thing we’d better do is
to find out where we are!”

    “We’re in a forest dark and deep,
    I hope the bears are all—are all—”

“Asleep! So do I!” sighed Dorothy, and began tip-toeing along under the
great lonesome trees, Toto keeping close at her side and Percy Vere
treading softly behind her.



CHAPTER 10

Prince Forge John of Fire Island


Before Grampa and his little company had recovered from the shock of
winding down instead of up, the strange stairway gathered itself
together, and, with a sudden jerk, shook them all off.

“Break ranks!” roared the old soldier, kicking out wildly with his game
leg.

“I don’t want to break my ranks,” said Bill crossly. Tatters and Urtha
were too startled to say anything and for a few seconds they simply fell
in surprised silence. The hollow down which they were tumbling was wide
and dimly lighted with a soft, spooky glow. The air was thick and heavy
and they were falling much slower than Grampa and Tatters had fallen
down the hollow tree. First fell Urtha, her flowery skirts fluttering
gracefully around her; then fell Tatters, clinging to Bill with one arm
and his red umbrella with the other; then the old soldier, his gun,
drum, sword and knapsack rattling like a box full of marbles.

“I feel exactly like a butterfly. Are we flying, dear Mr Soldier?”
laughed the flower maiden presently.

“No, my poor child,” puffed Grampa, staring down at her anxiously.
“We’re falling!”

“Falling asleep?” asked Urtha contentedly.

“Depends on how we land,” groaned the old soldier, and suddenly
remembering his last landing he snatched the wizard’s medicine bottle
from his pocket.

“Is there anything on the label about falling?” panted Tatters, who was
close enough to notice the old soldier’s action. Grampa held the bottle
close to his eyes, and though reading while falling is one of the
hardest things I know of to do, after a deal of squinting the old
soldier read out the following: “For falling hairs, one drop in full
glass of water!”

“But we’re not hares,” wheezed Bill indignantly.

“And if our hair stopped falling and we fell on, we’d be scalped!”
puffed Grampa hoarsely. “Besides there isn’t any water, so there’s
nothing to do but fall!”

“Stormy weather! Stormy weather!” predicted Bill gloomily. “Look out
below, look out, look out, look out!” As the weather cock came to his
last look out, the air grew suddenly lighter, the speed of the four
fallers increased and next thing, with a great splash and splutter, they
had plunged into a deep underground lake. Blowing like a porpoise,
Grampa rose to the surface.

“One drop in water,” choked the old soldier and, treading water
furiously, he began to look around for his little army. In the dim green
light he could see Urtha floating like a tiny island of flowers on the
top of the water—her fine spray of hair spread out ’round her lovely
little face. A short distance away Tatters was making frantic efforts to
keep afloat but, with the iron weather cock and the enormous umbrella,
it was a difficult business and every few minutes the poor Prince of
Ragbad would disappear under the waves. Grampa himself, handicapped as
he was by a game leg and so many weapons, found swimming a dreadful
exertion and by the time he reached Tatters he was completely exhausted.
He still grasped the wizard’s bottle in one hand.

“Wet—very wet!” The head of Bill appeared above the water and then went
under, as Tatters took another dive toward the bottom.

“Grampa, I’m drowning!” gulped the poor Prince, reappearing for a
second on the surface. It never occurred to the Prince to drop Bill or
his father’s umbrella. Grampa himself had shipped so much water he had
no breath to speak, but he flung his hand out desperately toward the
Prince and, as luck would have it, it was the hand holding the wizard’s
medicine.

“D—don’t drown!” begged Grampa, his eye fixed desperately on the green
label. “Wait, there’s a cure for it.” Treading water again, he clutched
Tatters by the hair and pressed the bottle to his lips. “One swallow and
you’ll swim like a fish,” promised Grampa.

“My head’s swimming already,” muttered Tatters weakly. It was all the
Prince could do to get the stuff down, for he had swallowed quarts of
the lake already. Grampa was so interested in watching the effects of
the dose that he forgot to move his feet and went down himself. But just
as the water closed over his head he put the wizard’s bottle to his own
lips, took a hasty mouthful and jammed in the cork. Immediately he
bobbed to the surface and, with a great sigh of relief, saw Tatters
floating on top of the waves, Bill perched precariously upon his chest.
Grampa felt as buoyant as a cork and, using his gun as an oar, steered
toward Tatters and Urtha and soon all three were bobbing along side by
side.

“This medicine’s the only good thing that wizard ever invented,” said
Grampa, sticking the bottle through his belt. “Feeling better, old boy?”

Tatters shook his head feebly. He could not help thinking how far out of
their way they had fallen, and how very far they were from the Emerald
City and even from Ragbad itself. He blinked hastily at the thought of
Mrs Sew-and-Sew and the cozy red castle on the hill, and he hoped Pudge
had remembered to feed his pigeons. Tatters himself never expected to
see them again. Only Urtha seemed really to be enjoying the adventure.
Her little flower face was wreathed in smiles and her lovely flower
frock fairly sparkled with freshness.

“Isn’t this fun!” she kept repeating merrily. “Isn’t this fun?” Grampa
nodded, but not very enthusiastically.

“Do you think we’ll ever get back on top again?” asked Tatters gloomily.

“Of course,” spluttered Grampa. “We’ve fallen down about as far as we
can fall and from now on things will take an upward turn, you see.
Hello, this water’s kinda hot! Great swordfish, what’s that noise?”

“The fortune! The fortune!” shrieked Bill, jumping up and down upon
Tatters’ thin chest and ducking the Prince at every jump. “The
fortune!”

With a great effort, Grampa sat up in the water, which was already
beginning to steam, and then fell backward with a terrific splash.

“Halt!” commanded Grampa, trying to push against the current with his
sword. “Stop! Halt!” A great roaring was in their ears and the green
light had changed to a red hot glow. How Tatters sat up. Then he, too,
began to kick wildly about in an effort to stop himself. And no wonder!
They were being carried straight toward a roaring red island of fire!

“The fortune! The fortune!” screeched Bill, more excited than ever.

“Fortune!” groaned Grampa, reaching out to catch Urtha, who was
floating rapidly past. “Misfortune! Halt! Stop! Everybody back!”

“Better stop backing and look on that bottle,” gulped the Prince of
Ragbad. “Better see if there’s any cure for—for this!” He waved
desperately ahead. And Grampa, with a little choke of fright, pulled out
the wizard’s medicine. “Burns, scalds and heat strokes,” faltered
Grampa. “Well, we’d better take the cure for all three. A teaspoonful
was prescribed in each case and with trembling hands the old soldier
measured out the doses. Bill could not swallow, so the old soldier
dashed the medicine over his head.”

“I think you’re a fairy,” puffed Grampa, throwing a dose in the face of
the surprised little flower girl, “but if anything should happen I’d
never forgive myself.” Tatters came next and by this time the water was
so hot that Grampa himself began to groan with discomfort. So he hastily
swallowed his three spoonfuls, corked the bottle and prepared for the
worst. But immediately everything grew better. The waves of heat from
the island seemed only pleasant breezes now and the steaming water did
not even feel hot. Before they had time to wonder at all this, they were
washed up on the burning sands of Fire Island itself.

“Is it the fortune?” asked Bill, hopping out of Tatters’ arms. “You said
land—or gold, and this is a golden land.”

Grampa was too dazed to answer. Finding himself completely fire proof
was strange enough, but actually walking on an island of fire seemed
unbelievable.

“Wonder what Pudge would say to this,” mused Grampa, as Tatters rushed
over to his side. Urtha was already dancing about on the glowing sands
as happily as she had danced in the wizard’s garden.

“Here come the firemen!” cried Prince Tatters, and rather anxiously the
old soldier turned to meet the islanders. The people of Fire Island were
as interesting and unusual as their island, being entirely of red and
blue flames, and so light upon their feet they fairly flashed about over
the glowing rocks.

“Shall I fall on their heads?” inquired Bill. “Is it a fight?”

“No,” answered Grampa, squinting a bit from the glare, “I believe
they’re friendly.” And the old soldier was right, for as the Fire
Islanders came nearer they waved their arms gaily and seemed delighted
with the unusual appearance of their visitors. A little ahead of the
others strode a tall man, who was made entirely of glowing, red hot
iron. Except for this fact, he might have been any village blacksmith
and his face was so round and jolly that Tatters immediately took heart.

“Prince Forge John the First!” called two small flame pages, as the
Fire Monarch reached the party on the beach. Prince Forge John bowed,
Grampa saluted, Bill crowed and Urtha—breaking off a flowery spray from
her skirts—held it out prettily to the ruler of Fire Island.

“What a charming little fairy!” cried Prince Forge John in his hot
crackling voice. “And you,” he turned pleased eyes upon Grampa and
Tatters, “how brave you look, and _it_,” with a wave at the weather
cock, “how beautiful it is—all of splendid iron!”

“Thanks,” crowed Bill. “I’m useful, too. If you will tell me where to
find the head, the Princess and the fortune, I’ll tell you which way the
wind blows. Head? Fortune? Princess?” finished Bill, as if he were
repeating a lesson.

Prince Forge John looked so confused at this speech that Grampa stepped
forward and hastily explained all that had happened since King Fumbo had
lost his head, ending up with the wizard’s garden, the discovery of
Urtha and their fortunate use of Gorba’s medicine.

“H-m!” mused Prince Forge John, rubbing his iron chin. “So you’re
seeking the head of this lad’s father and the lad himself seeks a
fortune and a Princess? Well, I have not seen the King’s head, but the
Prince may stay here with us, marry one of our Fire Maidens and make a
fortune in the fire works. There’s many a fortune been snatched from the
fire. How would you like that, my boy?”

“Yes, do stay and marry me,” cried one of the little flame maidens,
running impulsively up to the Prince.

“You are so odd and you look so interesting!” Tatters looked terribly
embarrassed, for he was fearful that the maiden would scorch his nose.
“I—I must find my father’s head first,” stuttered the Prince, backing
away uneasily, “and if your Majesty could tell us of a way back to Oz—”
Tatters bowed again and looked appealingly at Grampa.

“Well, you might go up in smoke,” suggested Prince Forge John slowly. “I
think, myself, that this wizard’s medicine will wear off presently and
then you’ll all burn up.”

“Oh,” groaned the old soldier, snatching out his handkerchief, “why do
you think such terrible thoughts?”

“Would it hurt?” breathed Urtha, who hated to see anyone unhappy.

“Is there no fire escape?” choked Tatters, with bulging eyes.

Prince Forge John shook his head. “I’d like to help you,” he murmured
gravely, “but you are so strangely made I don’t see how I can. Better
just stay on here. Burning’s not so bad and I think you’d burn a long
time.” Several of the Fire Islanders nodded as the Prince said this, but
Grampa and Tatters could find no consolation in such a prospect.

“And marching North seemed _so_ easy!” wailed poor Tatters, leaning
heavily on his red umbrella.

“Never mind,” sighed the old soldier, “I’ll think of something else.
Let’s jump back in the water,” he proposed brightly.

“But if the medicine wears off boiling would be just as bad as burning,”
objected Tatters, with a little shudder.

“That’s so,” admitted Grampa. “It seems, my boy, that every cup of soup
has at least one fly!”

“There’s a fly on your nose,” screeched Bill, hopping up and down. And
so there was—a saucy little fire fly. There were fire flies
everywhere—darting here and there among the fire flowers and over the
fields of waving fire weeds.

“Better stay,” repeated Prince Forge John hospitably. “Anyway let us
show you a bit of the island.”

Grampa nodded, for he did not know what else to do, and so he and the
others followed sadly after the Prince and his cortege. There were no
houses on Fire Island, but each flame family had its own open fire
place. Between stretched meadows of clear blue flame and many beautiful
gardens, where, from flowing beds of red hot coals, lovely fire flowers
arose.

The stems were of green flame, the tops of yellow, blue and red. The
Prince picked a bouquet of these strange posies for Urtha and, to
Grampa’s surprise, the fire flowers neither burned the little flower
girl nor went out in her hands.

If it had not been for the dreadful thought of burning up that hung over
them, the old soldier and Tatters might have enjoyed their trip across
the island. But as it was they got little pleasure from it. Even Prince
Forge John’s fire works, where all the hearth fires and kitchen fires
are manufactured and the Fourth of July roman candles and sparklers are
made, aroused in them no enthusiasm. When they reached the other side of
the island, the Prince offered each member of the party a box of fire
crackers for refreshments and this made Grampa smile in spite of his
worry.

“No use setting ourselves off before our time!” chuckled the old
soldier, handing them back with a bow. The Prince looked a little hurt,
but he and the rest of his company ate up their fire crackers with
relish and after Prince Forge John had finished his sixteenth box he had
a sudden idea.

“I’ve thought of a way to save you,” cried Prince Forge John, fairly
crackling with pleasure. “You can just go to Blazes!”

“What?” shouted Grampa, who, being in the army, thought he was insulted.

“Yes,” repeated Forge John calmly. “You must go to Blazes. See that dark
house across the waters there? Well, you’ll find him on the other side
of that.”

Grampa shaded his eyes and, looking across the green, sulphurous waters
surrounding Fire Island, made out a great tower of Darkness. It was
quite easy to see, for every other place was lighted with the ruddy glow
from the island.

“Fetch the boat,” ordered the Prince briskly, and while Grampa and
Tatters were still gazing in stupefaction at the tower, several of the
fire men began shoving an iron boat down the beach. Unceremoniously
Forge John took them by the arms and helped them in. To tell the truth,
he was growing sleepy and anxious to be rid of these singular visitors.

“The flower fairy may stay,” he yawned graciously, but Urtha had no such
intention. Gently disengaging herself from a group of the fire maidens,
she ran after the boat and sprang lightly in beside Tatters.

“What do you mean? Where are we going? Hold on here!” blustered the old
soldier. But Prince Forge John merely waved his firm arms and the two
fire men began to row away as fast as they could.

“Good-bye,” called the Prince, with another yawn. “I’m sorry you
wouldn’t stay and burn with us.”

“We’re going to blazes, to blazes, to blazes!” crowed Bill, who had
flown up into the bow of the boat.

“That’s right,” crackled the flame man nearest to Tatters. “He’ll soon
send you up.”

“But who—who is Blazes?” asked the Prince of Ragbad, stretching out both
his hands imploringly.

“The keeper of the volcano,” answered the second rower, looking at
Tatters intently.

“Lightning, thunder, hot winds and earthquakes!” crowed the weather
cock wildly.

Grampa flopped hopelessly into the bottom of the boat.



CHAPTER 11

Into the Volcano


By the time Grampa had recovered enough to sit up the boat was scraping
on the black rocks at the foot of the dark tower.

“Cinders! Soot!” called the rowers loudly. In answer to their hail a
door opened cautiously and the keepers of the dark tower peered out.

“What’s wanted?” asked the first hoarsely, while the second swung his
dark lantern toward the party in the boat.

“Take these men to Blazes and tell him to send ’em up!” directed the
flame men together and, almost pushing Grampa and his little company
from the boat, they jumped in and started to row back to their island.
The dark tower was wet and clammy and made of moss that soaked up the
rays of light from Fire Island as a sponge soaks up water. The keepers
of the tower themselves looked burnt out and cindery and far from
agreeable.

“You go!” said Soot, after a contemptuous glance at the newcomers.
“I’ve got to keep the light out.”

“All right!” agreed Cinders. “Come on you, whatever you ares!” There
was no way to get back to Fire Island, so Grampa motioned for the others
to come and in silence they followed Cinders over the black, slippery
rocks. Bill perched on Grampa’s shoulder and Tatters held fast to Urtha,
who for the first time seemed a little frightened.

“Being alive is so strange,” sighed the little flower girl, stepping
along tremulously.

“It’s not always like this,” whispered the Prince comfortingly. He was
terribly frightened himself, but resolved to be as brave as he could
before this lovely little lady of flowers. The dark tower seemed to be
on the mainland of this queer underground country and, after a short
march over the rocks, they came to a steep gray mountain. There was a
door in the center and Cinders hammered on this with a poker he carried
under one arm. The door opened immediately and a hot red glare smote the
travellers in the face.

“John says to send these creatures up,” grumbled Cinders, backing out of
the light.

“I hope that medicine’s still working!” groaned Grampa. “Do you still
feel cool?”

“Pretty cool,” faltered the Prince of Ragbad. “But—”

“Come in,” roared the huge fireman, who had opened the door, “do you
want to give me a chill?” Snatching Tatters by one hand and Urtha by the
other, he jerked them through the door and Grampa, seeing that Cinders
was about to slam it shut, sprang in quickly after them. Blazes was
about twice as tall as the men on Fire Island and his flaming face was
cruel and ugly.

“So you’re to be sent up?” he sneered, staring curiously at the
bewildered little company. “Well, you’re not worth an eruption, but
orders are orders, so up you go!”

Grampa could find no words to answer, for his eyes were glued in horror
upon the boiling lake of lava, churning about a few feet below. Thick
green smoke curled up toward them in clouds and just as he was about to
order a hasty retreat to the door the keeper of the volcano seized a
forty-foot poker and plunged it into the lake.

Next instant it had risen to the top, caught the four fire-proof
travellers in its sulphurous waves and hurled itself frothing and
bubbling to the top of the earth. Being erupted from a volcano is such a
noisy, smothering, altogether terrifying experience that Grampa and his
little army could not have told what was happening had they tried. And
had it not been for Gorba’s medicine they would have blown clear out of
the story, but, thanks to the medicine, the boiling lava did not injure
them and having hurled them from the middle of the earth and some fifty
feet higher than the earth, the liquid immediately surrounding them
began to harden and form a flying-island.

Of course Grampa and Tatters were too dizzy to know this and the first
indication they had that the eruption was over was a dreadful bounce and
a perfect shower of water. The water brought them to their senses
and—fearfully opening their eyes—they looked around. Horrors! The
volcano was in the Kingdom of Ev, on the other side of the Deadly
Desert, and had flung them clear into the Nonestic Ocean itself! This
great body of water lies far to the Northwest and mighty few Ozites have
ever reached its shores.

“Well,” coughed Grampa, rubbing his game leg vigorously, “I thought we
were goners, but I see we are survivors. Are you all right? Are you all
here?”

Urtha shook her lovely fern hair out of her eyes and, strange as it may
seem, the little flower girl had come through the eruption without
crushing a single posy.

“Fair and cooler!” wheezed Bill, hopping up on a little ridge of the
hardened lava.

“But how did we get here?” asked Tatters, rubbing his eyes.

“You’ll have to ask Blazes,” puffed Grampa, “but I must say I prefer
water to fire.” Already the spirits of the old soldier were beginning to
rise. “We may be far from home, but we’re on top again and still
moving.” Grampa took a few marching steps and waved his sword.

“And what are those?” asked Urtha, standing on tip-toe to point at the
stars. In the wizard’s garden there had been no sky. Tatters explained
as best he could and the little flower girl clasped her hands and gazed
up in delight. “They’re sky flowers,” she confided to Bill, but the
weather cock was too busy looking for the fortune to answer.

“Seems to me we’re shipwrecked,” observed Tatters gloomily. Their little
island was bobbing up and down on top of the waves and there was no land
of any kind in sight. But Grampa, who had been investigating the
contents of his knapsack, gave a little chuckle. The bread and butter
they had picked in the wizard’s garden—not being entirely fire proof—was
nicely toasted and looked so crisp and inviting that it made Grampa’s
mouth water.

“What you fussing about?” said the old soldier, winking at the Prince.
“’Tisn’t everybody can have their supper cooked in a volcano.” He
handed Tatters a great pile of the toast and after the Prince of Ragbad
had eaten a dozen slices, he began to feel more cheerful himself.

“All we need is a little sleep,” yawned the old soldier, after they had
finished off the toast, for neither Bill nor Urtha needed food. “If Bill
will keep watch, you and I had better turn in, for there’s no knowing
what may happen to-morrow.”

“I’ll keep watch,” promised Bill readily.

“Hush!” warned Grampa suddenly, for Urtha, wearied by her strange
adventures, had fallen fast asleep in the middle of counting the stars
and lay in a fragrant heap, her lovely violet eyes closed tight and all
the big and little posies that made up the wonderful little flower girl
herself were asleep too.

“If she hadn’t been a fairy,” whispered Grampa, looking down at her
affectionately, “she would have wilted long ago. We must take good care
of her, my boy, for I doubt if there’s as lovely a little lady anywhere
else in Oz.”

“She’s the only luck we’ve had,” mused Tatters, “and I wish—” The Prince
looked up at the stars and did not finish his sentence but, rolling up
the skin of the old thread bear, he made a pillow for Urtha’s head and
he and Grampa went tip-toeing to the other side of the island and
stretched themselves on the ground. The motion of the little island, as
it rode lightly over the waves, was very soothing and before long the
old soldier and the young Prince were sound asleep too, leaving only the
weather cock on guard. And Bill, in all the years he had spent on the
barn near Chicago, had never felt so important. Perched on the highest
ridge of the island, he kept a sharp look-out in all directions,
scanning the tumbling waters of the Nonestic Ocean for signs of a
fortune and a Princess and talking softly to himself in the starlight.

Grampa was having a fine dream. He was being presented at court and was
just about to shake hands with Princess Ozma herself, when he was
wakened by a ton of kitchen tins falling down a mountainside. Or that’s
what it sounded like to Grampa. Leaping to his feet, the old soldier
snatched up his gun. Tatters and Urtha were both sitting bolt upright,
rubbing their eyes.

“It’s Bill!” yawned the Prince sleepily. With an exclamation of
disgust, the old soldier threw down his gun and covered his ears. The
weather cock was indulging in his morning crow and helping the sun to
rise. Just as Grampa thought he could not stand it another minute, the
frightful clamor ceased.

“The sun has risen,” announced Bill calmly, “and there’s land ahead!”

It was a bit foggy but, crowding to the edge of the island, the little
company saw that they were being carried straight toward a land of ice
and snow. Tatters and Urtha had never seen snow before, for there is no
snow in Oz, but Grampa had read all about such things in Fumbo’s books
and, while he was explaining, the little island bumped on the snowy
shores of this strange ice-bound land.

“All off!” cried Grampa, seizing Urtha by the hand. Tatters ran back
for his umbrella and the skin of the old thread bear; then jumped after
Grampa and the flower maiden.

“Colder and colder!” predicted Bill, flying after the Prince and
settling on the branches of an ice-covered tree. But Tatters was not
thinking of the weather. With round eyes, he was studying a huge sign
that stretched between two tall hemlocks.

“The Illustrious Island of Isa Poso,” announced the sign, and in smaller
letters, “Beware of the dragon.”

“Great Gollywockers!” gasped the old soldier, reading over Tatters’
shoulder. “Can’t they give a feller a rest?”

“What’s a dragon?” asked Urtha, touching Tatters on the arm.



CHAPTER 12

The Island of Isa Poso


While Tatters was still studying the sign and explaining a dragon to
Urtha, the old soldier stepped over to another tree where an even larger
sign was displayed. This is what it said:

                                REWARD!

    One-half the kingdom and the hand of the Princess Poso
    to the slayer of the dragon Enorma.

                                _Chin Chilly the Third_,
                                         King of Isa Poso.

“Hah,” cried Grampa, with a little skip, “this is more like it!”

“Like what?” asked Tatters, blowing on his stiff fingers.

“Like olden times. In my youth,” said Grampa solemnly, “young lads
served in the armies of strange kings, slew monsters and were rewarded
with half the kingdom and the Princess’ hand. Let us immediately slay
this dragon, my boy, and win the reward. Then all that will be left for
us to do will be to find your father’s head.”

“And I’ll find the dragon,” volunteered the weather cock, rising into
the frosty air.

“What shall I do?” asked Urtha, running up to the old soldier.

“Just be your lovely little self,” smiled Grampa, “and stay where we can
see you. Why, just to look at you makes me feel like a conquering army
with banners flying.”

Urtha was so happy at Grampa’s neat little speech that she blew him a
kiss and began dancing in circles over the shimmery snow and wherever
Urtha’s foot rested the snow melted and flowers sprang up, until there
were circles of posies pricked out against the snow. Grampa and Tatters
were so interested that they almost forgot the icy wind that was blowing
over this white, frozen land. But soon the Prince, who in spite of the
skin of the thread bear was thinly clad, began to shiver and the old
soldier to shake in good earnest. First he stood on one foot and then on
the other—and longest on the other because that was his game leg and not
subject to frost bites.

“A game leg’s a mighty fortunate thing,” wheezed Grampa huskily, “but I
wish we were like Urtha—then we wouldn’t feel this pesky wind. Let’s
march on, for if we stay here we’ll freeze stiff.” Marching on an empty
stomach through a strange freezing land was not the pleasantest thing in
the world but both Grampa and Tatters stepped out bravely, the young
Prince smiling over his shoulder every few minutes at the little flower
maiden. “It’s a lucky thing we’re not being followed,” whispered Grampa,
and it certainly was—for after them, in a tell-tale row, pansies,
tulips, daffodils and forget-me-nots marked out the steps of the light
footed little flower fairy.

“I hope we track down this dragon soon,” groaned Tatters, pausing to
stamp his foot and rub the end of his nose. Icicles were forming on
Grampa’s whiskers and the sun, flashing on the snow, almost blinded the
gallant old soldier. He was almost ready to quit.

“No wonder the king calls himself Chin Chilly,” chattered Grampa
dismally. “My chin’s chilly too; I’m chilly all over. Urtha, my dear, do
you see anything that looks like a dragon?”

“I see a bright light,” called Urtha, who was dancing ahead of the
shivering adventurers.

“I feel a warm wind!” cried the Prince of Ragbad excitedly.

“The dragon! The dragon!” screamed the weathercock, appearing suddenly
over the top of a bleak, icy hill. Before Bill’s warning had died away,
the dragon itself hove into view and, with a great roar, came
tobogganing down upon the frightened little company like a scenic
railway train. Urtha jumped behind Tatters, Tatters drew his umbrella
and Grampa looked down the sights of his gun into the flaming throat of
Enorma herself. For a moment nothing happened, for the dragon, now that
she was down the hill, seemed to wait for them to make the first move.

“Don’t shoot,” begged the Prince of Ragbad imploringly. “Don’t shoot yet
Grampa, it’s the first time I’ve been warm to-day!”

Grampa’s whiskers had already thawed out and the heat from the
fire-breathing monster was so comforting that they almost forgot their
fear. The dragon, on her part, seemed more curious than angry.

“Well, I’ll be snowballed!” she snorted, wagging her head from side to
side. “How did you get here?”

“It’s a long strange story,” sighed Grampa, lowering his gun and holding
his hands toward the waves of heat that blew from the dragon’s nostrils.

“We fell, swam, sailed and exploded,” crowed Bill, flapping his wings
over the dragon’s head.

“Well, before you melt, would you mind telling me why you came at all?”
asked Enorma, with a terrific yawn.

“Melt!” exclaimed Grampa, his eyes snapping, “why, I’m just beginning
to thaw out.”

“Well, you’ll soon be entirely out of the way,” said the dragon
comfortably. “The folk hereabout melt at my mere approach.” Enorma
yawned again and began to pant a little, from her slide down the hill.

“Humph!” grunted the old soldier. At the first yawn he had made a
startling discovery—at the second he was sure he had made it. Taking out
his snuff box, the old soldier tip-toed close to the monster and flung
the entire contents in her face.

Then, “Run for your lives!” shouted Grampa, starting off at his best
pace. And it is well that they quickly obeyed this command, for the
sneezes of that dragon shook the entire island and sent the snow in
blinding flurries all around them.

“What—what’s happened?” asked the Prince of Ragbad, peering out wildly
from behind an icy cliff.

“Your fortune’s made, that’s all!” announced Grampa proudly. “More ways
than one of winning a battle.”

Stepping out, and motioning for the others to follow, the old soldier
approached the still quivering monster. Tears streamed from her eyes and
she was still sneezing broken-heartedly.

“Enorma is as false as her teeth!” puffed Grampa, and with astonishment
Tatters and Urtha saw that the dragon was perfectly toothless—having
lost her one and only set at the first pinch of Grampa’s snuff.

“Will you finish her off, or shall I?” asked the old soldier, rattling
his sword in businesslike fashion. Before Tatters could answer Enorma
gave a frightened moan and began scuttling across the snow fields like
an express train bound for Atlantic City.

“Halt! Stop! or I’ll fall on your head! Come back here at once and be
slaughtered!” screamed Bill, flying after her while the others followed
as fast as they could on foot. But in the end Enorma finished herself
for, turning to see how close Grampa and Tatters were coming, she
plunged headfirst into an icy stream and put herself out—completely and
entirely out—for a dragon can no more stand a dash of water than a
furnace, or a witch!

When Grampa and Tatters reached the edge of the stream, Enorma was
floating like a great green log on the surface, only a tiny puff of
smoke to show that she had ever been a roaring, fire-eating, sure-enough
monster.

Gentle little Urtha wept a bit but Tatters soon comforted her. Then he
and the old soldier moored Enorma fast to a tree, so that they would
have proof of their valor when they met the King of the Island. They
were all warm from the encounter with the dragon, but it soon wore off
and it wasn’t long before they began to shiver again.

“Wish we’d brought one of those house plants along,” sighed Tatters.

“Wish I could get my teeth in one of Mrs Sew-and-Sew’s ragamuffins,”
murmured Grampa, trudging gloomily over the snow.

“Bill’s found something,” called Urtha, who was dancing a few steps
ahead. Just then down came the weather cock to announce that he had
discovered the dragon’s cave. It was tunneled out of a huge, snowy hill
and at one end burned a roaring fire. Dragons, as you know, drink flame
as other creatures drink water and Enorma always kept a huge pile of
trees burning in her cavern.

“Bill, you’re a real explorer!” cried Grampa and, taking off one of his
medals, he hung it ’round the weather cock’s neck. Stacked against the
walls of the cave were great piles of frozen meat, for Enorma—in spite
of her false teeth—had been a mighty huntress. In a trice Grampa had a
bear steak sputtering on the fire on pointed sticks and nothing could
have been cozier than their breakfast.

“I told you our troubles were over,” beamed the old soldier, handing
Tatters a portion of the steak on a tin army plate. “All we have to do
now is to claim the reward, find the King’s head and journey back to
Ragbad.” Grampa grinned with satisfaction.

“But how can we do that?” asked Tatters dubiously. “There’s the ocean
and the sandy desert between.”

“Don’t worry,” advised Grampa, settling comfortably before the fire.
“This old Chin Chilly will be so delighted to have the dragon out of
the way that he’ll probably send us home in a golden ship with our
pockets full of diamonds. How will you like that, Loveliness?” Urtha was
playing hide and seek with Bill but at Grampa’s words she came over to
the fire.

“I’ll like it if Tatters does,” said the little flower fairy, smiling
shyly at the Prince of Ragbad.

“Well, I’ll like it,” admitted Tatters, “especially with _you_ along,
for we can dance on the deck and play scrum. Why, I’ve never had time to
teach you yet. Grampa, won’t you lend us your leg?”

“Not now,” objected the old soldier. “Duty before pleasure, my children.
Remember that we have not found this Chin Chilly, nor claimed the
reward. As we’re warmed up and fed we’d better start hunting again.”

“Here I go by the name of Bill,” crowed the weather cock, flinging out
of the cavern. Grampa stowed some of the dried bear meat in his knapsack
and then, forming his little company in line, gave the order to march
away.

“First we’ll have another look at the dragon,” said the old soldier,
“and then we’ll try to find the palace of Isa Poso.”

So down the snowy hill they marched and slid and they had just come to
the banks of the stream when harsh voices from the other side of a clump
of trees made them stop short.

“Flowers!” screamed the first voice. “Pull them up, tread them down!
Who dares to plant flowers on Isa Poso?”

“Foot-prints, too, Chilly dear,” grunted a deeper voice. “Here is an
animal with unmatched feet.”

Dropping on his knees, the old soldier peered around the frozen tree
trunks and saw two of the islanders bending over the tracks they had
made when they chased Enorma. They were towering men of snow, with faces
of roughly cut ice and so cruel and forbidding in appearance that just
to think of them makes me shudder. Fortunately Grampa was not so easily
frightened as I am.

“Animals indeed!” spluttered the old soldier. “Company! Forward
march!” And Grampa rushed through the trees so fast that Tatters and
Urtha had to run to keep up. So suddenly did they burst out upon the
little group of islanders that several of the snow men fell over
backwards.

“Where is the King?” shouted Grampa, giving his drum such a whack that
three more of the company collapsed. But they quickly recovered
themselves and, instead of answering, the tallest snow man flung out his
arms toward Urtha.

“Stand still!” he commanded angrily. “You’re ruining my island. Look at
the foolish creature cluttering up the place with flowers!”

Urtha shrank back toward Tatters and the young Prince, speechless with
indignation, grasped his umbrella and prepared to attack. But Grampa
restrained him and with another resounding whack of his drum strode up
to the speaker.

“Is this your island?” asked the old soldier, stamping his game foot.

“Yes, and what are you doing on it?” demanded Chin Chilly, stamping his
snow foot. “Just to look at you makes we want to melt!”

“Go ahead and melt,” advised Grampa coldly—by this time he was very
cold—“but before you do and before you give us any more of your chin
music, hand over the reward. I lay claim to half the Kingdom and the
Princess in the name of Prince Tatters of Ragbad!”

“Has he slain the dragon?” asked the King, with a gasp of surprise. His
manner changed at once and, looking as pleasant as a fellow with icicle
whiskers well can, he turned to Tatters. The Prince of Ragbad nodded
shortly, for he had not forgotten the King’s rudeness to Urtha, and
Grampa waved his sword toward the body of Enorma, still floating half in
and half out of the water. Running down to the edge of the stream, the
snow men began to hug one another and dance up and down with excitement.

“This way! This way!” chuckled Chin Chilly, rubbing his hands together
gleefully. Grampa, his head held high and his chest thrust out proudly,
followed—for Grampa felt that this was a great day in the history of
Ragbad—but Tatters was beginning to have misgivings about the Princess
of Isa Poso.



CHAPTER 13

Tatters Receives the Reward


Prince Tatters had little time to think of either the ship or the
fortune, for after a short march over the snow, Chin Chilly stepped
across a small neck of land and the little army found themselves on a
great block of ice, only connected with the island itself by the narrow
strip on which they had crossed. A messenger had already been dispatched
for the Princess and, standing first on one foot then on the other,
Tatters impatiently awaited her approach. Urtha, remembering Chin
Chilly’s distaste for flowers, kept perfectly still, holding fast to
Tatters’ coat-tails and peering anxiously in the direction the messenger
had taken.

“Just like the old days; just like the old days!” boasted Grampa,
stamping up and down to keep warm. But when, a moment later, the
Princess of Isa Poso actually appeared, the old soldier nearly fell from
under his hat. Yes, really! For the Princess was a maiden of ice and,
wrapped in her robes of snow, she stared at the Prince of Ragbad so
frigidly and with such cold and dreadful disdain that a chill ran down
his spine and icicles formed on his lashes.

“My boy,” stuttered Grampa, rushing over to his side, “I’m afraid we’ve
been a bit hasty. Let us consider this matter a little further.”

“None of that,” fumed Chin Chilly, bustling forward hastily. “None of
that. My word is my word. I insist upon keeping it.”

“We’ll take your word if you’ll keep your daughter,” began Grampa
quickly. But, advancing with mincing little steps, the icy Princess held
out her hand. Her nose was so long and sharp that it made Tatters squint
but before he could make any objection she seized his hand in her cold
clasp. At the same moment all the snow men except Chin Chilly sprang
back across the little neck of land.

“Run!” panted Grampa, tugging Tatters by the coat.

“Run!” gasped Urtha. But before Tatters could run there was a blinding
flash. Chin Chilly had raised his sword, snapped off his daughter’s hand
and, seizing her by the other one, he dragged her back across the strip
of land. Then, before a body could wink, the snow men with their sharp
axes chopped away this connecting link, leaving Grampa and his company
marooned on the desolate iceberg.

“You have my daughter’s hand, but she’s already grown another,” shouted
Chin Chilly maliciously. And so she had! The little party on the ice
could plainly see that for themselves. “You have my daughter’s hand and
_that_ is your half of the Kingdom,” shrieked the wretched old snow
King, nearly bending double at his own joke.

“Half the Kingdom and the Princess’ hand!” snorted the old soldier in a
fury. “I’ll snap off his whiskers! I’ll pound him to snow flakes!”

Gathering himself together, Grampa prepared to jump back to Isa Poso.
But Tatters, flinging the hand of the Princess as far as he could,
seized Grampa around the waist. And it is well that he did, for already
there was a great stretch of tumbling waters between the iceberg and the
island.

“He has no more honor than a swordfish!” spluttered Grampa, breaking
away from the Prince. “I’ve never been so insulted in my life!”

“Where is the golden ship?” demanded an indignant voice. “Where are the
diamonds? What have you done with the Princess?”

Dropping with a thud that sent a shower of ice splinters into the air,
the weather cock planted himself before Grampa. He had been looking all
over Isa Poso for Chin Chilly and had arrived just in time to see his
friends sailing off on the iceberg.

“Oh, Bill!” cried Urtha, giving the iron bird an impulsive hug, “I
thought you were lost!”

“Where is the golden ship? Where are the diamonds?” insisted the weather
cock, slipping out of Urtha’s embrace.

“Oh, go crack yourself some icicles,” muttered the old soldier crossly.
He did not like to be reminded of his cheerful prophecy. “Go crack
yourself some icicles, Bill, that’s all the diamonds you’ll get.”

“There isn’t any ship—nor any diamonds—nor anything!” said Tatters,
wrapping the skin of the old thread bear more tightly about him and
staring drearily over the tossing waters of the Nonestic Ocean.

“But you don’t have to marry the Princess,” Urtha reminded him softly,
“and even if this isn’t a golden ship couldn’t we dance and be happy?”

“Well, if we don’t dance, we’ll freeze,” fumed Grampa, beginning to
stamp up and down. “We’ll freeze anyway,” he predicted gloomily. “Look
pleasant, my boy. We might as well freeze as attractively as possible.
They’ll carve us a monument on a block of ice, no doubt: ‘Frozen in the
line of duty!’”

Tatters coughed plaintively and began to tramp sadly up and down after
Grampa.

“Don’t freeze,” begged the little flower fairy, clasping her hands in
distress and keeping step with the down-hearted adventurers. “Why,
where’s that funny bottle?” she asked suddenly.

“The medicine! What have you done with the wizard’s medicine?” crowed
the weather cock, flapping his wings. Now so much had happened to the
old soldier since the eruption that he had entirely forgotten Gorba’s
cure for everything. But at Urtha’s words he snatched it out and, there,
listed under colds, chills, frost bites and exposure, Grampa found a
remedy for their troubles.

“You’ve saved our lives, my dear,” sighed the old soldier, measuring out
four drops for Tatters on a spoonful of snow. And everything was better
after that, for as soon as Grampa and the Prince swallowed the marvelous
mixture they began to tingle with warmth and even an iceberg could not
long be cheerless with a little fairy like Urtha aboard. Everywhere she
stepped gay posies blossomed and soon there were circles and circles of
them bobbing in the bright sunshine. Urtha and Bill did not feel the
cold, and as Grampa and Tatters were now frost proof, their whole
outlook changed. The huge iceberg was sliding along through the choppy
waves at high speed and the sensation was not only pleasant but highly
exhilarating.

“Which way are we going?” asked the old soldier, sitting down recklessly
on a cake of ice.

“East,” announced the weather cock, after twirling around three times
like a top.

“That’s good,” sighed Grampa, “for East of us lies Oz and the nearer we
come to Oz, the farther we get from Isa Poso.”

“I never want to see it again! And if that is a sample of your
Princesses, I’ll be like you, Grampa, and never marry,” said the Prince,
taking a seat beside the old soldier. “I think, myself, that if we can
find my father’s head, we’d better just go home anyway. We could work
hard in the gingham gardens, raise bigger crops and—”

“And I’ll help you,” smiled Urtha, drifting about over the ice like an
old-fashioned bouquet and filling the frosty air with a lovely
fragrance.

“But the fortune,” objected Bill, staring at the Prince in horror. “We
have to find the fortune.”

“That’s right,” agreed the old soldier, remembering Mrs Sew-and-Sew’s
words about refurnishing the castle. “We mustn’t give up yet, just
because we’ve bumped into some odd and chilly places. Just wait—there
are lots of Princesses in Oz, and fortunes too!”

“Well I prefer fairies,” sighed Tatters, with a smile at Urtha.

“Look!” cried the little flower girl delightedly. “Let’s pretend this
is a silver ship and there—” as a spray of crystal drops dashed over the
side of the iceberg—“there are the diamonds! Let’s dance!” She looked
so coaxing and so cunning that Tatters sprang up impulsively and the two
went skipping, sliding and twirling all over the ice until they were
dancing on a perfect carpet of flowers.

“Teach her the Ragbad quadrille,” called Grampa. “If we’re going back
with a fortune, there’ll be high old times in the red castle and Urtha
will want to know the dances the same as the other girls. Wait, I’ll
play it for you.”

Seizing his drum sticks, the old soldier broke into the spirited
measures of the Ragbad quadrille and soon Tatters and Urtha were bowing
and gliding, turning three times to the left and four to the right,
pretending to change partners with a dozen imaginary courtiers—all
troubles and dangers forgotten.

“This reminds me of old times,” said Grampa, stopping at last from lack
of breath. “And you’ll never be a wall-flower, my dear!” chuckled the
old soldier, wagging his finger at the little fairy.

“Let’s play scrum,” proposed Tatters, who was perfectly breathless too.

“Oh let’s!” cried Urtha. So Grampa obligingly unfastened his game leg,
and the Prince and little flower girl were soon deep in the mysteries of
the queer old game of scrum, Bill keeping score on the ice and the old
soldier, with half closed eyes, thinking of the good old days when he
was a lad and a hero to all the pretty girls in Ragbad.

“First peaceful moment we’ve had since we left the old country,” mused
Grampa and, reaching down, he picked up his pipe and tobacco. Tatters
had removed them from the game leg before they started to play. Absently
Grampa filled his pipe from one of the pouches—the blue pouch he had
taken from Vaga, the bandit. All this time it had lain forgotten in
Grampa’s game leg. Without realizing that he had used the robber’s
tobacco, Grampa felt for a match. At the same moment Urtha and Tatters
finished their fifth game of scrum and, closing up the game leg, they
buckled it back in place.

“Now tell me all about Ragbad,” begged Urtha, leaning against Grampa’s
knee. This Tatters was only too delighted to do, for the young Prince
was heartily homesick and, as he could not be in Ragbad, talking about
it was the next best thing. So he told little Urtha all about his
pigeons and the Redsmith and Pudge’s tower—where you could see clear out
into Jinxland—and of the fun he and Grampa had in the old castle and of
Mrs Sew-and-Sew’s garden. The old soldier nodded from time to time and
at last, taking up his pipe, he began to smoke. I say began, for at the
third puff a simply astonishing thing happened. Bill vanished instanter
[and you know how quick that is]. Tatters turned to a great black
crow, Urtha to a crow of vari-colored feathers, and Grampa, himself, to
an old crow with a game leg.

“Help!” cawed the old soldier, dropping the pipe from his bill and
beginning to hop wildly over the ice.

“Daisies and dahlias, I can fly!” twittered Urtha, circling aloft.
“Come on Tatters and try it!”

“He’s a crow!” shrieked Grampa. “I’m a crow, you’re a crow! What’s
happened and where’s Bill?”

“Here I am,” screamed a frightened voice. But though they stared and
stared they could see nothing at all—for Bill had turned to a cock’s
crow, which of course can only be heard and not seen.

“Poor Bill, there’s nothing left but his crow,” cawed Grampa.

“It’s magic,” gasped Tatters.

“It’s that pesky wizard,” added the old soldier, stamping his game foot
and ruffling up all his feathers, for Grampa did not realize he’d smoked
Yaga’s tobacco.

“But now that we’re crows why not fly?” asked Urtha merrily. She did not
seem to mind her feathers at all. “Let’s fly back to Oz!”

“Why, so we can!” cried Tatters. “All the way over the Nonestic Ocean
and sandy desert, straight to the Emerald City itself. Someone’s helping
us, Grampa,” finished the Prince of Ragbad, fluttering into the air.

“Wish they’d mind their own business,” croaked Grampa crossly. “Being a
crow is no help to me. But come on. We might as well fly while we can.
Bill, you lead the way and see that you keep us pointed East and crow
every few minutes, will you, so we can hear where you are.”

“All right,” agreed the weather cock readily, and they could tell from
the flutter of his iron wings that the puzzled bird had gotten under
way.

“Here I go by the name of Bill!” he crowed loudly. “Invisi-Bill!”
chortled the old soldier, rising into the air. “Come on crows!”

Tatters quickly followed Grampa and after Tatters flew Urtha, higher and
higher and higher, until the iceberg became only a tiny speck, bobbing
up and down in the blue waters of the Nonestic Ocean.

For a time the adventurers flew in silence, each one pondering the
strange events that had crowded upon them in the past few hours.
“Invisi-Bill” continued to lead the way, Grampa, Prince Tatters and
Urtha winging after him.



CHAPTER 14

On Monday Mountain


“Good sleep, how did you enjoy your morning?” asked Percy Vere brightly.

“Pretty well,” smiled Dorothy, sitting up with a little yawn. “How did
you enjoy your sleep?”

“There was a rock in my bed,” said the Forgetful Poet thoughtfully, “and
then I got trying to think of a word to rhyme with schnetzel.”

“How about pretzel?” suggested Dorothy, smiling a little to herself at
the Forgetful Poet’s earnestness.

“And what is a schnetzel?” Dorothy smiled sweetly.

“It’s a green mocking bird,” explained Percy Vere, tossing back his
hair, “and it does live on pretzels. My dear, you have a wonderful
mind.”

“Woof!” interrupted Toto. He had been up for hours and wanted his
breakfast. The three travellers had been forced to spend the night in
the deep forest to which the runaway had brought them. The Forgetful
Poet had piled up a soft couch of boughs and leaves for Dorothy and
Toto, but had flung himself carelessly under a tree. However, it took
more than a hard bed to dash Percy’s spirits and, after running up and
down a few paces to get the stiffness out of his bones, he began to sing
at the top of his voice, filling in the words he forgot with such
comical made-up ones that Dorothy could not help laughing.

“I think we are going to have a lucky day, Mr Vere,” said the little
girl, hopping up merrily. “Don’t you?”

Percy, who was washing his face in a near-by brook, nodded so vigorously
that the water splashed in every direction.

“I should say!—April, May!” he called gaily.

“Why do you put in April May?” asked Dorothy, running over to splash her
own hands in the brook.

“To keep in practice,” puffed the Forgetful Poet. “Is that
plain—aeroplane? Is that clear—summer’s here? I’m always afraid I
shall run out of rhymes,” confided Percy, drying his face on his yellow
silk handkerchief. “So when I’m talking in prose, I usually add a line
under my breath.”

“Oh!” said Dorothy, and lowered her head so that the Forgetful Poet
would not see her smile. “You’ll like Scraps,” observed Dorothy
presently. “She’s a poet too.” And as they walked through the fragrant
forest, Dorothy told him all about the Patch Work Girl, who lives in the
Emerald City. Scraps, as most of you know, is one of the most famous
characters in Oz, being entirely made from a patch work quilt and
magically brought to life.

“Does she make better verses than I do?” asked Percy jealously.

“No,” answered Dorothy, shaking her head, “not any better, and yours are
such fun to finish.” This speech so tickled Percy Vere that he recited a
verse upon the spot, waving his arms so ferociously that Toto hid under
a rock. The little dog peered out from his hiding place to hear the
strange young poet deliver this jingle—which his little doggie head
could not comprehend in the slightest:

    “As I came out of Snoozleburg,
      I met a melon collie;
    He wept because he said he felt
      So terribly unjolly!

    “I patted him upon the head;
      He bit me on the shin—
    Which goes to show just what
      A horrid temper he was—was—”

“In,” giggled Dorothy, “and did he really?”

“No, unreally,” chuckled the Forgetful Poet, leaning down to give Toto’s
ear an affectionate little tweak. “Unreally! Unreally! Unreally! As
unreally as the breakfast we had this morning. Dorothy, my dear, I’m as
weak as tea!”

“Well, you don’t look it,” laughed the little girl mischievously. “But I
see a hut between those two pines. Perhaps someone lives there.”

    “Tut tut! A hut;
      Let’s hasten to it!
    If the door is shut
      I’ll jump right—?”

“All right!” said Dorothy merrily. “C’mon!”

The door was shut but when the Forgetful Poet turned the knob it opened
easily and they found themselves in a small, simply furnished cabin.
There was no one home, but there were eggs, coffee, bacon and bread in
the cupboard, so Percy made a fire in the little stove and Dorothy
quickly prepared an appetizing breakfast.

“It must belong to a woodcutter,” said Dorothy as they sat down cozily
together, “and I don’t believe he’ll mind.”

“I’ll leave a poem to pay for it,” said Percy loftily.

“And I’ll leave my ring,” added Dorothy. She was a little afraid the
woodcutter might not appreciate Percy’s poem.

While Dorothy washed up the dishes Percy scribbled away busily on some
sheets of paper he had found on the table and, after a good many
corrections, he pinned the following verse up on the wall:

    “We’ve eaten up a little bacon
    And eggs and such and now are takin’
    Our leave. Accept our thanks, and you
    Should feel a little honored to
    Have entertained with humble fare
    A really celebrated pair—
    A Princess and a Poet, who
    Wish you good-luck, good-day, a—”

Dorothy took the pencil and added a large dieu to Percy’s last line.
Then, leaving her gold ring on the table, she skipped after the
Forgetful Poet and Toto, who were already out of doors and anxious to be
off.

“Which way shall we go?” Dorothy paused a moment. “I think the Emerald
City is in this direction,” she decided at last, facing toward the West.

“Well, I hope so,” sighed Percy Vere, “for otherwise we shall never find
the Princess. I wish I’d flung that prophet out of the window—so I do!”
You see the young poet was getting very much discouraged.

“But even if you had, there still would be the monster to think about,”
Dorothy reminded him. “And if she’s lost from us, she’s lost from the
monster, too!”

“That’s so,” said the Forgetful Poet, cheering up immediately. “You
think of everything, don’t you. I’m going to write a book of verse about
you when I get back to Perhaps City.”

“That’ll be nice,” smiled Dorothy. “But let’s hurry up and see how far
we can be by noon-time.” And hurry up it certainly was, for the path
Dorothy had chosen grew steeper and steeper. It wound in and out among
the trees and was so rough and full of stones that they had to stop
every once in a while to rest.

“It’s a mountain—go fountain!” panted Percy Vere, after they had toiled
steadily upward for more than an hour.

“Never mind,” puffed Dorothy, tucking Toto under her arm—for the poor
bow-wow was completely worn out—“when we reach the top we’ll know where
we are.”

The trees had thinned out by this time and clouds of vapor hid the top
of the mountain from view, but Dorothy and the Forgetful Poet kept
climbing upward—on and on and up.

“It’s a dreadful blue mountain,” said Dorothy at last, leaning against a
rock.

“It’s blue as blueing,” groaned Percy Vere, shaking a stone out of his
shoe. “What’s this?”

“What’s that?” cried Dorothy, in the same breath. Now this—as it
happened—was a clothes horse, full of petticoats and pajamas—and as the
two travellers stared at it in disbelief it kicked up its pegs and
dashed off at a gallop, its petticoats and pajamas snapping in the
breeze. And that was a wash woman—a wild, wild wash woman, her hair
dragged up on top of her head and held in place by a couple of clothes
pins. She had a clothes prop in one hand and a cake of soap in the
other. Hurling both with all her might at Percy Vere, she turned and
scrambled up the mountain, screaming in a dozen different keys as she
scrambled. The clothes prop missed, but the great cake of soap caught
Percy squarely in the stomach.

“Ugh!” grunted the Forgetful Poet, sitting down from the shock:

    “How rude, how rough, how awfully wasteful—
    The lady’s manners are dis—dis—?”

“Gusting,” panted Dorothy—who was too frightened to make a rhyme.

“Can you fight?” she asked breathlessly, helping Percy to his feet. “I
think there’s going to be a fight. Look!”

Percy snatched up the cake of soap that had felled him and turned to see
what was coming. Through the clouds of steam that hung over the mountain
top there suddenly burst a terrible company.

Toto hid his head in Dorothy’s blouse and the Forgetful Poet could think
of no verse to express his feelings. No wonder! A charge of wild wash
women is enough to frighten the bravest traveller and that is exactly
what was coming. An army of wash women armed with long bars of soap,
bottles of blueing, clothes props, wash boards, tubs and baskets. They
were huge and fat, with rolled-up sleeves and cross, red faces, and the
faster they ran the crosser they grew, and the crosser they grew the
faster they ran.

“Doesn’t seem polite to fight the ladies, but—” Percy raised his arm and
flung the cake with all his might at the head of the advancing army. It
struck her smartly on the nose and, with a howl of rage, she dropped her
wash tub and rushed upon the two helpless adventurers.

“Wash their faces! Iron their hands and wring their necks!” she roared
hoarsely.

“What are you doing here you—you—scutter-mullions!”

Before either could answer, and Percy was racking his brains to think of
a word to rhyme with scutter-mullions, she had Dorothy by one arm and
the Forgetful Poet by the other, shaking them until they couldn’t have
spoken had they tried—while the others pressed so close (as Dorothy told
Ozma afterwards) it’s a wonder they weren’t smothered on the spot. But
at last, weary of shaking them, the wild wash woman flung them down upon
a rock.

“You’re a disgrace to our mountain!” she panted angrily. “Look at your
clothes!” (To be quite truthful Dorothy and the Forgetful Poet were
looking shabby and dusty in the extreme.)

“Give me his coat! Give me her dress! Snatch off their socks!”
screamed the other wash women, making little snatches at the two on the
rock.

Percy put his arms protectingly around Dorothy and Toto showed all his
teeth and began to growl so terribly that even the head of the wash
women stepped back.

“What are you doing on Monday Mountain?” she demanded indignantly.

“Monday Mountain?” gasped Percy Vere. “Did you hear that, Dorothy? We’re
on Monday Mountain! Great blueing, black and blueing!” finished Percy,
with a groan.

“Stop mumbling and speak up!” shouted the wash woman threateningly.

“Stop shouting and shut up!” barked Toto unexpectedly.

“We’re searching for a Princess,” explained Dorothy, in the surprised
silence that followed Toto’s remark.

“A Princess! Oh, mother!”

Out from the dreadful group sprang a perfectly enormous wash girl.

“Tell them, tell them!” She gave the leader of the tribe a playful
push. “Oh, mother, may I have him?”

“My daughter is a Princess,” announced the wash woman grandly, “Princess
of the Tubbies, and as this yellow bird pleases her he may remain.”

“And marry me?” exulted the Princess of Monday Mountain, clasping her
fat hands in glee.

“Marry you!” shouted Percy Vere, springing to his feet. “Never!
Absolutely no—domi-no! Dorothy. Dorothy, do you hear what they are
saying?”

Dorothy did not, for she had both hands over her ears. The shouts and
screams of the Tubbies, at Percy’s refusal to marry their Princess, were
so shrill and piercing that she thought her head would split with the
racket.

“To the wash tubs with them!” screamed the Queen furiously. “Wash their
faces, wring their necks, hang them up to dry!”

And, seizing upon the luckless pair, the wild wash women bore them
struggling and kicking to the top of Monday Mountain—Toto dashing
after—and the herds of clothes horses that graze on the mountain side
scattering in every direction as they passed.



CHAPTER 15

The Finding of Fumbo’s Head!


For an hour the three crows and Invisi-Bill flew steadily over the
Nonestic Ocean, and flying was so unusual and pleasant a sensation that
they were too interested to talk. Besides, Grampa had warned them in the
beginning to keep all their strength for flying, for there was no
telling how long they would remain crows and it would be extremely
dangerous to change back while up in the air and over the ocean. So,
except for the occasional calls of Bill to let them know which way to
go, they crossed the great ocean in silence.

“Land!” screamed the weather cock, as the rocky shores of Ev came into
view.

“Well, that’s over!” cawed Grampa, alighting thankfully on a rough
cliff. “Now we must cross this country and the sandy desert. Anybody
tired?”

Urtha and Tatters shook their heads and no one could see what Bill did,
so after a few minutes’ rest they rose into the air again and flew
swiftly over Ev—on and on until they reached the great desert that
entirely surrounds the magic Kingdom of Oz.

“Fly higher!” commanded the old soldier, for he had read so much of the
deadly nature of this desert that he wanted to be as far above it as
possible. So the little flock of crows and Invisi-Bill soared high into
the air and they crossed the desert even faster than they had crossed
the Nonestic Ocean, fear lending speed to their wings. And when at last
the lovely land of the Winkies spread out below them, the old soldier
gave a crow of delight. “Just keep on this way and we’ll be in the
Emerald City by noon time!” exulted Grampa. “Forward for Ragbad and
Oz!”

“And flying is such fun,” chuckled Urtha, circling close to the old
soldier. “I don’t care how long I am a crow. But, oh Mr Grampa, there’s
a gun sticking through your feathers.”

“What?” croaked the old soldier in alarm.

“I feel heavy,” spluttered Tatters suddenly, and Grampa saw that from
the waist down he was Tatters and from the waist up he still was crow.

“Down! Everybody down! Down as fast as you can fly,” ordered the old
soldier in a panic. He himself could feel his feathers turning to
clothes and his wings seemed too light to hold up his body. Half flying
and half falling, half people and half crows, the little company shot
downward, and it is mighty lucky they started down when they did. As it
was, they turned back to themselves and landed at one and the same
minute, and the landing was so hard that, for a moment, no one spoke at
all. The old soldier broke the silence.

“Why, there’s Bill,” cried Grampa, who was sitting calmly in the middle
of a yellow rose bush. He had grown somewhat used to falling about by
this time. “How do you feel, Bill?” asked the old soldier, extracting
several thorns from his person.

“How do I look?” asked the weather cock anxiously.

“Handsome as ever,” said Grampa, eying him closely. “Being invisible
hasn’t hurt you at all, and how are the rest of my old cronies?”

“I’m all right,” smiled Urtha, jumping up lightly. The little flower
maiden was looking as beautiful as ever.

“So am I,” said Tatters, “but I’d like to know how we happened to turn
crow, and whether it’s going to happen often. You know, Grampa, it would
be mighty inconvenient to be turning backwards and forwards any minute.
I am sure it would be very unpleasant.”

“Well, it helped us over a couple of bad places,” mused the old soldier.
“The mischief, boys! I’ve lost my pipe!” Grampa clapped one hand to
his pocket and the other to his chin.

“You dropped it when you were a crow,” Tatters reminded him. Grampa did
not answer, for out of his pocket he had drawn the blue tobacco pouch of
Vaga, the bandit. In the excitement following Bill’s disappearance all
the tobacco had spilled out, but the pouch Grampa had thrust into his
pocket just before he turned crow. Here, at any rate, it was, and on the
flap this amazing sentence: “To turn people to crows, smoke this
tobacco. One puff will keep a company of captives crows for one hour,
two puffs, two hours, three puffs for three hours, and so on.”

“So that’s the reason there were so many crows in the blue forest!”
shouted Grampa indignantly. “So that’s why we turned to crows. It’s
three hours to the minute,” he puffed, pulling out his watch.

“What _are_ you talking about?” asked Tatters crossly.

“Us,” chuckled Grampa. “It was the bandit’s tobacco that did the trick.”
Showing them the blue pouch, he explained how he had smoked the magic
tobacco instead of his own and how just three puffs had kept them crows
for three hours. “A couple more puffs and we’d have been all the way to
the Emerald City,” sighed the old soldier regretfully. “How-some-ever,
marching is more to my taste.”

“What about eating? That’s more to mine.” Tatters yawned—for flying had
made him quite hungry.

“All right,” agreed Grampa, and, unfastening his knapsack, he took out
one of the dried bear steaks and busied himself with making a fire.
Fortunately they had lost none of their possessions by turning to
crows—that is nothing except Grampa’s pipe.

“I love this country,” said Urtha, sitting solemnly beside the old
soldier. “I believe I like Oz better than the wizard’s garden.”

“It’s the top of the world,” boasted Grampa, dropping the steak into his
campaign frying pan. Tatters, meanwhile, had found a pink plum tree and
came back with his cap full of plums, so that he and Grampa had a most
satisfying luncheon. Bill, as usual, was searching for the fortune and,
while they were eating, Urtha merrily skipped rope with a long spray of
honeysuckle.

“Cheer up, boy,” said the old soldier, for the Prince was looking rather
thoughtful. “We’re on the right track now and only a day’s march from
the capitol.”

“Storm coming! Storm coming!” shrilled the weather cock, dropping down
suddenly beside the fire. “Wind! Thunder and possible showers!”

“Oh, g’wan!” scoffed Grampa, gathering up his tin camp dishes. “You
g’wan, Bill.”

“I don’t want to go on,” said the weather cock stubbornly. “There’s a
storm coming, I tell you.” And sure enough, at that minute, a great
gust of wind scattered the camp fire, blew off Grampa’s hat and sent a
cloud of leaves scurrying over the meadows. Tatters reached for his red
umbrella, which was never far from his side and Urtha, her flowery
skirts flying out like ribbons on a May pole, came hurrying back.

“I’ve thought of something!” screamed Bill. He had to scream to make
himself heard, for the wind had risen to a perfect gale. “If the King’s
head was lost in a storm, why wouldn’t it be found in a storm!”

“Snuff and nonsense!” shouted the old soldier, picking up his hat and
jamming it over his ears. Then, as the first spatter of rain came
pelting down, he dashed under the big red umbrella. Tatters had all he
could do to hold it steady and several times the wind nearly jerked him
into the air. So Grampa seized the handle with both hands and Urtha,
also, took hold.

But it was no use. The gale was too much for them and before they had
time to let go, the red umbrella whirled up like a balloon, carrying
them all along.

“Here I come by the name of Bill!” shrieked the weather cock and,
flinging himself aloft, he scrambled on top of the King’s umbrella. But
even Bill’s weight could not bring it down.

“Why this,” laughed the little flower fairy, as the umbrella soared up
toward the clouds, “this is better than flying!”

“Better hold on,” advised Grampa grimly, “there’s nothing between us and
earth, but air.” The wind rose higher and higher, the rain swirled all
around them and tossed them about like rag dolls. The three clung
desperately to the umbrella but in ten minutes they had risen above the
storm area and were sailing straight toward a great patch of pink
skyland. About halfway over, the umbrella drifted slowly downward and
Grampa and Tatters, rather uncertainly, stood up in the pink clouds.

“Will we drop through?” asked the Prince doubtfully, still keeping hold
of the umbrella. After a few steps they found it quite as secure as the
real earth.

“How soft it feels,” murmured Urtha and, letting go of the umbrella, she
began skipping over the fluffy cloud meadows, posies springing up
wherever she stepped, just as they had on Isa Poso. And so fresh and
beautiful did the little flower girl appear against the pink of the
clouds that Grampa and Tatters simply gasped and a little sky
shepherdess, who had been resting on a cloud bank, picked up her crook
and came running over to touch Urtha.

“Are you a fairy?” asked the little shepherdess breathlessly.

“Are you a Princess?” demanded Bill, fluttering down in front of the
little sky lady before Urtha had time to speak at all. Bill never
allowed anything to interfere with business.

“Oh, no!” The cunning little lady swung her moon bonnet and fluffed out
her skirts, which were all embroidered with stars. “Oh, no, I’m only a
shepherdess!” she answered modestly.

“Well, we’re looking for a head, a Princess and a fortune,” rasped Bill
impatiently.

“What do you shepherd?” asked the old soldier, pushing Bill hurriedly
aside. “I didn’t know there were any sheep in the sky.”

“Not sheep,” cried the little maiden, throwing back her head and
laughing heartily, “not sheep, but stars! I tend all the baby stars and
keep them from falling out of the Milky Way,” she finished, smiling
shyly at Tatters.

“You do,” marvelled the Prince of Ragbad, “well, where are they now and
what do you call yourself?”

“I never call myself, but the stars call me Maribella,” answered the
little shepherdess, with a demure bow. “They’re asleep now. Are you
_really_ looking for a Princess?”

Tatters nodded and Urtha, slipping her arms around Maribella’s waist,
kissed her on both cheeks.

“I wish you were the Princess,” sighed Urtha, stepping back to look
wistfully at the little sky maiden.

“Why?” asked Maribella curiously.

“Because you’re the only one we’ve seen who is lovely enough to marry
the Prince,” said Urtha. Tatters looked mightily embarrassed at Urtha’s
speech and Grampa, drawing Maribella aside told her the whole story of
their adventures.

“Well,” mused the little sky maiden as he finished, “there aren’t any
Princesses or fortunes in the sky, but there are lots of heads here in
the clouds.”

“There are!” roared Grampa in astonishment. Maribella nodded.

“Didn’t you know many earth people have their heads in the clouds?” she
asked seriously. “Why there’s a whole company of them on the other side
of this very hill.”

“Forward, march!” cried the old soldier excitedly. “Urtha, Tatters,
Bill, fall in with you!” So fall in they did, and Maribella was right,
for on the other side of the cloud hill were nearly a hundred heads,
resting lightly on the pink clouds. Some were smoking, some stared
straight ahead and others were carrying on a lively conversation between
themselves.

“Father!” screamed the Prince of Ragbad, for King Fumbo’s head was
almost the first they spied. Fumbo was talking quietly to the head of an
inventor of market baskets with legs and he turned in some surprise at
Tatters’ call.

“The head! The head! We have found the head!” crowed Bill exultantly,
and burst into such a hurrah of cock-a-doodle-doos that several of the
smokers dropped their pipes and King Fumbo looked positively frightened.

“Your Majesty,” said Grampa reproachfully, as Bill finally subsided,
“how could you leave us like this? We’ve been through earth, air, fire
and water to find you.”

“Well, I guess the jig’s up,” sighed Fumbo sorrowfully, “but it’s been a
great treat, Grampa, getting off like this. How’s everybody?”

“Everybody was well enough when I left,” said Grampa a bit stiffly, for
he couldn’t help feeling that Fumbo could have got home if he had wanted
to. “Everybody’s well enough, except your own body and that looks mighty
silly with the doughnut they have given it.”

“So they gave me a dough head! Well, won’t that do?” asked the King
fretfully of the old soldier.

“Oh, father, please come back,” begged Tatters, falling on his knees
before the King’s head.

“You must certainly resume your body,” declared the old soldier sternly.
“How did you get up here in the first place?”

“It was the storm,” began Fumbo, rolling his eyes from one to the other.
“My head never was on very tight, you know.”

Grampa nodded dryly. “So it blew off,” continued the King calmly, “and
then I had on a wing collar,” Fumbo coughed apologetically, “and the
thing flew right well, so I flew till I came to this cloud and here I’ve
been ever since. I suppose I must go back if you say so, but it’s a poor
business, old fellow. How are you going to get down from here? How did
you get up? Who is this little Miss Rosy Posy and that iron billed bird
you have with you?”

“This is Urtha,” explained Tatters proudly. “We found her in an
enchanted garden. And that’s Bill. We found him in the blue forest
and—oh, father, we’ve had such strange adventures.”

“Tell me all!” sighed Fumbo, closing his eyes and smacking his lips
with anticipation.

“Not unless you come back with us,” said Grampa craftily.

“We were in an island of fire,” began Tatters, while Urtha, who was
pressed close at his side, nodded excitedly.

“What!” exclaimed Fumbo, opening his eyes as far as they would go.
“I’ll come!” he decided hastily, “and you must tell me every single
bit of the story.”

Grampa smiled slyly, Tatters promised and before he could change his
mind, the old soldier thrust the King’s head into the pink bag Maribella
had used for her knitting. Then, accompanied by the little sky
shepherdess, Grampa and his army prepared to leave the sky. The other
heads looked very sulky as they passed by but, paying no attention to
their mutterings, Grampa marched to the edge of the great pink cloud.

“Now what?” mused the old soldier, staring down anxiously. “Are there
any steps or air ships about, my dear?”

Maribella shook her head. “But there’s a rainbow,” she cried suddenly.
“Could you use that?” Arching from the edge of the cloud and down as
far as they could see, curved a wide glittering rainbow—for the storm
was over and the sun was shining through the clouds. Dancing down the
rainbow came a fairy almost as lovely as Urtha herself. It was
Polychrome, the Rain King’s daughter, and when Maribella explained that
Grampa and his company were from Oz, she insisted upon kissing them
all—for Polychrome had visited in Oz many times and had met with some
fine adventures there.

“Come on,” cried Polychrome gaily, “I’ll show you how to travel on a
rainbow.” Seizing Urtha by the hand, she began running down the bow as
you and I would run down steps. Calling good-bye to Maribella, Grampa
and Tatters quickly followed, the Prince carrying his father’s head and
the red umbrella and Grampa balancing Bill upon his shoulder.

“Now all we have to find is the Princess and the fortune, and a couple
of new pipes,” sighed Grampa.

“Ah, let’s go home without them,” begged Tatters eagerly. “I want to
show Urtha the castle and the pigeons. We don’t need a fortune to be
happy, Grampa.”

“Now don’t give up yet,” advised Grampa, turning to wag his finger at
the Prince. “There’s always a fortune at the end of the rainbow. Look!
I believe we’re coming down in the Winkie country, and when we do,”
Grampa pulled his whiskers determinedly, “I’m going to get myself an
anchor. I’m tired of this flying and falling about.”

“Use me,” crowed Bill, but as he spoke the bow grew suddenly so very
slant that instead of running they began to slide—faster and faster and
faster.

“Good-bye,” called Polychrome mischievously. “I’d come with you, but
it’s my Daddy’s birthday and we’re having a party in the sky.”

Just as Polly came to “party,” Grampa and his army came to the end of
the rainbow and tumbled off in fine style. None of them was hurt in the
tumble, and all scrambled to their feet as quickly as they could.

“Good-bye, Polychrome,” called Urtha. She was the only one who had
breath enough to speak.

“Good gracious,” puffed the old soldier, “I hope we’ve not broken your
father’s head.”

“Well, if it’s not broken it’s badly cracked,” raged the King stuffily,
from the inside of the bag. “If you’re going to fling me about like this
I’ll not sticking with you, do you hear?”

The adventurers smiled and silently put their fingers to their lips, and
King Fumbo decided that further protest was useless.



CHAPTER 16

Princess Dorothy Escapes


The two days that Grampa and his little army had been adventuring in the
wizard’s garden, on Fire Island and Isa Poso, Dorothy, Toto and the
Forgetful Poet had spent as prisoners on Monday Mountain. Only the
friendship of Princess Pearl Borax had saved them from actual harm, for
the Queen of the Tubbies had nearly carried out her threat of wringing
their necks. But the Queen finally had sentenced them to the wash tubs,
and from morning till night Dorothy and Percy Vere had been forced to
bend over the wash boards with the rest of the wild wash women tribe.

Several times during the first day Percy Vere had almost agreed to marry
the dreadful daughter of the old wash woman, for he could not bear to
see dear little Dorothy working like a slave. The Forgetful Poet himself
had never done any hard work, and in an hour he had rubbed all the skin
from his knuckles and all the buttons from the clothes. But Dorothy
would not hear of his marrying Pearl Borax, so, hiding his own
discomfort, Percy did the best he could to keep her cheerful, reciting
his ridiculous rhymes and waving the shirts, stockings and pantaloons
around his head whenever the Queen’s back was turned. Even so, keeping
cheerful was hard work and often both grew downhearted.

“And Ozma thinks I’m having a fine visit with the Tin Woodman,” sighed
Dorothy wearily, toward the end of the second day.

“And Peer Haps thinks I’m rescuing his daughter,” groaned Percy Vere,
letting the Queen’s red table cloth slip back into his tub and staring
mournfully down Monday Mountain. Then seeing that Dorothy was actually
near to tears, he tilted his cap over one eye and whispered this verse
into her right ear:

    “It’s wash, splosh, rub
      And hang ’em up for dryin’,
    If sumpin doesn’t happen soon
      I’ll simply bust out—?”

“Cryin’!” Dorothy smiled and dashed the tears out of her eyes. “Here
comes the old lady!” she finished hurriedly.

“Isn’t she simply sinoobious,” sniffed Percy, dousing the red table
cloth up and down in the water.

“What did you say?” roared the Queen of the Tubbies.

“I said,” grinned Percy mischievously:

    “Her Highness is so beautiful
      Her brightness dims the eye,
    I’ll work here and be dutiful
      Until the day I, I—?”

“Die!” spluttered Dorothy, and the clumsy Queen lumbered on with a
pleased smirk.

“Better make up your mind to marry Pearl,” she called over her shoulder
and Pearl Borax blew Percy a wet kiss over her tub of clothes. Toto, who
was tied to Dorothy’s tub, growled fiercely—for he loathed the whole
tribe of sloppy, messy wash women.

“We must think of a way out,” gasped the poor poet unhappily, for life
on Monday Mountain, where every day is wash-day, and every dinner is of
potatoes and cabbage, was not to be endured. They had been over the
matter a hundred times before and there really seemed no chance of
escape at all. The tubs of the tribe were ranged in a circle around the
mountain top, so that Dorothy and the Forgetful Poet were always under
guard. A white fence ran around the mountain, a few feet below. You may
have heard of a fence running around before, but this was the first
fence Dorothy ever had seen that actually did run. It was tall and
spiked and flashed ’round and ’round, till just watching it gave one the
headache. It was too high to jump and the gate only came opposite
Dorothy and the Forgetful Poet once a day.

When they had been dragged up the mountain, the Queen had addressed a
low word to the fence. Immediately it had stopped and they had all come
through the gate. But what _was_ the word? Ever since his capture Percy
Vere had been trying to puzzle it out and now, leaning his elbows on his
wash board, he began trying again. Indeed he thought until he had twelve
wrinkles in his forehead and all at once, like a flash of lightning, it
came to him—such a short, sensible word that he gave a triumphant skip.
Next instant he was splashing the clothes in his tub so vigorously that
none of the wild wash women heard him give Dorothy a few quick
instructions. In five minutes the gate would be opposite and one minute
before the five were up, the three prisoners dashed down the mountain.

“Stop!” shouted Percy Vere, imperiously hammering upon the fence with a
rock. Oh, joy! It did stop and, as the gate was now exactly in front of
them, Percy Vere opened it boldly and pulled Dorothy and Toto though. No
sooner were they out than the fence began to spin around as fast as
ever, so that before the wild wash women, who saw them escape, could
follow the gate was half way around the mountain. With howls of rage and
fright—for the Tubbies knew that the Queen would be furious—the dreadful
creatures overturned their wash tubs, and a perfect torrent of hot soapy
water came cascading down the mountain side, upsetting Dorothy and the
Forgetful Poet and making the path so slippery that they never stopped
sliding till they reached the bottom. Breathless, drenched and shaken,
but otherwise unhurt, they picked themselves up and, without pausing to
rest, all three began running as fast as ever they could away from
Monday Mountain.

“How—did—you—ever—think—of—telling the fence to stop?” puffed Dorothy,
stopping under a broad tulip tree.

“Had to!” gasped Percy, dropping heavily to the ground and leaning over
to pat Toto, who sat, with closed eyes and tongue out, trying to catch
up with his breath. Then Percy delivered this gem:

    “Far from the Tubbies, little Princess,
    And wouldn’t they starch and blue and rinse us—”

“Did you say Princess?” interrupted a voice. Dorothy and Percy both
jumped and Toto gave a frightened bark—for sitting on a lower branch of
the tulip tree was our old friend Bill.

“Did you say Princess?” crowed the weather cock. Percy was too surprised
to do anything but nod and the iron bird rattled into the air screaming:
“The Princess! The Princess!” and flew over the tree tops.



CHAPTER 17

The Adventurers Meet


“I don’t see any Princess,” sniffed the old soldier, coming to an abrupt
halt and eying the two travellers critically. Grampa and his army had
barely recovered from their tumble off the rainbow before Bill’s cries,
announcing the Princess, brought them hurrying to the tulip tree, where
Dorothy and Percy Vere were resting.

“Am I dreaming?” gulped the Forgetful Poet, clutching Dorothy’s hand.
“Am I dreaming or what?” His eye roved from Grampa’s game leg to
Tatters’ many-hued suit and finally came to a rest on the lovely little
flower fairy.

“There is the Princess,” insisted Bill, pointing his claw at Dorothy.

“Snuff and nonsense!” snapped the old soldier scornfully. “You’re a
regular false alarm, Bill, always going off at the wrong time. Why,
that’s only a dusty little country girl and no proper match for the
Prince at all!”

Grampa’s lofty speech brought Percy quickly out of his dream.

“Don’t you be so migh and highty,” muttered the Forgetful Poet, drawing
himself up proudly. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, you—”

“No offense! No offense!” observed Grampa coolly. “It’s not the
child’s fault that she’s not a Princess. I dare say she’s a very nice
little girl, but we’re looking for a Princess!”

“Why, so are we!” cried Dorothy in surprise. “But you needn’t be so
impolite.”

“She is a Princess, too, and do you mean to stand there and tell me that
that young ragbag is a Prince?” Percy Vere stared at Tatters long and
earnestly and then, rolling up his eyes murmured feelingly:

    “A Prince of rags and scraps and patches,
    And then they talk to _us_ of matches!
    The Prince of what? The Prince of where
    He has a bird’s nest in his—er in his—”

“Hair,” giggled Dorothy. Poor Tatters blushed to his ears and hurriedly
tried to smooth out his hair with his fingers.

“Come on!” cried Grampa indignantly. “They’re crazy!”

“If you’ll believe he’s a Prince, I’ll believe she’s a princess,” put in
a soft voice and Urtha, who had been listening anxiously to the sharp
speeches on both sides, danced up to the Forgetful Poet.

“That’s fair enough,” agreed Percy Vere, smiling at the little flower
fairy:

    “You believe in us, and we’ll believe in you,
    And if _you_ say so I’ll believe that six and one are—are—?”

“Two,” said Dorothy, “only they’re eight. You mustn’t mind Percy’s
forgetting. You see, he is a poet,” she explained hastily.

“Let me out! Let me out! What’s all this noise?”

Dorothy and the Forgetful Poet exchanged frightened glances and Toto
crept back of the tree-trunk with only one ear showing, for the voice
certainly had come from a bag on the Prince’s shoulder.

“Not a dream, but a night mare!” choked the Forgetful Poet, as the
Prince of Ragbad calmly took his father’s head out of the knitting bag
and held it up toward them.

“Don’t be alarmed,” purred Fumbo in his drowsy voice, as the two clung
to one another in a panic.

“I’m not alarmed, I’m—I’m petrified!” gasped Percy, looking over his
shoulder to see whether the path was clear in case he should desire to
run.

“It has a crown on,” whispered Dorothy nervously. “It must be a King. I
once knew a Princess who had dozens of heads and took them off. Maybe
he’s like that.”

“You’re speaking of the Princess Languidere, I presume,” drawled Fumbo.
Being a great reader, Fumbo was well acquainted with all the celebrities
in Oz. “No, my dear, I am not like that; as it happens I have only one
head and it blew off, as you can plainly see. This young man you see
here is my son and he is carrying my head back to my body. And now you
may tell me _your_ story,” commanded the King, smiling graciously. His
glance rested curiously on Dorothy. “You are known to me already,”
continued the King. “Grampa, this is Princess Dorothy of Oz, and she is
even prettier than her pictures, if you will permit me to say so.”

“I told you she was a Princess,” crowed the weather cock triumphantly.
“Have you a fortune with you, girl?”

“The Dorothy who lives in the Emerald City?” gasped Tatters, almost
dropping his father’s head. “The Dorothy who discovered Oz?”

Dorothy nodded modestly and Grampa, covered with confusion at the memory
of his sharp speech, tried to hide behind Tatters.

“Never mind,” laughed Dorothy, seeing Grampa’s embarrassment. “I really
don’t look like a Princess now. You see we’ve had such a hard journey,
falling down a mountain and all, we’re kinda rumpled.”

“We’ve been through a week of wash-days,” groaned Percy Vere,
straightening his jacket and looking ruefully at his red hands. “I’m
sorry I didn’t realize you were a Prince.” He turned contritely to
Tatters. “Mistakes all around, you see.”

“Well, we’ve had a hard time, too,” admitted the Prince of Ragbad,
making another frantic attempt to smooth his hair.

“Ask her if she has a fortune?” insisted Bill, settling heavily on the
Prince’s shoulder.

“Hush!” said Tatters, giving Bill a poke.

“Oh, goody! goody! We’re all going to be friends.” Urtha spread out
her flowery skirts and danced happily around the little group. “Oh,
forget-me-nots and daisies! Oh, dahlias and pinks!”

“And you’re the whole bouquet, Miss May!” cried Percy Vere, but he was
immediately interrupted by Fumbo.

“Stop!” cried the King’s head. “Let us keep these stories straight. You
said you were looking for a Princess. What Princess?”

“Company, sit down!” ordered the old soldier gruffly. He had commanded
the expedition so far and was not going to be bossed around at this
stage of the game. Tatters and Urtha promptly obeyed, the Prince
carefully holding his father’s head in his lap. Dorothy and Percy Vere,
after their long run, were glad enough to rest. So down they all sat in
a big circle under the green tree, Bill and Toto in the center, staring
at one another curiously.

“Now, then, Mr er—Mr—” Grampa nodded condescendingly at the Forgetful
Poet.

“Vere,” put in Percy politely.

“Now then, Mr Vere, let us have your story,” said the old soldier,
taking a big pinch of snuff. So, with many interruptions from King
Fumbo—who seemed to know all about Perhaps City—and many lapses into
verse, the Forgetful Poet told of Abrog’s prophecy about the monster, of
the strange disappearance of the little Princess and Abrog himself, of
his tumble down Maybe Mountain and of his and Dorothy’s adventures since
then on the Runaway and Monday Mountain.

“Humph,” grunted the old soldier, when he had finished. “I wouldn’t
trust a prophet as far as I could swing a chimney by the smoke. That
prophet has run off with her. You can bet your last shoe button on that
and, since we are searching for a Princess ourselves, we might as well
look for the Princess of Perhaps City. What do you say, my boy?” Grandpa
glanced questioningly at Tatters.

“I’ll be glad to help Princess Dorothy and this—this poet, but—” Already
Tatters had made up his mind to return with Urtha to Ragbad, regardless
of fortunes and Princesses.

“No buts about it,” roared the King’s head indignantly. “She’ll be a
splendid match for you, my son, and Peer Haps, from all reports, is one
of the merriest monarchs in Oz. Why, I dote on him already!”

“Can’t all this wait till we find the Princess?” protested Percy Vere
nervously. “No use rushing matters, you know.” All this talk of marrying
rather upset him. Tatters looked gratefully at the Forgetful Poet and
decided to forgive him for his rude verse.

“Of course it can wait,” agreed the Prince heartily. “The first thing to
do is to rescue the Princess.”

“No, the first thing to do, is to tell us who you are,” laughed Dorothy,
who could restrain her curiosity no longer. “Why, we don’t even know
your names or how you happened to be in this part of Oz.”

“We followed the directions on the bottle,” explained Bill importantly.
“We fell, swum, exploded, sailed and flew!”

“You tell them,” begged Tatters, looking appealingly at the old soldier,
for he could see that Bill was going to mix things dreadfully.

“Yes, you tell us,” commanded Fumbo. He had not yet heard the story of
their journey from Ragbad himself, and was even more curious about it
than Dorothy. So Grampa took the center of the circle. Now, next to
fighting, the old soldier loved to talk and, next to fighting, talking
was the best thing he did. His recital of the experiences of his little
army during the past three days was so thrilling that Dorothy and Percy
simply held their breath and Toto’s ears waved with excitement. Dorothy
was particularly interested in Bill and the strange manner in which he
had been shocked to life. Being from the United States herself, it
seemed real homelike to meet a fellow countryman, even if he was only a
weather cock. As for Percy Vere—who had lived all his life on Maybe
Mountain—nothing could exceed his astonishment as Grampa proceeded from
one adventure to the next.

“Do you mind if I close my eyes,” Percy muttered weakly, as Grampa
reached the point in his story where they had discovered Urtha growing
in the wizard’s garden. “Do you mind if I close my eyes? I can believe
anything with my eyes shut.”

“Not if you close your mouth also,” snapped Grampa and went right on
with his story, never even stopping for breath until he had reached
their last tumble from the rainbow.

“Professor Wogglebug will have to write a whole new history,” breathed
Dorothy, as Grampa settled back in his place, “and Ozma will never allow
the bandit to stay in the blue forest nor Gorba to practice magic in his
hidden garden. Oh, my! I do believe you can help us find the Princess
after all. You are so brave and interesting.” Dorothy smiled at Grampa
and Tatters and the Forgetful Poet, opening his eyes, stared dreamily at
the little flower fairy.

“If I had my arms, I’d embrace you all,” exclaimed Fumbo feelingly, “and
you shall have hugs all around as soon as I get back to my body. You’re
a credit to the country, and Bill here shall have a perch on the highest
tower in Ragbad and little Miss Posies—”

“But the Princess!” exclaimed Bill anxiously, “and the fortune! We
can’t go back without them!”

“Too late to hunt for them to-day,” chuckled Grampa and indeed, while
they had been talking, the sun had dropped down behind the daisy
splashed hill, leaving the world bathed in a pleasant dusk.

“We’re all tired, so we’ll have supper and make camp here,” decided
Grampa sensibly. “Then to-morrow we’ll start after that prophet with
gun, musket, sword and bootleather!”

“That’s the talk!” cried Percy Vere, jumping up to help Tatters gather
wood for a fire. With such good company, the last of the bear steaks
from Isa Poso and the berries gathered by little Urtha tasted better
than a feast, and nothing could have exceeded the jollity of that
evening ’round Grampa’s camp fire.

Between the Forgetful Poet’s verse and the old soldier’s jokes, they
were simply convulsed and finally, when they had talked over their
adventures to heart’s content, Dorothy, Tatters, the Forgetful Poet and
Urtha settled down to a quiet game of scrum. Soon the only sound to be
heard was the click of the checkers on Grampa’s game leg and the loud
snores of Fumbo’s head, which hung from a branch of the tulip tree in
the pink knitting bag of Maribella, the little sky shepherdess.



CHAPTER 18

The Mischievous Play Fellows


Bright and early next morning Grampa lined up his little army and, after
a short council, they determined to continue their march to the Emerald
City and learn from Ozma’s magic picture just where Abrog and the lost
Princess of Perhaps City were to be found. Although breakfast had been a
light affair of water and berries, they were all in excellent spirits
and, with Grampa’s drum beating out a lively march, they stepped merrily
down the shady Winkie Lane. Grampa and the Forgetful Poet led off,
Dorothy and the Prince of Ragbad followed, the Prince carrying his
father’s head and his red umbrella. Urtha danced in and out to suit her
own sweet fancy, Bill flew ahead and Toto trotted contentedly behind.

“Here I go by the name of Bill!” crowed the weather cock exultantly.
“By the name of B-hill!”

Grampa winked at Percy Vere and Percy Vere winked back. “Isn’t he
ridiculish?” whispered the Forgetful Poet merrily. “But then, we’re all
ridiculish in spots.” His eyes rested a moment on Grampa’s game leg.
“Yes,” continued Percy Vere, with a droll nod, “everything, when you
come to think of it, is simply sinoobious. Why do we call ourselves an
army, pray, when we might just as well call ourselves a footy? Have we
not as many feet as arms? Why do we say ‘Good-day’ on a rainy morning
and—”

“One thing at a time, one thing at a time!” objected the old soldier
testily. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll strain your brain, young man?”

    “I think and think both late and early,
    For thinking makes the brain grow curly!”

chuckled the irrepressible poet, at which Grampa beat such a tattoo upon
his drum that the next verses were quite drowned out. But as soon as
Grampa stopped drumming, Percy burst out again:

    “I met a spick and Spaniard once,
    He was so spick and span,
    He even had his toes curled up
    Believe me, if you, if you—?”

“I can believe anything Mr Vere,” said Grampa grimly.

“Then try this!” roared the Forgetful Poet, waving his arms.

    “If fifty boats and fifty crews
    Were gathered in a group,
    Why wouldn’t it be proper, Sir,
    To call the crews a croup?
    Admit, old dear, that this is clear—
    As clear, as clear as—”

“Soup!” groaned Grampa in spite of himself. “Vegetable soup,” he added
bitterly and, reaching in his pocket, jerked out the wizard’s medicine.

“What are you doing?” asked Percy curiously, as he ran his finger
hurriedly down the green label.

“Looking for a cure,” said the old soldier, raising his eyebrows
significantly. But there was no cure for forgetful poetry on the green
label, so with a sigh Grampa returned the bottle to his pocket. “What
can’t be cured must be endured,” said the old soldier glumly and,
pursing up his lips, he began to whistle a sad tune. Dorothy and Tatters
exchanged amused glances and Urtha, who had been skipping beside Percy
Vere, touched him on the arm.

“Is the Princess of Perhaps City pretty?” asked the little flower fairy
timidly. She could not bear to think of Tatters marrying an ugly
Princess.

    “I should guess, mercy yes!
    I should say, April, April—?”

“Trouble ahead! Trouble ahead!” crowed Bill, before anyone could
finish the verse. Just then a turn in the lane brought them plump into a
huge fenced-in park. The fence was much too high to climb and stretched
as far on either side as they could see.

“I never saw this place before,” said Dorothy, peering curiously between
the bars, “but maybe if we knock on the gate someone will let us in.
Then we can march through and out the other side.”

“Here’s the gate,” called Percy Vere, who had run a little ways to the
right, “and here’s a sign.”

“Play!” announced the sign over the gate. “All work on these grounds
forbidden.” Just below was a smaller sign—“No trespassing!”

“Well, we don’t want to trespass, we want to jes’ pass through,”
chortled the Forgetful Poet and, before anyone could stop him, he had
hammered hard upon the gates. Immediately loud roars of laughter sounded
all through the park, footsteps scurried over the lawns and the next
instant the gayest company that Dorothy ever had seen came crowding
forward—Pierrettes and Pierrots, hundreds of them, the girls in full
skirted frocks with tall saucy caps, the men in pantaloon suits and
frills. While they smiled and waved through the bars, the King of Play,
who looked, as Dorothy told Ozma afterwards, exactly like a court
jester—the King himself swung open the gates and, with a low bow,
invited them to enter. So, of course they did, and before Grampa could
give the order to break ranks or fall out, or even say Hello, the Play
Fellows had fallen upon his army and simply borne them away. Only Bill
escaped and nervously he hovered over his friends, determining, if
necessary, to drop on the heads of this exuberant company.

“Wait! Stop! Halt!” puffed the old soldier, who was being dragged
toward a merry-go-round by five of the mischievous Pierrettes. Dorothy
and Percy Vere were being rushed as unceremoniously to the swings, while
a dozen of the Pierrots were begging Urtha for a dance. Tatters, holding
his father’s head high above his own, was hustled off to a high wooden
slide and to nothing that any of them said would the Play Fellows pay
the slightest attention. Indeed, there was so much noise and confusion,
they could not have heard if they had tried. Bands played and fountains
played and the Play Fellows played, and the creak of the swings and the
squeak of the merry-go-rounds and the roars of the delighted Pierrettes
and Pierrots, as they hustled their visitors from one amusement to
another, were enough to deafen a gate post. Toto, after one shocked
glance at the boisterous company, scampered off and hid himself in a
button bush, where he watched anxiously for a chance to escape. Poor
Bill, trying to keep all of the company in view at once, flew in
dizzying circles over the park, almost cross-eyed from the strain.

After his sixteenth merry-go-round, Grampa gave up trying to explain
and, staggering over to a soap bubble fountain, fell in. But the Play
Fellows quickly pulled him out and insisted upon his joining in a game
of tag. The only bright spot in the whole dreadful experience was the
finding of a bubble pipe, which Grampa hastily picked from its bush and
thrust into his pocket.

Percy and Dorothy fared no better. “This is worse than washing!”
groaned the Forgetful Poet, as a wild company of Pierrettes dragged them
’round and ’round the mulberry bush.

“Play! Play! Play!” shouted King Capers, dashing from group to group
and banging the company right and left with his belled and beribboned
scepter. “Play! Play! Play!”

“I never knew fun was such hard work,” panted Tatters to Bill, who was
circling immediately above his head. The poor Prince was black and blue
all over from sliding down the slides, but every time he objected the
Play Fellows would pull him to the top and scream with merriment as he
came sliding down again. There were too many heads to fall on, and
Bill—powerless to help—screamed his rage and indignation at the
mannerless crowd. There was much to be seen and marvelled at in the play
grounds, but as the company agreed later, playing when you want to play
and being forced to play are two quite different things, so that the
balloon vines, top trees and checker bushes went almost unnoticed.
Indeed all that any of them could think of was getting away.

Urtha was the first to make her escape. The little flower fairy had been
treated so gently and considerately by Grampa and Tatters, since her
coming to life in the enchanted garden, that she did not know what to
make of the rude manners of the Play Fellows. When they began snatching
flowers from her hair and pulling her roughly from place to place, her
violet eyes widened with terror and dismay. Watching her opportunity,
she sprang away from them and sped like the wind itself across the
gardens. Now the runner does not exist who can outdistance a fairy, so
it was not long before Urtha left her tormentors behind. And better
still, the little flower fairy had run directly into a wicket gate
leading out of the play grounds. Opening the gate she slipped through
and then, because she was still frightened, she kept running and running
till she was as lost as one raindrop in a thunder shower.

There is no telling how long the others would have been forced to endure
the teasing of the Play Fellows, if a gong had not sounded from a
distant part of the grounds. Immediately the whole company trooped off:
and, without waiting to find out the meaning of the bell, Grampa’s army
rushed to the nearest exits.

“I’m done for!” gasped Percy Vere, rolling under a tree. “Let me curl
up like a pretzel and bake—I mean die!” Toto, who had followed close
upon the heels of the harassed company, curled up beside him.

“But where’s Urtha?” cried Tatters, staring around wildly. “Where’s
Grampa?”

“She ran away long ago,” crowed Bill, flying over the fence. “That
way!” He pointed his claw toward the East.

“Oh, dear! Oh, dear, where _is_ the old soldier?” wailed Dorothy,
jumping up and down with impatience. “We ought to get away from here
quick.”

“I’ll find him,” volunteered Bill. “Wait here.” Back went the devoted
weather cock and, after flying over the entire play grounds, he found
Grampa asleep under a checker bush.

“Wake up!” cried Bill, jumping up and down on his chest. “The coast is
clear. Forward march, by the name of Grampa!”

The old soldier stirred uneasily, rubbed his eyes and then sprang up but
immediately tumbled down again, for while he slept, the wretched Play
Fellows had run off with his game leg.

“What in time?” blustered the old soldier, picking himself up again. But
being a man of action and, seeing a crowd of Pierrettes emerging from a
big hall not far away, Grampa snatched up a long handled croquet mallet
and, using it as a crutch, hobbled with all his might toward the exit
pointed out by Bill. Here he was met by Percy Vere and Dorothy and after
a startled look each seized one of his arms and away they ran as fast as
five legs would take them. Percy carried the King’s head and Dorothy the
red umbrella. Tatters had dropped both when he discovered that Urtha was
missing and had dashed off in search of her. And it was not long before
he picked up the trail, for every step of the flower maiden was marked
out in daisies and forget-me-nots. Paying no attention to rocks, sticks,
brambles and thorns, the Prince of Ragbad pushed on, his only thought to
find and comfort the sweet and lost little fairy who had made the days
so pleasant and the journey so happy for them.



CHAPTER 19

Back to Perhaps City


Seated on a great gold cushion on the lowest golden step of his palace
sat Peer Haps, pointing his telescope with trembling fingers down Maybe
Mountain. It was the fourth day mentioned in Abrog’s prophecy, the day
the monster was to carry off the Princess, and still no word had come
from the Forgetful Poet. Between grief over the loss of his daughter and
worry over Percy Vere, the poor old monarch had got no sleep at all and
was so cross and snappy that the pages and courtiers went stealthily
about on tip-toe, their fingers to their lips.

“Can’t you make a verse, idiot?” roared the Peer, glaring at Perix who,
with another telescope, sat close beside him. Perix moved up a couple of
steps and sadly shook his head.

“But look,” he stuttered in the next breath, “someone is coming up the
mountain.”

“Is it the monster?” puffed Peer Haps anxiously. “Has it two heads?”
Dropping his own telescope, he snatched the young nobleman’s glass and
glued his eye to the top. Then, with a loud shriek of joy, he tore open
the gates and plunged recklessly down the steep mountain side. And
certainly the dear old fellow would have rolled to the bottom had not a
sturdy oak intervened and put a stop to his plunging. It was the
fortunatest place of all for a stop, because, right below the oak,
climbing easily over the rocks and stones, was the lost Princess
herself. Not quite herself, perhaps, but enough so for her father to
recognize her. Holding tight to the oak, the old Peer leaned down and
seized her hand. The next instant he had her in his arms and was running
up the mountain as recklessly as he had just plunged down. But some good
fairy kept him from tumbling and, once up the golden steps, he brushed
past gaping courtiers and pages and never stopped till he had reached
the great throne room.

Setting the Princess on a green satin sofa, he gave her a hasty kiss
and, without stopping to question her about her strange disappearance,
locked the door and rushed from the room. Beads of perspiration stood
out on his forehead. True, the Princess was found, but she certainly was
changed and, worse still, at any moment the monster might appear and
carry her off. Thudding down the corridor, Peer Haps burst into the
apartment of the tall High Humpus of Perhaps City. Humpus was also Chief
Justice and attended to all state weddings. The Peer was determined to
have the Princess marry Perix at once and settle this monster matter
once and for always. Explaining this as he went along, he dragged the
scandalized Justice to the steps to fetch the groom. But Perix had
disappeared and with him every single young and single nobleman in
Perhaps City. For though Peer Haps had run quickly, with his daughter in
his arms, he had not run quickly enough, and word of the mysterious
change in the Princess had already spread over the city.

“She is bewitched,” Perix had whispered to the others in a panic
and—feeling in his bones that Peer Haps would insist upon him marrying
her anyway—the faint-hearted youth had hidden himself in a rain barrel
and the other young noblemen, equally alarmed, had run to the darkest
cellar in the castle. Hopping on one foot and then on the other, Peer
Haps called each one by name. But there was no response and, sinking
down upon the golden steps, the poor King wept with rage and
discouragement. But the Lord High Humpus had been staring down the
mountain for signs of the monster, and now he plucked the Peer sharply
by the sleeve.

“Look!” hissed the Chief Justice, every curl in his white wig
fluttering with excitement. “Look!” Knocking upon the great gates of
the city was a weary, travel-stained young stranger. It was the Prince
of Ragbad. For the flower trail had led him straight to the foot of
Maybe Mountain. There he had lost his way, for Maybe Mountain is covered
with wild flowers of every description, so that it was impossible to
trace farther the footsteps of the little fairy. But Tatters had kept
on, nevertheless, determined, if necessary, to search the whole mountain
until he found her. Naturally, he did not know he was so near the
Forgetful Poet’s old home. But when, after a hard climb he reached the
mountain top and spied the splendid castle of Peer Haps, he decided to
continue his search there and waited impatiently for someone to open the
gates.

“He looks honest,” sputtered the Chief Justice, raising his brows
significantly, “and in spite of his rags he is not unhandsome. Suppose—”

To the rest of the sentence Peer Haps paid no attention, for he had
already flung down the steps and pulled Tatters through the gates.
Grabbing him by the arm, he hurried him up the steps and along the hall
before the startled Prince could say “Jack Robinson.” The Lord High
Humpus, straightening his wig, had dashed after them, and, while Peer
Haps unlocked the door of the throne room, he held Tatters tightly by
the hand.

“What’s the matter?” demanded the astonished youth. He was exhausted and
out of breath from his scramble up the mountain. “What’s the matter? I
am looking for a lost fairy. Have you seen anything of her?” But instead
of answering, the Chief Justice put his fingers to his lips and drew the
young man into the throne room itself. There was a confused mumble of
words, to which Tatters, who still was too weary and breathless to
argue, paid small attention. He nodded absently to some question of the
white-wigged dignitary and the next minute was being crushed in the
embrace of the singularly fat old gentleman who had dragged him up the
steps.

“You have saved us!” cried Peer Haps, tears of joy zig-zagging down his
cheek. “My son! My son! How can I ever repay you!”

“Son?” The Prince of Ragbad sprang back aghast.

“Congratulations!” chuckled the Chief Justice, clapping Tatters on the
back.

“On what?” gasped the bewildered young Prince, whirling ’round.

“On your marriage.” The Chief Justice made a deep bow toward the cloaked
figure, whom Tatters had not seen until now.

“My marriage?” The distracted youth clapped one hand to his head and the
other to his heart and fell backwards upon a page who had just run in to
announce visitors. But before the page could announce them, Grampa,
Percy Vere, Dorothy and Toto burst into the throne room. It had not been
long before they, too, had picked up the flower trail of Urtha and later
the footprints of Tatters himself. You can imagine the delight of the
Forgetful Poet to find himself once more on familiar ground. It was a
hard pull up, for the old soldier had but one leg to climb with, but
they had finally reached the top of the mountain, and, waving aside
courtiers and servants, they had hurried immediately to the throne room.

“Have you seen anything of a little fairy?” puffed all three together,
and then seeing Tatters, apparently having a fit in the arms of a page,
they stopped short. “Why, Tatters, whatever’s the matter?” Dorothy
dropped the red umbrella and ran over to the Prince of Ragbad.

“Matter?” choked the poor Prince, tears streaming down his cheeks.
“Matter! I’m married to I don’t know whom—that’s what’s the
matter!” And before Dorothy could make head or tail of his story the
Forgetful Poet and Peer Haps had rushed at each other with such an
outpouring of affectionate greetings, such hugs and claps upon the back,
that nothing else could be heard at all.

“This is worse than a battle,” groaned the old soldier, bracing himself
against the table.

“It’s an outrage, an utter outrage. Pick me up! Pick me up! Do you
hear?” The wig of the Chief Justice rose into the air and turned round
three times. The voice had certainly come from a pink bag at his feet,
for the Forgetful Poet, in his excitement at seeing the old Peer, had
carelessly dropped Fumbo’s head. Pale with terror, the High Humpus fled
from the throne room, and it was just as well, for there was noise and
confusion enough without him. As no one else heard Fumbo, he had to stay
where he was.

“But the Princess!” cried Percy Vere, extricating himself at last from
the Peer’s embraces. “I could not find her, but all these people are
going to help and—”

“Don’t worry about that,” beamed Peer Haps, waving toward the quiet
little figure. “She is not only found, but married. Now let the monster
appear if he dare. This young man has saved the day.”

“Do you mean to say you are married?” roared Grampa, thumping on the
table with his fist and glaring over at Tatters. “Why didn’t you wait
for us? Where’s Urtha? Where’s the Princess? Why is she all covered up
like this? I insist upon seeing the Princess.”

“One minute! One minute!” begged Peer Haps, stepping between Grampa
and the cloaked figure. “My daughter is bewitched just now and cannot be
seen, but I’m sure the spell can be broken, and then—”

“And you’ve married a bewitched Princess?” With another angry glance at
poor Tatters, Grampa bit off a piece of his bubble pipe and sank heavily
into a pink armchair. Dorothy had been trying her best to unravel the
strange mix-up and now stepped forward.

“Let Tatters tell what happened,” said the little Princess, stamping her
foot imperiously. “It wasn’t his fault, Grampa.” She spoke with such
firmness that Peer Haps fairly gasped. Then, stealing a second glance
and recognizing her instantly as a Princess Royal of Oz, he motioned for
Tatters to speak.

So the Prince of Ragbad rose up and in breathless sentences explained
how he had been seized at the gates of the city and tricked into
marrying the Princess.

“But isn’t that what you were going to do anyway?” asked Percy Vere,
when the Prince had finished. “Weren’t you looking for a Princess and a
fortune when I met you? And didn’t we all decide to hunt the Princess of
Perhaps City? Well! Here she is—and there you are! The only difference
is that you have married her a little sooner than you intended and saved
her from an unknown and dreadful monster. Nothing so terrible about
that. My hat!” Percy Vere smiled coaxingly at the Prince and
encouragingly at Peer Haps, for he did not like to see any of his
friends unhappy.

“But I was only going to rrr-rescue her,” wailed Tatters.

“The difference is that we haven’t seen the Princess,” put in Grampa
more mildly. “We’d save anybody from a monster, but don’t you think, Mr
Vere, it was unfair to marry Tatters to a Princess he’s never even
seen?”

“Idiot,” screamed a harsh voice. Whirling around, the startled company
saw a bent and dreadful old man standing just inside the long window.
“Idiot!” he shrieked again, pointing a long trembling finger at Peer
Haps. “You have married your daughter to a monster!”

“It’s Abrog,” gasped Percy Vere, clutching Dorothy’s hand.

“Monster,” roared Grampa, and hopping over to the Prophet, he seized him
by the beard. “How dare you call Tatters a monster? I’ll fight you!”
puffed the old soldier furiously.

Jerking away, Abrog leaned down, picked up Fumbo’s head and set it upon
Tatters’ shoulders. “See,” he screamed wildly, “you have married your
daughter to a monster with two heads.” And as Peer Haps, who knew
nothing of Tatters’ story, fell back aghast, Fumbo stuck his head out of
the bag and began scolding everyone in the room.

In the uproar that followed and while Percy, Dorothy, and Grampa were
trying all at once to explain things to the old Peer, the Prophet
himself began to move stealthily toward the Princess. Only Tatters saw
this. Placing his father’s head carefully on the table, he reached out
and, just as Abrog reached her, the Prince seized him roughly by the
collar. But he was not quick enough. Abrog had already snatched away the
cloak and there—trembling and sorrowful—stood the Princess of Perhaps
City, herself. Tatters loosed his hold upon the Prophet.

“Urtha,” cried the overwrought young bridegroom and took the frightened
little fairy in his arms.



CHAPTER 20

The Prophet Confesses


You can well imagine the surprise of Grampa and his little army to
discover that the flower maiden whom they had been loving all this while
was really the lost Princess. How the story ever would have been
straightened out had it not been for Dorothy, I have no idea.

“Why didn’t you tell us it was Urtha?” shouted Grampa, shaking his
finger indignantly at Peer Haps. “And who is Urtha?” gasped the
astonished old monarch, fanning himself with his crown, for he was in
such a state by this time that he hardly knew what he was doing. “My
daughter’s name is Pretty Good—isn’t it, my dear?”

The little flower fairy shook her head solemnly. “My name is Urtha,” she
insisted softly. “Isn’t it, Tatters?”

“She’s bewitched,” groaned the King.

“She’s bewitching,” corrected Grampa.

“Stop! Stop!” said Dorothy. “We’ll never get things straightened out
this way. Everybody sit down and—quick—quick—catch that Prophet!” Abrog
had been slyly edging toward the door, but the Forgetful Poet, with a
quick bound, brought him back.

“Now then,” said Dorothy, when they were all seated, “I believe Abrog is
at the bottom of the whole business. Let’s make him tell. Did you
bewitch this Princess?” she demanded sternly.

Abrog only mumbled and scowled and refused to speak a word. “Better
answer this young lady,” puffed Peer Haps warningly. “She is a Princess
of Oz, and can have you well punished.”

“Speak up, you old villain!” shouted Grampa, waving his sword over the
Prophet’s head. But Abrog stood still and stubbornly refused to say a
word, until the old soldier suddenly bethought himself of the wizard’s
medicine. “Maybe there’s a cure for the tongue tied on this,” muttered
Grampa. Taking out the bottle, he began to scan the green label. At the
first sight of the medicine, a dreadful change came over the Prophet. He
turned a sickly green and began to tremble violently.

“Give me that bottle! Give me that bottle, and I will tell all,” he
panted, trying desperately to snatch it from Grampa.

“Don’t you do it,” cried the Prince of Ragbad. “Why, Grampa, I believe—I
believe this is the wizard himself.”

“But it says ‘Gorba’” muttered the old soldier, holding the bottle high
above his head. “Don’t you remember?”

“Gorba!” exclaimed Dorothy, writing the word with her finger in the
air. “Why G-o-r-b-a is A-b-r-o-g spelled backwards!”

“Abrog and Gorba!” shrieked Percy Vere, bounding to his feet. The poet
instantly broke into verse in his customary style:

    “Abrog and Gorba are one and the same—
    A prophet and wizard wrapped up in one—one—one?”

“Name!” finished Peer Haps, almost tumbling from his throne.

“This is the most exciting story I ever was in,” wheezed the head of
Fumbo, from its place on the table. The Prophet had fairly crumpled up
at Dorothy’s discovery and, seeing that further resistance was useless,
he whined out the whole of his story. Determined to save Pretty Good
from the monster and marry her himself, he had decided to change her to
mud. For a Princess as ugly as mud, even a monster would not marry,
explained the old villain tearfully. So for this purpose he had carried
her to the hidden garden, where all his magic appliances were kept. But
so sweet, lovely and good was the little Princess of Perhaps City, that
the evil spell of the wizard, instead of changing her to a muddy image
as Abrog intended, had turned her into a bewitching little flower fairy.
Disappointed at the way his magic had worked, Abrog had nevertheless
resolved to keep her under the spell until after the day of the prophecy
and then change her back to her own self and marry her at once. But when
he returned to the garden he found her gone and he had hurried as fast
as he could back to Perhaps City. How he had been robbed of his magic
medicine on the first day he bewitched Urtha, and how Urtha herself had
been released by Tatters and Grampa, we know.

“But what about this monster?” panted the old soldier, as Abrog finished
speaking and began uncomfortably shuffling his feet on the golden floor.

“Let me see that prophecy,” demanded Dorothy. The unwilling Prophet drew
the crumpled parchment from his sleeve.

“A youth, wrapped in the skin of an old bear—a youth with two heads upon
his shoulders and carrying a red umbrella—will marry the Princess of
Perhaps City,” read Dorothy in some surprise.

“Why, that’s Tatters!” cried the little girl in delight.

“Of course it is,” declared Grampa. “Why, there isn’t any monster at
all. Whoever said there was?” He stared around triumphantly and Peer
Haps pointed angrily at the old Prophet, who was hopping about in a vain
attempt to escape.

“What shall we do to him?” asked the Forgetful Poet, seizing Abrog by
the collar and holding him, kicking and struggling, in the air. Some
said this and some said that, but it was Grampa, running his finger
quickly down the trusty green label, who finally decided the matter. For
listed under sorcery he found a sure cure for Abrog.

“Break a saucer of the mixture over the sorcerer’s head,” directed the
bottle severely. So a saucer was quickly brought and, paying no
attention to the squalls and screams of the scheming old Prophet, Grampa
broke it over his head. At the first crack of the china, Abrog
disappeared and, as every one jumped with surprise, a little brown mouse
scurried across the room.

“Well, he won’t do much harm in that shape,” sighed Grampa, as Toto went
sniffing all around the throne under which the mouse had disappeared.

“But my daughter!” cried Peer Haps suddenly. “Who will unbewitch the
Princess now?” The company exchanged dismayed glances, realizing too
late that they should have forced Abrog to disenchant Urtha before they
punished him.



CHAPTER 21

Urtha is Transformed


You are probably wondering why Urtha herself had stood so silently
during all the commotion in the castle. Well, in the first place the
little flower fairy was so frightened by her experiences with the Play
Fellows that her only thought had been of escape. With the Prophet’s
spell had gone all memory of her former existence as Princess of Perhaps
City and when Peer Haps had found her on Maybe Mountain and hurried her
back to the castle she was more frightened still. Not knowing where she
was, nor what to do, the confused little fairy had done nothing at all.
Trembling under the big cloak, she had stood and waited for something
terrible to happen and when at last she did hear the familiar voices of
Tatters and Grampa and thought they were angry at her, she trembled more
than ever and was afraid to speak or move at all. But now that the
mystery was about cleared up, Urtha was so happy just to be with the
Prince of Ragbad again that she paid small attention to the excitement
about her enchantment. Neither did Tatters, for the lovely little flower
fairy suited him exactly as she was. While they were whispering cozily
about Ragbad and other terribly important matters, Dorothy and Grampa
got their heads together and solved the last of the adventurers’
problems. For Dorothy, bending excitedly over Grampa’s shoulder,
discovered a cure for enchantment on the wizard’s bottle. “Three drops
on the head,” advised the green label. Grampa squinted anxiously into
the bottle, for he had poured nearly the whole contents over Abrog.

“Is there enough?” whispered Dorothy. Grampa, shaking his head
doubtfully, tip-toed over to Urtha and, while Percy Vere, Peer Haps and
Dorothy watched with breathless interest, he shook the bottle over her
head. One drop! Two drops! And—after a violent shake—three fell upon
the soft fern hair of the little fairy. As the third drop fell the
little flower girl melted away before their eyes into a rainbow mist of
lovely colors. Out of the mist stepped a no less lovely Princess—a
Princess so like Urtha that Grampa blinked and Tatters could hardly
believe his senses. Though no longer a little lady of flowers, Urtha
still carried the flowers’ lovely colors and the flowers’ lovely
fragrance in her exquisite little person. Violets were no bluer than
Urtha’s eyes; roses never pinker than Urtha’s cheeks; apple blossoms no
fairer than Urtha’s skin.

Trembling with relief and happiness, Peer Haps clasped her in his arms
and, with the little Princess on his knee, insisted on hearing every
word of the long, strange story. And about time it was that he did, for
all this while he had been trying to explain to himself the presence of
Fumbo’s head. But when Grampa had told their adventures from beginning
to end, Peer Haps welcomed the King of Ragbad as heartily as if his
whole body were present, and they all sat down to talk things over.

Just as Grampa was telling again exactly how they had discovered Urtha,
there was a loud screech in the corridor, and in flew the brave weather
cock, whom no one had missed in the terrible commotion.

“Here I come by the name of Bill,” crowed the excited bird and, flying
over to Grampa, he proudly dropped Grampa’s lost leg into his lap. For
while the others had hurried up the mountain Bill had flown back to the
playground and snatched Grampa’s leg away from King Capers and two of
the mischievous Pierrettes who were deeply engrossed in the game of
scrum. It had taken Bill some time but here at last he was and, joyfully
buckling on his leg, Grampa danced a jig on the spot. For now his
happiness was complete—Peer Haps having already given him a pipe.
Everyone made such a fuss over Bill that he felt fully repaid for his
trouble.

Indeed, it was hard to tell who, of all that merry company, was the
merriest—the Forgetful Poet at finding himself safely home, Peer Haps at
finding his daughter, Grampa at the recovery of his leg, Urtha and
Tatters or Dorothy and Toto at the splendid way the adventure had turned
out.

Chuckling with delight, Peer Haps ran off to fetch his yellow hen, for
he was determined that Tatters should have the fortune—a reward of a
thousand gold bricks.

“Is that the fortune?” asked Bill indignantly, as he placed the yellow
hen in Tatters’ arms. “Why, it’s nothing but a bunch of feathers!”

“Don’t you crow over me,” screeched the yellow hen and, flying up, she
laid a gold brick upon the table, much to the astonishment of Bill and
the delight of the others.

While they still were laughing there was a blinding flash, and the
yellow hen, Bill, Toto, Peer Haps and every other single person in the
throne room disappeared. Yes, sir, they were gone—as gone as a box of
last year’s Christmas candy.



CHAPTER 22

Rejoicing in Ragbad


Gone, you say. But where? I might as well tell you at once that they
were gone from Perhaps City because they already were in Ragbad standing
in a surprised group in the shabby ballroom of the red castle. For Ozma,
looking that morning in the magic picture to see why Dorothy had not
returned to the Emerald City, had seen the little girl and her
companions and all day had been following their adventures.

With the aid of a powerful radio belonging to the Wizard of Oz, she had
heard the whole story Grampa had just related and determined, by her
magic belt, to send them all safely home.

“They’ve had enough adventures,” smiled this wise little ruler, and
because she knew Dorothy, the Forgetful Poet and Peer Haps would want to
meet Mrs Sew-and-Sew and the rest of Tatters’ friends, she had sent them
along too. But, best of all, she had, aided by the wizard’s magic,
wished Fumbo’s head firmly and permanently back upon his body. When
Pudge and Mrs Sew-and-Sew, aroused by all the confusion, came running to
see what was the matter, imagine their surprise to find Fumbo in full
possession of his head, welcoming Peer Haps, Dorothy and the Forgetful
Poet to Ragbad.

And now what a flurry of introductions and explanations, what hugs,
kisses and congratulations all ’round! Mrs Sew-and-Sew could hardly
believe her good fortune and had to kiss Tatters every few minutes to
see if he were really there and Urtha every few minutes to see if she
really were true. After she had heard the whole story from beginning to
end, she sent Pudge off to summon the twenty-four rustic laborers and
rushed off to prepare such a feast as the old red castle had not known
since her own wedding day—a feast with six kinds of ice cream and seven
kinds of cake and two helpings of turkey for everyone. Far into the
night the merrymaking lasted, for after the feast itself the old soldier
insisted that they dance the Ragbad Quadrille.

“Oh, let’s!” cried the Princess, remembering how she and Tatters had
danced upon the iceberg. So lines were quickly formed on each side of
the ballroom.

“Come along, monster!” cried Urtha, leading off merrily with the
Prince, as Grampa burst into the spirited music of the dance. Mrs
Sew-and-Sew and Peer Haps came next, then the Forgetful Poet and
Dorothy, then Fumbo and Pudge, the twenty-four rustic laborers filling
in as they were needed. Not until the loud crows of Bill announced the
rising of the sun did the party break up, and only then after a hundred
rousing cheers had been given for the Prince and Princess of Ragbad.
After luncheon next day, Dorothy and Toto, Peer Haps and the Forgetful
Poet were magically transported back home by thoughtful little Ozma but,
before she left, Dorothy made them promise to visit her in the Emerald
City and I have no doubt that they will.

When Dorothy reached home the first person to greet her was her old
friend, the Tin Woodman, smiling as he always smiles.

From that day on, let me say, Ragbad was a changed Kingdom for, as the
twenty-four rustic laborers sold the gold bricks as fast as they were
laid by the yellow hen, there was plenty of money to buy supplies and
care for the linens and lawns. Grampa and Tatters had record crops and
soon everything was so prosperous that Mrs Sew-and-Sew took off her
thimble, put on her crown and became Queen of Ragbad again.

As for Tatters and Urtha, the last I heard of them, they were happy as
the days were long—as happy as only the dear folk in Oz know how to be.
So that is all of the story of the Princess who was once a fairy, the
poet who forgot his words, the old soldier who was always a hero and the
Prince who went in search of his father’s head.





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this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
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