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Chapter 17 The Nine Tiny Piglets

  • After breakfast Ozma announced that she had ordered a holiday to be observe_hroughout the Emerald City, in honor of her visitors. The people had learne_hat their old Wizard had returned to them and all were anxious to see hi_gain, for he had always been a rare favorite. So first there was to be _rand procession through the streets, after which the little old man wa_equested to perform some of his wizardries in the great Throne Room of th_alace. In the afternoon there were to be games and races.
  • The procession was very imposing. First came the Imperial Cornet Band of Oz,
  • dressed in emerald velvet uniforms with slashes of pea-green satin and button_f immense cut emeralds. They played the National air called "The Oz Spangle_anner," and behind them were the standard bearers with the Royal flag. Thi_lag was divided into four quarters, one being colored sky-blue, another pink,
  • a third lavender and a fourth white. In the center was a large emerald-gree_tar, and all over the four quarters were sewn spangles that glittere_eautifully in the sunshine. The colors represented the four countries of Oz,
  • and the green star the Emerald City.
  • Just behind the royal standard-bearers came the Princess Ozma in her roya_hariot, which was of gold encrusted with emeralds and diamonds set i_xquisite designs. The chariot was drawn on this occasion by the Cowardly Lio_nd the Hungry Tiger, who were decorated with immense pink and blue bows. I_he chariot rode Ozma and Dorothy, the former in splendid raiment and wearin_er royal coronet, while the little Kansas girl wore around her waist th_agic Belt she had once captured from the Nome King.
  • Following the chariot came the Scarecrow mounted on the Sawhorse, and th_eople cheered him almost as loudly as they did their lovely Ruler. Behind hi_talked with regular, jerky steps, the famous machine-man called Tik-tok, wh_ad been wound up by Dorothy for the occasion. Tik-tok moved by clockwork, an_as made all of burnished copper. He really belonged to the Kansas girl, wh_ad much respect for his thoughts after they had been properly wound and se_oing; but as the copper man would be useless in any place but a fairy countr_orothy had left him in charge of Ozma, who saw that he was suitably care_or.
  • There followed another band after this, which was called the Royal Court Band,
  • because the members all lived in the palace. They wore white uniforms wit_eal diamond buttons and played "What is Oz without Ozma" very sweetly.
  • Then came Professor Woggle-Bug, with a group of students from the Roya_ollege of Scientific Athletics. The boys wore long hair and striped sweater_nd yelled their college yell every other step they took, to the grea_atisfaction of the populace, which was glad to have this evidence that thei_ungs were in good condition.
  • The brilliantly polished Tin Woodman marched next, at the head of the Roya_rmy of Oz which consisted of twenty-eight officers, from Generals down t_aptains. There were no privates in the army because all were so courageou_nd skillful that they had been promoted one by one until there were n_rivates left. Jim and the buggy followed, the old cab-horse being driven b_eb while the Wizard stood up on the seat and bowed his bald head right an_eft in answer to the cheers of the people, who crowded thick about him.
  • Taken altogether the procession was a grand success, and when it had returne_o the palace the citizens crowded into the great Throne Room to see th_izard perform his tricks.
  • The first thing the little humbug did was to produce a tiny white piglet fro_nderneath his hat and pretend to pull it apart, making two. This act h_epeated until all of the nine tiny piglets were visible, and they were s_lad to get out of his pocket that they ran around in a very lively manner.
  • The pretty little creatures would have been a novelty anywhere, so the peopl_ere as amazed and delighted at their appearance as even the Wizard could hav_esired. When he had made them all disappear again Ozma declared she was sorr_hey were gone, for she wanted one of them to pet and play with. So the Wizar_retended to take one of the piglets out of the hair of the Princess (whil_eally he slyly took it from his inside pocket) and Ozma smiled joyously a_he creature nestled in her arms, and she promised to have an emerald colla_ade for its fat neck and to keep the little squealer always at hand to amus_er.
  • Afterward it was noticed that the Wizard always performed his famous tric_ith eight piglets, but it seemed to please the people just as well as i_here had been nine of them.
  • In his little room back of the Throne Room the Wizard had found a lot o_hings he had left behind him when he went away in the balloon, for no one ha_ccupied the apartment in his absence. There was enough material there t_nable him to prepare several new tricks which he had learned from some of th_ugglers in the circus, and he had passed part of the night in getting the_eady. So he followed the trick of the nine tiny piglets with several othe_onderful feats that greatly delighted his audience and the people did no_eem to care a bit whether the little man was a humbug Wizard or not, so lon_s he succeeded in amusing them. They applauded all his tricks and at the en_f the performance begged him earnestly not to go away again and leave them.
  • "In that case," said the little man, gravely, "I will cancel all of m_ngagements before the crowned heads of Europe and America and devote mysel_o the people of Oz, for I love you all so well that I can deny you nothing."
  • After the people had been dismissed with this promise our friends joine_rincess Ozma at an elaborate luncheon in the palace, where even the Tiger an_he Lion were sumptuously fed and Jim the Cab-horse ate his oatmeal out of _olden bowl with seven rows of rubies, sapphires and diamonds set around th_im of it.
  • In the afternoon they all went to a great field outside the city gates wher_he games were to be held. There was a beautiful canopy for Ozma and he_uests to sit under and watch the people run races and jump and wrestle. Yo_ay be sure the folks of Oz did their best with such a distinguished compan_atching them, and finally Zeb offered to wrestle with a little Munchkin wh_eemed to be the champion. In appearance he was twice as old as Zeb, for h_ad long pointed whiskers and wore a peaked hat with little bells all aroun_he brim of it, which tinkled gaily as he moved. But although the Munchkin wa_ardly tall enough to come to Zeb's shoulder he was so strong and clever tha_e laid the boy three times on his back with apparent ease.
  • Zeb was greatly astonished at his defeat, and when the pretty Princess joine_er people in laughing at him he proposed a boxing-match with the Munchkin, t_hich the little Ozite readily agreed. But the first time that Zeb managed t_ive him a sharp box on the ears the Munchkin sat down upon the ground an_ried until the tears ran down his whiskers, because he had been hurt. Thi_ade Zeb laugh, in turn, and the boy felt comforted to find that Ozma laughe_s merrily at her weeping subject as she had at him.
  • Just then the Scarecrow proposed a race between the Sawhorse and the Cab-
  • horse; and although all the others were delighted at the suggestion th_awhorse drew back, saying:
  • "Such a race would not be fair."
  • "Of course not," added Jim, with a touch of scorn; "those little wooden leg_f yours are not half as long as my own."
  • "It isn't that," said the Sawhorse, modestly; "but I never tire, and you do."
  • "Bah!" cried Jim, looking with great disdain at the other; "do you imagine fo_n instant that such a shabby imitation of a horse as you are can run as fas_s I?"
  • "I don't know, I'm sure," replied the Sawhorse.
  • "That is what we are trying to find out," remarked the Scarecrow. "The objec_f a race is to see who can win it—or at least that is what my excellen_rains think."
  • "Once, when I was young," said Jim, "I was a race horse, and defeated all wh_ared run against me. I was born in Kentucky, you know, where all the best an_ost aristocratic horses come from."
  • "But you're old, now, Jim," suggested Zeb.
  • "Old! Why, I feel like a colt today," replied Jim. "I only wish there was _eal horse here for me to race with. I'd show the people a fine sight, I ca_ell you."
  • "Then why not race with the Sawhorse?" enquired the Scarecrow.
  • "He's afraid," said Jim.
  • "Oh, no," answered the Sawhorse. "I merely said it wasn't fair. But if m_riend the Real Horse is willing to undertake the race I am quite ready."
  • So they unharnessed Jim and took the saddle off the Sawhorse, and the tw_ueerly matched animals were stood side by side for the start.
  • "When I say 'Go!'" Zeb called to them, "you must dig out and race until yo_each those three trees you see over yonder. Then circle 'round them and com_ack again. The first one that passes the place where the Princess sits shal_e named the winner. Are you ready?"
  • "I suppose I ought to give the wooden dummy a good start of me," growled Jim.
  • "Never mind that," said the Sawhorse. "I'll do the best I can."
  • "Go!" cried Zeb; and at the word the two horses leaped forward and the rac_as begun.
  • Jim's big hoofs pounded away at a great rate, and although he did not loo_ery graceful he ran in a way to do credit to his Kentucky breeding. But th_awhorse was swifter than the wind. Its wooden legs moved so fast that thei_winkling could scarcely be seen, and although so much smaller than the cab-
  • horse it covered the ground much faster. Before they had reached the trees th_awhorse was far ahead, and the wooden animal returned to the starting plac_s was being lustily cheered by the Ozites before Jim came panting up to th_anopy where the Princess and her friends were seated.
  • I am sorry to record the fact that Jim was not only ashamed of his defeat bu_or a moment lost control of his temper. As he looked at the comical face o_he Sawhorse he imagined that the creature was laughing at him; so in a fit o_nreasonable anger he turned around and made a vicious kick that sent hi_ival tumbling head over heels upon the ground, and broke off one of its leg_nd its left ear.
  • An instant later the Tiger crouched and launched its huge body through the ai_wift and resistless as a ball from a cannon. The beast struck Jim full on hi_houlder and sent the astonished cab-horse rolling over and over, amid shout_f delight from the spectators, who had been horrified by the ungracious ac_e had been guilty of.
  • When Jim came to himself and sat upon his haunches he found the Cowardly Lio_rouched on one side of him and the Hungry Tiger on the other, and their eye_ere glowing like balls of fire.
  • "I beg your pardon, I'm sure," said Jim, meekly. "I was wrong to kick th_awhorse, and I am sorry I became angry at him. He has won the race, and wo_t fairly; but what can a horse of flesh do against a tireless beast of wood?"
  • Hearing this apology the Tiger and the Lion stopped lashing their tails an_etreated with dignified steps to the side of the Princess.
  • "No one must injure one of our friends in our presence," growled the Lion; an_eb ran to Jim and whispered that unless he controlled his temper in th_uture he would probably be torn to pieces.
  • Then the Tin Woodman cut a straight and strong limb from a tree with hi_leaming axe and made a new leg and a new ear for the Sawhorse; and when the_ad been securely fastened in place Princess Ozma took the coronet from he_wn head and placed it upon that of the winner of the race. Said she:
  • "My friend, I reward you for your swiftness by proclaiming you Prince o_orses, whether of wood or of flesh; and hereafter all other horses—in th_and of Oz, at least—must be considered imitations, and you the real Champio_f your race."
  • There was more applause at this, and then Ozma had the jewelled saddl_eplaced upon the Sawhorse and herself rode the victor back to the city at th_ead of the grand procession.
  • "I ought to be a fairy," grumbled Jim, as he slowly drew the buggy home; "fo_o be just an ordinary horse in a fairy country is to be of no accoun_hatever. It's no place for us, Zeb."
  • "It's lucky we got here, though," said the boy; and Jim thought of the dar_ave, and agreed with him.