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Chapter 20 A Puzzling Problem

  • Glinda the Good, having decided to try her sorcery upon the abandone_ubmarine, so that it would obey her commands, asked all of her party,
  • including the Skeezers, to withdraw from the shore of the take to the line o_alm trees. She kept with her only the little Wizard of Oz, who was her pupi_nd knew how to assist her in her magic rites. When they two were alone besid_he stranded boat, Glinda said to the Wizard:
  • "I shall first try my magic recipe No. 1163, which is intended to mak_nanimate objects move at my command. Have you a skeropythrope with you?"
  • "Yes, I always carry one in my bag," replied the Wizard. He opened his blac_ag of magic tools and took out a brightly polished skeropythrope, which h_anded to the Sorceress. Glinda had also brought a small wicker bag,
  • containing various requirements of sorcery, and from this she took a parcel o_owder and a vial of liquid. She poured the liquid into the skeropythrope an_dded the powder. At once the skeropythrope began to sputter and emit spark_f a violet color, which spread in all directions. The Sorceress instantl_tepped into the middle of the boat and held the instrument so that the spark_ell all around her and covered every bit of the blackened steel boat. At th_ame time Glinda crooned a weird incantation in the language of sorcery, he_oice sounding low and musical.
  • After a little the violet sparks ceased, and those that had fallen upon th_oat had disappeared and left no mark upon its surface. The ceremony was ende_nd Glinda returned the skeropythrope to the Wizard, who put it away in hi_lack bag.
  • "That ought to do the business all right," he said confidently
  • "Let us make a trial and see," she replied.
  • So they both entered the boat and seated themselves.
  • Speaking in a tone of command the Sorceress said to the boat: "Carry us acros_he lake, to the farther shore."
  • At once the boat backed off the sandy beach, turned its prow and moved swiftl_ver the water.
  • "Very good—very good indeed!" cried the Wizard, when the boat slowed up at th_hore opposite from that whence they had departed. "Even Coo-ee-oh, with al_er witchcraft, could do no better."
  • The Sorceress now said to the boat:
  • "Close up, submerge and carry us to the basement door of the sunken island—th_oor from which you emerged at the command of Queen Coo-ee-oh."
  • The boat obeyed. As it sank into the water the top sections rose from th_ides and joined together over the heads of Glinda and the Wizard, who wer_hus enclosed in a water-proof chamber. There were four glass windows in thi_overing, one on each side and one on either end, so that the passengers coul_ee exactly where they were going. Moving under water more slowly than on th_urface, the submarine gradually approached the island and halted with its bo_ressed against the huge marble door in the basement under the Dome. This doo_as tightly closed and it was evident to both Glinda and the Wizard that i_ould not open to admit the underwater boat unless a magic word was spoken b_hem or someone from within the basement of the island. But what was thi_agic word? Neither of them knew.
  • "I'm afraid," said the Wizard regretfully, "that we can't get in, after all.
  • Unless your sorcery can discover the word to open the marble door."
  • "That is probably some word only known to Coo-ce-oh," replied the Sorceress.
  • "I may be able to discover what it is, but that will require time. Let us g_ack again to our companions."
  • "It seems a shame, after we have made the boat obey us, to be balked by just _arble door," grumbled the Wizard.
  • At Glinda's command the boat rose until it was on a level with the glass dom_hat covered the Skeezer village, when the Sorceress made it slowly circle al_round the Great Dome.
  • Many faces were pressed against the glass from the inside, eagerly watchin_he submarine, and in one place were Dorothy and Ozma, who quickly recognize_linda and the Wizard through the glass windows of the boat. Glinda saw them,
  • too, and held the boat close to the Dome while the friends exchanged greeting_n pantomime. Their voices, unfortunately, could not be heard through the Dom_nd the water and the side of the boat. The Wizard tried to make the girl_nderstand, through signs, that he and Glinda had come to their rescue, an_zma and Dorothy understood this from the very fact that the Sorceress and th_izard had appeared. The two girl prisoners were smiling and in safety, an_nowing this Glinda felt she could take all the time necessary in order t_ffect their final rescue.
  • As nothing more could be done just then, Glinda ordered the boat to return t_hore and it obeyed readily. First it ascended to the surface of the water,
  • then the roof parted and fell into the slots at the side of the boat, and the_he magic craft quickly made the shore and beached itself on the sands at th_ery spot from which it had departed at Glinda's command. All the Oz peopl_nd the Skeezers at once ran to the boat to ask if they had reached th_sland, and whether they had seen Ozma and Dorothy. The Wizard told them o_he obstacle they had met in the way of a marble door, and how Glinda woul_ow undertake to find a magic way to conquer the door.
  • Realizing that it would require several days to succeed in reaching the islan_aising it and liberating their friends and the Skeezer people, Glinda no_repared a camp half way between the lake shore and the palm trees.
  • The Wizard's wizardry made a number of tents appear and the sorcery of th_orceress furnished these tents all complete, with beds, chairs, tables,
  • flags, lamps and even books with which to pass idle hours. All the tents ha_he Royal Banner of Oz flying from the centerpoles and one big tent, not no_ccupied, had Ozma's own banner moving in the breeze.
  • Betsy and Trot had a tent to themselves, and Button Bright and Ojo ha_nother. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman paired together in one tent and s_id Jack Pumpkinhead and the Shaggy Man, Cap'n Bill and Uncle Henry, Tik-To_nd Professor Wogglebug. Glinda had the most splendid tent of all, except tha_eserved for Ozma, while the Wizard had a little one of his own. Whenever i_as meal time, tables loaded with food magically appeared in the tents o_hose who were in the habit of eating, and these complete arrangements mad_he rescue party just comfortable as they would have been in their own homes.
  • Far into the night Glinda sat in her tent studying a roll of mystic scrolls i_earch of a word that would open the basement door of the island and admit he_o the Great Dome. She also made many magical experiments, hoping to discove_omething that would aid her. Yet the morning found the powerful Sorceres_till unsuccessful.
  • Glinda's art could have opened any ordinary door, you may be sure, but yo_ust realize that this marble door of the island had been commanded not t_pen save in obedience to one magic word, and therefore all other magic word_ould have no effect upon it. The magic word that guarded the door ha_robably been invented by Coo-ee-oh, who had now forgotten it. The only way,
  • then, to gain entrance to the sunken island was to break the charm that hel_he door fast shut. If this could be done no magic would be required to ope_t.
  • The next day the Sorceress and the Wizard again entered the boat and made i_ubmerge and go to the marble door, which they tried in various ways to open,
  • but without success.
  • "We shall have to abandon this attempt, I think," said Glinda. "The easies_ay to raise the island would be for us to gain admittance to the Dome an_hen descend to the basement and see in what manner Coo-ee-oh made the entir_sland sink or rise at her command. It naturally occurred to me that th_asiest way to gain admittance would be by having the boat take us into th_asement through the marble door from which Coo-ee-oh launched it. But ther_ust be other ways to get inside the Dome and join Ozma and Dorothy, and suc_ays we must find by study and the proper use of our powers of magic."
  • "It won't be easy," declared the Wizard, "for we must not forget that Ozm_erself understands considerable magic, and has doubtless tried to raise th_sland or find other means of escape from it and failed."
  • "That is true," returned Glinda, "but Ozma's magic is fairy magic, while yo_re a Wizard and I am a Sorceress. In this way the three of us have a grea_ariety of magic to work with, and if we should all fail it will be becaus_he island is raised and lowered by a magic power none of us is acquainte_ith. My idea therefore is to seek—by such magic as we possess—to accomplis_ur object in another way."
  • They made the circle of the Dome again in their boat, and once more saw Ozm_nd Dorothy through their windows and exchanged signals with the tw_mprisoned girls.
  • Ozma realized that her friends were doing all in their power to rescue her an_miled an encouragement to their efforts. Dorothy seemed a little anxious bu_as trying to be as brave as her companion.
  • After the boat had returned to the camp and Glinda was seated in her tent,
  • working out various ways by which Ozma and Dorothy could be rescued, th_izard stood on the shore dreamily eying the outlines of the Great Dome whic_howed beneath the clear water, when he raised his eyes and saw a group o_trange people approaching from around the lake. Three were young women o_tately presence, very beautifully dressed, who moved with remarkable grace.
  • They were followed at a little distance by a good-looking young Skeezer.
  • The Wizard saw at a glance that these people might be very important, so h_dvanced to meet them. The three maidens received him graciously and the on_ith the golden hair said:
  • "I believe you are the famous Wizard of Oz, of whom I have often heard. We ar_eeking Glinda, the Sorceress, and perhaps you can lead us to her."
  • "I can, and will, right gladly," answered the Wizard. "Follow me, please."
  • The little Wizard was puzzled as to the identity of the three lovely visitor_ut he gave no sign that might embarrass them.
  • He understood they did not wish to be questioned, and so he made no remarks a_e led the way to Glinda's tent.
  • With a courtly bow the Wizard ushered the three visitors into the graciou_resence of Glinda, the Good.