From the top of the hill Ozma and Dorothy looked down into the valley beyon_nd were surprised to find it filled with a floating mist that was as dense a_moke. Nothing in the valley was visible except these rolling waves of mist,
but beyond, on the other side, rose a grassy hill that appeared quit_eautiful.
"Well," said Dorothy, "what are we to do, Ozma? Walk down into that thick fog,
an' prob'bly get lost in it, or wait till it clears away?"
"I'm not sure it will clear away, however long we wait," replied Ozma,
doubtfully. "If we wish to get on, I think we must venture into the mist."
"But we can't see where we're going, or what we're stepping on," proteste_orothy. "There may be dreadful things mixed up in that fog, an' I'm scare_ust to think of wading into it."
Even Ozma seemed to hesitate. She was silent and thoughtful for a littl_hile, looking at the rolling drifts that were so gray and forbidding. Finall_he said:
"I believe this is a Mist Valley, where these moist clouds always remain, fo_ven the sunshine above does not drive them away. Therefore the Mist Maid_ust live here, and they are fairies and should answer my call."
She placed her two hands before her mouth, forming a hollow with them, an_ttered a clear, thrilling, bird-like cry. It floated far out over the mis_aves and presently was answered by a similar sound, as of a far-off echo.
Dorothy was much impressed. She had seen many strange things since coming t_his fairy country, but here was a new experience. At ordinary times Ozma wa_ust like any little girl one might chance to meet—simple, merry, lovable a_ould be—yet with a certain reserve that lent her dignity in her most joyou_oods. There were times, however, when seated on her throne and commanding he_ubjects, or when her fairy powers were called into use, when Dorothy and al_thers about her stood in awe of their lovely girl Ruler and realized he_uperiority.
Ozma waited. Presently out from the billows rose beautiful forms, clothed i_leecy, trailing garments of gray that could scarcely be distinguished fro_he mist. Their hair was mist-color, too; only their gleaming arms and sweet,
pallid faces proved they were living, intelligent creatures answering the cal_f a sister fairy.
Like sea nymphs they rested on the bosom of the clouds, their eyes turne_uestioningly upon the two girls who stood upon the bank. One came quite nea_nd to her Ozma said:
"Will you please take us to the opposite hillside? We are afraid to ventur_nto the mist. I am Princess Ozma of Oz, and this is my friend Dorothy, _rincess of Oz."
The Mist Maids came nearer, holding out their arms. Without hesitation Ozm_dvanced and allowed them to embrace her and Dorothy plucked up courage t_ollow. Very gently the Mist Maids held them. Dorothy thought the arms wer_old and misty—they didn't seem real at all—yet they supported the two girl_bove the surface of the billows and floated with them so swiftly to the gree_illside opposite that the girls were astonished to find themselves set upo_he grass before they realized they had fairly started.
"Thank you!" said Ozma gratefully, and Dorothy also added her thanks for th_ervice.
The Mist Maids made no answer, but they smiled and waved their hands in good-
bye as again they floated out into the mist and disappeared from view.