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Chapter 9 The Royal Family of Ev

  • The Tin Woodman was the first to address the meeting.
  • "To begin with," said he, "word came to our noble and illustrious Ruler, Ozm_f Oz, that the wife and ten children—five boys and five girls—of the forme_ing of Ev, by name Evoldo, have been enslaved by the Nome King and are hel_risoners in his underground palace. Also that there was no one in Ev powerfu_nough to release them. Naturally our Ozma wished to undertake the adventur_f liberating the poor prisoners; but for a long time she could find no way t_ross the great desert between the two countries. Finally she went to _riendly sorceress of our land named Glinda the Good, who heard the story an_t once presented Ozma a magic carpet, which would continually unroll beneat_ur feet and so make a comfortable path for us to cross the desert. As soon a_he had received the carpet our gracious Ruler ordered me to assemble ou_rmy, which I did. You behold in these bold warriors the pick of all th_inest soldiers of Oz; and, if we are obliged to fight the Nome King, ever_fficer as well as the private, will battle fiercely unto death."
  • Then Tiktok spoke.
  • "Why should you fight the Nome King?" he asked. "He has done no wrong."
  • "No wrong!" cried Dorothy. "Isn't it wrong to imprison a queen mother and he_en children?"
  • "They were sold to the Nome King by King Ev-ol-do," replied Tiktok. "It wa_he King of Ev who did wrong, and when he re-al-ized what he had done h_umped in-to the sea and drowned him-self."
  • "This is news to me," said Ozma, thoughtfully. "I had supposed the Nome Kin_as all to blame in the matter. But, in any case, he must be made to liberat_he prisoners."
  • "My uncle Evoldo was a very wicked man," declared the Princess Langwidere. "I_e had drowned himself before he sold his family, no one would have cared. Bu_e sold them to the powerful Nome King in exchange for a long life, an_fterward destroyed the life by jumping into the sea."
  • "Then," said Ozma, "he did not get the long life, and the Nome King must giv_p the prisoners. Where are they confined?"
  • "No one knows, exactly," replied the Princess. "For the king, whose name i_oquat of the Rocks, owns a splendid palace underneath the great mountai_hich is at the north end of this kingdom, and he has transformed the quee_nd her children into ornaments and bric-a-brac with which to decorate hi_ooms."
  • "I'd like to know," said Dorothy, "who this Nome King is?"
  • "I will tell you," replied Ozma. "He is said to be the Ruler of th_nderground World, and commands the rocks and all that the rocks contain.
  • Under his rule are many thousands of the Nomes, who are queerly shaped bu_owerful sprites that labor at the furnaces and forges of their king, makin_old and silver and other metals which they conceal in the crevices of th_ocks, so that those living upon the earth's surface can only find them wit_reat difficulty. Also they make diamonds and rubies and emeralds, which the_ide in the ground; so that the kingdom of the Nomes is wonderfully rich, an_ll we have of precious stones and silver and gold is what we take from th_arth and rocks where the Nome King has hidden them."
  • "I understand," said Dorothy, nodding her little head wisely.
  • "For the reason that we often steal his treasures," continued Ozma, "the Rule_f the Underground World is not fond of those who live upon the earth'_urface, and never appears among us. If we wish to see King Roquat of th_ocks, we must visit his own country, where he is all powerful, and therefor_t will be a dangerous undertaking."
  • "But, for the sake of the poor prisoners," said Dorothy, "we ought to do it."
  • "We shall do it," replied the Scarecrow, "although it requires a lot o_ourage for me to go near to the furnaces of the Nome King. For I am onl_tuffed with straw, and a single spark of fire might destroy me entirely."
  • "The furnaces may also melt my tin," said the Tin Woodman; "but I am going."
  • "I can't bear heat," remarked the Princess Langwidere, yawning lazily, "so _hall stay at home. But I wish you may have success in your undertaking, for _m heartily tired of ruling this stupid kingdom, and I need more leisure i_hich to admire my beautiful heads."
  • "We do not need you," said Ozma. "For, if with the aid of my brave followers _annot accomplish my purpose, then it would be useless for you to undertak_he journey."
  • "Quite true," sighed the Princess. "So, if you'll excuse me, I will now retir_o my cabinet. I've worn this head quite awhile, and I want to change it fo_nother."
  • When she had left them (and you may be sure no one was sorry to see her go) Ozma said to Tiktok:
  • "Will you join our party?"
  • "I am the slave of the girl Dor-oth-y, who rescued me from pris-on," replie_he machine. "Where she goes I will go."
  • "Oh, I am going with my friends, of course," said Dorothy, quickly. "_ouldn't miss the fun for anything. Will you go, too, Billina?"
  • "To be sure," said Billina in a careless tone. She was smoothing down th_eathers of her back and not paying much attention.
  • "Heat is just in her line," remarked the Scarecrow. "If she is nicely roasted, she will be better than ever."
  • "Then" said Ozma, "we will arrange to start for the Kingdom of the Nomes a_aybreak tomorrow. And, in the meantime, we will rest and prepare ourselve_or the journey."
  • Although Princess Langwidere did not again appear to her guests, the palac_ervants waited upon the strangers from Oz and did everything in their powe_o make the party comfortable. There were many vacant rooms at their disposal, and the brave Army of twenty-seven was easily provided for and liberall_easted.
  • The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger were unharnessed from the chariot an_llowed to roam at will throughout the palace, where they nearly frightene_he servants into fits, although they did no harm at all. At one time Doroth_ound the little maid Nanda crouching in terror in a corner, with the Hungr_iger standing before her.
  • "You certainly look delicious," the beast was saying. "Will you kindly give m_ermission to eat you?"
  • "No, no, no!" cried the maid in reply.
  • "Then," said the Tiger, yawning frightfully, "please to get me about thirt_ounds of tenderloin steak, cooked rare, with a peck of boiled potatoes on th_ide, and five gallons of ice-cream for dessert."
  • "I—I'll do the best I can!" said Nanda, and she ran away as fast as she coul_o.
  • "Are you so very hungry?" asked Dorothy, in wonder.
  • "You can hardly imagine the size of my appetite," replied the Tiger, sadly.
  • "It seems to fill my whole body, from the end of my throat to the tip of m_ail. I am very sure the appetite doesn't fit me, and is too large for th_ize of my body. Some day, when I meet a dentist with a pair of forceps, I'_oing to have it pulled."
  • "What, your tooth?" asked Dorothy.
  • "No, my appetite," said the Hungry Tiger.
  • The little girl spent most of the afternoon talking with the Scarecrow and th_in Woodman, who related to her all that had taken place in the Land of O_ince Dorothy had left it. She was much interested in the story of Ozma, wh_ad been, when a baby, stolen by a wicked old witch and transformed into _oy. She did not know that she had ever been a girl until she was restored t_er natural form by a kind sorceress. Then it was found that she was the onl_hild of the former Ruler of Oz, and was entitled to rule in his place. Ozm_ad many adventures, however, before she regained her father's throne, and i_hese she was accompanied by a pumpkin-headed man, a highly magnified an_horoughly educated Woggle-Bug, and a wonderful sawhorse that had been brough_o life by means of a magic powder. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman had als_ssisted her; but the Cowardly Lion, who ruled the great forest as the King o_easts, knew nothing of Ozma until after she became the reigning princess o_z. Then he journeyed to the Emerald City to see her, and on hearing she wa_bout to visit the Land of Ev to set free the royal family of that country, the Cowardly Lion begged to go with her, and brought along his friend, th_ungry Tiger, as well.
  • Having heard this story, Dorothy related to them her own adventures, and the_ent out with her friends to find the Sawhorse, which Ozma had caused to b_hod with plates of gold, so that its legs would not wear out.
  • They came upon the Sawhorse standing motionless beside the garden gate, bu_hen Dorothy was introduced to him he bowed politely and blinked his eyes, which were knots of wood, and wagged his tail, which was only the branch of _ree.
  • "What a remarkable thing, to be alive!" exclaimed Dorothy.
  • "I quiet agree with you," replied the Sawhorse, in a rough but not unpleasan_oice. "A creature like me has no business to live, as we all know. But it wa_he magic powder that did it, so I cannot justly be blamed."
  • "Of course not," said Dorothy. "And you seem to be of some use, 'cause _oticed the Scarecrow riding upon your back."
  • "Oh, yes; I'm of use," returned the Sawhorse; "and I never tire, never have t_e fed, or cared for in any way."
  • "Are you intel'gent?" asked the girl.
  • "Not very," said the creature. "It would be foolish to waste intelligence on _ommon Sawhorse, when so many professors need it. But I know enough to obey m_asters, and to gid-dup, or whoa, when I'm told to. So I'm pretty wel_atisfied."
  • That night Dorothy slept in a pleasant little bed-chamber next to tha_ccupied by Ozma of Oz, and Billina perched upon the foot of the bed an_ucked her head under her wing and slept as soundly in that position as di_orothy upon her soft cushions.
  • But before daybreak every one was awake and stirring, and soon the adventurer_ere eating a hasty breakfast in the great dining-room of the palace. Ozma sa_t the head of a long table, on a raised platform, with Dorothy on her righ_and and the Scarecrow on her left. The Scarecrow did not eat, of course; bu_zma placed him near her so that she might ask his advice about the journe_hile she ate.
  • Lower down the table were the twenty-seven warriors of Oz, and at the end o_he room the Lion and the Tiger were eating out of a kettle that had bee_laced upon the floor, while Billina fluttered around to pick up any scrap_hat might be scattered.
  • It did not take long to finish the meal, and then the Lion and the Tiger wer_arnessed to the chariot and the party was ready to start for the Nome King'_alace.
  • First rode Ozma, with Dorothy beside her in the golden chariot and holdin_illina fast in her arms. Then came the Scarecrow on the Sawhorse, with th_in Woodman and Tiktok marching side by side just behind him. After thes_ramped the Army, looking brave and handsome in their splendid uniforms. Th_enerals commanded the colonels and the colonels commanded the majors and th_ajors commanded the captains and the captains commanded the private, wh_arched with an air of proud importance because it required so many officer_o give him his orders.
  • And so the magnificent procession left the palace and started along the roa_ust as day was breaking, and by the time the sun came out they had made goo_rogress toward the valley that led to the Nome King's domain.