The Patchwork Girl, who never slept and who could see very well in the dark, had wandered among the rocks and bushes all night long, with the result tha_he was able to tell some good news the next morning. "Over the crest of th_ill before us," she said, "is a big grove of trees of many kinds on which al_orts of fruits grow. If you will go there, you will find a nice breakfas_waiting you." This made them eager to start, so as soon as the blankets wer_olded and strapped to the back of the Sawhorse, they all took their places o_he animals and set out for the big grove Scraps had told them of.
As soon as they got over the brow of the hill, they discovered it to be _eally immense orchard, extending for miles to the right and left of them. A_heir way led straight through the trees, they hurried forward as fast a_ossible. The first trees they came to bore quinces, which they did not like.
Then there were rows of citron trees and then crab apples and afterward lime_nd lemons. But beyond these they found a grove of big, golden oranges, juic_nd sweet, and the fruit hung low on the branches so they could pluck i_asily.
They helped themselves freely and all ate oranges as they continued on thei_ay. Then, a little farther along, they came to some trees bearing fine, re_pples, which they also feasted on, and the Wizard stopped here long enough t_ie a lot of the apples in one end of a blanket.
"We do not know what will happen to us after we leave this delightfu_rchard," he said, "so I think it wise to carry a supply of apples with us. W_an't starve as long as we have apples, you know."
Scraps wasn't riding the Woozy just now. She loved to climb the trees an_wing herself by the branches from one tree to another. Some of the choices_ruit was gathered by the Patchwork Girl from the very highest limbs an_ossed down to the others. Suddenly, Trot asked, "Where's Button-Bright?" an_hen the others looked for him, they found the boy had disappeared.
"Dear me!" cried Dorothy. "I guess he's lost again, and that will mean ou_aiting here until we can find him."
"It's a good place to wait," suggested Betsy, who had found a plum tree an_as eating some of its fruit.
"How can you wait here and find Button-Bright at one and the same time?"
inquired the Patchwork Girl, hanging by her toes on a limb just over the head_f the three mortal girls.
"Perhaps he'll come back here," answered Dorothy.
"If he tries that, he'll prob'ly lose his way," said Trot. "I've known him t_o that lots of times. It's losing his way that gets him lost."
"Very true," said the Wizard. "So all the rest of you must stay here while _o look for the boy."
"Won't YOU get lost, too?" asked Betsy.
"I hope not, my dear."
"Let ME go," said Scraps, dropping lightly to the ground. "I can't get lost, and I'm more likely to find Button-Bright than any of you." Without waitin_or permission, she darted away through the trees and soon disappeared fro_heir view.
"Dorothy," said Toto, squatting beside his little mistress, "I've lost m_rowl."
"How did that happen?" she asked.
"I don't know," replied Toto. "Yesterday morning the Woozy nearly stepped o_e, and I tried to growl at him and found I couldn't growl a bit."
"Can you bark?" inquired Dorothy.
"Oh, yes indeed."
"Then never mind the growl," said she.
"But what will I do when I get home to the Glass Cat and the Pink Kitten?"
asked the little dog in an anxious tone.
"They won't mind if you can't growl at them, I'm sure," said Dorothy. "I'_orry for you, of course, Toto, for it's just those things we can't do that w_ant to do most of all; but before we get back, you may find your grow_gain."
"Do you think the person who stole Ozma stole my growl?"
"Then he's a scoundrel!" cried the little dog.
"Anyone who would steal Ozma is as bad as bad can be," agreed Dorothy, "an_hen we remember that our dear friend, the lovely Ruler of Oz, is lost, w_ught not to worry over just a growl."
Toto was not entirely satisfied with this remark, for the more he thought upo_is lost growl, the more important his misfortune became. When no one wa_ooking, he went away among the trees and tried his best to growl—even _ittle bit—but could not manage to do so. All he could do was bark, and a bar_annot take the place of a growl, so he sadly returned to the others.
Now Button-Bright had no idea that he was lost at first. He had merel_andered from tree to tree seeking the finest fruit until he discovered he wa_lone in the great orchard. But that didn't worry him just then, and seein_ome apricot trees farther on, he went to them. Then he discovered some cherr_rees; just beyond these were some tangerines. "We've found 'most ev'ry kin_f fruit but peaches," he said to himself, "so I guess there are peaches here, too, if I can find the trees."
He searched here and there, paying no attention to his way, until he foun_hat the trees surrounding him bore only nuts. He put some walnuts in hi_ockets and kept on searching, and at last—right among the nut trees—he cam_pon one solitary peach tree. It was a graceful, beautiful tree, but althoug_t was thickly leaved, it bore no fruit except one large, splendid peach, rosy-cheeked and fuzzy and just right to eat.
In his heart he doubted this statement, for this was a solitary peach tree, while all the other fruits grew upon many trees set close to one another; bu_hat one luscious bite made him unable to resist eating the rest of it, an_oon the peach was all gone except the pit. Button-Bright was about to thro_his peach pit away when he noticed that it was of pure gold. Of course, thi_urprised him, but so many things in the Land of Oz were surprising that h_id not give much thought to the golden peach pit. He put it in his pocket, however, to show to the girls, and five minutes afterward had forgotten al_bout it.
For now he realized that he was far separated from his companions, and knowin_hat this would worry them and delay their journey, he began to shout as lou_s he could. His voice did not penetrate very far among all those trees, an_fter shouting a dozen times and getting no answer, he sat down on the groun_nd said, "Well, I'm lost again. It's too bad, but I don't see how it can b_elped."
As he leaned his back against a tree, he looked up and saw a Bluefinch fl_own from the sky and alight upon a branch just before him. The bird looke_nd looked at him. First it looked with one bright eye and then turned it_ead and looked at him with the other eye. Then, fluttering its wings _ittle, it said, "Oho! So you've eaten the enchanted peach, have you?"
"Was it enchanted?" asked Button-Bright.
"Of course," replied the Bluefinch."Ugu the Shoemaker did that."
"But why? And how was it enchanted? And what will happen to one who eats it?"
questioned the boy.
"Ask Ugu the Shoemaker. He knows," said the bird, preening its feathers wit_ts bill.
"And who is Ugu the Shoemaker?"
"The one who enchanted the peach and placed it here—in the exact center of th_reat Orchard—so no one would ever find it. We birds didn't dare to eat it; w_re too wise for that. But you are Button-Bright from the Emerald City, an_ou, YOU, YOU ate the enchanted peach!
You must explain to Ugu the Shoemaker why you did that." And then, before th_oy could ask any more questions, the bird flew away and left him alone.
Button-Bright was not much worried to find that the peach he had eaten wa_nchanted. It certainly had tasted very good, and his stomach didn't ache _it. So again he began to reflect upon the best way to rejoin his friends.
"Whichever direction I follow is likely to be the wrong one," he said t_imself, "so I'd better stay just where I am and let THEM find ME—if the_an."
A White Rabbit came hopping through the orchard and paused a little way off t_ook at him. "Don't be afraid," said Button-Bright. "I won't hurt you."
"Oh, I'm not afraid for myself," returned the White Rabbit. "It's you I'_orried about."
."Yes, I'm lost,' said the boy.
"I fear you are, indeed," answered the Rabbit. "Why on earth did you eat th_nchanted peach?"
The boy looked at the excited little animal thoughtfully. "There were tw_easons," he explained. "One reason was that I like peaches, and the othe_eason was that I didn't know it was enchanted."
"That won't save you from Ugu the Shoemaker," declared the White Rabbit, an_t scurried away before the boy could ask any more questions.
"Rabbits and birds," he thought, "are timid creatures and seem afraid of thi_hoemaker, whoever he may be. If there was another peach half as good as tha_ther, I'd eat it in spite of a dozen enchantments or a hundred shoemakers!"
Just then, Scraps came dancing along and saw him sitting at the foot of th_ree. "Oh, here you are!" she said. "Up to your old tricks, eh? Don't you kno_t's impolite to get lost and keep everybody waiting for you? Come along, an_'ll lead you back to Dorothy and the others."
Button-Bright rose slowly to accompany her.
"That wasn't much of a loss," he said cheerfully. "I haven't been gone half _ay, so there's no harm done."
Dorothy, however, when the boy rejoined the party, gave him a good scolding.
"When we're doing such an important thing as searching for Ozma," said she,
"it's naughty for you to wander away and keep us from getting on. S'pose she'_ pris'ner in a dungeon cell! Do you want to keep our dear Ozma there an_onger than we can help?"
"If she's in a dungeon cell, how are you going to get her out?" inquired th_oy.
"Never you mind. We'll leave that to the Wizard. He's sure to find a way."
The Wizard said nothing, for he realized that without his magic tools he coul_o no more than any other person. But there was no use reminding hi_ompanions of that fact; it might discourage them. "The important thing jus_ow," he remarked, "is to find Ozma, and as our party is again happil_eunited, I propose we move on."
As they came to the edge of the Great Orchard, the sun was setting and the_new it would soon be dark. So it was decided to camp under the trees, a_nother broad plain was before them. The Wizard spread the blankets on a be_f soft leaves, and presently all of them except Scraps and the Sawhorse wer_ast asleep. Toto snuggled close to his friend the Lion, and the Woozy snore_o loudly that the Patchwork Girl covered his square head with her apron t_eaden the sound.