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Chapter 18 The Conference

  • "Now then," said the Wizard, "let us talk this matter over and decide what t_o when we get to Ugu's wicker castle. There can be no doubt that th_hoemaker is a powerful Magician, and his powers have been increased _undredfold since he secured the Great Book of Records, the Magic Picture, al_f Glinda's recipes for sorcery, and my own black bag, which was full of tool_f wizardry. The man who could rob us of those things and the man with al_heir powers at his command is one who may prove somewhat difficult t_onquer, therefore we should plan our actions well before we venture too nea_o his castle."
  • "I didn't see Ozma in the Magic Picture," said Trot. "What do you suppose Ug_as done with her?"
  • "Couldn't the Little Pink Bear tell us what he did with Ozma?" asked Button-
  • Bright.
  • "To be sure," replied the Lavender King. "I'll ask him." So he turned th_rank in the Little Pink Bear's side and inquired, "Did Ugu the Shoemake_teal Ozma of Oz?"
  • "Yes," answered the Little Pink Bear.
  • "Then what did he do with her?" asked the King.
  • "Shut her up in a dark place," answered the Little Pink Bear.
  • "Oh, that must be a dungeon cell!" cried Dorothy, horrified. "How dreadful!"
  • "Well, we must get her out of it," said the Wizard. "That is what we came for,
  • and of course we must rescue Ozma. But how?"
  • Each one looked at some other one for an answer, and all shook their heads i_ grave and dismal manner. All but Scraps, who danced around them gleefully.
  • "You're afraid," said the Patchwork Girl, "because so many things can hur_our meat bodies. Why don't you give it up and go home? How can you fight _reat magician when you have nothing to fight with?"
  • Dorothy looked at her reflectively.
  • "Scraps," said she, "you know that Ugu couldn't hurt you a bit, whatever h_id, nor could he hurt ME, 'cause I wear the Gnome King's Magic Belt. S'pos_ust we two go on together and leave the others here to wait for us."
  • "No, no!" said the Wizard positively. "That won't do at all. Ozma is mor_owerful than either of you, yet she could not defeat the wicked Ugu, who ha_hut her up in a dungeon. We must go to the Shoemaker in one mighty band, fo_nly in union is there strength."
  • "That is excellent advice," said the Lavender Bear approvingly.
  • "But what can we do when we get to Ugu?" inquired the Cookie Cook anxiously.
  • "Do not expect a prompt answer to that important question," replied th_izard, "for we must first plan our line of conduct. Ugu knows, of course,
  • that we are after him, for he has seen our approach in the Magic Picture, an_e has read of all we have done up to the present moment in the Great Book o_ecords. Therefore we cannot expect to take him by surprise."
  • "Don't you suppose Ugu would listen to reason?" asked Betsy. "If we explaine_o him how wicked he has been, don't you think he'd let poor Ozma go?"
  • "And give me back my dishpan?" added the Cookie Cook eagerly.
  • "Yes, yes, won't he say he's sorry and get on his knees and beg our pardon?"
  • cried Scraps, turning a flip-flop to show her scorn of the suggestion. "Whe_gu the Shoemaker does that, please knock at the front door and let me know."
  • The Wizard sighed and rubbed his bald head with a puzzled air. "I'm quite sur_gu will not be polite to us," said he, "so we must conquer this crue_agician by force, much as we dislike to be rude to anyone. But none of yo_as yet suggested a way to do that. Couldn't the Little Pink Bear tell u_ow?" he asked, turning to the Bear King.
  • "No, for that is something that is GOING to happen," replied the Lavende_ear. "He can only tell us what already HAS happened."
  • Again, they were grave and thoughtful. But after a time, Betsy said in _esitating voice, "Hank is a great fighter. Perhaps HE could conquer th_agician."
  • The Mule turned his head to look reproachfully at his old friend, the youn_irl. "Who can fight against magic?" he asked.
  • "The Cowardly Lion could," said Dorothy.
  • The Lion, who was lying with his front legs spread out, his chin on his paws,
  • raised his shaggy head. "I can fight when I'm not afraid," said he calmly,
  • "but the mere mention of a fight sets me to trembling."
  • "Ugu's magic couldn't hurt the Sawhorse," suggested tiny Trot.
  • "And the Sawhorse couldn't hurt the Magician," declared that wooden animal.
  • "For my part," said Toto, "I am helpless, having lost my growl."
  • "Then," said Cayke the Cookie Cook, "we must depend upon the Frogman. Hi_arvelous wisdom will surely inform him how to conquer the wicked Magician an_estore to me my dishpan."
  • All eyes were now turned questioningly upon the Frogman. Finding himself th_enter of observation, he swung his gold-headed cane, adjusted his bi_pectacles, and after swelling out his chest, sighed and said in a modest ton_f voice, "Respect for truth obliges me to confess that Cayke is mistaken i_egard to my superior wisdom. I am not very wise. Neither have I had an_ractical experience in conquering magicians. But let us consider this case.
  • What is Ugu, and what is a magician? Ugu is a renegade shoemaker, and _agician is an ordinary man who, having learned how to do magical tricks,
  • considers himself above his fellows. In this case, the Shoemaker has bee_aughty enough to steal a lot of magical tools and things that did not belon_o him, and he is more wicked to steal than to be a magician. Yet with all th_rts at his command, Ugu is still a man, and surely there are ways in which _an may be conquered. How, do you say, how? Allow me to state that I don'_now. In my judgment, we cannot decide how best to act until we get to Ugu'_astle. So let us go to it and take a look at it. After that, we may discove_n idea that will guide us to victory."
  • "That may not be a wise speech, but it sounds good," said Dorothy approvingly.
  • "Ugu the Shoemaker is not only a common man, but he's a wicked man and a crue_an and deserves to be conquered. We musn't have any mercy on him till Ozma i_et free. So let's go to his castle as the Frogman says and see what the plac_ooks like."
  • No one offered any objection to this plan, and so it was adopted. They brok_amp and were about to start on the journey to Ugu's castle when the_iscovered that Button-Bright was lost again. The girls and the Wizard shoute_is name, and the Lion roared and the Donkey brayed and the Frogman croake_nd the Big Lavender Bear growled (to the envy of Toto, who couldn't growl bu_arked his loudest), yet none of them could make Button-Bright hear. So afte_ainly searching for the boy a full hour, they formed a procession an_roceeded in the direction of the wicker castle of Ugu the Shoemaker.
  • "Button-Bright's always getting lost," said Dorothy. "And if he wasn't alway_etting found again, I'd prob'ly worry. He may have gone ahead of us, and h_ay have gone back, but wherever he is, we'll find him sometime and somewhere,
  • I'm almost sure."