Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 20 More Surprises

  • All that first day after the union of the two parties, our friends marche_teadily toward the wicker castle of Ugu the Shoemaker. When night came, the_amped in a little grove and passed a pleasant evening together, although som_f them were worried because Button-Bright was still lost.
  • "Perhaps," said Toto as the animals lay grouped together for the night, "thi_hoemaker who stole my growl and who stole Ozma has also stolen Button- Bright."
  • "How do you know that the Shoemaker stole your growl?" demanded the Woozy.
  • "He has stolen about everything else of value in Oz, hasn't he?" replied th_og.
  • "He has stolen everything he wants, perhaps," agreed the Lion, "but what coul_nyone want with your growl?"
  • "Well," said the dog, wagging his tail slowly, "my recollection is that it wa_ wonderful growl, soft and low and—and—"
  • "And ragged at the edges," said the Sawhorse.
  • "So," continued Toto, "if that magician hadn't any growl of his own, he migh_ave wanted mine and stolen it."
  • "And if he has, he will soon wish he hadn't," remarked the Mule. "Also, if h_as stolen Button-Bright, he will be sorry."
  • "Don't you like Button-Bright, then?" asked the Lion in surprise.
  • "It isn't a question of liking him," replied the Mule. "It's a question o_atching him and looking after him. Any boy who causes his friends so muc_orry isn't worth having around. I never get lost."
  • "If you did," said Toto, "no one would worry a bit. I think Button-Bright is _ery lucky boy because he always gets found."
  • "See here," said the Lion, "this chatter is keeping us all awake, and tomorro_s likely to be a busy day. Go to sleep and forget your quarrels."
  • "Friend Lion," retorted the dog, "if I hadn't lost my growl, you would hear i_ow. I have as much right to talk as you have to sleep."
  • The Lion sighed.
  • "If only you had lost your voice when you lost your growl," said he, "yo_ould be a more agreeable companion."
  • But they quieted down after that, and soon the entire camp was wrapped i_lumber. Next morning they made an early start, but had hardly proceeded o_heir way an hour when, on climbing a slight elevation, they beheld in th_istance a low mountain on top of which stood Ugu's wicker castle. It was _ood-sized building and rather pretty because the sides, roofs and domes wer_ll of wicker, closely woven as it is in fine baskets.
  • "I wonder if it is strong?"said Dorothy musingly as she eyed the queer castle.
  • "I suppose it is, since a magician built it," answered the Wizard. "With magi_o protect it, even a paper castle might be as strong as if made of stone.
  • This Ugu must be a man of ideas, because he does things in a different wa_rom other people."
  • "Yes. No one else would steal our dear Ozma," sighed tiny Trot.
  • "I wonder if Ozma is there?" said Betsy, indicating the castle with a nod o_er head.
  • "Where else could she be?" asked Scraps.
  • "Suppose we ask the Pink Bear," suggested Dorothy.
  • That seemed a good idea, so they halted the procession, and the Bear King hel_he little Pink Bear on his lap and turned the crank in its side and asked,
  • "Where is Ozma of Oz?"
  • And the little Pink Bear answered, "She is in a hole in the ground a half mil_way at your left."
  • "Good gracious!" cried Dorothy.
  • "Then she is not in Ugu's castle at all."
  • "It is lucky we asked that question," said the Wizard, "for if we can fin_zma and rescue her, there will be no need for us to fight that wicked an_angerous magician."
  • "Indeed!" said Cayke. "Then what about my dishpan?"
  • The Wizard looked puzzled at her tone of remonstrance, so she added, "Didn'_ou people from the Emerald City promise that we would all stick together, an_hat you would help me to get my dishpan if I would help you to get your Ozma?
  • And didn't I bring to you the little Pink Bear, which has told you where Ozm_s hidden?"
  • "She's right," said Dorothy to the Wizard.
  • "We must do as we agreed."
  • "Well, first of all, let us go and rescue Ozma," proposed the Wizard. "The_ur beloved Ruler may be able to advise us how to conquer Ugu the Shoemaker."
  • So they turned to the left and marched for half a mile until they came to _mall but deep hole in the ground. At once, all rushed to the brim to pee_nto the hole, but instead of finding there Princess Ozma of Oz, all that the_aw was Button-Bright, who was lying asleep on the bottom.
  • Their cries soon wakened the boy, who sat up and rubbed his eyes. When h_ecognized his friends, he smiled sweetly, saying, "Found again!"
  • "Where is Ozma?" inquired Dorothy anxiously.
  • "I don't know," answered Button-Bright from the depths of the hole. "I go_ost yesterday, as you may remember, and in the night while I was wanderin_round in the moonlight trying to find my way back to you, I suddenly fel_nto this hole."
  • "And wasn't Ozma in it then?"
  • "There was no one in it but me, and I was sorry it wasn't entirely empty. Th_ides are so steep I can't climb out, so there was nothing to be done bu_leep until someone found me. Thank you for coming. If you'll please let dow_ rope, I'll empty this hole in a hurry."
  • "How strange!" said Dorothy, greatly disappointed.
  • "It's evident the Pink Bear didn't tell the truth."
  • "He never makes a mistake," declared the Lavender Bear King in a tone tha_howed his feelings were hurt. And then he turned the crank of the little Pin_ear again and asked, "Is this the hole that Ozma of Oz is in?"
  • "Yes," answered the Pink Bear.
  • "That settles it," said the King positively. "Your Ozma is in this hole in th_round."
  • "Don't be silly," returned Dorothy impatiently. "Even your beady eyes can se_here is no one in the hole but Button-Bright."
  • "Perhaps Button-Bright is Ozma," suggested the King.
  • "And perhaps he isn't!
  • Ozma is a girl, and Button-Bright is a boy."
  • "Your Pink Bear must be out of order," said the Wizard, "for, this time a_east, his machinery has caused him to make an untrue statement."
  • The Bear King was so angry at this remark that he turned away, holding th_ink Bear in his paws, and refused to discuss the matter in any further way.
  • "At any rate," said the Frogman, "the Pink Bear has led us to your boy frien_nd so enabled you to rescue him."
  • Scraps was leaning so far over the hole trying to find Ozma in it tha_uddenly she lost her balance and pitched in head foremost. She fell upo_utton-Bright and tumbled him over, but he was not hurt by her soft, stuffe_ody and only laughed at the mishap. The Wizard buckled some straps togethe_nd let one end of them down into the hole, and soon both Scraps and the bo_ad climbed up and were standing safely beside the others. They looked onc_ore for Ozma, but the hole was now absolutely vacant. It was a round hole, s_rom the top they could plainly see every part of it. Before they left th_lace, Dorothy went to the Bear King and said, "I'm sorry we couldn't believ_hat the little Pink Bear said, 'cause we don't want to make you feel bad b_oubting him. There must be a mistake, somewhere, and we prob'ly don'_nderstand just what the little Pink Bear said. Will you let me ask him on_ore question?"
  • The Lavender Bear King was a good-natured bear, considering how he was mad_nd stuffed and jointed, so he accepted Dorothy's apology and turned the cran_nd allowed the little girl to question his wee Pink Bear.
  • "Is Ozma REALLY in this hole?" asked Dorothy.
  • "No," said the little Pink Bear.
  • This surprised everybody. Even the Bear King was now puzzled by th_ontradictory statements of his oracle.
  • "Where IS she?" asked the King.
  • "Here, among you," answered the little Pink Bear.
  • "Well," said Dorothy, "this beats me entirely! I guess the little Pink Bea_as gone crazy."
  • "Perhaps," called Scraps, who was rapidly turning "cartwheels" all around th_erplexed group, "Ozma is invisible."
  • "Of course!" cried Betsy. That would account for it."
  • "Well, I've noticed that people can speak, even when they've been mad_nvisible," said the Wizard. And then he looked all around him and said in _olemn voice, "Ozma, are you here?"
  • There was no reply. Dorothy asked the question, too, and so did Button-Brigh_nd Trot and Betsy, but none received any reply at all.
  • "It's strange, it's terrible strange!" muttered Cayke the Cookie Cook. "I wa_ure that the little Pink Bear always tells the truth."
  • "I still believe in his honesty," said the Frogman, and this tribute s_leased the Bear King that he gave these last speakers grateful looks, bu_till gazed sourly on the others.
  • "Come to think of it," remarked the Wizard, "Ozma couldn't be invisible, fo_he is a fairy, and fairies cannot be made invisible against their will. O_ourse, she could be imprisoned by the magician or enchanted or transformed, in spite of her fairy powers, but Ugu could not render her invisible by an_agic at his command."
  • "I wonder if she's been transformed into Button-Bright?" said Doroth_ervously. Then she looked steadily at the boy and asked, "Are you Ozma? Tel_e truly!"
  • Button-Bright laughed.
  • "You're getting rattled, Dorothy," he replied. "Nothing ever enchants ME. If _ere Ozma, do you think I'd have tumbled into that hole?"
  • "Anyhow," said the Wizard, "Ozma would never try to deceive her friends o_revent them from recognizing her in whatever form she happened to be. Th_uzzle is still a puzzle, so let us go on to the wicker castle and questio_he magician himself. Since it was he who stole our Ozma, Ugu is the one wh_ust tell us where to find her.