The gray dove which had once been Ugu the Shoemaker sat on its tree in the fa_uadling Country and moped, chirping dismally and brooding over it_isfortunes. After a time, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman came along an_at beneath the tree, paying no heed to the mutterings of the gray dove. Th_in Woodman took a small oilcan from his tin pocket and carefully oiled hi_in joints with it.
While he was thus engaged, the Scarecrow remarked, "I feel much better, dea_omrade, since we found that heap of nice, clean straw and you stuffed me ane_ith it."
"And I feel much better now that my joints are oiled," returned the Ti_oodman with a sigh of pleasure. "You and I, friend Scarecrow, are much mor_asily cared for than those clumsy meat people, who spend half their tim_ressing in fine clothes and who must live in splendid dwellings in order t_e contented and happy. You and I do not eat, and so we are spared th_readful bother of getting three meals a day. Nor do we waste half our live_n sleep, a condition that causes the meat people to lose all consciousnes_nd become as thoughtless and helpless as logs of wood."
"You speak truly," responded the Scarecrow, tucking some wisps of straw int_is breast with his padded fingers. "I often feel sorry for the meat people,
many of whom are my friends. Even the beasts are happier than they, for the_equire less to make them content. And the birds are the luckiest creatures o_ll, for they can fly swiftly where they will and find a home at any plac_hey care to perch. Their food consists of seeds and grains they gather fro_he fields, and their drink is a sip of water from some running brook. If _ould not be a Scarecrow or a Tin Woodman, my next choice would be to live a_ bird does."
The gray dove had listened carefully to this speech and seemed to find comfor_n it, for it hushed its moaning. And just then the Tin Woodman discovere_ayke's dishpan, which was on the ground quite near to him. "Here is a rathe_retty utensil," he said, taking it in his tin hand to examine it, "but _ould not care to own it. Whoever fashioned it of gold and covered it wit_iamonds did not add to its usefulness, nor do I consider it as beautiful a_he bright dishpans of tin one usually sees. No yellow color is ever s_andsome as the silver sheen of tin," and he turned to look at his tin leg_nd body with approval.
"I cannot quite agree with you there," replied the Scarecrow. "My stra_tuffing has a light yellow color, and it is not only pretty to look at, bu_t crunkles most delightfully when I move."
"Let us admit that all colors are good in their proper places," said the Ti_oodman, who was too kind-hearted to quarrel, "but you must agree with me tha_ dishpan that is yellow is unnatural. What shall we do with this one, whic_e have just found?"
"Let us carry it back to the Emerald City," suggested the Scarecrow. "Some o_ur friends might like to have it for a foot-bath, and in using it that way,
its golden color and sparkling ornaments would not injure its usefulness."
So they went away and took the jeweled dishpan with them. And after wanderin_hrough the country for a day or so longer, they learned the news that Ozm_ad been found. Therefore they straightway returned to the Emerald City an_resented the dishpan to Princess Ozma as a token of their joy that she ha_een restored to them. Ozma promptly gave the diamond-studded gold dishpan t_ayke the Cookie Cook, who was delighted at regaining her lost treasure tha_he danced up and down in glee and then threw her skinny arms around Ozma'_eck and kissed her gratefully. Cayke's mission was now successfull_ccomplished, but she was having such a good time at the Emerald City that sh_eemed in no hurry to go back to the Country of the Yips.
It was several weeks after the dishpan had been restored to the Cookie Coo_hen one day, as Dorothy was seated in the royal gardens with Trot and Bets_eside her, a gray dove came flying down and alighted at the girl's feet.
"I am Ugu the Shoemaker," said the dove in a soft, mourning voice, "and I hav_ome to ask you to forgive me for the great wrong I did in stealing Ozma an_he magic that belonged to her and to others."
"Are you sorry, then?" asked Dorothy, looking hard at the bird.
"I am VERY sorry," declared Ugu. "I've been thinking over my misdeeds for _ong time, for doves have little else to do but think, and I'm surprised tha_ was such a wicked man and had so little regard for the rights of others. _m now convinced that even had I succeeded in making myself ruler of all Oz, _hould not have been happy, for many days of quiet thought have shown me tha_nly those things one acquires honestly are able to render one content."
"I guess that's so," said Trot.
"Anyhow," said Betsy, "the bad man seems truly sorry, and if he has now becom_ good and honest man, we ought to forgive him."
"I fear I cannot become a good MAN again," said Ugu, "for the transformation _m under will always keep me in the form of a dove. But with the kin_orgiveness of my former enemies, I hope to become a very good dove and highl_espected."
"Wait here till I run for my Magic Belt," said Dorothy, "and I'll transfor_ou back to your reg'lar shape in a jiffy."
"No, don't do that!" pleaded the dove, fluttering its wings in an excited way.
"I only want your forgiveness. I don't want to be a man again. As Ugu th_hoemaker I was skinny and old and unlovely. As a dove I am quite pretty t_ook at. As a man I was ambitious and cruel, while as a dove I can be conten_ith my lot and happy in my simple life. I have learned to love the free an_ndependent life of a bird, and I'd rather not change back."
"Just as you like, Ugu," said Dorothy, resuming her seat. "Perhaps you ar_ight, for you're certainly a better dove than you were a man, and if yo_hould ever backslide an' feel wicked again, you couldn't do much harm as _ray dove."
"Then you forgive me for all the trouble I caused you?" he asked earnestly.
"Of course. Anyone who's sorry just has to be forgiven."
"Thank you," said the gray dove, and flew away again.