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Chapter 4 Among the Winkies

  • The settled parts of the Winkie Country are full of happy and contented peopl_ho are ruled by a tin Emperor named Nick Chopper, who in turn is a subject o_he beautiful girl Ruler, Ozma of Oz. But not all of the Winkie Country i_ully settled. At the east, which part lies nearest the Emerald City, ther_re beautiful farmhouses and roads, but as you travel west, you first come t_ branch of the Winkie River, beyond which there is a rough country where fe_eople live, and some of these are quite unknown to the rest of the world.
  • After passing through this rude section of territory, which no one eve_isits, you would come to still another branch of the Winkie River, afte_rossing which you would find another well-settled part of the Winkie Countr_xtending westward quite to the Deadly Desert that surrounds all the Land o_z and separates that favored fairyland from the more common outside world.
  • The Winkies who live in this west section have many tin mines, from whic_etal they make a great deal of rich jewelry and other articles, all of whic_re highly esteemed in the Land of Oz because tin is so bright and pretty an_here is not so much of it as there is of gold and silver.
  • Not all the Winkies are miners, however, for some till the fields and gro_rains for food, and it was at one of these far-west Winkie farms that th_rogman and Cayke the Cookie Cook first arrived after they had descended fro_he mountain of the Yips. "Goodness me!" cried Nellary the Winkie wife whe_he saw the strange couple approaching her house. "I have seen many quee_reatures in the Land of Oz, but none more queer than this giant frog wh_resses like a man and walks on his hind legs. Come here, Wiljon," she calle_o her husband, who was eating his breakfast, "and take a look at thi_stonishing freak."
  • Wiljon the Winkie came to the door and looked out. He was still standing i_he doorway when the Frogman approached and said with a haughty croak, "Tel_e, my good man, have you seen a diamond-studded gold dishpan?"
  • "No, nor have I seen a copper-plated lobster," replied Wiljon in an equall_aughty tone.
  • The Frogman stared at him and said, "Do not be insolent, fellow!"
  • "No," added Cayke the Cookie Cook hastily, "you must be very polite to th_reat Frogman, for he is the wisest creature in all the world."
  • "Who says that?" inquired Wiljon.
  • "He says so himself," replied Cayke, and the Frogman nodded and strutted u_nd down, twirling his gold-headed cane very gracefully.
  • "Does the Scarecrow admit that this overgrown frog is the wisest creature i_he world?" asked Wiljon.
  • "I do not know who the Scarecrow is," answered Cayke the Cookie Cook.
  • "Well, he lives at the Emerald City, and he is supposed to have the fines_rains in all Oz. The Wizard gave them to him, you know."
  • "Mine grew in my head," said the Frogman pompously, "so I think they must b_etter than any wizard brains. I am so wise that sometimes my wisdom makes m_ead ache. I know so much that often I have to forget part of it, since no on_reature, however great, is able to contain so much knowledge."
  • "It must be dreadful to be stuffed full of wisdom," remarked Wiljo_eflectively and eyeing the Frogman with a doubtful look. "It is my goo_ortune to know very little."
  • "I hope, however, you know where my jeweled dishpan is," said the Cookie Coo_nxiously.
  • "I do not know even that," returned the Winkie."We have trouble enough i_eeping track of our own dishpans without meddling with the dishpans o_trangers."
  • Finding him so ignorant, the Frogman proposed that they walk on and see_ayke's dishpan elsewhere. Wiljon the Winkie did not seem greatly impressed b_he great Frogman, which seemed to that personage as strange as it wa_isappointing. But others in this unknown land might prove more respectful.
  • "I'd like to meet that Wizard of Oz," remarked Cayke as they walked along _ath. "If he could give a Scarecrow brains, he might be able to find m_ishpan."
  • "Poof!" grunted the Frogman scornfully. "I am greater than any wizard. Depen_n ME. If your dishpan is anywhere in the world, I am sure to find it."
  • "If you do not, my heart will be broken," declared the Cookie Cook in _orrowful voice.
  • For a while the Frogman walked on in silence. Then he asked, "Why do yo_ttach so much importance to a dishpan?"
  • "It is the greatest treasure I possess," replied the woman. "It belonged to m_other and to all my grandmothers since the beginning of time. It is, _elieve, the very oldest thing in all the Yip Country—or was while it wa_here—and," she added, dropping her voice to an awed whisper, "it has magi_owers!"
  • "In what way?" inquired the Frogman, seeming to be surprised at thi_tatement.
  • "Whoever has owned that dishpan has been a good cook, for one thing. No on_lse is able to make such good cookies as I have cooked, as you and all th_ips know. Yet the very morning after my dishpan was stolen, I tried to make _atch of cookies and they burned up in the oven! I made another batch tha_roved too tough to eat, and I was so ashamed of them that I buried them i_he ground. Even the third batch of cookies, which I brought with me in m_asket, were pretty poor stuff and no better than any woman could make wh_oes not own my diamond-studded gold dishpan. In fact, my good Frogman, Cayk_he Cookie Cook will never be able to cook good cookies again until her magi_ishpan is restored to her."
  • "In that case," said the Frogman with a sigh, "I suppose we must manage t_ind it."