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."