Next morning as soon as the sun was up, Glinda flew back to her castle, stopping on the way to instruct the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, who were a_hat time staying at the college of Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T.E., an_aking a course of his Patent Educational Pills.
On hearing of Ozma's loss, they started at once for the Quadling Country t_earch for her. As soon as Glinda had left the Emerald City, Tik-Tok and th_haggy Man and Jack Pumpkinhead, who had been present at the conference, bega_heir journey into the Gillikin Country, and an hour later Ojo and Unc Nunki_oined Dr. Pipt and together they traveled toward the Munchkin Country. Whe_ll these searchers were gone, Dorothy and the Wizard completed their ow_reparations.
The Wizard hitched the Sawhorse to the Red Wagon, which would seat four ver_omfortably. He wanted Dorothy, Betsy, Trot and the Patchwork Girl to ride i_he wagon, but Scraps came up to them mounted upon the Woozy, and the Wooz_aid he would like to join the party. Now this Woozy was a most peculia_nimal, having a square head, square body, square legs and square tail. Hi_kin was very tough and hard, resembling leather, and while his movements wer_omewhat clumsy, the beast could travel with remarkable swiftness. His squar_yes were mild and gentle in expression, and he was not especially foolish.
The Woozy and the Patchwork Girl were great friends, and so the Wizard agree_o let the Woozy go with them.
Another great beast now appeared and asked to go along. This was none othe_han the famous Cowardly Lion, one of the most interesting creatures in al_z. No lion that roamed the jungles or plains could compare in size o_ntelligence with this Cowardly Lion, who—like all animals living in Oz—coul_alk and who talked with more shrewdness and wisdom than many of the peopl_id. He said he was cowardly because he always trembled when he faced danger, but he had faced danger many times and never refused to fight when it wa_ecessary. This Lion was a great favorite with Ozma and always guarded he_hrone on state occasions. He was also an old companion and friend of th_rincess Dorothy, so the girl was delighted to have him join the party.
"I'm so nervous over our dear Ozma," said the Cowardly Lion in his deep, rumbling voice, "that it would make me unhappy to remain behind while you ar_rying to find her. But do not get into any danger, I beg of you, for dange_rightens me terribly."
"We'll not get into danger if we can poss'bly help it," promised Dorothy, "bu_e shall do anything to find Ozma, danger or no danger."
The addition of the Woozy and the Cowardly Lion to the party gave Betsy Bobbi_n idea, and she ran to the marble stables at the rear of the palace an_rought out her mule, Hank by name. Perhaps no mule you ever saw was so lea_nd bony and altogether plain looking as this Hank, but Betsy loved him dearl_ecause he was faithful and steady and not nearly so stupid as most mules ar_onsidered to be. Betsy had a saddle for Hank, and he declared she would rid_n his back, an arrangement approved by the Wizard because it left only fou_f the party to ride on the seats of the Red Wagon—Dorothy and Button-Brigh_nd Trot and himself.
An old sailor man who had one wooden leg came to see them off and suggeste_hat they put a supply of food and blankets in the Red Wagon inasmuch as the_ere uncertain how long they would be gone. This sailor man was called Cap'_ill. He was a former friend and comrade of Trot and had encountered man_dventures in company with the little girl. I think he was sorry he could no_o with her on this trip, but Glinda the Sorceress had asked Cap'n Bill t_emain in the Emerald City and take charge of the royal palace while everyon_lse was away, and the one-legged sailor had agreed to do so.
They loaded the back end of the Red Wagon with everything they thought the_ight need, and then they formed a procession and marched from the palac_hrough the Emerald City to the great gates of the wall that surrounded thi_eautiful capital of the Land of Oz. Crowds of citizens lined the streets t_ee them pass and to cheer them and wish them success, for all were grieve_ver Ozma's loss and anxious that she be found again. First came the Cowardl_ion, then the Patchwork Girl riding upon the Woozy, then Betsy Bobbin on he_ule Hank, and finally the Sawhorse drawing the Red Wagon, in which wer_eated the Wizard and Dorothy and Button-Bright and Trot. No one was oblige_o drive the Sawhorse, so there were no reins to his harness; one had only t_ell him which way to go, fast or slow, and he understood perfectly.
It was about this time that a shaggy little black dog who had been lyin_sleep in Dorothy's room in the palace woke up and discovered he was lonesome.
Everything seemed very still throughout the great building, and Toto—that wa_he little dog's name—missed the customary chatter of the three girls. H_ever paid much attention to what was going on around him, and although h_ould speak, he seldom said anything, so the little dog did not know abou_zma's loss or that everyone had gone in search of her. But he liked to b_ith people, and especially with his own mistress, Dorothy, and having yawne_nd stretched himself and found the door of the room ajar, he trotted out int_he corridor and went down the stately marble stairs to the hall of th_alace, where he met Jellia Jamb.
"Where's Dorothy?" asked Toto.
"She's gone to the Winkie Country," answered the maid.
"A little while ago," replied Jellia.
Toto turned and trotted out into the palace garden and down the long drivewa_ntil he came to the streets of the Emerald City. Here he paused to listen, and hearing sounds of cheering, he ran swiftly along until he came in sight o_he Red Wagon and the Woozy and the Lion and the Mule and all the others.
Being a wise little dog, he decided not to show himself to Dorothy just then, lest he be sent back home, but he never lost sight of the party of travelers, all of whom were so eager to get ahead that they never thought to look behin_hem. When they came to the gates in the city wall, the Guardian of the Gate_ame out to throw wide the golden portals and let them pass through.
"Did any strange person come in or out of the city on the night before las_hen Ozma was stolen?" asked Dorothy.
"No indeed, Princess," answered the Guardian of the Gates.
"Of course not," said the Wizard. "Anyone clever enough to steal all th_hings we have lost would not mind the barrier of a wall like this in th_east. I think the thief must have flown through the air, for otherwise h_ould not have stolen from Ozma's royal palace and Glinda's faraway castle i_he same night. Moreover, as there are no airships in Oz and no way fo_irships from the outside world to get into this country, I believe the thie_ust have flown from place to place by means of magic arts which neithe_linda nor I understand."
On they went, and before the gates closed behind them, Toto managed to dodg_hrough them. The country surrounding the Emerald City was thickly settled, and for a while our friends rode over nicely paved roads which wound through _ertile country dotted with beautiful houses, all built in the quaint O_ashion. In the course of a few hours, however, they had left the tille_ields and entered the Country of the Winkies, which occupies a quarter of al_he territory in the Land of Oz but is not so well known as many other part_f Ozma's fairyland. Long before night the travelers had crossed the Winki_iver near to the Scarecrow's Tower (which was now vacant) and had entered th_olling Prairie where few people live. They asked everyone they met for new_f Ozma, but none in this district had seen her or even knew that she had bee_tolen. And by nightfall they had passed all the farmhouses and were oblige_o stop and ask for shelter at the hut of a lonely shepherd. When they halted, Toto was not far behind. The little dog halted, too, and stealing softl_round the party, he hid himself behind the hut.
The shepherd was a kindly old man and treated the travelers with muc_ourtesy. He slept out of doors that night, giving up his hut to the thre_irls, who made their beds on the floor with the blankets they had brought i_he Red Wagon. The Wizard and Button-Bright also slept out of doors, and s_id the Cowardly Lion and Hank the Mule. But Scraps and the Sawhorse did no_leep at all, and the Woozy could stay awake for a month at a time if h_ished to, so these three sat in a little group by themselves and talke_ogether all through the night.
In the darkness, the Cowardly Lion felt a shaggy little form nestling besid_is own, and he said sleepily, "Where did you come from, Toto?"
"From home," said the dog. "If you roll over, roll the other way so you won'_mash me."
"Does Dorothy know you are here?" asked the Lion.
"I believe not," admitted Toto, and he added a little anxiously, "Do yo_hink, friend Lion, we are now far enough from the Emerald City for me to ris_howing myself, or will Dorothy send me back because I wasn't invited?"
"Only Dorothy can answer that question," said the Lion. "For my part, Toto, _onsider this affair none of my business, so you must act as you think best."
Then the huge beast went to sleep again, and Toto snuggled closer to the warm, hairy body and also slept. He was a wise little dog in his way, and didn'_ntend to worry when there was something much better to do.
In the morning the Wizard built a fire, over which the girls cooked a ver_ood breakfast. Suddenly Dorothy discovered Toto sitting quietly before th_ire, and the little girl exclaimed, "Goodness me, Toto! Where did YOU com_rom?"
"From the place you cruelly left me," replied the dog in a reproachful tone.
"I forgot all about you," admitted Dorothy, "and if I hadn't, I'd prob'ly lef_ou with Jellia Jamb, seeing this isn't a pleasure trip but stric'ly business.
But now that you're here, Toto, I s'pose you'll have to stay with us, unles_ou'd rather go back again. We may get ourselves into trouble before we'r_one, Toto."
"Never mind that," said Toto, wagging his tail."I'm hungry, Dorothy."
"Breakfas'll soon be ready, and then you shall have your share," promised hi_ittle mistress, who was really glad to have her dog with her. She and Tot_ad traveled together before, and she knew he was a good and faithful comrade.
When the food was cooked and served, the girls invited the old shepherd t_oin them in the morning meal. He willingly consented, and while they ate h_aid to them, "You are now about to pass through a very dangerous country, unless you turn to the north or to the south to escape its perils."
"In that case," said the Cowardly Lion, "let us turn, by all means, for _read to face dangers of any sort."
"What's the matter with the country ahead of us?" inquired Dorothy.
"Beyond this Rolling Prairie," explained the shepherd, "are the Merry-Go-Roun_ountains, set close together and surrounded by deep gulfs so that no one i_ble to get past them. Beyond the Merry-Go-Round Mountains it is said th_histle-Eaters and the Herkus live."
"What are they like?" demanded Dorothy.
"No one knows, for no one has ever passed the Merry-Go-Round Mountains," wa_he reply, "but it is said that the Thistle-Eaters hitch dragons to thei_hariots and that the Herkus are waited upon by giants whom they hav_onquered and made their slaves."
"Who says all that?" asked Betsy.
"It is common report," declared the shepherd. "Everyone believes it."
"I don't see how they know," remarked little Trot, "if no one has been there."
"Perhaps the birds who fly over that country brought the news," suggeste_etsy.
"If you escaped those dangers," continued the shepherd, "you might encounte_thers still more serious before you came to the next branch of the Winki_iver. It is true that beyond that river there lies a fine country inhabite_y good people, and if you reached there, you would have no further trouble.
It is between here and the west branch of the Winkie River that all danger_ie, for that is the unknown territory that is inhabited by terrible, lawles_eople."
"It may be, and it may not be," said the Wizard. "We shall know when we ge_here."
"Well," persisted the shepherd, "in a fairy country such as ours, ever_ndiscovered place is likely to harbor wicked creatures. If they were no_icked, they would discover themselves and by coming among us submit to Ozma'_ule and be good and considerate, as are all the Oz people whom we know."
"That argument," stated the little Wizard, "convinces me that it is our dut_o go straight to those unknown places, however dangerous they may be, for i_s surely some cruel and wicked person who has stolen our Ozma, and we know i_ould be folly to search among good people for the culprit. Ozma may not b_idden in the secret places of the Winkie Country, it is true, but it is ou_uty to travel to every spot, however dangerous, where our beloved Ruler i_ikely to be imprisoned."
"You're right about that," said Button-Bright approvingly. "Dangers don't hur_s. Only things that happen ever hurt anyone, and a danger is a thing tha_ight happen and might not happen, and sometimes don't amount to shucks.
I vote we go ahead and take our chances."
They were all of the same opinion, so they packed up and said goodbye to th_riendly shepherd and proceeded on their way.