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Chapter 10 Stuck Fast

  • The day was nearly gone when, at last, the raft was ready.
  • "It ain't so very big," said the old sailor, "but I don't weigh much, an' you,
  • Trot, don't weigh half as much as I do, an' the glass pussy don't count."
  • "But it's safe, isn't it?" inquired the girl.
  • "Yes; it's good enough to carry us to the island an' back again, an' that'_bout all we can expect of it."
  • Saying this, Cap'n Bill pushed the raft into the water, and when it wa_float, stepped upon it and held out his hand to Trot, who quickly followe_im. The Glass Cat boarded the raft last of all.
  • The sailor had cut a long pole, and had also whittled a flat paddle, and wit_hese he easily propelled the raft across the river. As they approached th_sland, the Wonderful Flower became more plainly visible, and they quickl_ecided that the Glass Cat had not praised it too highly. The colors of th_lowers that bloomed in quick succession were strikingly bright and beautiful,
  • and the shapes of the blossoms were varied and curious. Indeed, they did no_esemble ordinary flowers at all.
  • So intently did Trot and Cap'n Bill gaze upon the Golden Flower-pot that hel_he Magic Flower that they scarcely noticed the island itself until the raf_eached upon its sands. But then the girl exclaimed: "How funny it is, Cap'_ill, that nothing else grows here excep' the Magic Flower."
  • Then the sailor glanced at the island and saw that it was all bare ground,
  • without a weed, a stone or a blade of grass. Trot, eager to examine the Flowe_loser, sprang from the raft and ran up the bank until she reached the Golde_lower-pot. Then she stood beside it motionless and filled with wonder. Cap'_ill joined her, coming more leisurely, and he, too, stood in silen_dmiration for a time.
  • "Ozma will like this," remarked the Glass Cat, sitting down to watch th_hifting hues of the flowers. "I'm sure she won't have as fine a birthda_resent from anyone else."
  • "Do you 'spose it's very heavy, Cap'n? And can we get it home without breakin_t?" asked Trot anxiously.
  • "Well, I've lifted many bigger things than that," he replied; "but let's se_hat it weighs."
  • He tried to take a step forward, but could not lift his meat foot from th_round. His wooden leg seemed free enough, but the other would not budge.
  • "I seem stuck, Trot," he said, with a perplexed look at his foot. "It ain'_ud, an' it ain't glue, but somethin's holdin' me down."
  • The girl attempted to lift her own feet, to go nearer to her friend, but th_round held them as fast as it held Cap'n Bill's foot. She tried to slid_hem, or to twist them around, but it was no use; she could not move eithe_oot a hair's breadth.
  • "This is funny!" she exclaimed. "What do you 'spose has happened to us, Cap'_ill?"
  • "I'm tryin' to make out," he answered. "Take off your shoes, Trot. P'raps it'_he leather soles that's stuck to the ground."
  • She leaned down and unlaced her shoes, but found she could not pull her fee_ut of them. The Glass Cat, which was walking around as naturally as ever, no_aid:
  • "Your foot has got roots to it, Cap'n, and I can see the roots going into th_round, where they spread out in all directions. It's the same way with Trot.
  • That's why you can't move. The roots hold you fast."
  • Cap'n Bill was rather fat and couldn't see his own feet very well, but h_quatted down and examined Trot's feet and decided that the Glass Cat wa_ight.
  • "This is hard luck," he declared, in a voice that showed he was uneasy at th_iscovery. "We're pris'ners, Trot, on this funny island, an' I'd like to kno_ow we're ever goin' to get loose, so's we can get home again."
  • "Now I know why the Kalidah laughed at us," said the girl, "and why he sai_one of the beasts ever came to this island. The horrid creature knew we'd b_aught, and wouldn't warn us."
  • In the meantime, the Kalidah, although pinned fast to the earth by Cap'_ill's stake, was facing the island, and now the ugly expression which passe_ver its face when it defied and sneered at Cap'n Bill and Trot, had change_o one of amusement and curiosity. When it saw the adventurers had actuall_eached the island and were standing beside the Magic Flower, it heaved _reath of satisfaction—a long, deep breath that swelled its deep chest unti_he beast could feel the stake that held him move a little, as if withdrawin_tself from the ground.
  • "Ah ha!" murmured the Kalidah, "a little more of this will set me free an_llow me to escape!"
  • So he began breathing as hard as he could, puffing out his chest as much a_ossible with each indrawing breath, and by doing this he managed to raise th_take with each powerful breath, until at last the Kalidah—using the muscle_f his four legs as well as his deep breaths—found itself free of the sand_oil. The stake was sticking right through him, however, so he found a roc_eeply set in the bank and pressed the sharp point of the stake upon th_urface of this rock until he had driven it clear through his body. Then, b_etting the stake tangled among some thorny bushes, and wiggling his body, h_anaged to draw it out altogether.
  • "There!" he exclaimed, "except for those two holes in me, I'm as good as ever;
  • but I must admit that that old wooden-legged fellow saved both himself and th_irl by making me a prisoner."
  • Now the Kalidahs, although the most disagreeable creatures in the Land of Oz,
  • were nevertheless magical inhabitants of a magical Fairyland, and in thei_atures a certain amount of good was mingled with the evil. This one was no_ery revengeful, and now that his late foes were in danger of perishing, hi_nger against them faded away.
  • "Our own Kalidah King," he reflected, "has certain magical powers of his own.
  • Perhaps he knows how to fill up these two holes in my body."
  • So without paying any more attention to Trot and Cap'n Bill than they wer_aying to him, he entered the forest and trotted along a secret path that le_o the hidden lair of all the Kalidahs.
  • While the Kalidah was making good its escape Cap'n Bill took his pipe from hi_ocket and filled it with tobacco and lighted it. Then, as he puffed out th_moke, he tried to think what could be done.
  • "The Glass Cat seems all right," he said, "an' my wooden leg didn't take root_nd grow, either. So it's only flesh that gets caught."
  • "It's magic that does it, Cap'n!"
  • "I know, Trot, and that's what sticks me. We're livin' in a magic country, bu_either of us knows any magic an' so we can't help ourselves."
  • "Couldn't the Wizard of Oz help us—or Glinda the Good?" asked the little girl.
  • "Ah, now we're beginnin' to reason," he answered. "I'd probably thought o'
  • that, myself, in a minute more. By good luck the Glass Cat is free, an' so i_an run back to the Emerald City an' tell the Wizard about our fix, an' as_im to come an' help us get loose."
  • "Will you go?" Trot asked the cat, speaking very earnestly.
  • "I'm no messenger, to be sent here and there," asserted the curious animal i_ sulky tone of voice.
  • "Well," said Cap'n Bill, "you've got to go home, anyhow, 'cause you don't wan_o stay here, I take it. And, when you get home, it wouldn't worry you much t_ell the Wizard what's happened to us."
  • "That's true," said the cat, sitting on its haunches and lazily washing it_ace with one glass paw. "I don't mind telling the Wizard—when I get home."
  • "Won't you go now?" pleaded Trot. "We don't want to stay here any longer tha_e can help, and everybody in Oz will be interested in you, and call you _ero, and say nice things about you because you helped your friends out o_rouble."
  • That was the best way to manage the Glass Cat, which was so vain that it love_o be praised.
  • "I'm going home right away," said the creature, "and I'll tell the Wizard t_ome and help you."
  • Saying this, it walked down to the water and disappeared under the surface.
  • Not being able to manage the raft alone, the Glass Cat walked on the bottom o_he river as it had done when it visited the island before, and soon they sa_t appear on the farther bank and trot into the forest, where it was quickl_ost to sight among the trees.
  • Then Trot heaved a deep sigh.
  • "Cap'n," said she, "we're in a bad fix. There's nothing here to eat, and w_an't even lie down to sleep. Unless the Glass Cat hurries, and the Wizar_urries, I don't know what's going to become of us!"