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!"