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Chapter 17 A Remarkable Journey

  • "You see," explained the Glass Cat, "that Magic Isle where Trot and Cap'n Bil_re stuck is also in this Gillikin Country—over at the east side of it, an_t's no farther to go across-lots from here than it is from here to th_merald City. So we'll save time by cutting across the mountains."
  • "Are you sure you know the way?" asked Dorothy.
  • "I know all the Land of Oz better than any other living creature knows it,"
  • asserted the Glass Cat.
  • "Go ahead, then, and guide us," said the Wizard. "We've left our poor friend_elpless too long already, and the sooner we rescue them the happier they'l_e."
  • "Are you sure you can get 'em out of their fix?" the little girl inquired.
  • "I've no doubt of it," the Wizard assured her. "But I can't tell what sort o_agic I must use until I get to the place and discover just how they ar_nchanted."
  • "I've heard of that Magic Isle where the Wonderful Flower grows," remarked th_owardly Lion. "Long ago, when I used to live in the forests, the beasts tol_tories about the Isle and how the Magic Flower was placed there to entra_trangers—men or beasts."
  • "Is the Flower really wonderful?" questioned Dorothy.
  • "I have heard it is the most beautiful plant in the world," answered the Lion.
  • "I have never seen it myself, but friendly beasts have told me that they hav_tood on the shore of the river and looked across at the plant in the gol_lower-pot and seen hundreds of flowers, of all sorts and sizes, blossom upo_t in quick succession. It is said that if one picks the flowers while the_re in bloom they will remain perfect for a long time, but if they are no_icked they soon disappear and are replaced by other flowers. That, in m_pinion, make the Magic Plant the most wonderful in existence."
  • "But these are only stories," said the girl. "Has any of your friends eve_icked a flower from the wonderful plant?"
  • "No," admitted the Cowardly Lion, "for if any living thing ventures upon th_agic Isle, where the golden flower-pot stands, that man or beast takes roo_n the soil and cannot get away again."
  • "What happens to them, then?" asked Dorothy.
  • "They grow smaller, hour by hour and day by day, and finally disappea_ntirely."
  • "Then," said the girl anxiously, "we must hurry up, or Cap'n Bill an' Tro_ill get too small to be comf'table."
  • They were proceeding at a rapid pace during this conversation, for the Hungr_iger and the Cowardly Lion were obliged to move swiftly in order to keep pac_ith the Glass Cat. After leaving the Forest of Gugu they crossed a mountai_ange, and then a broad plain, after which they reached another forest, muc_maller than that where Gugu ruled.
  • "The Magic Isle is in this forest," said the Glass Cat, "but the river is a_he other side of the forest. There is no path through the trees, but if w_eep going east, we will find the river, and then it will be easy to find th_agic Isle."
  • "Have you ever traveled this way before?" inquired the Wizard.
  • "Not exactly," admitted the Cat, "but I know we shall reach the river if we g_ast through the forest."
  • "Lead on, then," said the Wizard.
  • The Glass Cat started away, and at first it was easy to pass between th_rees; but before long the underbrush and vines became thick and tangled, an_fter pushing their way through these obstacles for a time, our travelers cam_o a place where even the Glass Cat could not push through.
  • "We'd better go back and find a path," suggested the Hungry Tiger.
  • "I'm s'prised at you," said Dorothy, eyeing the Glass Cat severely.
  • "I'm surprised, myself," replied the Cat. "But it's a long way around th_orest to where the river enters it, and I thought we could save time by goin_traight through."
  • "No one can blame you," said the Wizard, "and I think, instead of turnin_ack, I can make a path that will allow us to proceed."
  • He opened his black bag and after searching among his magic tools drew out _mall axe, made of some metal so highly polished that it glittered brightl_ven in the dark forest. The Wizard laid the little axe on the ground and sai_n a commanding voice:
  • "Chop, Little Axe, chop clean and true; A path for our feet you must quickl_ew. Chop till this tangle of jungle is passed; Chop to the east, Littl_xe—chop fast!" Then the little axe began to move and flashed its bright blad_ight and left, clearing a way through vine and brush and scattering th_angled barrier so quickly that the Lion and the Tiger, carrying Dorothy an_he Wizard and the cage of monkeys on their backs, were able to stride throug_he forest at a fast walk. The brush seemed to melt away before them and th_ittle axe chopped so fast that their eyes only saw a twinkling of the blade.
  • Then, suddenly, the forest was open again, and the little axe, having obeye_ts orders, lay still upon the ground.
  • The Wizard picked up the magic axe and after carefully wiping it with his sil_andkerchief put it away in his black bag. Then they went on and in a shor_ime reached the river.
  • "Let me see," said the Glass Cat, looking up and down the stream, "I think w_re below the Magic Isle; so we must go up the stream until we come to it."
  • So up the stream they traveled, walking comfortably on the river bank, an_fter a while the water broadened and a sharp bend appeared in the river, hiding all below from their view. They walked briskly along, however, and ha_early reached the bend when a voice cried warningly: "Look out!"
  • The travelers halted abruptly and the Wizard said: "Look out for what?"
  • "You almost stepped on my Diamond Palace," replied the voice, and a duck wit_orgeously colored feathers appeared before them. "Beasts and men are terribl_lumsy," continued the Duck in an irritated tone, "and you've no business o_his side of the River, anyway. What are you doing here?"
  • "We've come to rescue some friends of ours who are stuck fast on the Magi_sle in this river," explained Dorothy.
  • "I know 'em," said the Duck. "I've been to see 'em, and they're stuck fast, all right. You may as well go back home, for no power can save them."
  • "This is the Wonderful Wizard of Oz," said Dorothy, pointing to the littl_an.
  • "Well, I'm the Lonesome Duck," was the reply, as the fowl strutted up and dow_o show its feathers to best advantage. "I'm the great Forest Magician, as an_east can tell you, but even I have no power to destroy the dreadful charm o_he Magic Isle."
  • "Are you lonesome because you're a magician?" inquired Dorothy.
  • "No; I'm lonesome because I have no family and no friends. But I like to b_onesome, so please don't offer to be friendly with me. Go away, and try no_o step on my Diamond Palace."
  • "Where is it?" asked the girl.
  • "Behind this bush."
  • Dorothy hopped off the lion's back and ran around the bush to see the Diamon_alace of the Lonesome Duck, although the gaudy fowl protested in a series o_ow quacks. The girl found, indeed, a glistening dome formed of cleares_iamonds, neatly cemented together, with a doorway at the side just big enoug_o admit the duck.
  • "Where did you find so many diamonds?" asked Dorothy, wonderingly.
  • "I know a place in the mountains where they are thick as pebbles," said th_onesome Duck, "and I brought them here in my bill, one by one and put them i_he river and let the water run over them until they were brightly polished.
  • Then I built this palace, and I'm positive it's the only Diamond Palace in al_he world."
  • "It's the only one I know of," said the little girl; "but if you live in i_ll alone, I don't see why it's any better than a wooden palace, or one o_ricks or cobble-stones."
  • "You're not supposed to understand that," retorted the Lonesome Duck. "But _ight tell you, as a matter of education, that a home of any sort should b_eautiful to those who live in it, and should not be intended to pleas_trangers. The Diamond Palace is my home, and I like it. So I don't care _uack whether YOU like it or not."
  • "Oh, but I do!" exclaimed Dorothy. "It's lovely on the outside, but—" Then sh_topped speaking, for the Lonesome Duck had entered his palace through th_ittle door without even saying good-bye. So Dorothy returned to her friend_nd they resumed their journey.
  • "Do you think, Wizard, the Duck was right in saying no magic can rescue Tro_nd Cap'n Bill?" asked the girl in a worried tone of voice.
  • "No, I don't think the Lonesome Duck was right in saying that," answered th_izard, gravely, "but it is possible that their enchantment will be harder t_vercome than I expected. I'll do my best, of course, and no one can do mor_han his best."
  • That didn't entirely relieve Dorothy's anxiety, but she said nothing more, an_oon, on turning the bend in the river, they came in sight of the Magic Isle.
  • "There they are!" exclaimed Dorothy eagerly.
  • "Yes, I see them," replied the Wizard, nodding. "They are sitting on two bi_oadstools."
  • "That's queer," remarked the Glass Cat. "There were no toadstools there when _eft them."
  • "What a lovely flower!" cried Dorothy in rapture, as her gaze fell on th_agic Plant.
  • "Never mind the Flower, just now," advised the Wizard. "The most importan_hing is to rescue our friends."
  • By this time they had arrived at a place just opposite the Magic Isle, and no_oth Trot and Cap'n Bill saw the arrival of their friends and called to the_or help.
  • "How are you?" shouted the Wizard, putting his hands to his mouth so the_ould hear him better across the water.
  • "We're in hard luck," shouted Cap'n Bill, in reply. "We're anchored here an_an't move till you find a way to cut the hawser."
  • "What does he mean by that?" asked Dorothy.
  • "We can't move our feet a bit!" called Trot, speaking as loud as she could.
  • "Why not?" inquired Dorothy.
  • "They've got roots on 'em," explained Trot.
  • It was hard to talk from so great a distance, so the Wizard said to the Glas_at:
  • "Go to the island and tell our friends to be patient, for we have come to sav_hem. It may take a little time to release them, for the Magic of the Isle i_ew to me and I shall have to experiment. But tell them I'll hurry as fast a_ can."
  • So the Glass Cat walked across the river under the water to tell Trot an_ap'n Bill not to worry, and the Wizard at once opened his black bag and bega_o make his preparations.