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Chapter 22 Ozma's Birthday Party

  • It seems odd that a fairy should have a birthday, for fairies, they say, wer_orn at the beginning of time and live forever. Yet, on the other hand, i_ould be a shame to deprive a fairy, who has so many other good things, of th_elights of a birthday. So we need not wonder that the fairies keep thei_irthdays just as other folks do, and consider them occasions for feasting an_ejoicing.
  • Ozma, the beautiful girl Ruler of the Fairyland of Oz, was a real fairy, an_o sweet and gentle in caring for her people that she was greatly beloved b_hem all. She lived in the most magnificent palace in the most magnificen_ity in the world, but that did not prevent her from being the friend of th_ost humble person in her dominions. She would mount her Wooden Sawhorse, an_ide out to a farm house and sit in the kitchen to talk with the good wife o_he farmer while she did her family baking; or she would play with th_hildren and give them rides on her famous wooden steed; or she would stop i_ forest to speak to a charcoal burner and ask if he was happy or desire_nything to make him more content; or she would teach young girls how to se_nd plan pretty dresses, or enter the shops where the jewelers and craftsme_ere busy and watch them at their work, giving to each and all a cheering wor_r sunny smile.
  • And then Ozma would sit in her jeweled throne, with her chosen courtiers al_bout her, and listen patiently to any complaint brought to her by he_ubjects, striving to accord equal justice to all. Knowing she was fair in he_ecisions, the Oz people never murmured at her judgments, but agreed, if Ozm_ecided against them, she was right and they wrong.
  • When Dorothy and Trot and Betsy Bobbin and Ozma were together, one would thin_hey were all about of an age, and the fairy Ruler no older and no more "grow_p" than the other three. She would laugh and romp with them in regula_irlish fashion, yet there was an air of quiet dignity about Ozma, even in he_erriest moods, that, in a manner, distinguished her from the others. Th_hree girls loved her devotedly, but they were never able to quite forget tha_zma was the Royal Ruler of the wonderful Fairyland of Oz, and by birt_elonged to a powerful race.
  • Ozma's palace stood in the center of a delightful and extensive garden, wher_plendid trees and flowering shrubs and statuary and fountains abounded. On_ould walk for hours in this fascinating park and see something interesting a_very step. In one place was an aquarium, where strange and beautiful fis_wam; at another spot all the birds of the air gathered daily to a great feas_hich Ozma's servants provided for them, and were so fearless of harm tha_hey would alight upon one's shoulders and eat from one's hand. There was als_he Fountain of the Water of Oblivion, but it was dangerous to drink of thi_ater, because it made one forget everything he had ever before known, even t_is own name, and therefore Ozma had placed a sign of warning upon th_ountain. But there were also fountains that were delightfully perfumed, an_ountains of delicious nectar, cool and richly flavored, where all wer_elcome to refresh themselves.
  • Around the palace grounds was a great wall, thickly encrusted with glitterin_meralds, but the gates stood open and no one was forbidden entrance. O_olidays the people of the Emerald City often took their children to see th_onders of Ozma's gardens, and even entered the Royal Palace, if they felt s_nclined, for they knew that they and their Ruler were friends, and that Ozm_elighted to give them pleasure.
  • When all this is considered, you will not be surprised that the peopl_hroughout the Land of Oz, as well as Ozma's most intimate friends and he_oyal courtiers, were eager to celebrate her birthday, and made preparation_or the festival weeks in advance. All the brass bands practiced their nices_unes, for they were to march in the numerous processions to be made in th_inkie Country, the Gillikin Country, the Munchkin Country and the Quadlin_ountry, as well as in the Emerald City. Not all the people could go t_ongratulate their Ruler, but all could celebrate her birthday, in one way o_nother, however far distant from her palace they might be. Every home an_uilding throughout the Land of Oz was to be decorated with banners an_unting, and there were to be games, and plays, and a general good time fo_very one.
  • It was Ozma's custom on her birthday to give a grand feast at the palace, t_hich all her closest friends were invited. It was a queerly assorted company,
  • indeed, for there are more quaint and unusual characters in Oz than in all th_est of the world, and Ozma was more interested in unusual people than i_rdinary ones—just as you and I are.
  • On this especial birthday of the lovely girl Ruler, a long table was set i_he royal Banquet Hall of the palace, at which were place-cards for th_nvited guests, and at one end of the great room was a smaller table, not s_igh, for Ozma's animal friends, whom she never forgot, and at the other en_as a big table where all of the birthday gifts were to be arranged.
  • When the guests arrived, they placed their gifts on this table and then foun_heir places at the banquet table. And, after the guests were all placed, th_nimals entered in a solemn procession and were placed at their table b_ellia Jamb. Then, while an orchestra hidden by a bank of roses and fern_layed a march composed for the occasion, the Royal Ozma entered the Banque_all, attended by her Maids of Honor, and took her seat at the head of th_able.
  • She was greeted by a cheer from all the assembled company, the animals addin_heir roars and growls and barks and mewing and cackling to swell the gla_umult, and then all seated themselves at their tables.
  • At Ozma's right sat the famous Scarecrow of Oz, whose straw-stuffed body wa_ot beautiful, but whose happy nature and shrewd wit had made him a genera_avorite. On the left of the Ruler was placed the Tin Woodman, whose meta_ody had been brightly polished for this event. The Tin Woodman was th_mperor of the Winkie Country and one of the most important persons in Oz.
  • Next to the Scarecrow, Dorothy was seated, and next to her was Tik-Tok, th_lockwork Man, who had been wound up as tightly as his clockwork would permit,
  • so he wouldn't interrupt the festivities by running down. Then came Aunt E_nd Uncle Henry, Dorothy's own relations, two kindly old people who had a coz_ome in the Emerald City and were very happy and contented there. Then Bets_obbin was seated, and next to her the droll and delightful Shaggy Man, wh_as a favorite wherever he went.
  • On the other side of the table, opposite the Tin Woodman was placed Trot, an_ext to her, Cap'n Bill. Then was seated Button-Bright and Ojo the Lucky, an_r. Pipt and his good wife Margalot, and the astonishing Frogman, who had com_rom the Yip country to be present at Ozma's birthday feast.
  • At the foot of the table, facing Ozma, was seated the queenly Glinda, the goo_orceress of Oz, for this was really the place of honor next to the head o_he table where Ozma herself sat. On Glinda's right was the Little Wizard o_z, who owed to Glinda all of the magical arts he knew. Then came Jinjur, _retty girl farmer of whom Ozma and Dorothy were quite fond. The adjoinin_eat was occupied by the Tin Soldier, and next to him was Professor H. M.
  • Wogglebug, T.E., of the Royal Athletic College.
  • On Glinda's left was placed the jolly Patchwork Girl, who was a little afrai_f the Sorceress and so was likely to behave herself pretty well. The Shagg_an's brother was beside the Patchwork Girl, and then came that interestin_ersonage, Jack Pumpkinhead, who had grown a splendid big pumpkin for a ne_ead to be worn on Ozma's birthday, and had carved a face on it that was eve_ollier in expression than the one he had last worn. New heads were no_nusual with Jack, for the pumpkins did not keep long, and when th_eeds—which served him as brains—began to get soft and mushy, he realized hi_ead would soon spoil, and so he procured a new one from his great field o_umpkins—grown by him so that he need never lack a head.
  • You will have noticed that the company at Ozma's banquet table was somewha_ixed, but every one invited was a tried and trusted friend of the girl Ruler,
  • and their presence made her quite happy.
  • No sooner had Ozma seated herself, with her back to the birthday table, tha_he noticed that all present were eyeing with curiosity and pleasure somethin_ehind her, for the gorgeous Magic Flower was blooming gloriously and th_ammoth blossoms that quickly succeeded one another on the plant wer_eautiful to view and filled the entire room with their delicate fragrance.
  • Ozma wanted to look, too, to see what all were staring at, but she controlle_er curiosity because it was not proper that she should yet view her birthda_ifts.
  • So the sweet and lovely Ruler devoted herself to her guests, several of whom,
  • such as the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Patchwork Girl, Tik-Tok, Jac_umpkinhead and the Tin Soldier, never ate anything but sat very politely i_heir places and tried to entertain those of the guests who did eat.
  • And, at the animal table, there was another interesting group, consisting o_he Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Toto—Dorothy's little shaggy blac_og—Hank the Mule, the Pink Kitten, the Wooden Sawhorse, the Yellow Hen, an_he Glass Cat. All of these had good appetites except the Sawhorse and th_lass Cat, and each was given a plentiful supply of the food it liked best.
  • Finally, when the banquet was nearly over and the ice-cream was to be served,
  • four servants entered bearing a huge cake, all frosted and decorated wit_andy flowers. Around the edge of the cake was a row of lighted candles, an_n the center were raised candy letters that spelled the words:
  • OZMA'S Birthday Cake from Dorothy and the Wizard "Oh, how beautiful!" crie_zma, greatly delighted, and Dorothy said eagerly: "Now you must cut the cake,
  • Ozma, and each of us will eat a piece with our ice-cream."
  • Jellia Jamb brought a large golden knife with a jeweled handle, and Ozma stoo_p in her place and attempted to cut the cake. But as soon as the frosting i_he center broke under the pressure of the knife there leaped from the cake _iny monkey three inches high, and he was followed by another and another,
  • until twelve monkeys stood on the tablecloth and bowed low to Ozma.
  • "Congratulations to our gracious Ruler!" they exclaimed in a chorus, and the_hey began a dance, so droll and amusing that all the company roared wit_aughter and even Ozma joined in the merriment. But after the dance th_onkeys performed some wonderful acrobatic feats, and then they ran to th_ollow of the cake and took out some band instruments of burnishe_old—cornets, horns, drums, and the like—and forming into a procession th_onkeys marched up and down the table playing a jolly tune with the ease o_killed musicians.
  • Dorothy was delighted with the success of her "Surprise Cake," and after th_onkeys had finished their performance, the banquet came to an end.
  • Now was the time for Ozma to see her other presents, so Glinda the Good ros_nd, taking the girl Ruler by her hand, led her to the table where all he_ifts were placed in magnificent array. The Magic Flower of course attracte_er attention first, and Trot had to tell her the whole story of thei_dventures in getting it. The little girl did not forget to give due credit t_he Glass Cat and the little Wizard, but it was really Cap'n Bill who ha_ravely carried the golden flower-pot away from the enchanted Isle.
  • Ozma thanked them all, and said she would place the Magic Flower in he_oudoir where she might enjoy its beauty and fragrance continually. But no_he discovered the marvelous gown woven by Glinda and her maidens from strand_rawn from pure emeralds, and being a girl who loved pretty clothes, Ozma'_cstasy at being presented with this exquisite gown may well be imagined. Sh_ould hardly wait to put it on, but the table was loaded with other prett_ifts and the night was far spent before the happy girl Ruler had examined al_er presents and thanked those who had lovingly donated them.