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Chapter 10 Shaggy Man to the Rescue

  • They had not gone very far before Bungle, who had run on ahead, came boundin_ack to say that the road of yellow bricks was just before them. At once the_urried forward to see what this famous road looked like.
  • It was a broad road, but not straight, for it wandered over hill and dale an_icked out the easiest places to go. All its length and breadth was paved wit_mooth bricks of a bright yellow color, so it was smooth and level except in _ew places where the bricks had crumbled or been removed, leaving holes tha_ight cause the unwary to stumble.
  • "I wonder," said Ojo, looking up and down the road, "which way to go."
  • "Where are you bound for?" asked the Woozy.
  • "The Emerald City," he replied.
  • "Then go west," said the Woozy. "I know this road pretty well, for I've chase_any a honey-bee over it."
  • "Have you ever been to the Emerald City?" asked Scraps.
  • "No. I am very shy by nature, as you may have noticed, so I haven't mingle_uch in society."
  • "Are you afraid of men?" inquired the Patchwork Girl.
  • "Me? With my heart-rending growl—my horrible, shudderful growl? I should sa_ot. I am not afraid of anything," declared the Woozy.
  • "I wish I could say the same," sighed Ojo. "I don't think we need be afrai_hen we get to the Emerald City, for Unc Nunkie has told me that Ozma, ou_irl Ruler, is very lovely and kind, and tries to help everyone who is i_rouble. But they say there are many dangers lurking on the road to the grea_airy City, and so we must be very careful."
  • "I hope nothing will break me," said the Glass Cat, in a nervous voice. "I'm _ittle brittle, you know, and can't stand many hard knocks."
  • "If anything should fade the colors of my lovely patches it would break m_eart," said the Patchwork Girl.
  • "I'm not sure you have a heart," Ojo reminded her.
  • "Then it would break my cotton," persisted Scraps. "Do you think they are al_ast colors, Ojo?" she asked anxiously.
  • "They seem fast enough when you run," he replied; and then, looking ahead o_hem, he exclaimed: "Oh, what lovely trees!"
  • They were certainly pretty to look upon and the travelers hurried forward t_bserve them more closely.
  • "Why, they are not trees at all," said Scraps; "they are just monstrou_lants."
  • That is what they really were: masses of great broad leaves which rose fro_he ground far into the air, until they towered twice as high as the top o_he Patchwork Girl's head, who was a little taller than Ojo. The plants forme_ows on both sides of the road and from each plant rose a dozen or more of th_ig broad leaves, which swayed continually from side to side, although no win_as blowing. But the most curious thing about the swaying leaves was thei_olor. They seemed to have a general groundwork of blue, but here and ther_ther colors glinted at times through the blue—gorgeous yellows, turning t_ink, purple, orange and scarlet, mingled with more sober browns an_rays—each appearing as a blotch or stripe anywhere on a leaf and the_isappearing, to be replaced by some other color of a different shape. Th_hangeful coloring of the great leaves was very beautiful, but it wa_ewildering, as well, and the novelty of the scene drew our travelers close t_he line of plants, where they stood watching them with rapt interest.
  • Suddenly a leaf bent lower than usual and touched the Patchwork Girl. Swiftl_t enveloped her in its embrace, covering her completely in its thick folds, and then it swayed back upon its stem.
  • "Why, she's gone!" gasped Ojo, in amazement, and listening carefully h_hought he could hear the muffled screams of Scraps coming from the center o_he folded leaf. But, before he could think what he ought to do to save her, another leaf bent down and captured the Glass Cat, rolling around the littl_reature until she was completely hidden, and then straightening up again upo_ts stem.
  • "Look out," cried the Woozy. "Run! Run fast, or you are lost."
  • Ojo turned and saw the Woozy running swiftly up the road. But the last leaf o_he row of plants seized the beast even as he ran and instantly he disappeare_rom sight.
  • The boy had no chance to escape. Half a dozen of the great leaves were bendin_oward him from different directions and as he stood hesitating one of the_lutched him in its embrace. In a flash he was in the dark. Then he fel_imself gently lifted until he was swaying in the air, with the folds of th_eaf hugging him on all sides.
  • At first he struggled hard to escape, crying out in anger: "Let me go! Let m_o!" But neither struggles nor protests had any effect whatever. The leaf hel_im firmly and he was a prisoner.
  • Then Ojo quieted himself and tried to think. Despair fell upon him when h_emembered that all his little party had been captured, even as he was, an_here was none to save them.
  • "I might have expected it," he sobbed, miserably. "I'm Ojo the Unlucky, an_omething dreadful was sure to happen to me."
  • He pushed against the leaf that held him and found it to be soft, but thic_nd firm. It was like a great bandage all around him and he found it difficul_o move his body or limbs in order to change their position.
  • The minutes passed and became hours. Ojo wondered how long one could live i_uch a condition and if the leaf would gradually sap his strength and even hi_ife, in order to feed itself. The little Munchkin boy had never heard of an_erson dying in the Land of Oz, but he knew one could suffer a great deal o_ain. His greatest fear at this time was that he would always remai_mprisoned in the beautiful leaf and never see the light of day again.
  • No sound came to him through the leaf; all around was intense silence. Oj_ondered if Scraps had stopped screaming, or if the folds of the lea_revented his hearing her. By and by he thought he heard a whistle, as of som_ne whistling a tune. Yes; it really must be some one whistling, he decided, for he could follow the strains of a pretty Munchkin melody that Unc Nunki_sed to sing to him. The sounds were low and sweet and, although they reache_jo's ears very faintly, they were clear and harmonious.
  • Could the leaf whistle, Ojo wondered? Nearer and nearer came the sounds an_hen they seemed to be just the other side of the leaf that was hugging him.
  • Suddenly the whole leaf toppled and fell, carrying the boy with it, and whil_e sprawled at full length the folds slowly relaxed and set him free. H_crambled quickly to his feet and found that a strange man was standing befor_im—a man so curious in appearance that the boy stared with round eyes.
  • He was a big man, with shaggy whiskers, shaggy eyebrows, shaggy hair—bu_indly blue eyes that were gentle as those of a cow. On his head was a gree_elvet hat with a jeweled band, which was all shaggy around the brim. Rich bu_haggy laces were at his throat; a coat with shaggy edges was decorated wit_iamond buttons; the velvet breeches had jeweled buckles at the knees an_hags all around the bottoms. On his breast hung a medallion bearing a pictur_f Princess Dorothy of Oz, and in his hand, as he stood looking at Ojo, was _harp knife shaped like a dagger.
  • "Oh!" exclaimed Ojo, greatly astonished at the sight of this stranger; an_hen he added: "Who has saved me, sir?"
  • "Can't you see?" replied the other, with a smile; "I'm the Shaggy Man."
  • "Yes; I can see that," said the boy, nodding. "Was it you who rescued me fro_he leaf?"
  • "None other, you may be sure. But take care, or I shall have to rescue yo_gain."
  • Ojo gave a jump, for he saw several broad leaves leaning toward him; but th_haggy Man began to whistle again, and at the sound the leaves al_traightened up on their stems and kept still.
  • The man now took Ojo's arm and led him up the road, past the last of the grea_lants, and not till he was safely beyond their reach did he cease hi_histling.
  • "You see, the music charms 'em," said he. "Singing or whistling—it doesn'_atter which— makes 'em behave, and nothing else will. I always whistle as _o by 'em and so they always let me alone. To-day as I went by, whistling, _aw a leaf curled and knew there must be something inside it. I cut down th_eaf with my knife and—out you popped. Lucky I passed by, wasn't it?"
  • "You were very kind," said Ojo, "and I thank you. Will you please rescue m_ompanions, also?"
  • "What companions?" asked the Shaggy Man.
  • "The leaves grabbed them all," said the boy. "There's a Patchwork Girl and—"
  • "A what?"
  • "A girl made of patchwork, you know. She's alive and her name is Scraps. An_here's a Glass Cat—"
  • "Glass?" asked the Shaggy Man.
  • "All glass."
  • "And alive?"
  • "Yes," said Ojo; "she has pink brains. And there's a Woozy—"
  • "What's a Woozy?" inquired the Shaggy Man.
  • "Why, I—I—can't describe it," answered the boy, greatly perplexed. "But it's _ueer animal with three hairs on the tip of its tail that won't come out and—"
  • "What won't come out?" asked the Shaggy Man; "the tail?"
  • "The hairs won't come out. But you'll see the Woozy, if you'll please rescu_t, and then you'll know just what it is."
  • "Of course," said the Shaggy Man, nodding his shaggy head. And then he walke_ack among the plants, still whistling, and found the three leaves which wer_urled around Ojo's traveling companions. The first leaf he cut down release_craps, and on seeing her the Shaggy Man threw back his shaggy head, opene_ide his mouth and laughed so shaggily and yet so merrily that Scraps like_im at once. Then he took off his hat and made her a low bow, saying:
  • "My dear, you're a wonder. I must introduce you to my friend the Scarecrow."
  • When he cut down the second leaf he rescued the Glass Cat, and Bungle was s_rightened that she scampered away like a streak and soon had joined Ojo, whe_he sat beside him panting and trembling. The last plant of all the row ha_aptured the Woozy, and a big bunch in the center of the curled leaf showe_lainly where he was. With his sharp knife the Shaggy Man sliced off the ste_f the leaf and as it fell and unfolded out trotted the Woozy and escape_eyond the reach of any more of the dangerous plants.