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Chapter 12 The Deadly Desert Crossed

  • "Oh, that's too bad!" cried Dorothy; "I wanted to thank Johnny Dooit for al_is kindness to us."
  • "He hasn't time to listen to thanks," replied the shaggy man; "but I'm sure h_nows we are grateful. I suppose he is already at work in some other part o_he world."
  • They now looked more carefully at the sand-boat, and saw that the bottom wa_odeled with two sharp runners which would glide through the sand. The fron_f the sand-boat was pointed like the bow of a ship, and there was a rudder a_he stern to steer by.
  • It had been built just at the edge of the desert, so that all its length la_pon the gray sand except the after part, which still rested on the strip o_rass.
  • "Get in, my dears," said the shaggy man; "I'm sure I can manage this boat a_ell as any sailor. All you need do is sit still in your places."
  • Dorothy got in, Toto in her arms, and sat on the bottom of the boat just i_ront of the mast. Button-Bright sat in front of Dorothy, while Polly leane_ver the bow. The shaggy man knelt behind the mast. When all were ready h_aised the sail half-way. The wind caught it. At once the sand-boat starte_orward—slowly at first, then with added speed. The shaggy man pulled the sai_ay up, and they flew so fast over the Deadly Desert that every one held fas_o the sides of the boat and scarcely dared to breathe.
  • The sand lay in billows, and was in places very uneven, so that the boa_ocked dangerously from side to side; but it never quite tipped over, and th_peed was so great that the shaggy man himself became frightened and began t_onder how he could make the ship go slower.
  • "It we're spilled in this sand, in the middle of the desert," Dorothy though_o herself, "we'll be nothing but dust in a few minutes, and that will be th_nd of us."
  • But they were not spilled, and by-and-by Polychrome, who was clinging to th_ow and looking straight ahead, saw a dark line before them and wondered wha_t was. It grew plainer every second, until she discovered it to be a row o_agged rocks at the end of the desert, while high above these rocks she coul_ee a tableland of green grass and beautiful trees.
  • "Look out!" she screamed to the shaggy man. "Go slowly, or we shall smash int_he rocks."
  • He heard her, and tried to pull down the sail; but the wind would not let g_f the broad canvas and the ropes had become tangled.
  • Nearer and nearer they drew to the great rocks, and the shaggy man was i_espair because he could do nothing to stop the wild rush of the sand-boat.
  • They reached the edge of the desert and bumped squarely into the rocks. Ther_as a crash as Dorothy, Button-Bright, Toto and Polly flew up in the air in _urve like a skyrocket's, one after another landing high upon the grass, wher_hey rolled and tumbled for a time before they could stop themselves.
  • The shaggy man flew after them, head first, and lighted in a heap beside Toto,
  • who, being much excited at the time, seized one of the donkey ears between hi_eeth and shook and worried it as hard as he could, growling angrily. Th_haggy man made the little dog let go, and sat up to look around him.
  • Dorothy was feeling one of her front teeth, which was loosened by knockin_gainst her knee as she fell. Polly was looking sorrowfully at a rent in he_retty gauze gown, and Button-Bright's fox head had stuck fast in a gophe_ole and he was wiggling his little fat legs frantically in an effort to ge_ree.
  • Otherwise they were unhurt by the adventure; so the shaggy man stood up an_ulled Button-Bright out of the hole and went to the edge of the desert t_ook at the sand-boat. It was a mere mass of splinters now, crushed out o_hape against the rocks. The wind had torn away the sail and carried it to th_op of a tall tree, where the fragments of it fluttered like a white flag.
  • "Well," he said, cheerfully, "we're here; but where the here is I don't know."
  • "It must be some part of the Land of Oz," observed Dorothy, coming to hi_ide.
  • "Must it?"
  • "'Course it must. We're across the desert, aren't we? And somewhere in th_iddle of Oz is the Emerald City."
  • "To be sure," said the shaggy man, nodding. "Let's go there."
  • "But I don't see any people about, to show us the way," she continued.
  • "Let's hunt for them," he suggested. "There must be people somewhere; bu_erhaps they did not expect us, and so are not at hand to give us a welcome."