They now made a more careful examination of the country around them. All wa_resh and beautiful after the sultriness of the desert, and the sunshine an_weet, crisp air were delightful to the wanderers. Little mounds of yellowis_reen were away at the right, while on the left waved a group of tall leaf_rees bearing yellow blossoms that looked like tassels and pompoms. Among th_rasses carpeting the ground were pretty buttercups and cowslips an_arigolds. After looking at these a moment Dorothy said reflectively:
"We must be in the Country of the Winkies, for the color of that country i_ellow, and you will notice that 'most everything here is yellow that has an_olor at all."
"But I thought this was the Land of Oz," replied the shaggy man, as if greatl_isappointed.
"So it is," she declared; "but there are four parts to the Land of Oz. Th_orth Country is purple, and it's the Country of the Gillikins. The Eas_ountry is blue, and that's the Country of the Munchkins. Down at the South i_he red Country of the Quadlings, and here, in the West, the yellow Country o_he Winkies. This is the part that is ruled by the Tin Woodman, you know."
"Who's he?" asked Button-Bright.
"Why, he's the tin man I told you about. His name is Nick Chopper, and he ha_ lovely heart given him by the wonderful Wizard."
"Where does HE live?" asked the boy.
"The Wizard? Oh, he lives in the Emerald City, which is just in the middle o_z, where the corners of the four countries meet."
"Oh," said Button-Bright, puzzled by this explanation.
"We must be some distance from the Emerald City," remarked the shaggy man.
"That's true," she replied; "so we'd better start on and see if we can fin_ny of the Winkies. They're nice people," she continued, as the little part_egan walking toward the group of trees, "and I came here once with my friend_he Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, to fight a wicke_itch who had made all the Winkies her slaves."
"Did you conquer her?" asked Polly.
"Why, I melted her with a bucket of water, and that was the end of her,"
replied Dorothy. "After that the people were free, you know, and they mad_ick Chopper—that's the Tin Woodman—their Emp'ror."
"What's that?" asked Button-Bright.
"Emp'ror? Oh, it's something like an alderman, I guess."
"Oh," said the boy.
"But I thought Princess Ozma ruled Oz," said the shaggy man.
"So she does; she rules the Emerald City and all the four countries of Oz; bu_ach country has another little ruler, not so big as Ozma. It's like th_fficers of an army, you see; the little rulers are all captains, and Ozma'_he general."
By this time they had reached the trees, which stood in a perfect circle an_ust far enough apart so that their thick branches touched—or "shook hands,"
as Button-Bright remarked. Under the shade of the trees they found, in th_enter of the circle, a crystal pool, its water as still as glass. It mus_ave been deep, too, for when Polychrome bent over it she gave a little sig_f pleasure.
"Why, it's a mirror!" she cried; for she could see all her pretty face an_luffy, rainbow-tinted gown reflected in the pool, as natural as life.
Dorothy bent over, too, and began to arrange her hair, blown by the deser_ind into straggling tangles. Button-Bright leaned over the edge next, an_hen began to cry, for the sight of his fox head frightened the poor littl_ellow.
"I guess I won't look," remarked the shaggy man, sadly, for he didn't like hi_onkey head, either. While Polly and Dorothy tried to comfort Button-Bright,
the shaggy man sat down near the edge of the pool, where his image could no_e reflected, and stared at the water thoughtfully. As he did this he notice_ silver plate fastened to a rock just under the surface of the water, and o_he silver plate was engraved these words:
THE TRUTH POND
"Ah!" cried the shaggy man, springing to his feet with eager joy; "we've foun_t at last."
"Found what?" asked Dorothy, running to him.
"The Truth Pond. Now, at last, I may get rid of this frightful head; for w_ere told, you remember, that only the Truth Pond could restore to me m_roper face."
"Me, too!" shouted Button-Bright, trotting up to them.
"Of course," said Dorothy. "It will cure you both of your bad heads, I guess.
Isn't it lucky we found it?"
"It is, indeed," replied the shaggy man. "I hated dreadfully to go to Princes_zma looking like this; and she's to have a birthday celebration, too."
Just then a splash startled them, for Button-Bright, in his anxiety to see th_ool that would "cure" him, had stepped too near the edge and tumbled heel_ver head into the water. Down he went, out of sight entirely, so that onl_is sailor hat floated on the top of the Truth Pond.
He soon bobbed up, and the shaggy man seized him by his sailor collar an_ragged him to the shore, dripping and gasping for breath. They all looke_pon the boy wonderingly, for the fox head with its sharp nose and pointe_ars was gone, and in its place appeared the chubby round face and blue eye_nd pretty curls that had belonged to Button-Bright before King Dox o_oxville transformed him.
"Oh, what a darling!" cried Polly, and would have hugged the little one had h_ot been so wet.
Their joyful exclamations made the child rub the water out of his eyes an_ook at his friends questioningly.
"You're all right now, dear," said Dorothy. "Come and look at yourself." Sh_ed him to the pool, and although there were still a few ripples on th_urface of the water he could see his reflection plainly.
"It's me!" he said, in a pleased yet awed whisper.
"'Course it is," replied the girl, "and we're all as glad as you are, Button-
"Well," announced the shaggy man, "it's my turn next." He took off his shagg_oat and laid it on the grass and dived head first into the Truth Pond.
When he came up the donkey head had disappeared, and the shaggy man's ow_haggy head was in its place, with the water dripping in little streams fro_is shaggy whiskers. He scrambled ashore and shook himself to get off some o_he wet, and then leaned over the pool to look admiringly at his reflecte_ace.
"I may not be strictly beautiful, even now," he said to his companions, wh_atched him with smiling faces; "but I'm so much handsomer than any donke_hat I feel as proud as I can be."
"You're all right, Shaggy Man," declared Dorothy. "And Button-Bright is al_ight, too. So let's thank the Truth Pond for being so nice, and start on ou_ourney to the Emerald City."
"I hate to leave it," murmured the shaggy man, with a sigh. "A truth pon_ouldn't be a bad thing to carry around with us." But he put on his coat an_tarted with the others in search of some one to direct them on their way.