Toto, now allowed to run about as he pleased, was glad to be free again an_ble to bark at the birds and chase the butterflies. The country around the_as charming, yet in the pretty fields of wild-flowers and groves of leaf_rees were no houses whatever, or sign of any inhabitants. Birds flew throug_he air and cunning white rabbits darted amongst the tall grasses and gree_ushes; Dorothy noticed even the ants toiling busily along the roadway,
bearing gigantic loads of clover seed; but of people there were none at all.
They walked briskly on for an hour or two, for even little Button-Bright was _ood walker and did not tire easily. At length as they turned a curve in th_oad they beheld just before them a curious sight.
A little girl, radiant and beautiful, shapely as a fairy and exquisitel_ressed, was dancing gracefully in the middle of the lonely road, whirlin_lowly this way and that, her dainty feet twinkling in sprightly fashion. Sh_as clad in flowing, fluffy robes of soft material that reminded Dorothy o_oven cobwebs, only it was colored in soft tintings of violet, rose, topaz,
olive, azure, and white, mingled together most harmoniously in stripes whic_elted one into the other with soft blendings. Her hair was like spun gold an_lowed around her in a cloud, no strand being fastened or confined by eithe_in or ornament or ribbon.
Filled with wonder and admiration our friends approached and stood watchin_his fascinating dance. The girl was no taller than Dorothy, although mor_lender; nor did she seem any older than our little heroine.
Suddenly she paused and abandoned the dance, as if for the first tim_bserving the presence of strangers. As she faced them, shy as a frightene_awn, poised upon one foot as if to fly the next instant, Dorothy wa_stonished to see tears flowing from her violet eyes and trickling down he_ovely rose-hued cheeks. That the dainty maiden should dance and weep at th_ame time was indeed surprising; so Dorothy asked in a soft, sympatheti_oice:
"Are you unhappy, little girl?"
"Very!" was the reply; "I am lost."
"Why, so are we," said Dorothy, smiling; "but we don't cry about it."
"Don't you? Why not?"
"'Cause I've been lost before, and always got found again," answered Doroth_imply.
"But I've never been lost before," murmured the dainty maiden, "and I'_orried and afraid."
"You were dancing," remarked Dorothy, in a puzzled tone of voice.
"Oh, that was just to keep warm," explained the maiden, quickly. "It was no_ecause I felt happy or gay, I assure you."
Dorothy looked at her closely. Her gauzy flowing robes might not be very warm,
yet the weather wasn't at all chilly, but rather mild and balmy, like a sprin_ay.
"Who are you, dear?" she asked, gently.
"I'm Polychrome," was the reply.
"Polychrome. I'm the Daughter of the Rainbow."
"Oh!" said Dorothy with a gasp; "I didn't know the Rainbow had children. But _IGHT have known it, before you spoke. You couldn't really be anything else."
"Why not?" inquired Polychrome, as if surprised.
"Because you're so lovely and sweet."
The little maiden smiled through her tears, came up to Dorothy, and placed he_lender fingers in the Kansas girl's chubby hand.
"You'll be my friend—won't you?" she said, pleadingly.
"And what is your name?"
"I'm Dorothy; and this is my friend Shaggy Man, who owns the Love Magnet; an_his is Button-Bright—only you don't see him as he really is because the Fox-
King carelessly changed his head into a fox head. But the real Button-Brigh_s good to look at, and I hope to get him changed back to himself, some time."
The Rainbow's Daughter nodded cheerfully, no longer afraid of her ne_ompanions.
"But who is this?" she asked, pointing to Toto, who was sitting before he_agging his tail in the most friendly manner and admiring the pretty maid wit_is bright eyes. "Is this, also, some enchanted person?"
"Oh no, Polly—I may call you Polly, mayn't I? Your whole name's awful hard t_ay."
"Call me Polly if you wish, Dorothy."
"Well, Polly, Toto's just a dog; but he has more sense than Button-Bright, t_ell the truth; and I'm very fond of him."
"So am I," said Polychrome, bending gracefully to pat Toto's head.
"But how did the Rainbow's Daughter ever get on this lonely road, and becom_ost?" asked the shaggy man, who had listened wonderingly to all this.
"Why, my father stretched his rainbow over here this morning, so that one en_f it touched this road," was the reply; "and I was dancing upon the prett_ays, as I love to do, and never noticed I was getting too far over the ben_n the circle. Suddenly I began to slide, and I went faster and faster unti_t last I bumped on the ground, at the very end. Just then father lifted th_ainbow again, without noticing me at all, and though I tried to seize the en_f it and hold fast, it melted away entirely and I was left alone and helples_n the cold, hard earth!"
"It doesn't seem cold to me, Polly," said Dorothy; "but perhaps you're no_armly dressed."
"I'm so used to living nearer the sun," replied the Rainbow's Daughter, "tha_t first I feared I would freeze down here. But my dance has warmed me some,
and now I wonder how I am ever to get home again."
"Won't your father miss you, and look for you, and let down another rainbo_or you?"
"Perhaps so, but he's busy just now because it rains in so many parts of th_orld at this season, and he has to set his rainbow in a lot of differen_laces. What would you advise me to do, Dorothy?"
"Come with us," was the answer. "I'm going to try to find my way to th_merald City, which is in the fairy Land of Oz. The Emerald City is ruled by _riend of mine, the Princess Ozma, and if we can manage to get there I'm sur_he will know a way to send you home to your father again."
"Do you really think so?" asked Polychrome, anxiously.
"I'm pretty sure."
"Then I'll go with you," said the little maid; "for travel will help keep m_arm, and father can find me in one part of the world as well as another—if h_ets time to look for me."
"Come along, then," said the shaggy man, cheerfully; and they started on onc_ore. Polly walked beside Dorothy a while, holding her new friend's hand as i_he feared to let it go; but her nature seemed as light and buoyant as he_leecy robes, for suddenly she darted ahead and whirled round in a gidd_ance. Then she tripped back to them with sparkling eyes and smiling cheeks,
having regained her usual happy mood and forgotten all her worry about bein_ost.
They found her a charming companion, and her dancing and laughter— for sh_aughed at times like the tinkling of a silver bell—did much to enliven thei_ourney and keep them contented.