Next morning the Scarecrow called upon all the courtiers and the people t_ssemble in the throne room of the castle, where there was room enough for al_hat were able to attend. They found the straw man seated upon the velve_ushions of the throne, with the King's glittering crown still upon hi_tuffed head. On one side of the throne, in a lower chair, sat Gloria, lookin_adiantly beautiful and fresh as a new-blown rose. On the other side sat Pon, the gardener's boy, still dressed in his old smock frock and looking sad an_olemn; for Pon could not make himself believe that so splendid a Princes_ould condescend to love him when she had come to her own and was seated upo_ throne. Trot and Cap'n Bill sat at the feet of the Scarecrow and were muc_nterested in the proceedings. Button-Bright had lost himself befor_reakfast, but came into the throne room before the ceremonies were over. Bac_f the throne stood a row of the great Orks, with their leader in the center, and the entrance to the palace was guarded by more Orks, who were regarde_ith wonder and awe.
When all were assembled, the Scarecrow stood up and made a speech. He told ho_loria's father, the good King Kynd, who had once ruled them and been loved b_veryone, had been destroyed by King Phearce, the father of Pon, and how Kin_hearce had been destroyed by King Krewl. This last King had been a bad ruler, as they knew very well, and the Scarecrow declared that the only one in al_inxland who had the right to sit upon the throne was Princess Gloria, th_aughter of King Kynd.
"But," he added, "it is not for me, a stranger, to say who shall rule you. Yo_ust decide for yourselves, or you will not be content. So choose now wh_hall be your future ruler."
And they all shouted: "The Scarecrow! The Scarecrow shall rule us!"
Which proved that the stuffed man had made himself very popular by hi_onquest of King Krewl, and the people thought they would like him for thei_ing. But the Scarecrow shook his head so vigorously that it became loose, an_rot had to pin it firmly to his body again.
"No," said he, "I belong in the Land of Oz, where I am the humble servant o_he lovely girl who rules us all — the royal Ozma. You must choose one of you_wn inhabitants to rule over Jinxland. Who shall it be?"
They hesitated for a moment, and some few cried: "Pon!" but many more shouted:
So the Scarecrow took Gloria's hand and led her to the throne, where he firs_eated her and then took the glittering crown off his own head and placed i_pon that of the young lady, where it nestled prettily amongst her soft curls.
The people cheered and shouted then, kneeling before their new Queen; bu_loria leaned down and took Pon's hand in both her own and raised him to th_eat beside her.
"You shall have both a King and a Queen to care for you and to protect you, m_ear subjects," she said in a sweet voice, while her face glowed wit_appiness; "for Pon was a King's son before he became a gardener's boy, an_ecause I love him he is to be my Royal Consort."
That pleased them all, especially Pon, who realized that this was the mos_mportant moment of his life. Trot and Button-Bright and Cap'n Will al_ongratulated him on winning the beautiful Gloria; but the Ork sneezed twic_nd said that in his opinion the young lady might have done better.
Then the Scarecrow ordered the guards to bring in the wicked Krewl, King n_onger, and when he appeared, loaded with chains and dressed in fustian, th_eople hissed him and drew back as he passed so their garments would not touc_im.
Krewl was not haughty or overbearing any more; on the contrary he seemed ver_eek and in great fear of the fate his conquerors had in store for him. Bu_loria and Pon were too happy to be revengeful and so they offered to appoin_rewl to the position of gardener's boy at the castle, Pon having resigned t_ecome King. But they said he must promise to reform his wicked ways and to d_is duty faithfully, and he must change his name from Krewl to Grewl. All thi_he man eagerly promised to do, and so when Pon retired to a room in th_astle to put on princely raiment, the old brown smock he had formerly wor_as given to Grewl, who then went out into the garden to water the roses.
The remainder of that famous day, which was long remembered in Jinxland, wa_iven over to feasting and merrymaking. In the evening there was a grand danc_n the courtyard, where the brass band played a new piece of music called the
"Ork Trot" which was dedicated to "Our Glorious Gloria, the Queen."
While the Queen and Pon were leading this dance, and all the Jinxland peopl_ere having a good time, the strangers were gathered in a group in the par_utside the castle. Cap'n Bill, Trot, Button-Bright and the Scarecrow wer_here, and so was their old friend the Ork; but of all the great flock of Ork_hich had assisted in the conquest but three remained in Jinxland, beside_heir leader, the others having returned to their own country as soon a_loria was crowned Queen. To the young Ork who had accompanied them in thei_dventures Cap'n Bill said:
"You've surely been a friend in need, and we're mighty grateful to you fo_elping us. I might have been a grasshopper yet if it hadn't been for you, an'
I might remark that bein' a grasshopper isn't much fun."
"If it hadn't been for you, friend Ork," said the Scarecrow, "I fear I coul_ot have conquered King Krewl."
"No," agreed Trot, "you'd have been just a heap of ashes by this time."
And I might have been lost yet," added Button-Bright. "Much obliged, Mr. Ork."
"Oh, that's all right," replied the Ork. "Friends must stand together, yo_now, or they wouldn't be friends. But now I must leave you and be off to m_wn country, where there's going to be a surprise party on my uncle, and I'v_romised to attend it."
"Dear me," said the Scarecrow, regretfully. "That is very unfortunate."
"Why so?" asked the Ork.
"I hoped you would consent to carry us over those mountains, into the Land o_z. My mission here is now finished and I want to get back to the Emeral_ity."
"How did you cross the mountains before?" inquired the Ork.
"I scaled the cliffs by means of a rope, and crossed the Great Gulf on _trand of spider web. Of course I can return in the same manner, but it woul_e a hard journey — and perhaps an impossible one — for Trot and Button- Bright and Cap'n Bill. So I thought that if you had the time you and you_eople would carry us over the mountains and land us all safely on the othe_ide, in the Land of Oz."
The Ork thoughtfully considered the matter for a while. Then he said:
"I mustn't break my promise to be present at the surprise party; but, tell me, could you go to Oz to- night?"
"What, now?" exclaimed Trot.
"It is a fine moonlight night," said the Ork, "and I've found in my experienc_hat there's no time so good as right away. The fact is," he explained, "it'_ long journey to Orkland and I and my cousins here are all rather tired b_ur day's work. But if you will start now, and be content to allow us to carr_ou over the mountains and dump you on the other side, just say the word and — off we go!"
Cap'n Bill and Trot looked at one another questioningly. The little girl wa_ager to visit the famous fairyland of Oz and the old sailor had endured suc_ardships in Jinxland that he would be glad to be out of it.
"It's rather impolite of us not to say good-bye to the new King and Queen,"
remarked the Scarecrow, "but I'm sure they're too happy to miss us, and _ssure you it will be much easier to fly on the backs of the Orks over thos_teep mountains than to climb them as I did."
"All right; let's go!" Trot decided. "But where's Button-Bright?"
Just at this important moment Button-Bright was lost again, and they al_cattered in search of him. He had been standing beside them just a fe_inutes before, but his friends had an exciting hunt for him before the_inally discovered the boy seated among the members of the band, beating th_nd of the bass drum with the bone of a turkey-leg that he had taken from th_able in the banquet room.
"Hello, Trot," he said, looking up at the little girl when she found him.
"This is the first chance I ever had to pound a drum with a reg'lar dru_tick. And I ate all the meat off the bone myself."
"Come quick. We're going to the Land of Oz."
"Oh, what's the hurry?" said Button-Bright; but she seized his arm and dragge_im away to the park, where the others were waiting.
Trot climbed upon the back of her old friend, the Ork leader, and the other_ook their seats on the backs of his three cousins. As soon as all were place_nd clinging to the skinny necks of the creatures, the revolving tails bega_o whirl and up rose the four monster Orks and sailed away toward th_ountains. They were so high in the air that when they passed the crest of th_ighest peak it seemed far below them. No sooner were they well across th_arrier than the Orks swooped downward and landed their passengers upon th_round.
"Here we are, safe in the Land of Oz!" cried the Scarecrow joyfully.
"Oh, are we?" asked Trot, looking around her curiously.
She could see the shadows of stately trees and the outlines of rolling hills; beneath her feet was soft turf, but otherwise the subdued light of the moo_isclosed nothing clearly.
"Seems jus' like any other country," was Cap'n Bill's comment.
"But it isn't," the Scarecrow assured him. "You are now within the borders o_he most glorious fairyland in all the world. This part of it is just a corne_f the Quadling Country, and the least interesting portion of it. It's no_ery thickly settled, around here, I'll admit, but —"
He was interrupted by a sudden whir and a rush of air as the four Orks mounte_nto the sky.
"Good night!" called the shrill voices of the strange creatures, and althoug_rot shouted "Good night!" as loudly as she could, the little girl was almos_eady to cry because the Orks had not waited to be properly thanked for al_heir kindness to her and to Cap'n Bill.
But the Orks were gone, and thanks for good deeds do not amount to much excep_o prove one's politeness.
"Well, friends," said the Scarecrow, "we mustn't stay here in the meadows al_ight, so let us find a pleasant place to sleep. Not that it matters to me, i_he least, for I never sleep; but I know that meat people like to shut thei_yes and lie still during the dark hours."
"I'm pretty tired," admitted Trot, yawning as she followed the straw man alon_ tiny path, "so, if you don't find a house handy, Cap'n Bill and I will slee_nder the trees, or even on this soft grass."
But a house was not very far off, although when the Scarecrow stumbled upon i_here was no light in it whatever. Cap'n Bill knocked on the door severa_imes, and there being no response the Scarecrow boldly lifted the latch an_alked in, followed by the others. And no sooner had they entered than a sof_ight filled the room. Trot couldn't tell where it came from, for no lamp o_ny sort was visible, but she did not waste much time on this problem, becaus_irectly in the center of the room stood a table set for three, with lots o_ood food on it and several of the dishes smoking hot.
The little girl and Button-Bright both uttered exclamations of pleasure, bu_hey looked in vain for any cook stove or fireplace, or for any person wh_ight have prepared for them this delicious feast.
"It's fairyland," muttered the boy, tossing his cap in a corner and seatin_imself at the table. "This supper smells 'most as good as that turkey-leg _ad in Jinxland. Please pass the muffins, Cap'n Bill."
Trot thought it was strange that no people but themselves were in the house, but on the wall opposite the door was a gold frame bearing in big letters th_ord:
So she had no further hesitation in eating of the food so mysteriousl_repared for them.
"But there are only places for three!" she exclaimed.
"Three are quite enough," said the Scarecrow. "I never eat, because I a_tuffed full already, and I like my nice clean straw better than I do food."
Trot and the sailor-man were hungry and made a hearty meal, for not since the_ad left home had they tasted such good food. It was surprising that Button- Bright could eat so soon after his feast in Jinxland, but the boy always at_henever there was an opportunity. "If I don't eat now," he said, "the nex_ime I'm hungry I'll wish I had."
"Really, Cap'n," remarked Trot, when she found a dish of ice-cream appea_eside her plate, "I b'lieve this is fairyland, sure enough."
"There's no doubt of it, Trot," he answered gravely
"I've been here before," said Button-Bright, "so I know."
After supper they discovered three tiny bedrooms adjoining the big living roo_f the house, and in each room was a comfortable white bed with downy pillows.
You may be sure that the tired mortals were not long in bidding the Scarecro_ood night and creeping into their beds, where they slept soundly unti_orning.
For the first time since they set eyes on the terrible whirlpool, Trot an_ap'n Bill were free from anxiety and care. Button-Bright never worried abou_nything. The Scarecrow, not being able to sleep, looked out of the window an_ried to count the stars.