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Chapter 20 Queen Gloria

  • 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:
  • "Gloria!"
  • 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:
  • "WELCOME."
  • 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.