I suppose many of my readers have read descriptions of the beautiful an_agnificent Emerald City of Oz, so I need not describe it here, except t_tate that never has any city in any fairyland ever equalled this one i_tately splendor. It lies almost exactly in the center of the Land of Oz, an_n the center of the Emerald City rises the wall of glistening emeralds tha_urrounds the palace of Ozma. The palace is almost a city in itself and i_nhabited by many of the Ruler's especial friends and those who have won he_onfidence and favor. As for Ozma herself, there are no words in an_ictionary I can find that are fitted to describe this young girl's beauty o_ind and person. Merely to see her is to love her for her charming face an_anners; to know her is to love her for her tender sympathy, her generou_ature, her truth and honor. Born of a long line of Fairy Queens, Ozma is a_early perfect as any fairy may be, and she is noted for her wisdom as well a_or her other qualities. Her happy subjects adore their girl Ruler and eac_ne considers her a comrade and protector.
At the time of which I write, Ozma's best friend and most constant companio_as a little Kansas girl named Dorothy, a mortal who had come to the Land o_z in a very curious manner and had been offered a home in Ozma's palace.
Furthermore, Dorothy had been made a Princess of Oz, and was as much at hom_n the royal palace as was the gentle Ruler. She knew almost every part of th_reat country and almost all of its numerous inhabitants. Next to Ozma she wa_oved better than anyone in all Oz, for Dorothy was simple and sweet, seldo_ecame angry and had such a friendly, chummy way that she made friends where-
ever she wandered. It was she who first brought the Scarecrow and the Ti_oodman and the Cowardly Lion to the Emerald City. Dorothy had also introduce_o Ozma the Shaggy Man and the Hungry Tiger, as well as Billina the Yello_en, Eureka the Pink Kitten, and many other delightful characters an_reatures. Coming as she did from our world, Dorothy was much like many othe_irls we know; so there were times when she was not so wise as she might hav_een, and other times when she was obstinate and got herself into trouble. Bu_ife in a fairy-land had taught the little girl to accept all sorts o_urprising things as matters-of-course, for while Dorothy was no fairy — bu_ust as mortal as we are — she had seen more wonders than most mortals eve_o.
Another little girl from our outside world also lived in Ozma's palace. Thi_as Betsy Bobbin, whose strange adventures had brought her to the Emeral_ity, where Ozma had cordially welcomed her. Betsy was a shy little thing an_ould never get used to the marvels that surrounded her, but she and Doroth_ere firm friends and thought themselves very fortunate in being together i_his delightful country.
One day Dorothy and Betsy were visiting Ozma in the girl Ruler's privat_partment, and among the things that especially interested them was Ozma'_agic Picture, set in a handsome frame and hung upon the wall of the room.
This picture was a magic one because it constantly changed its scenes an_howed events and adventures happening in all parts of the world. Thus it wa_eally a "moving picture" of life, and if the one who stood before it wishe_o know what any absent person was doing, the picture instantly showed tha_erson, with his or her surroundings.
The two girls were not wishing to see anyone in particular, on this occasion,
but merely enjoyed watching the shifting scenes, some of which wer_xceedingly curious and remarkable. Suddenly Dorothy exclaimed: "Why, there'_utton-Bright!" and this drew Ozma also to look at the picture, for she an_orothy knew the boy well.
"Who is Button-Bright?" asked Betsy, who had never met him.
"Why, he's the little boy who is just getting off the back of that strang_lying creature," exclaimed Dorothy. Then she turned to Ozma and asked: "Wha_s that thing, Ozma? A bird? I've never seen anything like it before."
"It is an Ork," answered Ozma, for they were watching the scene where the Or_nd the three big birds were first landing their passengers in Jinxland afte_he long flight across the desert. "I wonder," added the girl Ruler, musingly,
"why those strangers dare venture into that unfortunate country, which i_uled by a wicked King."
"That girl, and the one-legged man, seem to be mortals from the outsid_orld," said Dorothy
"The man isn't one-legged," corrected Betsy; "he has one wooden leg."
"It's almost as bad," declared Dorothy, watching Cap'n Bill stump around.
"They are three mortal adventurers," said Ozma, "and they seem worthy an_onest. But I fear they will be treated badly in Jinxland, and if they mee_ith any misfortune there it will reflect upon me, for Jinxland is a part o_y dominions."
"Can't we help them in any way?" inquired Dorothy. "That seems like a nic_ittle girl. I'd be sorry if anything happened to her."
"Let us watch the picture for awhile," suggested Ozma, and so they all dre_hairs before the Magic Picture and followed the adventures of Trot and Cap'_ill and Button-Bright. Presently the scene shifted and showed their frien_he Scarecrow crossing the mountains into Jinxland, and that somewhat relieve_zma's anxiety, for she knew at once that Glinda the Good had sent th_carecrow to protect the strangers.
The adventures in Jinxland proved very interesting to the three girls i_zma's palace, who during the succeeding days spent much of their time i_atching the picture. It was like a story to them.
"That girl's a reg'lar trump!" exclaimed Dorothy, referring to Trot, and Ozm_nswered:
"She's a dear little thing, and I'm sure nothing very bad will happen to her.
The old sailor is a fine character, too, for he has never once grumbled ove_eing a grasshopper, as so many would have done."
When the Scarecrow was so nearly burned up the girls all shivered a little,
and they clapped their hands in joy when the flock of Orks came and saved him.
So it was that when all the exciting adventures in Jinxland were over and th_our Orks had begun their flight across the mountains to carry the mortal_nto the Land of Oz, Ozma called the Wizard to her and asked him to prepare _lace for the strangers to sleep.
The famous Wizard of Oz was a quaint little man who inhabited the royal palac_nd attended to all the magical things that Ozma wanted done. He was not a_owerful as Glinda, to be sure, but he could do a great many wonderful things.
He proved this by placing a house in the uninhabited part of the Quadlin_ountry where the Orks landed Cap'n Bill and Trot and Button-Bright, an_itting it with all the comforts I have described in the last chapter.
Next morning Dorothy said to Ozma:
"Oughtn't we to go meet the strangers, so we can show them the way to th_merald City? I'm sure that little girl will feel shy in this beautiful land,
and I know if 'twas me I'd like somebody to give me a welcome."
Ozma smiled at her little friend and answered:
"You and Betsy may go to meet them, if you wish, but I can not leave my palac_ust now, as I am to have a conference with Jack Pumpkinhead and Professo_ogglebug on important matters. You may take the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon,
and if you start soon you will be able to meet the Scarecrow and the stranger_t Glinda's palace."
"Oh, thank you!" cried Dorothy, and went away to tell Betsy and to mak_reparations for the journey.