In her magnificent palace in the Emerald City, the beautiful girl Ruler of al_he wonderful Land of Oz sat in her dainty boudoir with her friend Princes_orothy beside her. Ozma was studying a roll of manuscript which she had take_rom the Royal Library, while Dorothy worked at her embroidery and at time_tooped to pat a shaggy little black dog that lay at her feet. The littl_og's name was Toto, and he was Dorothy's faithful companion.
To judge Ozma of Oz by the standards of our world, you would think her ver_oung — perhaps fourteen or fifteen years of age — yet for years she had rule_he Land of Oz and had never seemed a bit older. Dorothy appeared much younge_han Ozma. She had been a little girl when first she came to the Land of Oz,
and she was a little girl still, and would never seem to be a day older whil_he lived in this wonderful fairyland.
Oz was not always a fairyland, I am told. Once it was much like other lands,
except it was shut in by a dreadful desert of sandy wastes that lay all aroun_t, thus preventing its people from all contact with the rest of the world.
Seeing this isolation, the fairy band of Queen Lurline, passing over Oz whil_n a journey, enchanted the country and so made it a Fairyland. And Quee_urline left one of her fairies to rule this enchanted Land of Oz, and the_assed on and forgot all about it.
From that moment no one in Oz ever died. Those who were old remained old;
those who were young and strong did not change as years passed them by; th_hildren remained children always, and played and romped to their hearts'
content, while all the babies lived in their cradles and were tenderly care_or and never grew up. So people in Oz stopped counting how old they were i_ears, for years made no difference in their appearance and could not alte_heir station. They did not get sick, so there were no doctors among them.
Accidents might happen to some, on rare occasions, it is true, and while n_ne could die naturally, as other people do, it was possible that one might b_otally destroyed. Such incidents, however, were very unusual, and so seldo_as there anything to worry over that the Oz people were as happy an_ontented as can be.
Another strange thing about this fairy Land of Oz was that whoever managed t_nter it from the outside world came under the magic spell of the place an_id not change in appearance as long as they lived there. So Dorothy, who no_ived with Ozma, seemed just the same sweet little girl she had been whe_irst she came to this delightful fairyland.
Perhaps all parts of Oz might not be called truly delightful, but it wa_urely delightful in the neighborhood of the Emerald City, where Ozma reigned.
Her loving influence was felt for many miles around, but there were places i_he mountains of the Gillikin Country, and the forests of the Quadlin_ountry, and perhaps in far-away parts of the Munchkin and Winkie Countries,
where the inhabitants were somewhat rude and uncivilized and had not yet com_nder the spell of Ozma's wise and kindly rule. Also, when Oz first became _airyland, it harbored several witches and magicians and sorcerers an_ecromancers, who were scattered in various parts, but most of these had bee_eprived of their magic powers, and Ozma had issued a royal edict forbiddin_nyone in her dominions to work magic except Glinda the Good and the Wizard o_z. Ozma herself, being a real fairy, knew a lot of magic, but she only use_t to benefit her subjects.
This little explanation will help you to understand better the story you ar_eaching, but most of it is already known to those who are familiar with th_z people whose adventures they have followed in other Oz books.
Ozma and Dorothy were fast friends and were much together. Everyone in O_oved Dorothy almost as well as they did their lovely Ruler, for the littl_ansas girl's good fortune had not spoiled her or rendered her at all vain.
She was just the same brave and true and adventurous child as before she live_n a royal palace and became the chum of the fairy Ozma.
In the room in which the two sat — which was one of Ozma's private suite o_partments — hung the famous Magic Picture. This was the source of constan_nterest to little Dorothy. One had but to stand before it and wish to se_hat any person was doing, and at once a scene would flash upon the magi_anvas which showed exactly where that person was, and like our own movin_ictures would reproduce the actions of that person as long as you cared t_atch them. So today, when Dorothy tired of her embroidery, she drew th_urtains from before the Magic Picture and wished to see what her frien_utton Bright was doing. Button Bright, she saw, was playing ball with Ojo,
the Munchkin boy, so Dorothy next wished to see what her Aunt Em was doing.
The picture showed Aunt Em quietly engaged in darning socks for Uncle Henry,
so Dorothy wished to see what her old friend the Tin Woodman was doing.
The Tin Woodman was then just leaving his tin castle in the company of th_carecrow and Woot the Wanderer. Dorothy had never seen this boy before, s_he wondered who he was. Also she was curious to know where the three wer_oing, for she noticed Woot's knapsack and guessed they had started on a lon_ourney. She asked Ozma about it, but Ozma did not know.
That afternoon Dorothy again saw the travelers in the Magic Picture, but the_ere merely tramping through the country and Dorothy was not much intereste_n them. A couple of days later, however, the girl, being again with Ozma,
wished to see her friends, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman in the Magi_icture, and on this occasion found them in the great castle of Mrs. Yoop, th_iantess, who was at the time about to transform them. Both Dorothy and Ozm_ow became greatly interested and watched the transformations with indignatio_nd horror.
"What a wicked Giantess!" exclaimed Dorothy.
"Yes," answered Ozma, "she must be punished for this cruelty to our friends,
and to the poor boy who is with them."
After this they followed the adventure of the little Brown Bear and the Ti_wl and the Green Monkey with breathless interest, and were delighted whe_hey escaped from Mrs. Yoop. They did not know, then, who the Canary was, bu_ealized it must be the transformation of some person of consequence, whom th_iantess had also enchanted.
When, finally, the day came when the adventurers headed south into th_unchkin Country, Dorothy asked anxiously:
"Can't something be done for them, Ozma? Can't you change 'em back into thei_wn shapes? They've suffered enough from these dreadful transformations, seem_o me."
"I've been studying ways to help them, ever since they were transformed,"
replied Ozma. "Mrs. Yoop is now the only yookoohoo in my dominions, and th_ookoohoo magic is very peculiar and hard for others to understand, yet I a_esolved to make the attempt to break these enchantments. I may not succeed,
but I shall do the best I can. From the directions our friends are taking, _elieve they are going to pass by Jinjur's Ranch, so if we start now we ma_eet them there. Would you like to go with me, Dorothy?"
"Of course," answered the little girl; "I wouldn't miss it for anything."
"Then order the Red Wagon," said Ozma of Oz, "and we will start at once."
Dorothy ran to do as she was bid, while Ozma went to her Magic Room to mak_eady the things she believed she would need. In half an hour the Red Wago_tood before the grand entrance of the palace, and before it was hitched th_ooden Sawhorse, which was Ozma's favorite steed.
This Sawhorse, while made of wood, was very much alive and could trave_wiftly and without tiring. To keep the ends of his wooden legs from wearin_own short, Ozma had shod the Sawhorse with plates of pure gold. His harnes_as studded with brilliant emeralds and other jewels and so, while he himsel_as not at all handsome, his outfit made a splendid appearance.
Since the Sawhorse could understand her spoken words, Ozma used no reins t_uide him. She merely told him where to go. When she came from the palace wit_orothy, they both climbed into the Red Wagon and then the little dog, Toto,
ran up and asked:
"Are you going to leave me behind, Dorothy?" Dorothy looked at Ozma, wh_miled in return and said:
"Toto may go with us, if you wish him to."
So Dorothy lifted the little dog into the wagon, for, while he could run fast,
he could not keep up with the speed of the wonderful Sawhorse.
Away they went, over hills and through meadows, covering the ground wit_stonishing speed. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Red Wagon arrive_efore Jinjur's house just as that energetic young lady had finished scrubbin_he Green Monkey and was about to lead him to the caramel patch.