FictionForest

Chapter 10

L. Frank BaumOct 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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The travelers had taken no provisions with them because they knew that
they would be welcomed wherever they might go in the Land of Oz, and
that the people would feed and lodge them with genuine hospitality.
So about noon they stopped at a farm-house and were given a delicious
luncheon of bread and milk, fruits and wheat cakes with maple syrup.
After resting a while and strolling through the orchards with their
host–a round, jolly farmer–they got into the wagon and again started
the Sawhorse along the pretty, winding road.

There were signposts at all the corners, and finally they came to one
which read:

TAKE THIS ROAD TO THE CUTTENCLIPS

There was also a hand pointing in the right direction, so they turned
the Sawhorse that way and found it a very good road, but seemingly
little traveled.

“I’ve never seen the Cuttenclips before,” remarked Dorothy.

“Nor I,” said the Captain General.

“Nor I,” said the Wizard.

“Nor I,” said Billina.

“I’ve hardly been out of the Emerald City since I arrived in this
country,” added the Shaggy Man.

“Why, none of us has been there, then,” exclaimed the little girl.
“I wonder what the Cuttenclips are like.”

“We shall soon find out,” said the Wizard, with a sly laugh.
“I’ve heard they are rather flimsy things.”

The farm-houses became fewer as they proceeded, and the path was at
times so faint that the Sawhorse had hard work to keep in the road.
The wagon began to jounce, too; so they were obliged to go slowly.

After a somewhat wearisome journey they came in sight of a high wall,
painted blue with pink ornaments. This wall was circular, and seemed
to enclose a large space. It was so high that only the tops of the
trees could be seen above it.

The path led up to a small door in the wall, which was closed and
latched. Upon the door was a sign in gold letters reading as follows:

VISITORS are requested to MOVE SLOWLY and CAREFULLY,
and to avoid COUGHING or making any BREEZE or DRAUGHT.

“That’s strange,” said the Shaggy Man, reading the sign aloud. “Who
ARE the Cuttenclips, anyhow?”

“Why, they’re paper dolls,” answered Dorothy. “Didn’t you know that?”

“Paper dolls! Then let’s go somewhere else,” said Uncle Henry.
“We’re all too old to play with dolls, Dorothy.”

“But these are different,” declared the girl. “They’re alive.”

“Alive!” gasped Aunt Em, in amazement.

“Yes. Let’s go in,” said Dorothy.

So they all got out of the wagon, since the door in the wall was not
big enough for them to drive the Sawhorse and wagon through it.

“You stay here, Toto!” commanded Dorothy, shaking her finger at the
little dog. “You’re so careless that you might make a breeze if I
let you inside.”

Toto wagged his tail as if disappointed at being left behind; but he
made no effort to follow them. The Wizard unlatched the door, which
opened outward, and they all looked eagerly inside.

Just before the entrance was drawn up a line of tiny soldiers, with
uniforms brightly painted and paper guns upon their shoulders. They
were exactly alike, from one end of the line to the other, and all were
cut out of paper and joined together in the centers of their bodies.

As the visitors entered the enclosure the Wizard let the door swing
back into place, and at once the line of soldiers tumbled over, fell
flat upon their backs, and lay fluttering upon the ground.

“Hi there!” called one of them; “what do you mean by slamming the
door and blowing us over?”

“I beg your pardon, I’m sure,” said the Wizard, regretfully. “I didn’t
know you were so delicate.”

“We’re not delicate!” retorted another soldier, raising his head from
the ground. “We are strong and healthy; but we can’t stand draughts.”

“May I help you up?” asked Dorothy.

“If you please,” replied the end soldier. “But do it gently,
little girl.”

Dorothy carefully stood up the line of soldiers, who first dusted
their painted clothes and then saluted the visitors with their paper
muskets. From the end it was easy to see that the entire line had
been cut out of paper, although from the front the soldiers looked
rather solid and imposing.

“I’ve a letter of introduction from Princess Ozma to Miss Cuttenclip,”
announced Dorothy.

“Very well,” said the end soldier, and blew upon a paper whistle that
hung around his neck. At once a paper soldier in a Captain’s uniform
came out of a paper house near by and approached the group at the
entrance. He was not very big, and he walked rather stiffly and
uncertainly on his paper legs; but he had a pleasant face, with very
red cheeks and very blue eyes, and he bowed so low to the strangers
that Dorothy laughed, and the breeze from her mouth nearly blew the
Captain over. He wavered and struggled and finally managed to remain
upon his feet.

“Take care, Miss!” he said, warningly. “You’re breaking the rules,
you know, by laughing.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” she replied.

“To laugh in this place is nearly as dangerous as to cough,” said the
Captain. “You’ll have to breathe very quietly, I assure you.”

“We’ll try to,” promised the girl. “May we see Miss Cuttenclip, please?”

“You may,” promptly returned the Captain. “This is one of her
reception days. Be good enough to follow me.”

He turned and led the way up a path, and as they followed slowly,
because the paper Captain did not move very swiftly, they took the
opportunity to gaze around them at this strange paper country.

Beside the path were paper trees, all cut out very neatly and painted
a brilliant green color. And back of the trees were rows of cardboard
houses, painted in various colors but most of them having green
blinds. Some were large and some small, and in the front yards were
beds of paper flowers quite natural in appearance. Over some of the
porches paper vines were twined, giving them a cozy and shady look.

As the visitors passed along the street a good many paper dolls came
to the doors and windows of their houses to look at them curiously.
These dolls were nearly all the same height, but were cut into various
shapes, some being fat and some lean. The girl dolls wore many
beautiful costumes of tissue paper, making them quite fluffy; but
their heads and hands were no thicker than the paper of which they
were made.

Some of the paper people were on the street, walking along or
congregated in groups and talking together; but as soon as they saw
the strangers they all fluttered into the houses as fast as they
could go, so as to be out of danger.

“Excuse me if I go edgewise,” remarked the Captain as they came to a
slight hill. “I can get along faster that way and not flutter so much.”

“That’s all right,” said Dorothy. “We don’t mind how you go, I’m sure.”

At one side of the street was a paper pump, and a paper boy was
pumping paper water into a paper pail. The Yellow Hen happened to
brush against this boy with her wing, and he flew into the air and
fell into a paper tree, where he stuck until the Wizard gently pulled
him out. At the same time, the pail went into the air, spilling the
paper water, while the paper pump bent nearly double.

“Goodness me!” said the Hen. “If I should flop my wings I believe
I’d knock over the whole village!”

“Then don’t flop them–please don’t!” entreated the Captain. “Miss
Cuttenclip would be very much distressed if her village was spoiled.”

“Oh, I’ll be careful,” promised Billina.

“Are not all these paper girls and women named Miss Cuttenclips?”
inquired Omby Amby.

“No indeed,” answered the Captain, who was walking better since he
began to move edgewise. “There is but one Miss Cuttenclip, who is our
Queen, because she made us all. These girls are Cuttenclips, to be
sure, but their names are Emily and Polly and Sue and Betty and such
things. Only the Queen is called Miss Cuttenclip.”

“I must say that this place beats anything I ever heard of,” observed
Aunt Em. “I used to play with paper dolls myself, an’ cut ’em out;
but I never thought I’d ever see such things alive.”

“I don’t see as it’s any more curious than hearing hens talk,”
returned Uncle Henry.

“You’re likely to see many queer things in the Land of Oz, sir,” said
the Wizard. “But a fairy country is extremely interesting when you
get used to being surprised.”

“Here we are!” called the Captain, stopping before a cottage.

This house was made of wood, and was remarkably pretty in design. In
the Emerald City it would have been considered a tiny dwelling,
indeed; but in the midst of this paper village it seemed immense.
Real flowers were in the garden and real trees grew beside it. Upon
the front door was a sign reading:

MISS CUTTENCLIP.

Just as they reached the porch the front door opened and a little
girl stood before them. She appeared to be about the same age as
Dorothy, and smiling upon her visitors she said, sweetly:

“You are welcome.”

All the party seemed relieved to find that here was a real girl, of
flesh and blood. She was very dainty and pretty as she stood there
welcoming them. Her hair was a golden blonde and her eyes turquoise
blue. She had rosy cheeks and lovely white teeth. Over her simple
white lawn dress she wore an apron with pink and white checks, and in
one hand she held a pair of scissors.

“May we see Miss Cuttenclip, please?” asked Dorothy.

“I am Miss Cuttenclip,” was the reply. “Won’t you come in?”

She held the door open while they all entered a pretty sitting-room
that was littered with all sorts of paper–some stiff, some thin, and
some tissue. The sheets and scraps were of all colors. Upon a table
were paints and brushes, while several pair of scissors, of different
sizes, were lying about.

“Sit down, please,” said Miss Cuttenclip, clearing the paper scraps
off some of the chairs. “It is so long since I have had any visitors
that I am not properly prepared to receive them. But I’m sure you
will pardon my untidy room, for this is my workshop.”

“Do you make all the paper dolls?” inquired Dorothy.

“Yes; I cut them out with my scissors, and paint the faces and some of
the costumes. It is very pleasant work, and I am happy making my
paper village grow.”

“But how do the paper dolls happen to be alive?” asked Aunt Em.

“The first dolls I made were not alive,” said Miss Cuttenclip. “I
used to live near the castle of a great Sorceress named Glinda the
Good, and she saw my dolls and said they were very pretty. I told her
I thought I would like them better if they were alive, and the next
day the Sorceress brought me a lot of magic paper. ‘This is live
paper,’ she said, ‘and all the dolls you cut out of it will be alive,
and able to think and to talk. When you have used it all up, come to
me and I will give you more.’

“Of course I was delighted with this present,” continued Miss
Cuttenclip, “and at once set to work and made several paper dolls,
which, as soon as they were cut out, began to walk around and talk to
me. But they were so thin that I found that any breeze would blow
them over and scatter them dreadfully; so Glinda found this lonely
place for me, where few people ever come. She built the wall to keep
any wind from blowing away my people, and told me I could build a
paper village here and be its Queen. That is why I came here and
settled down to work and started the village you now see. It was many
years ago that I built the first houses, and I’ve kept pretty busy and
made my village grow finely; and I need not tell you that I am very
happy in my work.”

“Many years ago!” exclaimed Aunt Em. “Why, how old are you, child?”

“I never keep track of the years,” said Miss Cuttenclip, laughing.
“You see, I don’t grow up at all, but stay just the same as I was when
first I came here. Perhaps I’m older even than you are, madam; but I
couldn’t say for sure.”

They looked at the lovely little girl wonderingly, and the Wizard asked:

“What happens to your paper village when it rains?”

“It does not rain here,” replied Miss Cuttenclip. “Glinda keeps all
the rain storms away; so I never worry about my dolls getting wet. But
now, if you will come with me, it will give me pleasure to show you
over my paper kingdom. Of course you must go slowly and carefully,
and avoid making any breeze.”

They left the cottage and followed their guide through the various
streets of the village. It was indeed an amazing place, when one
considered that it was all made with scissors, and the visitors were
not only greatly interested but full of admiration for the skill of
little Miss Cuttenclip.

In one place a large group of especially nice paper dolls assembled to
greet their Queen, whom it was easy to see they loved early. These
dolls marched and danced before the visitors, and then they all waved
their paper handkerchiefs and sang in a sweet chorus a song called
“The Flag of Our Native Land.”

At the conclusion of the song they ran up a handsome paper flag on a
tall flagpole, and all of the people of the village gathered around to
cheer as loudly as they could–although, of course, their voices were
not especially strong.

Miss Cuttenclip was about to make her subjects a speech in reply to
this patriotic song, when the Shaggy Man happened to sneeze.

He was a very loud and powerful sneezer at any time, and he had tried
so hard to hold in this sneeze that when it suddenly exploded the
result was terrible.

The paper dolls were mowed down by dozens, and flew and fluttered in
wild confusion in every direction, tumbling this way and that and
getting more or less wrinkled and bent.

A wail of terror and grief came from the scattered throng, and Miss
Cuttenclip exclaimed:

“Dear me! dear me!” and hurried at once to the rescue of her
overturned people.

“Oh, Shaggy Man! How could you?” asked Dorothy, reproachfully.

“I couldn’t help it–really I couldn’t,” protested the Shaggy Man,
looking quite ashamed. “And I had no idea it took so little to upset
these paper dolls.”

“So little!” said Dorothy. “Why, it was ‘most as bad as a Kansas
cyclone.” And then she helped Miss Cuttenclip rescue the paper folk
and stand them on their feet again. Two of the cardboard houses had
also tumbled over, and the little Queen said she would have to repair
them and paste them together before they could be lived in again.

And now, fearing they might do more damage to the flimsy paper people,
they decided to go away. But first they thanked Miss Cuttenclip very
warmly for her courtesy and kindness to them.

“Any friend of Princess Ozma is always welcome here–unless he
sneezes,” said the Queen with a rather severe look at the Shaggy Man,
who hung his head. “I like to have visitors admire my wonderful
village, and I hope you will call again.”

Miss Cuttenclip herself led them to the door in the wall, and as they
passed along the street the paper dolls peeped at them half fearfully
from the doors and windows. Perhaps they will never forget the Shaggy
Man’s awful sneeze, and I am sure they were all glad to see the meat
people go away.

 

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