FictionForest

Chapter 4 – The Glass Cat

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

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The cat was made of glass, so clear and
transparent that you could see through it as
easily as through a window. In the top of its
head, however, Was a mass of delicate pink balls
which looked like jewels, and it had a heart made
of a blood-red ruby. The eyes were two large
emeralds, but aside from these colors all the rest
of the animal was clear glass, and it had a spun-
glass tail that was really beautiful.

“Well, Doc Pipt, do you mean to introduce us, or
not?” demanded the cat, in a tone of annoyance.
“Seems to me you are forgetting your manners.”

“Excuse me,” returned the Magician. “This
is Unc Nunkie, the descendant of the former
kings of the Munchkins, before this country be
came a part of the Land of Oz.”

“He needs a haircut,” observed the cat,
washing its face.

“True,” replied Unc, with a low chuckle of
amusement.

“But he has lived alone in the heart of the
forest for many years,” the Magician explained;
“and, although that is a barbarous country,
there are no barbers there.”

“Who is the dwarf?” asked the cat.

“That is not a dwarf, but a boy,” answered
the Magician. “You have never seen a boy before.
He is now small because he is young. With more
years he will grow big and become as tall as Unc
Nunkie.”

“Oh. Is that magic?” the glass animal inquired.

“Yes; but it is Nature’s magic, which is more
wonderful than any art known to man. For
instance, my magic made you, and made you
live; and it was a poor job because you are
useless and a bother to me; but I can’t make you
grow. You will always be the same size–and
the same saucy, inconsiderate Glass Cat, with
pink brains and a hard ruby heart.”

“No one can regret more than I the fact that you
made me,” asserted the cat, crouching upon the
floor and slowly swaying its spun-glass tail from
side to side. “Your world is a very uninteresting
place. I’ve wandered through your gardens and in
the forest until I’m tired of it all, and when I
come into the house the conversation of your fat
wife and of yourself bores me dreadfully.”

“That is because I gave you different brains
from those we ourselves possess–and much too
good for a cat,” returned Dr. Pipt.

“Can’t you take ’em out, then, and replace
em with pebbles, so that I won’t feel above my
station in life?” asked the cat, pleadingly.

“Perhaps so. I’ll try it, after I’ve brought the
Patchwork Girl to life,” he said.

The cat walked up to the bench on which
the Patchwork Girl reclined and looked at her
attentively.

“Are you going to make that dreadful thing
live?” she asked.

The Magician nodded.

“It is intended to be my wife’s servant maid,”
he said. “When she is alive she will do all our
work and mind the house. But you are not to
order her around, Bungle, as you do us. You
must treat the Patchwork Girl respectfully.”

“I won’t. I couldn’t respect such a bundle
of scraps under any circumstances.”

“If you don’t, there will be more scraps than
you will like,” cried Margolotte, angrily.

“Why didn’t you make her pretty to look at?”
asked the cat. “You made me pretty–very pretty,
indeed–and I love to watch my pink brains roll
around when they’re working, and to see my
precious red heart beat.” She went to a long
mirror, as she said this, and stood before it,
looking at herself with an air of much pride.
“But that poor patched thing will hate herself,
when she’s once alive,” continued the cat. “If
I were you I’d use her for a mop, and make
another servant that is prettier.”

“You have a perverted taste,” snapped
Margolotte, much annoyed at this frank criticism.
“I think the Patchwork Girl is beautiful,
considering what she’s made of. Even the rainbow
hasn’t as many colors, and you must admit that the
rainbow is a pretty thing.”

The Glass Cat yawned and stretched herself
upon the floor.

“Have your own way,” she said. “I’m sorry
for the Patchwork Girl, that’s all.”

Ojo and Unc Nunkie slept that night in the
Magician’s house, and the boy was glad to stay
because he was anxious to see the Patchwork
Girl brought to life. The Glass Cat was also a
wonderful creature to little Ojo, who had never
seen or known anything of magic before, although
he had lived in the Fairyland of Oz ever since he
was born. Back there in the woods nothing unusual
ever happened. Unc Nunkie, who might have been
King of the Munchkins, had not his people united
with all the other countries of Oz in
acknowledging Ozma as their Sole ruler, had
retired into this forgotten forest nook with his
baby nephew and they had lived all alone there.
Only that the neglected garden had failed to grow
food for them, they would always have lived in the
solitary Blue Forest; but now they had started out
to mingle with other people, and the first place
they came to proved so interesting that Ojo could
scarcely sleep a wink all night.

Margolotte was an excellent cook and gave
them a fine breakfast. While they were all engaged
in eating, the good woman said:

“This is the last meal I shall have to cook
for some time, for right after breakfast Dr. Pipt
has promised to bring my new servant to life.
I shall let her wash the breakfast dishes and
sweep and dust the house. What a relief it
will be!”

“It will, indeed, relieve you of much drudgery,”
said the Magician. “By the way, Margolotte, I
thought I saw you getting some brains from the
cupboard, while I was busy with my kettles. What
qualities have you given your new servant?”

“Only those that an humble servant requires,”
she answered. “I do not wish her to feel above
her station, as the Glass Cat does. That would
make her discontented and unhappy, for of
course she must always be a servant.”

Ojo was somewhat disturbed as he listened to
this, and the boy began to fear he had done wrong
in adding all those different qualities of brains
to the lot Margolotte had prepared for the
servant. But it was too late now for regret, since
all the brains were securely sewn up inside the
Patchwork Girl’s head. He might have confessed
what he had done and thus allowed Margolotte and
her husband to change the brains; but he was
afraid of incurring their anger. He believed that
Unc had seen him add to the brains, and Unc had
not said a word against it; but then, Unc never
did say anything unless it was absolutely
necessary.

As soon as breakfast was over they all went
into the Magician’s big workshop, where the
Glass Cat was lying before the mirror and the
Patchwork Girl lay limp and lifeless upon the
bench.

“Now, then,” said Dr. Pipt, in a brisk tone,
“we shall perform one of the greatest feats of
magic possible to man, even in this marvelous
Land of Oz. In no other country could it be
done at all. I think we ought to have a little
music while the Patchwork Girl comes to life.
It is pleasant to reflect that the first sounds her
golden ears will hear will be delicious music.

As he spoke he went to a phonograph, which
screwed fast to a small table, and wound up
the spring of the instrument and adjusted the
big gold horn.

“The music my servant will usually hear,”
remarked Margolotte, “will be my orders to do
her work. But I see no harm in allowing her to
listen to this unseen band while she wakens to
her first realization of life. My orders will beat
the band, afterward.”

The phonograph was now playing a stirring
march tune and the Magician unlocked his
cabinet and took out the gold bottle containing
the Powder of Life.

They all bent over the bench on which the
Patchwork Girl reclined. Unc Nunkie and Margolotte
stood behind, near the windows, Ojo at one side
and the Magician in front, where he would have
freedom to sprinkle the powder. The Glass Cat came
near, too, curious to watch the important scene.

“All ready?” asked Dr. Pipt.

“All is ready,” answered his wife.

So the Magician leaned over and shook from
the bottle some grains of the wonderful Powder,
and they fell directly on the Patchwork Girl’s
head and arms.

 

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