FictionForest

Chapter 5 – A Terrible Accident

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

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“It will take a few minutes for this powder to
do its work,” remarked the Magician, sprinkling
the body up and down with much care.

But suddenly the Patchwork Girl threw up one
arm, which knocked the bottle of powder from the
crooked man’s hand and sent it flying across the
room. Unc Nunkie and Margolotte were so startled
that they both leaped backward and bumped
together, and Unc’s head joggled the shelf above
them and upset the bottle containing the Liquid of
Petrifaction.

The Magician uttered such a wild cry that Ojo
jumped away and the Patchwork Girl sprang after
him and clasped her stuffed arms around him in
terror. The Glass Cat snarled and hid under the
table, and so it was that when the powerful Liquid
of Petrifaction was spilled it fell only upon the
wife of the Magician and the uncle of Ojo. With
these two the charm worked promptly. They stood
motionless and stiff as marble statues, in exactly
the positions they were in when the Liquid struck
them.

Ojo pushed the Patchwork Girl away and
ran to Unc Nunkie, filled with a terrible fear
for the only friend and protector he had ever
known. When he grasped Unc’s hand it was
cold and hard. Even the long gray beard was
solid marble. The Crooked Magician was
dancing around the room in a frenzy of despair,
calling upon his wife to forgive him, to speak
to him, to come to life again!

The Patchwork Girl, quickly recovering from her
fright, now came nearer and looked from one to
another of the people with deep interest. Then she
looked at herself and laughed. Noticing the
mirror, she stood before it and examined her
extraordinary features with amazement–her button
eyes, pearl bead teeth and puffy nose. Then,
addressing her reflection in the glass, she exclaimed:

“Whee, but there’s a gaudy dame!
Makes a paint-box blush with shame.
Razzle-dazzle, fizzle-fazzle!
Howdy-do, Miss What’s-your-name?”

She bowed, and the reflection bowed. Then
she laughed again, long and merrily, and the
Glass Cat crept out from under the table and said:

“I don’t blame you for laughing at yourself.
Aren’t you horrid?”

“Horrid?” she replied. “Why, I’m thoroughly
delightful. I’m an Original, if you please, and
therefore incomparable. Of all the comic, absurd,
rare and amusing creatures the world contains, I
must be the supreme freak. Who but poor Margolotte
could have managed to invent such an unreasonable
being as I? But I’m glad–I’m awfully glad!–that
I’m just what I am, and nothing else.”

“Be quiet, will you?” cried the frantic
Magician; “be quiet and let me think! If I don’t
think I shall go mad.”

“Think ahead,” said the Patchwork Girl, seating
herself in a chair. “Think all you want to. I
don’t mind.”

“Gee! but I’m fired playing that tune,” called
the phonograph, speaking through its horn in
a brazen, scratchy voice. “If you don’t mind,
Pipt, old boy, I’ll cut it out and take a rest.”

The Magician looked gloomily at the music-
machine.

“What dreadful luck!” he wailed, despondently.
“The Powder of Life must have fallen on the
phonograph.”

He went up to it and found that the gold bottle
that contained the precious powder had dropped
upon the stand and scattered its life-giving
grains over the machine. The phonograph was very
much alive, and began dancing a jig with the legs
of the table to which it was attached, and this
dance so annoyed Dr. Pipt that he kicked the thing
into a corner and pushed a bench against it, to
hold it quiet.

“You were bad enough before,” said the Magician,
resentfully; “but a live phonograph is enough to
drive every sane person in the Land of Oz stark
crazy.”

“No insults, please,” answered the phonograph in
a surly, tone. “You did it, my boy; don’t blame
me. ”

“You’ve bungled everything, Dr. Pipt,” added
the Glass Cat, contemptuously.

“Except me,” said the Patchwork Girl, jumping up
to whirl merrily around the room.

“I think,” said Ojo, almost ready to cry
through grief over Unc Nunkie’s sad fate, “it
must all be my fault, in some way. I’m called
Ojo the Unlucky, you know.”

“That’s nonsense, kiddie,” retorted the
Patchwork Girl cheerfully. “No one can be unlucky
who has the intelligence to direct his own
actions. The unlucky ones are those who beg for a
chance to think, like poor Dr. Pipt here. What’s
the row about, anyway, Mr. Magic-maker?”

“The Liquid of Petrifaction has accidentally
fallen upon my dear wife and Unc Nunkie and
turned them into marble,” he sadly replied.

“Well, why don’t you sprinkle some of that
powder on them and bring them to life again?”
asked the Patchwork Girl.

The Magician gave a jump.

“Why, I hadn’t thought of that!” he joyfully
cried, and grabbed up the golden bottle, with
which he ran to Margolotte.

Said the Patchwork Girl:

“Higgledy, piggledy, dee-
What fools magicians be!
His head’s so thick
He can’t think quick,
So he takes advice from me.”

Standing upon the bench, for he was so
crooked he could not reach the top of his wife’s
head in any other way, Dr. Pipt began shaking
the bottle. But not a grain of powder came out.
He pulled off the cover, glanced within, and
then threw the bottle from him with a wail of
despair.

“Gone-gone! Every bit gone,” he cried.
“Wasted on that miserable phonograph when
it might have saved my dear wife!”

Then the Magician bowed his head on his
crooked arms and began to cry.

Ojo was sorry for him. He went up to the
sorrowful man and said softly:

“You can make more Powder of Life, Dr. Pipt.”

“Yes; but it will take me six years–six long,
weary years of stirring four kettles with both
feet and both hands,” was the agonized reply. “Six
years! while poor Margolotte stands watching me as
a marble image. ”

“Can’t anything else be done?” asked the
Patchwork Girl.

The Magician shook his head. Then he seemed to
remember something and looked up.

“There is one other compound that would destroy
the magic spell of the Liquid of Petrifaction and
restore my wife and Unc Nunkie to life,” said he.
“It may be hard to find the things I need to make
this magic compound, but if they were found I
could do in an instant what will otherwise take
six long, weary years of stirring kettles with
both hands and both feet.”

“All right; let’s find the things, then,”
suggested the Patchwork Girl. “That seems a lot
more sensible than those stirring times with the
kettles.”

“That’s the idea, Scraps,” said the Glass Cat,
approvingly. “I’m glad to find you have decent
brains. Mine are exceptionally good. You can
see em work; they’re pink.”

“Scraps?” repeated the girl. “Did you call me
‘Scraps’? Is that my name?”

“I–I believe my poor wife had intended to
name you ‘Angeline,'” said the Magician.

“But I like ‘Scraps’ best,” she replied with a
laugh. “It fits me better, for my patchwork is
all scraps, and nothing else. Thank you for
naming me, Miss Cat. Have you any name of
your own?”

“I have a foolish name that Margolotte once
gave me, but which is quite undignified for
one of my importance,” answered the cat. “She
called me ‘Bungle.'”

“Yes,” sighed the Magician; “you were a sad
bungle, taken all in all. I was wrong to make
you as I did, for a more useless, conceited and
brittle thing never before existed.”

“I’m not so brittle as you think,” retorted the
cat. “I’ve been alive a good many years, for
Dr. Pipt experimented on me with the first
magic Powder of Life he ever made, and so
far I’ve never broken or cracked or chipped any
part of me.”

“You seem to have a chip on your shoulder,”
laughed the Patchwork Girl, and the cat went
to the mirror to see.

“Tell me,” pleaded Ojo, speaking to the
Crooked Magician, “what must we find to make
the compound that will save Unc Nunkie?”

“First,” was the reply, “I must have a six-
leaved clover. That can only be found in the green
country around the Emerald City, and six-leaved
clovers are very scarce, even there.”

“I’ll find it for you,” promised Ojo.

“The next thing,” continued the Magician,
“is the left wing of a yellow butterfly. That
color can only be found in the yellow country
of the Winkies, West of the Emerald City.”

“I’ll find it,” declared Ojo. “Is that all?”

“Oh, no; I’ll get my Book of Recipes and see
what comes next.”

Saying this, the Magician unlocked a drawer
of his cabinet and drew out a small book covered
with blue leather. Looking through the pages
he found the recipe he wanted and said: “I
must have a gill of water from a dark well.”

“What kind of a well is that, sir?” asked the
boy.

“One where the light of day never penetrates.
The water must be put in a gold bottle and brought
to me without any light ever reaching it.

“I’ll get the water from the dark well,” said
Ojo.

“Then I must have three hairs from the tip
of a Woozy’s tail, and a drop of oil from a live
man’s body.”

Ojo looked grave at this.

“What is a Woozy, please?” he inquired.

“Some sort of an animal. I’ve never seen one,
so I can’t describe it,” replied the Magician.

“If I can find a Woozy, I’ll get the hairs from
its tail,” said Ojo. “But is there ever any oil in a
man’s body?”

The Magician looked in the book again, to make
sure.

“That’s what the recipe calls for,” he replied,
“and of course we must get everything that is
called for, or the charm won’t work. The book
doesn’t say ‘blood’; it says ‘oil,’ and there must
be oil somewhere in a live man’s body or the
book wouldn’t ask for it.”

“All right,” returned Ojo, trying not to feel
discouraged; “I’ll try to find it.”

The Magician looked at the little Munchkin
boy in a doubtful way and said:

“All this will mean a long journey for you;
perhaps several long journeys; for you must search
through several of the different countries of Oz
in order to get the things I need.”

“I know it, sir; but I must do my best to save
Unc Nunkie.”

“And also my poor wife Margolotte. If you save
one you will save the other, for both stand there
together and the same compound will restore them
both to life. Do the best you can, Ojo, and while
you are gone I shall begin the six years job of
making a new batch of the Powder of Life. Then, if
you should unluckily fail to secure any one of the
things needed, I will have lost no time. But if
you succeed you must return here as quickly as you
can, and that will save me much tiresome stirring
of four kettles with both feet and both hands.”

“I will start on my journey at once, sir,” said
the boy.

“And I will go with you,” declared the Patchwork
Girl.

“No, no!” exclaimed the Magician. “You have no
right to leave this house. You are only a servant
and have not been discharged.”

Scraps, who had been dancing up and down
the room, stopped and looked at him.

“What is a servant?” she asked.

“One who serves. A–a Sort of slave,” he
explained.

“Very well,” said the Patchwork Girl, “I’m going
to serve you and your wife by helping Ojo find the
things you need. You need a lot, you know, such as
are not easily found.”

“It is true,” sighed Dr. Pipt. “I am well aware
that Ojo has undertaken a serious task.”

Scraps laughed, and resuming her dance she said:

“Here’s a job for a boy of brains:
A drop of oil from a live man’s veins;
A six-leaved clover; three nice hairs
From a Woozy’s tail, the book declares
Are needed for the magic spell,
And water from a pitch-dark well.
The yellow wing of a butterfly
To find must Ojo also try,
And if he gets them without harm,
Doc Pipt will make the magic charm;
But if he doesn’t get ’em, Unc
Will always stand a marble chunk.”

The Magician looked at her thoughtfully.

“Poor Margolotte must have given you some of the
quality of poesy, by mistake,” he said. “And, if
that is true, I didn’t make a very good article
when I prepared it, or else you got an overdose or
an underdose. However, I believe I shall let you
go with Ojo, for my poor wife will not need your
services until she is restored to life. Also I
think you may be able to help the boy, for your
head seems to contain some thoughts I did not
expect to find in it. But be very careful of
yourself, for you’re a souvenir of my dear
Margolotte. Try not to get ripped, or your
stuffing may fall out. One of your eyes seems
loose, and you may have to sew it on tighter. If
you talk too much you’ll wear out your scarlet
plush tongue, which ought to have been hemmed on
the edges. And remember you belong to me and must
return here as soon as your mission is
accomplished.”

“I’m going with Scraps and Ojo,” announced
the Glass Cat.

“You can’t,” said the Magician.

“Why not?”

“You’d get broken in no time, and you
couldn’t be a bit of use to the boy and the
Patchwork Girl.”

“I beg to differ with you,” returned the cat,
in a haughty tone. “Three heads are better
than two, and my pink brains are beautiful.
You can see em work.”

“Well, go along,” said the Magician, irritably.
“You’re only an annoyance, anyhow, and I’m glad to
get rid of you.”

“Thank you for nothing, then,” answered the cat,
stiffly.

Dr. Pipt took a small basket from a cupboard
and packed several things in it. Then he handed
it to Ojo.

“Here is some food and a bundle of charms,” he
said. “It is all I can give you, but I am sure you
will find friends on your journey who will assist
you in your search. Take care of the Patchwork
Girl and bring her safely back, for she ought to
prove useful to my wife. As for the Glass Cat–
properly named Bungle–if she bothers you I now
give you my permission to break her in two, for
she is not respectful and does not obey me. I made
a mistake in giving her the pink brains, you see.

Then Ojo went to Unc Nunkie and kissed the old
man’s marble face very tenderly.

“I’m going to try to save you, Unc,” he said,
just as if the marble image could hear him; and
then he shook the crooked hand of the Crooked
Magician, who was already busy hanging the four
kettles in the fireplace, and picking up his
basket left the house.

The Patchwork Girl followed him, and after
them came the Glass Cat.

 

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