FictionForest

Chapter 11 – A Good Friend

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

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Soon the entire party was gathered on the road of
yellow bricks, quite beyond the reach of the
beautiful but treacherous plants. The Shaggy Man,
staring first at one and then at the other, seemed
greatly pleased and interested.

“I’ve seen queer things since I came to the Land
of Oz,” said he, “but never anything queerer than
this band of adventurers. Let us sit down a while,
and have a talk and get acquainted.”

“Haven’t you always lived in the Land of Oz?”
asked the Munchkin boy.

“No; I used to live in the big, outside world.
But I came here once with Dorothy, and Ozma
let me stay.”

“How do you like Oz?” asked Scraps. “Isn’t
the country and the climate grand?”

“It’s the finest country in all the world, even
if it is a fairyland. and I’m happy every minute I
live in it,” said the Shaggy Man. “But tell me
something about yourselves.”

So Ojo related the story of his visit to the
house of the Crooked Magician, and how he met
there the Class Cat, and how the Patchwork Girl
was brought to life and of the terrible accident
to Unc Nunkie and Margdotte. Then he told how he
had set out to find the five different things
which the Magician needed to make a charm that
would restore the marble figures to life, one
requirement being three hairs from a Woozy’s tail.

“We found the Woozy,” explained the boy,
“and he agreed to give us the three hairs; but
we couldn’t pull them out. So we had to bring
the Woozy along with us.”

“I see,” returned the Shaggy Man, who had
listened with interest to the story. “But perhaps
I, who am big and strong, can pull those three
hairs from the Woozy’s tail.”

“Try it, if you like,” said the Woozy.

So the Shaggy Man tried it, but pull as hard
as he could he failed to get the hairs out of the
Woozy’s tail. So he sat down again and wiped
his shaggy face with a shaggy silk handkerchief
and said:

“It doesn’t matter. If you can keep the Woozy
until you get the rest of the things you need,
you can take the beast and his three hairs to
the Crooked Magician and let him find a way
to extract ’em. What are the other things you are
to find?”

“One,” said Ojo, “is a six-leaved clover.”

“You ought to find that in the fields around
the Emerald City,” said the Shaggy Man.
“There is a Law against picking six-leaved
clovers, but I think I can get Ozma to let you
have one.”

“Thank you,” replied Ojo. “The next thing
is the left wing of a yellow butterfly.”

“For that you must go to the Winkle Country,”
the Shaggy Man declared. “I’ve never noticed any
butterflies there, but that is the yellow country
of Oz and it’s ruled, by a good friend of mine,
the Tin Woodman.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of him!” exclaimed Ojo. “He
must be a wonderful man.”

“So he is, and his heart is wonderfully kind.
I’m sure the Tin Woodman will do all in his
power to help you to save your Unc Nunkie
and poor Margolotte.”

“The next thing I must find,” said the
Munchkin boy, “is a gill of water from a dark
well.”

“Indeed! Well, that is more difficult,” said
the Shaggy Man, scratching his left ear in a
puzzled way. “I’ve never heard of a dark well;
have you?”

“No,” said Ojo.

“Do you know where one may be found?” inquired
the Shaggy Man.

“I can’t imagine,” said Ojo.

“Then we must ask the Scarecrow.”

“The Scarecrow! But surely, sir, a scarecrow
can’t know anything.”

“Most scarecrows don’t, I admit,” answered
the Shaggy Man. “But this Scarecrow of whom
I speak is very intelligent. He claims to possess
the best brains in all Oz.”

“Better than mine?” asked Scraps.

“Better than mine?” echoed the Glass Cat.
“Mine are pink, and you can see ’em work.”

“Well, you can’t see the Scarecrow’s brains
work, but they do a lot of clever thinking,”
asserted the Shaggy Man. “If anyone knows where a
dark well is, it’s my friend the Scarecrow.”

“Where does he live?” inquired Ojo.

“He has a splendid castle in the Winkle
Country, near to the palace of his friend the
Tin Woodman, and he is often to be found in
the Emerald City, where he visits Dorothy at
the royal palace.”

“Then we will ask him about the dark well,”
said Ojo.

“But what else does this Crooked Magician
want?” asked the Shaggy Man.

“A drop of oil from a live man’s body.”

“Oh; but there isn’t such a thing.”

“That is what I thought,” replied Ojo; “but
the Crooked Magician said it wouldn’t be called
for by the recipe if it couldn’t be found, and
therefore I must search until I find it.”

“I wish you good luck,” said the Shaggy Man,
shaking his head doubtfully; “but I imagine
you’ll have a hard job getting a drop of oil from
a live man’s body. There’s blood in a body, but
no oil.”

“There’s cotton in mine,” said Scraps, dancing
a little jig.

“I don’t doubt it,” returned the Shaggy Man
admiringly. “You’re a regular comforter and as
sweet as patchwork can be. All you lack is
dignity.”

“I hate dignity,” cried Scraps, kicking a pebble
high in the air and then trying to catch it as it
fell. “Half the fools and all the wise folks are
dignified, and I’m neither the one nor the other.”

“She’s just crazy,” explained the Glass Cat.

The Shaggy Man laughed.

“She’s delightful, in her way,” he said. “I’m
sure Dorothy will be pleased with her, and the
Scarecrow will dote on her. Did you say you
were traveling toward the Emerald City?”

“Yes,” replied Ojo. “I thought that the best
place to go, at first, because the six-leaved clover
may be found there.”

“I’ll go with you,” said the Shaggy Man, “and
show you the way.”

“Thank you,” exclaimed Ojo. “I hope it won’t
put you out any.”

“No,” said the other, “I wasn’t going anywhere
in particular. I’ve been a rover all my life, and
although Ozma has given me a suite of beautiful
rooms in her palace I still get the wandering
fever once in a while and start out to roam the
country over. I’ve been away from the Emerald City
several weeks, this time, and now that I’ve met
you and your friends I’m sure it will interest me
to accompany you to the great city of Oz and
introduce you to my friends.”

“That will be very nice,” said the boy,
gratefully.

“I hope your friends are not dignified,”
observed Scraps.

“Some are, and some are not,” he answered;
“but I never criticise my friends. If they are
really true friends; they may be anything they
like, for all of me.”

“There’s some sense in that,” said Scraps,
nodding her queer head in approval. “Come on, and
let’s get to the Emerald City as soon as
possible.” With this she ran up the path, skipping
and dancing, and then turned to await them.

“It is quite a distance from here to the Emerald
City,” remarked the Shaggy Man, “so we shall not
get there to-day, nor to-morrow. Therefore let us
take the jaunt in an easy manner. I’m an old
traveler and have found that I never gain anything
by being in a hurry. ‘Take it easy’ is my motto.
If you can’t take it easy, take it as easy as you
can.”

After walking some distance over the road of
yellow bricks Ojo said he was hungry and would
stop to eat some bread and cheese. He offered a
portion of the food to the Shaggy Man, who thanked
him but refused it.

“When I start out on my travels,” said he,
“I carry along enough square meals to last me
several weeks. Think I’ll indulge in one now,
as long as we’re stopping anyway.”

Saying this, he took a bottle from his pocket
and shook from it a tablet about the size of one
of Ojo’s finger-nails.

“That,” announced the Shaggy Man, “is a square
meal, in condensed form. Invention of the great
Professor Woggle-Bug, of the Royal College of
Athletics. It contains soup, fish, roast meat,
salad, apple-dumplings, ice cream and chocolate-
drops, all boiled down to this small size, so it
can be conveniently carried and swallowed when you
are hungry and need a square meal.”

“I’m square,” said the Woozy. “Give me one,
please.”

So the Shaggy Man gave the Woozy a tablet from
his bottle and the beast ate it in a twinkling.

“You have now had a six course dinner,”
declared the Shaggy Man.

“Pshaw!” said the Woozy, ungratefully, “I
want to taste something. There’s no fun in that
sort of eating.”

“One should only eat to sustain life,” replied
the Shaggy Man, “and that tablet is equal to a
peck of other food.”

“I don’t care for it. I want something I can
chew and taste,” grumbled the Woozy.

“You are quite wrong, my poor beast,” said
the Shaggy Man in a tone of pity. “Think how
tired your jaws would get chewing a square
meal like this, if it were not condensed to the
size of a small tablet–which you can swallow
in a jiffy.”

“Chewing isn’t tiresome; it’s fun, maintained
the Woozy. “I always chew the honey-bees when I
catch them. Give me some bread and cheese, Ojo.”

“No, no! You’ve already eaten a big dinner!”
protested the Shaggy Man.

“May be,” answered the Woozy; “but I guess
I’ll fool myself by munching some bread and
cheese. I may not be hungry, having eaten all
those things you gave me, but I consider this
eating business a matter of taste, and I like to
realize what’s going into me.”

Ojo gave the beast what he wanted, but the
Shaggy Man shook his shaggy head reproachfully and
said there was no animal so obstinate or hard to
convince as a Woozy.

At this moment a patter of footsteps was heard,
and looking up they saw the live phonograph
standing before them. It seemed to have passed
through many adventures since Ojo and his comrades
last saw the machine, for the varnish of its
wooden case was all marred and dented and
scratched in a way that gave it an aged and
disreputable appearance.

“Dear me!” exclaimed Ojo, staring hard.
“What has happened to you?”

“Nothing much,” replied the phonograph in
a sad and depressed voice. “I’ve had enough
things thrown at me, since I left you, to stock
a department store and furnish half a dozen
bargain-counters.”

“Are you so broken up that you can’t play?”
asked Scraps.

“No; I still am able to grind out delicious
music. Just now I’ve a record on tap that is
really superb,” said the phonograph, growing more
cheerful.

“That is too bad,” remarked Ojo. “We’ve no
objection to you as a machine, you know; but
as a music-maker we hate you.”

“Then why was I ever invented?” demanded
the machine, in a tone of indignant protest.

They looked at one another inquiringly, but
no one could answer such a puzzling question.
Finally the Shaggy Man said:

“I’d like to hear the phonograph play.”

Ojo sighed. “We’ve been very happy since we
met you, sir,” he said.

“I know. But a little misery, at times, makes
one appreciate happiness more. Tell me, Phony,
what is this record like, which you say you have
on tap?”

“It’s a popular song, sir. In all civilized lands
the common people have gone wild over it.”

“Makes civilized folks wild folks, eh? Then
it’s dangerous.”

“Wild with joy, I mean,” explained the
phonograph. “Listen. This song will prove a
rare treat to you, I know. It made the author
rich–for an author. It is called ‘My Lulu.'”

Then the phonograph began to play. A strain
of odd, jerky sounds was followed by these
words, sung by a man through his nose with
great vigor of expression:

“Ah wants mah Lulu, mah coal-black Lulu;
Ah wants mah loo-loo, loo-loo, loo-loo, Lu!
Ah loves mah Lulu, mah coal-black Lulu,
There ain’t nobody else loves loo-loo, Lu!”

“Here-shut that off!” cried the Shaggy Man,
springing to his feet. “What do you mean by
such impertinence?”

“It’s the latest popular song,” declared the
phonograph, speaking in a sulky tone of voice.

“A popular song?”

“Yes. One that the feeble-minded can remember
the words of and those ignorant of music can
whistle or sing. That makes a popular song
popular, and the time is coming when it will take
the place of all other songs.”

“That time won’t come to us, just yet,” said
the Shaggy Man, sternly: “I’m something of a
singer myself, and I don’t intend to be throttled
by any Lulus like your coal-black one. I shall
take you all apart, Mr. Phony, and scatter your
pieces far and wide over the country, as a matter
of kindness to the people you might meet if
allowed to run around loose. Having performed
this painful duty I shall–”

But before he could say more the phonograph
turned and dashed up the road as fast as its four
table-legs could carry it, and soon it had entirely
disappeared from their view.

The Shaggy Man sat down again and seemed
well pleased. “Some one else will save me the
trouble of scattering that phonograph,” said he;
“for it is not possible that such a music-maker
can last long in the Land of Oz. When you are
rested, friends, let us go on our way.”

During the afternoon the travelers found
themselves in a lonely and uninhabited part of the
country. Even the fields were no longer cultivated
and the country began to resemble a wilderness.
The road of yellow bricks seemed to have been
neglected and became uneven and more difficult to
walk upon. Scrubby under-brush grew on either side
of the way. while huge rocks were scattered around
in abundance.

But this did not deter Ojo and his friends from
trudging on, and they beguiled the journey with
jokes and cheerful conversation. Toward evening
they reached a crystal spring which gushed from a
tall rock by the roadside and near this spring
stood a deserted cabin. Said the Shaggy Man,
halting here:

“We may as well pass the night here, where
there is shelter for our heads and good water to
drink. Road beyond here is pretty bad; worst
we shall have to travel; so let’s wait until
morning before we tackle it.”

They agreed to this and Ojo found some brushwood
in the cabin and made a fire on the hearth. The
fire delighted Scraps, who danced before it until
Ojo warned her she might set fire to herself and
burn up. After that the Patchwork Girl kept at a
respectful distance from the darting flames, but
the Woozy lay down before the fire like a big dog
and seemed to enjoy its warmth.

For supper the Shaggy Man ate one of his
tablets, but Ojo stuck to his bread and cheese as
the most satisfying food. He also gave a portion
to the Woozy.

When darkness came on and they sat in a circle
on the cabin floor, facing the firelight–there
being no furniture of any sort in the place–Ojo
said to the Shaggy Man:

“Won’t you tell us a story?”

“I’m not good at stories,” was the reply; “but
I sing like a bird.”

“Raven, or crow?” asked the Glass Cat.

“Like a song bird. I’ll prove it. I’ll sing a song
I composed myself. Don’t tell anyone I’m a poet;
they might want me to write a book. Don’t tell
’em I can sing, or they’d want me to make
records for that awful phonograph. Haven’t
time to be a public benefactor, so I’ll just sing
you this little song for your own amusement.”

They were glad enough to be entertained,
and listened with interest while the Shaggy Man
chanted the following verses to a tune that was
not unpleasant:

“I’ll sing a song of Ozland, where wondrous creatures dwell
And fruits and flowers and shady bowers abound in every dell,
Where magic is a science and where no one shows surprise
If some amazing thing takes place before his very eyes.

Our Ruler’s a bewitching girl whom fairies love to please;
She’s always kept her magic sceptre to enforce decrees
To make her people happy, for her heart is kind and true
And to aid the needy and distressed is what she longs to do.

And then there’s Princess Dorothy, as sweet as any rose,
A lass from Kansas, where they don’t grow fairies, I Suppose;
And there’s the brainy Scarecrow, with a body stuffed with straw,
Who utters words of wisdom rare that fill us all with awe.

I’ll not forget Nick Chopper, the Woodman made of Tin,
Whose tender heart thinks killing time is quite a dreadful sin,
Nor old Professor Woggle-Bug, who’s highly magnified
And looks so big to everyone that he is filled with pride.

Jack Pumpkinhead’s a dear old chum who might be called a chump,
But won renown by riding round upon a magic Gump;
The Sawhorse is a splendid steed and though he’s made of wood
He does as many thrilling stunts as any meat horse could.

And now I’ll introduce a beast that ev’ryone adores–
The Cowardly Lion shakes with fear ‘most ev’ry time he roars,
And yet he does the bravest things that any lion might,
Because he knows that cowardice is not considered right.

There’s Tik-tok-he’s a clockwork man and quite a funny sight–
He talks and walks mechanically, when he’s wound up tight;
And we’ve a Hungry Tiger who would babies love to eat
But never does because we feed him other kinds of meat.

It’s hard to name all of the freaks this noble Land’s acquired;
‘Twould make my song so very long that you would soon be tired;
But give attention while I mention one wise Yellow Hen
And Nine fine Tiny Piglets living in a golden pen.

Just search the whole world over–sail the seas from coast to coast–
No other nation in creation queerer folk can boast;
And now our rare museum will include a Cat of Glass,
A Woozy, and–last but not least–a crazy Patchwork Lass.”

Ojo was so pleased with this song that he
applauded the singer by clapping his hands, and
Scraps followed suit by clapping her padded
fingers together. although they made no noise.
The cat pounded on the floor with her glass
paws–gently, so as not to break them–and the
Woozy. which had been asleep, woke up to ask
what the row was about.

“I seldom sing in public, for fear they might
want me to start an opera company,” remarked
the Shaggy Man, who was pleased to know his
effort was appreciated. “Voice, just now is a
little out of training; rusty, perhaps.”

“Tell me,” said the Patchwork Girl earnestly,
“do all those queer people you mention really
live in the Land of Oz?”

“Every one of ’em. I even forgot one thing:
Dorothy’s Pink Kitten.”

“For goodness sake!” exclaimed Bungle, sitting
up and looking interested. “A Pink Kitten? How
absurd! Is it glass?”

“No; just ordinary kitten.”

“Then it can’t amount to much. I have pink
brains, and you can see ’em work.”

“Dorothy’s kitten is all pink–brains and all–
except blue eyes. Name’s Eureka. Great favorite at
the royal palace,” said the Shaggy Man, yawning.

The Glass Cat seemed annoyed.

“Do you think a pink kitten–common meat–is as
pretty as I am?” she asked.

“Can’t say. Tastes differ, you know,” replied
the Shaggy Man, yawning again. “But here’s a
pointer that may be of service to you: make
friends with Eureka and you’ll be solid at the
palace.”

“I’m solid now; solid glass.”

“You don’t understand,” rejoined the Shaggy
Man, sleepily. “Anyhow, make friends with the
Pink Kitten and you’ll be all right. If the Pink
Kitten despises you, look out for breakers.”

“Would anyone at the royal palace break a
Glass Cat?”

“Might. You never can tell. Advise you to purr
soft and look humble–if you can. And now I’m
going to bed.”

Bungle considered the Shaggy Man’s advice
so carefully that her pink brains were busy long
after the others of the party were fast asleep.

 

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