FictionForest

Chapter 20 – The Captive Yoop

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

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As they were preparing to leave, Dorothy asked:
“Can you tell us where there is a dark well?”

“Never heard of such a thing,” said the
Tottenhot. “We live our lives in the dark, mostly,
and sleep in the day-time; but we’ve never seen a
dark well, or anything like one.”

“Does anyone live on those mountains beyond
here?” asked the Scarecrow.

“Lots of people. But you’d better not visit
them. We never go there,” was the reply.

“What are the people like?” Dorothy inquired.

“Can’t say. We’ve been told to keep away
from the mountain paths, and so we obey. This
sandy desert is good enough for us, and we’re
not disturbed here,” declared the Tottenhot.

So they left the man snuggling down to sleep in
his dusky dwelling, and went out into the
sunshine, taking the path that led toward the
rocky places. They soon found it hard climbing,
for the rocks were uneven and full of sharp points
and edges, and now there was no path at all.
Clambering here and there among the boulders they
kept steadily on, gradually rising higher and
higher until finally they came to a great rift in
a part of the mountain, where the rock seemed to
have split in two and left high walls on either
side.

“S’pose we go this way,” suggested Dorothy;
it’s much easier walking than to climb over
the hills.”

“How about that sign?” asked Ojo.

“What sign?” she inquired.

The Munchkin boy pointed to some words
painted on the wall of rock beside them, which
Dorothy had not noticed. The words read:

“LOOK OUT FOR YOOP.”

The girl eyed this sign a moment and turned to
the Scarecrow, asking:

“Who is Yoop; or what is Yoop?”

The straw man shook his head. Then looked at
Toto and the dog said “Woof!”

“Only way to find out is to go on, Scraps.”

This being quite true, they went on. As they
proceeded, the walls of rock on either side grew
higher and higher. Presently they came upon
another sign which read:

“BEWARE THE CAPTIVE YOOP.”

“Why, as for that,” remarked Dorothy, “if Yoop
is a captive there’s no need to beware of him.
Whatever Yoop happens to be, I’d much rather have
him a captive than running around loose.”

“So had I,” agreed the Scarecrow, with a nod of
his painted head.

“Still,” said Scraps, reflectively:

“Yoop-te-hoop-te-loop-te-goop!
Who put noodles in the soup?
We may beware but we don’t care,
And dare go where we scare the Yoop.”

“Dear me! Aren’t you feeling a little queer,
just now?” Dorothy asked the Patchwork Girl.

“Not queer, but crazy,” said Ojo. “When she
says those things I’m sure her brains get mixed
somehow and work the wrong way.

“I don’t see why we are told to beware the Yoop
unless he is dangerous,” observed the Scarecrow in
a puzzled tone.

“Never mind; we’ll find out all about him when
we get to where he is,” replied the little girl.

The narrow canyon turned and twisted this way
and that, and the rift was so small that they were
able to touch both walls at the same time by
stretching out their arms. Toto had run on ahead,
frisking playfully, when suddenly he uttered a
sharp bark of fear and came running back to them
with his tail between his legs, as dogs do when
they are frightened.

“Ah,” said the Scarecrow, who was leading
the way, “we must be near Yoop.”

Just then, as he rounded a sharp turn, the
Straw man stopped so suddenly that all the
others bumped against him.

“What is it?” asked Dorothy, standing on
tip-toes to look over his shoulder. But then she
saw what it was and cried “Oh!” in a tone of
astonishment.

In one of the rock walls–that at their left–
was hollowed a great cavern, in front of which was
a row of thick iron bars, the tops and bottoms
being firmly fixed in the solid rock. Over this
cavern was a big sign, which Dorothy read with
much curiosity, speaking the words aloud that all
might know what they said:

“MISTER YOOP–HIS CAVE

The Largest Untamed Giant in Captivity.
Height, 21 Feet.–(And yet he has but 2 feet.)
Weight, 1640 Pounds.–(But he waits all the time.)
Age, 400 Years ‘and Up’ (as they say in the

Department Store advertisements).
Temper, Fierce and Ferocious.–(Except when asleep.)
Appetite, Ravenous.–(Prefers Meat People and Orange Marmalade.)

P. S.–Don’t feed the Giant yourself.”

“Very well,” said Ojo, with a sigh; “let’s go back.”

“It’s a long way back,” declared Dorothy.

“So it is,” remarked the Scarecrow, “and it
means a tedious climb over those sharp rocks if
we can t use this passage. I think it will be best
to run by the Giant’s cave as fast as we can go.
Mister Yoop seems to be asleep just now.”

But the Giant wasn’t asleep. He suddenly
appeared at the front of his cavern, seized the
iron bars in his great hairy hands and shook
them until they rattled in their sockets. Yoop
was so tall that our friends had to tip their heads
way back to look into his face, and they noticed
he was dressed all in pink velvet, with silver
buttons and braid. The Giant’s boots were of
pink leather and had tassels on them and his
hat was decorated with an enormous pink ostrich
feather, carefully curled.

“Yo–ho!” he said in a deep bass voice; “I smell
dinner.”

“I think you are mistaken,” replied the
Scarecrow. “There is no orange marmalade around
here.”

“Ah, but I eat other things,” asserted Mister
Yoop. “That is, I eat them when I can get them.
But this is a lonely place, and no good meat has
passed by my cave for many years; so I’m hungry.”

“Haven’t you eaten anything in many years?”
asked Dorothy.

“Nothing except six ants and a monkey. I thought
the monkey would taste like meat people, but the
flavor was different. I hope you will taste
better, for you seem plump and tender.”

“Oh, I’m not going to be eaten,” said Dorothy.

“Why not?”

“I shall keep out of your way,” she answered.

“How heartless!” wailed the Giant, shaking the
bars again. “Consider how many years it is since
I’ve eaten a single plump little girl! They tell
me meat is going up, but if I can manage to catch
you I’m sure it will soon be going down. And I’ll
catch you if I can.”

With this the Giant pushed his big arms,
which looked like tree-trunks (except that tree-
trunks don’t wear pink velvet) between the iron
bars, and the arms were so long that they
touched the opposite wall of the rock passage.
Then he extended them as far as he could reach
toward our travelers and found he could almost
touch the Scarecrow–but not quite.

“Come a little nearer, please,” begged the
Giant.

“I’m a Scarecrow.”

“A Scarecrow? Ugh! I don’t care a straw for
a scarecrow. Who is that bright-colored delicacy
behind you?”

“Me?” asked Scraps. “I’m a Patchwork Girl,
and I’m stuffed with cotton.”

“Dear me,” sighed the Giant in a disapointed
tone; “that reduces my dinner from four to two–
and the dog. I’ll save the dog for dessert.”

Toto growled, keeping a good distance away.

“Back up,” said the Scarecrow to those behind
him. “Let us go back a little way and talk this
over.

So they turned and went around the bend in
the passage, where they were out of sight of the
cave and Mister Yoop could not hear them.

“My idea,” began the Scarecrow, when they
had halted, “is to make a dash past the cave,
going on a run.

“He’d grab us,” said Dorothy.

“Well, he can’t grab but one at a time, and
I’ll go first. As soon as he grabs me the rest of
you can slip past him, out of his reach, and he
will soon let me go because I am not fit to eat.”

They decided to try this plan and Dorothy
took Toto in her arms, so as to protect him. She
followed just after the Scarecrow. Then came
Ojo, with Scarps the last of the four. Their
hearts beat a little faster than usual as they again
approached the Giant’s cave, this time moving
swiftly forward.

It turned out about the way the Scarecrow had
planned. Mister Yoop was quite astonished to see
them come flying toward him, and thrusting his
arms between the bars he seized the Scarecrow in a
firm grip. In the next instant he realized, from
the way the straw crunched between his fingers,
that he had captured the non-eatable man, but
during that instant of delay Dorothy and Ojo had
slipped by the Giant and were out of reach.
Uttering a howl of rage the monster threw the
Scarecrow after them with one hand and grabbed
Scraps with the other.

The poor Scarecrow went whirling through the air
and so cleverly was he aimed that he struck Ojo’s
back and sent the boy tumbling head over heels,
and he tripped Dorothy and sent her, also,
sprawling upon the ground. Toto flew out of the
little girl’s arms and landed some distance ahead,
and all were so dazed that it was a moment before
they could scramble to their feet again. When they
did so they turned to look toward the Giant’s
cave, and at that moment the ferocious Mister Yoop
threw the Patchwork Girl at them.

Down went all three again, in a heap, with
Scraps on top. The Giant roared so terribly that
for a time they were afraid he had broken loose;
but he hadn’t. So they sat in the road and looked
at one another in a rather bewildered way, and
then began to feel glad.

“We did it!” exclaimed the Scarecrow, with
satisfaction. “And now we are free to go on
our way.

“Mister Yoop is very impolite,” declared
Scraps. “He jarred me terribly. It’s lucky my
stitches are so fine and strong, for otherwise such
harsh treatment might rip me up the back.”

“Allow me to apologize for the Giant,” said
the Scarecrow, raising the Patchwork Girl to
her feet and dusting her skirt with his stuffed
hands. “Mister Yoop is a perfect stranger to me,
but I fear, from the rude manner in which he
has acted, that he is no gentleman.”

Dorothy and Ojo laughed at this statement
and Toto barked as if he understood the joke,
after which they all felt better and resumed the
journey in high spirits.

“Of course,” said the little girl, when they had
walked a way along the passage, “it was lucky for
us the Giant was caged; for, if he had happened to
be loose, he–he–”

“Perhaps, in that case, he wouldn’t be hungry
any more,” said Ojo gravely.

 

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