FictionForest

Chapter 12 – The Lovely Lady of Light

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

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The palace of the Queen of Light stood on a little
eminence and was a mass of crystal windows,
surmounted by a vast crystal dome. When they
entered the portals Erma was greeted by six lovely
maidens, evidently of high degree, who at once
aroused Betsy’s admiration. Each bore a wand in
her hand, tipped with an emblem of light, and
their costumes were also emblematic of the lights
they represented. Erma introduced them to her
guests and each made a graceful and courteous
acknowledgment.

First was Sunlight, radiantly beautiful and very
fair; the second was Moonlight, a soft, dreamy
damsel with nut-brown hair; next came Starlight,
equally lovely but inclined to be retiring and
shy. These three were dressed in shimmering robes
of silvery white. The fourth was Daylight, a
brilliant damsel with laughing eyes and frank
manners, who wore a variety of colors. Then came
Firelight, clothed in a fleecy flame-colored robe
that wavered around her shapely form in a very
attractive manner. The sixth maiden, Electra, was
the most beautiful of all, and Betsy thought from
the first that both Sunlight and Daylight regarded
Electra with envy and were a little jealous of
her.

But all were cordial in their greetings to the
strangers and seemed to regard the Queen of Light
with much affection, for they fluttered around her
in a flashing, radiant group as she led the way to
her regal drawing-room.

This apartment was richly and cosily furnished,
the upholstery being of many tints, and both Betsy
and Polychrome enjoyed resting themselves upon the
downy divans after their strenuous adventures of
the day.

The Queen sat down to chat with her guests, who
noticed that Daylight was the only maiden now
seated beside Erma. The others had retired to
another part of the room, where they sat modestly
with entwined arms and did not intrude themselves
at all.

The Queen told the strangers all about this
beautiful land, which is one of the chief
residences of fairies who minister to the needs of
mankind. So many important fairies lived there
that, to avoid rivalry, they had elected as their
Ruler the only important personage in the country
who had no duties to mankind to perform and was,
in effect, a Private Citizen. This Ruler, or
Jinjin, as was his title, bore the name of Tititi-
Hoochoo, and the most singular thing about him was
that he had no heart. But instead of this he
possessed a high degree of Reason and Justice and
while he showed no mercy in his judgments he never
punished unjustly or without reason. To wrong-
doers Tititi-Hoochoo was as terrible as he was
heartless, but those who were innocent of evil had
nothing to fear from him.

All the Kings and Queens of this fairyland paid
reverence to Jinjin, for as they expected to be
obeyed by others they were willing to obey the one
in authority over them.

The inhabitants of the Land of Oz had heard many
tales of this fearfully just Jinjin, whose
punishments were always equal to the faults
committed. Polychrome also knew of him, although
this was the first time she had ever seen him face
to face. But to Betsy the story was all new, and
she was greatly interested in Tititi-Hoochoo, whom
she no longer feared.

Time sped swiftly during their talk and suddenly
Betsy noticed that Moonlight was sitting beside
the Queen of Light, instead of Daylight.

“But tell me, please,” she pleaded, “why do you
all wear a dragon’s head embroidered on your
gowns?”

Erma’s pleasant face became grave as she
answered:

“The Dragon, as you must know, was the first
living creature ever made; therefore the Dragon is
the oldest and wisest of living things. By good
fortune the Original Dragon, who still lives, is a
resident of this land and supplies us with wisdom
whenever we are in need of it. He is old as the
world and remembers everything that has happened
since the world was created.”

“Did he ever have any children?” inquired the
girl.

“Yes, many of them. Some wandered into other
lands, where men, not understanding them, made war
upon them; but many still reside in this country.
None, however, is as wise as the Original Dragon,
for whom we have great respect. As he was the
first resident here, we wear the emblem of the
dragon’s head to show that we are the favored
people who alone have the right to inhabit this
fairyland, which in beauty almost equals the
Fairyland of Oz, and in power quite surpasses it.

“I understand about the dragon, now,” said
Polychrome, nodding her lovely head. Betsy did not
quite understand, but she was at present
interested in observing the changing lights. As
Daylight had given way to Moonlight, so now
Starlight sat at the right hand of Erma the Queen,
and with her coming a spirit of peace and content
seemed to fill the room. Polychrome, being
herself a fairy, had many questions to ask about
the various Kings and Queens who lived in this
far-away, secluded place, and before Erma had
finished answering them a rosy glow filled the
room and Firelight took her place beside the
Queen.

Betsy liked Firelight, but to gaze upon her warm
and glowing features made the little girl sleepy,
and presently she began to nod. There-upon Erma
rose and took Betsy’s hand gently in her own.

“Come,” said she, “the feast time has arrived
and the feast is spread.”

“That’s nice,” exclaimed the small mortal.
“Now that I think of it, I’m awful hungry. But
p’raps I can’t eat your fairy food.”

The Queen smiled and led her to a doorway. As
she pushed aside a heavy drapery a flood of
silvery light greeted them, and Betsy saw before
her a splendid banquet hall, with a table spread
with snowy linen and crystal and silver. At one
side was a broad, throne-like seat for Erma and
beside her now sat the brilliant maid Electra.
Polychrome was placed on the Queen’s right hand
and Betsy upon her left. The other five messengers
of light now waited upon them, and each person was
supplied with just the food she liked best.
Polychrome found her dish of dewdrops, all fresh
and sparkling, while Betsy was so lavishly served
that she decided she had never in her life eaten a
dinner half so good.

“I s’pose,” she said to the Queen, “that Miss
Electra is the youngest of all these girls.”

“Why do you suppose that?” inquired Erma, with a
smile.

“‘Cause electric’ty is the newest light we
know of. Didn’t Mr. Edison discover it?”

“Perhaps he was the first mortal to discover
it,” replied the Queen. “But electricity was a
part of the world from its creation, and therefore
my Electra is as old as Daylight or Moonlight,
and equally beneficent to mortals and fairies
alike.”

Betsy was thoughtful for a time. Then she
remarked, as she looked at the six messengers of
light:

“We couldn’t very well do without any of
’em; could we?”

Erma laughed softly. “I couldn’t, I’m sure, she
replied, “and I think mortals would miss any one
of my maidens, as well. Daylight cannot take the
place of Sunlight, which gives us strength and
energy. Moonlight is of value when Daylight, worn
out with her long watch, retires to rest. If the
moon in its course is hidden behind the earth’s
rim, and my sweet Moonlight cannot cheer us,
Starlight takes her place, for the skies always
lend her power. Without Firelight we should miss
much of our warmth and comfort, as well as much
cheer when the walls of houses encompass us. But
always, when other lights forsake us, our glorious
Electra is ready to flood us with bright rays. As
Queen of Light, I love all my maidens, for I know
them to be faithful and true.”

“I love ’em too!” declared Betsy. “But
sometimes, when I’m real sleepy, I can get along
without any light at all.”

“Are you sleepy now?” inquired Erma, for the
feast had ended.

“A little,” admitted the girl.

So Electra showed her to a pretty chamber where
there was a soft, white bed, and waited patiently
until Betsy had undressed and put on a shimmery
silken nightrobe that lay beside her pillow. Then
the light-maid bade her good night and opened the
door.

When she closed it after her Betsy was in
darkness. In six winks the little girl was fast
asleep.

 

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