FictionForest

Chapter 19 – The Conquest of the Witch

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

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Now as soon as the conquest of King Krewl had taken
place, one of the Orks had been dispatched to Pon’s house
with the joyful news. At once Gloria and Pon and Trot and
Button-Bright hastened toward the castle. They were
somewhat surprised by the sight that met their eyes, for
there was the Scarecrow, crowned King, and all the people
kneeling humbly before him. So they likewise bowed low to
the new ruler and then stood beside the throne. Cap’n
Bill, as the gray grasshopper, was still perched upon
Trot’s shoulder, but now he hopped to the shoulder of the
Scarecrow and whispered into the painted ear:

“I thought Gloria was to be Queen of Jinxland.”

The Scarecrow shook his head.

“Not yet,” he answered. “No Queen with a frozen heart
is fit to rule any country.” Then he turned to his new
friend, the Ork, who was strutting about, very proud of
what he had done, and said: “Do you suppose you, or your
followers, could find old Blinkie the Witch?”

“Where is she?” asked the Ork.

“Somewhere in Jinxland, I’m sure.”

“Then,” said the Ork, “we shall certainly be able to
find her.”

“It will give me great pleasure,” declared the
Scarecrow. “When you have found her, bring her here to
me. and I will then decide what to do with her.”

The Ork called his followers together and spoke a few
words to them in a low tone. A moment after they rose
into the air — so suddenly that the Scarecrow, who was
very light in weight, was blown quite out of his throne
and into the arms of Pon, who replaced him carefully upon
his seat. There was an eddy of dust and ashes, too, and
the grasshopper only saved himself from being whirled
into the crowd of people by jumping into a tree, from
where a series of hops soon brought him back to Trot’s
shoulder again. The Orks were quite out of sight by this
time, so the Scarecrow made a speech to the people and
presented Gloria to them, whom they knew well already
and were fond of. But not all of them knew of her frozen
heart, and when the Scarecrow related the story of the
Wicked Witch’s misdeeds, which had been encouraged and
paid for by Krewl and Googly-Goo, the people were very
indignant.

Meantime the fifty Orks had scattered all over Jinx
land, which is not a very big country, and their sharp
eyes were peering into every valley and grove and gully.
Finally one of them spied a pair of heels sticking out
from underneath some bushes, and with a shrill whistle to
warn his comrades that the witch was found the Ork flew
down and dragged old Blinkie from her hiding-place. Then
two or three of the Orks seized the clothing of the
wicked woman in their strong claws and, lifting her high
in the air, where she struggled and screamed to no avail,
they flew with her straight to the royal castle and set
her down before the throne of the Scarecrow.

“Good!” exclaimed the straw man, nodding his stuffed
head with satisfaction. “Now we can proceed to business.
Mistress Witch, I am obliged to request, gently but
firmly, that you undo all the wrongs you have done by
means of your witchcraft.”

“Pah!” cried old Blinkie in a scornful voice. “I defy
you all! By my magic powers I can turn you all into pigs,
rooting in the mud, and I’ll do it if you are not
careful.”

“I think you are mistaken about that,” said the
Scarecrow, and rising from his throne he walked with
wobbling steps to the side of the Wicked Witch. “Before I
left the Land of Oz, Glinda the Royal Sorceress gave me a
box, which I was not to open except in an emergency. But
I feel pretty sure that this occasion is an emergency;
don’t you, Trot?” he asked, turning toward the little
girl.

“Why, we’ve got to do something,” replied Trot
seriously. “Things seem in an awful muddle here, jus’
now, and they’ll be worse if we don’t stop this witch
from doing more harm to people.”

“That is my idea, exactly,” said the Scarecrow, and
taking a small box from his pocket he opened the cover
and tossed the contents toward Blinkie.

The old woman shrank back, pale and trembling, as a
fine white dust settled all about her. Under its
influence she seemed to the eyes of all observers to
shrivel and grow smaller.

“Oh, dear – oh, dear!” she wailed, wringing her hands
in fear. “Haven’t you the antidote, Scarecrow? Didn’t the
great Sorceress give you another box?”

“She did,” answered the Scarecrow.

“Then give it me — quick!” pleaded the witch. “Give it
me — and I’ll do anything you ask me to!”

“You will do what I ask first,” declared the Scarecrow,
firmly.

The witch was shriveling and growing smaller every
moment.

“Be quick, then!” she cried. “Tell me what I must do
and let me do it, or it will be too late.”

“You made Trot’s friend, Cap’n Bill, a grasshopper. I
command you to give him back his proper form again,” said
the Scarecrow.

“Where is he? Where’s the grasshopper? Quick — quick!”
she screamed.

Cap’n Bill, who had been deeply interested in this
conversation, gave a great leap from Trot’s shoulder and
landed on that of the Scarecrow. Blinkie saw him alight
and at once began to make magic passes and to mumble
magic incantations. She was in a desperate hurry, knowing
that she had no time to waste, and the grasshopper was so
suddenly transformed into the old sailor-man, Cap’n Bill,
that he had no opportunity to jump off the Scarecrow’s
shoulder; so his great weight bore the stuffed Scarecrow
to the ground. No harm was done, however, and the straw
man got up and brushed the dust from his clothes while
Trot delightedly embraced Cap’n Bill.

“The other box! Quick! Give me the other box,” begged
Blinkie, who had now shrunk to half her former size.

“Not yet,” said the Scarecrow. “You must first melt
Princess Gloria’s frozen heart.”

“I can’t; it’s an awful job to do that! I can’t,”
asserted the witch, in an agony of fear — for still she
was growing smaller.

“You must!” declared the Scarecrow, firmly.

The witch cast a shrewd look at him and saw that he
meant it; so she began dancing around Gloria in a frantic
manner. The Princess looked coldly on, as if not at all
interested in the proceedings, while Blinkie tore a
handful of hair from her own head and ripped a strip of
cloth from the bottom of her gown. Then the witch sank
upon her knees, took a purple powder from her black bag
and sprinkled it over the hair and cloth.

“I hate to do it — I hate to do it!” she wailed, “for
there is no more of this magic compound in all the world.
But I must sacrifice it to save my own life. A match!
Give me a match, quick!” and panting from lack of breath
she gazed imploringly from one to another.

Cap’n Bill was the only one who had a match, but he
lost no time in handing it to Blinkie, who quickly set
fire to the hair and the cloth and the purple powder. At
once a purple cloud enveloped Gloria, and this gradually
turned to a rosy pink color –brilliant and quite
transparent. Through the rosy cloud they could all see
the beautiful Princess, standing proud and erect. Then
her heart became visible, at first frosted with ice but
slowly growing brighter and warmer until all the frost
had disappeared and it was beating as softly and
regularly as any other heart. And now the cloud dispersed
and disclosed Gloria, her face suffused with joy, smiling
tenderly upon the friends who were grouped about her.

Poor Pon stepped forward — timidly, fearing a repulse,
but with pleading eyes and arms fondly outstretched
toward his former sweetheart — and the Princess saw him
and her sweet face lighted with a radiant smile. Without
an instant’s hesitation she threw herself into Pon’s arms
and this reunion of two loving hearts was so affecting
that the people turned away and lowered their eyes so as
not to mar the sacred joy of the faithful lovers.

But Blinkie’s small voice was shouting to the Scarecrow
for help.

“The antidote!” she screamed. “Give me the other box —
quick!”

The Scarecrow looked at the witch with his quaint,
painted eyes and saw that she was now no taller than his
knee. So he took from his pocket the second box and
scattered its contents on Blinkie. She ceased to grow any
smaller, but she could never regain her former size, and
this the wicked old woman well knew.

She did not know, however, that the second powder had
destroyed all her power to work magic, and seeking to be
revenged upon the Scarecrow and his friends she at once
began to mumble a charm so terrible in its effect that it
would have destroyed half the population of Jinxland —
had it worked. But it did not work at all, to the
amazement of old Blinkie. And by this time the Scarecrow
noticed what the little witch was trying to do, and said
to her:

“Go home, Blinkie, and behave yourself. You are no
longer a witch, but an ordinary old woman, and since you
are powerless to do more evil I advise you to try to do
some good in the world. Believe me, it is more fun to
accomplish a good act than an evil one, as you will
discover when once you have tried it.”

But Blinkie was at that moment filled with grief and
chagrin at losing her magic powers. She started away
toward her home, sobbing and bewailing her fate, and not
one who saw her go was at all sorry for her.

 

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