FictionForest

Chapter 20 – Queen Gloria

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

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Next morning the Scarecrow called upon all the
courtiers and the people to assemble in the throne room
of the castle, where there was room enough for all that
were able to attend. They found the straw man seated upon
the velvet cushions of the throne, with the King’s
glittering crown still upon his stuffed head. On one side
of the throne, in a lower chair, sat Gloria, looking
radiantly beautiful and fresh as a new-blown rose. On the
other side sat Pon, the gardener’s boy, still dressed in
his old smock frock and looking sad and solemn; for Pon
could not make himself believe that so splendid a
Princess would condescend to love him when she had come
to her own and was seated upon a throne. Trot and Cap’n
Bill sat at the feet of the Scarecrow and were much
interested in the proceedings. Button-Bright had lost
himself before breakfast, but came into the throne room
before the ceremonies were over. Back of the throne stood
a row of the great Orks, with their leader in the center,
and the entrance to the palace was guarded by more Orks,
who were regarded with wonder and awe.

When all were assembled, the Scarecrow stood up and
made a speech. He told how Gloria’s father, the good King
Kynd, who had once ruled them and been loved by everyone,
had been destroyed by King Phearce, the father of Pon,
and how King Phearce had been destroyed by King Krewl.
This last King had been a bad ruler, as they knew very
well, and the Scarecrow declared that the only one in all
Jinxland who had the right to sit upon the throne was
Princess Gloria, the daughter of King Kynd.

“But,” he added, “it is not for me, a stranger, to say
who shall rule you. You must decide for yourselves, or
you will not be content. So choose now who shall be your
future ruler.”

And they all shouted: “The Scarecrow! The Scarecrow
shall rule us!”

Which proved that the stuffed man had made himself very
popular by his conquest of King Krewl, and the people
thought they would like him for their King. But the
Scarecrow shook his head so vigorously that it became
loose, and Trot had to pin it firmly to his body again.

“No,” said he, “I belong in the Land of Oz, where I am
the humble servant of the lovely girl who rules us all —
the royal Ozma. You must choose one of your own
inhabitants to rule over Jinxland. Who shall it be?”

They hesitated for a moment, and some few cried: “Pon!”
but many more shouted: “Gloria!”

So the Scarecrow took Gloria’s hand and led her to the
throne, where he first seated her and then took the
glittering crown off his own head and placed it upon that
of the young lady, where it nestled prettily amongst her
soft curls. The people cheered and shouted then, kneeling
before their new Queen; but Gloria leaned down and took
Pon’s hand in both her own and raised him to the seat
beside her.

“You shall have both a King and a Queen to care for you
and to protect you, my dear subjects,” she said in a
sweet voice, while her face glowed with happiness; “for
Pon was a King’s son before he became a gardener’s boy,
and because I love him he is to be my Royal Consort.”

That pleased them all, especially Pon, who realized
that this was the most important moment of his life. Trot
and Button-Bright and Cap’n Will all congratulated him on
winning the beautiful Gloria; but the Ork sneezed twice
and said that in his opinion the young lady might have
done better.

Then the Scarecrow ordered the guards to bring in the
wicked Krewl, King no longer, and when he appeared,
loaded with chains and dressed in fustian, the people
hissed him and drew back as he passed so their garments
would not touch him.

Krewl was not haughty or overbearing any more; on the
contrary he seemed very meek and in great fear of the
fate his conquerors had in store for him. But Gloria and
Pon were too happy to be revengeful and so they offered
to appoint Krewl to the position of gardener’s boy at the
castle, Pon having resigned to become King. But they said
he must promise to reform his wicked ways and to do his
duty faithfully, and he must change his name from Krewl
to Grewl. All this the man eagerly promised to do, and so
when Pon retired to a room in the castle to put on
princely raiment, the old brown smock he had formerly
worn was given to Grewl, who then went out into the
garden to water the roses.

The remainder of that famous day, which was long
remembered in Jinxland, was given over to feasting and
merrymaking. In the evening there was a grand dance in
the courtyard, where the brass band played a new piece of
music called the “Ork Trot” which was dedicated to “Our
Glorious Gloria, the Queen.”

While the Queen and Pon were leading this dance, and
all the Jinxland people were having a good time, the
strangers were gathered in a group in the park outside
the castle. Cap’n Bill, Trot, Button-Bright and the
Scarecrow were there, and so was their old friend the
Ork; but of all the great flock of Orks which had
assisted in the conquest but three remained in Jinxland,
besides their leader, the others having returned to their
own country as soon as Gloria was crowned Queen. To the
young Ork who had accompanied them in their adventures
Cap’n Bill said:

“You’ve surely been a friend in need, and we’re mighty
grateful to you for helping us. I might have been a
grasshopper yet if it hadn’t been for you, an’ I might
remark that bein’ a grasshopper isn’t much fun.”

“If it hadn’t been for you, friend Ork,” said the
Scarecrow, “I fear I could not have conquered King
Krewl.”

“No,” agreed Trot, “you’d have been just a heap of
ashes by this time.”

And I might have been lost yet,” added Button-Bright.
“Much obliged, Mr. Ork.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” replied the Ork. “Friends must
stand together, you know, or they wouldn’t be friends.
But now I must leave you and be off to my own country,
where there’s going to be a surprise party on my uncle,
and I’ve promised to attend it.”

“Dear me,” said the Scarecrow, regretfully. “That is
very unfortunate.”

“Why so?” asked the Ork.

“I hoped you would consent to carry us over those
mountains, into the Land of Oz. My mission here is now
finished and I want to get back to the Emerald City.”

“How did you cross the mountains before?” inquired the
Ork.

“I scaled the cliffs by means of a rope, and crossed
the Great Gulf on a strand of spider web. Of course I can
return in the same manner, but it would be a hard journey
— and perhaps an impossible one — for Trot and Button-
Bright and Cap’n Bill. So I thought that if you had the
time you and your people would carry us over the
mountains and land us all safely on the other side, in
the Land of Oz.”

The Ork thoughtfully considered the matter for a while.
Then he said:

“I mustn’t break my promise to be present at the
surprise party; but, tell me, could you go to Oz to-
night?”

“What, now?” exclaimed Trot.

“It is a fine moonlight night,” said the Ork, “and I’ve
found in my experience that there’s no time so good as
right away. The fact is,” he explained, “it’s a long
journey to Orkland and I and my cousins here are all
rather tired by our day’s work. But if you will start
now, and be content to allow us to carry you over the
mountains and dump you on the other side, just say the
word and — off we go!”

Cap’n Bill and Trot looked at one another
questioningly. The little girl was eager to visit the
famous fairyland of Oz and the old sailor had endured
such hardships in Jinxland that he would be glad to be
out of it.

“It’s rather impolite of us not to say good-bye to the
new King and Queen,” remarked the Scarecrow, “but I’m
sure they’re too happy to miss us, and I assure you it
will be much easier to fly on the backs of the Orks over
those steep mountains than to climb them as I did.”

“All right; let’s go!” Trot decided. “But where’s
Button-Bright?”

Just at this important moment Button-Bright was lost
again, and they all scattered in search of him. He had
been standing beside them just a few minutes before, but
his friends had an exciting hunt for him before they
finally discovered the boy seated among the members of
the band, beating the end of the bass drum with the bone
of a turkey-leg that he had taken from the table in the
banquet room.

“Hello, Trot,” he said, looking up at the little girl
when she found him. “This is the first chance I ever had
to pound a drum with a reg’lar drum stick. And I ate all
the meat off the bone myself.”

“Come quick. We’re going to the Land of Oz.”

“Oh, what’s the hurry?” said Button-Bright; but she
seized his arm and dragged him away to the park, where
the others were waiting.

Trot climbed upon the back of her old friend, the Ork
leader, and the others took their seats on the backs of
his three cousins. As soon as all were placed and
clinging to the skinny necks of the creatures, the
revolving tails began to whirl and up rose the four
monster Orks and sailed away toward the mountains. They
were so high in the air that when they passed the crest
of the highest peak it seemed far below them. No sooner
were they well across the barrier than the Orks swooped
downward and landed their passengers upon the ground.

“Here we are, safe in the Land of Oz!” cried the
Scarecrow joyfully.

“Oh, are we?” asked Trot, looking around her curiously.

She could see the shadows of stately trees and the
outlines of rolling hills; beneath her feet was soft
turf, but otherwise the subdued light of the moon
disclosed nothing clearly.

“Seems jus’ like any other country,” was Cap’n Bill’s
comment.

“But it isn’t,” the Scarecrow assured him. “You are now
within the borders of the most glorious fairyland in all
the world. This part of it is just a corner of the
Quadling Country, and the least interesting portion of
it. It’s not very thickly settled, around here, I’ll
admit, but –”

He was interrupted by a sudden whir and a rush of air
as the four Orks mounted into the sky.

“Good night!” called the shrill voices of the strange
creatures, and although Trot shouted “Good night!” as
loudly as she could, the little girl was almost ready to
cry because the Orks had not waited to be properly
thanked for all their kindness to her and to Cap’n Bill.

But the Orks were gone, and thanks for good deeds do
not amount to much except to prove one’s politeness.

“Well, friends,” said the Scarecrow, “we mustn’t stay
here in the meadows all night, so let us find a pleasant
place to sleep. Not that it matters to me, in the least,
for I never sleep; but I know that meat people like to
shut their eyes and lie still during the dark hours.”

“I’m pretty tired,” admitted Trot, yawning as she
followed the straw man along a tiny path, “so, if you
don’t find a house handy, Cap’n Bill and I will sleep
under the trees, or even on this soft grass.”

But a house was not very far off, although when the
Scarecrow stumbled upon it there was no light in it
whatever. Cap’n Bill knocked on the door several times,
and there being no response the Scarecrow boldly lifted
the latch and walked in, followed by the others. And no
sooner had they entered than a soft light filled the
room. Trot couldn’t tell where it came from, for no lamp
of any sort was visible, but she did not waste much time
on this problem, because directly in the center of the
room stood a table set for three, with lots of good food
on it and several of the dishes smoking hot.

The little girl and Button-Bright both uttered
exclamations of pleasure, but they looked in vain for any
cook stove or fireplace, or for any person who might have
prepared for them this delicious feast.

“It’s fairyland,” muttered the boy, tossing his cap in
a corner and seating himself at the table. “This supper
smells ‘most as good as that turkey-leg I had in
Jinxland. Please pass the muffins, Cap’n Bill.”

Trot thought it was strange that no people but
themselves were in the house, but on the wall opposite
the door was a gold frame bearing in big letters the
word:

“WELCOME.”

So she had no further hesitation in eating of the food
so mysteriously prepared for them.

“But there are only places for three!” she exclaimed.

“Three are quite enough,” said the Scarecrow. “I never
eat, because I am stuffed full already, and I like my
nice clean straw better than I do food.”

Trot and the sailor-man were hungry and made a hearty
meal, for not since they had left home had they tasted
such good food. It was surprising that Button-Bright
could eat so soon after his feast in Jinxland, but the
boy always ate whenever there was an opportunity. “If I
don’t eat now,” he said, “the next time I’m hungry I’ll
wish I had.”

“Really, Cap’n,” remarked Trot, when she found a dish
of ice-cream appear beside her plate, “I b’lieve this is
fairyland, sure enough.”

“There’s no doubt of it, Trot,” he answered gravely

“I’ve been here before,” said Button-Bright, “so I
know.”

After supper they discovered three tiny bedrooms
adjoining the big living room of the house, and in each
room was a comfortable white bed with downy pillows. You
may be sure that the tired mortals were not long in
bidding the Scarecrow good night and creeping into their
beds, where they slept soundly until morning.

For the first time since they set eyes on the terrible
whirlpool, Trot and Cap’n Bill were free from anxiety and
care. Button-Bright never worried about anything. The
Scarecrow, not being able to sleep, looked out of the
window and tried to count the stars.

 

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