FictionForest

Chapter 21 – Dorothy, Betsy and Ozma

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

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I suppose many of my readers have read descriptions of
the beautiful and magnificent Emerald City of Oz, so I
need not describe it here, except to state that never has
any city in any fairyland ever equalled this one in
stately splendor. It lies almost exactly in the center
of the Land of Oz, and in the center of the Emerald City
rises the wall of glistening emeralds that surrounds the
palace of Ozma. The palace is almost a city in itself
and is inhabited by many of the Ruler’s especial friends
and those who have won her confidence and favor. As for
Ozma herself, there are no words in any dictionary I can
find that are fitted to describe this young girl’s beauty
of mind and person. Merely to see her is to love her for
her charming face and manners; to know her is to love
her for her tender sympathy, her generous nature, her
truth and honor. Born of a long line of Fairy Queens,
Ozma is as nearly perfect as any fairy may be, and she is
noted for her wisdom as well as for her other qualities.
Her happy subjects adore their girl Ruler and each one
considers her a comrade and protector.

At the time of which I write, Ozma’s best friend and
most constant companion was a little Kansas girl named
Dorothy, a mortal who had come to the Land of Oz in a
very curious manner and had been offered a home in Ozma’s
palace. Furthermore, Dorothy had been made a Princess of
Oz, and was as much at home in the royal palace as was
the gentle Ruler. She knew almost every part of the great
country and almost all of its numerous inhabitants. Next
to Ozma she was loved better than anyone in all Oz, for
Dorothy was simple and sweet, seldom became angry and had
such a friendly, chummy way that she made friends
where-ever she wandered. It was she who first brought the
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion to
the Emerald City. Dorothy had also introduced to Ozma
the Shaggy Man and the Hungry Tiger, as well as Billina
the Yellow Hen, Eureka the Pink Kitten, and many other
delightful characters and creatures. Coming as she did
from our world, Dorothy was much like many other girls we
know; so there were times when she was not so wise as she
might have been, and other times when she was obstinate
and got herself into trouble. But life in a fairy-land
had taught the little girl to accept all sorts of
surprising things as matters-of-course, for while Dorothy
was no fairy — but just as mortal as we are — she had
seen more wonders than most mortals ever do.

Another little girl from our outside world also lived
in Ozma’s palace. This was Betsy Bobbin, whose strange
adventures had brought her to the Emerald City, where
Ozma had cordially welcomed her. Betsy was a shy little
thing and could never get used to the marvels that
surrounded her, but she and Dorothy were firm friends and
thought themselves very fortunate in being together in
this delightful country.

One day Dorothy and Betsy were visiting Ozma in the
girl Ruler’s private apartment, and among the things that
especially interested them was Ozma’s Magic Picture, set
in a handsome frame and hung upon the wall of the room.
This picture was a magic one because it constantly
changed its scenes and showed events and adventures
happening in all parts of the world. Thus it was really a
“moving picture” of life, and if the one who stood before
it wished to know what any absent person was doing, the
picture instantly showed that person, with his or her
surroundings.

The two girls were not wishing to see anyone in
particular, on this occasion, but merely enjoyed watching
the shifting scenes, some of which were exceedingly
curious and remarkable. Suddenly Dorothy exclaimed: “Why,
there’s Button-Bright!” and this drew Ozma also to look
at the picture, for she and Dorothy knew the boy well.

“Who is Button-Bright?” asked Betsy, who had never met
him.

“Why, he’s the little boy who is just getting off the
back of that strange flying creature,” exclaimed Dorothy.
Then she turned to Ozma and asked: “What is that thing,
Ozma? A bird? I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

“It is an Ork,” answered Ozma, for they were watching
the scene where the Ork and the three big birds were
first landing their passengers in Jinxland after the long
flight across the desert. “I wonder,” added the girl
Ruler, musingly, “why those strangers dare venture into
that unfortunate country, which is ruled by a wicked
King.”

“That girl, and the one-legged man, seem to be mortals
from the outside world,” said Dorothy

“The man isn’t one-legged,” corrected Betsy; “he has
one wooden leg.”

“It’s almost as bad,” declared Dorothy, watching Cap’n
Bill stump around.

“They are three mortal adventurers,” said Ozma, “and
they seem worthy and honest. But I fear they will be
treated badly in Jinxland, and if they meet with any
misfortune there it will reflect upon me, for Jinxland is
a part of my dominions.”

“Can’t we help them in any way?” inquired Dorothy.
“That seems like a nice little girl. I’d be sorry if
anything happened to her.”

“Let us watch the picture for awhile,” suggested Ozma,
and so they all drew chairs before the Magic Picture and
followed the adventures of Trot and Cap’n Bill and
Button-Bright. Presently the scene shifted and showed
their friend the Scarecrow crossing the mountains into
Jinxland, and that somewhat relieved Ozma’s anxiety, for
she knew at once that Glinda the Good had sent the
Scarecrow to protect the strangers.

The adventures in Jinxland proved very interesting to
the three girls in Ozma’s palace, who during the
succeeding days spent much of their time in watching the
picture. It was like a story to them.

“That girl’s a reg’lar trump!” exclaimed Dorothy,
referring to Trot, and Ozma answered:

“She’s a dear little thing, and I’m sure nothing very
bad will happen to her. The old sailor is a fine
character, too, for he has never once grumbled over being
a grasshopper, as so many would have done.”

When the Scarecrow was so nearly burned up the girls
all shivered a little, and they clapped their hands in
joy when the flock of Orks came and saved him.

So it was that when all the exciting adventures in
Jinxland were over and the four Orks had begun their
flight across the mountains to carry the mortals into the
Land of Oz, Ozma called the Wizard to her and asked him
to prepare a place for the strangers to sleep.

The famous Wizard of Oz was a quaint little man who
inhabited the royal palace and attended to all the
magical things that Ozma wanted done. He was not as
powerful as Glinda, to be sure, but he could do a great
many wonderful things. He proved this by placing a house
in the uninhabited part of the Quadling Country where the
Orks landed Cap’n Bill and Trot and Button-Bright, and
fitting it with all the comforts I have described in the
last chapter.

Next morning Dorothy said to Ozma:

“Oughtn’t we to go meet the strangers, so we can show
them the way to the Emerald City? I’m sure that little
girl will feel shy in this beautiful land, and I know if
’twas me I’d like somebody to give me a welcome.”

Ozma smiled at her little friend and answered:

“You and Betsy may go to meet them, if you wish, but I
can not leave my palace just now, as I am to have a
conference with Jack Pumpkinhead and Professor Wogglebug
on important matters. You may take the Sawhorse and the
Red Wagon, and if you start soon you will be able to meet
the Scarecrow and the strangers at Glinda’s palace.”

“Oh, thank you!” cried Dorothy, and went away to tell
Betsy and to make preparations for the journey.

 

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