FictionForest

Chapter 24 – The Royal Reception

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

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At about four o’clock of that same day the Red Wagon
drew up at the entrance to Glinda’s palace and Dorothy
and Betsy jumped out. Ozma’s Red Wagon was almost a
chariot, being inlaid with rubies and pearls, and it was
drawn by Ozma’s favorite steed, the wooden Sawhorse.

“Shall I unharness you,” asked Dorothy, “so you can
come in and visit?”

“No,” replied the Sawhorse. “I’ll just stand here and
think. Take your time. Thinking doesn’t seem to bore me
at all.”

“What will you think of?” inquired Betsy.

“Of the acorn that grew the tree from which I was
made.”

So they left the wooden animal and went in to see
Glinda, who welcomed the little girls in her most cordial
manner.

“I knew you were on your way,” said the good Sorceress
when they were seated in her library, “for I learned from
my Record Book that you intended to meet Trot and Button-
Bright on their arrival here.”

“Is the strange little girl named Trot?” asked Dorothy.

“Yes; and her companion, the old sailor, is named Cap’n
Bill. I think we shall like them very much, for they are
just the kind of people to enjoy and appreciate our
fairyland and I do not see any way, at present, for them
to return again to the outside world.”

“Well, there’s room enough here for them, I’m sure,”
said Dorothy. “Betsy and I are already eager to welcome
Trot. It will keep us busy for a year, at least, showing
her all the wonderful things in Oz.”

Glinda smiled.

“I have lived here many years,” said she, “and I have
not seen all the wonders of Oz yet.”

Meantime the travelers were drawing near to the palace,
and when they first caught sight of its towers Trot
realized that it was far more grand and imposing than was
the King’s castle in Jinxland. The nearer they came, the
more beautiful the palace appeared, and when finally the
Scarecrow led them up the great marble steps, even
Button-Bright was filled with awe.

“I don’t see any soldiers to guard the place,” said the
little girl.

“There is no need to guard Glinda’s palace,” replied
the Scarecrow. “We have no wicked people in Oz, that we
know of, and even if there were any, Glinda’s magic would
be powerful enough to protect her.”

Button-Bright was now standing on the top steps of the
entrance, and he suddenly exclaimed:

“Why, there’s the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon! Hip,
hooray!” and next moment he was rushing down to throw his
arms around the neck of the wooden horse, which good-
naturedly permitted this familiarity when it recognized
in the boy an old friend.

Button-Bright’s shout had been heard inside the palace,
so now Dorothy and Betsy came running out to embrace
their beloved friend, the Scarecrow, and to welcome Trot
and Cap’n Bill to the Land of Oz.

“We’ve been watching you for a long time, in Ozma’s
Magic Picture,” said Dorothy, “and Ozma has sent us to
invite you to her own palace in the Em’rald City. I don’t
know if you realize how lucky you are to get that
invitation, but you’ll understand it better after you’ve
seen the royal palace and the Em’rald City.”

Glinda now appeared in person to lead all the party
into her Azure Reception Room. Trot was a little afraid
of the stately Sorceress, but gained courage by holding
fast to the hands of Betsy and Dorothy. Cap’n Bill had no
one to help him feel at ease, so the old sailor sat
stiffly on the edge of his chair and said:

“Yes, ma’am,” or “No, ma’am,” when he was spoken to,
and was greatly embarrassed by so much splendor.

The Scarecrow had lived so much in palaces that he felt
quite at home, and he chatted to Glinda and the Oz girls
in a merry, light-hearted way. He told all about his
adventures in Jinxland, and at the Great Waterfall, and
on the journey hither — most of which his hearers knew
already — and then he asked Dorothy and Betsy what had
happened in the Emerald City since he had left there.

They all passed the evening and the night at Glinda’s
palace, and the Sorceress was so gracious to Cap’n Bill
that the old man by degrees regained his self-possession
and began to enjoy himself. Trot had already come to the
conclusion that in Dorothy and Betsy she had found two
delightful comrades, and Button-Bright was just as much
at home here as he had been in the fields of Jinxland or
when he was buried in the popcorn snow of the Land of Mo.

The next morning they arose bright and early and after
breakfast bade good-bye to the kind Sorceress, whom Trot
and Cap’n Bill thanked earnestly for sending the
Scarecrow to Jinxland to rescue them. Then they all
climbed into the Red Wagon.

There was room for all on the broad seats, and when all
had taken their places — Dorothy, Trot and Betsy on the
rear seat and Cap’n Bill, Button-Bright and the Scarecrow
in front — they called “Gid-dap!” to the Sawhorse and
the wooden steed moved briskly away, pulling the Red
Wagon with ease.

It was now that the strangers began to perceive the
real beauties of the Land of Oz, for they were passing
through a more thickly settled part of the country and
the population grew more dense as they drew nearer to the
Emerald City. Everyone they met had a cheery word or a
smile for the Scarecrow, Dorothy and Betsy Bobbin, and
some of them remembered Button-Bright and welcomed him
back to their country.

It was a happy party, indeed, that journeyed in the Red
Wagon to the Emerald City, and Trot already began to hope
that Ozma would permit her and Cap’n Bill to live always
in the Land of Oz.

When they reached the great city they were more amazed
than ever, both by the concourse of people in their
quaint and picturesque costumes, and by the splendor of
the city itself. But the magnificence of the Royal Palace
quite took their breath away, until Ozma received them in
her own pretty apartment and by her charming manners and
assuring smiles made them feel they were no longer
strangers.

Trot was given a lovely little room next to that of
Dorothy, while Cap’n Bill had the cosiest sort of a room
next to Trot’s and overlooking the gardens. And that
evening Ozma gave a grand banquet and reception in honor
of the new arrivals. While Trot had read of many of the
people she then met, Cap’n Bill was less familiar with
them and many of the unusual characters introduced to him
that evening caused the old sailor to open his eyes wide
in astonishment.

He had thought the live Scarecrow about as curious as
anyone could be, but now he met the Tin Woodman, who was
all made of tin, even to his heart, and carried a
gleaming axe over his shoulder wherever he went. Then
there was Jack Pumpkinhead, whose head was a real pumpkin
with the face carved upon it; and Professor Wogglebug,
who had the shape of an enormous bug but was dressed in
neat fitting garments. The Professor was an interesting
talker and had very polite manners, but his face was so
comical that it made Cap’n Bill smile to look at it. A
great friend of Dorothy and Ozma seemed to be a machine
man called Tik-Tok, who ran down several times during the
evening and had to be wound up again by someone before he
could move or speak.

At the reception appeared the Shaggy Man and his
brother, both very popular in Oz, as well as Dorothy’s
Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, two happy old people who lived
in a pretty cottage near the palace.

But what perhaps seemed most surprising to both Trot
and Cap’n Bill was the number of peculiar animals
admitted into Ozma’s parlors, where they not only
conducted themselves quite properly but were able to talk
as well as anyone.

There was the Cowardly Lion, an immense beast with a
beautiful mane; and the Hungry Tiger, who smiled
continually; and Eureka the Pink Kitten, who lay curled
upon a cushion and had rather supercilious manners; and
the wooden Sawhorse; and nine tiny piglets that belonged
to the Wizard; and a mule named Hank, who belonged to
Betsy Bobbin. A fuzzy little terrier dog, named Toto, lay
at Dorothy’s feet but seldom took part in the
conversation, although he listened to every word that was
said. But the most wonderful of all to Trot was a square
beast with a winning smile, that squatted in a corner of
the room and wagged his square head at everyone in quite
a jolly way. Betsy told Trot that this unique beast was
called the Woozy, and there was no other like him in all
the world.

Cap’n Bill and Trot had both looked around expectantly
for the Wizard of Oz, but the evening was far advanced
before the famous little man entered the room. But he
went up to the strangers at once and said:

“I know you, but you don’t know me; so let’s get
acquainted.”

And they did get acquainted, in a very short time, and
before the evening was over Trot felt that she knew every
person and animal present at the reception, and that they
were all her good friends.

Suddenly they looked around for Button-Bright, but he
was nowhere to be found.

“Dear me!” cried Trot. “He’s lost again.”

“Never mind, my dear,” said Ozma, with her charming
smile, “no one can go far astray in the Land of Oz, and
if Button-Bright isn’t lost occasionally, he isn’t
happy.”

 

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