FictionForest

Chapter 11 – Button-Bright Loses Himself

L. Frank BaumOct 05, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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The Patchwork Girl, who never slept and who could see very well in the
dark, had wandered among the rocks and bushes all night long, with the
result that she was able to tell some good news the next morning.
“Over the crest of the hill before us,” she said, “is a big grove of
trees of many kinds on which all sorts of fruits grow. If you will go
there, you will find a nice breakfast awaiting you.” This made them
eager to start, so as soon as the blankets were folded and strapped to
the back of the Sawhorse, they all took their places on the animals
and set out for the big grove Scraps had told them of.

As soon as they got over the brow of the hill, they discovered it to
be a really immense orchard, extending for miles to the right and left
of them. As their way led straight through the trees, they hurried
forward as fast as possible. The first trees they came to bore
quinces, which they did not like. Then there were rows of citron
trees and then crab apples and afterward limes and lemons. But beyond
these they found a grove of big, golden oranges, juicy and sweet, and
the fruit hung low on the branches so they could pluck it easily.

They helped themselves freely and all ate oranges as they continued on
their way. Then, a little farther along, they came to some trees
bearing fine, red apples, which they also feasted on, and the Wizard
stopped here long enough to tie a lot of the apples in one end of a
blanket.

“We do not know what will happen to us after we leave this
delightful orchard,” he said, “so I think it wise to carry a supply of
apples with us. We can’t starve as long as we have apples, you know.”

Scraps wasn’t riding the Woozy just now. She loved to climb the trees
and swing herself by the branches from one tree to another. Some of
the choicest fruit was gathered by the Patchwork Girl from the very
highest limbs and tossed down to the others. Suddenly, Trot asked,
“Where’s Button-Bright?” and when the others looked for him, they
found the boy had disappeared.

“Dear me!” cried Dorothy. “I guess he’s lost again, and that will
mean our waiting here until we can find him.”

“It’s a good place to wait,” suggested Betsy, who had found a plum
tree and was eating some of its fruit.

“How can you wait here and find Button-Bright at one and the same
time?” inquired the Patchwork Girl, hanging by her toes on a limb just
over the heads of the three mortal girls.

“Perhaps he’ll come back here,” answered Dorothy.

“If he tries that, he’ll prob’ly lose his way,” said Trot. “I’ve
known him to do that lots of times. It’s losing his way that gets him
lost.”

“Very true,” said the Wizard. “So all the rest of you must stay here
while I go look for the boy.”

“Won’t YOU get lost, too?” asked Betsy.

“I hope not, my dear.”

“Let ME go,” said Scraps, dropping lightly to the ground. “I can’t
get lost, and I’m more likely to find Button-Bright than any of you.”
Without waiting for permission, she darted away through the trees and
soon disappeared from their view.

“Dorothy,” said Toto, squatting beside his little mistress, “I’ve lost
my growl.”

“How did that happen?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Toto. “Yesterday morning the Woozy nearly
stepped on me, and I tried to growl at him and found I couldn’t growl
a bit.”

“Can you bark?” inquired Dorothy.

“Oh, yes indeed.”

“Then never mind the growl,” said she.

“But what will I do when I get home to the Glass Cat and the Pink
Kitten?” asked the little dog in an anxious tone.

“They won’t mind if you can’t growl at them, I’m sure,” said Dorothy.
“I’m sorry for you, of course, Toto, for it’s just those things we
can’t do that we want to do most of all; but before we get back, you
may find your growl again.”

“Do you think the person who stole Ozma stole my growl?”

Dorothy smiled.

“Perhaps, Toto.”

“Then he’s a scoundrel!” cried the little dog.

“Anyone who would steal Ozma is as bad as bad can be,” agreed Dorothy,
“and when we remember that our dear friend, the lovely Ruler of Oz, is
lost, we ought not to worry over just a growl.”

Toto was not entirely satisfied with this remark, for the more he
thought upon his lost growl, the more important his misfortune became.
When no one was looking, he went away among the trees and tried his
best to growl–even a little bit–but could not manage to do so. All
he could do was bark, and a bark cannot take the place of a growl, so
he sadly returned to the others.

Now Button-Bright had no idea that he was lost at first. He had
merely wandered from tree to tree seeking the finest fruit until he
discovered he was alone in the great orchard. But that didn’t worry
him just then, and seeing some apricot trees farther on, he went to
them. Then he discovered some cherry trees; just beyond these were
some tangerines. “We’ve found ‘most ev’ry kind of fruit but peaches,”
he said to himself, “so I guess there are peaches here, too, if I can
find the trees.”

He searched here and there, paying no attention to his way, until he
found that the trees surrounding him bore only nuts. He put some
walnuts in his pockets and kept on searching, and at last–right among
the nut trees–he came upon one solitary peach tree. It was a
graceful, beautiful tree, but although it was thickly leaved, it bore
no fruit except one large, splendid peach, rosy-cheeked and fuzzy and
just right to eat.

In his heart he doubted this statement, for this was a solitary peach
tree, while all the other fruits grew upon many trees set close to one
another; but that one luscious bite made him unable to resist eating
the rest of it, and soon the peach was all gone except the pit.
Button-Bright was about to throw this peach pit away when he noticed
that it was of pure gold. Of course, this surprised him, but so many
things in the Land of Oz were surprising that he did not give much
thought to the golden peach pit. He put it in his pocket, however, to
show to the girls, and five minutes afterward had forgotten all about
it.

For now he realized that he was far separated from his companions, and
knowing that this would worry them and delay their journey, he began
to shout as loud as he could. His voice did not penetrate very far
among all those trees, and after shouting a dozen times and getting no
answer, he sat down on the ground and said, “Well, I’m lost again.
It’s too bad, but I don’t see how it can be helped.”

As he leaned his back against a tree, he looked up and saw a Bluefinch
fly down from the sky and alight upon a branch just before him. The
bird looked and looked at him. First it looked with one bright eye
and then turned its head and looked at him with the other eye. Then,
fluttering its wings a little, it said, “Oho! So you’ve eaten the
enchanted peach, have you?”

“Was it enchanted?” asked Button-Bright.

“Of course,” replied the Bluefinch.”Ugu the Shoemaker did that.”

“But why? And how was it enchanted? And what will happen to one who
eats it?” questioned the boy.

.”Ask Ugu the Shoemaker. He knows,” said the bird, preening its
feathers with its bill.

“And who is Ugu the Shoemaker?”

“The one who enchanted the peach and placed it here–in the exact
center of the Great Orchard–so no one would ever find it. We birds
didn’t dare to eat it; we are too wise for that. But you are
Button-Bright from the Emerald City, and you, YOU, YOU ate the
enchanted peach!

You must explain to Ugu the Shoemaker why you did
that.” And then, before the boy could ask any more questions, the
bird flew away and left him alone.

Button-Bright was not much worried to find that the peach he had eaten
was enchanted. It certainly had tasted very good, and his stomach
didn’t ache a bit. So again he began to reflect upon the best way to
rejoin his friends. “Whichever direction I follow is likely to be the
wrong one,” he said to himself, “so I’d better stay just where I am
and let THEM find ME–if they can.”

A White Rabbit came hopping through the orchard and paused a little
way off to look at him. “Don’t be afraid,” said Button-Bright. “I
won’t hurt you.”

“Oh, I’m not afraid for myself,” returned the White Rabbit. “It’s you
I’m worried about.”

.”Yes, I’m lost,’ said the boy.

“I fear you are, indeed,” answered the Rabbit. “Why on earth did you
eat the enchanted peach?”

The boy looked at the excited little animal thoughtfully. “There were
two reasons,” he explained. “One reason was that I like peaches, and
the other reason was that I didn’t know it was enchanted.”

“That won’t save you from Ugu the Shoemaker,” declared the White
Rabbit, and it scurried away before the boy could ask any more
questions.

“Rabbits and birds,” he thought, “are timid creatures and seem afraid
of this shoemaker, whoever he may be. If there was another peach half
as good as that other, I’d eat it in spite of a dozen enchantments or
a hundred shoemakers!”

Just then, Scraps came dancing along and saw him sitting at the foot
of the tree. “Oh, here you are!” she said. “Up to your old tricks,
eh? Don’t you know it’s impolite to get lost and keep everybody
waiting for you? Come along, and I’ll lead you back to Dorothy and
the others.”

Button-Bright rose slowly to accompany her.

“That wasn’t much of a loss,” he said cheerfully. “I haven’t
been gone half a day, so there’s no harm done.”

Dorothy, however, when the boy rejoined the party, gave him a good
scolding. “When we’re doing such an important thing as searching for
Ozma,” said she, “it’s naughty for you to wander away and keep us from
getting on. S’pose she’s a pris’ner in a dungeon cell! Do you want
to keep our dear Ozma there any longer than we can help?”

“If she’s in a dungeon cell, how are you going to get her out?”
inquired the boy.

“Never you mind. We’ll leave that to the Wizard. He’s sure to find a
way.”

The Wizard said nothing, for he realized that without his magic tools
he could do no more than any other person. But there was no use
reminding his companions of that fact; it might discourage them. “The
important thing just now,” he remarked, “is to find Ozma, and as our
party is again happily reunited, I propose we move on.”

As they came to the edge of the Great Orchard, the sun was setting and
they knew it would soon be dark. So it was decided to camp under the
trees, as another broad plain was before them. The Wizard spread the
blankets on a bed of soft leaves, and presently all of them except
Scraps and the Sawhorse were fast asleep. Toto snuggled close to his
friend the Lion, and the Woozy snored so loudly that the Patchwork
Girl covered his square head with her apron to deaden the sound.

 

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