FictionForest

Chapter 25 – Ozma of Oz

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

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“It’s funny,” said Toto, standing before his friend the Lion and
wagging his tail, “but I’ve found my growl at last! I am positive now
that it was the cruel magician who stole it.”

“Let’s hear your growl,” requested the Lion.

“G-r-r-r-r-r!” said Toto.

“That is fine,” declared the big beast. “It isn’t as loud or as deep
as the growl of the big Lavender Bear, but it is a very respectable
growl for a small dog. Where did you find it, Toto?”

“I was smelling in the corner yonder,” said Toto, “when suddenly a
mouse ran out–and I growled.”

The others were all busy congratulating Ozma, who was very happy at
being released from the confinement of the golden peach pit, where the
magician had placed her with the notion that she never could be found
or liberated.

“And only to think,” cried Dorothy, “that Button-Bright has been
carrying you in his pocket all this time, and we never knew it!”

“The little Pink Bear told you,” said the Bear King, “but you wouldn’t
believe him.”

“Never mind, my dears,” said Ozma graciously, “all is well that ends
well, and you couldn’t be expected to know I was inside the peach pit.
Indeed, I feared I would remain a captive much longer than I did, for
Ugu is a bold and clever magician, and he had hidden me very
securely.”

“You were in a fine peach,” said Button-Bright, “the best I ever ate.”

“The magician was foolish to make the peach so tempting,” remarked the
Wizard, “but Ozma would lend beauty to any transformation.”

“How did you manage to conquer Ugu the Shoemaker?”
inquired the girl Ruler of Oz.

Dorothy started to tell the story, and Trot helped her, and
Button-Bright wanted to relate it in his own way, and the Wizard tried
to make it clear to Ozma, and Betsy had to remind them of important
things they left out, and all together there was such a chatter that
it was a wonder that Ozma understood any of it. But she listened
patiently, with a smile on her lovely face at their eagerness, and
presently had gleaned all the details of their adventures.

Ozma thanked the Frogman very earnestly for his assistance, and she
advised Cayke the Cookie Cook to dry her weeping eyes, for she
promised to take her to the Emerald City and see that her cherished
dishpan was restored to her. Then the beautiful Ruler took a chain of
emeralds from around her own neck and placed it around the neck of the
little Pink Bear.

“Your wise answers to the questions of my friends,”
said she, “helped them to rescue me. Therefore I am deeply grateful
to you and to your noble King.”

The bead eyes of the little Pink Bear stared unresponsive to this
praise until the Big Lavender Bear turned the crank in its side, when
it said in its squeaky voice, “I thank Your Majesty.”

“For my part,” returned the Bear King, “I realize that you were well
worth saving, Miss Ozma, and so I am much pleased that we could be of
service to you. By means of my Magic Wand I have been creating exact
images of your Emerald City and your Royal Palace, and I must confess
that they are more attractive than any places I have ever seen–not
excepting Bear Center.”

“I would like to entertain you in my palace,” returned Ozma sweetly,
“and you are welcome to return with me and to make me a long visit, if
your bear subjects can spare you from your own kingdom.”

“As for that,” answered the King, “my kingdom causes me little worry,
and I often find it somewhat tame and uninteresting. Therefore I am
glad to accept your kind invitation. Corporal Waddle may be trusted
to care for my bears in my absence.”

“And you’ll bring the little Pink Bear?” asked Dorothy eagerly.

“Of course, my dear. I would not willingly part with him.”

They remained in the wicker castle for three days, carefully packing
all the magical things that had been stolen by Ugu and also taking
whatever in the way of magic the shoemaker had inherited from his
ancestors. “For,” said Ozma, “I have forbidden any of my subjects
except Glinda the Good and the Wizard of Oz to practice magical arts,
because they cannot be trusted to do good and not harm. Therefore Ugu
must never again be permitted to work magic of any sort.”

“Well,” remarked Dorothy cheerfully, “a dove can’t do much in the way
of magic, anyhow, and I’m going to keep Ugu in the form of a dove
until he reforms and becomes a good and honest shoemaker.”

When everything was packed and loaded on the backs of the animals,
they set out for the river, taking a more direct route than that by
which Cayke and the Frogman had come. In this way they avoided the
Cities of Thi and Herku and Bear Center and after a pleasant journey
reached the Winkie River and found a jolly ferryman who had a fine,
big boat and was willing to carry the entire party by water to a place
quite near to the Emerald City.

The river had many windings and many branches, and the journey did not
end in a day, but finally the boat floated into a pretty lake which
was but a short distance from Ozma’s home. Here the jolly ferryman
was rewarded for his labors, and then the entire party set out in a
grand procession to march to the Emerald City. News that the Royal
Ozma had been found spread quickly throughout the neighborhood, and
both sides of the road soon became lined with loyal subjects of the
beautiful and beloved Ruler. Therefore Ozma’s ears heard little but
cheers, and her eyes beheld little else than waving handkerchiefs and
banners during all the triumphal march from the lake to the city’s
gates.

And there she met a still greater concourse, for all the inhabitants
of the Emerald City turned out to welcome her return, and all the
houses were decorated with flags and bunting, and never before were
the people so joyous and happy as at this moment when they welcomed
home their girl Ruler. For she had been lost and was now found again,
and surely that was cause for rejoicing. Glinda was at the royal
palace to meet the returning party, and the good Sorceress was indeed
glad to have her Great Book of Records returned to her, as well as all
the precious collection of magic instruments and elixirs and chemicals
that had been stolen from her castle. Cap’n Bill and the Wizard at
once hung the Magic Picture upon the wall of Ozma’s boudoir, and the
Wizard was so light-hearted that he did several tricks with the tools
in his black bag to amuse his companions and prove that once again he
was a powerful wizard.

For a whole week there was feasting and merriment and all sorts of
joyous festivities at the palace in honor of Ozma’s safe return. The
Lavender Bear and the little Pink Bear received much attention and
were honored by all, much to the Bear King’s satisfaction. The
Frogman speedily became a favorite at the Emerald City, and the Shaggy
Man and Tik-Tok and Jack Pumpkinhead, who had now returned from their
search, were very polite to the big frog and made him feel quite at
home. Even the Cookie Cook, because she was quite a stranger and
Ozma’s guest, was shown as much deference as if she had been a queen.

“All the same, Your Majesty,” said Cayke to Ozma, day after day with
tiresome repetition, “I hope you will soon find my jeweled dishpan,
for never can I be quite happy without it.”

 

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