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Chapter 6 – The Magic of a Yookoohoo

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

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Woot had seen very little of magic during his
wanderings, while the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman had
seen a great deal of many sorts in their lives, yet all
three were greatly impressed by Mrs. Yoop’s powers. She
did not affect any mysterious airs or indulge in chants
or mystic rites, as most witches do, nor was the
Giantess old and ugly or disagreeable in face or
manner. Nevertheless, she frightened her prisoners more
than any witch could have done.

“Please be seated,” she said to them, as she sat
herself down in a great arm-chair and spread her
beautiful embroidered skirts for them to admire. But
all the chairs in the room were so high that our
friends could not climb to the seats of them. Mrs. Yoop
observed this and waved her hand, when instantly a
golden ladder appeared leaning against a chair opposite
her own.

“Climb up,” said she, and they obeyed, the Tin Man
and the boy assisting the more clumsy Scarecrow. When
they were all seated in a row on the cushion of the
chair, the Giantess continued: “Now tell me how you
happened to travel in this direction, and where you
came from and what your errand is.”

So the Tin Woodman told her all about Nimmie Amee,
and how he had decided to find her and marry her,
although he had no Loving Heart. The story seemed to
amuse the big woman, who then began to ask the
Scarecrow questions and for the first time in her life
heard of Ozma of Oz, and of Dorothy and Jack
Pumpkinhead and Dr. Pipt and Tik-tok and many other Oz
people who are well known in the Emerald City. Also
Woot had to tell his story, which. was very simple and
did not take long. The Giantess laughed heartily when
the boy related their adventure at Loonville, but said
she knew nothing of the Loons because she never left
her Valley.

“There are wicked people who would like to capture
me, as they did my giant husband, Mr. Yoop,” said she;
“so I stay at home and mind my own business.”

“If Ozma knew that you dared to work magic without
her consent, she would punish you severely,” declared
the Scarecrow, “for this castle is in the Land of Oz,
and no persons in the Land of Oz are permitted to work
magic except Glinda the Good and the little Wizard who
lives with Ozma in the Emerald City.”

“That for your Ozma!” exclaimed the Giantess,
snapping her fingers in derision. “What do I care for a
girl whom I have never seen and who has never seen me?”

“But Ozma is a fairy,” said the Tin Woodman, and
therefore she is very powerful. Also, we are under
Ozma’s protection, and to injure us in any way would
make her extremely angry.”

“What I do here, in my own private castle in this
secluded Valley — where no one comes but fools like
you — can never be known to your fairy Ozma,” returned
the Giantess. “Do not seek to frighten me from my
purpose, and do not allow yourselves to be frightened,
for it is best to meet bravely what cannot be avoided.
I am now going to bed, and in the morning I will give
you all new forms, such as will be more interesting to
me than the ones you now wear. Good night, and pleasant dreams.”

Saying this, Mrs. Yoop rose from her chair and walked
through a doorway into another room. So heavy was the
tread of the Giantess that even the walls of the big
stone castle trembled as she stepped. She closed the
door of her bedroom behind her, and then suddenly the
light went out and the three prisoners found themselves
in total darkness.

The Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow didn’t mind the
dark at all, but Woot the Wanderer felt worried to be
left in this strange place in this strange manner,
without being able to see any danger that might threaten.

“The big woman might have given me a bed, anyhow,” he
said to his companions, and scarcely had he spoken when
he felt something press against his legs, which were
then dangling from the seat of the chair. Leaning down,
he put out his hand and found that a bedstead had
appeared, with mattress, sheets and covers, all
complete. He lost no time in slipping down upon the bed
and was soon fast asleep.

During the night the Scarecrow and the Emperor talked
in low tones together, and they got out of the chair
and moved all about the room, feeling for some hidden
spring that might open a door or window and permit them
to escape.

Morning found them still unsuccessful in the quest
and as soon as it was daylight Woot’s bed suddenly
disappeared, and he dropped to the floor with a thump
that quickly wakened him. And after a time the Giantess
came from her bedroom, wearing another dress that was
quite as elaborate as the one in which she had been
attired the evening before, and also wearing the pretty
lace apron. Having seated herself in a chair, she said:

“I’m hungry; so I’ll have breakfast at once.”

She clapped her hands together and instantly the
table appeared before her, spread with snowy linen
and laden with golden dishes. But there was no
food upon the table, nor anything else except a
pitcher of water, a bundle of weeds and a handful
of pebbles. But the Giantess poured some water into
her coffee-pot, patted it once or twice with her hand,
and then poured out a cupful of steaming hot coffee.

“Would you like some?” she asked Woot.

He was suspicious of magic coffee, but it smelled so
good that he could not resist it; so he answered: “If
you please, Madam.”

The Giantess poured out another cup and set it on the
floor for Woot. It was as big as a tub, and the golden
spoon in the saucer beside the cup was so heavy the boy
could scarcely lift it. But Woot managed to get a sip
of the coffee and found it delicious.

Mrs. Yoop next transformed the weeds into a dish of
oatmeal, which she ate with good appetite.

“Now, then,” said she, picking up the pebbles. “I’m
wondering whether I shall have fish-balls or lamb-chops
to complete my meal. Which would you prefer, Woot the Wanderer?”

“If you please, I’ll eat the food in my knapsack,”
answered the boy. “Your magic food might taste good,
but I’m afraid of it.”

The woman laughed at his fears and transformed the
pebbles into fish-balls.

“I suppose you think that after you had eaten this
food it would turn to stones again and make you sick,”
she remarked; “but that would be impossible. Nothing I
transform ever gets back to its former shape again, so
these fish-balls can never more be pebbles. That is why
I have to be careful of my transformations,” she added,
busily eating while she talked, “for while I can change
forms at will I can never change them back again —
which proves that even the powers of a clever Yookoohoo
are limited. When I have transformed you three people,
you must always wear the shapes that I have given you.”

“Then please don’t transform us,” begged Woot, “for
we are quite satisfied to remain as we are.”

“I am not expecting to satisfy you, but intend to
please myself,” she declared, “and my pleasure is to
give you new shapes. For, if by chance your friends
came in search of you, not one of them would be able to
recognize you.”

Her tone was so positive that they knew it would be
useless to protest. The woman was not unpleasant to
look at; her face was not cruel; her voice was big but
gracious in tone; but her words showed that she
possessed a merciless heart and no pleadings would
alter her wicked purpose.

Mrs. Yoop took ample time to finish her breakfast and
the prisoners had no desire to hurry her, but finally
the meal was concluded and she folded her napkin and
made the table disappear by clapping her hands
together. Then she turned to her captives and said:

“The next thing on the programme is to change your
forms.”

“Have you decided what forms to give us?” asked the
Scarecrow, uneasily.

“Yes; I dreamed it all out while I was asleep. This
Tin Man seems a very solemn person ” — indeed, the Tin
Woodman was looking solemn, just then, for he was
greatly disturbed — “so I shall change him into an
Owl.”

All she did was to point one finger at him as she
spoke, but immediately the form of the Tin Woodman
began to change and in a few seconds Nick Chopper, the
Emperor of the Winkies, had been transformed into an
Owl, with eyes as big as saucers and a hooked beak and
strong claws. But he was still tin. He was a Tin Owl,
with tin legs and beak and eyes and feathers. When he
flew to the back of a chair and perched upon it, his
tin feathers rattled against one another with a tinny
clatter. The Giantess seemed much amused by the Tin
Owl’s appearance, for her laugh was big and jolly.

“You’re not liable to get lost,” said she, “for your
wings and feathers will make a racket wherever you go.
And, on my word, a Tin Owl is so rare and pretty that
it is an improvement on the ordinary bird. I did not
intend to make you tin, but I forgot to wish you to be
meat. However, tin you were, and tin you are, and as
it’s too late to change you, that settles it.”

Until now the Scarecrow had rather doubted the
possibility of Mrs. Yoop’s being able to transform him,
or his friend the Tin Woodman, for they were not made
as ordinary people are. He had worried more over what
might happen to Woot than to himself, but now he began
to worry about himself.

“Madam,” he said hastily, “I consider this action
very impolite. It may even be called rude, considering
we are your guests.”

“You are not guests, for I did not invite you here,”
she replied.

“Perhaps not; but we craved hospitality. We threw
ourselves upon your mercy, so to speak, and we now find
you have no mercy. Therefore, if you will excuse the
expression, I must say it is downright wicked to take
our proper forms away from us and give us others that
we do not care for.”

“Are you trying to make me angry?” she asked,
frowning.

“By no means,” said the Scarecrow; “I’m just trying
to make you act more ladylike.”

“Oh, indeed! In my opinion, Mr. Scarecrow, you are
now acting like a bear — so a Bear you shall be!”

Again the dreadful finger pointed, this time in the
Scarecrow’s direction, and at once his form began to
change. In a few seconds he had become a small Brown
Bear, but he was stuffed with straw as he had been
before, and when the little Brown Bear shuffled across
the floor he was just as wobbly as the Scarecrow had
been and moved just as awkwardly.

Woot was amazed, but he was also thoroughly
frightened.

“Did it hurt?” he asked the little Brown Bear.

“No, of course not,” growled the Scarecrow in the
Bear’s form; “but I don’t like walking on four legs;
it’s undignified.”

“Consider my humiliation!” chirped the Tin Owl,
trying to settle its tin feathers smoothly with its tin
beak. “And I can’t see very well, either. The light
seems to hurt my eyes.”

“That’s because you are an Owl,” said Woot. “I think
you will see better in the dark.”

“Well,” remarked the Giantess, “I’m very well pleased
with these new forms, for my part, and I’m sure you
will like them better when you get used to them. So
now,” she added, turning to the boy, “it is your turn.”

“Don’t you think you’d better leave me as I am?”
asked Woot in a trembling voice.

“No,” she replied, “I’m going to make a Monkey of
you. I love monkeys — they’re so cute! — and I think
a Green Monkey will be lots of fun and amuse me when I
am sad.”

Woot shivered, for again the terrible magic finger
pointed, and pointed directly his way. He felt himself
changing; not so very much, however, and it didn’t hurt
him a bit. He looked down at his limbs and body and
found that his clothes were gone and his skin covered
with a fine, silk-like green fur. His hands and feet
were now those of a monkey. He realized he really was a
monkey, and his first feeling was one of anger. He
began to chatter as monkeys do. He bounded to the seat
of a giant chair, and then to its back and with a wild
leap sprang upon the laughing Giantess. His idea was to
seize her hair and pull it out by the roots, and so
have revenge for her wicked transformations. But she
raised her hand and said:

“Gently, my dear Monkey — gently! You’re not angry;
you’re happy as can be!”

Woot stopped short. No; he wasn’t a bit angry now; he
felt as good-humored and gay as ever he did when a boy.
Instead of pulling Mrs. Yoop’s hair, he perched on her
shoulder and smoothed her soft cheek with his hairy
paw. In return, she smiled at the funny green animal
and patted his head.

“Very good,” said the Giantess. “Let us all become
friends and be happy together. How is my Tin Owl
feeling?”

“Quite comfortable,” said the Owl. “I don’t like it,
to be sure, but I’m not going to allow my new form to
make me unhappy. But, tell me, please: what is a Tin
Owl good for?”

“You are only good to make me laugh,” replied the
Giantess.

“Will a stuffed Bear also make you laugh?” inquired
the Scarecrow, sitting back on his haunches to look up
at her.

“Of course,” declared the Giantess; “and I have added
a little magic to your transformations to make you all
contented with wearing your new forms. I’m sorry I
didn’t think to do that when I transformed Polychrome
into a Canary-Bird. But perhaps, when she sees how
cheerful you are, she will cease to be silent and
sullen and take to singing. I will go get the bird and
let you see her.”

With this, Mrs. Yoop went into the next room and soon
returned bearing a golden cage in which sat upon a
swinging perch a lovely yellow Canary. “Polychrome,”
said the Giantess, “permit me to introduce to you a
Green Monkey, which used to be a boy called Woot the
Wanderer, and a Tin Owl, which used to be a Tin Woodman
named Nick Chopper, and a straw-stuffed little Brown
Bear which used to be a live Scarecrow.”

“We already know one another,” declared the
Scarecrow. “The bird is Polychrome, the Rainbow’s
Daughter, and she and I used to be good friends.”

“Are you really my old friend, the Scarecrow?” asked;
the bird, in a sweet, low voice.

“There!” cried Mrs. Yoop; “that’s the first time she
has spoken since she was transformed.”

“I am really your old friend,” answered the
Scarecrow; “but you must pardon me for appearing just
now in this brutal form.”

“I am a bird, as you are, dear Poly,” said the Tin
Woodman; “but, alas! a Tin Owl is not as beautiful as a
Canary-Bird.”

“How dreadful it all is!” sighed the Canary.
“Couldn’t you manage to escape from this terrible
Yookoohoo?”

No,” answered the Scarecrow, “we tried to escape, but
failed. She first made us her prisoners and then
transformed us. But how did she manage to get you,
Polychrome?”‘

“I was asleep, and she took unfair advantage of me,”
answered the bird sadly. “Had I been awake, I could
easily have protected myself.”

“Tell me,” said the Green Monkey earnestly, as he
came close to the cage, “what must we do, Daughter of
the Rainbow, to escape from these transformations?
Can’t you help us, being a Fairy?” “At present I am
powerless to help even myself,” replied the Canary.

“That’s the exact truth!” exclaimed the Giantess, who
seemed pleased to hear the bird talk, even though it
complained; “you are all helpless and in my power, so
you may as well make up your minds to accept your fate
and be content. Remember that you are transformed for
good, since no magic on earth can break your
enchantments. I am now going out for my morning walk,
for each day after breakfast I walk sixteen times
around my castle for exercise. Amuse yourselves while I
am gone, and when I return I hope to find you all
reconciled and happy.”

So the Giantess walked to the door by which our
friends had entered the great hall and spoke one word:
“Open!” Then the door swung open and after Mrs. Yoop
had passed out it closed again with a snap as its
powerful bolts shot into place. The Green Monkey had
rushed toward the opening, hoping to escape, but he was
too late and only got a bump on his nose as the door
slammed shut.

 

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