FictionForest

Chapter 7 – The Lace Apron

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

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“Now,” said the Canary, in a tone more brisk than
before, “we may talk together more freely, as Mrs. Yoop
cannot hear us. Perhaps we can figure out a way to
escape.”

“Open!” said Woot the Monkey, still facing the door;
but his command had no effect and he slowly rejoined
the others.

“You cannot open any door or window in this enchanted
castle unless you are wearing the Magic Apron,” said
the Canary.

“What Magic Apron do you mean?” asked the Tin Owl, in
a curious voice.

“The lace one, which the Giantess always wears. I
have been her prisoner, in this cage, for several
weeks, and she hangs my cage in her bedroom every
night, so that she can keep her eye on me,” explained
Polychrome the Canary. “Therefore I have discovered
that it is the Magic Apron that opens the doors and
windows, and nothing else can move them. when she goes
to bed, Mrs. Yoop hangs her apron on the bedpost, and
one morning she forgot to put it on when she commanded
the door to open, and the door would not move. So then
she put on the lace apron and the door obeyed her. That
was how I learned the magic power of the apron.”

“I see — I see!” said the little Brown Bear, wagging
his stuffed head. “Then, if we could get the apron from
Mrs. Yoop, we could open the doors and escape from our
prison.”

“That is true, and it is the plan I was about to
suggest,” replied Polychrome the Canary-Bird.
“However, I don’t believe the Owl could steal the
apron, or even the Bear, but perhaps the Monkey could
hide in her room at night and get the apron while she
is asleep.”

“I’ll try it!” cried Woot the Monkey. “I’ll try it
this very night, if I can manage to steal into her
bedroom.”

“You mustn’t think about it, though,” warned the
bird, “for she can read your thoughts whenever she
cares to do so. And do not forget, before you escape,
to take me with you. Once I am out of the power of the
Giantess, I may discover a way to save us all.”

“We won’t forget our fairy friend,” promised the boy;
“but perhaps you can tell me how to get into the
bedroom.”

“No,” declared Polychrome, “I cannot advise you as to
that. You must watch for a chance, and slip in when
Mrs. Yoop isn’t looking.”

They talked it over for a while longer and then Mrs.
Yoop returned. When she entered, the door opened
suddenly, at her command, and closed as soon as her
huge form had passed through the doorway. During that
day she entered her bedroom several times, on one
errand or another, but always she commanded the door to
close behind her and her prisoners found not the
slightest chance to leave the big hall in which they
were confined.

The Green Monkey thought it would be wise to make a
friend of the big woman, so as to gain her confidence,
so he sat on the back of her chair and chattered to her
while she mended her stockings and sewed silver buttons
on some golden shoes that were as big as row-boats.
This pleased the Giantess and she would pause at times
to pat the Monkey’s head. The little Brown Bear curled
up in a corner and lay still all day. The Owl and the
Canary found they could converse together in the bird
language, which neither the Giantess nor the Bear nor
the Monkey could understand; so at times they twittered
away to each other and passed the long, dreary day
quite cheerfully.

After dinner Mrs. Yoop took a big fiddle from a big
cupboard and played such loud and dreadful music that
her prisoners were all thankful when at last she
stopped and said she was going to bed.

After cautioning the Monkey and Bear and Owl to
behave themselves during the night, she picked up the
cage containing the Canary and, going to the door of
her bedroom, commanded it to open. just then, however,
she remembered she had left her fiddle lying upon a
table, so she went back for it and put it away in the
cupboard, and while her back was turned the Green
Monkey slipped through the open door into her bedroom
and hid underneath the bed. The Giantess, being sleepy,
did not notice this, and entering her room she made the
door close behind her and then hung the bird-cage on a
peg by the window. Then she began to undress, first
taking off the lace apron and laying it over the
bedpost, where it was within easy reach of her hand.

As soon as Mrs. Yoop was in bed the lights all went
out, and Woot the Monkey crouched under the bed and
waited patiently until he heard the Giantess snoring.
Then he crept out and in the dark felt around until he
got hold of the apron, which he at once tied around his
own waist.

Next, Woot tried to find the Canary, and there was
just enough moonlight showing through the window to
enable him to see where the cage hung; but it was out
of his reach. At first he was tempted to leave
Polychrome and escape with his other friends, but
remembering his promise to the Rainbow’s Daughter Woot
tried to think how to save her.

A chair stood near the window, and this — showing
dimly in the moonlight — gave him an idea. By pushing
against it with all his might, he found he could move
the giant chair a few inches at a time. So he pushed
and pushed until the chair was beneath the bird-cage,
and then he sprang noiselessly upon the seat — for his
monkey form enabled him to jump higher than he could do
as a boy — and from there to the back of the chair,
and so managed to reach the cage and take it off the
peg. Then down he sprang to the floor and made his way
to the door. “Open!” he commanded, and at once the door
obeyed and swung open, But his voice wakened Mrs. Yoop,
who gave a wild cry and sprang out of bed with one
bound. The Green Monkey dashed through the doorway,
carrying the cage with him, and before the Giantess
could reach the door it slammed shut and imprisoned her
in her own bed-chamber!

The noise she made, pounding upon the door, and her
yells of anger and dreadful threats of vengeance,
filled all our friends with terror, and Woot the Monkey
was so excited that in the dark he could not find the
outer door of the hall. But the Tin Owl could see very
nicely in the dark, so he guided his friends to the
right place and when all were grouped before the door
Woot commanded it to open. The Magic Apron proved as
powerful as when it had been worn by the Giantess, so a
moment later they had rushed through the passage and
were standing in the fresh night air outside the
castle, free to go wherever they willed.

 

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