FictionForest

Chapter 11 – Jinjur’s Ranch

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

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As they followed a path down the blue-grass hillside,
the first house that met the view of the travelers was
joyously recognized by the Scarecrow Bear as the one
inhabited by his friend Jinjur, so they increased their
speed and hurried toward it.

On reaching the place, how ever, they found the house
deserted. The front door stood open, but no one was
inside. In the garden surrounding the house were neat
rows of bushes bearing cream-puffs and macaroons, some
of which were still green, but others ripe and ready to
eat. Farther back were fields of caramels, and all the
land seemed well cultivated and carefully tended. They
looked through the fields for the girl farmer, but she
was nowhere to be seen.

“Well,” finally remarked the little Brown Bear, “let
us go into the house and make ourselves at home. That
will be sure to please my friend Jinjur, who happens to
be away from home just now. When she returns, she will
be greatly surprised.”

“Would she care if I ate some of those ripe cream-
puffs?” asked the Green Monkey.

“No, indeed; Jinjur is very generous. Help yourself
to all you want,” said the Scarecrow Bear.

So Woot gathered a lot of the cream-puffs that were
golden yellow and filled with a sweet, creamy
substance, and ate until his hunger was satisfied. Then
he entered the house with his friends and sat in a
rocking-chair — just as he was accustomed to do when a
boy. The Canary perched herself upon the mantel and
daintily plumed her feathers; the Tin Owl sat on the
back of another chair; the Scarecrow squatted on his
hairy haunches in the middle of the room.

“I believe I remember the girl Jinjur,” remarked the
Canary, in her sweet voice. “She cannot help us very
much, except to direct us on our way to Glinda’s
castle, for she does not understand magic. But she’s a
good girl, honest and sensible, and I’ll be glad to see
her.”

“All our troubles,” said the Owl with a deep sigh,
“arose from my foolish resolve to seek Nimmie Amee and
make her Empress of the Winkies, and while I wish to
reproach no one, I must say that it was Woot the
Wanderer who put the notion into my head.”

“Well, for my part, I am glad he did,” responded the
Canary. “Your journey resulted in saving me from the
Giantess, and had you not traveled to the Yoop Valley,
I would still be Mrs. Yoop’s prisoner. It is much nicer
to be free, even though I still bear the enchanted form
of a Canary-Bird.”

“Do you think we shall ever be able to get our proper
forms back again?” asked the Green Monkey earnestly.

Polychrome did not make reply at once to this
important question, but after a period of
thoughtfulness she said:

“I have been taught to believe that there is an
antidote for every magic charm, yet Mrs. Yoop insists
that no power can alter her transformations. I realize
that my own fairy magic cannot do it, although I have
thought that we Sky Fairies have more power than is
accorded to Earth Fairies. The yookoohoo magic is
admitted to be very strange in its workings and
different from the magic usually practiced, but perhaps
Glinda or Ozma may understand it better than I. In them
lies our only hope. Unless they can help us, we must
remain forever as we are.”

“A Canary-Bird on a Rainbow wouldn’t be so bad,”
asserted the Tin Owl, winking and blinking with his
round tin eyes, “so if you can manage to find your
Rainbow again you need have little to worry about.”

“That’s nonsense, Friend Chopper,” exclaimed Woot. “I
know just how Polychrome feels. A beautiful girl is
much superior to a little yellow bird, and a boy —
such as I was — far better than a Green Monkey.
Neither of us can be happy again unless we recover our
rightful forms.”

“I feel the same way,” announced the stuffed Bear.
“What do you suppose my friend the Patchwork Girl would
think of me, if she saw me wearing this beastly shape?”

“She’d laugh till she cried,” admitted the Tin Owl.
“For my part, I’ll have to give up the notion of
marrying Nimmie Amee, but I’ll try not to let that make
me unhappy. If it’s my duty, I’d like to do my duty,
but if magic prevents my getting married I’ll flutter
along all by myself and be just as contented.”

Their serious misfortunes made them all silent for a
time, and as their thoughts were busy in dwelling upon
the evils with which fate had burdened them, none
noticed that Jinjur had suddenly appeared in the
doorway and was looking at them in astonishment. The
next moment her astonishment changed to anger, for
there, in her best rocking-chair, sat a Green Monkey. A
great shiny Owl perched upon another chair and a Brown
Bear squatted upon her parlor rug. Jinjur did not
notice the Canary, but she caught up a broomstick and
dashed into the room, shouting as she came:

“Get out of here, you wild creatures! How dare you
enter my house?”

With a blow of her broom she knocked the Brown Bear
over, and the Tin Owl tried to fly out of her reach and
made a great clatter with his tin wings. The Green
Monkey was so startled by the sudden attack that he
sprang into the fireplace — where there was
fortunately no fire — and tried to escape by climbing
up the chimney. But he found the opening too small, and
so was forced to drop down again. Then he crouched
trembling in the fireplace, his pretty green hair all
blackened with soot and covered with ashes. From this
position Woot watched to see what would happen next.

“Stop, Jinjur — stop!” cried the Brown Bear, when
the broom again threatened him. “Don’t you know me? I’m
your old friend the Scarecrow?”

“You’re trying to deceive me, you naughty beast! I
can see plainly that you are a bear, and a mighty poor
specimen of a bear, too,” retorted the girl.

“That’s because I’m not properly stuffed,” he assured
her. “When Mrs. Yoop transformed me, she didn’t realize
I should have more stuffing.”

“Who is Mrs. Yoop?” inquired Jinjur, pausing with the
broom still upraised.

“A Giantess in the Gillikin Country.”

“Oh; I begin to understand. And Mrs. Yoop transformed
you? You are really the famous Scarecrow of Oz.”

“I was, Jinjur. Just now I’m as you see me — a
miserable little Brown Bear with a poor quality of
stuffing. That Tin Owl is none other than our dear Tin
Woodman — Nick Chopper, the Emperor of the Winkies —
while this Green Monkey is a nice little boy we
recently became acquainted with, Woot the Wanderer.”

“And I,” said the Canary, flying close to Jinjur, “am
Polychrome, the Daughter of the Rainbow, in the form of
a bird.”

“Goodness me!” cried Jinjur, amazed; “that Giantess
must be a powerful Sorceress, and as wicked as she is
powerful.”

“She’s a yookoohoo,” said Polychrome. “Fortunately,
we managed to escape from her castle, and we are now on
our way to Glinda the Good to see if she possesses the
power to restore us to our former shapes.”

“Then I must beg your pardons; all of you must
forgive me,” said Jinjur, putting away the broom. “I
took you to be a lot of wild, unmannerly animals, as
was quite natural. You are very welcome to my home and
I’m sorry I haven’t the power to help you out of your
troubles. Please use my house and all that I have, as
if it were your own.”

At this declaration of peace, the Bear got upon his
feet and the Owl resumed his perch upon the chair and
the Monkey crept out of the fireplace. Jinjur looked at
Woot critically, and scowled.

“For a Green Monkey,” said she, “you’re the blackest
creature I ever saw. And you’ll get my nice clean room
all dirty with soot and ashes. Whatever possessed you
to jump up the chimney?”

“I — I was scared,” explained Woot, somewhat
ashamed.

“Well, you need renovating, and that’s what will
happen to you, right away. Come with me!” she
commanded.

“What are you going to do?” asked Woot.

“Give you a good scrubbing,” said Jinjur.

Now, neither boys nor monkeys relish being scrubbed,
so Woot shrank away from the energetic girl, trembling
fearfully. But Jinjur grabbed him by his paw and
dragged him out to the back yard, where, in spite of
his whines and struggles, she plunged him into a tub of
cold water and began to scrub him with a stiff brush
and a cake of yellow soap.

This was the hardest trial that Woot had endured
since he became a monkey, but no protest had any
influence with Jinjur, who lathered and scrubbed him in
a business-like manner and afterward dried him with a
coarse towel.

The Bear and the Owl gravely watched this operation
and nodded approval when Woot’s silky green fur shone
clear and bright in the afternoon sun. The Canary
seemed much amused and laughed a silvery ripple of
laughter as she said:

“Very well done, my good Jinjur; I admire your energy
and judgment. But I had no idea a monkey could look so
comical as this monkey did while he was being bathed.”

“I’m not a monkey!” declared Woot, resentfully; “I’m
just a boy in a monkey’s shape, that’s all.”

“If you can explain to me the difference,” said
Jinjur, “I’ll agree not to wash you again — that is,
unless you foolishly get into the fireplace. All
persons are usually judged by the shapes in which they
appear to the eyes of others. Look at me, Woot; what am
I?”

Woot looked at her.

“You’re as pretty a girl as I’ve ever seen,” he
replied.

Jinjur frowned. That is, she tried hard to frown.

“Come out into the garden with me,” she said, “and
I’ll give you some of the most delicious caramels you
ever ate. They’re a new variety, that no one can grow
but me, and they have a heliotrope flavor.”

 

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