Dorothy and her friends arrived at the Royal Palace at an opportune
time, for Ozma was holding high court in her Throne Room, where
Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T.E., was appealing to her to punish some of
the students of the Royal Athletic College, of which he was the Principal.
This College is located in the Munchkin Country, but not far from
the Emerald City. To enable the students to devote their entire time
to athletic exercises, such as boating, foot-ball, and the like,
Professor Wogglebug had invented an assortment of Tablets of Learning.
One of these tablets, eaten by a scholar after breakfast, would
instantly enable him to understand arithmetic or algebra or any other
branch of mathematics. Another tablet eaten after lunch gave a
student a complete knowledge of geography. Another tablet made it
possible for the eater to spell the most difficult words, and still
another enabled him to write a beautiful hand. There were tablets for
history, mechanics, home cooking and agriculture, and it mattered not
whether a boy or a girl was stupid or bright, for the tablets taught
them everything in the twinkling of an eye.
This method, which is patented in the Land of Oz by Professor
Wogglebug, saves paper and books, as well as the tedious hours devoted
to study in some of our less favored schools, and it also allows the
students to devote all their time to racing, base-ball, tennis and
other manly and womanly sports, which are greatly interfered with by
study in those Temples of Learning where Tablets of Learning are unknown.
But it so happened that Professor Wogglebug (who had invented so
much that he had acquired the habit) carelessly invented a Square-Meal
Tablet, which was no bigger than your little finger-nail but
contained, in condensed form, the equal of a bowl of soup, a portion
of fried fish, a roast, a salad and a dessert, all of which gave the
same nourishment as a square meal.
The Professor was so proud of these Square-Meal Tablets that he
began to feed them to the students at his college, instead of other
food, but the boys and girls objected because they wanted food that
they could enjoy the taste of. It was no fun at all to swallow a
tablet, with a glass of water, and call it a dinner; so they refused
to eat the Square-Meal Tablets. Professor Wogglebug insisted, and the
result was that the Senior Class seized the learned Professor one day
and threw him into the river–clothes and all. Everyone knows that a
wogglebug cannot swim, and so the inventor of the wonderful
Square-Meal Tablets lay helpless on the bottom of the river for three
days before a fisherman caught one of his legs on a fishhook and
dragged him out upon the bank.
The learned Professor was naturally indignant at such treatment, and
so he brought the entire Senior Class to the Emerald City and appealed
to Ozma of Oz to punish them for their rebellion.
I do not suppose the girl Ruler was very severe with the rebellious
boys and girls, because she had herself refused to eat the Square-Meal
Tablets in place of food, but while she was listening to the
interesting case in her Throne Room, Cap’n Bill managed to carry the
golden flower-pot containing the Magic Flower up to Trot’s room
without it being seen by anyone except Jellia Jamb, Ozma’s chief Maid
of Honor, and Jellia promised not to tell.
Also the Wizard was able to carry the cage of monkeys up to one of
the top towers of the palace, where he had a room of his own, to which
no one came unless invited. So Trot and Dorothy and Cap’n Bill and
the Wizard were all delighted at the successful end of their
adventure. The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger went to the marble
stables behind the Royal Palace, where they lived while at home, and
they too kept the secret, even refusing to tell the Wooden Sawhorse,
and Hank the Mule, and the Yellow Hen, and the Pink Kitten where they
Trot watered the Magic Flower every day and allowed no one in her
room to see the beautiful blossoms except her friends, Betsy Bobbin
and Dorothy. The wonderful plant did not seem to lose any of its
magic by being removed from its island, and Trot was sure that Ozma
would prize it as one of her most delightful treasures.
Up in his tower the little Wizard of Oz began training his twelve
tiny monkeys, and the little creatures were so intelligent that they
learned every trick the Wizard tried to teach them. The Wizard
treated them with great kindness and gentleness and gave them the food
that monkeys love best, so they promised to do their best on the great
occasion of Ozma’s birthday.