FictionForest

Chapter 4 – The Magic Tent

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

Light off Small Medium Large

“Well,” said Dorothy with a laugh, “that was easier
than I expected. It’s worth while, sometimes, to be a
real fairy. But I wouldn’t like to be that kind, and
live in a dreadful fog all the time.”

They now climbed the bank and found before them a
delightful plain that spread for miles in all
directions. Fragrant wild flowers were scattered
throughout the grass; there were bushes bearing lovely
blossoms and luscious fruits; now and then a group of
stately trees added to the beauty of the landscape. But
there were no dwellings or signs of life.

The farther side of the plain was bordered by a row
of palms, and just in front of the palms rose a queerly
shaped hill that towered above the plain like a
mountain. The sides of this hill were straight up and
down; it was oblong in shape and the top seemed flat
and level.

“Oh, ho!” cried Dorothy; “I’ll bet that’s the
mountain Glinda told us of, where the Flatheads live.”

“If it is,” replied Ozma, “the Lake of the Skeezers
must be just beyond the line of palm trees. Can you
walk that far, Dorothy?”

“Of course, in time,” was the prompt answer. “I’m
sorry we had to leave the Sawhorse and the Red Wagon
behind us, for they’d come in handy just now; but with
the end of our journey in sight a tramp across these
pretty green fields won’t tire us a bit.”

It was a longer tramp than they suspected, however,
and night overtook them before they could reach the
flat mountain. So Ozma proposed they camp for the night
and Dorothy was quite ready to approve. She didn’t like
to admit to her friend she was tired, but she told
herself that her legs “had prickers in ’em,” meaning
they had begun to ache.

Usually when Dorothy started on a journey of
exploration or adventure, she carried with her a basket
of food, and other things that a traveler in a strange
country might require, but to go away with Ozma was
quite a different thing, as experience had taught her.
The fairy Ruler of Oz only needed her silver wand —
tipped at one end with a great sparkling emerald — to
provide through its magic all that they might need.
Therefore Ozma, having halted with her companion and
selected a smooth, grassy spot on the plain, waved her
wand in graceful curves and chanted some mystic words
in her sweet voice, and in an instant a handsome tent
appeared before them. The canvas was striped purple and
white, and from the center pole fluttered the royal
banner of Oz.

“Come, dear,” said Ozma, taking Dorothy’s hand, “I am
hungry and I’m sure you must be also; so let us go in
and have our feast.”

On entering the tent they found a table set for two,
with snowy linen, bright silver and sparkling
glassware, a vase of roses in the center and many
dishes of delicious food, some smoking hot, waiting to
satisfy their hunger. Also, on either side of the tent
were beds, with satin sheets, warm blankets and pillows
filled with swansdown. There were chairs, too, and
tall lamps that lighted the interior of the tent with a
soft, rosy glow.

Dorothy, resting herself at her fairy friend’s
command, and eating her dinner with unusual enjoyment,
thought of the wonders of magic. If one were a fairy
and knew the secret laws of nature and the mystic words
and ceremonies that commanded those laws, then a simple
wave of a silver wand would produce instantly all that
men work hard and anxiously for through weary years.
And Dorothy wished in her kindly, innocent heart, that
all men and women could be fairies with silver wands,
and satisfy all their needs without so much work and
worry, for then, she imagined, they would have all
their working hours to be happy in. But Ozma, looking
into her friend’s face and reading those thoughts, gave
a laugh and said:

“No, no, Dorothy, that wouldn’t do at all. Instead of
happiness your plan would bring weariness to the world.
If every one could wave a wand and have his wants
fulfilled there would be little to wish for. There
would be no eager striving to obtain the difficult, for
nothing would then be difficult, and the pleasure of
earning something longed for, and only to be secured by
hard work and careful thought, would be utterly lost.
There would be nothing to do you see, and no interest
in life and in our fellow creatures. That is all that
makes life worth our while — to do good deeds and to
help those less fortunate than ourselves.”

“Well, you’re a fairy, Ozma. Aren’t you happy?” asked
Dorothy

“Yes, dear, because I can use my fairy powers to make
others happy. Had I no kingdom to rule, and no subjects
to look after, I would be miserable. Also, you must
realize that while I am a more powerful fairy than any
other inhabitant of Oz, I am not as powerful as Glinda
the Sorceress, who has studied many arts of magic that
I know nothing of. Even the little Wizard of Oz can do
some things I am unable to accomplish, while I can
accomplish things unknown to the Wizard. This is to
explain that I’m not all-powerful, by any means. My
magic is simply fairy magic, and not sorcery or
wizardry.”

“All the same,” said Dorothy, “I’m mighty glad you
could make this tent appear, with our dinners and beds
all ready for us.”

Ozma smiled.

“Yes, it is indeed wonderful,” she agreed. “Not all
fairies know that sort of magic, but some fairies can
do magic that fills me with astonishment. I think that
is what makes us modest and unassuming — the fact that
our magic arts are divided, some being given each of
us. I’m glad I don’t know everything, Dorothy, and that
there still are things in both nature and in wit for me
to marvel at.”

Dorothy couldn’t quite understand this, so she said
nothing more on the subject and presently had a new
reason to marvel. For when they had quite finished
their meal table and contents disappeared in a flash.

“No dishes to wash, Ozma!” she said with a laugh. “I
guess you’d make a lot of folks happy if you could
teach ’em just that one trick.”

For an hour Ozma told stories, and talked with
Dorothy about various people in whom they were
interested. And then it was bedtime, and they undressed
and crept into their soft beds and fell asleep almost
as soon as their heads touched their pillows.

 

Leave a Reply