FictionForest

Chapter 13 – The Alarm Bell

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

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Glinda, the Good, in her palace in the Quadling
Country, had many things to occupy her mind, for not
only did she look after the weaving and embroidery of
her bevy of maids, and assist all those who came to her
to implore her help — beasts and birds as well as
people — but she was a close student of the arts of
sorcery and spent much time in her Magical Laboratory,
where she strove to find a remedy for every evil and to
perfect her skill in magic.

Nevertheless, she did not forget to look in the Great
Book of Records each day to see if any mention was made
of the visit of Ozma and Dorothy to the Enchanted
Mountain of the Flatheads and the Magic Isle of the
Skeezers. The Records told her that Ozma had arrived at
the mountain, that she had escaped, with her companion,
and gone to the island of the Skeezers, and that Queen
Coo-ee-oh had submerged the island so that it was
entirely under water. Then came the statement that the
Flatheads had come to the lake to poison the fishes and
that their Supreme Dictator had transformed Queen Coo-
ee-oh into a swan.

No other details were given in the Great Book and so
Glinda did not know that since Coo-ee-oh had forgotten
her magic none of the Skeezers knew how to raise the
island to the surface again. So Glinda was not worried
about Ozma and Dorothy until one morning, while she sat
with her maids, there came a sudden clang of the
great alarm bell. This was so unusual that every maid
gave a start and even the Sorceress for a moment could
not think what the alarm meant.

Then she remembered the ring she had given Dorothy
when she left the palace to start on her venture. In
giving the ring Glinda had warned the little girl not
to use its magic powers unless she and Ozma were in
real danger, but then she was to turn it on her finger
once to the right and once to the left and Glinda’s
alarm bell would ring.

So the Sorceress now knew that danger threatened her
beloved Ruler and Princess Dorothy, and she hurried to
her magic room to seek information as to what sort of
danger it was. The answer to her question was not very
satisfactory, for it was only: “Ozma and Dorothy are
prisoners in the great Dome of the Isle of the
Skeezers, and the Dome is under the water of the lake.”

“Hasn’t Ozma the power to raise the island to the
surface?” inquired Glinda.

“No,” was the reply, and the Record refused to say
more except that Queen Coo-ee-oh, who alone could
command the island to rise, had been transformed by the
Flathead Su-dic into a Diamond Swan.

Then Glinda consulted the past records of the
Skeezers in the Great Book. After diligent search she
discovered that Coo-ee-oh was a powerful sorceress who
had gained most of her power by treacherously
transforming the Adepts of Magic, who were visiting
her, into three fishes — gold, silver and bronze —
after which she had them cast into the lake.

Glinda reflected earnestly on this information and
decided that someone must go to Ozma’s assistance.
While there was no great need of haste, because Ozma
and Dorothy could live in a submerged dome a long time,
it was evident they could not get out until someone was
able to raise the island.

The Sorceress looked through all her recipes and
books of sorcery, but could find no magic that would
raise a sunken island. Such a thing had never before
been required in sorcery. Then Glinda made a little
island, covered by a glass dome, and sunk it in a pond
near her castle, and experimented in magical ways to
bring it to the surface. She made several such
experiments, but all were failures. It seemed a simple
thing to do, yet she could not do it.

Nevertheless, the wise Sorceress did not despair of
finding a way to liberate her friends. Finally she
concluded that the best thing to do was to go to the
Skeezer country and examine the lake. While there she
was more likely to discover a solution to the problem
that bothered her, and to work out a plan for the
rescue of Ozma and Dorothy.

So Glinda summoned her storks and her aerial chariot,
and telling her maids she was going on a journey and
might not soon return, she entered the chariot and was
carried swiftly to the Emerald City.

In Princess Ozma’s palace the Scarecrow was now
acting as Ruler of the Land of Oz. There wasn’t much
for him to do, because all the affairs of state moved
so smoothly, but he was there in case anything
unforeseen should happen.

Glinda found the Scarecrow playing croquet with Trot
and Betsy Bobbin, two little girls who lived at the
palace under Ozma’s protection and were great friends
of Dorothy and much loved by all the Oz people.

“Something’s happened!” cried Trot, as the chariot of
the Sorceress descended near them. “Glinda never comes
here ‘cept something’s gone wrong.”

“I hope no harm has come to Ozma, or Dorothy,” said
Betsy anxiously, as the lovely Sorceress stepped down
from her chariot.

Glinda approached the Scarecrow and told him of the
dilemma of Ozma and Dorothy and she added: “We must
save them, somehow, Scarecrow.”

“Of course,” replied the Scarecrow, stumbling over a
wicket and falling flat on his painted face.

The girls picked him up and patted his straw stuffing
into shape, and he continued, as if nothing had
occurred: “But you’ll have to tell me what to do, for I
never have raised a sunken island in all my life.”

“We must have a Council of State as soon as
possible,” proposed the Sorceress. “Please send
messengers to summon all of Ozma’s counsellors to this
palace. Then we can decide what is best to be done.”

The Scarecrow lost no time in doing this. Fortunately
most of the royal counsellors were in the Emerald City
or near to it, so they all met in the throne room of
the palace that same evening.

 

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