FictionForest

Chapter 14 – Ozma’s Counsellors

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

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No Ruler ever had such a queer assortment of advisers
as the Princess Ozma had gathered about her throne.
Indeed, in no other country could such amazing people
exist. But Ozma loved them for their peculiarities and
could trust every one of them.

First there was the Tin Woodman. Every bit of him was
tin, brightly polished. All his joints were kept well
oiled and moved smoothly. He carried a gleaming axe to
prove he was a woodman, but seldom had cause to use it
because he lived in a magnificent tin castle in the
Winkie Country of Oz and was the Emperor of all the
Winkies. The Tin Woodman’s name was Nick Chopper. He
had a very good mind, but his heart was not of much
account, so he was very careful to do nothing unkind or
to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Another counsellor was Scraps, the Patchwork Girl of
Oz, who was made of a gaudy patchwork quilt, cut into
shape and stuffed with cotton. This Patchwork Girl was
very intelligent, but so full of fun and mad pranks
that a lot of more stupid folks thought she must be
crazy. Scraps was jolly under all conditions, however
grave they might be, but her laughter and good spirits
were of value in cheering others and in her seemingly
careless remarks much wisdom could often be found.

Then there was the Shaggy Man — shaggy from head to
foot, hair and whiskers, clothes and shoes — but very
kind and gentle and one of Ozma’s most loyal
supporters.

Tik-Tok was there, a copper man with machinery inside
him, so cleverly constructed that he moved, spoke and
thought by three separate clock-works. Tik-Tok was very
reliable because he always did exactly what he was
wound up to do, but his machinery was liable to run
down at times and then he was quite helpless until
wound up again.

A different sort of person was Jack Pumpkinhead, one
of Ozma’s oldest friends and her companion on many
adventures. Jack’s body was very crude and awkward,
being formed of limbs of trees of different sizes,
jointed with wooden pegs. But it was a substantial body
and not likely to break or wear out, and when it was
dressed the clothes covered much of its roughness. The
head of Jack Pumpkinhead was, as you have guessed, a
ripe pumpkin, with the eyes, nose and mouth carved upon
one side. The pumpkin was stuck on Jack’s wooden neck
and was liable to get turned sidewise or backward and
then he would have to straighten it with his wooden
hands.

The worst thing about this sort of a head was that it
did not keep well and was sure to spoil sooner or
later. So Jack’s main business was to grow a field of
fine pumpkins each year, and always before his old head
spoiled he would select a fresh pumpkin from the field
and carve the features on it very neatly, and have it
ready to replace the old head whenever it became
necessary. He didn’t always carve it the same way, so
his friends never knew exactly what sort of an
expression they would find on his face. But there was
no mistaking him, because he was the only pumpkin-
headed man alive in the Land of Oz.

A one-legged sailor-man was a member of Ozma’s
council. His name was Cap’n Bill and he had come to the
Land of Oz with Trot, and had been made welcome on
account of his cleverness, honesty and good nature. He
wore a wooden leg to replace the one he had lost and
was a great friend of all the children in Oz because he
could whittle all sorts of toys out of wood with his
big jack-knife.

Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T. E., was another member
of the council. The “H. M.” meant Highly Magnified, for
the Professor was once a little bug, who became
magnified to the size of a man and always remained so.
The “T. E.” meant that he was Thoroughly Educated. He
was at the head of Princess Ozma’s Royal Athletic
College, and so that the students would not have to
study and so lose much time that could be devoted to
athletic sports, such as football, baseball and the
like, Professor Wogglebug had invented the famous
Educational Pills. If one of the college students took
a Geography Pill after breakfast, he knew his geography
lesson in an instant; if he took a Spelling Pill he at
once knew his spelling lesson, and an Arithmetic Pill
enabled the student to do any kind of sum without
having to think about it.

These useful pills made the college very popular and
taught the boys and girls of Oz their lessons in the
easiest possible way. In spite of this, Professor
Wogglebug was not a favorite outside his college, for
he was very conceited and admired himself so much and
displayed his cleverness and learning so constantly,
that no one cared to associate with him. Ozma found him
of value in her councils, nevertheless.

Perhaps the most splendidly dressed of all those
present was a great frog as large as a man, called the
Frogman, who was noted for his wise sayings. He had
come to the Emerald City from the Yip Country of Oz and
was a guest of honor. His long-tailed coat was of
velvet, his vest of satin and his trousers of finest
silk. There were diamond buckles on his shoes and he
carried a gold-headed cane and a high silk hat. All of
the bright colors were represented in his rich attire,
so it tired one’s eyes to look at him for long, until
one became used to his splendor.

The best farmer in all Oz was Uncle Henry, who was
Dorothy’s own uncle, and who now lived near the Emerald
City with his wife Aunt Em. Uncle Henry taught the Oz
people how to grow the finest vegetables and fruits and
grains and was of much use to Ozma in keeping the Royal
Storehouses well filled. He, too, was a counsellor.

The reason I mention the little Wizard of Oz last is
because he was the most important man in the Land of
Oz. He wasn’t a big man in size but he was a man in
power and intelligence and second only to Glinda the
Good in all the mystic arts of magic. Glinda had taught
him, and the Wizard and the Sorceress were the only
ones in Oz permitted by law to practice wizardry and
sorcery, which they applied only to good uses and for
the benefit of the people.

The Wizard wasn’t exactly handsome but he was
pleasant to look at. His bald head was as shiny as if
it had been varnished; there was always a merry twinkle
in his eyes and he was as spry as a schoolboy. Dorothy
says the reason the Wizard is not as powerful as Glinda
is because Glinda didn’t teach him all she knows, but
what the Wizard knows he knows very well and so he
performs some very remarkable magic. The ten I have
mentioned assembled, with the Scarecrow and Glinda, in
Ozma’s throne room, right after dinner that evening,
and the Sorceress told them all she knew of the plight
of Ozma and Dorothy

“Of course we must rescue them,” she continued, “and
the sooner they are rescued the better pleased they
will be; but what we must now determine is how they can
be saved. That is why I have called you together in
council.”

“The easiest way,” remarked the Shaggy Man, “is to
raise the sunken island of the Skeezers to the top of
the water again.”

“Tell me how?” said Glinda.

“I don’t know how, your Highness, for I have never
raised a sunken island.”

“We might all get under it and lift,” suggested
Professor Wogglebug.

“How can we get under it when it rests on the bottom
of the lake?” asked the Sorceress.

“Couldn’t we throw a rope around it and pull it
ashore?” inquired Jack Pumpkinhead.

“Why not pump the water out of the lake?” suggested
the Patchwork Girl with a laugh.

“Do be sensible!” pleaded Glinda. “This is a serious
matter, and we must give it serious thought.”

“How big is the lake and how big is the island?” was
the Frogman’s question.

“None of us can tell, for we have not been there.”

“In that case,” said the Scarecrow, “it appears to me
we ought to go to the Skeezer country and examine it
carefully.”

“Quite right,” agreed the Tin Woodman.

“We-will-have-to-go-there-any-how,” remarked Tik-Tok
in his jerky machine voice.

“The question is which of us shall go, and how many
of us?” said the Wizard.

“I shall go of course,” declared the Scarecrow.

“And I,” said Scraps.

“It is my duty to Ozma to go,” asserted the Tin
Woodman.

“I could not stay away, knowing our loved Princess is
in danger,” said the Wizard.

“We all feel like that,” Uncle Henry said.

Finally one and all present decided to go to the
Skeezer country, with Glinda and the little Wizard to
lead them. Magic must meet magic in order to conquer
it, so these two skillful magic-workers were necessary
to insure the success of the expedition.

They were all ready to start at a moment’s notice,
for none had any affairs of importance to attend to.
Jack was wearing a newly made Pumpkin-head and the
Scarecrow had recently been stuffed with fresh straw.
Tik-Tok’s machinery was in good running order and the
Tin Woodman always was well oiled.

“It is quite a long journey,” said Glinda, “and while
I might travel quickly to the Skeezer country by means
of my stork chariot the rest of you will be obliged to
walk. So, as we must keep together, I will send my
chariot back to my castle and we will plan to leave the
Emerald City at sunrise to-morrow.”

 

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