FictionForest

Chapter 21 – The Three Adepts

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

Light off Small Medium Large

The Sorceress looked up from her work as the three
maidens entered, and something in their appearance and
manner led her to rise and bow to them in her most
dignified manner. The three knelt an instant before the
great Sorceress and then stood upright and waited for
her to speak.

“Whoever you may be,” said Glinda, “I bid you
welcome.”

“My name is Audah,” said one.

“My name is Aurah,” said another.

“My name is Aujah,” said the third.

Glinda had never heard these names before, but
looking closely at the three she asked:

“Are you witches or workers in magic?”

“Some of the secret arts we have gleaned from
Nature,” replied the brownhaired maiden modestly, “but
we do not place our skill beside that of the Great
Sorceress, Glinda the Good.”

“I suppose you are aware it is unlawful to practice
magic in the Land of Oz, without the permission of our
Ruler, Princess Ozma?”

“No, we were not aware of that,” was the reply. “We
have heard of Ozma, who is the appointed Ruler of all
this great fairyland, but her laws have not reached us,
as yet.”

Glinda studied the strange maidens thoughtfully; then
she said to them:

“Princess Ozma is even now imprisoned in the Skeezer
village. for the whole island with its Great Dome, was
sunk to the bottom of the lake by the witchcraft of
Coo-ee-oh, whom the Flathead Su-dic transformed into a
silly swan. I am seeking some way to overcome
Coo-ee-oh’s magic and raise the isle to the surface
again. Can you help me do this?”

The maidens exchanged glances, and the white-haired
one replied

“We do not know; but we will try to assist you.”

“It seems,” continued Glinda musingly, “that
Coo-ee-oh derived most of her witchcraft from three
Adepts at Magic, who at one time ruled the Flatheads.
While the Adepts were being entertained by Coo-ee-oh at
a banquet in her palace, she cruelly betrayed them and
after transforming them into fishes cast them into the
lake.

“If I could find these three fishes and return them
to their natural shapes — they might know what magic
Coo-ee-oh used to sink the island. I was about to go to
the shore and call these fishes to me when you arrived.
So, if you will join me, we will try to find them.”

The maidens exchanged smiles now, and the golden-
haired one, Audah, said to Glinda:

“It will not be necessary to go to the lake. We are
the three fishes.”

“Indeed!” cried Glinda. “Then you are the three
Adepts at Magic, restored to your proper forms?”

“We are the three Adepts,” admitted Aujah.

“Then,” said Glinda, “my task is half accomplished.
But who destroyed the transformation that made you
fishes?”

“We have promised not to tell,” answered Aurah; “but
this young Skeezer was largely responsible for our
release; he is brave and clever, and we owe him our
gratitude.”

Glinda looked at Ervic, who stood modestly behind the
Adepts, hat in hand. “He shall be properly rewarded,”
she declared, “for in helping you he has helped us all,
and perhaps saved his people from being imprisoned
forever in the sunken isle.”

The Sorceress now asked her guests to seat themselves
and a long talk followed, in which the Wizard of Oz
shared.

“We are quite certain,” said Aurah, “that if we could
get inside the Dome we could discover Coo-ee-oh’s
secrets, for in all her work, after we became fishes,
she used the formulas and incantations and arts that
she stole from us. She may have added to these things,
but they were the foundation of all her work.”

“What means do you suggest for our getting into the
Dome?” inquired Glinda.

The three Adepts hesitated to reply, for they had not
yet considered what could be done to reach the inside
of the Great Dome. While they were in deep thought, and
Glinda and the Wizard were quietly awaiting their
suggestions, into the tent rushed Trot and Betsy,
dragging between them the Patchwork Girl.

“Oh, Glinda,” cried Trot, “Scraps has thought of a
way to rescue Ozma and Dorothy and all of the
Skeezers.”

The three Adepts could not avoid laughing merrily,
for not only were they amused by the queer form of the
Patchwork Girl, but Trot’s enthusiastic speech struck
them as really funny. If the Great Sorceress and the
famous Wizard and the three talented Adepts at Magic
were unable as yet to solve the important problem of
the sunken isle, there was little chance for a patched
girl stuffed with cotton to succeed.

But Glinda, smiling indulgently at the earnest faces
turned toward her, patted the children’s heads and
said:

“Scraps is very clever. Tell us what she has thought
of, my dear.”

“Well,” said Trot, “Scraps says that if you could dry
up all the water in the lake the island would be on dry
land, an’ everyone could come and go whenever they
liked.”

Glinda smiled again, but the Wizard said to the
girls:

“If we should dry up the lake, what would become of
all the beautiful fishes that now live in the water?”

“Dear me! That’s so,” admitted Betsy, crestfallen; “we
never thought of that, did we Trot?”

“Couldn’t you transform ’em into polliwogs?” asked
Scraps, turning a somersault and then standing on one
leg. “You could give them a little, teeny pond to swim
in, and they’d be just as happy as they are as fishes.”

“No indeed!” replied the Wizard, severely. “It is
wicked to transform any living creatures without their
consent, and the lake is the home of the fishes and
belongs to them.”

“All right,” said Scraps, making a face at him; “I
don’t care.”

“It’s too bad,” sighed Trot, “for I thought we’d
struck a splendid idea.”

“So you did,” declared Glinda, her face now grave and
thoughtful. “There is something in the Patchwork Girl’s
idea that may be of real value to us.”

“I think so, too,” agreed the golden-haired Adept.
“The top of the Great Dome is only a few feet below the
surface of the water. If we could reduce the level of
the lake until the Dome sticks a little above the
water, we could remove some of the glass and let
ourselves down into the village by means of ropes.”

“And there would be plenty of water left for the
fishes to swim in,” added the white-haired maiden.

“If we succeed in raising the island we could fill up
the lake again,” suggested the brown-haired Adept.

“I believe,” said the Wizard, rubbing his hands
together in delight, “that the Patchwork Girl has shown
us the way to success.”

The girls were looking curiously at the three
beautiful Adepts, wondering who they were, so Glinda
introduced them to Trot and Betsy and Scraps, and then
sent the children away while she considered how to
carry the new idea into effect.

Not much could be done that night, so the Wizard
prepared another tent for the Adepts, and in the
evening Glinda held a reception and invited all her
followers to meet the new arrivals. The Adepts were
greatly astonished at the extraordinary personages
presented to them, and marveled that Jack Pumpkinhead
and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman and Tik-Tok could
really live and think and talk just like other people.
They were especially pleased with the lively Patchwork
Girl and loved to watch her antics.

It was quite a pleasant party, for Glinda served some
dainty refreshments to those who could eat, and the
Scarecrow recited some poems, and the Cowardly Lion
sang a song in his deep bass voice. The only thing
that marred their joy was the thought that their
beloved Ozma and dear little Dorothy were yet confined
in the Great Dome of the Sunken island.

 

Leave a Reply