FictionForest

Chapter 23 – The Magic Words

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

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Many interesting things were to be seen in the Room
of Magic, including much that had been stolen from the
Adepts when they were transformed to fishes, but they
had to admit that Coo-ee-oh had a rare genius for
mechanics, and had used her knowledge in inventing a
lot of mechanical apparatus that ordinary witches,
wizards and sorcerers could not understand.

They all carefully inspected this room, taking care
to examine every article they came across.

“The island,” said Glinda thoughtfully, “rests on a
base of solid marble. When it is submerged, as it is
now, the base of the island is upon the bottom of the
lake. What puzzles me is how such a great weight can be
lifted and suspended in the water, even by magic.”

“I now remember,” returned Aujah, “that one of the
arts we taught Coo-ee-oh was the way to expand steel,
and I think that explains how the island is raised and
lowered. I noticed in the basement a big steel pillar
that passed through the floor and extended upward to
this palace. Perhaps the end of it is concealed in this
very room. If the lower end of the steel pillar is
firmly embedded in the bottom of the lake, Coo-ee-oh
could utter a magic word that would make the pillar
expand, and so lift the entire island to the level of
the water.”

“I’ve found the end of the steel pillar. It’s just
here,” announced the Wizard, pointing to one side of
the room where a great basin of polished steel seemed
to have been set upon the floor.

They all gathered around, and Ozma said:

“Yes, I am quite sure that is the upper end of the
pillar that supports the island. I noticed it when I
first came here. It has been hollowed out, you see, and
something has been burned in the basin, for the fire
has left its marks. I wondered what was under the great
basin and got several of the Skeezers to come up here
and try to lift it for me. They were strong men, but
could not move it at all.”

“It seems to me,” said Audah the Adept, “that we have
discovered the manner in which Coo-ee-oh raised the
island. She would burn some sort of magic powder in the
basin, utter the magic word, and the pillar would
lengthen out and lift the island with it.”

“What’s this?” asked Dorothy, who had been searching
around with the others, and now noticed a slight hollow
in the wall, near to where the steel basin stood. As
she spoke Dorothy pushed her thumb into the hollow and
instantly a small drawer popped out from the wall.

The three Adepts, Glinda and the Wizard sprang
forward and peered into the drawer. It was half filled
with a grayish powder, the tiny grains of which
constantly moved as if impelled by some living force.

“It may be some kind of radium,” said the Wizard.

“No,” replied Glinda, “it is more wonderful than even
radium, for I recognize it as a rare mineral powder
called Gaulau by the sorcerers. I wonder how Coo-ee-oh
discovered it and where she obtained it.”

“There is no doubt,” said Aujah the Adept, “that this
is the magic powder Coo-ee-oh burned in the basin. If
only we knew the magic word, I am quite sure we could
raise the island.”

“How can we discover the magic word?” asked Ozma,
turning to Glinda as she spoke.

“That we must now seriously consider,” answered the
Sorceress.

So all of them sat down in the Room of Magic and
began to think. It was so still that after a while
Dorothy grew nervous. The little girl never could keep
silent for long, and at the risk of displeasing her
magic-working friends she suddenly said:

“Well, Coo-ee-oh used just three magic words, one to
make the bridge work, and one to make the submarines go
out of their holes, and one to raise and lower the
island. Three words. And Coo-ee-oh’s name is made up of
just three words. One is ‘Coo,’ and one is ‘ee,’ and
one is ‘oh.’

The Wizard frowned but Glinda looked wonderingly at
the young girl and Ozma cried out:

“A good thought, Dorothy dear! You may have solved
our problem.”

“I believe it is worth a trial,” agreed Glinda. “It
would be quite natural for Coo-ee-oh to divide her
name into three magic syllables, and Dorothy’s
suggestion seems like an inspiration.”

The three Adepts also approved the trial but the
brown-haired one said:

“We must be careful not to use the wrong word, and
send the bridge out under water. The main thing, if
Dorothy’s idea is correct, is to hit upon the one word
that moves the island.”

“Let us experiment,” suggested the Wizard.

In the drawer with the moving gray powder was a tiny
golden cup, which they thought was used for measuring.
Glinda filled this cup with the powder and carefully
poured it into the shallow basin, which was the top of
the great steel pillar supporting the island. Then
Aurah the Adept lighted a taper and touched it to the
powder, which instantly glowed fiery red and tumbled
about the basin with astonishing energy. While the
grains of powder still glowed red the Sorceress bent
over it and said in a voice of command: “Coo!”

They waited motionless to see what would happen.
There was a grating noise and a whirl of machinery, but
the island did not move a particle.

Dorothy rushed to the window, which overlooked
the glass side of the dome.

“The boats!” she exclaimed. “The boats are all
loose an’ sailing under water.”

“We’ve made a mistake,” said the Wizard gloomily.

“But it’s one which shows we are on the right track,”
declared Aujah the Adept. “We know now that Coo-ee-oh
used the syllables of her name for the magic words.”

“If ‘Coo’ sends out the boats, it is probable that
ee’ works the bridge,” suggested Ozma. “So the last
part of the name may raise the island.”

“Let us try that next then,” proposed the Wizard.

He scraped the embers of the burned powder out of the
basin and Glinda again filled the golden cup from the
drawer and placed it on top the steel pillar. Aurah
lighted it with her taper and Ozma bent over the basin
and murmured the long drawn syllable: “Oh-h-h!”

Instantly the island trembled and with a weird
groaning noise it moved upward — slowly, very slowly,
but with a steady motion, while all the company stood
by in awed silence. It was a wonderful thing, even to
those skilled in the arts of magic, wizardry and
sorcery, to realize that a single word could raise that
great, heavy island, with its immense glass Dome.

“Why, we’re way above the lake now!” exclaimed
Dorothy from the window, when at last the island ceased
to move.

“That is because we lowered the level of the water,”
explained Glinda.

They could hear the Skeezers cheering lustily in the
streets of the village as they realized that they were
saved.

“Come,” said Ozma eagerly, “let us go down and join
the people.”

“Not just yet,” returned Glinda, a happy smile upon
her lovely face, for she was overjoyed at their
success. “First let us extend the bridge to the
mainland, where our friends from the Emerald City are
waiting.”

It didn’t take long to put more powder in the basin,
light it and utter the syllable “EE!” The result was
that a door in the basement opened and the steel bridge
moved out, extended itself joint by joint, and finally
rested its far end on the shore of the lake just in
front of the encampment.

“Now,” said Glinda, “we can go up and receive the
congratulations of the Skeezers and of our friends of
the Rescue Expedition.”

Across the water, on the shore of the lake, the
Patchwork Girl was waving them a welcome.

 

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