FictionForest

Chapter 20 – The Scarecrow Appeals to Glenda the Good

L. Frank BaumJul 08, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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“Hooray!” shouted the Scarecrow, gaily. “We can now leave this miserable
Jackdaws’ nest whenever we please.”

“But it is nearly dark,” said the Tin Woodman; “and unless we wait until
morning to make our flight we may get into more trouble. I don’t like these
night trips, for one never knows what will happen.”

So it was decided to wait until daylight, and the adventurers amused
themselves in the twilight by searching the Jackdaws’ nest for treasures.

The Woggle-Bug found two handsome bracelets of wrought gold, which fitted
his slender arms very well. The Scarecrow took a fancy for rings, of which
there were many in the nest. Before long he
had fitted a ring to each finger of his padded gloves, and not being content
with that display he added one more to each thumb. As he carefully chose
those rings set with sparkling stones, such as rubies, amethysts and
sapphires, the Scarecrow’s hands now presented a most brilliant appearance.

“This nest would be a picnic for Queen Jinjur,” said he, musingly. “for as
nearly as I can make out she and her girls conquered me merely to rob my
city of its emeralds.”

The Tin Woodman was content with his diamond necklace and refused to accept
any additional decorations; but Tip secured a fine gold watch, which was
attached to a heavy fob, and placed it in his pocket with much pride. He
also pinned several jeweled brooches to Jack Pumpkinhead’s red waistcoat,
and attached a lorgnette, by means of a fine chain, to the neck of the Saw-
Horse.

“It’s very pretty,” said the creature, regarding the lorgnette approvingly;
“but what is it for?”

None of them could answer that question, however; so the Saw-Horse decided
it was some rare decoration and became very fond of it.

That none of the party might be slighted, they ended by placing several
large seal rings upon the points of the Gump’s antlers, although that odd
personage seemed by no means gratified by the attention.

Darkness soon fell upon them, and Tip and the Woggle-Bug went to sleep while
the others sat down to wait patiently for the day.

Next morning they had cause to congratulate themselves upon the useful
condition of the Gump; for with daylight a great flock of Jackdaws
approached to engage in one more battle for the possession of the nest.

But our adventurers did not wait for the assault. They tumbled into the
cushioned seats of the sofas as quickly as possible, and Tip gave the word
to the Gump to start.

At once it rose into the air, the great wings flopping strongly and with
regular motions, and in a few moments they were so far from the nest that
the chattering Jackdaws took possession without any attempt at pursuit.

The Thing flew due North, going in the same direction from whence it had
come. At least, that was the Scarecrow’s opinion, and the others agreed that
the Scarecrow was the best judge of direction. After passing over several
cities and villages the Gump carried them high above a broad plain where
houses became more and more scattered until they
disappeared altogether. Next came the wide, sandy desert separating the rest
of the world from the Land of Oz, and before noon they saw the dome-shaped
houses that proved they were once more within the borders of their native
land.

“But the houses and fences are blue,” said the Tin Woodman, “and that
indicates we are in the land of the Munchkins, and therefore a long distance
from Glinda the Good.”

“What shall we do?” asked the boy, turning to their guide.

“I don’t know” replied the Scarecrow, frankly. “If we were at the Emerald
City we could then move directly southward, and so reach our destination.
But we dare not go to the Emerald City, and the Gump is probably carrying us
further in the wrong direction with every flop of its wings.”

“Then the Woggle-Bug must swallow another pill,” said Tip, decidedly, “and
wish us headed in the right direction.”

“Very well,” returned the Highly Magnified one; “I’m willing.”

But when the Scarecrow searched in his pocket for the pepper-box containing
the two silver Wishing Pills, it was not to be found. Filled with anxiety,
the voyagers hunted throughout every inch of the
Thing for the precious box; but it had disappeared entirely.

And still the Gump flew onward, carrying them they knew not where.

“I must have left the pepper-box in the Jackdaws’ nest,” said the Scarecrow,
at length.

“It is a great misfortune,” the Tin Woodman declared. “But we are no worse
off than before we discovered the Wishing Pills.”

“We are better off,” replied Tip. “for the one pill we used has enabled us
to escape from that horrible nest.”

“Yet the loss of the other two is serious, and I deserve a good scolding for
my carelessness,” the Scarecrow rejoined, penitently. “For in such an
unusual party as this accidents are liable to happen any moment, and even
now we may be approaching a new danger.”

No one dared contradict this, and a dismal silence ensued.

The Gump flew steadily on.

Suddenly Tip uttered an exclamation of surprise. “We must have reached the
South Country,” he cried, “for below us everything is red!”

Immediately they all leaned over the backs of the sofas to look — all
except Jack, who was too careful
of his pumpkin head to risk its slipping off his neck. Sure enough; the red
houses and fences and trees indicated they were within the domain of Glinda
the Good; and presently, as they glided rapidly on, the Tin Woodman
recognized the roads and buildings they passed, and altered slightly the
flight of
the Gump so that they might reach the palace of the celebrated Sorceress.

“Good!” cried the Scarecrow, delightedly. “We do not need the lost Wishing
Pills now, for we have arrived at our destination.”

Gradually the Thing sank lower and nearer to the ground until at length it
came to rest within the beautiful gardens of Glinda, settling upon a velvety
green lawn close by a fountain which sent sprays of flashing gems, instead
of water, high into the air, whence they fell with a soft, tinkling sound
into the carved marble basin placed to receive them.

Everything was very gorgeous in Glinda’s gardens, and while our voyagers
gazed about with admiring eyes a company of soldiers silently appeared and
surrounded them. But these soldiers of the great Sorceress were entirely
different from those of Jinjur’s Army of Revolt, although they were likewise
girls. For Glinda’s soldiers wore neat uniforms and bore swords and spears;
and they marched with a skill and precision that proved them well trained in
the arts of war.

The Captain commanding this troop — which was Glinda’s private Body Guard –
– recognized the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman at once, and greeted them
with respectful salutations.

“Good day!” said the Scarecrow, gallantly removing his hat, while the
Woodman gave a soldierly salute; “we have come to request an audience with
your fair Ruler.”

“Glinda is now within her palace, awaiting you,” returned the Captain; “for
she saw you coming long before you arrived.”

“That is strange!” said Tip, wondering.

“Not at all,” answered the Scarecrow, “for Glinda the Good is a mighty
Sorceress, and nothing that goes on in the Land of Oz escapes her notice. I
suppose she knows why we came as well as we do ourselves.”

“Then what was the use of our coming?” asked Jack, stupidly.

“To prove you are a Pumpkinhead!” retorted the Scarecrow. “But, if the
Sorceress expects us, we must not keep her waiting.”

So they all clambered out of the sofas and followed the Captain toward the
palace — even the Saw-Horse taking his place in the queer procession.

Upon her throne of finely wrought gold sat Glinda, and she could scarcely
repress a smile as her peculiar visitors entered and bowed before her. Both
the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman she knew and liked; but the awkward
Pumpkinhead and Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug were creatures she had never
seen before, and they seemed even more curious than the others. As for the
Saw-Horse, he looked to be nothing more than an animated chunk of wood; and
he bowed so stiffly that his head bumped against the floor, causing a ripple
of laughter among the soldiers, in which Glinda frankly joined.

“I beg to announce to your glorious highness,” began the Scarecrow, in a
solemn voice, “that my Emerald City has been overrun by a crowd of impudent
girls with knitting-needles, who have enslaved all the men, robbed the
streets and public buildings of all their emerald jewels, and usurped my
throne.”

“I know it,” said Glinda.

“They also threatened to destroy me, as well as all the good friends and
allies you see before you,” continued the Scarecrow. “and had we not managed
to escape their clutches our days would long since have ended.”

“I know it,” repeated Glinda.

“Therefore I have come to beg your assistance,” resumed the Scarecrow, “for
I believe you are always glad to succor the unfortunate and oppressed.”

“That is true,” replied the Sorceress, slowly. “But the Emerald City is now
ruled by General Jinjur, who has caused herself to be proclaimed Queen. What
right have I to oppose her?”

“Why, she stole the throne from me,” said the Scarecrow.

“And how came you to possess the throne?” asked Glinda.

“I got it from the Wizard of Oz, and by the choice of the people,” returned
the Scarecrow, uneasy at such questioning.

“And where did the Wizard get it?” she continued gravely.

“I am told he took it from Pastoria, the former King,” said the Scarecrow,
becoming confused under the intent look of the Sorceress.

“Then,” declared Glinda, “the throne of the Emerald City belongs neither to
you nor to Jinjur, but to this Pastoria from whom the Wizard usurped it.”

“That is true,” acknowledged the Scarecrow,
humbly; “but Pastoria is now dead and gone, and some one must rule in his
place.”

“Pastoria had a daughter, who is the rightful heir to the throne of the
Emerald City. Did you know that?” questioned the Sorceress.

“No,” replied the Scarecrow. “But if the girl still lives I will not stand
in her way. It will satisfy me as well to have Jinjur turned out, as an
impostor, as to regain the throne myself. In fact, it isn’t much fun to be
King, especially if one has good brains. I have known for some time that I
am fitted to occupy a far more exalted position. But where is the girl who
owns the throne, and what is her name?”

“Her name is Ozma,” answered Glinda. “But where she is I have tried in vain
to discover. For the Wizard of Oz, when he stole the throne from Ozma’s
father, hid the girl in some secret place; and by means of a magical trick
with which I am not familiar he also managed to prevent her being discovered
— even by so experienced a Sorceress as myself.”

“That is strange,” interrupted the Woggle-Bug, pompously. “I have been
informed that the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was nothing more than a humbug!”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed the Scarecrow, much provoked by this speech. “Didn’t
he give me a wonderful set of brains?”

“There’s no humbug about my heart,” announced the Tin Woodman, glaring
indignantly at the Woggle-Bug.

“Perhaps I was misinformed,” stammered the Insect, shrinking back; “I never
knew the Wizard personally.”

“Well, we did,” retorted the Scarecrow, “and he was a very great Wizard, I
assure you. It is true he was guilty of some slight impostures, but unless
he was a great Wizard how — let me ask — could he have hidden this girl
Ozma so securely that no one can find her?”

“I — I give it up!” replied the Woggle-Bug, meekly.

“That is the most sensible speech you’ve made,” said the Tin Woodman.

“I must really make another effort to discover where this girl is hidden,”
resumed the Sorceress, thoughtfully. “I have in my library a book in which
is inscribed every action of the Wizard while he was in our land of Oz —
or, at least, every action that could be observed by my spies. This book I
will read carefully tonight, and try to single out the acts that may guide
us in discovering the lost Ozma. In
the meantime, pray amuse yourselves in my palace and command my servants as
if they were your own. I will grant you another audience tomorrow.”

With this gracious speech Glinda dismissed the adventurers, and they
wandered away through the beautiful gardens, where they passed several hours
enjoying all the delightful things with which the Queen of the Southland had
surrounded her royal palace.

On the following morning they again appeared before Glinda, who said to
them:

“I have searched carefully through the records of the Wizard’s actions, and
among them I can find but three that appear to have been suspicious. He ate
beans with a knife, made three secret visits to old Mombi, and limped
slightly on his left foot.”

“Ah! that last is certainly suspicious!” exclaimed the Pumpkinhead.

“Not necessarily,” said the Scarecrow. “he may, have had corns. Now, it
seems to me his eating beans with a knife is more suspicious.”

“Perhaps it is a polite custom in Omaha, from which great country the Wizard
originally came,” suggested the Tin Woodman.

“It may be,” admitted the Scarecrow.

“But why,” asked Glinda, “did he make three secret visits to old Mombi?”

“Ah! Why, indeed!” echoed the Woggle-Bug, impressively.

“We know that the Wizard taught the old woman many of his tricks of magic,”
continued Glinda; “and this he would not have done had she not assisted him
in some way. So we may suspect with good reason that Mombi aided him to hide
the girl Ozma, who was the real heir to the throne of the Emerald City, and
a constant danger to the usurper. For, if the people knew that she lived,
they would quickly make her their Queen and restore her to her rightful
position.”

“An able argument!” cried the Scarecrow. “I have no doubt that Mombi was
mixed up in this wicked business. But how does that knowledge help us?”

“We must find Mombi,” replied Glinda, “and force her to tell where the girl
is hidden.”

“Mombi is now with Queen Jinjur, in the Emerald, City” said Tip. “It was she
who threw so many obstacles in our pathway, and made Jinjur threaten to
destroy my friends and give me back into the old witch’s power.”

“Then,” decided Glinda, “I will march with my
army to the Emerald City, and take Mombi prisoner. After that we can,
perhaps, force her to tell the truth about Ozma.”

“She is a terrible old woman!” remarked Tip, with a shudder at the thought
of Mombi’s black kettle; “and obstinate, too.”

“I am quite obstinate myself,” returned the Sorceress, with a sweet smile.
“so I do not fear Mombi in the least. Today I will make all necessary
preparations, and we will march upon the Emerald City at daybreak tomorrow.”

 

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