FictionForest

Chapter 7

L. Frank BaumJul 20, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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When they came to the mountain it proved to be a rugged, towering
chunk of deep green glass, and looked dismal and forbidding in the
extreme. Half way up the steep was a yawning cave, black as night
beyond the point where the rainbow rays of the colored suns reached
into it.

The Mangaboos drove the horse and the kitten and the piglets into this
dark hole and then, having pushed the buggy in after them–for it
seemed some of them had dragged it all the way from the domed
hall–they began to pile big glass rocks within the entrance, so that
the prisoners could not get out again.

“This is dreadful!” groaned Jim. “It will be about the end of our
adventures, I guess.”

“If the Wizard was here,” said one of the piglets, sobbing bitterly,
“he would not see us suffer so.”

“We ought to have called him and Dorothy when we were first attacked,”
added Eureka. “But never mind; be brave, my friends, and I will go
and tell our masters where you are, and get them to come to your rescue.”

The mouth of the hole was nearly filled up now, but the kitten gave a
leap through the remaining opening and at once scampered up into the
air. The Mangaboos saw her escape, and several of them caught up
their thorns and gave chase, mounting through the air after her.
Eureka, however, was lighter than the Mangaboos, and while they could
mount only about a hundred feet above the earth the kitten found she
could go nearly two hundred feet. So she ran along over their heads
until she had left them far behind and below and had come to the city
and the House of the Sorcerer. There she entered in at Dorothy’s
window in the dome and aroused her from her sleep.

As soon as the little girl knew what had happened she awakened the
Wizard and Zeb, and at once preparations were made to go to the rescue
of Jim and the piglets. The Wizard carried his satchel, which was
quite heavy, and Zeb carried the two lanterns and the oil can.
Dorothy’s wicker suit-case was still under the seat of the buggy, and
by good fortune the boy had also placed the harness in the buggy when
he had taken it off from Jim to let the horse lie down and rest. So
there was nothing for the girl to carry but the kitten, which she held
close to her bosom and tried to comfort, for its little heart was still
beating rapidly.

Some of the Mangaboos discovered them as soon as they left the House
of the Sorcerer; but when they started toward the mountain the
vegetable people allowed them to proceed without interference, yet
followed in a crowd behind them so that they could not go back again.

Before long they neared the Black Pit, where a busy swarm of
Mangaboos, headed by their Princess, was engaged in piling up glass
rocks before the entrance.

“Stop, I command you!” cried the Wizard, in an angry tone, and at once
began pulling down the rocks to liberate Jim and the piglets. Instead
of opposing him in this they stood back in silence until he had made a
good-sized hole in the barrier, when by order of the Princess they all
sprang forward and thrust out their sharp thorns.

Dorothy hopped inside the opening to escape being pricked, and Zeb and
the Wizard, after enduring a few stabs from the thorns, were glad to
follow her. At once the Mangaboos began piling up the rocks of glass
again, and as the little man realized that they were all about to be
entombed in the mountain he said to the children:

“My dears, what shall we do? Jump out and fight?”

“What’s the use?” replied Dorothy. “I’d as soon die here as live much
longer among these cruel and heartless people.”

“That’s the way I feel about it,” remarked Zeb, rubbing his wounds.
“I’ve had enough of the Mangaboos.”

“All right,” said the Wizard; “I’m with you, whatever you decide. But
we can’t live long in this cavern, that’s certain.”

Noticing that the light was growing dim he picked up his nine piglets,
patted each one lovingly on its fat little head, and placed them
carefully in his inside pocket.

Zeb struck a match and lighted one of the lanterns. The rays of the
colored suns were now shut out from them forever, for the last chinks
had been filled up in the wall that separated their prison from the
Land of the Mangaboos.

“How big is this hole?” asked Dorothy.

“I’ll explore it and see,” replied the boy.

So he carried the lantern back for quite a distance, while Dorothy and
the Wizard followed at his side. The cavern did not come to an end,
as they had expected it would, but slanted upward through the great
glass mountain, running in a direction that promised to lead them to
the side opposite the Mangaboo country.

“It isn’t a bad road,” observed the Wizard, “and if we followed it it
might lead us to some place that is more comfortable than this black
pocket we are now in. I suppose the vegetable folk were always
afraid to enter this cavern because it is dark; but we have our
lanterns to light the way, so I propose that we start out and discover
where this tunnel in the mountain leads to.”

The others agreed readily to this sensible suggestion, and at once the
boy began to harness Jim to the buggy. When all was in readiness the
three took their seats in the buggy and Jim started cautiously along
the way, Zeb driving while the Wizard and Dorothy each held a lighted
lantern so the horse could see where to go.

Sometimes the tunnel was so narrow that the wheels of the buggy grazed
the sides; then it would broaden out as wide as a street; but the
floor was usually smooth, and for a long time they travelled on
without any accident. Jim stopped sometimes to rest, for the climb
was rather steep and tiresome.

“We must be nearly as high as the six colored suns, by this time,”
said Dorothy. “I didn’t know this mountain was so tall.”

“We are certainly a good distance away from the Land of the Mangaboos,”
added Zeb; “for we have slanted away from it ever since we started.”

But they kept steadily moving, and just as Jim was about tired out with
his long journey the way suddenly grew lighter, and Zeb put out the
lanterns to save the oil.

To their joy they found it was a white light that now greeted them,
for all were weary of the colored rainbow lights which, after a time,
had made their eyes ache with their constantly shifting rays. The
sides of the tunnel showed before them like the inside of a long
spy-glass, and the floor became more level. Jim hastened his lagging
steps at this assurance of a quick relief from the dark passage, and
in a few moments more they had emerged from the mountain and found
themselves face to face with a new and charming country.

 

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