FictionForest

Chapter 3

L. Frank BaumAug 04, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

Light off Small Medium Large

Button-Bright took the shaggy man’s hand willingly; for the shaggy man
had the Love Magnet, you know, which was the reason Button-Bright had
loved him at once. They started on, with Dorothy on one side, and Toto
on the other, the little party trudging along more cheerfully than you
might have supposed. The girl was getting used to queer adventures,
which interested her very much. Wherever Dorothy went Toto was sure
to go, like Mary’s little lamb. Button-Bright didn’t seem a bit
afraid or worried because he was lost, and the shaggy man had no home,
perhaps, and was as happy in one place as in another.

Before long they saw ahead of them a fine big arch spanning the
road, and when they came nearer they found that the arch was
beautifully carved and decorated with rich colors. A row of peacocks
with spread tails ran along the top of it, and all the feathers were
gorgeously painted. In the center was a large fox’s head, and the fox
wore a shrewd and knowing expression and had large spectacles over its
eyes and a small golden crown with shiny points on top of its head.

While the travelers were looking with curiosity at this beautiful
arch there suddenly marched out of it a company of soldiers–only the
soldiers were all foxes dressed in uniforms. They wore green jackets
and yellow pantaloons, and their little round caps and their high
boots were a bright red color. Also, there was a big red bow tied
about the middle of each long, bushy tail. Each soldier was armed
with a wooden sword having an edge of sharp teeth set in a row, and
the sight of these teeth at first caused Dorothy to shudder.

A captain marched in front of the company of fox-soldiers, his uniform
embroidered with gold braid to make it handsomer than the others.

Almost before our friends realized it the soldiers had surrounded
them on all sides, and the captain was calling out in a harsh voice:

“Surrender! You are our prisoners.”

“What’s a pris’ner?” asked Button-Bright.

“A prisoner is a captive,” replied the fox-captain, strutting up and
down with much dignity.

“What’s a captive?” asked Button-Bright.

“You’re one,” said the captain.

That made the shaggy man laugh

“Good afternoon, captain,” he said, bowing politely to all the foxes
and very low to their commander. “I trust you are in good health, and
that your families are all well?”

The fox-captain looked at the shaggy man, and his sharp features grew
pleasant and smiling.

“We’re pretty well, thank you, Shaggy Man,” said he; and Dorothy knew
that the Love Magnet was working and that all the foxes now loved the
shaggy man because of it. But Toto didn’t know this, for he began
barking angrily and tried to bite the captain’s hairy leg where it
showed between his red boots and his yellow pantaloons.

“Stop, Toto!” cried the little girl, seizing the dog in her arms.
“These are our friends.”

“Why, so we are!” remarked the captain in tones of astonishment.
“I thought at first we were enemies, but it seems you are friends
instead. You must come with me to see King Dox.”

“Who’s he?” asked Button-Bright, with earnest eyes.

“King Dox of Foxville; the great and wise sovereign who rules over
our community.”

“What’s sov’rin, and what’s c’u’nity?” inquired Button-Bright.

“Don’t ask so many questions, little boy.”

“Why?”

“Ah, why indeed?” exclaimed the captain, looking at Button-Bright
admiringly. “If you don’t ask questions you will learn nothing.
True enough. I was wrong. You’re a very clever little boy, come to
think of it–very clever indeed. But now, friends, please come with
me, for it is my duty to escort you at once to the royal palace.”

The soldiers marched back through the arch again, and with them
marched the shaggy man, Dorothy, Toto, and Button-Bright. Once
through the opening they found a fine, big city spread out before
them, all the houses of carved marble in beautiful colors. The
decorations were mostly birds and other fowl, such as peacocks,
pheasants, turkeys, prairie-chickens, ducks, and geese. Over each
doorway was carved a head representing the fox who lived in that
house, this effect being quite pretty and unusual.

As our friends marched along, some of the foxes came out on the
porches and balconies to get a view of the strangers. These foxes
were all handsomely dressed, the girl-foxes and women-foxes wearing
gowns of feathers woven together effectively and colored in bright
hues which Dorothy thought were quite artistic and decidedly attractive.

Button-Bright stared until his eyes were big and round, and he would
have stumbled and fallen more than once had not the shaggy man grasped
his hand tightly. They were all interested, and Toto was so excited
he wanted to bark every minute and to chase and fight every fox he
caught sight of; but Dorothy held his little wiggling body fast in her
arms and commanded him to be good and behave himself. So he finally
quieted down, like a wise doggy, deciding there were too many foxes in
Foxville to fight at one time.

By-and-by they came to a big square, and in the center of the square
stood the royal palace. Dorothy knew it at once because it had over
its great door the carved head of a fox just like the one she had seen
on the arch, and this fox was the only one who wore a golden crown.

There were many fox-soldiers guarding the door, but they bowed to the
captain and admitted him without question. The captain led them
through many rooms, where richly dressed foxes were sitting on
beautiful chairs or sipping tea, which was being passed around by
fox-servants in white aprons. They came to a big doorway covered with
heavy curtains of cloth of gold.

Beside this doorway stood a huge drum. The fox-captain went to this
drum and knocked his knees against it– first one knee and then the
other–so that the drum said: “Boom-boom.”

“You must all do exactly what I do,” ordered the captain; so the
shaggy man pounded the drum with his knees, and so did Dorothy and so
did Button-Bright. The boy wanted to keep on pounding it with his
little fat knees, because he liked the sound of it; but the captain
stopped him. Toto couldn’t pound the drum with his knees and he
didn’t know enough to wag his tail against it, so Dorothy pounded the
drum for him and that made him bark, and when the little dog barked
the fox-captain scowled.

The golden curtains drew back far enough to make an opening, through
which marched the captain with the others.

The broad, long room they entered was decorated in gold with
stained-glass windows of splendid colors. In the corner of the room
upon a richly carved golden throne, sat the fox-king, surrounded by a
group of other foxes, all of whom wore great spectacles over their
eyes, making them look solemn and important.

Dorothy knew the King at once, because she had seen his head carved on
the arch and over the doorway of the palace. Having met with several
other kings in her travels, she knew what to do, and at once made a
low bow before the throne. The shaggy man bowed, too, and
Button-Bright bobbed his head and said “Hello.”

“Most wise and noble Potentate of Foxville,” said the captain,
addressing the King in a pompous voice, “I humbly beg to report that I
found these strangers on the road leading to your Foxy Majesty’s
dominions, and have therefore brought them before you, as is my duty.”

“So–so,” said the King, looking at them keenly. “What brought you
here, strangers?”

“Our legs, may it please your Royal Hairiness,” replied the shaggy man.

“What is your business here?” was the next question.

“To get away as soon as possible,” said the shaggy man.

The King didn’t know about the Magnet, of course; but it made him love
the shaggy man at once.

“Do just as you please about going away,” he said; “but I’d like to
show you the sights of my city and to entertain your party while you
are here. We feel highly honored to have little Dorothy with us, I
assure you, and we appreciate her kindness in making us a visit. For
whatever country Dorothy visits is sure to become famous.”

This speech greatly surprised the little girl, who asked:

“How did your Majesty know my name?”

“Why, everybody knows you, my dear,” said the Fox-King. “Don’t you
realize that? You are quite an important personage since Princess
Ozma of Oz made you her friend.”

“Do you know Ozma?” she asked, wondering.

“I regret to say that I do not,” he answered, sadly; “but I hope to
meet her soon. You know the Princess Ozma is to celebrate her
birthday on the twenty-first of this month.”

“Is she?” said Dorothy. “I didn’t know that.”

“Yes; it is to be the most brilliant royal ceremony ever held in any
city in Fairyland, and I hope you will try to get me an invitation.”

Dorothy thought a moment.

“I’m sure Ozma would invite you if I asked her,” she said; “but how
could you get to the Land of Oz and the Emerald City? It’s a good way
from Kansas.”

“Kansas!” he exclaimed, surprised.

“Why, yes; we are in Kansas now, aren’t we?” she returned.

“What a queer notion!” cried the Fox-King, beginning to laugh.
“Whatever made you think this is Kansas?”

“I left Uncle Henry’s farm only about two hours ago; that’s the
reason,” she said, rather perplexed.

“But, tell me, my dear, did you ever see so wonderful a city as
Foxville in Kansas?” he questioned.

“No, your Majesty.”

“And haven’t you traveled from Oz to Kansas in less than half a jiffy,
by means of the Silver Shoes and the Magic Belt?”

“Yes, your Majesty,” she acknowledged.

“Then why do you wonder that an hour or two could bring you to
Foxville, which is nearer to Oz than it is to Kansas?”

“Dear me!” exclaimed Dorothy; “is this another fairy adventure?”

“It seems to be,” said the Fox-King, smiling.

Dorothy turned to the shaggy man, and her face was grave and reproachful.

“Are you a magician? or a fairy in disguise?” she asked. “Did you
enchant me when you asked the way to Butterfield?”

The shaggy man shook his head.

“Who ever heard of a shaggy fairy?” he replied. “No, Dorothy, my
dear; I’m not to blame for this journey in any way, I assure you.
There’s been something strange about me ever since I owned the Love
Magnet; but I don’t know what it is any more than you do. I didn’t
try to get you away from home, at all. If you want to find your way
back to the farm I’ll go with you willingly, and do my best to help you.”

“Never mind,” said the little girl, thoughtfully. “There isn’t so
much to see in Kansas as there is here, and I guess Aunt Em won’t be
VERY much worried; that is, if I don’t stay away too long.”

“That’s right,” declared the Fox-King, nodding approval. “Be
contented with your lot, whatever it happens to be, if you are wise.
Which reminds me that you have a new companion on this adventure–he
looks very clever and bright.”

“He is,” said Dorothy; and the shaggy man added:

“That’s his name, your Royal Foxiness–Button-Bright.”

 

Leave a Reply