...chapter five of The Lost Princess of Oz...previous...next...
"Really," said Dorothy, looking solemn, "this is very s'prising. We can't even find a shadow of Ozma anywhere in the Em'rald City, and wherever she's gone, she's taken her Magic Picture with her." She was standing in the courtyard of the palace with Betsy and Trot, while Scraps, the Patchwork Girl, danced around the group, her hair flying in the wind.
"P'raps," said Scraps, still dancing, "someone has stolen Ozma."
"Oh, they'd never dare do that!" exclaimed tiny Trot.
"And stolen the Magic Picture, too, so the thing can't tell where she is," added the Patchwork Girl.
"That's nonsense," said Dorothy. "Why, ev'ryone loves Ozma. There isn't a person in the Land of Oz who would steal a single thing she owns."
"Huh!" replied the Patchwork Girl. "You don't know ev'ry person in the Land of Oz."
"Why don't I?"
"It's a big country," said Scraps. "There are cracks and corners in it that even Ozma doesn't know of."
"The Patchwork Girl's just daffy," declared Betsy.
"No, she's right about that," replied Dorothy thoughtfully. "There are lots of queer people in this fairyland who never come near Ozma or the Em'rald City. I've seen some of 'em myself, girls. But I haven't seen all, of course, and there MIGHT be some wicked persons left in Oz yet, though I think the wicked witches have all been destroyed."
Just then the Wooden Sawhorse dashed into the courtyard with the Wizard of Oz on his back. "Have you found Ozma?"cried the Wizard when the Sawhorse stopped beside them.
"Not yet," said Dorothy. "Doesn't Glinda the Good know where she is?"
"No. Glinda's Book of Records and all her magic instruments are gone. Someone must have stolen them."
"Goodness me!"exclaimed Dorothy in alarm. "This is the biggest steal I ever heard of. Who do you think did it, Wizard?"
"I've no idea," he answered. "But I have come to get my own bag of magic tools and carry them to Glinda. She is so much more powerful than I that she may be able to discover the truth by means of my magic quicker and better than I could myself."
"Hurry, then," said Dorothy, "for we've all gotten terr'bly worried."
The Wizard rushed away to his rooms but presently came back with a long, sad face. "It's gone!" he said.
"What's gone?" asked Scraps.
"My black bag of magic tools. Someone must have stolen it!"
They looked at one another in amazement.
"This thing is getting desperate," continued the Wizard. "All the magic that belongs to Ozma or to Glinda or to me has been stolen."
"Do you suppose Ozma could have taken them, herself, for some purpose?" asked Betsy.
"No indeed," declared the Wizard. "I suspect some enemy has stolen Ozma and for fear we would follow and recapture her has taken all our magic away from us."
"How dreadful!" cried Dorothy. "The idea of anyone wanting to injure our dear Ozma! Can't we do ANYthing to find her, Wizard?"
"I'll ask Glinda. I must go straight back to her and tell her that my magic tools have also disappeared. The good Sorceress will be greatly shocked, I know."
With this, he jumped upon the back of the Sawhorse again, and the quaint steed, which never tired, dashed away at full speed. The three girls were very much disturbed in mind. Even the Patchwork Girl seemed to realize that a great calamity had overtaken them all. Ozma was a fairy of considerable power, and all the creatures in Oz as well as the three mortal girls from the outside world looked upon her as their protector and friend. The idea of their beautiful girl Ruler's being overpowered by an enemy and dragged from her splendid palace a captive was too astonishing for them to comprehend at first. Yet what other explanation of the mystery could there be?
"Ozma wouldn't go away willingly, without letting us know about it," asserted Dorothy, "and she wouldn't steal Glinda's Great Book of Records or the Wizard's magic, 'cause she could get them any time just by asking for 'em. I'm sure some wicked person has done all this."
"Someone in the Land of Oz?" asked Trot.
"Of course. No one could get across the Deadly Desert, you know, and no one but an Oz person could know about the Magic Picture and the Book of Records and the Wizard's magic or where they were kept, and so be able to steal the whole outfit before we could stop 'em. It MUST be someone who lives in the Land of Oz."
"But who--who--who?" asked Scraps. "That's the question. Who?"
"If we knew," replied Dorothy severely, "we wouldn't be standing here doing nothing."
Just then two boys entered the courtyard and approached the group of girls. One boy was dressed in the fantastic Munchkin costume--a blue jacket and knickerbockers, blue leather shoes and a blue hat with a high peak and tiny silver bells dangling from its rim--and this was Ojo the Lucky, who had once come from the Munchkin Country of Oz and now lived in the Emerald City. The other boy was an American from Philadelphia and had lately found his way to Oz in the company of Trot and Cap'n Bill. His name was Button-Bright; that is, everyone called him by that name and knew no other. Button-Bright was not quite as big as the Munchkin boy, but he wore the same kind of clothes, only they were of different colors. As the two came up to the girls, arm in arm, Button-Bright remarked, "Hello, Dorothy. They say Ozma is lost."
"WHO says so?" she asked.
."Ev'rybody's talking about it in the City," he replied.
"I wonder how the people found it out," Dorothy asked.
"I know," said Ojo. "Jellia Jamb told them. She has been asking everywhere if anyone has seen Ozma."
"That's too bad," observed Dorothy, frowning.
"Why?" asked Button-Bright.
"There wasn't any use making all our people unhappy till we were dead certain that Ozma can't be found."
"Pshaw," said Button-Bright, "it's nothing to get lost. I've been lost lots of times."
"That's true," admitted Trot, who knew that the boy had a habit of getting lost and then finding himself again, "but it's diff'rent with Ozma. She's the Ruler of all this big fairyland, and we're 'fraid that the reason she's lost is because somebody has stolen her away."
"Only wicked people steal," said Ojo. "Do you know of any wicked people in Oz, Dorothy?"
"No," she replied.
"They're here, though," cried Scraps, dancing up to them and then circling around the group. "Ozma's stolen; someone in Oz stole her; only wicked people steal; so someone in Oz is wicked!"
There was no denying the truth of this statement. The faces of all of them were now solemn and sorrowful. "One thing is sure," said Button-Bright after a time, "if Ozma has been stolen, someone ought to find her and punish the thief."
"There may be a lot of thieves," suggested Trot gravely, "and in this fairy country they don't seem to have any soldiers or policemen."
"There is one soldier," claimed Dorothy. "He has green whiskers and a gun and is a Major-General, but no one is afraid of either his gun or his whiskers, 'cause he's so tender-hearted that he wouldn't hurt a fly."
"Well, a soldier is a soldier," said Betsy, "and perhaps he'd hurt a wicked thief if he wouldn't hurt a fly. Where is he?"
"He went fishing about two months ago and hasn't come back yet," explained Button-Bright.
"Then I can't see that he will be of much use to us in this trouble," sighed little Trot. "But p'raps Ozma, who is a fairy, can get away from the thieves without any help from anyone."
"She MIGHT be able to," answered Dorothy reflectively, "but if she had the power to do that, it isn't likely she'd have let herself be stolen. So the thieves must have been even more powerful in magic than our Ozma."
There was no denying this argument, and although they talked the matter over all the rest of that day, they were unable to decide how Ozma had been stolen against her will or who had committed the dreadful deed. Toward evening the Wizard came back, riding slowly upon the Sawhorse because he felt discouraged and perplexed. Glinda came later in her aerial chariot drawn by twenty milk-white swans, and she also seemed worried and unhappy. More of Ozma's friends joined them, and that evening they all had a big talk together. "I think," said Dorothy, "we ought to start out right away in search of our dear Ozma. It seems cruel for us to live comf'tably in her palace while she is a pris'ner in the power of some wicked enemy."
"Yes," agreed Glinda the Sorceress, "someone ought to search for her. I cannot go myself, because I must work hard in order to create some new instruments of sorcery by means of which I may rescue our fair Ruler. But if you can find her in the meantime and let me know who has stolen her, it will enable me to rescue her much more quickly."
"Then we'll start tomorrow morning," decided Dorothy. "Betsy and Trot and I won't waste another minute."
"I'm not sure you girls will make good detectives," remarked the Wizard, "but I'll go with you to protect you from harm and to give you my advice. All my wizardry, alas, is stolen, so I am now really no more a wizard than any of you, but I will try to protect you from any enemies you may meet."
"What harm could happen to us in Oz?" inquired Trot.
"What harm happened to Ozma?" returned the Wizard.
"If there is an Evil Power abroad in our fairyland, which is able to steal not only Ozma and her Magic Picture, but Glinda's Book of Records and all her magic, and my black bag containing all my tricks of wizardry, then that Evil Power may yet cause us considerable injury. Ozma is a fairy, and so is Glinda, so no power can kill or destroy them, but you girls are all mortals and so are Button-Bright and I, so we must watch out for ourselves."
"Nothing can kill me," said Ojo the Munchkin boy.
"That is true," replied the Sorceress, "and I think it may be well to divide the searchers into several parties, that they may cover all the land of Oz more quickly. So I will send Ojo and Unc Nunkie and Dr. Pipt into the Munchkin Country, which they are well acquainted with; and I will send the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman into the Quadling Country, for they are fearless and brave and never tire; and to the Gillikin Country, where many dangers lurk, I will send the Shaggy Man and his brother, with Tik-Tok and Jack Pumpkinhead. Dorothy may make up her own party and travel into the Winkie Country. All of you must inquire everywhere for Ozma and try to discover where she is hidden."
They thought this a very wise plan and adopted it without question. In Ozma's absence, Glinda the Good was the most important person in Oz, and all were glad to serve under her direction.
...chapter five of The Lost Princess of Oz...previous...next...