Monday, April 28, 2008

The Wizard of Oz, Chapter 12

Chapter 12. The Search for the Wicked Witch

The soldier with the green whiskers led them through the
streets of the Emerald City until they reached the room where the
Guardian of the Gates lived. This officer unlocked their spectacles
to put them back in his great box, and then he politely opened the
gate for our friends.

"Which road leads to the Wicked Witch of the West?" asked

"There is no road," answered the Guardian of the Gates.
"No one ever wishes to go that way."

"How, then, are we to find her?" inquired the girl.

"That will be easy," replied the man, "for when she knows you
are in the country of the Winkies she will find you, and make you
all her slaves."

"Perhaps not," said the Scarecrow, "for we mean to destroy her."

"Oh, that is different," said the Guardian of the Gates.
"No one has ever destroyed her before, so I naturally thought she
would make slaves of you, as she has of the rest. But take care;
for she is wicked and fierce, and may not allow you to destroy her.
Keep to the West, where the sun sets, and you cannot fail to find her."

They thanked him and bade him good-bye, and turned toward the West,
walking over fields of soft grass dotted here and there with daisies
and buttercups. Dorothy still wore the pretty silk dress she had put on
in the palace, but now, to her surprise, she found it was no longer green,
but pure white. The ribbon around Toto's neck had also lost its green
color and was as white as Dorothy's dress.

The Emerald City was soon left far behind. As they advanced
the ground became rougher and hillier, for there were no farms nor
houses in this country of the West, and the ground was untilled.

In the afternoon the sun shone hot in their faces, for there
were no trees to offer them shade; so that before night Dorothy
and Toto and the Lion were tired, and lay down upon the grass and
fell asleep, with the Woodman and the Scarecrow keeping watch.

Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as
powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. So, as she sat in
the door of her castle, she happened to look around and saw Dorothy
lying asleep, with her friends all about her. They were a long
distance off, but the Wicked Witch was angry to find them in her
country; so she blew upon a silver whistle that hung around her neck.

At once there came running to her from all directions a pack
of great wolves. They had long legs and fierce eyes and sharp teeth.

"Go to those people," said the Witch, "and tear them to pieces."

"Are you not going to make them your slaves?" asked the leader
of the wolves.

"No," she answered, "one is of tin, and one of straw; one is
a girl and another a Lion. None of them is fit to work, so you
may tear them into small pieces."

"Very well," said the wolf, and he dashed away at full speed,
followed by the others.

It was lucky the Scarecrow and the Woodman were wide awake and
heard the wolves coming.

"This is my fight," said the Woodman, "so get behind me and I
will meet them as they come."

He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the
leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and
chopped the wolf's head from its body, so that it immediately died.
As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also
fell under the sharp edge of the Tin Woodman's weapon. There were
forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed, so that at last
they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.

Then he put down his axe and sat beside the Scarecrow, who said,
"It was a good fight, friend."

They waited until Dorothy awoke the next morning. The little
girl was quite frightened when she saw the great pile of shaggy
wolves, but the Tin Woodman told her all. She thanked him for
saving them and sat down to breakfast, after which they started
again upon their journey.

Now this same morning the Wicked Witch came to the door of her
castle and looked out with her one eye that could see far off.
She saw all her wolves lying dead, and the strangers still
traveling through her country. This made her angrier than before,
and she blew her silver whistle twice.

Straightway a great flock of wild crows came flying toward her,
enough to darken the sky.

And the Wicked Witch said to the King Crow, "Fly at once to
the strangers; peck out their eyes and tear them to pieces."

The wild crows flew in one great flock toward Dorothy and her
companions. When the little girl saw them coming she was afraid.

But the Scarecrow said, "This is my battle, so lie down beside
me and you will not be harmed."

So they all lay upon the ground except the Scarecrow, and he
stood up and stretched out his arms. And when the crows saw him
they were frightened, as these birds always are by scarecrows, and
did not dare to come any nearer. But the King Crow said:

"It is only a stuffed man. I will peck his eyes out."

The King Crow flew at the Scarecrow, who caught it by the head
and twisted its neck until it died. And then another crow flew at
him, and the Scarecrow twisted its neck also. There were forty
crows, and forty times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last
all were lying dead beside him. Then he called to his companions
to rise, and again they went upon their journey.

When the Wicked Witch looked out again and saw all her crows
lying in a heap, she got into a terrible rage, and blew three
times upon her silver whistle.

Forthwith there was heard a great buzzing in the air, and a
swarm of black bees came flying toward her.

"Go to the strangers and sting them to death!" commanded
the Witch, and the bees turned and flew rapidly until they came
to where Dorothy and her friends were walking. But the Woodman
had seen them coming, and the Scarecrow had decided what to do.

"Take out my straw and scatter it over the little girl and the
dog and the Lion," he said to the Woodman, "and the bees cannot
sting them." This the Woodman did, and as Dorothy lay close beside
the Lion and held Toto in her arms, the straw covered them entirely.

The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so
they flew at him and broke off all their stings against the tin,
without hurting the Woodman at all. And as bees cannot live when
their stings are broken that was the end of the black bees, and
they lay scattered thick about the Woodman, like little heaps of
fine coal.

Then Dorothy and the Lion got up, and the girl helped the Tin
Woodman put the straw back into the Scarecrow again, until he was
as good as ever. So they started upon their journey once more.

The Wicked Witch was so angry when she saw her black bees in
little heaps like fine coal that she stamped her foot and tore her
hair and gnashed her teeth. And then she called a dozen of her
slaves, who were the Winkies, and gave them sharp spears, telling
them to go to the strangers and destroy them.

The Winkies were not a brave people, but they had to do as
they were told. So they marched away until they came near to
Dorothy. Then the Lion gave a great roar and sprang towards them,
and the poor Winkies were so frightened that they ran back as fast
as they could.

When they returned to the castle the Wicked Witch beat them
well with a strap, and sent them back to their work, after which
she sat down to think what she should do next. She could not
understand how all her plans to destroy these strangers had failed;
but she was a powerful Witch, as well as a wicked one, and she soon
made up her mind how to act.

There was, in her cupboard, a Golden Cap, with a circle of
diamonds and rubies running round it. This Golden Cap had a charm.
Whoever owned it could call three times upon the Winged Monkeys,
who would obey any order they were given. But no person
could command these strange creatures more than three times.
Twice already the Wicked Witch had used the charm of the Cap.
Once was when she had made the Winkies her slaves, and set herself
to rule over their country. The Winged Monkeys had helped her
do this. The second time was when she had fought against the
Great Oz himself, and driven him out of the land of the West.
The Winged Monkeys had also helped her in doing this. Only once
more could she use this Golden Cap, for which reason she did not
like to do so until all her other powers were exhausted. But now
that her fierce wolves and her wild crows and her stinging bees were
gone, and her slaves had been scared away by the Cowardly Lion,
she saw there was only one way left to destroy Dorothy and her friends.

So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard and
placed it upon her head. Then she stood upon her left foot and
said slowly:

"Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!"

Next she stood upon her right foot and said:

"Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!"

After this she stood upon both feet and cried in a loud voice:

"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"

Now the charm began to work. The sky was darkened, and a low
rumbling sound was heard in the air. There was a rushing of many
wings, a great chattering and laughing, and the sun came out of the
dark sky to show the Wicked Witch surrounded by a crowd of monkeys,
each with a pair of immense and powerful wings on his shoulders.

One, much bigger than the others, seemed to be their leader.
He flew close to the Witch and said, "You have called us for the
third and last time. What do you command?"

"Go to the strangers who are within my land and destroy them
all except the Lion," said the Wicked Witch. "Bring that beast to
me, for I have a mind to harness him like a horse, and make him work."

"Your commands shall be obeyed," said the leader. Then, with
a great deal of chattering and noise, the Winged Monkeys flew away
to the place where Dorothy and her friends were walking.

Some of the Monkeys seized the Tin Woodman and carried him
through the air until they were over a country thickly covered
with sharp rocks. Here they dropped the poor Woodman, who fell a
great distance to the rocks, where he lay so battered and dented
that he could neither move nor groan.

Others of the Monkeys caught the Scarecrow, and with their
long fingers pulled all of the straw out of his clothes and head.
They made his hat and boots and clothes into a small bundle and
threw it into the top branches of a tall tree.

The remaining Monkeys threw pieces of stout rope around
the Lion and wound many coils about his body and head and legs,
until he was unable to bite or scratch or struggle in any way.
Then they lifted him up and flew away with him to the Witch's castle,
where he was placed in a small yard with a high iron fence around it,
so that he could not escape.

But Dorothy they did not harm at all. She stood, with Toto in
her arms, watching the sad fate of her comrades and thinking it
would soon be her turn. The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up
to her, his long, hairy arms stretched out and his ugly face
grinning terribly; but he saw the mark of the Good Witch's kiss
upon her forehead and stopped short, motioning the others not to
touch her.

"We dare not harm this little girl," he said to them, "for she
is protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the
Power of Evil. All we can do is to carry her to the castle of the
Wicked Witch and leave her there."

So, carefully and gently, they lifted Dorothy in their
arms and carried her swiftly through the air until they came
to the castle, where they set her down upon the front doorstep.
Then the leader said to the Witch:

"We have obeyed you as far as we were able. The Tin Woodman and
the Scarecrow are destroyed, and the Lion is tied up in your yard.
The little girl we dare not harm, nor the dog she carries in her arms.
Your power over our band is now ended, and you will never see us again."

Then all the Winged Monkeys, with much laughing and chattering
and noise, flew into the air and were soon out of sight.

The Wicked Witch was both surprised and worried when she saw
the mark on Dorothy's forehead, for she knew well that neither the
Winged Monkeys nor she, herself, dare hurt the girl in any way.
She looked down at Dorothy's feet, and seeing the Silver Shoes,
began to tremble with fear, for she knew what a powerful charm
belonged to them. At first the Witch was tempted to run away from
Dorothy; but she happened to look into the child's eyes and saw
how simple the soul behind them was, and that the little girl did
not know of the wonderful power the Silver Shoes gave her. So the
Wicked Witch laughed to herself, and thought, "I can still make
her my slave, for she does not know how to use her power."
Then she said to Dorothy, harshly and severely:

"Come with me; and see that you mind everything I tell you,
for if you do not I will make an end of you, as I did of the Tin
Woodman and the Scarecrow."

Dorothy followed her through many of the beautiful rooms in
her castle until they came to the kitchen, where the Witch bade
her clean the pots and kettles and sweep the floor and keep the
fire fed with wood.

Dorothy went to work meekly, with her mind made up to work as
hard as she could; for she was glad the Wicked Witch had decided
not to kill her.

With Dorothy hard at work, the Witch thought she would go into
the courtyard and harness the Cowardly Lion like a horse; it would
amuse her, she was sure, to make him draw her chariot whenever she
wished to go to drive. But as she opened the gate the Lion gave a
loud roar and bounded at her so fiercely that the Witch was afraid,
and ran out and shut the gate again.

"If I cannot harness you," said the Witch to the Lion,
speaking through the bars of the gate, "I can starve you.
You shall have nothing to eat until you do as I wish."

So after that she took no food to the imprisoned Lion;
but every day she came to the gate at noon and asked, "Are you
ready to be harnessed like a horse?"

And the Lion would answer, "No. If you come in this yard, I
will bite you."

The reason the Lion did not have to do as the Witch wished was
that every night, while the woman was asleep, Dorothy carried him
food from the cupboard. After he had eaten he would lie down on
his bed of straw, and Dorothy would lie beside him and put her
head on his soft, shaggy mane, while they talked of their troubles
and tried to plan some way to escape. But they could find no way
to get out of the castle, for it was constantly guarded by the
yellow Winkies, who were the slaves of the Wicked Witch and
too afraid of her not to do as she told them.

The girl had to work hard during the day, and often the Witch
threatened to beat her with the same old umbrella she always
carried in her hand. But, in truth, she did not dare to strike
Dorothy, because of the mark upon her forehead. The child did not
know this, and was full of fear for herself and Toto. Once the
Witch struck Toto a blow with her umbrella and the brave little
dog flew at her and bit her leg in return. The Witch did not
bleed where she was bitten, for she was so wicked that the blood
in her had dried up many years before.

Dorothy's life became very sad as she grew to understand that
it would be harder than ever to get back to Kansas and Aunt Em again.
Sometimes she would cry bitterly for hours, with Toto sitting at her
feet and looking into her face, whining dismally to show how sorry
he was for his little mistress. Toto did not really care whether
he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him;
but he knew the little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too.

Now the Wicked Witch had a great longing to have for her own
the Silver Shoes which the girl always wore. Her bees and her
crows and her wolves were lying in heaps and drying up, and she
had used up all the power of the Golden Cap; but if she could
only get hold of the Silver Shoes, they would give her more power
than all the other things she had lost. She watched Dorothy carefully,
to see if she ever took off her shoes, thinking she might steal them.
But the child was so proud of her pretty shoes that she never took
them off except at night and when she took her bath. The Witch was
too much afraid of the dark to dare go in Dorothy's room at night
to take the shoes, and her dread of water was greater than her
fear of the dark, so she never came near when Dorothy was bathing.
Indeed, the old Witch never touched water, nor ever let water
touch her in any way.

But the wicked creature was very cunning, and she finally thought of
a trick that would give her what she wanted. She placed a bar of iron
in the middle of the kitchen floor, and then by her magic arts made the
iron invisible to human eyes. So that when Dorothy walked across the floor
she stumbled over the bar, not being able to see it, and fell at full length.
She was not much hurt, but in her fall one of the Silver Shoes came off; and
before she could reach it, the Witch had snatched it away and put it on her
own skinny foot.

The wicked woman was greatly pleased with the success of her trick,
for as long as she had one of the shoes she owned half the power of
their charm, and Dorothy could not use it against her, even had she
known how to do so.

The little girl, seeing she had lost one of her pretty shoes,
grew angry, and said to the Witch, "Give me back my shoe!"

"I will not," retorted the Witch, "for it is now my shoe, and
not yours."

"You are a wicked creature!" cried Dorothy. "You have no right
to take my shoe from me."

"I shall keep it, just the same," said the Witch, laughing at her,
"and someday I shall get the other one from you, too."

This made Dorothy so very angry that she picked up the bucket
of water that stood near and dashed it over the Witch, wetting her
from head to foot.

Instantly the wicked woman gave a loud cry of fear, and then, as
Dorothy looked at her in wonder, the Witch began to shrink and fall away.

"See what you have done!" she screamed. "In a minute I shall melt away."

"I'm very sorry, indeed," said Dorothy, who was truly frightened to
see the Witch actually melting away like brown sugar before her very eyes.

"Didn't you know water would be the end of me?" asked the
Witch, in a wailing, despairing voice.

"Of course not," answered Dorothy. "How should I?"

"Well, in a few minutes I shall be all melted, and you will
have the castle to yourself. I have been wicked in my day, but I
never thought a little girl like you would ever be able to melt me
and end my wicked deeds. Look out--here I go!"

With these words the Witch fell down in a brown, melted,
shapeless mass and began to spread over the clean boards of the
kitchen floor. Seeing that she had really melted away to nothing,
Dorothy drew another bucket of water and threw it over the mess.
She then swept it all out the door. After picking out the silver
shoe, which was all that was left of the old woman, she cleaned
and dried it with a cloth, and put it on her foot again. Then,
being at last free to do as she chose, she ran out to the
courtyard to tell the Lion that the Wicked Witch of the West had
come to an end, and that they were no longer prisoners in a
strange land.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Talking Books: The Wizard of Oz, Chapter 11

11. The Wonderful City of Oz

Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy
and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the
wonderful City. The streets were lined with beautiful houses all
built of green marble and studded everywhere with sparkling
emeralds. They walked over a pavement of the same green marble,
and where the blocks were joined together were rows of emeralds,
set closely, and glittering in the brightness of the sun. The
window panes were of green glass; even the sky above the City had
a green tint, and the rays of the sun were green.

There were many people--men, women, and children--walking about,
and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins.
They looked at Dorothy and her strangely assorted company with
wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind
their mothers when they saw the Lion; but no one spoke to them.
Many shops stood in the street, and Dorothy saw that everything
in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered
for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes
of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade,
and when the children bought it Dorothy could see that they paid
for it with green pennies.

There seemed to be no horses nor animals of any kind; the men
carried things around in little green carts, which they pushed
before them. Everyone seemed happy and contented and prosperous.

The Guardian of the Gates led them through the streets until
they came to a big building, exactly in the middle of the City,
which was the Palace of Oz, the Great Wizard. There was a soldier
before the door, dressed in a green uniform and wearing a long
green beard.

"Here are strangers," said the Guardian of the Gates to him,
"and they demand to see the Great Oz."

"Step inside," answered the soldier, "and I will carry your
message to him."

So they passed through the Palace Gates and were led into a
big room with a green carpet and lovely green furniture set with
emeralds. The soldier made them all wipe their feet upon a green
mat before entering this room, and when they were seated he said

"Please make yourselves comfortable while I go to the door of
the Throne Room and tell Oz you are here."

They had to wait a long time before the soldier returned.
When, at last, he came back, Dorothy asked:

"Have you seen Oz?"

"Oh, no," returned the soldier; "I have never seen him.
But I spoke to him as he sat behind his screen and gave him your
message. He said he will grant you an audience, if you so desire;
but each one of you must enter his presence alone, and he will
admit but one each day. Therefore, as you must remain in the
Palace for several days, I will have you shown to rooms where you
may rest in comfort after your journey."

"Thank you," replied the girl; "that is very kind of Oz."

The soldier now blew upon a green whistle, and at once a young girl,
dressed in a pretty green silk gown, entered the room. She had lovely
green hair and green eyes, and she bowed low before Dorothy as she said,
"Follow me and I will show you your room."

So Dorothy said good-bye to all her friends except Toto, and
taking the dog in her arms followed the green girl through seven
passages and up three flights of stairs until they came to a room
at the front of the Palace. It was the sweetest little room in
the world, with a soft comfortable bed that had sheets of green
silk and a green velvet counterpane. There was a tiny fountain in
the middle of the room, that shot a spray of green perfume into
the air, to fall back into a beautifully carved green marble basin.
Beautiful green flowers stood in the windows, and there was a shelf
with a row of little green books. When Dorothy had time to open
these books she found them full of queer green pictures that made
her laugh, they were so funny.

In a wardrobe were many green dresses, made of silk and satin
and velvet; and all of them fitted Dorothy exactly.

"Make yourself perfectly at home," said the green girl,
"and if you wish for anything ring the bell. Oz will send
for you tomorrow morning."

She left Dorothy alone and went back to the others. These she
also led to rooms, and each one of them found himself lodged in a
very pleasant part of the Palace. Of course this politeness was
wasted on the Scarecrow; for when he found himself alone in his
room he stood stupidly in one spot, just within the doorway, to
wait till morning. It would not rest him to lie down, and he
could not close his eyes; so he remained all night staring at a
little spider which was weaving its web in a corner of the room,
just as if it were not one of the most wonderful rooms in the world.
The Tin Woodman lay down on his bed from force of habit, for he
remembered when he was made of flesh; but not being able to sleep,
he passed the night moving his joints up and down to make sure they
kept in good working order. The Lion would have preferred a bed of
dried leaves in the forest, and did not like being shut up in a room;
but he had too much sense to let this worry him, so he sprang upon
the bed and rolled himself up like a cat and purred himself asleep
in a minute.

The next morning, after breakfast, the green maiden came to
fetch Dorothy, and she dressed her in one of the prettiest gowns,
made of green brocaded satin. Dorothy put on a green silk apron
and tied a green ribbon around Toto's neck, and they started
for the Throne Room of the Great Oz.

First they came to a great hall in which were many ladies and
gentlemen of the court, all dressed in rich costumes. These
people had nothing to do but talk to each other, but they always
came to wait outside the Throne Room every morning, although they
were never permitted to see Oz. As Dorothy entered they looked at
her curiously, and one of them whispered:

"Are you really going to look upon the face of Oz the Terrible?"

"Of course," answered the girl, "if he will see me."

"Oh, he will see you," said the soldier who had taken her
message to the Wizard, "although he does not like to have people
ask to see him. Indeed, at first he was angry and said I should
send you back where you came from. Then he asked me what you
looked like, and when I mentioned your silver shoes he was very
much interested. At last I told him about the mark upon your
forehead, and he decided he would admit you to his presence."

Just then a bell rang, and the green girl said to Dorothy,
"That is the signal. You must go into the Throne Room alone."

She opened a little door and Dorothy walked boldly through and
found herself in a wonderful place. It was a big, round room with
a high arched roof, and the walls and ceiling and floor were covered
with large emeralds set closely together. In the center of the roof
was a great light, as bright as the sun, which made the emeralds
sparkle in a wonderful manner.

But what interested Dorothy most was the big throne of green
marble that stood in the middle of the room. It was shaped like a
chair and sparkled with gems, as did everything else. In the
center of the chair was an enormous Head, without a body to
support it or any arms or legs whatever. There was no hair upon
this head, but it had eyes and a nose and mouth, and was much
bigger than the head of the biggest giant.

As Dorothy gazed upon this in wonder and fear, the eyes turned
slowly and looked at her sharply and steadily. Then the mouth
moved, and Dorothy heard a voice say:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you
seek me?"

It was not such an awful voice as she had expected to come
from the big Head; so she took courage and answered:

"I am Dorothy, the Small and Meek. I have come to you for help."

The eyes looked at her thoughtfully for a full minute.
Then said the voice:

"Where did you get the silver shoes?"

"I got them from the Wicked Witch of the East, when my house
fell on her and killed her," she replied.

"Where did you get the mark upon your forehead?" continued the voice.

"That is where the Good Witch of the North kissed me when she
bade me good-bye and sent me to you," said the girl.

Again the eyes looked at her sharply, and they saw she was
telling the truth. Then Oz asked, "What do you wish me to do?"

"Send me back to Kansas, where my Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are,"
she answered earnestly. "I don't like your country, although it is
so beautiful. And I am sure Aunt Em will be dreadfully worried over
my being away so long."

The eyes winked three times, and then they turned up to the
ceiling and down to the floor and rolled around so queerly that
they seemed to see every part of the room. And at last they
looked at Dorothy again.

"Why should I do this for you?" asked Oz.

"Because you are strong and I am weak; because you are a Great
Wizard and I am only a little girl."

"But you were strong enough to kill the Wicked Witch of the East,"
said Oz.

"That just happened," returned Dorothy simply; "I could not help it."

"Well," said the Head, "I will give you my answer. You have no
right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something
for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything
he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again
you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you."

"What must I do?" asked the girl.

"Kill the Wicked Witch of the West," answered Oz.

"But I cannot!" exclaimed Dorothy, greatly surprised.

"You killed the Witch of the East and you wear the silver shoes,
which bear a powerful charm. There is now but one Wicked Witch left
in all this land, and when you can tell me she is dead I will send
you back to Kansas--but not before."

The little girl began to weep, she was so much disappointed;
and the eyes winked again and looked upon her anxiously, as if the
Great Oz felt that she could help him if she would.

"I never killed anything, willingly," she sobbed. "Even if I
wanted to, how could I kill the Wicked Witch? If you, who are Great
and Terrible, cannot kill her yourself, how do you expect me to do it?"

"I do not know," said the Head; "but that is my answer, and
until the Wicked Witch dies you will not see your uncle and aunt
again. Remember that the Witch is Wicked--tremendously Wicked
-and ought to be killed. Now go, and do not ask to see me again
until you have done your task."

Sorrowfully Dorothy left the Throne Room and went back where
the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were waiting to
hear what Oz had said to her. "There is no hope for me," she
said sadly, "for Oz will not send me home until I have killed
the Wicked Witch of the West; and that I can never do."

Her friends were sorry, but could do nothing to help her; so
Dorothy went to her own room and lay down on the bed and cried
herself to sleep.

The next morning the soldier with the green whiskers came to
the Scarecrow and said:

"Come with me, for Oz has sent for you."

So the Scarecrow followed him and was admitted into the great
Throne Room, where he saw, sitting in the emerald throne, a most
lovely Lady. She was dressed in green silk gauze and wore upon
her flowing green locks a crown of jewels. Growing from her
shoulders were wings, gorgeous in color and so light that they
fluttered if the slightest breath of air reached them.

When the Scarecrow had bowed, as prettily as his straw stuffing would
let him, before this beautiful creature, she looked upon him sweetly,
and said:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

Now the Scarecrow, who had expected to see the great Head Dorothy had
told him of, was much astonished; but he answered her bravely.

"I am only a Scarecrow, stuffed with straw. Therefore I have
no brains, and I come to you praying that you will put brains in
my head instead of straw, so that I may become as much a man as
any other in your dominions."

"Why should I do this for you?" asked the Lady.

"Because you are wise and powerful, and no one else can help me,"
answered the Scarecrow.

"I never grant favors without some return," said Oz; "but this
much I will promise. If you will kill for me the Wicked Witch of
the West, I will bestow upon you a great many brains, and such
good brains that you will be the wisest man in all the Land of Oz."

"I thought you asked Dorothy to kill the Witch," said the Scarecrow,
in surprise.

"So I did. I don't care who kills her. But until she is dead
I will not grant your wish. Now go, and do not seek me again
until you have earned the brains you so greatly desire."

The Scarecrow went sorrowfully back to his friends and told
them what Oz had said; and Dorothy was surprised to find that the
Great Wizard was not a Head, as she had seen him, but a lovely Lady.

"All the same," said the Scarecrow, "she needs a heart as much
as the Tin Woodman."

On the next morning the soldier with the green whiskers came
to the Tin Woodman and said:

"Oz has sent for you. Follow me."

So the Tin Woodman followed him and came to the great Throne
Room. He did not know whether he would find Oz a lovely Lady or a
Head, but he hoped it would be the lovely Lady. "For," he said to
himself, "if it is the head, I am sure I shall not be given a
heart, since a head has no heart of its own and therefore cannot
feel for me. But if it is the lovely Lady I shall beg hard for a
heart, for all ladies are themselves said to be kindly hearted."

But when the Woodman entered the great Throne Room he saw
neither the Head nor the Lady, for Oz had taken the shape of a
most terrible Beast. It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the
green throne seemed hardly strong enough to hold its weight. The
Beast had a head like that of a rhinoceros, only there were five
eyes in its face. There were five long arms growing out of its
body, and it also had five long, slim legs. Thick, woolly hair
covered every part of it, and a more dreadful-looking monster
could not be imagined. It was fortunate the Tin Woodman had no
heart at that moment, for it would have beat loud and fast from
terror. But being only tin, the Woodman was not at all afraid,
although he was much disappointed.

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible," spoke the Beast, in a voice
that was one great roar. "Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

"I am a Woodman, and made of tin. Therefore I have no heart,
and cannot love. I pray you to give me a heart that I may be as
other men are."

"Why should I do this?" demanded the Beast.

"Because I ask it, and you alone can grant my request,"
answered the Woodman.

Oz gave a low growl at this, but said, gruffly: "If you indeed
desire a heart, you must earn it."

"How?" asked the Woodman.

"Help Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West," replied
the Beast. "When the Witch is dead, come to me, and I will then
give you the biggest and kindest and most loving heart in all the
Land of Oz."

So the Tin Woodman was forced to return sorrowfully to his
friends and tell them of the terrible Beast he had seen.
They all wondered greatly at the many forms the Great Wizard
could take upon himself, and the Lion said:

"If he is a Beast when I go to see him, I shall roar my
loudest, and so frighten him that he will grant all I ask. And if
he is the lovely Lady, I shall pretend to spring upon her, and so
compel her to do my bidding. And if he is the great Head, he will
be at my mercy; for I will roll this head all about the room until
he promises to give us what we desire. So be of good cheer, my
friends, for all will yet be well."

The next morning the soldier with the green whiskers led the
Lion to the great Throne Room and bade him enter the presence of Oz.

The Lion at once passed through the door, and glancing around saw,
to his surprise, that before the throne was a Ball of Fire, so fierce
and glowing he could scarcely bear to gaze upon it. His first thought
was that Oz had by accident caught on fire and was burning up; but when
he tried to go nearer, the heat was so intense that it singed his whiskers,
and he crept back tremblingly to a spot nearer the door.

Then a low, quiet voice came from the Ball of Fire, and these
were the words it spoke:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

And the Lion answered, "I am a Cowardly Lion, afraid of everything.
I came to you to beg that you give me courage, so that in reality I may
become the King of Beasts, as men call me."

"Why should I give you courage?" demanded Oz.

"Because of all Wizards you are the greatest, and alone have
power to grant my request," answered the Lion.

The Ball of Fire burned fiercely for a time, and the voice said,
"Bring me proof that the Wicked Witch is dead, and that moment I will
give you courage. But as long as the Witch lives, you must remain a coward."

The Lion was angry at this speech, but could say nothing in reply,
and while he stood silently gazing at the Ball of Fire it became
so furiously hot that he turned tail and rushed from the room.
He was glad to find his friends waiting for him, and told them
of his terrible interview with the Wizard.

"What shall we do now?" asked Dorothy sadly.

"There is only one thing we can do," returned the Lion, "and
that is to go to the land of the Winkies, seek out the Wicked
Witch, and destroy her."

"But suppose we cannot?" said the girl.

"Then I shall never have courage," declared the Lion.

"And I shall never have brains," added the Scarecrow.

"And I shall never have a heart," spoke the Tin of Woodman.

"And I shall never see Aunt Em and Uncle Henry," said Dorothy,
beginning to cry.

"Be careful!" cried the green girl. "The tears will fall on
your green silk gown and spot it."

So Dorothy dried her eyes and said, "I suppose we must try it;
but I am sure I do not want to kill anybody, even to see Aunt Em again."

"I will go with you; but I'm too much of a coward to kill the
Witch," said the Lion.

"I will go too," declared the Scarecrow; "but I shall not be
of much help to you, I am such a fool."

"I haven't the heart to harm even a Witch," remarked the Tin
Woodman; "but if you go I certainly shall go with you."

Therefore it was decided to start upon their journey the next
morning, and the Woodman sharpened his axe on a green grindstone
and had all his joints properly oiled. The Scarecrow stuffed
himself with fresh straw and Dorothy put new paint on his eyes
that he might see better. The green girl, who was very kind to
them, filled Dorothy's basket with good things to eat, and
fastened a little bell around Toto's neck with a green ribbon.

They went to bed quite early and slept soundly until daylight,
when they were awakened by the crowing of a green cock that lived
in the back yard of the Palace, and the cackling of a hen that had
laid a green egg.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Talking Books: Heidi Chapter Four, Part 2


Chapter Four, Part 2

Opening the door, Heidi found herself in a tiny, dark kitchen, and
going through another door, she entered a narrow chamber. Near a table
a woman was seated, busy with mending Peter's coat, which Heidi had
recognized immediately. A bent old woman was sitting in a corner, and
Heidi, approaching her at once, said: "How do you do, grandmother? I
have come now, and I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long!"

Lifting her head, the grandmother sought for Heidi's hand. Feeling it
thoughtfully, she said: "Are you the little girl who lives up with the
uncle? Is your name Heidi?"

"Yes," Heidi replied. "The grandfather just brought me down in the

"How is it possible? Your hands are as warm as toast! Brigida, did the
uncle really come down with the child?"

Brigida, Peter's mother, had gotten up to look at the child. She said:
"I don't know if he did, but I don't think so. She probably doesn't

Heidi, looking up, said quite decidedly: "I know that grandfather
wrapped me up in a cover when we coasted down together."

"Peter was right after all," said the grandmother. "We never thought
the child would live more than three weeks with him. Brigida, tell me
what she looks like."

"She has Adelheid's fine limbs and black eyes, and curly hair like
Tobias and the old man. I think she looks like both of them."

While the women were talking, Heidi had been taking in everything.
Then she said: "Grandmother, look at the shutter over there. It is
hanging loose. If grandfather were here, he would fasten it. It will
break the window-pane! Just look at it."

"What a sweet child you are," said the grandmother tenderly. "I can
hear it, but I cannot see it, child. This cottage rattles and creaks,
and when the wind blows, it comes in through every chink. Some day the
whole house will break to pieces and fall on top of us. If only Peter
knew how to mend it! We have no one else."

"Why, grandmother, can't you see the shutter?" asked Heidi.

"Child, I cannot see anything," lamented the old woman.

"Can you see it when I open the shutter to let in the light?"

"No, no, not even then. Nobody can ever show me the light again."

"But you can see when you go out into the snow, where everything is
bright. Come with me, grandmother, I'll show you!" and Heidi, taking
the old woman by the hand, tried to lead her out. Heidi was frightened
and got more anxious all the time.

"Just let me stay here, child. Everything is dark for me, and my poor
eyes can neither see the snow nor the light."

"But grandmother, does it not get light in the summer, when the sun
shines down on the mountains to say good-night, setting them all

"No, child, I can never see the fiery mountains any more. I have to
live in darkness, always."

Heidi burst out crying now and sobbed aloud. "Can nobody make it light
for you? Is there nobody who can do it, grandmother? Nobody?"

The grandmother tried all possible means to comfort the child; it
wrung her heart to see her terrible distress. It was awfully hard for
Heidi to stop crying when she had once begun, for she cried so seldom.
The grandmother said: "Heidi, let me tell you something. People who
cannot see love to listen to friendly words. Sit down beside me and
tell me all about yourself. Talk to me about your grandfather, for it
has been long since I have heard anything about him. I used to know
him very well."

Heidi suddenly wiped away her tears, for she had had a cheering
thought. "Grandmother, I shall tell grandfather about it, and I am
sure he can make it light for you. He can mend your little house and
stop the rattling."

The old woman remained silent, and Heidi, with the greatest vivacity,
began to describe her life with the grandfather. Listening
attentively, the two women would say to each other sometimes: "Do you
hear what she says about the uncle? Did you listen?"

Heidi's tale was interrupted suddenly by a great thumping on the door;
and who should come in but Peter. No sooner had he seen Heidi, than he
smiled, opening his round eyes as wide as possible. Heidi called,
"Good-evening, Peter!"

"Is it really time for him to come home!" exclaimed Peter's
grandmother. "How quickly the time has flown. Good-evening, little
Peter; how is your reading going?"

"Just the same," the boy replied.

"Oh, dear, I was hoping for a change at last. You are nearly twelve
years old, my boy."

"Why should there be a change?" inquired Heidi with greatest interest.

"I am afraid he'll never learn it after all. On the shelf over there
is an old prayer-book with beautiful songs. I have forgotten them all,
for I do not hear them any more. I longed that Peter should read them
to me some day, but he will never be able to!"

Peter's mother got up from her work now, saying, "I must make a light.
The afternoon has passed and now it's getting dark."

When Heidi heard those words, she started, and holding out her hand to
all, she said: "Good-night. I have to go, for it is getting dark." But
the anxious grandmother called out: "Wait, child, don't go up alone!
Go with her, Peter, and take care that she does not fall. Don't let
her get cold, do you hear? Has Heidi a shawl?"

"I haven't, but I won't be cold," Heidi called back, for she had
already escaped through the door. She ran so fast that Peter could
hardly follow her. The old woman frettingly called out: "Brigida, run
after her. Get a warm shawl, she'll freeze in this cold night. Hurry
up!" Brigida obeyed. The children had hardly climbed any distance,
when they saw the old man coming and with a few vigorous steps he
stood beside them.

"I am glad you kept you word, Heidi," he said; and packing her into
her cover, he started up the hill, carrying the child in his arms.
Brigida had come in time to see it, and told the grandmother what she
had witnessed.

"Thank God, thank God!" the old woman said. "I hope she'll come again;
she has done me so much good! What a soft heart she has, the darling,
and how nicely she can talk." All evening the grandmother said to
herself, "If only he lets her come again! I have something to look
forward to in this world now, thank God!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Talking Books: The Wizard of Oz, Chapter 10

10. The Guardian of the Gate.

It was some time before the Cowardly Lion awakened, for he had
lain among the poppies a long while, breathing in their deadly
fragrance; but when he did open his eyes and roll off the truck
he was very glad to find himself still alive.

"I ran as fast as I could," he said, sitting down and yawning,
"but the flowers were too strong for me. How did you get me out?"

Then they told him of the field mice, and how they had generously
saved him from death; and the Cowardly Lion laughed, and said:

"I have always thought myself very big and terrible; yet such
little things as flowers came near to killing me, and such small
animals as mice have saved my life. How strange it all is!
But, comrades, what shall we do now?"

"We must journey on until we find the road of yellow brick again,"
said Dorothy, "and then we can keep on to the Emerald City."

So, the Lion being fully refreshed, and feeling quite himself again,
they all started upon the journey, greatly enjoying the walk through the soft,
fresh grass; and it was not long before they reached the road of yellow brick
and turned again toward the Emerald City where the Great Oz dwelt.

The road was smooth and well paved, now, and the country about
was beautiful, so that the travelers rejoiced in leaving the
forest far behind, and with it the many dangers they had met in
its gloomy shades. Once more they could see fences built beside
the road; but these were painted green, and when they came to a
small house, in which a farmer evidently lived, that also was
painted green. They passed by several of these houses during the
afternoon, and sometimes people came to the doors and looked at
them as if they would like to ask questions; but no one came near
them nor spoke to them because of the great Lion, of which they
were very much afraid. The people were all dressed in clothing of
a lovely emerald-green color and wore peaked hats like those of
the Munchkins.

"This must be the Land of Oz," said Dorothy, "and we are
surely getting near the Emerald City."

"Yes," answered the Scarecrow. "Everything is green here,
while in the country of the Munchkins blue was the favorite color.
But the people do not seem to be as friendly as the Munchkins, and
I'm afraid we shall be unable to find a place to pass the night."

"I should like something to eat besides fruit," said the girl,
"and I'm sure Toto is nearly starved. Let us stop at the next
house and talk to the people."

So, when they came to a good-sized farmhouse, Dorothy walked
boldly up to the door and knocked.

A woman opened it just far enough to look out, and said,
"What do you want, child, and why is that great Lion with you?"

"We wish to pass the night with you, if you will allow us,"
answered Dorothy; "and the Lion is my friend and comrade, and
would not hurt you for the world."

"Is he tame?" asked the woman, opening the door a little wider.

"Oh, yes," said the girl, "and he is a great coward, too.
He will be more afraid of you than you are of him."

"Well," said the woman, after thinking it over and taking
another peep at the Lion, "if that is the case you may come in,
and I will give you some supper and a place to sleep."

So they all entered the house, where there were, besides the
woman, two children and a man. The man had hurt his leg, and was
lying on the couch in a corner. They seemed greatly surprised to
see so strange a company, and while the woman was busy laying the
table the man asked:

"Where are you all going?"

"To the Emerald City," said Dorothy, "to see the Great Oz."

"Oh, indeed!" exclaimed the man. "Are you sure that Oz will see you?"

"Why not?" she replied.

"Why, it is said that he never lets anyone come into his presence.
I have been to the Emerald City many times, and it is a beautiful and
wonderful place; but I have never been permitted to see the Great Oz,
nor do I know of any living person who has seen him."

"Does he never go out?" asked the Scarecrow.

"Never. He sits day after day in the great Throne Room of his
Palace, and even those who wait upon him do not see him face to face."

"What is he like?" asked the girl.

"That is hard to tell," said the man thoughtfully. "You see,
Oz is a Great Wizard, and can take on any form he wishes. So that
some say he looks like a bird; and some say he looks like an
elephant; and some say he looks like a cat. To others he appears
as a beautiful fairy, or a brownie, or in any other form that
pleases him. But who the real Oz is, when he is in his own form,
no living person can tell."

"That is very strange," said Dorothy, "but we must try, in
some way, to see him, or we shall have made our journey for nothing."

"Why do you wish to see the terrible Oz?" asked the man.

"I want him to give me some brains," said the Scarecrow eagerly.

"Oh, Oz could do that easily enough," declared the man.
"He has more brains than he needs."

"And I want him to give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"That will not trouble him," continued the man, "for Oz has a
large collection of hearts, of all sizes and shapes."

"And I want him to give me courage," said the Cowardly Lion.

"Oz keeps a great pot of courage in his Throne Room," said
the man, "which he has covered with a golden plate, to keep it
from running over. He will be glad to give you some."

"And I want him to send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"Where is Kansas?" asked the man, with surprise.

"I don't know," replied Dorothy sorrowfully, "but it is my home,
and I'm sure it's somewhere."

"Very likely. Well, Oz can do anything; so I suppose he will
find Kansas for you. But first you must get to see him, and that
will be a hard task; for the Great Wizard does not like to see anyone,
and he usually has his own way. But what do YOU want?" he continued,
speaking to Toto. Toto only wagged his tail; for, strange to say,
he could not speak.

The woman now called to them that supper was ready, so they
gathered around the table and Dorothy ate some delicious porridge
and a dish of scrambled eggs and a plate of nice white bread, and
enjoyed her meal. The Lion ate some of the porridge, but did not
care for it, saying it was made from oats and oats were food for
horses, not for lions. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman ate
nothing at all. Toto ate a little of everything, and was glad to
get a good supper again.

The woman now gave Dorothy a bed to sleep in, and Toto lay
down beside her, while the Lion guarded the door of her room so
she might not be disturbed. The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman
stood up in a corner and kept quiet all night, although of course
they could not sleep.

The next morning, as soon as the sun was up, they started on
their way, and soon saw a beautiful green glow in the sky just
before them.

"That must be the Emerald City," said Dorothy.

As they walked on, the green glow became brighter and brighter,
and it seemed that at last they were nearing the end of their travels.
Yet it was afternoon before they came to the great wall that surrounded
the City. It was high and thick and of a bright green color.

In front of them, and at the end of the road of yellow brick,
was a big gate, all studded with emeralds that glittered so in the
sun that even the painted eyes of the Scarecrow were dazzled by
their brilliancy.

There was a bell beside the gate, and Dorothy pushed the
button and heard a silvery tinkle sound within. Then the big gate
swung slowly open, and they all passed through and found
themselves in a high arched room, the walls of which glistened
with countless emeralds.

Before them stood a little man about the same size as the
Munchkins. He was clothed all in green, from his head to his
feet, and even his skin was of a greenish tint. At his side was a
large green box.

When he saw Dorothy and her companions the man asked,
"What do you wish in the Emerald City?"

"We came here to see the Great Oz," said Dorothy.

The man was so surprised at this answer that he sat down to
think it over.

"It has been many years since anyone asked me to see Oz,"
he said, shaking his head in perplexity. "He is powerful and
terrible, and if you come on an idle or foolish errand to bother
the wise reflections of the Great Wizard, he might be angry and
destroy you all in an instant."

"But it is not a foolish errand, nor an idle one," replied the
Scarecrow; "it is important. And we have been told that Oz is a
good Wizard."

"So he is," said the green man, "and he rules the Emerald City
wisely and well. But to those who are not honest, or who approach
him from curiosity, he is most terrible, and few have ever dared
ask to see his face. I am the Guardian of the Gates, and since
you demand to see the Great Oz I must take you to his Palace.
But first you must put on the spectacles."

"Why?" asked Dorothy.

"Because if you did not wear spectacles the brightness and
glory of the Emerald City would blind you. Even those who live in
the City must wear spectacles night and day. They are all locked
on, for Oz so ordered it when the City was first built, and I have
the only key that will unlock them."

He opened the big box, and Dorothy saw that it was filled with
spectacles of every size and shape. All of them had green glasses
in them. The Guardian of the Gates found a pair that would just
fit Dorothy and put them over her eyes. There were two golden
bands fastened to them that passed around the back of her head,
where they were locked together by a little key that was at the
end of a chain the Guardian of the Gates wore around his neck.
When they were on, Dorothy could not take them off had she wished,
but of course she did not wish to be blinded by the glare of the
Emerald City, so she said nothing.

Then the green man fitted spectacles for the Scarecrow and the
Tin Woodman and the Lion, and even on little Toto; and all were
locked fast with the key.

Then the Guardian of the Gates put on his own glasses and told
them he was ready to show them to the Palace. Taking a big golden
key from a peg on the wall, he opened another gate, and they all
followed him through the portal into the streets of the Emerald City.

Talking Books: Heid Chapter Four; Part 1

Chapter 4,
Part One.


Next morning Peter came again with his goats, and Heidi went up to the
pasture with them. This happened day after day, and in this healthy
life Heidi grew stronger, and more sunburnt every day. Soon the autumn
came and when the wind was blowing across the mountainside, the
grandfather would say: "You must stay home to-day, Heidi; for the wind
can blow such a little thing as you down into the valley with a single
It always made Peter unhappy when Heidi did not come along, for he saw
nothing but misfortunes ahead of him; he hardly knew how to pass his
time, and besides, he was deprived of his abundant dinner. The goats
were so accustomed to Heidi by this time, that they did not follow
Peter when she was not with him.

Heidi herself did not mind staying at home, for she loved nothing
better than to watch her grandfather with his saw and hammer.
Sometimes the grandfather would make small round cheeses on those
days, and there was no greater pleasure for Heidi than to see him stir
the butter with his bare arms. When the wind would howl through the
fir-trees on those stormy days, Heidi would run out to the grove,
thrilled and happy by the wondrous roaring in the branches. The sun
had lost its vigor, and the child had to put on her shoes and
stockings and her little dress.

The weather got colder and colder, and when Peter came up in the
morning, he would blow into his hands, he was so frozen. At last even
Peter could not come any more, for a deep snow had fallen over night.
Heidi stood at the window, watching the snow falling down. It kept on
snowing till it reached the windows; still it did not stop, and soon
the windows could not be opened, and they were all shut in. When it
had lasted for several days, Heidi thought that it would soon cover
up the cottage. It finally stopped, and the grandfather went out to
shovel the snow away from the door and windows, piling it up high here
and there. In the afternoon the two were sitting near the fire when
noisy steps were heard outside and the door was pushed open. It was
Peter, who had come up to see Heidi. Muttering, "Good-evening," he
went up to the fire. His face was beaming, and Heidi had to laugh when
she saw little waterfalls trickling down from his person, for all the
ice and snow had melted in the great heat.

The grandfather now asked Peter how he got along in school. Heidi was
so interested that she asked him a hundred questions. Poor Peter, who
was not an easy talker, found himself in great difficulty answering
the little girl's inquiries, but at least it gave him leisure to dry
his clothes.

During this conversation the grandfather's eyes had been twinkling,
and at last he said to the boy: "Now that you have been under fire,
general, you need some strengthening. Come and join us at supper."

With that the old man prepared a meal which amply satisfied Peter's
appetite. It had begun to get dark, and Peter knew that it was time to
go. He had said good-bye and thank you, when turning to Heidi he

"I'll come next Sunday, if I may. By the way, Heidi, grandmother asked
me to tell you that she would love to see you."

Heidi immediately approved of this idea, and her first word next
morning was: "Grandfather, I must go down to grandmother. She is
expecting me."

Four days later the sun was shining and the tight-packed frozen snow
was crackling under every step. Heidi was sitting at the dinner-table,
imploring the old man to let her make the visit then, when he got up,
and fetching down her heavy cover, told her to follow him. They went
out into the glistening snow; no sound was heard and the snow-laden
fir-trees shone and glittered in the sun. Heidi in her transport was
running to and fro: "Grandfather, come out! Oh, look at the trees!
They are all covered with silver and gold," she called to the
grandfather, who had just come out of his workshop with a wide sled.
Wrapping the child up in her cover, he put her on the sled, holding
her fast. Off they started at such a pace that Heidi shouted for joy,
for she seemed to be flying like a bird. The sled had stopped in front
of Peter's hut, and grandfather said: "Go in. When it gets dark, start
on your way home." When he had unwrapped her, he turned homewards with
his sled.

Heidi: Chapter Three, Part 2

Chapter 3: Part 2

The boy could tell them all to her, for their names were about the
only thing he had to carry in his head. She soon knew them, too, for
she had listened attentively. One of them was the Big Turk, who tried
to stick his big horns into all the others. Most of the goats ran away
from their rough comrade. The bold Thistlefinch alone was not afraid,
and running his horns three or four times into the other, so
astonished the Turk with his great daring that he stood still and gave
up fighting, for the Thistlefinch had sharp horns and met him in the
most warlike attitude. A small, white goat, called Snowhopper, kept up
bleating in the most piteous way, which induced Heidi to console it
several times. Heidi at last went to the little thing again, and
throwing her arms around its head, she asked, "What is the matter with
you, Snowhopper? Why do you always cry for help?" The little goat
pressed close to Heidi's side and became perfectly quiet. Peter was
still eating, but between the swallows he called to Heidi: "She is so
unhappy, because the old goat has left us. She was sold to somebody in
Mayenfeld two days ago."

"Who was the old goat?"

"Her mother, of course."

"Where is her grandmother?"

"She hasn't any."

"And her grandfather?"

"Hasn't any either."

"Poor little Snowhopper!" said Heidi, drawing the little creature
tenderly to her. "Don't grieve any more; see, I am coming up with you
every day now, and if there is anything the matter, you can come to

Snowhopper rubbed her head against Heidi's shoulder and stopped
bleating. When Peter had finally finished his dinner, he joined Heidi.

The little girl had just been observing that Schwaenli and Baerli were
by far the cleanest and prettiest of the goats. They evaded the
obtrusive Turk with a sort of contempt and always managed to find the
greenest bushes for themselves. She mentioned it to Peter, who
replied: "I know! Of course they are the prettiest, because the uncle
washes them and gives them salt. He has the best stable by far."

All of a sudden Peter, who had been lying on the ground, jumped up and
bounded after the goats. Heidi, knowing that something must have
happened, followed him. She saw him running to a dangerous abyss on
the side. Peter had noticed how the rash Thistlefinch had gone nearer
and nearer to the dangerous spot. Peter only just came in time to
prevent the goat from falling down over the very edge. Unfortunately
Peter had stumbled over a stone in his hurry and was only able to
catch the goat by one leg. The Thistlefinch, being enraged to find
himself stopped in his charming ramble, bleated furiously. Not being
able to get up, Peter loudly called for help. Heidi immediately saw
that Peter was nearly pulling off the animal's leg. She quickly picked
some fragrant herbs and holding them under the animal's nose, she said
soothingly: "Come, come, Thistlefinch, and be sensible. You might fall
down there and break your leg. That would hurt you horribly."

The goat turned about and devoured the herbs Heidi held in her hand.
When Peter got to his feet, he led back the runaway with Heidi's help.
When he had the goat in safety, he raised his rod to beat it for
punishment. The goat retreated shyly, for it knew what was coming.
Heidi screamed loudly: "Peter, no, do not beat him! look how scared he

"He well deserves it," snarled Peter, ready to strike. But Heidi,
seizing his arm, shouted, full of indignation: "You mustn't hurt him!
Let him go!"

Heidi's eyes were sparkling, and when he saw her with her commanding
mien, he desisted and dropped his rope. "I'll let him go, if you give
me a piece of your cheese again to-morrow," he said, for he wanted a
compensation for his fright.

"You may have it all to-morrow and every day, because I don't need
it," Heidi assured him. "I shall also give you a big piece of bread,
if you promise never to beat any of the goats."

"I don't care," growled Peter, and in that way he gave his promise.

Thus the day had passed, and the sun was already sinking down behind
the mountains. Sitting on the grass, Heidi looked at the bluebells and
the wild roses that were shining in the last rays of the sun. The
peaks also started to glow, and Heidi suddenly called to the boy: "Oh,
Peter, look! everything is on fire. The mountains are burning and the
sky, too. Oh, look! the moon over there is on fire, too. Do you see
the mountains all in a glow? Oh, how beautiful the snow looks! Peter,
the eagle's nest is surely on fire, too. Oh, look at the fir-trees
over there!"

Peter was quietly peeling his rod, and looking up, said to Heidi:
"This is no fire; it always looks like that."

"But what is it then?" asked Heidi eagerly, gazing about her

"It gets that way of itself," explained Peter.

"Oh look! Everything is all rosy now! Oh, look at this mountain over
there with the snow and the sharp peaks. What is its name?"

"Mountains have no names," he answered.

"Oh, see, how beautiful! It looks as if many, many roses were growing
on those cliffs. Oh, now they are getting grey. Oh dear! the fire has
gone out and it is all over. What a terrible shame!" said Heidi quite

"It will be the same again tomorrow," Peter reassured her. "Come now,
we have to go home."

When Peter had called the goats together, they started downwards.

"Will it be like that every day when we are up?" asked Heidi, eagerly.

"It usually is," was the reply.

"What about tomorrow?" she inquired.

"Tomorrow it will be like that, I am sure," Peter affirmed.

That made Heidi feel happy again. She walked quietly by Peter's side,
thinking over all the new things she had seen. At last, reaching the
hut, they found the grandfather waiting for them on a bench under the
fir-trees. Heidi ran up to him and the two goats followed, for they
knew their master. Peter called to her: "Come again tomorrow!

Heidi gave him her hand, assuring him that she would come, and finding
herself surrounded by the goats, she hugged Snowhopper a last time.

When Peter had disappeared, Heidi returned to her grandfather. "Oh
grandfather! it was so beautiful! I saw the fire and the roses on the
rocks! And see the many, many flowers I am bringing you!" With that
Heidi shook them out of her apron. But oh, how miserable they looked!
Heidi did not even know them any more.

"What is the matter with them, grandfather? They looked so different!"
Heidi exclaimed in her fright.

"They are made to bloom in the sun and not to be shut up in an apron,"
said the grandfather.

"Then I shall never pick them any more! Please, grandfather, tell me
why the eagle screeches so loudly," asked Heidi.

"First go and take a bath, while I go into the shed to get your milk.
Afterwards we'll go inside together and I'll tell you all about it
during supper-time."

They did as was proposed, and when Heidi sat on her high chair before
her milk, she asked the same question as before.

"Because he is sneering at the people down below, who sit in the
villages and make each other angry. He calls down to them:--'If you
would go apart to live up on the heights like me, you would feel much
better!'" The grandfather said these last words with such a wild
voice, that it reminded Heidi of the eagle's screech.

"Why do the mountains have no names, grandfather?" asked Heidi.

"They all have names, and if you tell me their shape I can name them
for you."

Heidi described several and the old man could name them all. The child
told him now about all the happenings of the day, and especially about
the wonderful fire. She asked how it came about.

"The sun does it," he exclaimed. "Saying good-night to the mountains,
he throws his most beautiful rays to them, that they may not forget
him till the morning."

Heidi was so much pleased with this explanation, that she could hardly
wait to see the sun's good-night greetings repeated. It was time now
to go to bed, and Heidi slept soundly all night. She dreamt that the
little Snowhopper was bounding happily about on the glowing mountains
with many glistening roses blooming round her.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Talking Books: The Wizard of Oz; Chapter 9

The Wizard of Oz, Chapter 9.

The Queen of the Field Mice.

"We cannot be far from the road of yellow brick, now," remarked
the Scarecrow, as he stood beside the girl, "for we have come
nearly as far as the river carried us away."

The Tin Woodman was about to reply when he heard a low growl,
and turning his head (which worked beautifully on hinges) he saw a
strange beast come bounding over the grass toward them. It was,
indeed, a great yellow Wildcat, and the Woodman thought it must
be chasing something, for its ears were lying close to its head
and its mouth was wide open, showing two rows of ugly teeth, while
its red eyes glowed like balls of fire. As it came nearer the Tin
Woodman saw that running before the beast was a little gray field
mouse, and although he had no heart he knew it was wrong for the
Wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.

So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave
it a quick blow that cut the beast's head clean off from its body,
and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.

The field mouse, now that it was freed from its enemy, stopped short;
and coming slowly up to the Woodman it said, in a squeaky little voice:

"Oh, thank you! Thank you ever so much for saving my life."

"Don't speak of it, I beg of you," replied the Woodman.
"I have no heart, you know, so I am careful to help all those
who may need a friend, even if it happens to be only a mouse."

"Only a mouse!" cried the little animal, indignantly.
"Why, I am a Queen--the Queen of all the Field Mice!"

"Oh, indeed," said the Woodman, making a bow.

"Therefore you have done a great deed, as well as a brave one,
in saving my life," added the Queen.

At that moment several mice were seen running up as fast as
their little legs could carry them, and when they saw their Queen
they exclaimed:

"Oh, your Majesty, we thought you would be killed! How did
you manage to escape the great Wildcat?" They all bowed so low to
the little Queen that they almost stood upon their heads.

"This funny tin man," she answered, "killed the Wildcat and
saved my life. So hereafter you must all serve him, and obey his
slightest wish."

"We will!" cried all the mice, in a shrill chorus. And then they
scampered in all directions, for Toto had awakened from his sleep, and
seeing all these mice around him he gave one bark of delight and jumped
right into the middle of the group. Toto had always loved to chase mice
when he lived in Kansas, and he saw no harm in it.

But the Tin Woodman caught the dog in his arms and held him tight,
while he called to the mice, "Come back! Come back! Toto shall not hurt you."

At this the Queen of the Mice stuck her head out from underneath a clump
of grass and asked, in a timid voice, "Are you sure he will not bite us?"

"I will not let him," said the Woodman; "so do not be afraid."

One by one the mice came creeping back, and Toto did not bark again,
although he tried to get out of the Woodman's arms, and would have bitten
him had he not known very well he was made of tin. Finally one of the
biggest mice spoke.

"Is there anything we can do," it asked, "to repay you for
saving the life of our Queen?"

"Nothing that I know of," answered the Woodman; but the
Scarecrow, who had been trying to think, but could not because his
head was stuffed with straw, said, quickly, "Oh, yes; you can save
our friend, the Cowardly Lion, who is asleep in the poppy bed."

"A Lion!" cried the little Queen. "Why, he would eat us all up."

"Oh, no," declared the Scarecrow; "this Lion is a coward."

"Really?" asked the Mouse.

"He says so himself," answered the Scarecrow, "and he would
never hurt anyone who is our friend. If you will help us to save
him I promise that he shall treat you all with kindness."

"Very well," said the Queen, "we trust you. But what shall we do?"

"Are there many of these mice which call you Queen and are willing
to obey you?"

"Oh, yes; there are thousands," she replied.

"Then send for them all to come here as soon as possible,
and let each one bring a long piece of string."

The Queen turned to the mice that attended her and told them
to go at once and get all her people. As soon as they heard her
orders they ran away in every direction as fast as possible.

"Now," said the Scarecrow to the Tin Woodman, "you must go to
those trees by the riverside and make a truck that will carry the Lion."

So the Woodman went at once to the trees and began to work;
and he soon made a truck out of the limbs of trees, from which he
chopped away all the leaves and branches. He fastened it together
with wooden pegs and made the four wheels out of short pieces of a
big tree trunk. So fast and so well did he work that by the time
the mice began to arrive the truck was all ready for them.

They came from all directions, and there were thousands of
them: big mice and little mice and middle-sized mice; and each
one brought a piece of string in his mouth. It was about this
time that Dorothy woke from her long sleep and opened her eyes.
She was greatly astonished to find herself lying upon the grass,
with thousands of mice standing around and looking at her timidly.
But the Scarecrow told her about everything, and turning to the
dignified little Mouse, he said:

"Permit me to introduce to you her Majesty, the Queen."

Dorothy nodded gravely and the Queen made a curtsy, after
which she became quite friendly with the little girl.

The Scarecrow and the Woodman now began to fasten the mice to
the truck, using the strings they had brought. One end of a
string was tied around the neck of each mouse and the other end to
the truck. Of course the truck was a thousand times bigger than
any of the mice who were to draw it; but when all the mice had
been harnessed, they were able to pull it quite easily. Even the
Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman could sit on it, and were drawn swiftly
by their queer little horses to the place where the Lion lay asleep.

After a great deal of hard work, for the Lion was heavy, they
managed to get him up on the truck. Then the Queen hurriedly gave
her people the order to start, for she feared if the mice stayed
among the poppies too long they also would fall asleep.

At first the little creatures, many though they were, could
hardly stir the heavily loaded truck; but the Woodman and the
Scarecrow both pushed from behind, and they got along better.
Soon they rolled the Lion out of the poppy bed to the green fields,
where he could breathe the sweet, fresh air again, instead of the
poisonous scent of the flowers.

Dorothy came to meet them and thanked the little mice warmly
for saving her companion from death. She had grown so fond of
the big Lion she was glad he had been rescued.

Then the mice were unharnessed from the truck and scampered
away through the grass to their homes. The Queen of the Mice was
the last to leave.

"If ever you need us again," she said, "come out into the
field and call, and we shall hear you and come to your assistance.

"Good-bye!" they all answered, and away the Queen ran, while
Dorothy held Toto tightly lest he should run after her and
frighten her.

After this they sat down beside the Lion until he should
awaken; and the Scarecrow brought Dorothy some fruit from a tree
near by, which she ate for her dinner.